Those Crazy Coney Island Dayze: The Sexy Mermaid Parade Celebration

Those Crazy Coney Island Dayze: The Sexy Mermaid Parade Celebration

Today, Coney Island again burst forth with New Yorkers in outrageous mermaid and King Neptune costumes, a display of topless women in pasties and colorfully clad drag queens making their way down the boardwalk among a swarm of arts-and-crafts floats. The beautiful zaniness is all part of the annual Mermaid Parade, which for 30 years has celebrated the first weekend of summer.

This year, however, the parade faced its demise after its sponsor, Coney Island USA, had its headquarters damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Combined with rising insurance premiums, the costs of crowd control and Porta-Potties for several hundred thousand people, the parade needed an infusion of an additional $100,000, or it wouldn’t have lived to see its 31st edition.

The Mermaid Parade is an annual event that first took place at Coney Island in 1983 and has been a very popular attraction ever since. The Mermaid Parade draws a huge crowd of celebrators, who don wild and outrageous costumes, with the parade’s naughty marchers wearing sea-themed outfits that often leave little to the imagination.

This year, clad in costumes that combined seashells and glitter, scores of exuberant revelers gyrated through Coney Island on Saturday. An estimated half-million people lined the sunny streets to watch ogle Brooklyn’s version of Mardi Gras. The flamboyant marchers, many of whom wore their costumes on the subway out to Coney Island, much to the amusement of their fellow riders, walked on the boardwalk alongside colorful floats and danced to several live bands blaring out top 40 hits and old-time standards.

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade

The 2011 Coney Island Mermaid Parade

Slide Show: The Coney Island Mermaid Parade

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The Joy of Brooklyn’s Sparkly Bedazzled Mosaic House

The Joy of Brooklyn’s Sparkly Bedazzled Mosaic House

Mosaic House is a wonderful documentary short film, a portrait of mosaic artist Susan Gardner, 70, a third-generation New Yorker. The documentary is part of a series called New Yorkers, created by Moonshot Productions.

Wyckoff Street between Smith and Hoyt in Brooklyn’s Boerum Hill is a long, tree-lined block of brick homes in varying shades of brown. But amidst the beige and burnt sienna, like a shot of confetti nestled among a line of brown crayolas, sits number 108. Instead of brick, there are beads. And broken mirrors and shells. And a starburst of buttons, and jewels, and marbles, and a menagerie of tiny plastic animals. Bits of coral are encrusted in the walls, and the curlycued bars on the windows are wrapped in beads. Tens of thousands of colorful pieces creep downward onto the patio, and also move upward to the second floor like vines with lives of their own.

This is the project of Susan Gardner, who has spent each summer for the past ten years crouching on her patio or scaling a ladder, adding to this expanding mosaic. The mosaic project began just before September 11, when her anger over the neighborhood’s growing slickness and homogeneity was hitting a tipping point. A small flower was her first design. Then, two planes crashed into Manhattan’s twin towers, and she couldn’t stand to stay alone inside. She grabbed some tiles and beads and started working furiously. “It was one of those things that seemed to change the tilt of the world,” she says. “Once I started, I couldn’t stop. The idea is that everything in the world does suck,” she states. “But there’s got to be some joy in there somewhere.

The Joy of Brooklyn’s Sparkly Bedazzled Mosaic House

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Those Crazy Coney Island Dayze: The Sexy Mermaid Parade

Those Crazy Coney Island Dayze: The Sexy Mermaid Parade

The Mermaid Parade is an annual event that first took place at Coney Island in 1983 and has been a very popular attraction ever since. The Mermaid Parade draws a huge crowd of celebrators, who don wild and outrageous costumes, with the parade’s naughty marchers wearing sea-themed outfits that often leave little to the imagination.

