Song of the Living Dead

September 6, 2011 at 11:39 pm (Art, performing arts, South Florida, theater, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Though not a fan of vampires, werewolves or zombies over the weekend I saw “Song of the Living Dead” at the Promethean Theatre in the Black Box Theatre at Nova Southeastern University. This “Musical about love” “play about zombies” actually surprised and entertained me. We were warned ahead of time about two things: it’s raunchy and there will be blood. So with not much more than the title of the play, a little warning and clothes that could get bloody we set out with a group of friends to see the show.

The play opens with George and Judith on a beautiful day as they are getting engaged. Unbeknownst  to them there has been a viral outbreak that’s reanimating corpses and of course all they want is brains! …except for the dyslexic kid zombie who wants “brians”. Intertwined in this mix is Harry Hardman, the over-the-top executive who is obsessed with the newly-engaged Judith. Harry is definitely a stand-out in the play providing such gems as the song “I’m F*ing Awesome” while wearing a double breasted suit with comically large shoulder pads (think of a business suit designed by the Romulans). As the zombie virus spreads Judith, George and a now commando version of Hardman end up trapped in a Party City with a small collective of other refugees.

A parallel storyline to the triangle of George, Judith and Harry is the Reverend Seabrook, a fire and brimstone preacher who leads his choir in “The Lord God Hates Them All”. Seabrook fears and holds in contempt anyone who is different than him and his faith all whilst encompassing the parable of the man in the flood. This leads to some very funny scenes involving him and the gay couple consisting of an Orthodox Jew and a Muslim – a hilarious trifecta of Rev. Seabrook’s hatred.

The play delivers on the promise of blood, there’s a “splash zone” in the first row, but the blood hit all the way back to the fifth. There is indisputably raunchiness, a zombie gives birth to a zombie fetus and there’s a scene about “Going Gay for Jesus”. The play is worth seeing and I hear rumors that the play might be extended through September 10th.

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College Prepares for Zombie Attack

October 19, 2009 at 11:23 pm (Florida, News) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Is your emergency plan of zombie attack up to date? Rest assured if you are in the Gainesville, Florida area that the University of Florida has you covered in the event of an undead uprising. In fact they have reportedly developed a procedure to help you identify and detail how you “dispatched” a member of the living dead also known as “zombiesm” or Zombie Behavior Spectrum Disorder (ZBSD)

The document leads us through the stages of ZBSD:

Part 1 of this exercise will be to identify characteristics of a zombie outbreak that might precede official notification. These might include:

  1. Disappearance of isolated citizens, initially in relatively remote areas;
  2. Increasing numbers of gruesome unexplained deaths and disappearances, especially at night;
  3. Identification of difficult to kill, flesh-eating perpetrators;
  4. Recognition that the numbers of perpetrators is rapidly increasing and that those previously identified as victims have reappeared as perpetrators;
  5. Increasing isolation of survivors;
  6. Breakdown of peace-keeping and medical services;
  7. Documentation of lots of strange moaning.

Part 2 of the exercise will be a discussion of how the overall impact of a zombie outbreak will affect use of and support for the course management system and will address such issues as:

  1. In general, zombified users will be inarticulate and unable to clearly describe technology problems and use cases;
  2. Some support staff may be infected and unable to effectively and efficiently carry out their support responsibilities;
  3. The rapid breakdown of civil society and declining numbers of uninfected users may have adverse budget impacts resulting in a reduction in staffing levels;
  4. The spread of ZBSD to institutional administration may complicate policy making;
  5. Conversely, the spread of ZBSD to institutional administration may simplify and streamline policy making resulting in dramatic improvements in administrative responsiveness and service delivery;
  6. Additional security measures will need to be implemented at service delivery points (i.e. the Hub and SSRB).

Phase 3 of the exercise will cover important operational topics such as:

  • Proper hygiene during an outbreak;
  • Most effective hiding places and refuges should you encounter zombies at home;
  • How to properly process and route inarticulate zombie-calls to avoid being accused of failing to adequately support infected UF faculty, staff, and students;
  • Situational work practices such as covering windows, barricading doors, and distinguishing between zombie moans and other moaning encountered in the workplace;
  • Dispelling myths. For example, contrary to Lawrence (2007), garlic will not stop true zombies, only vampires; and zombies do come out during the day, though they are most active a night because they typically do not like sunlight;
  • Policies and procedures for dispatching an infected co-worker

My favorite part of the document is the “Infected Co-Worker Dispatch Form”, which includes:

“This is to verify that at the time and place indicated above I was required to kill (last name) (first name), UFID # (if known) because he / she was displaying the following…

Based on these symptoms I killed (name of dispatched zombie) using a…”

Many of these symptoms seem to be part of the standard college experience:

“Documentation of lots of strange moaning, users will be inarticulate and unable to clearly describe technology problems and use cases, some support staff may be […] unable to effectively and efficiently carry out their support responsibilities.”

Maybe I attended school with zombies without even realizing it! Though highly unlikely that this is an actual UF policy, it’s nice to see that someone is preparing for any emergency.

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