Thursday, November 1, 2012

Upcoming Events

Parachute: the Coney Island Performance Festival goes to the Brooklyn Museum's First Saturdays! (Thanks for inviting us Brooklyn Museum!)

Saturday, December 1, 2012, 9:00-10:00 p.m.
Seating is limited. 
Room TBA!

The Believe Project reciting Muriel Rukeyser's words on Coney Island
Sheila Maldonado, author of one bedroom solo
Amanda Deutch, Parachute director and poet

The Believe Project performing at Parachute: the Coney Island Performance Festival, 2012 in the New York Aquarium Plaza.
Coney Island, Coney Island…
Let me see,
Let me feel,
Let me know what is real,

Let me believe.
-Muriel Rukeyser, 1973
  from Houdini (c) Paris Press, 2002

When we first came across, Muriel Rukeyser’s strange, poetic and powerful words about Coney Island in her play, Houdini, many moons ago, we got chills. Now, more than ever, we find these words resounding with new meaning after the storm.  Each day, we revisit these words and they give us hope: “..Let me believe.”

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Parachute Gets Some Love

Huff Post picks up Parachute!

From "Are Books Dead? Is Honey Boo Boo a Poet?" by Scott Alexander Hess: 
Trolling around the net, I came across a Brooklyn poetry event that had a good bit of sass and edge to it. Actually, it looked down-right exciting. 
Parachute: Coney Island Performance Festival (Oct. 13-14) featuring two days of poetry, prose and jellfish, screams hip and fun. The poster has a bold vintage graphic of bikers clad in motorcycle jackets and features a bit of poetry[.]

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Parachute Drops Poetry in Coney Island Soon

Saturday, October 13th  doors @ 6:30pm, readings begin @ 7pm.
Sunday, October 14th doors @ 6:30 pm, readings begin @ 7pm.

The New York Aquarium, Alien Stingers Exhibit (after hours)  
Surf Avenue and West 8th Street, Coney Island
Readings are FREE. (Reservations are recommended.)


Saturday, October 13

Tina Chang, Brooklyn's Poet Laureate 
Charles Denson, award winning author of Coney Island Lost and Found
Martin Espada, author of 17 books, most recently the Republic of Poetry. Called the "Latino poet of his generation"
Matthea Harvey, author or Modern Life and a "poetry enchantress"   
Sheila Maldonado, Coney Island native poet and author of One-Bedroom Solo
LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, author TwERK and the album, Television 

Sunday, October 14
Hosted by the illustrious burlesque dancer Angie Pontani

Emily XYZ and Myers Bartlett, celebrating 20 years of performing together!
Charles Denson, award winning author of Coney Island Lost and Found
Joanna Fuhrman, author of Freud in Brooklyn
Tracie Morris, author of Rhyme Scheme
Robert Sullivan, author of Rats, My American Revolution and "a mischievous reporter on the universe"   

Both days: Audio installation of poem by Vito Acconci

Vito Acconci Audio Installation next to the Black-Footed Penguins

Parachute: the Coney Island Performance Festival is delighted to have an audio installation of Vito Acconci's poem, "Antarctica" both evenings of the festival. A site-specific audio installation of Vito Acconci's poem, "Antarctica", will be situated next to the Black-footed Penguin exhibit in the NY Aquarium. Black-footed Penguins are native to Antarctica as well as many other continents. Listen and experience poetry in a small, intimate outdoor location beside these adorable creatures. A born and raised New Yorker, who began his career as an innovative poet, Acconci, is now also an established architect. His firm, Acconci Studios, was commissioned by the MTA Arts for Transit to design the West 8th street subway station. Their fluid architectural sculpture, "Wave-A-Wall," mirrors the ocean waves and roller coasters. "Wave-A-Wall" graces the subway station right across from the NY Aquarium, where the audio installation will be!

The New York Aquarium, Surf Ave and West 8th Street
Saturday and Sunday October 13th & 14th at 6:30 pm and while the main stage readings are going on. FREE

                                   Photo by Julie Larsen Maher ©WCS
About the Festival

Established in 2009, Parachute: the Coney Island Performance Festival is the second of a unique literary and performance festival in historic Coney Island. It is a community based festival focusing on Brooklyn and New York writers. This year's festival takes place Saturday and Sunday, October 13th and 14th at the New York Aquarium. The first festival was a great success, with over 200 people in attendance. In addition to this event, Parachute: the Coney Island Performance Festival offers year-round writing workshops to the Coney Island community (currently we are working with the YWCA's teen empowerment program) and innovative literary happenings throughout the season.