This year, clad in costumes that combined seashells and glitter, scores of exuberant revelers gyrated through Coney Island on Saturday. An estimated half-million people lined the sunny streets to watch ogle Brooklyn’s version of Mardi Gras. The flamboyant marchers, many of whom wore their costumes on the subway out to Coney Island, much to the amusement of their fellow riders, walked on the boardwalk alongside colorful floats and danced to several live bands blaring out top 40 hits and old-time standards.

The Coney Island Mermaid Parade

The 2011 Coney Island Mermaid Parade

Slide Show: The Coney Island Mermaid Parade

(Please Click Image to View Slide Show)

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Happy Holidays: Santa’s Sitting on a Pretzel Stick!

Happy Holidays: Santa’s Sitting on a Pretzel Stick!

Photography by: Joseph O. Holmes, NYC

Wishing You a Joyeux Noël!

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Brian Williams Interviews Marcel the Shell on National TV!!

Brian Williams Interviews Marcel the Shell on National TV!!

Jenny Slate‘s post-Saturday Night Live success with Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is an uplifting tale of picking yourself up after what some would consider a big defeat (being booted from SNL after one season) and creating something even more awesome. Jenny and her fiancee, Dean Fleischer-Camp, created a viral video about a shell with shoes and a lentil hat that currently has 14 million views and is now an Amazon best-selling book. When interviewed by Brian Williams for his new NBC show, The Rock, Williams can’t help but melt in the face of little Marcel.

Brian Williams Interviews Marcel the Shell on National TV!!

Shell Game: A Frank Discussion on Gender with Marcel’s “Parents”

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On, Two

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On, Two is a delightful four-minute animated short film about a teensy-tiny cute little shell, directed by Dean Fleischer-Camp and voiced (untreated & unenhanced) by genius former SNL-actress and comedian Jenny Slate. Everyday life can be very, very hard for the tiny little shell. Marcel’s car is a bug with a mind of its own, his only form of public transportation is an under-the-weather caterpillar and small dogs become menacing giants. Marcel The Shell With Shoes On doesn’t let that get him down though. He invites friends over for festive salad feasts, skis on toenails and enjoys reading store receipts “to get a feel for daily life.”

Adorably voiced by Slate, Marcel discusses the reality of being a shell, including sleeping on a piece of bread, wearing hats made from lentils and the dangers of holding balloons. Slate and Fleischer-Camp have turned Marcel into a miniature multimedia tycoon with two videos, an iTunes app, a possible television show and now a children’s book. The book, titled Marcel The Shell With Shoes On: Things About Me, is full of drawings of Marcel around his home, visiting the aquarium (a fishtank), playing with his dog (a piece of lint tied to a strand of hair) and climbing his own Mount Everest (a sandal). Hopefully the famous talking shell has the energy for all this, since Marcel gets winded just walking across his desk.

Ugh, the tiny shell with two feet and one eye is so darn cute. This may very well be one of the most adorable videos ever made. Fantastic.

Marcel The Shell With Shoes On Returns!!

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A Year in New York: A Beautiful Visual Symphony

A Year in New York: A Beautiful Visual Symphony

Photography by: Joseph O. Holmes, NYC

A Year in New York is an enchanting, emotionally moving five-minute documentary short film by videographer Andrew Clancy, accompanied by Irish singer/songwriter James Vincent McMorrow’s beautiful song We Don’t Eat. Sometimes words cannot do justice to life in a big city, as A Year in New York so entrancingly confirms. The film reveals that despite the chaos that surrounds urban life, there is a common thread of excitement and resilient optimism.

A Year in New York presents the viewer with a stream of quintessential New York visual imagery, from the No. 7 train rolling past Silvercup Studios’ iconic film and television complex, to die-hard Rangers fans losing it at Madison Square Garden; from runners and rollerbladers cruising through city parks, to late-night, outdoor summer concerts; from blinking beacons on NYPD police cars, to the sparkling lights of the colossal Rockefeller Christmas Tree, resulting in a stunning homage to the city that never sleeps and to its lucky inhabitants.

