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The Sound

The brains behind Zombie Prom

10/31/2012

Zombie Prom takes place at Wooly’s on Friday, Nov 2. See Sound Notes for ticket information.

Zarrie Solum understands better than most what a pain in the ass zombies can be.               

“The second year I did (Zombie Prom), I tried to do a zombie pub crawl. The password to get our cheap drinks was ‘brains.’ It was a great idea, and it was awesome to see 35 zombies take over a bar, but the downside was keeping track of 35 increasingly drunk zombies,” Solumn said. “It’s something I do want to do (again), but I really have to work out the logistics.”                

Solum kicked off Zombie Prom four years ago, more or less as a whim.               

“There was a horror movie called ‘The Creeps,’ (and) the tagline is ‘Good news: your date’s here. Bad news: they’re dead,’ ” Solum said. “I always thought that was a really cool idea, and then Rupaul was pushing a musical he was doing called ‘Zombie Prom,’ and I was like, ‘My God, that’s awesome.’ It just went from there.”                

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Solum expects this year’s Prom to be the largest yet, and he’s put together some special events to make sure it’s worth it.                

“I’ve got Spider One from the band Powerman 5000 who’s going to do an exclusive meet-and-greet with people, so I’m selling VIP tickets for $30 for which you get a grab bag from my clothing line, a Prom ticket and a pass to meet Spider,” Solum said. “He’s also the writer of the TV show ‘Death Valley,’ so he’s going to show one of his favorite episodes and do a Q and A with the audience in addition to just posing for photos. He’s going to be at the Prom as well, and he’s going to pick the Prom King and Queen.”                

Solum said he’s also offering event T-shirts, live bands and DJs and a raffle.                

“A $100 bar tab at Wooly’s is up for grabs, and I’ve also got a guitar signed by Marilyn Manson among the prizes,” he said.               

But this year, Zombie Prom is about more than just a big-ass party. This year Solum plans to use the proceeds from Zombie Prom to help some central Iowa families whose lives have been shaken by cancer.                

“(Larger charities) must work on a much larger scale instead of on an individual scale. That’s why this year I’m donating the money to a family that needs it,” Solum said. “I’m talking to John Stoddard to see what we can do, whether there’s a family that really needs it or if there’s a way to spread it out to people. I’m looking to work more locally, rather than just dumping it into some melting pot.”                

The response to Solum’s giving spirit has been overwhelmingly positive, and he’s lined up some impressive corporate help to make his donations goal of a $5,000 happen.                

“Five Point Studios donated some money for advertising,” he said. “And Clear Channel donated a billboard to help me get the word out.”                

He said he also approached Hy-Vee with the idea of matching the final donation, or to donate a Hy-Vee gift card or something that they can give to a family.                

In addition to sponsorships, Solum is putting his own money into making Zombie Prom happen. He’d like to keep from going broke, but he still wants to see as much money as possible get to people who may need it more.                

“My goal right now is: 50 percent of all proceeds are going to charity. If I break even, cool, but if I don’t, that’s fine.                

“I mean, I’d like to break even,” he continued with a laugh. “But it’s more about helping people, so we’ll see.” CV

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