How did you get into the mermaid business? Was it easy ? (Cuz that seems like the most amazing job ever)
First I got a tail and a shell bra - pretty basic mermaid starting kit stuff. I then needed to get a license (because you can’t just go out and do mermaid birthday parties, that’s illegal in the U.S.A.) In my state, New York, you can either get a performer’s license or a DBA (doing business as) - I have a DBA. Not every state in the U.S.A. has a DBA. (You need to look at your states government website.) Then you need an insurance because if a client doesn’t have a pool at their home and needs to book a place, the place doesn’t want to be responsible if something bad happens to you or children - you need liability insurance (LIFE INSURANCE DOES NOT COUNT). I think getting the DBA was the easiest part.
Being professional can be very, very difficult. Once you get a tail and get a website and you make business/post cards that doesn’t mean everyone is knocking on your door booking you for parties. You’re going to put in A LOT more money going into this than you will be making out of it in the first few years. I know mermaids with full silicone tails, going in the ocean and taking stunning underwater pictures, doing photoshoots with other mermaids and have never been hired for any type of event where they are getting paid. I feel very lucky because in my state, there’s another professional mermaid but she is very far from me so we aren’t competition to each other and some clients that want to book her are a lot more closer to me than they are to her so she sends them over to me and that’s how I’ve gotten some of my gigs. I also have a background in child education which is very good to have (people in high school - if your school does a BOCES program with child education or a child education program in high school and are strongly considering becoming a professional mermaid - TAKE THIS CLASS!), I got to learn what goes into educating a child and I actually got to work with children and I actually had to do “classes” and teach them. I wasn’t really the best with children and taking this class was very helpful for me. You’ll also be in a tail for an hour, maybe more, so make sure you’re fit, my tail weighs about 20lbs in the water, I do float up but I’m constantly moving around so I want to be able to swim around for a few hours without my legs hurting and me feeling exhausted. There’s also potiental “mermaid rides” where kids hold onto your shoulders and you swim on the surface and swim from one side of the pool to the other. Mermaid rides can be very tiring, I think I did 50 in a row with no break to 20 kids - I was so exhausted. There’s also tail maintence, just because you buy a tail doesn’t mean it’s going to be perfect forever. I’m very rough in my tail and I shouldn’t be, but the heels on my tail and the backside the paint has come off, I got advice from another mermaid to buy silicone and eyeshadow the color of my tail and mix it together and paint it on the spots the paint is gone - very helpful. You also have to wash your tail, it can smell very bad sometimes after using it - I use vinegar to wash my tail, and you should hang your tail upside down (fluke up) so the water drips out of the tail and dries it, or you can use a blow dryer (use cold air), I’ve seen mermaids use pull up bars you can in your house to hold their tail upside down or putting up coat hooks.
Promotion - Business cards and post cards are very good to hand out, I definitely spent over $100 on cards. I put my cards all over the place, mostly food stores like Stop & Shop, A&P, Hannafords (i think those are all mostly New England food stores). I did a free meet & greet in Newburgh, New York for the Art About Water event, I handed out booklets about pollution in the water and how to prevent pollution, along with the booklets I also had my post cards in the booklets and I handed everyone a shell. My Uncle also owns a company so he gives my cards to his clients. I’ve also met the Mayor of Bedford Hills (I think it was the mayor or someone who worked with him) at a restaurant because I have family in Bedford Hills so I talked to him about my mermaid job, gave him my card, and we talked about local parks and celebrations there and I said I’d be open to doing a meet & greet or something there. There’s also mermaid meet up, most of the meet ups are in Coney Island so I go there a lot and hand out cards and take pictures with people. There’s also tumblr, facebook, instagram, youtube, those are very good sites for social media to get your name out.
