ChristoMer Starfish

So last month I went to MerPalooza in Tampa, which I really should have posted about already and where, among many other things, I got to serve as one of the judges of the poolside mermaid pageant run by Stephanie Sims and hosted by Weeki Wachee mermaid Kylee Troche. Please do not be too jealous. A slew of charming merbabies (ok, one merbaby) and mer girls and full-grown mermaids walked or were pushed on office chairs or were carried by strapping men in front of our judge’s table, many of them in dazzling tails they’d crafted themselves (unless they were in tails from the Mertailor, who had a massive display with mermaids lounging all around it, and/or from any of the other tail makers on hand). Amongst all this feminine glamour and shimmer were three brave mermen competing for the title of Mer King. I think that’s what they were competing for, anyway. All I know is that when I saw one ChristoMer Starfish in his sparkling blue pants and body paint, carrying his trident and being full-on oceanic, I felt there was a clear, undisputed winner. Not every guy can put on glitterpants and look like an underwater king.

Andrew Brusso and Weeki Wachee’s 2014 Calendar

Andrew Brusso; image by John Athanason

Andrew Brusso; image by John Athanason

So the brand-spanking-new 2014 Weeki Wachee Mermaids 16-month calendar is now available online, featuring gorgeous images from famed photographer Andrew Brusso. The calendar is limited edition, with only 1,000 printed and a few hundred left, and they’re 20 smackers each, or 30 if you want a signed edition from a recent calendar signing with the mermaids (there are only a handful of those left), with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Friends of Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. The calendar is a really beauteous thing. Andrew’s done all kinds of stunning, fancy photography but has a special place in his heart for mermaids—he’s an avid, ocean-loving surfer, this is his fourth Weeki calendar, and he’s also the dashing beau of the incomparable Bambi the Mermaid, queen of Coney Island. So it shouldn’t really be a surprise that he regularly dives into Weeki Wachee Spring and emerges with images like these:

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Dark Beach’s Surf/Punk “Mermaiding”

So I recently learned about an Oakland-based punk/surf band called Dark Beach consisting of two awesome, mermaid-loving girls named Melissa (on drums) and Faith (on guitar and vocals). Here they are:

promo card dark beach 1 cropped

On their Facebook page, Melissa and Faith call their genre “gloomy girl punk rock,” which is really what every band should be. Plus they sing about mermaids, which everyone should, in a gloomy girl kind of manner. Well, they did one mermaid song, called “Mermaiding,” and made this goofy, celebratory, super-fun video to go with it. Look!

Newsworthy mermaids, MerPalooza, plus my new book

Many, many mermaidly things have been happening of late. The New York Times Magazine, for instance, ran a big story about Weeki Wachee by super-smart Virginia Sole-Smith (who quoted yours truly in the article, as well as Eric Ducharme, Barbara Wynns, and other glamorous Weeki folk). The Los Angeles Times published a roundtable on The Little Mermaid. At The Huffington Post, Brenda Peterson posted an interview with Hannah Fraser. And I wrote an article on mermaids for The New Inquiry that then inspired this article on the The Atlantic Wire, this article on Jezebel, this grouchy piece on Slate, this summary of the mermaid/vampire debate on Andrew Sullivan’s The Dish, and possibly more things but I don’t know about them. Meanwhile, the government has denied the existence of mermaids, the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen is about to turn 100, and photographer Andrew Brusso delivered the 2014 Weeki Wachee calendars (interview and images to come!).

Olivia De Berardinis’ Sexy Pin-Up Mermaids

So legendary pin-up artist Olivia De Berardinis has painted a zillion gorgeous bombshells over the years (she’s been doing it since the mid-70’s and has been contributing an original painting every month to Playboy Magazine since 2004), and is not averse to the occasional bombshell mermaid. Her Bettie Page in a black latex tail is one of the most striking mermaids out there, and she has a few pink-tailed Marilyns and a host of other ultra-glam half-fish half-ladies in her oeuvre, too (not to mention a few other be-tailed Betties). I recently emailed Olivia to see if she’d talk mermaids with me, and though she noted at first that this isn’t the work she’s most known for, she did let me send her some penetrating questions and responded with this charming note:

Francesca Lia Block’s Magical Creatures

flbSo I am a huge fan of Francesca Lia Block. I first read her classic YA novel Weetzie Bat in 1995, when I’d just moved to Los Angeles from New York to attend grad school at UCLA and wasn’t totally happy to be in that weird, glittery city. But those opening lines made that whole city come alive with magic and seem like some kind of wonderland, and from then on my heart burst with Angeleno love:

Artist David Delamare and His Many Many Mermaids

So artist David Delamare is kind of a big deal, mermaid-painting-wise, and you’ve probably seen one of his mermaid masterpieces whether you know it or not. At least in your dreams or drunken wanderings (or here). I mean look:

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He’s got tattooed mirror-holding mermaids hanging out on rocks, and steampunk Marie Antoinette mermaids sitting on metal horses

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and streamy-haired mermaids hanging out around bathyspheres for possibly nefarious purposes

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and poker-playing mermaids about to cheat pirates out of valuable loot

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and well coiffed mermaids pressed against seahorses in questionable manners

Joy de Vivre’s la Vie Sirene magazine

So I’ve been aware of Joy de Vivre and her Siren School for a while, and was even set to visit one of her San-Diego-area camps last year that involved irresistible swan maidens and a whole lot of white feathers. Siren School hosts fantasy-based camps, parties, tours and even cruises centered around romantic, magical creatures (including, of course, mermaids) that every woman might want to be for a day—or longer. You can see a list of upcoming events here. More recently, she’s launched a cool online magazine called la Vie Sirene and this month its focus is mermaids. Check out the cover and click around to read, among other things, Joy’s awesome interview with one of my favorite mermaids, Weeki Wachee’s Barbara Wynns: