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Posts Tagged ‘Al Capone’

Creepshow at the Freakshow

Creepshow at the Freakshow Banner by Marie Roberts, painted in 2004. Photo taken October 27, 2012. © Tricia Vita

Artist Marie Roberts, whose sideshow banners adorn Coney Island USA’s facade, painted this one for Creepshow at the Freakshow in 2004. ATZ snapped this photo last October, but never got to post it or review the play since it was cancelled the very next day due to Superstorm Sandy! This year’s Creepshow, titled “Coney Island Criminals,” is opening this weekend, and Marie’s banner, which survived the storm, is once again in the window on Surf Avenue beckoning passersby to stop and buy tickets.

Written and directed by Dick Zigun, the interactive play takes its inspiration from an episode in the early career of Al Capone. The gangster got his nickname “Scarface” in 1917 after getting slashed at Coney Island’s Harvard Inn where he worked as a bartender/bouncer. More of Marie Roberts art will be seen in the show, including a painting of an Ivy League rowing club and the logo of Yale University’s secret society Skull and Bones, which is beguiling considering that the Harvard Inn was owned by a gang boss known as Frankie Yale and Dick Zigun is a Yale School of Drama grad.

The play also features CIUSA outside talker Scott Baker as Jimmy Durante, who got his start playing piano in Coney Island. Set design is by Kate Dale, the Juilliard prop shop supervisor and veteran “Best Mermaid” who has been the Creepshow’s designer for the past eight years. Since the Harvard Inn burned down long ago and even Seaside Walk, the street it was on, is no more, being in the audience at “Coney Island Criminals” and possibly getting hit in the face with spaghetti or made into the mob is as close as you’ll get to this place.

Coney Island USA, 1208 Surf Ave. Corner of Surf Avenue and West 12th Street, Coney Island. Creepshow at the Freakshow runs from October 11 through Halloween. Check website for days and showtimes. Tickets are $15 in advance or at the door.

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Mobster-themed window display featuring Lucky Luciano & Al Capone. Surf Avenue, Coney Island. June 28, 2012. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

On the north side of Coney Island’s Surf Avenue, the florist with the surreal Roman centurion window display that we photographed last year has morphed into a party planner with a hokey mobster-themed window display. Al Capone earned his infamous nickname “Scarface” in 1917 after getting slashed in a fight at Coney Island’s Harvard Inn. Charles “Lucky” Luciano became mob boss soon after inviting Joe “The Boss” Masseria to lunch at Nuova Villa Tammaro on West 15th Street, where Joe got rubbed out in 1931. Photos of the two mobsters (and an unidentified third man) along with faux bags of loot, bootleg liquor and getaway car are part of the window display across the street from Luna Park. May we suggest that in addition to the bar/batmitzvahs and sweet sixteen parties, the party planners open up a wax museum a la Lillie Santangelo’s World in Wax Musee? If you’re too young to remember it, watch Charles Ludlam’s silent horror short “The Museum of Wax,” shot in the late 1970s.

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August 8, 2011: Photo of the Day: Across the Street from the Cyclone

June 30, 2011: Photo of the Day: Mermaid Avenue at Dusk

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