Parachute: the Coney Island Performance Festival will feature two evenings of a literary stage and two afternoons of free poetry workshops. The main stage is located in the NY Aquarium's Alien Stingers Exhibit, in front of the Jellyfish! Doors will open at 6:30 and readings will begin at 7pm both nights. A wide array of established and up-and coming Brooklyn based poets and writers will be presented. Highlights included Brooklyn poet Laureate, Tina Chang, Tracie Morris, Martin Espada, Matthea Harvey and a terrific sound installation of a poem by Vito Acconci. In addition to the main stage reading events, there will also be surprise site-specific poetry happenings around Coney Island, which we announce on our site prior to the events.    Since its inception, Coney Island has played host to a magnificent range of theatre, performance, poetry, dance, and literature. Walt Whitman read Shakespeare to the Atlantic Ocean in the 1800's; Cary Grant was a stilt walker at Steeplechase Park; Woody Guthrie strummed his guitar on Mermaid Avenue. 
Khalil reading in 2009
Jibade Khalil Huffman reading at Parachute: the Coney Island Performance Festival in 2009.
D Nurkse by C
                                                                                                                           Photo ©Charles Denson
  Dennis Nurkse reading at Parachute: the Coney Island Performance Festival in 2009.    

Coney Island has always had a vivid exchange with writers and its shores have inspired numerous poets over the years. Coney Island's vast literary influences include American luminaries from Walt Whitman to Henry Miller to Muriel Rukeyser. Walt Whitman, an American poetry icon (many say the founder of American poetry) was a frequent visitor of Coney's shores in the 1800's.He said his favorite spots were a rock in Coney Island and a ride on an omnibus. Walt Whitman ran along Coney Island's coast shouting Homer and Shakespeare to the Atlantic surf.      

  Walt Broadside
Parachute: the Coney Island Performance Festival has embarked on a collaboration with printer and founder of Harsimus Press, Barbara Henry to create limited edition broadsides of Whitman's words on Coney Island. Christoper Fritton of Mohawk Press designed one- of-a kind broadsides commemorating American poet, feminist and activist Muriel Rukeyser's words on Coney Island. Muriel Rukeyser's poetry, "Coney Island, Coney Island, ... Let me see, Let me feel, Let me know what is real. Let me believe." are still relevant to Coney Island today on numerous levels. Such is the nature and longevity of poetry. Both of these broadside posters will be available for purchase the weekend of the festival with proceeds benefiting Parachute's free festival events and year-round educational programs. 

Walt Whitman Visits the Coney Island History Project

The Coney Island History Project will be open special hours October 13th and 14th in conjunction with Parachute: the Coney Island Performance Festival. Poet, actor, Whitmaniac, John Farrell ( will be reciting Walt Whitman at the Coney Island History Project, Sunday October 14th from 2-4pm. Mr. Farrell's one-man show "Walt Whitman: Time Traveler" premiered last year in Ireland. In New York, he has performed as Whitman at the Brooklyn Book Festival, NYC Poetry Festival and Dixon Place. 

The Coney Island History Project exhibit center will be open on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon. View historic artifacts, photographs, maps, ephemera and films of Coney Island's colorful past. Exhibits on view include Abe Feinstein: 50 Years of Coney Island Photography, Inside the Shore Theater: Photographs by Charles Denson and Coney Island  
Bathhouses: A Lost Culture.  

Coney Island History Project, 3059 W 12 St, between Bowery and the Boardwalk, Brooklyn, NY 11224
Saturday and Sunday , October 13 and 14, 1- 5pm. FREE


Parachute: the Coney Island Performance Festival brings literary and performing arts to the Coney Island neighborhood that aren't otherwise accessible to residents, while also drawing an arts audience to Coney Island from the greater New York area to see exciting new performances. Participating artists will offer workshops, free of charge, to all who would like to attend. Additionally, the festival aims to highlight the history of Coney Island, while simultaneously bringing people to discover what the present Coney Island has to offer. The goal is to create something new and create a bridge over the whole neighborhood-east and west. Festival-goers can come, spend the day, walk around Coney Island in the fall breeze, eat lunch at a local restaurant, ride a landmark ride and enjoy a poetry reading.