There’s also things you need to consider. Do you have a mertender/merwrangler? That is someone who is with you at events, they are there to help you. You want to keep the magic alive so you can’t show up at a party or event and put your tail on infront of your little clients so you put your tail on somewhere hidden and you have your mertender/merwrangler pick you up and carry you (I’ve recently aqcuired a wheelchair so no one has to carry me anymore). It’s best to have someone you know with you because you can trust them, having a stranger off Craigslist you never know what you’re going to get. You don’t need to have the same mertender/merwrangler at every event, I don’t. You can ask your client that you may need additional help because you don’t have a mertender/merwrangler, I, personally, don’t feel like that’s professional, that’s just me, I know other mermaids have done it and that’s their business so I don’t get to have an opinion on them. Do you have transportation? People that live in cities, for example, New York City or Brooklyn, mermaids are able to take trains and subways or taxis to get around. I live in the suburbs so I have my own car. Just make sure you have a way of getting to your event. Do you know what to do? Do you know what to bring when doing an event? Do you kinda have ideas what to do at an event? I suggest watching videos of professional mermaids on youtube and see what they do. Mernetwork is also a forum site for mermaids with tons of answers to any question you may have. Do you have tattoos or piercings? Some clients may not want their mermaid to have tattoos or piercings. I have 5 tattoos, one is on my leg so my tail covers it, I have one my waist and luckily my tail covers it, I have 2 behind my ear my hair covers it but one time while I was in water giving mermaid rides a child called me out on it and I giggled and talked about something else, I have a tattoo on my wrist, I have a big shell bracelet to cover it up, I do have back up stories if someone does ask about how mermaids have tattoos. I also have a hell of a lot of piercings, mostly on my face. I have a dermal anchor implant for an anti-eyebrow, I cannot take that out unless it’s surgically removed, my implant is a clear gem so it looks like I stuck a gem under my eye so I’m good there, I have a lip piercing and 2 nose studs on my left nostril - I do take those out at parties, I also have clear jewelry that I may or may not put in depending on how I feel. You may have a client who doesn’t want a mermaid with tattoos or piercings (I don’t know what people’s problems are with it, I can see how it doesn’t look very magical but I mostly take out my nose studs and cover my wrist tattoo but I have done gigs where I didn’t take anything out or cover anything and have never gotten a complaint.) I know a lot of people with tattoos and piercings that keep everything in and don’t cover any and they still get TONS of gigs. So you can do whatever you feel most comfortable with.
If you want to go for aquarium jobs (which I’ve never done but have put in research into it because I want to do aquariums in the future when I feel ready), the best things to put on your resume is that you have done dance lessons (preferably ballet), CPR classes (which is good to have anyways whether you’re an aquarium mermaid or a birthday party mermaid), scuba diving lessons, a good breath hold, and knowing how to swim in a tail already (having your own tail can be a plus - you don’t have to have your own tail, some places will give you tails that they already have but if they don’t have your size they may not consider you because they either don’t want to spend the money or a tail can take 2 - 3 months to create just for you and they want someone now). I know someone who got interviewed for an aquarium job, she had a tattoo on her upper body, very visible, she did not get the job. Unfortunately, that’s a reality at some places. Disney won’t hire people with visible tattoos and some aquariums won’t hire you with visible tattoos. It really sucks but it happens. There is very strong waterproof makeup and tattoo cover up, I’ve never used it but when I do plan to try out for an aquarium job I plan to cover myself during my interview and during my performances.
Professional mermaiding is hard work, it isn’t “I got a tail now I’m going to go play mermaid”. You need to be professional with your persona, with your clients, at your events. You need to be fit for your tail, you’re tail is going to weigh a lot in water and it’s bound on your legs for a few hours - you’re going to need to be able to hold that tail up, constantly swimming, with a smile on your face and not a yawn from being tired or a tear from your legs hurting. You may not be getting gigs your first year of being licensed or not even your second year, getting gigs will be a lot of work, you may even need to do free gigs to get a clientelle worked up. You may be putting in a lot more money going into it than you will be getting your money back from it. You may struggle a lot and feel “I can’t do this” but I’ll let you know now, once you get your first gig, you will feel so great about yourself, you did it, you got your first gig, you did it.
