The annual Coney Island Mermaid Parade isn’t happening in its usual form this summer, but a de-centralized, virtual edition, the Tail-a-Thon, happens on Saturday, August 29th at 1 PM ET, and organizers spoke to Brooklyn Paper about what to expect from the benefit broadcast.
Tail-a-Thon is slated to include live musical performances, dances, marches, and more, with appearances from a few “familiar faces,” Mark Alhadeff, a member of Coney Island USA, who helps host the event, told Brooklyn Paper. He says it’s meant to imitate a 1970’s charitable telethon, with viewers having the ability to make donations to Coney Island USA and other local non-profits (including Salt and Sea Mission, Urban Neighborhood Services, BRIC, and others) throughout the broadcast, via the Mermaid Parade website. Organizers will do their best to impersonate Jerry Lewis, counting off donations and adding sums to a gigantic thermometer. Some parts of the stream will take place live in person, which Alhadeff promises will be done while following strict social-distancing guidelines.
Organizers originally planned to partner with bars and venues across the country to host a handful of live-streamed celebrations, where participants could still gather in smaller groups, to be connected through the livestream. They later scratched the idea, though, opting to go fully virtual out of concern for coronavirus transmission.
Participants can send in video submissions that will stream alongside other segments, like performances from from artists including Arlo Guthrie, Glenn Mercer of The Feelies, and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie, who will sing a song he wrote about Coney Island during his set. Visit their site for more information on participating, and check out pictures from the 2018 edition of the parade below.
Meanwhile, Ben Gibbard recently performed as part of the remote edition of the 2020 Democratic National Convention. As part of his set, played his The Postal Service song “Such Great Heights,” dedicating it to the USPS.