Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Queens and Crowns Part 2 / *Miss Brooklyn 2009* Interview

What a thrill! What an honor! On October 4, 2009 Keelie Sheridan, Miss Brooklyn 2009, read my book, MERMAIDS ON PARADE, on the stage in front of Gumbo at Brooklyn’s famous Atlantic Antic. Keelie is one of three sisters who compete in pageants but root for one another. Her family was right there cheering as Keelie was crowned in February 2009.

Keelie possesses not only natural beauty but real smarts and talent as well. An aspiring actress, she is a senior at Empire State College double majoring in British Literature and Theater with an Education concentration. A dance specialist with the YWCA-NYC at P.S. 209 in Brooklyn, her special talent which awarded her the Miss Brooklyn 2009 crown was Irish Step Dancing.

Because I earn my livelihood through Arts in Education as a visiting author-illustrator, this year’s Miss Brooklyn is a woman after my own heart. Her major goal is "Arts for All: Promoting Performing Arts Opportunities for Underprivileged Youth". She is currently training to become a theatre teaching-artist with the Community Word Project.

Miss Brooklyn 2009 Loves MERMAIDS ON PARADE

Keelie represents The Miss Brooklyn Scholarship Program which awards young women pursuing a higher education who attend college, and live or work in New York City's five boroughs. Educational advancement, achievement, and public services continue to be the primary objectives for the scholarship program in the face of changing roles for women in American society.

Learn more about what Miss Brooklyn 2009 is up to at her Blog.

Keelie was so gracious to answer my interview questions.

Q: If you had a mermaid name what would it be?

KS: Splashy Sunshine O'Seashell

Q: What does Coney Island mean to you?

KS: To me, Coney Island means cotton candy and corn dogs!

Q: What are your goals as Miss Brooklyn 2009?

KS: As Miss Brooklyn 2009, it's my goal to introduce our borough to the Miss America Organization, and the valuable resource it is for young women looking to fund their education. It's also my goal to provide performing arts opportunities for kids who might not get the chance to study theatre or dance, and I hope to continue to use the public spotlight that the title of Miss Brooklyn has afforded me to do so!

Q:What is Keelie Sheridan currently working on?

KS: I'm currently working on my education, my performing arts program, and being a great Miss Brooklyn!

Thanks, Keelie!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Artists in My Book / *Petra Hanson* Queens and Crowns Part 1

Much of the imagery in my book, MERMAIDS ON PARADE, was influenced by local talent from the Brooklyn arts community. No one else could play the character of Queen Mermaid better than Petra Hanson aka Kiku Kimonalisa, leader of a faux Japanese 60’s pop rock band called Gaijin A-Go-Go.

Gaijin A Go-Go also called themselves the 55’s because "go" means the number five in Japanese. Go-Go, Five-Five, get it? So 55 became the winning badge number in my book.

As I got to know Petra better I discovered she is also a model, a fashion designer and a writer. This talented artist was kind enough to give me an interview.

Q: If you had a mermaid name what would it be?

PH: My mer-name is: Maide in NY

Q: What does Coney Island mean to you?

PH: Coney Island means a subway ride from the city to the beach. Coney is like walking inside a tattoo of a circus freak.

Q: What are you currently working on?

PH: I am currently working on a new idea for a clothing line as my day job. After hours, I'm learning how to DJ, specializing in a rare collection of South American Sixties pop. In other words, I am a Mer-chant!

Thanks, Petra!

Photo: heartonastick/Flickr
Illustrations: from MERMAIDS ON PARADE Copyright 2008 Melanie Hope Greenberg