It’s been a difficult journey, all my hard work, it’s been worth it.
Here is where you showed me Brooklyn and made me fall in love with her.
The first time we met up for breakfast, you told me the reasons why you can’t ever leave this part of town. Brooklyn has a strong hold on you and you wanted me to be a part of the spell. You brought me to Bedford Hill after the first night we spent together. We sat across from each other on a cold December day; you wanted me to experience the softness and quaintness of a Brooklyn morning with the murmurs from people chatting about things we deemed pretentious. We were excited to blend in with the scene because we sounded pretentious, too, with our talks about my art, my moving to Italy, and my shyness in admitting that I wanted to be with you at this wrong time and wrong place.
You held my hands then and asked if I wanted to try long distance relationship through the winter and spring. We would meet again in the summer when Brooklyn is at her best under the July sun. We would have rooftop parties and backyard BBQs. We would have whatever I wanted of Brooklyn – and of you – once I came back from Florence.
Fast forward to two years later, while standing on line at Bedford Hill, a friend asked me if our relationship ended on amicable terms, and I wanted to close my eyes and forget. We would never sit across from each other again at this coffee shop. You have permanently shunned this place knowing that it’s my favorite getaway. I have done the same with your local favorites in fear of seeing you mid bite with the her who had replaced me on your bed.
Since the night I moved out of our apartment, we have passed each other once or twice. It amazes me still the power we have within ourselves for a collective erasure of the past. Sitting at the yellow formica table now reminds me of the hows and whys we have fallen in and out of love. I can still recall our lives together during those last few days when the only things we could hold on to were a small apartment and the memories of our firsts.
I wake up now and again with green bruises on my chest. A woman told me that it’s a way for the body to release toxins. I hope she is right because I am willing to let it all go now.
Black brothers, Black sisters, i want you to know that i love you
and i hope that somewhere in your hearts you have love for me. My
name is Assata Shakur (slave name joanne chesimard), and i am a
revolutionary. A Black revolutionary. By that i mean that i have declared war on all forces that have raped our women, castrated our
men, and kept our babies empty-bellied.
I have declared war on the rich who prosper on our poverty, the
politicians who lie to us with smiling faces, and all the mindless,
heartless robots who protect them and their property.
I am a Black revolutionary, and, as such, i am a victim of all the
wrath, hatred, and slander that amerika is capable of. Like all other
Black revolutionaries, amerika is trying to lynch me.
I am a Black revolutionary woman, and because of this i have
been charged with and accused of every alleged crime in which a
woman was believed to have participated. The alleged crimes in
which only men were supposedly involved, i have been accused of
planning. They have plastered pictures alleged to be me in post
offices, airports, hotels, police cars, subways, banks, television, and
newspapers . They have offered over fifty thousand dollars in rewards for my capture and they have issued orders to shoot on sight and shoot to kill.
I am a Black revolutionary, and, by definition, that makes me a
part of the Black Liberation Army. The pigs have used their newspapers and TVs to paint the Black Liberation Army as vicious,
brutal, mad-dog criminals. They have called us gangsters and gun
molls and have compared us to such characters as john dillinger and ma barker. It should be clear, it must be clear to anyone who can think, see, or hear, that we are the victims. The victims and not the criminals.
It should also be clear to us by now who the real criminals are.
Nixon and his crime partners have murdered hundreds of Third
World brothers and sisters in Vietnam, Cambodia, Mozambique,
Angola, and South Africa. As was proved by Watergate, the top law
enforcement officials in this country are a lying bunch of criminals.
The president, two attorney generals, the head of the fbi, the head of
the cia, and half the white house staff have been implicated in the
They call us murderers, but we did not murder over two hundred fifty unarmed Black men, women, and children, or wound
thousands of others in the riots they provoked during the sixties. The
rulers of this country have always considered their property more
important than our lives. They call us murderers, but we were not
responsible for the twenty-eight brother inmates and nine hostages
murdered at attica. They call us murderers, but we did not murder
and wound over thirty unarmed Black students at Jackson State-or
Southern State, either.
