By Jonathan Kaplan
What better way to celebrate the most fear-provoking of holidays then with hot naked women covered in blood? John LaFamboy agrees wholeheartedly when he and the rest of his crew in Zombie Army Productions decided to put on tonight’s brain-devouring event, “Night of the Stripping Dead.”
Normally I wouldn’t venture out to a gentleman’s club because it’s jut not my thing and I really don’t have the cash to throw around on girls pretending to like me for the length of one song, but when I heard “zombie strippers,” I made a justified exception. The Admiral Theater is considered to be the best of the best when it comes to skin joints in the city and I must say, it was surprisingly classy. As I sit in a white leopard arm chair in the VIP section of the club watching these ladies gyrate to the goth-industrial tunes blasting over the speaker, covered in lacerations, impaling wounds and glow-in-the-dark nipple rings, I feel less like a creepy old man standing behind the fence of a middle-school playground and more like a necromantic luster of the lifeless.
Zombie flick “28 Days Later” plays on multiple flat-screen televisions as the undead entertainers strut their stuff to classics like Metallica, Motorhead, Marilyn Manson and Ministry, creating even more of an electronic dungeon vibe, complete with fog machines and black lights for all your horror-movie sexual fantasies.
Amongst the frightening festivities is an amateur Zombie Pin-Up Girl Beauty Pageant. Young ladies in pale makeup and fake blood take the stage, wearing costumes ranging from undead French maids to that lovable childhood cartoon, Rainbow Brite, only way sluttier with rainbows bleeding from various gashes on her scantily clad body. It only gets more uncomfortable when Q101 radio personality Tim Virgin asks each one jokingly how they became a zombie, only to receive off-guarded and uncreative responses that make me a bit embarrassed for them. Tonight’s Pageant champ wins the fans over by lifting her skirt to reveal what she calls a “Zombie Pussy,” which looks like a decrepit strap-on. Tim is the most horrified of all as she grinds her member against his leg as he cries in terror.
The night’s main event is a Zombie Burlesque show, featuring Miss Maya Sinstress and Blood Bath, performing three skin-crawlingly sultry numbers complete with brain eating and dead nurses. The second act ends with Miss Maya and a partner grinding power sanders against their steel codpieces, giving off an aroma of burning metal as thousands of white hot sparks fly in every direction. The third and final act finishes with all seven performers rolling around in blood and brain tissue, completely naked and clawing at each other with a hunger for flesh.
This is the first time The Zombie Army, in association with haunted house Statesville Prison, put on the “Night of the Stripping Dead.” They’ve been at it for twelve years, hosting an array of zombie-themed events such as zombie birthdays, zombie weddings and even a zombie Bar-Mitzvah or two. As I’m standing at the bar two doors down from the theater—fully nude clubs can’t serve booze—I ask John as we do a round of Jack Daniels how he came up with the zombie strip-club idea and why it didn’t happen years ago.
“After three too many whiskeys I said ‘you know what would be cool? Zombie strippers.'” It couldn’t have been simpler.
We leave the bar with Dena Millburn to get a tour of the Zombie Army bus, which looks like a weathered gun-metal grey prison bus from the outside, complete with steel-caged windows, only to see a lavish interior with an LCD TV and leather chairs. The zombies roll in style from one undead event to the next, even getting the chance to introduce Woody Harrelson at the Chicago premiere of “Zombieland.”
The night ends in a lovely conversation with Brandi a.k.a Papina, an entertainer at the club who also happens to be a member of the pierced and tattooed alternative erotica Web site, Suicide Girls. I ask this delightful departure from the stripper norm how she felt about a zombie-themed night.
“I love it. All the girls dress up in zombie makeup and gore. It’s really fun.”
She asks if there is anything else I need and I explain I’m a broke journalist without twenty bucks to spare. Brandi looks both ways, slowly put her finger to her lips and says “don’t tell” before beginning to give me a lap dance on the house. I can’t say no. She insists.