This Saturday night, midway between Chicago and Milwaukee, the dead wauk, er … walk, at ZombieWauk 2018–Waukegan’s 8th annual celebration of zombie and horror arts. It’s a night of themed art exhibits, live music, and horror stories told in the heart of Ray Bradbury’s home town.


Nothing says Halloween like a freshly signed horror novel or short story collection!

I’ll be reading from THE BLACKENING OF FLESH between 6:30 and 7:30 at The Hub (13 N. Genesee Street), the future home of the Ray Bradbury Experience Museum. I’ll be signing copies of my book, too. Find out what happens when a high school loner discovers his house is haunted by five Prohibition-era gangsters in my suburban horror novel, and then stick around for Rondo Hatton Award™-winning writer Justin Hamelin, who will be reading from his creepy collection, THICKER THAN BLOOD, and his latest short story, “Where There’s Smoke There’s Fire”.

If that doesn’t put you in a downright literary mood, check out the “writers in the window”. They’ll be authoring stories live in the front window of The Hub, with Justin Matulonis in the spotlight from 6:30 to 7:30 and Orty Ortwein taking the stage between 7:30 and 8:30. But that’s not all…

Test your hand-eye coordination at the zombie shooting gallery hosted by Hauntingly Fun Entertainment, experience the bizarre acts of the circus, burlesque, and sideshow world with Dead Man’s Carnival at 6:00, or watch George Romero and John Russo’s seminal zombie classic, NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD performed live on stage at 7:30 at Three Brothers Upstage (221 N. Genesee Street), and if you love animals … head to Three Brothers Downstage (115 N. Genesee Street) for the WAGS “Animal Walk of The Dead” from 5:00 to 9:00.

Enjoy singer and poet Faith Misters outside at Family Piano Co., and inside their Riverside Room … it’s award-winning blues and R&B from 7:30 to 9:30 with Times Two: Larry Wimmer & LeMel Lewis. Or get in the groove with live music by Audio BeingsGhost Machines, and The Dread starting at 5:00 in the heart of downtown Waukegan.

And don’t forget the Metal On The Rocks VIII festival within a festival from 4:00 to 10:00 in the CLC courtyard on Genesee Street with No Conviction, Siren of Sorrow, Portals, Purge, Shooter’s Tour, Vicious Attack, and Heavy Lies the Crown. It’s free, and you’ll fit in if you come as you are but if you want to look even more the part, special-effects artist Ermelinda Renee Pauig can help you look like one of the undead.

Hell, I haven’t even mentioned visual arts yet, where you can take in spooky art shows at Green Town haunts such as Dandelion Gallery, Dinosaur Studio Tattoo, Tufo Art, Karcher 405 Gallery, The Mic, Undercroft Gallery, Kapheim Studios, ArtPark-Waukegan, NorthPointe Resources, Backroom Gallery, and the Burgundy Room.

Come hungry (and thirsty), and Waukegan won’t dissapoint with Green Town Tavern, 17 North La Casa De Samuel, The Taproom, Sean’s Eatery, China Garden, Taqueria Guerrero, Lucky Food, Oooh Wee Sweet Tea, and Kafe 29 available for mid-Wauk refreshments. And keep an eye out for specialty food trucks like Killer Zombie Dogz and Grub-N-Go for quick, delicious, and fun stuff to eat.

While some specific events come at an additional charge, admission to ZombieWauk is free, and there’s even complimentary trolley service, so take the kids, take your friends, or just take yourself out for a legendary time this Saturday in Waukegan, where Ray Bradbury’s imagination first took off, and yours can, too!

Christian A. Larsen is the author of the novels LOSING TOUCH and THE BLACKENING OF FLESHnow available from Post Mortem Press.

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