They call us murderers, but we did not murder Martin Luther
King, Jr., Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, George Jackson,
Nat Turner, James Chaney, and countless others. We did not murder, by shooting in the back, sixteen-year-old Rita Lloyd, eleven-year-old Rickie Bodden, or ten-year-old Clifford Glover. They call us murderers, but we do not control or enforce a system of racism and
oppression that systematically murders Black and Third World people. Although Black people supposedly comprise about fifteen percent of the total amerikkkan population, at least sixty percent of
murder victims are Black. For every pig that is killed in the so-called
line of duty, there are at least fifty Black people murdered by the
Black life expectancy is much lower than white and they do
their best to kill us before we are even born. We are burned alive in
fire-trap tenements. Our brothers and sisters OD daily from heroin
and methadone. Our babies die from lead poisoning. Millions of
Black people have died as a result of indecent medical care. This is
murder. But they have got the gall to call us murderers.
They call us kidnappers, yet Brother Clark Squire (who is
accused, along with me, of murdering a new jersey state trooper) was kidnapped on April 2, 1969, from our Black community and held
on one million dollars’ ransom in the New York Panther 21 conspiracy case. He was acquitted on May 13, 1971, along with all the others, of 156 counts of conspiracy by a jury that took less than two hours to deliberate. Brother Squire was innocent. Yet he was kidnapped from his community and family. Over two years of his life
was stolen, but they call us kidnappers. We did not kidnap the
thousands of Brothers and Sisters held captive in amerika’s concentration camps. Ninety percent of the prison population in this
country are Black and Third World people who can afford neither
bail nor lawyers.
They call us thieves and bandits. They say we steal. But it was
not we who stole millions of Black people from the continent of
Africa. We were robbed of our language, of our Gods, of our culture,
of our human dignity, of our labor, and of our lives. They call us
thieves, yet it is not we who rip off billions of dollars every year
through tax evasions, illegal price fixing, embezzlement, consumer
fraud, bribes, kickbacks, and swindles. They call us bandits, yet
every time most Black people pick up our paychecks we are being
robbed. Every time we walk into a store in our neighborhood we are
being held up. And every time we pay our rent the landlord sticks a
gun into our ribs.
They call us thieves, but we did not rob and murder millions of
Indians by ripping off their homeland, then call ourselves pioneers.
They call us bandits, but it is not we who are robbing Africa, Asia,
and Latin America of their natural resources and freedom while the
people who live there are sick and starving. The rulers of this
country and their flunkies have committed some of the most brutal,
vicious crimes in history. They are the bandits. They are the murderers. And they should be treated as such. These maniacs are not fit to judge me, Clark, or any other Black person on trial in amerika. Black people should and, inevitably, must determine our destinies.
Every revolution in history has been accomplished by actions,
although words are necessary. We must create shields that protect us and spears that penetrate our enemies. Black people must learn how to struggle by struggling. We must learn by our mistakes.
I want to apologize to you, my Black brothers and sisters, for
being on the new jersey turnpike. I should have known better. The
turnpike is a checkpoint where Black people are stopped, searched,
harassed, and assaulted. Revolutionaries must never be in too much
of a hurry or make careless decisions. He who runs when the sun is
sleeping will stumble many times.
Every time a Black Freedom Fighter is murdered or captured,
the pigs try to create the impression that they have quashed the
movement, destroyed our forces, and put down the Black Revolution.
The pigs also try to give the impression that five or ten guerrillas are
responsible for every revolutionary action carried out in amerika.