A Year in New York: A Beautiful Visual Symphony

Photo-Gallery: A Year in New York

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Visions: Tim Hetherington’s Theater of War

Visions: Tim Hetherington’s Theater of War

Visions: Images of Libya from a Fallen Photographer

Last week, an upcoming gallery show of work by the late photographer Tim Hetherington was announced, the inaugural exhibition of The Bronx Documentary Center that was founded earlier this year. The exhibition, titled Visions, is a collection of never-before-seen photos by Hetherington, a British-American photographer who lived in Brooklyn. He was a longtime Vanity Fair contributor who died in April while covering the conflict in Libya, along with fellow conflict photographer and Brooklyn resident Chris Hondros.

It is amazingly ironic that the announcement of the exhibition of Tim Hetherington’s work coincided precisely with published reports that Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the erratic, provocative dictator who ruled Libya for 42 years, had finally met a violent and vengeful death in the hands of the Libyan forces that drove him from power.

Hetherington was most famous for his Academy Award-nominated 2010 documentary Restrepo, which he filmed with Sebastian Junger in 2007. The film follows the Army platoon assigned to what was then the most dangerous posting in Afghanistan, The Korengal Valley, to clear it of insurgents and gain the trust of the local populace. In the course of the film, the platoon builds a new outpost they name after Juan Sebastian Restrepo, a comrade who was killed during the early days of the 15-month assignment.

On April 20, Hetherington was trailing rebels in the besieged coastal city of Misurata in Libya, when he and Hondros were killed in an explosion from a rocket-propelled grenade. He left behind 40 rolls of undeveloped 220mm film. The negatives revealed a fascinating mix of what Tim called “the theater of war,” men strutting with their guns, as well as landscapes, graffiti, and men firing guns and rocket-propelled grenades in battle. And a vase of plastic flowers in a bullet-marked room. Seventeen of the prints will be on display in the Bronx Documentary Center show as 36- by 30-inch prints hanging from the ceiling on two large wood panels, beginning October 22nd.

Tim Hetherington: Always a Few Steps Ahead

Long Story Bit by Bit: Liberia Retold

Award-Winning Photographer and Film Director Tim Hetherington Killed in Libya

The Death of Award-Winning Photographer Tim Hetherington

Oscar-nominated documentary-maker Tim Hetherington, co-creator of the Sundance-winning documentary Restrepo, was killed in the besieged city of Misurata covering fighting between Muammar Gaddafi’s forces and the opposition. A British citizen who lived in New York, Hetherington had covered conflicts with sensitivity in Liberia, Afghanistan, Darfur and, in recent weeks, Libya. Hetherington was in Libya to continue his multimedia project highlighting humanitarian issues during times of war and conflict.

Photo-journalist Chris Hondros, a US Pulitzer finalist who worked for Getty Images, was also killed. Hetherington and Hondros were among eight to 10 journalists reporting from Tripoli Street in Misrata. When shooting broke out, they took shelter against a wall, which was hit by fire. Hetherington died soon after arriving at hospital. Hetherington wrote in his last post on Twitter on Tuesday: “In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Gaddafi forces. No sign of NATO.”

Restrepo won the 2010 Grand Jury Prize for Documentary at Sundance, and was a 2011 Oscar Nominee for Best Documentary, Features. The movie is a stunning chronicle of one U.S. platoon, which was posted in one of the most dangerous valleys in Afghanistan. The film was made as part of Hetherington’s ongoing mission to bring the hardships of war into the public eye.

Diary is one of Hetherington’s most recent works, a documentary short film that presents a dreamlike composition of insightful juxtapositions about his war experiences, composed of carefully conceived montages and almost inchoate sounds. It is similar in spirit to his impressionistic documentary short Sleeping Soldiers of 2009.

Viewers can read more about Tim Hetherington in The New York Times here.

Restropo: 2011 Nominated Oscar Best Documentary, Features (Trailer)

Tim Hetherington’s Disquieting ‘Diary

Tim Hetherington: Sleeping Soldiers

Photo-Gallery: Visions/Tim Hetherington’s Theater of War

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