Wednesday, June 29, 2011

More Mermaid Day 2011 Photos found

Thank you so much to all the photographers who emailed me with photos or handed me their business cards!

I could have never had such great documentation of my costume without you.

Mermaid Photo Framed by Armando ZubietaVisit his Blog, Website or Flickr.

Portrait By Jane Kratochvil© 2011 Jane Kratochvil

Kostume Girls by Chris Lord
Visit his Flicker known as Pixielated Pixels.

Photo Credit: John St John

Photo Credit:Phil Valcarcel

Photo Credit:Phil Valcarcel

Photo Credit:Phil Valcarcel

Photo Credit: Donald Lokuta

All Rights Reserved by Lagares

Photo Credit: Mari Lowery

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mermaid Day Parade 2011: Photos and Recap

Whoa Mermaids! What a day! It was long and crazy but it was one of the best Mermaid Days ever!
Photo Credit: Sean Hennessy

© 2011 Jane Kratochvil

I started my day EARLY. I actually got myself up, did my makeup and trekked into Manhattan to try and get on the CBS Early Show. Mermaids, Mermen and Sea Creatures were invited to be seen and promote the Coney Island Mermaid Day Parade. I arrived at 59th Street and 5th Ave around 8 am and was nervous to get out of the cab since I didn't see any mermaids right away. However after I made the cab driver creep around the block slowly I spotted a small school of mermaids and happy hopped out of the cab to join them. What a lovely group of ladies! I met mermaids who were also from Queens including a burlesque mermaid named Lula Rouge D'Amour. Ooh la la! They were so friendly introducing themselves and taking some pictures to capture the moment. We patiently waited and were finally escorted to stand behind the host and guests during a cooking segment. I positioned myself well and got on national TV. Woo-hoo! Check that off my bucket list. Then we listened to the actor who plays Spiderman on Broadway sing a nice song and then it was back to Queens to round up the rest of my mermaids who were not as keen to get up at the crack of dawn with me. Actually it would not really have been worth it. Its not like they interviewed us or anything.

After I looked at a few of the pictures of me from the Early show I decided to add some color to my skin because my costume was really blending into my skin tone and not popping. As soon as I returned to my apartment I started painting my skin pink. Quite a process since I only had small makeup sponges and I kept having to mix up more pink with my face paints. When my other mermaids started to arrive I was quite a sight in my bathrobe with pink skin. Then the glitter and gems exploded into action in my living room! My best friend Erin and I have been going to Mermaid Day since about 2005 so we are veterans. We were very excited to have with us two first timers, Melissa and Natalie. When you bring someone new to the parade, often they are worried about wearing too little clothing. We always assure them they will feel over dressed when they arrive in Coney Island and see some of the other very naked mermaids.

After a minor directional mistake that led us into Manhattan, we were on our way past the Verrazano Bridge to Coney Island! Since Mermaid Day is the busiest day of the year at Coney Island it can be very crazy and require more time to get everywhere. However try as we might each year we can't get out of the house before noon. We need more time to prep our beautiful selves! We did thankfully make it to registration before they closed and just as the King and Queen of the parade passed by us. This years Neptune King was the host of Man V. Food, Brooklyn native Adam Richman. The Queen Mermaid was hostess Cat Greenleaf of Talk Stoop with Cat Greenleaf.

It wasn't long after we found our line up spot in the Adult Artsy Marchers section that we were on our way! The streets were lined with hundreds of parade spectators. It's always a true mix of NYC from Coney Island locals to Japanese tourists. The weather was amazing so the turn out was huge. We marched, danced and waved all the way down Surf Avenue stopping for hundreds of pictures along the way. We passed through judging with relatively little fanfare, but I guess when there are 400+ entries in the judging, you simply must keep things moving or we'd be there till it got dark! Erin and I were announced as the Arrgh-ristocrats since that is the best I could come up with the day before the parade.
We were followed by Kostume Kult who put on quite a spectacle for the judges when they birthed or spawned babies in front of the judges stand while blasting Born This Way by Lady Gaga. Hope they win honorable mention for Gross out performance.

