Los Angeles, like the rest of the country, may be infested with vampire culture, as evidenced by the "Twilight" juggernaut, "True Blood" and its TV spinoffs, and lots of clubs and societies for bloodsuckers, but it shows no sign of stopping. Angelenos ruing the departure of this year's high-profile Comic-Con will find this weekend ripe for a fantasy fix, with no fewer than four major opportunities welcoming woodland nymphs, drooling zombies and sexy vampires. Between Serendipity's secret garden party, two zombie walks and Vampire-Con, Los Angeles will be crawling with creatures . . . even more than usual, that is.
Friday's Serendipity party focuses on the sweet and sumptuous. At downtown's Madera Design House, a 3,600-square-foot art and design installation, Leila Fakouri and partner Alison Segura premiere a two-day performance-party where patrons are encouraged to interact with a menagerie of characters like the Stilt Circus' Winged Beast and other animal-human hybrids. Set in the whimsical, garden-like decor of the Design House, Fakouri says, "We want people to feel like they are stepping into another world, like Alice in Wonderland." Leaving no sense underwhelmed, the evening includes decadent desserts and drinks (plus vegan creations by Stephen Hauptfuhr), while Dublab's Carlos Nino provides an alter-dimensional soundtrack.
For those who prefer rotting flesh and guttural grunts, the Hollywood Outdoor Cinema (in the old Circuit City parking lot on Sunset Boulevard) kicks off a zombie soiree and screening of the Brit comedy "Shaun of the Dead" at 7 p.m. Saturday. A zombie makeup workshop and fashion show is open to anyone who wants to strut, shuffle and moan-for-brains down the runway. Seth Grahame-Smith, author of "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies," will be on site to sign his book, as will S.G. Browne, author of "Breathers." After a group zombie jaunt around the area, the moldy masses will settle down for the screening at 9 p.m. Remarkably, this coincides with another unaffiliated zombie walk in West Hollywood, though organizers listed on the event website ( www.socalzombiewalk.com) have not responded to Times e-mails. Hollywood Outdoor Cinema organizer Ryan Reiter says he hopes the zombie nation can combine forces.
Vampire-Con is the weekend's most sprawling event, a three-day bloodletting that is said to be the first convention of its kind devoted to "vam-pop culture." The brainchild of events producer Wendi Mirabella, (Moondance Events), Vampire-Con starts Friday with a two-day film festival at the New Beverly Cinema, screening classics that include "The Velvet Vampire" and "The Lost Boys" as well as a sneak preview of "Midnight Son," forthcoming from the production team behind "The Blair Witch Project."
Sunday is the anniversary of Bela Lugosi's death, the perfect day for three vampire-themed panel discussions, including "Hot Blooded: Vampires & Sexuality" and "Inked in Blood: 40 years of Vampirella." After the sun sets, a costumed Vampirella's Ball gets underway at the Music Box @ Fonda, and Mirabella is calling on all the darkly dramatic genres to be represented.
"This is not going to have a typical Hollywood club atmosphere, it's much more," Mirabella says. "Goth, Edwardian, steampunk, Victorian, tribal, bohemian - all are welcome." DJs Xian (Malediction Society) and KCRW's Gary Calamar (music supervisor for "True Blood") provide the danse macabre music, and the Lucent Dossier Experience will bring out some exotic aerial and fire performances.
Los Angeles is a city that knows its way around a costume shop, and this weekend looks like a major outing for the children of the night. Better to join in the fun and be one of the hunters -- rather than the hunted.
Where: Madera Design House, downtown L.A. (address given upon purchase of ticket)
When: Fri. and Sat., 8 p.m.
Price: $30 for single ticket, 2 for $50
Contact: www.treetop productions.org for tickets, www.maderadesign.org for more info
'Shaun of the Dead' screening and zombie walk
Where: Hollywood Outdoor Cinema, 4400 Sunset Blvd.
When: Sat., 7 p.m.
Contact: www.hollywood outdoorcinema.com
Where: Various L.A. venues
When: Fri.-Sun., see website for schedule
Price: Varies per event