Calling all comrades! BoxCutter Collective is live on the air! Meeting our nation’s dire need for more online video content, Judy and Weasel are broadcasting live from an abandoned Coney Island funhouse to bring you the answers to the questions you never knew you desperately need the answers to. Will their Pirate TV station be the spark to ignite the workers revolution or will the bad guys win once and for all? Or will it be somewhere in the middle? Tune in to Boxcutter TV to find out!
TICKETS $0-$15, sliding scale (pay what you can!) A donation link will be provided during the show.
The BoxCutter Collective is: Sam Wilson, Jason Hicks, Tom Cunningham & Joe Therrien & an extended family of rabble-rousers & mischief-makers. Our aim is to take down the rotten empire one cardboard puppet show at a time.
When you visit Coney Island USA you have an odd feeling you have stepped into another time. This ‘not-for-profit’ corporation is dedicated to ‘popular entertainment’ and like the rest of Coney Island, it means fun and excitement.
Dick Zigun is the founder of this wonderful oasis and has created a “Sideshow Hall of Fame” for all of us that are a ‘little different’.
Here he explains it all for you in this Vaudevisuals interview.
For those of you not familiar with this wonderful group here is an excerpt from a book written about Radical Street Performance by Mark Sussman.
(Circus Amok…reinventing the circus form, borrowing drag fabulousness from Charles Ludlam’s Theater of the Ridiculous, large scale transformation using whole-body masks from Bread and Puppet Theater, and the outdoor bally and verbal rhythm and repertoire from the sideshow, as well as movement vocabulary from post-modern dance. The troupe balances danger with laughter, slipping its critique between the pies in the face and the surreal, scary, and sometimes gender-bent characters of the charivari.)
Coney Island has been a mecca for the popular culture for whatever era you were from!
Coney Island, 1945 (AP Images)
1937 Coney Island Aerial Shot.
In 1960 I won a trip to Steeplechase Park by selling numerous subscriptions to a newspaper. The trip was very special since the park was to be closed down in 1964.
“Steeplechase Park was an amusement park in the Coney Island area of Brooklyn, New York created by George C. Tilyou (1862–1914) which operated from 1897 to 1964. It was the first of the three original iconic large parks built on Coney Island, the other two being Luna Park (1903) and Dreamland (1904). Steeplechase was Coney Island’s longest lasting park. Unlike Dreamland, which burned in a fire in 1911, and Luna Park which, despite early success, saw its profitability disappear during the Great Depression, Steeplechase had kept itself financially profitable. The Tilyou family had been able to adapt the park to the changing times, bringing in new rides and new amusements to Steeplechase such as the Parachute Jump.”
The amusement areas at Coney Island — Dreamland, Luna Park, and Steeplechase Park — made it the largest amusement area in the nation from the end of the 19th century through World War II.
This photograph taken in May of 1943 show a couple riding the ‘steeplechase’ ride that was the ‘signature’ ride for the Steeplechase Park. None of the three original amusement parks are there anymore, thanks to several fires and closures. A new version of Luna Park opened in 2010.
August 1948 photograph and today the crowds are still there every summer.
The beach at Coney Island is particularly loved by all folks from all parts of New York.
The Wonder Wheel is the oldest ride in the area. It has been operating since 1918 and is now known as a National Historic Landmark.
One of the unique institutions still existing on Coney Island is “Coney Island USA“.
Still emitting that ‘old Coney Island’ feeling, this bunch of wonderful folks bring you many forms of entertainment.
The Mermaid Parade is the largest art parade in the nation. A celebration of ancient mythology and honky-tonk rituals of the seaside, it showcases over 1,500 creative individuals from all over the five boroughs and beyond, opening the summer with incredible art, entrepreneurial spirit and community pride.
And here is Dick Zigun in a video I shot for Coney Island USA.
About Coney Island
Coney Island is a New York City neighborhood that features an amusement area that includes 50 or more separate rides and attractions; it’s not a centrally managed amusement park like Disneyland or Six Flags. As a result, specific questions about rides, filming privileges, etc., should be directed to individual businesses. This website is maintained by Coney Island USA, the not for profit arts organization that runs the Mermaid Parade, the Sideshow and the Coney Island Museum, among other programs.
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Here are two photographs taken by Coney Island’s most loved photogs: Kenny Lombardi and Norman Blake. These show off the parade just fine!
Coney Island’s Steeplechase Park was an amazing place to visit and play. Here is a video from the British Pathe archives of that wonderful park and some of the rides that it provided. Also, at Luna Park we see Victor Zacchini -The Human Canonball- get fired out of a canon as part of the season’s outdoor show.
See all the British Pathe Newsreels now available on YouTube here.