Bambi the Mermaid and Saving the Coney Island Mermaid Parade

21 May

So there are 13 days to go of Coney Island USA’s Save the Coney Island Mermaid from Extinction! Kickstarter, and they’re three-quarters of the way there.. but they still need a ton of support. So I figured I’d go right to Mermaid Parade Queen Bambi the Mermaid and let her use her mermaid wiles to convince you to give up some more clams. Photographer Dan Howell sent over some gorgeous photos of Bambi and other paraders to make things that much more irresistible. PLUS there’s a benefit for the parade this Saturday eve at NYC’s Bowery Ballroom with Ms. Amanda Palmer, PLUS there are all kinds of other wonders floating about on the Mermaid Parade’s Facebook page and Twitter, including info about this year’s king and queen (a Real Housewife! who writes books!) and other sea-loving celebs and mayors and, well, celebrated and mayorial mermaids.

Here is my Q and A with Ms. Bambi herself, sprinkled with and followed by some deeply irresistible photos:

So why should we save the Coney Island Mermaid Parade?

photo by Dan Howell

photo by Dan Howell

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade is the world’s largest art parade and by far the largest gathering of Merfolk and their admirers anywhere on land or beneath the sea! It is the most colorful joy-filled EXUBERANT parade you could ever imagine happening, with complete creative self-expression for everyone, participants and attendees. It’s a HAPPENING! It’s the most inclusive contagious love fest for people of all shapes, sizes, persuasions and ages. All diversity is non-existent, it’s just a mass of people and great energy sharing a really special and beautiful day. I have never seen so many SMILES! Everyone there is smiling the biggest smiles you’ve ever seen. Smiles of wonder and pure joy, smiles of appreciation and gratitude for the spectacle of it all! I love that all ages are welcome to join in and be uninhibited and just STARE. On that special day you can’t be too weird or too much of a show off, everyone just lets their mermaid freak flag fly. I’m so very glad to see the funds coming together but we have to keep SHELLing out a few more clams, I mean it’s incredible that it is a FREE event for all those people who come to enjoy it and take pictures. If there a was a way to charge even $1 admission the money would be raised 10 times over so I hope everyone who has ever come and been enchanted will give back so we can keep on celebrating mermaids, Coney Island, the sea, the beach, freedom, creativity and sparkly togetherness!

Can you tell us about some of your awesome past costumes?
Of course some years I’ve gone more overboard than others and honestly some of my favorite costumes were also the ones I made myself early on out of saran wrap and tape and safety pins!

What do you have planned for this year? Are you working with Garo Sparo [who’s designed many of Bambi’s costumes in the past] again?

Photo by Dan Howell

Photo by Dan Howell

This year I’m doing something pretty fishy… I’m giving a new costume designer a shot. I’ve been so thrilled with Garo Sparo for many past years, he’s made all my mermaid costume dreams come true by making me mermaid tails in leopard print, see-thru plastic, mirror chips sewn onto hotpants, stretch sequin bell bottoms with giant fins, fully boned full body tails, as well as gold fish, Siamese-fighting-fish and Geisha-inspired tails, not to mention shrimp, lobster giant crab, and clam costumes! But this year I’m going to be a Naughty Nautilus! I’ll be completely inside a nautilus shell! I guess if there is no parade, I’ll have to wear it to work!

You also run Coney Island USA’s Burlesque at the Beach, right? What’s coming up this summer?
This year will be the 17th season of Burlesque at the Beach, another great art show produced by Coney Island USA and Sideshows by the Seashore. Burlesque at the Beach is the crown jewel of the Neo burlesque revival, it is the nation’s longest running and oldest burlesque show. Burlesque for me evolved as a way to be a mermaid year round and the show was certainly influenced by the joie de vive and creativity of the mermaid parade. You can come down to Coney and see a little of the feeling of the parade in show form every Thursday and Friday night, from May through October!

How else can people support Coney Island USA?
Donating to Coney Island USA is so worthwhile because it supports so many artists in their creative endeavors and lifestyles as well as the audiences whom they entertain. Also The Coney Island Museum is growing rapidly and is an incredible source of New York City and amusement park history. I think this parade is going to be the biggest ever, there is so much awareness right now for perseverance after Hurricane Sandy and the value of Coney Island, America’s playground! It makes perfect sense that mermaids and sea creatures are the custodians of the long tradition of summertime memories and FUN!!

What do you think about the response so far to the Kickstarter campaign?

Photo by Dan Howell

Photo by Dan Howell

Kickstarter is going so great but we’re slowing down since the initial anouncement so we have to dive deep into our treasures and Shell out a few more clams! I think it’s so FINtastic that everyone is rallying and expressing their love and support of the parade! It’s like no other parade or festival in the world and it’s time EVERYONE knew about it! There are so many mermaids and mermaid lovers all over the world; I really hope more and more of them will find out about the parade and come to Coney Island! We can’t take it for granted that this gift of community and spectacle has been given to us by Coney Island USA, and if everyone keeps pitching in we can surpass this immediate money-raising goal and have reserves for the following years. A half million people come to watch the parade each year so if each of those people could donate $1-5 dollars just imagine! It feels really amazing to realize the parade is ours. We produce it, everyone all together, just for the sheer joy of it! It’s a great time for people to REALLY be a part of the parade not only by enjoying it but by supporting it! Even if some people can’t make it all the way to the parade maybe they will still donate a couple bucks, just to know they were able to help facilitate the huge job of producing an event like this! I know I would, that’s a really great thing about Kickstarter… it just makes it really easy and effortless to be a part of someone else’s dream. It always makes me feel great to support an interesting effort I see out there, knowing that just a couple dollars from me and many others adds up to such a worthwhile outcome! It’s like magic too and it’s powerful!

Photo by Dan Howell

Photo by Dan Howell

Photo by Dan Howell

Photo by Dan Howell

Photo by Dan Howell

Photo by Dan Howell

Photo by Dan Howell

Photo by Dan Howell

Photo by Dan Howell

Photo by Dan Howell

Photo by Dan Howell

Photo by Dan Howell

Photo by Dan Howell

Photo by Dan Howell

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5 Responses to “Bambi the Mermaid and Saving the Coney Island Mermaid Parade”

  1. Vanessa Witschi May 25, 2013 at 9:02 PM #

    Oh how wonderful! I’d LOVE to go to this parade. *adds it to my bucket list*! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Fredini May 28, 2013 at 6:07 PM #

    Reblogged this on The Great Fredini's Cabinet of Curiosities and commented:
    Only a few days left to Save the Mermaid Parade! See what Bambi the Queen of Coney Island has to say about it!

  3. noa June 18, 2013 at 3:35 PM #

    It’s my dream to go there! I’ll try but it’s really expensive to get a room groumf!

  4. anonymous February 22, 2014 at 2:20 AM #

    WOW! That blonde babe in the first 2 pictures has some longass and beautiful hair! BTW here’s a video that has her in it. Fast forward to about 51:20 to see her and watch her beautiful sexy super massive floor length blonde hair dance and swing around as she walks! Without a doubt the hoottest babe and most beautiful hair I’ve ever seen

    • anonymous February 22, 2014 at 2:21 AM #

      Oops forgot to post the link to the video here it is.

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