That is nonsense. That is absurd. Black revolutionaries do not drop
from the moon. We are created by our conditions. Shaped by our
oppression. We are being manufactured in droves in the ghetto
streets, places like attica, san quentin, bedford hills, leavenworth,
and sing sing. They are turning out thousands of us. Many jobless
Black veterans and welfare mothers are joining our ranks. Brothers
and sisters from all walks of life, who are tired of suffering passively,
make up the BLA.
There is, and always will be, until every Black man, woman, and
child is free, a Black Liberation Army. The main function of the
Black Liberation Army at this time is to create good examples, to
struggle for Black freedom, and to prepare for the future. We must
defend ourselves and let no one disrespect us. We must gain our
liberation by any means necessary.
It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains:
In the spirit of:
Frank “Heavy” Fields
Woodie Chang a Olugbala Green
Lil’ Bobby Hutton
Zayd Malik Shakur
Anthony Kumu Olugbala White
We must fight on.
“Well, JoAnne, I don’t know when you’ll be able to come out. You see, we have to keep you in here for your own safety because there are threats on your life. You know, JoAnne,” she said, lowering her voice like she was speaking confidentially, “cop killers are not very popular in correctional institutions.”
“Have any of the women here made threats against me?"
"Well, I don’t know, but I’m sure they have."
"I’ll bet,” i said to myself. “Nobody has threatened my life.
They just don’t want to let me outta here."
"Well, JoAnne, the important thing is for you to behave and to cooperate with us so that we’ll be able to send a good report to the judge. It’s important for our girls to behave like ladies."
This woman was making me sick. Did she think i was fool enough to believe that either she or the judge was gonna help me in any way? But it was the superior-sounding tinge to her voice that really ticked me off.
I spent my first month at the middlesex county workhouse writing. Evelyn had brought some newspaper clippings and it was obvious the press was trying to railroad me, to make me seem like a monster. According to them i was a common criminal, just going around shooting down cops for the hell of it. I had to make a statement. I had to talk to my people and let them know what i was about, where i was really coming from. The statement seemed to take forever to write. I wanted to make a tape of it and enlisted Evelyn’s help. As my lawyer, she was dead set against it and advised me not to make the tape. But as a Black woman living in amerika, Evelyn understood why it was important and necessary. When the prosecutor found out about the tape he tried to get her thrown off the case. She was ordered by the court never to bring a tape recorder again when she visited me.
I made the tape of "To My People” on July 4, 1973, and it was broadcast on many radio stations.
“Black women are overlooked all the time. People don’t know all the hardships that being a black woman you have to face,” she told HuffPost’s Jacques Morel. She noted how many black Americans deal with “separation” from their fathers, husbands and sons, who are incarcerated at higher rates than their white counterparts. According to the NAACP, one in six black men have been incarcerated since 2001.
But black women aren’t just “forgotten” by the system, she said. The maximum security Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, where the rapper did her time, holds up to 972 women. Remy said very few of these women actually had visitors. In her opinion, men didn’t experience the same isolation.
“Meanwhile you go to a men’s facility and there’s lines wrapping around the building,” she said. Some women would go years without visits from loved ones while in prison, Remy continued.
I know women who haven’t seen their children in ten years and they live right here in Brooklyn. They’re 45 minutes away from the city. People whose husbands forgot about them, boyfriends forgot about them. Friends forgot about them. Their children forgot about them. [Black women] just get thrown away and I’m tired of it.
Black revolutionaries do not drop from the moon. We are created by our conditions. Shaped by our oppression. We are being manufactured in droves in the ghetto streets, places like attica, san quentin, bedford hills, leavenworth, and sing sing. They are turning out thousands of us. Many jobless Black veterans and welfare mothers are joining our ranks. Brothers and sisters from all walks of life, who are tired of suffering passively, make up the BLA [Black Liberation Army].
It was thunderstorming outside and rain was coming down so fast you couldn't see two feet in front of you. Charlie walked up to the door of his older brothers house and knocked. He was soaking wet and water dripped from his hair and clothes. ((Rp?))
