By Michael Aushenker
The hordes are coming, the zombie invasion is nigh…and we can thank Santa Claus for World War Z hitting the Westside next week. Really.
Thanks to the success of the annual Christmas cheer-contagion Santa Monica Pub Crawl — in which locals in Santa hats or costumes drink their way through 70 bars along five different routes — local merchants will now band together on Halloween to unleash the First Annual Zombie Crawl on downtown Santa Monica. ‘Tis the season to look creepy.
Undead drinkers should arrive in zombie regalia to purchase event wristbands between 6 and 9 p.m. on Oct. 31 at Rusty’s Surf Ranch (265 Santa Monica Pier), where makeup artists will await to assist in transformations.
Then the hordes are released to drink at six other bars or restaurants offering food and drink specials for walking dead: Big Dean’s (1615 Ocean Front Walk) from 7 to 10 p.m.; Ye Old King’s Head (116 Santa Monica Blvd.) from 8 to11 p.m.; Barney’s Beanery (1351 3rd St. Promenade) from 9 p.m. to midnight., Brittania Pub (318 Santa Monica Blvd.) from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.; and West 4th & Jane (1432 4th St.) from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.
This ghoulish affair culminates with an official zombie after-party from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. at Wokcano (1413 5th St.)., where a deejay will be spinning tunes and a Best Zombie Award will go to the most accomplished of resurrected corpses. Event spokesperson Kim Koury also let the cat corpse out of the coffin that a staging of the undead line dance from Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video will be attempted.
The only caveat? Koury insists that all aspiring zombies abide by three simple rules: “No talking, you can only moan or growl. …You have to walk with your arms extended like a zombie. … You must drag a leg.”
Tickets are $10 advance of $15 the day of the event. Visit Zombiecrawlsm.eventbrite.com.
SATURDAY, OCT. 26:
Venice (the rock band) will perform in Santa Monica (the city) during the fifth annual Halloween Rock Concert and Costume Party, benefiting Artists for the Arts (AFTA), art programs in local schools.
Founded in 1977 by brothers Michael and Mark Lennon and their cousins Kipp and Pat Lennon (younger brothers of the Lennon Sisters), Venice has brought their brand of hard rock to stages worldwide. In 2010-11, members of Venice backed Roger Waters on the Pink Floyd front man’s “The Wall Live” tour.
The concert takes place from 7 to 11:30 p.m. at Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club, 1210 4th St., Santa Monica. Tickets: are $25 to $45. Donate a canned good and receive a free beverage of slice of pie.
RSVP at brownpapertickets.com/event/478346.
SATURDAY, OCT. 26:
“Spooky Saturday” returns to Couer D’Alene Elementary School. The school fundraiser includes a haunted maze, tiny terror costume parade, monster mash costume parade, Diablos Diner food court, a spooktacular bazaar, creepy petting zoon and phantom photo booth. The free event, aimed at goblins 5 and under, takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Couer D’Alene Elementary, 810 Couer D’Alene Ave., Venice. CDAElementary.org.
TUESDAY, OCT. 29:
Zombies are not the only members of the undead club to rise on the Westside next week. A certain vampire will also get his due when Santa Monica resident and best-selling author Mona Simpson (“Anywhere But Here”) sucks literary folk Jonathan Grossman, Leslie Klinger, Elizabeth Miller and David Skal into discussing one of her favorite books, “Dracula.”
Published in 1897, “Dracula,” Bram Stoker’s quintessential Gothic novel, follows the young lawyer Jonathan Harker to Transylvania, where he encounters the enigmatic Count Dracula, who, as it turns out, happens to be a blood-sucking vampire. As female characters Mina and Lucy get sucked into Dracula’s vampire cult and the drama shifts from Eastern Europe to Carfax, Dracula’s English estate, vampire hunter Abraham Van Hesling closes in on his mission to drive a stake into the Count’s cold heart.
Klinger, author of “The New Annotated Dracula,” said the panel’s Dracula scholars will discuss Stoker, the novel’s origins and its cinematic adaptations. A fan of the erotically charged horror novel since his teens, he believes Hollywood has simultaneously trivialized and exalted Stoker’s masterpiece.
“There are great adaptations [the BBC version with Louis Jordan, the Dan Curtis and Jack Palance version) and bad,” Kingsley said. “[Francis Ford] Coppola’s [1992 movie ‘Dracula’] had a great first hour, then ran out of gas. I love Mel Brooks’ ‘Dracula: Dead and Loving It,’ which obviously says something about my tastes!”
“Some Favorite Writers: Dracula!” starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Hammer Museum, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood. Free, with $3 parking under the museum after 6 p.m. Costumes encouraged.
THURSDAY, OCT. 31:
While not to be confused with the pagan-rooted Halloween, the Nov. 2 Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”) — the morbidly festive holiday to honor departed family and friends — has in recent years grown into a compatible celebration in America, thanks in part to its proximity on the calendar.
The Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) will present its 10th annual Day of the Dead Celebration on Oct. 31 in partnership with UCLA’s Chicana/Chicano Studies Department and artist-in-residence Martha Ramirez.
In true Dia de los Muertos tradition, the event will honor the dearly departed with food at altars of the dead, beginning with a calling of the spirits in the indigenous Nahuatl (an Aztec language) tongue. This will be followed by the burning of copal incense and a procession guiding the spirits to the main altar. Attendees may bring photos of their beloved to place at the altar.
Students from Ballet Folklorico del Centro Cultural de Mexico will perform while traditional music and food (sweet breads, Mexican hot chocolate) is served.
If you’re wondering why this Dia celebration takes place on Halloween, SPARC Associate Director Felipe M. Sanchez explained that the event is the culmination of a 10-week UCLA class that only meets on Thursdays.
Not worried that Halloween happenings may siphon off attendance, Sanchez expects about 200 people, on par with previous years.
The celebration runs from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at SPARC, 685 Venice Blvd., Venice. Call (310) 822-9560, ext. 15, or visit SPARCinLA.org.
SATURDAY, NOV. 2: Edison Language Academy, a K-12 dual-language immersion program, celebrates Dia de Los Muertos with its 12th annual Festival de Otoño and Día De Los Muertos gallery.
The free and family-friendly Santa Monica event attracts 1,500 each year and features theater, music, food (think tamales, pozole), poetry and what organizers call “the largest Day of the Dead Exhibit on the Westside.” Expect decorative altars, alfombras (displays made of dust, flowers and other native materials), arts and crafts, games and a haunted house. DJ Alex Reyes and live Mariachi musicians will entertain.
But there’s also the “Cranes for Peace Project,” a memorial to victims of war. This display features 1,000 hand-made origami cranes — inspired by the crane project of Sadako Sasaki, who, at age 2, survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
The festival takes place from 1 to 5 p.m. at Edison Language Academy, 2425 Kansas Ave., Santa Monica. Food and games cost $1 to $5. Call (310) 828-0335 or visit Edison.smmusd.org.