Last night I attended “J. Cannibal’s Feast of Flesh IX” at the Coolidge Corner Theater and it was a night of zombie themed madness that will be hard to forget. I’ve been in Boston for the last four years and this has been the first time I have been able to attend one of these (every show consists of a different band and film) and after walking out of last night’s; boy am I ashamed I’ve missed so many.
The evening started out with my hair and makeup girl (read: girlfriend) applying some bargain-basement Halloween face paint to make me look adequately undead. I then took the 10 minute walk to the theater, being met with a mix of amusement and bewilderment from the Brookline pedestrians.
Arriving at the Coolidge a half hour before show time I took my place in the line that had already wrapped around the block, and waited. Once we were all allowed inside we were greeted by the sounds of Walter Sicker & The Army of Broken Toys. The Army is one part spooky string ensemble and performance art troupe. They played several original numbers and a few covers (Johnny Cash and Elvis as I guarantee you’ve never heard them) all while delighting/disturbing with their onstage antics and encouraging the crowd to sing along. You should really check out their website and throw them some support if you like what you hear.
After the band’s brief set it was time for the first burlesque act of the night. A member of Black Cat Burlesque took the stage dressed as a blood-spattered Jackie O and then proceeded to strip town to American Flag pasties. Offensive? Yes, you don’t know the half of it. Hilarious and awesome? Yes, you don’t know the half of it.
After that came the costume contest. There was some great talent on display including a quartet of zombie Spice Girls and even a zombie “Dude” from The Big Lebowski. I really have to up my game next year and be a competitor.
The final act before the film was a preview of Black Cat Burlesque’s next show which is a salute to Edgar Allen Poe (next Saturday the 10th at the Brattle Theater in Cambridge, they are showing Dario Argento and George Romero’s Two Evil Eyes. I’ll see you there!). The piece was a Poe alcohol fueled fever-dream mixed with Benny Hill. It had remarkably cool costuming and production values and I can’t wait to see the rest of the show.
The main event was a screening of Dan O’Bannon’s Return of the Living Dead (1985), a film near and dear to my heart. I’ve seen it a number of times but I don’t know if I ever enjoyed it as much as seeing it with hundreds of screaming, hooting and applauding fans. While eavesdropping, which is something I frequently do, I was shocked at how many people had never seen it before. Everyone enjoyed it and I’m glad those who weren’t familiar had such a good venue for their first time. Even if it is strange to hear that a person dressed as a zombie hasn’t seen one of the biggest and best films out there.
The film was played at maximum volume, which is possibly the best way to watch the most “punk rock” zombie flick ever. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard any crowd go as wild as when Clu Gulager takes the Tar Zombie’s head off with a baseball bat. Pure bliss.
If you’re in the Boston area I cannot stress how awesome these events are. Check out Black Cat Burlesque and J. Cannibal’s websites for information on upcoming shows.
*The poster art above was done by Mister Reusch, a freelance artist and Co-Founder of Black Cat Burlesque. Check out his stuff here and here.