We saw some great photographers that we have met in years past. One of our particular favorites is Marisha Camp. She is a New York photographer that took great moody dark photos of us in 2009. She does party and event photography as well as portraits. Check out her gorgeous work. You will be captivated by her style and her subjects. Here is her photo of Erin and I.

Here are the photos that my terrific friends took with my camera. So glad they could help me out since I usually end up being too busy to take good ones.
I gathered as many business cards from photographers so I could include their links on my blog but if I missed you please email me at I could really use some good close ups of my makeup and hair.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

How to Dye a Synthetic Wig

Last night I set out on a wig dying experiment for my Mermaid Day costume. Thought I would share the results for those adventurous costumers out there who might want to try it themselves.

This all started when I read on CupcakeCosplay's twitter that a synthetic wig could be dyed using rubbing alcohol and Sharpies. I followed the tutorial from her site. This is what happened-


WIG! Bright White will obviously work the best.

16oz bottle of rubbing alcohol - $1.99 CVS
I picked the 91% Isoporpyl Alcohol cause it was the highest percentage they had. I don't know if it made a difference, but I figured lets not eff around here and just start with the big guns.

HAND PROTECTION! Unless you want to spend the next 3 or 4 days looking like a Kindergartner learning to use markers. Also the rubbing alcohol while killing the germs will burn any cuts you have on your hands!

SHARPIES! 24 pack - $10 at Staples I used 7 pink Sharpies. Luckily the pack I bought happened to be a Breast Cancer awareness pack so it was loaded with pink markers. Bonus!

I recommend doing this project in your bathtub. I poured the rubbing alcohol into a plastic shoe storage bin (99 cents at Home Depot) because I couldn't find a bucket in my apartment. Open the windows in the bathroom or use a fan cause that rubbing alcohol stinks! Then I began the difficult process of removing the ink from the Sharpies. Borrowing a big pair of pliers from my roommate I pried off the pink plastic piece from the grey bottom piece by bending it back and forth while pulling it out. Twisting it definitely does not work. Once the plastic bottom is off you pull the ink well out of the marker. Toss the top piece into the alcohol cause there is some ink in there too.
Squeeze the ink spongey thing using two pairs of pliers or your gloved hands. I rolled it up like a toothpaste tube and it was pretty effective. I was trying to achieve a cotton candy pink color for my wig so I used 5 medium pink markers, 1 dark pink and 1 red.
Add the wig, pushing it down into the dye mixture and turning to get full coverage. Cupcake Cosplay recommends using a spray bottle to achieve full coverage but I really didn't want to breathe in any more rubbing alcohol than necessary. I flipped the wig over every half hour or so for about two hours then just let it sit there over night.

Oh and this is the time when I will mention clean up. Sharpie ink is very permanent. If it splashes on floors and tiles add water right away and try to wipe it off with a rag. Don't wait. But there is still a colorful haze to the tub!! Not to worry! Just get your trusty Comet cleanser out and your scrubby sponge and do some Cinderella work.


In the morning I gave it a rinse and set it out on a garbage bag to dry near a sunny window in my apartment. Looks like some of the dye stuck! I have big plans for this wig. Look for it in my Post Mermaid Day Parade posting!
Good luck!!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Zombie Day at Dorney Park, PA

NY Zombies gather at Dorney Park for another Zombie Invasion!

Artwork: Roller Coaster Zombies by Kate Vrijmoet

Now this is hilarious. The organizers of NYC Zombie Crawl and Philly Zombie Crawl are gathering their minions for a day of fun and thrills at Dorney Park.

As a huge fan of Fright Fest at Six Flags, I would love to go to this so I don't have to wait till October to get my zombie roller coaster on. I am going to see if any of my friends (especially the ones with cars) would wanna go too.

There will be special late hours for zombies only. In order to keep from scarring too many kids for life, zombie makeup & costumes are not allowed in the park until after 8pm. So ride some water rides, go out to the car, get zombie ready and come back and stagger to your next thrill ride from 8pm to midnight.

