Friday, August 28, 2009

Anarchy - rockabilly style!

Betty Bloomerz in action

Enjoy four nights of bumping & grinding & hootin' & hollerin'

By Meredith Deliso

Benjamin Wilson has always been inexplicably drawn to Coney Island.

“I think it’s always been in me. I’ve found different things in my life that I’ve identified with,” says Wilson, who grew up in New York outside the city and lives in Manhattan. “Growing up I lived down the street from an amusement park. I would go in the wintertime and run around playing hide and go seek.”

This summer, Wilson returns to the Boardwalk, producing the third annual Coney Island Rockabilly Festival, four nights of burlesque, sideshow acts, and rock and roll, from September 4-7.

“I’m more interested in bringing things that people identify with Coney Island in a way,” says Wilson, who will be performing on Friday, August 4, with his surf trash band, The Holy Roller Sideshow, along with burlesque acts on the bill at the Coney Island Sideshow. “If we can bring all these artists and musicians to Coney Island at this time, I think it will be beneficial.”

In addition to Wilson’s band, over 100 acts will converge on Coney this Labor Day weekend, including New York City-based psychobilly act The Memphis Morticians on Friday, September 4, at Cha Cha’s of Coney Island, on the Boardwalk between West 12th Street and Stillwell Avenue.

“We played last year and had a damn good time,” says the band, which expects to play some tracks off their newest EP “1,000 Delinquents.” “It’s a mixture of sleazy rock n’ roll, burlesque and Coney Island...What more could you ask for?”

Other highlights of the four-day festival include the 3rd Annual Big Burlesque Blow Out on Saturday, September 5, at Cha Cha’s, featuring dozens of burlesque acts including local performer Weirdee Girl, Missy Macabre of London, Claire De Lune of New Orleans, Lucy Buttons (NYC), Hula Hoop Harlot Melissa-Anne (NYC), and too many more to print.

Also don’t miss psychobilly act Sasquatch and the Sickabillys of Providence, RI, on Sunday, September 6, at Cha Cha’s, the 2009 Miss Pin Up Coney Island Contest on Monday, September 7, the highlight of which will certainly be Betty Bloomerz swallowing 28 inches of cold steel while in her underwear.

While this year’s festival is just gearing up, Wilson has his sights set on 2010, where he looks to make the weekend into an even bigger bonanza, complete with a hot rods show and a roller derby event. He also dreams of having an even more permanent presence in Coney Island, with a club that takes all of these elements and produces shows on a regular basis.

Until then, there’s four days of enough psychobilly and sideshow burlesque to keep you satisfied until next Labor Day weekend.

“When the curtain goes down at 3 in the morning and you sit back and have the first cold beer of the night, it’s just an amazing night,” says Wilson. “That’s why we do what we do. It’s not about the money. It’s about promoting artistry and promoting Coney Island, promoting things that we think are good things.”

The 2009 Rockabilly Festival is September 4-7 in Coney Island. Locations, times and ticket costs vary. For more information, including a complete schedule, go to


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