A message from the creator...
This year, we're back at it again. We're involving even more local artists to continue the story and prepare for an even bigger, better, and bloodier Zombie Pride Parade. Our imaginations are endless but our wallets are limited. We believe it can be even better this year with your help. With your collective donations we can afford better resources for filming, costumes, printed propaganda, and lots of fake blood. We also need a proper venue and event permits to make this not only a fun but safe parade for everyone.
The youth of the Quad Cities are the real zombies. The project and event is meant to inspire and challenge the artists involved to feel alive and create something.
- Alexander Iaccarino
a.k.a. Zacharia Furio
THE ORIGIN OF THE ZOMBIE PRIDE PARADE
Written by Ryan Collins
Something happened in the Quad Cities. Something about a missing person, an Internet hoax, an H1Z1 virus, and the threat of artists going to jail for their craft. Something…undead.
The Zombie Pride Parade held on Halloween 2009 in the Quad Cities (Davenport, IA to be exact), was something beyond a bunch of people made-up as zombies shambling the streets in semi-orderly fashion during Davenport's annual Halloween parade. It was more than kids of all ages participating in a public display of zombie love. The Zombie Pride Parade wasn't just art -- it was a triumph.
Alexander Iaccarino, -- prodigious graphic artist and zombie rights advocate/aficionado -- saw the void of creative artistic ventures in the Quad-Cities as an opportunity. He set out not to just have a proper zombie event, but to have a massive Zombie Pride art project. The clincher was to make it an art project-- to essentially turn his home, the Quad Cities, into the setting for an elaborate, not-entirely legal plotline about Zacharia Furio disappearing after working for a secretive government agency, the QC Department of Biological Sciences, who were researching the H1Z1 virus with extreme prejudice.
Zacharia is the now-infamous “star” of one of the great artistic public hoaxes ever pulled off around these four not-so-sleepy cities. And as is often the case in scary movies, everything in the Quad Cities is not what it seems.
The Hoax: In the summer of 2009, Zacharia Furio, a 21-year-old from Davenport, Iowa, was working for the Quad City Department of Biological Sciences, when he suddenly disappeared. His brother launched a website, www.zwatch.org, to help in finding his missing brother, who was suspected of being the subject of testing on a man-made strain of viruses. After the site displayed redacted police files, missing person's reports and other documents, the local media took interest. The site questioned authority. The story was off and running.
Over time, a series of documentary shorts, photographs, more official documents and articles from a “lone wolf” reporter flooded zwatch.org, in addition to hundreds of emails, blog posts/comments about Zacharia, his whereabouts, revealing a cover-up, Zacharia's infection and eventual return home. Once Zacharia was free, he used Zwatch to connect with the other infected zombies of the Quad Cities in an attempt to blow the conspiracy out of the water by calling all the zombies out to flood the steets in what was revealed as the Zombie Pride Parade!
Still, people questioned whether it was real. In the end, it wasn't. At least, not entirely. Eventually, the truth was revealed, the purpose for the hoax made clear, it was an event, an art project. But many people, including the Davenport Police Department and the Scott County Attorney Office, did not appear to be amused. It's as if the Alexander Iaccarino's of the world united for one common goal -- a bit of mischief, art and fun.
And as officials came out to say that Alexander and others on the Z-Team could potentially be charged for their involvement, others stepped forward to name themselves in protest of such an atrocity. Many don't believe the small town Midwestern cities are the place to find such cutting-edge artists working collaboratively who have the mind and motivation to pull off a multi-media, potentially criminal zombie outbreak hoax successfully. But that's what happened. And that's no hoax.
And the end result was, though threatened by prosecution, eventually well-received by local media and civilians alike. It created excitement during a holiday that celebrates the dark, scary and fearful. People got it. Alexander and the Z-Team won.
Out of the movies, on to the streets.