Parachute 2012 Poetry Workshops


Coney Island on Our Minds
Memory, Wishes, Waiting, Wailing

with Patricia Spears Jones

 Saturday, October 13, 2012
3:00-4:30 p.m.
 New York Aquarium’s Education Hall
 (Boardwalk & W. 8th St., enter near the mural)

I am waiting for my case to come up 
and I am waiting 
for a rebirth of wonder 
and I am waiting for someone 
to really discover America 
and wail 

 —Lawrence Ferlinghetti, from A Coney Island of the Mind

Coney Island on Our Minds is a workshop for adults (18+) to write about how Coney Island is on their minds as desire, memory, wish, and what they are waiting for. Over 50 years ago, Lawrence Ferlinghetti wrote the Beat classic A Coney Island of the Mind and he wasn’t even from Coney Island! Bring your memories, imagination, paper, and pen, and write or wail. First come/first write.

Brooklyn based, but Arkansas born and raised, PATRICIA SPEARS JONES is a poet, playwright, literary curator, educator, cultural maven and author of the poetry collections: Painkiller, Femme du Monde, and The Weather That Kills. She is editor of Think: Poems for Aretha Franklin's Inauguration Day Hat and 30 Days Hath September, another kind of noise. This year she received the Oscar Williams and Gene Derwood Award for her poetry from The New York Community Trust.

 Registering in advance is encouraged. (You can also register on the day of the workshop.)  To register, please contact Becca:



A FREE Poetry Workshop for Teenagers

Sunday, October 14, 2012
3:00-4:30 p.m. 
New York Aquarium’s Education Hall
(Boardwalk & W. 8th St., enter near the mural)


First, everyone will write a couple of short poems.  Since this is a special class, we're going to ask you to write about Coney Island in some way -- you decide how.  Then we'll put everyone's poems together to make one big poem.  At the end of the workshop, everyone will read his or her own poem, and then perform the "big poem" together!

Emily & Myers have done a lot of poetry readings, and a lot of workshops, in a lot of different places during the 20 years they have been performing together. We look forward to meeting you & hearing your work!

Registering in advance is encouraged. (You can also register on the day of the workshop.) To register, please contact Becca:



Saturday, October 13, 2012
10:30-11:30 a.m.
New York Aquarium’s Alien Stingers Exhibit
W. 8th St. and Surf Ave., Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY

A special session of the Memory Arts Café will take place as part of Parachute: the Coney Island Performance Festival, 10:30 to 11:30am, on Saturday, October 13th, at the New York Aquarium Alien Stingers Exhibit. People living with dementia, their family members and the general public are encouraged to attend the workshop. Participants will perform classic poems with Coney Island and ocean themes and create an original poem inspired the “Alien Stingers,” Jelly Exhibit. Poet Gary Glazner will lead the session.

Memory Arts Café is a new series of free art events for people living with Alzheimer’s disease, their caregivers and the general public and is co-produced by New York Memory Center and the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project.

Founded in 1983, the mission of New York Memory Center is to help older adults who have cognitive, physical, and emotional limitations, to maintain or improve their level of functioning so that they may enjoy their later years at home and within the community. Through an innovative wellness center, New York Memory Center meets the needs of individuals living with Alzheimer’s and related dementia disorders and their Caregivers.

Gary Glazner founded the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project (APP) in 2004. The APP was awarded the 2012 MetLife Foundation Creativity and Aging in America Leadership Award in the category of Community Engagement. The National Endowment for the Arts listed the APP as a “best practice” for their Arts and Aging initiative. NBC's “Today” show, NPR's “All Things Considered” and Voice of America have featured segments on the APP.

Registering in advance is encouraged. (You can also register on the day of the workshop.) To register, please contact Becca:

These gorgeous broadsides will be available at Parachute 2012!

Parachute has created a broadside folio in collaboration with two New York letterpress artists to illuminate the words of poets Walt Whitman and Muriel Rukeyser. Barbara Henry of Harsimus Press designed the Walt Whitman broadside (11 x17) wherein he writes that Coney Island was one of his favorite places. Chris Fritton of Western New York Center for Book Arts designed the Muriel Rukeyser broadside (11x17) wherein she writes, "Coney Island, Coney Island...Let me see. Let me hear. Let me know what is real. "
Both are printed on high quality paper. Each are $15 and for sale as a set at $20. Edition of 200.
Hey get it get it!

Thursday, August 30, 2012


Parachute: the Coney Island Performance Festival 2012 Featured Readers:


Tina Chang, Brooklyn Poet Laureate

Charles Denson

LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs

Martin Espada 

Joanna Furhman

Matthea Harvey

Tracie Morris

Robert Sullivan

Emily XYZ

a sound installation of Vito Acconci's poem, Antarctica

                                           . . .  and jellyfish !

Sunday, August 26, 2012


Coney Island Beach and Amusement Park 1940.Video begins with the song CONEY ISLAND sung in Yiddish and English by the BARRY SISTERS. Then it continues to show the amusement rides and a beauty contest.