A Random Memory…
In my mid-twenties, I spent six years living at Lake Tahoe. Literally within a half-mile of the beach. Every summer, I would Volunteer at first the Music at Sand Harbor festival, and then a month later, at the Shakespeare at Sand Harbor Festival. A set of events taking place in the dunes at the Sand Harbor Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park. (The latter event is still around as The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival).
I would work every night at both festivals as one of the security Volunteers. They called it “Security”, but it was really ushering. We were mainly concerned with helping people find a spot for their blanket and then keeping them from going into the environmentally sensitive parts of the dunes. Since I was there every night, and people somehow got the idea I was responsible, after a year or two, I was put in charge of security for both events. Which mainly meant getting there early so I could drag a shovel through the sand to mark where the aisles would go.
People tended to Volunteer for a few nights, so you’d get to know one another. One Volunteer I recall was a young woman named Ashley. She’d arrived early one Saturday and after we’d drawn the aisles, we had some time to kill. I looked at the aisles and commented, “Y’know, those aisles would be a lot easier for folks to see if we marked them with a rope.” Ashley agreed that was probably true, so I asked, “Would you go over to the lifeguard station and ask if we could borrow about 200 feet of shore line?”
Ashley came back about 20 minutes later to report that the lifeguard didn’t have that much available and had suggested she try the park office.
Sadly, the whole thing fell apart at that point because I couldn’t keep a straight face any longer.
(Image by Wikipedia user DimiTalen, used under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported)
I’m not really into the horror genre, but in college, I do remember watching the original Dawn of the Dead and laughing at the various scenes shot in Monroeville Mall. I particularly remember watching the heroes drive cars around the lower level and thinking that must have been fun. And, of course, the scene on the ice rink – I grew up in that area and remember skating on that rink. Seeing it used for “zombie hockey” was an odd experience.
For whatever reason, the Twitters dropped a link on me today: it seems a group of fans is putting up a bronze bust of George Romero at the mall.
There’s also a mention of a footbridge from the mall being preserved at the Heinz History Center. I have some vague memories of that bridge. The article includes a link to a story KDKA did in 2015, talking about the bridge’s removal, complete with scenes from the movie and people dressed up as zombies helping to load the bridge pieces into a van. According to the news story, there were plans to put it on exhibit sometime this year.
Photo by flickr user daveynin, used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)
Earlier this evening I received information about a new horror con called the “Zombie Fest.” Horror’s not my personal genre of choice (though I certainly won’t dispute its popularity), but this one caught my attention a bit more than usual.
The Zombie Fest is taking place in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, about 20 minutes from where I grew up. Most shows in Monroeville take place at the Expo Mart, but this one’s taking place in Monroeville Mall.
That’s an unusual location for a convention, though it’s certainly appropriate in this case. Back in the winter of 1976, George Romero filmed Dawn of the Dead there. (The plot summary on IMDB refers to the mall as “secluded.” It didn’t seem that way to me growing up, and much so less now the area has been even more built up.)
Off the top of my head, I’m not aware of any other conventions taking place in shopping malls. I just wish the ice rink was still there.