Coney Island has been an important place in shaping my identity as an artist, primarily through my involvement with the nonprofit arts organization Coney Island USA. For over 35 years, CIUSA has provided a staging grounds for a huge range of artists, performers, actors, playwrights, musicians, filmmakers and practitioners of just about any other artistic discipline you can think of, entertaining NYC’s diverse audiences and preserving aspects of uniquely American popular culture, such as the iconic Mermaid Parade. CIUSA has done remarkably well in helping to shape the neighborhood’s revitalization, but the organization is still financially reeling in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy and needs YOUR help! This March 19th, I am being honored at Coney Island USA’s Spring Gala, so I am forwarding an appeal from longtime board member and friend Mark Alhadeff. Please consider taking out a journal ad or buying a ticket to what may be CIUSA’s most important fundraiser ever. Coney Island USA needs your support so that it can continue making America’s playground a special place for generations to come!
March 3, 2016
Dear Friend of The Great Fredini:
I can say with confidence that every recipient of this note will know what a special person Fred Kahl is. But, just in case you forgot, let me remind you: He is a man of vision, intelligence, and good taste. And most importantly, he is a person with a giant heart.
Further, if you’re as lucky as me and have known Fred for decades, you will also know that Fred has always listened to the advice of Joseph Campbell and “followed his bliss.” This has led him on many incredible journeys, and the ultimate destination of most of those trips has been Coney Island. More specifically Coney Island USA (Coney’s resident not-for-profit arts group) has been blessed by the presence of Fred’s energy and creativity since the 1980’s. From neon sword swal- lowing to a 3D Luna Park, from acting on our stage to serving on our Board, from a spiral wishing well to an awesome electric chair — Fred is part of the very fabric of Coney Island USA.
Now that a few strands of silver have appeared in Fred’s luscious locks we here at CIUSA have decided it is time to honor the Great Fredini. Fred has been named “Man of the Year” and will be celebrated at our Spring Gala on Saturday, March 19th. The Gala is without fail the must-attend event of the Coney Island social calendar and dedicating it to Fred was a no-brainer.
I am writing on behalf of everyone at CIUSA to invite you to join in this celebration of Fred’s life and achievements. There are two easy (and not mutually exclusive) ways to get involved:
- Attend the Gala in Coney Island on March 19th. Tickets are available now (and a great bar- gain). Show your love to Fred in person! You can learn more by visiting: http://www.coneyisland.com/gala
- Let Fred know how much you care about him by putting a customized notice in the commem- orative Journal. The Journal is distributed to all Gala attendees and becomes a keepsake. Get your message about Fred in there: http://www.coneyisland.com/gala-journal
I do hope to see you at the Gala, to read your message in the Journal and to share your joy in the year of the Fred.
Friend of Fred
Coney Island USA Board Member
Can you believe it- Scan-A-Rama 3D Portrait Studio is two years old! I opened up for the first time at the Mermaid Parade in 2013 and made some great portraits (See here and here). Well this past Saturday was the Coney Island Mermaid Parade and again I was able to make 3D portraits of some of my favorite Coney Island characters and sea creatures. These have not yet been cleaned up but I think they look great. I’m very happy with the day. Its exciting to see the technology improving since I’ve started and I’m proud of all the advances and things I’ve learned in the last few years.
Parade Queen Mermaid Julie Atlas Muz and King Neptune Mat Fraser
Creepy Ronald McDonald the clown
Time Out’s photog Filip stopped for a pose
Too Much Beer?
The Diaper Guy
Badass Burlesque’s Velocity Chyaldd
James and Camille Habacker of the Slipper Room
Zeroboy channeling his inner Popeye
Reverend Billy, Savitry D and family
A Mermaid Family
BooBoo Darlin’ as a Shrimp Cocktail
Eric the Fish
Lil’ Miss Lixx as Champagne
Bunny Love as Caviar
I’m in heavy production printing out Mermaid Parade trophies for kickstarter rewards!
Coney Island’s 30th Annual Mermaid Parade is nearly upon us, and for the special occasion I had the opportunity to collaborate with Brooklyn’s MakerBot Industries to create one of a kind trophies for the Parade’s 11 award categories:
- Mayor’s Choice
- Judge’s Choice
- Best Sea Creature
- Best Mermaid
- Best Neptune
- Best Push-Pull Float
- Best Music Group
- Best Motorized Float
- Best Marching Group
- Best Little Neptune
- Best Little Mermaid
Because the parade has all these different awards, when I first met with MakerBot’s Creative Director Keith Ozar and Social Media Marketing Manager Sasha Litvinov, we came up with the concept that each trophy would consist of the extruded parade logo, plus some embellishments of appropriate sea themed objects sourced from MakerBot’s file sharing community Thingiverse.com. Coney Island’s Huckster Fabrications donated boardwalk wood for the base and the finishing touch will be when the bases get a brass plaque added, commemorating the award category and year.
To mock up the trophies, I began by using Google SketchUp to extrude the Mermaid Parade logo from an Illustrator vector art file, then brought that into the open source 3D modeling program Blender where I combined it with various models of sea creatures that I found on Thingiverse- octopi, tentacles, star fish, sand dollars, an 8 bit Mermaid, Facebook’s ‘like’ hand, an old sailor, devil fingers(for the best musical group), etc. I used Blender to scale the parts and mock up each trophy. From there I delivered a print list and 3D files to MakerBot’s design team, where the in house artist Jason Batukis tweaked them and worked with their botfarm to print everything.
It was a lot of fun to learn more about the 3d printing process. I was finally able to realize prints for two Luna Park tower models I had created last year. It turned out that rather than beng printed in one go, they both had to be divided up into 4 or 5 prints that were glued together. I also learned about the magic of the heat gun! Heat guns can be used to warp and bend ABS plastic. This worked amazingly well with bending the octopus around the top of the logo for the Best Sea Creature award or making starfish grab onto corners. The Second and Third place medals were originally designed to be a two color print, but the team there instead reccomended instead that we print them separately, then heat gun the Octopus to conform to the sand dollar and glue them with Super Glue. I’m super pleased and proud of how they came out- Enjoy!