This Saturday May 25, musician and friend of HeadCount Amanda Palmer will be performing a special benefit show to raise money for Coney Island's Mermaid Parade. The parade, considered the Mardi Gras of Brooklyn, is all about community, fun, the sea -- and off-the-charts, funky D.I.Y. costumes. The future of the quirky spectacle was up in the air after the near-destruction of parade headquarters by 2012's Hurricane Sandy.
Former Dresden Doll, Palmer has always been a firm believer in the kind of gleeful self-expression that the Mermaid Parade celebrates. When she became aware of the threat to the tradition, she was eager to get involved. Palmer stated, “This parade means so much to the NYC performer community, and I'd be devastated to see it defeated and washed away. This night will be a beautiful collision of helping and celebration and I can't wait to be among the people...I plan to dress appropriately and hopefully learn some mermaid-appropriate songs on the ukulele."
In combination with a Kickstarter account that was created to save the Mermaid Parade (and has already raised over $75,000), organizers anticipate that the benefit will help push them over their fundraising goal of $100,000. During Hurricane Sandy, Mermaid Parade headquarters was flooded and sustained substantial damages. Parade organizers say the donations will help them to keep the event alive and restore its home. Amanda Palmer and the over 1,700 individuals who have donated to the Kickstarter campaign are hopeful that they will reach their goal.
A tradition since 1983, the parade gives participants a chance to show off their passion and art. As Coney Island USA puts it best, the Mermaid Parade is "the people’s celebration of Coney Island, New York City, and all the values of individuality, creativity and style that make our city so great. [...] We don’t want to stop. We never want to stop. But we might not have a choice."