Mason didn’t often receive guests. One, because he lived in the middle of nowhere out in the rolling hills of Bedford county and two, he didn’t have many friends. Nonetheless, there was a knock at his door. “H-hello?” He questioned, peering out. “Ch-charlie? What are you doing out in this rain? Come in, come in.” He ushered the other inside.
Sante Kimes was a thief and a murderer. Working with her youngest son Kenneth Kimes, Jr., the duo killed at least two people and stole millions of dollars in cash and property through fraud.
Crime was Mrs. Kimes specialty. First arrested as a teenager for shoplifting, she continued to steal into her adulthood. She once stole a fur coat by wearing it under another fur coat.
In order to satiate her desire for an expensive lifestyle, Mrs. Kimes used her inherent charm - which Americans saw first hand years later - to marry wealthy husbands. Her second marriage^ was to a contractor named Kent Walker and even though her matierial needs were met she continued to steal even pressing her son, Kent, into service as a shoplifter while he was still a child.
Her third marriage, in 1970, was to a multimillionaire named Kenneth Kimes, Sr. The couple had a son, Kenneth, Jr., in 1975.
Even while living the life she had always dreamed, Mrs. Kimes continued to commit audacious crimes including car theft and insurance fraud. In 1987 while the Kimes’ lived in Las Vegas, she was arrested and convicted with slavery for luring Mexican girls to her home and then forcing them to work for her without money and never letting them leave. She served three years of a five-year sentence.
When Kenneth Kimes, Sr. died in 1994, mother and son took things to a whole new level. Their crimes broadened to include forgery, arson, insurance fraud, and banking fraud. And then close associates began to disappear beginning with a Caribbean bank official. (He was never found the Kimeses were not charged with his murder.)
Things came crashing down in 1998 when Sante and Kenny Kimes were arrested for check forgery. Upon arrest the police discovered the passport of Irene Silverman and 82-year-old widow in the Kimes’ possession. In addition they had paperwork that included Mrs. Silverman’s forged signature selling her townhouse to an international buyer. Kenny Kimes had met Mrs. Silverman when he rented an apartment in her townhouse.
The Kimes were arrested and charged with murder. The mother and son began a media campaign to burnish their images including an interview on CBS’ 60 Minutes. But it was irrelevant once prosecutors discovered Mrs. Kimes’ journals detailing the planning for the disappearance of Mrs. Silverman. Both Kimes were convicted of murder, even without the discovery of Mrs. Silverman’s body, and sentenced to life in prison without parole.
Six years later, Sante Kimes was on trial again. This time it was for the murder of family friend David Kazdin who discovered that Sante Kimes had forged his signature on a $280,000 bank loan. His body was discovered in a garbage bag at Los Angeles International Airport in 1998.
Kenny Kimes took the stand against his mother in this trial in the hopes of avoiding the death penalty. During his testimony he repeated his mother’s criminal mantra, “No body, no crime.” She was found guilty of murdering Mr. Kadzin as well.
At the time of her death on May 19, 2014 at the age of 79, Sante Kimes was serving 120 years in prison without parole. She was incarcerated in the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester, NY.
Note: In 2001, Lifetime aired a television movie about Sante and Kenny Kimes titled Like Mother, Like Son. Sante was portrayed by Mary Tyler Moore and Kenny by Gabriel Olds. Jean Stapleton played Irene Silverman.
Such an honor to have my name attached to this project. A documentary about my friend Jonathan. Jonathan was a huge Moldy Peaches fan. I used to throw these get togethers at my family’s house in Bedford Hills. I invited everyone in my small internet circle but mostly it was just friends from the city that would take the train up. I would make food and we would pass the guitar around. This kid showed up at one. He was bald and pale. His mom was out in the car. She had driven him and stayed until it was over. He told us he was sick. Showed us the stent in his head. Gave us tapes of his wild music. We were friends until he died. Please share this trailer and support this film. Let’s get it in festivals. Let’s make Johnny a star.