There will be a special ZOMBIES ONLY area of the park where the east coast’s top SPFX makeup artists will be making up zombies as well as a buffet, bands, a costume contest, drink specials for zombies over 21, and much more madness!!
Also there will be an attempt to break at least 2 Guinness World Records.

More info on the NYC zombie crawl Event page.

Tickets are only $25!! What a deal and a portion of the proceeds goes to supporting the NYC Zombie Crawl! Just make sure to buy your tickets from this LINK.

If you need a quick How to Zombify yourself, look no further than my very own blog! As a veteran of 4 Zombie Cons I am getting good at the blood and gore.

What to expect at the Coney Island Mermaid Parade

Tips and Costume Ideas for Mermaid Day Parade 2011.

Mermaid day parade in Coney Island is the costume event I have been attending the longest in NYC. It is held around the first offical Saturday of summer. This year its June 18th. When I heard about this event I thought it might be too good to be true. Mermaids parading around on a historic boardwalk? Its like saying to a little girl, oh yeah I forgot to mention there is a farm about 45 minutes from Manhattan that breeds unicorns and once a year they all trot around in a parade.

Here is a quick recap of the costumes I have done for Mermaid Day Parade-

2006: Geisha mermaid. I sewed the kimono that morning out of a yard of fabric with an Asian print on it.

2007: Ghost mermaid. The first appearance of my long white wig that has played MANY starring roles in my costumes. I was brutally hungover this year. So much so that I spent a lot of time in the shade just hoping I would not barf on myself.

2008: Zombie Rag Doll Mermaid. I have no idea where I got this idea from but it is one of my all time favorites. The scar and stitches on my chest took me 2 hours to paint due to the awkward angle I had to look at it but it was worth it cause I love the pictures I got that day. Also decided that year that I love dressing as something scary when it is NOT Halloween. Fun!

2009 & 2010: Victorian Mermaid. I decided to revisit it the next year with a few improvements.

If you decide to attend the Mermaid Day Parade in costume and walk in the parade there are a few things to remember:

•It will most likely be warm and if it's sunny it will be HOT. There is no shade along the parade route so just keep that in mind if you were thinking of being a leather daddy merman. Ha! A lot of mermaids bring bright parasols. They are a great way to prevent your tail from drying out as you make your way back into the surf.

•I love day drinking as much as the next sea creature, but don't forget to hydrate. I did a bad job of that one year and felt terrible right after dancing my fins off on the parade route.

•Apply SPF before you do your makeup. Even the spray kind of sunscreen requires a little rubbing in so just do yourself a favor and put it on before your body glitter. As one of the whitest people on the planet, I apply SPF 75 or higher liberally before this event!

•Speaking of sun protection, it is common to find mermaids washed ashore with only their sea shells, a pair of pasties or even just body paint on their top half. This might be a draw for some but perhaps if you are bringing children, a fair word of warning is in order.

•In case of rain, the parade goes on! We found this out in 2009. In fact it makes people dance harder and lose their clothes quicker.

•Don't forget to get pictures with the ocean. When else will you have the chance to do your best Ariel imitation?! Climb out on that rock formation, not too far or the life guards will blow their whistles at you, and sing like you are longing to be "Part of Your World"!!
•Join a group. Arrive early and wander around the staging area on Street. It's the best place to get close up costume pictures of everyone and it's a total party scene. Ask people about their float or art car. Dance behind a float with music. Just try not to get in the way of people's dance routines. They worked hard to rehearse it without you!

•Be smart! As always plenty of police enforcement come along with parades in NYC. Don't be THAT drunken sailor.

Anyway if it is not already evident by my previous musings, the Mermaid day holds a special place in my heart. It's completely worth the long subway ride to Coney Island. Go with a group of Groupers, or a mob of Mermen, or a juggle of jellyfish. Dance, splash and welcome the arrival of summer with your fellow aquatic friends.

Register your group at the Official Mermaid Day Parade Site.
I will be staging with my Kostume Kult friends before the parade in my as of yet undecided costume. For updates and to come check out our float - follow me on twitter @Kostumegirl