Posts Tagged ‘James Demaria’

When Coney Island’s now demolished Henderson Music Hall was subjected to “pre-demolition” work in October, we shuddered at the destruction to come and said it was time to start planning a New Orleans style funeral. As it turns out, James Demaria, a New York filmmaker with strong ties to New Orleans, is planning a traditional “Jazz Funeral for Coney Island” on Sunday April 3, 2011.

The event is currently seeking angels on Kickstarter, the popular funding platform for artists, filmmakers and other creative types. With 23 backers and 25 days left to go, the project currently has pledges of $1,015 towards its $3,000 goal. “Our Jazz Funeral and Second Line Parade will say goodbye to the old and express our hopes for the rebirth,” says Demaria, who staged a “Second Line” over the Brooklyn Bridge last year on the same date. Following the funeral parade to dance along with the music is called “second lining.” These joyous parades have been called “the quintessential New Orleans art.”

The April 3rd event in Coney Island will feature a New Orleans style brass band, horse and carriage for the symbolic coffin, and Darryl “DancingMan504” Young leading the way. The group will stroll down Coney’s Stillwell Avenue in a somber march. But when the procession nears the Boardwalk, says Demaria, “it’s time for the dead to be reborn. From that point we will ‘Second Line’ and dance until we can’t dance no more.”

According to Kickstarter’s all-or-nothing rules, the project must be fully funded before its time expires on Saturday, February 19, to receive any funds.  The minimum pledge is just $5.00.  Pledges of $200 will receive a limited edition framed photo from the event. Pledges of $500 will receive a Second Line dance lesson by DancingMan504, with whom you will lead the parade. Here’s the project’s page on Kickstarter.

“Coney has always been one of my haunts and I feel that both places have a similar aura. NOLA and NYC for that matter,” DeMaria tells ATZ. He says the project is part of his mission of keeping the Second Line culture alive. The New York City-based photographer is currently working on a series of films and photo stories with the musicians of New Orleans and plans to film the event. “Coney Island USA is behind us to help secure the permits. Jambalaya Brass Band out of New York City will be playing along with some New Orleans musicians who are flying up for the event,” Demaria says.

“In turn, we will use the footage to help shine a light on DancingMan’s charitable program, ‘Heal To Toe.’ Since Hurricane Katrina, Darryl has been using his gift of dance to inspire and motivate the kids of New Orleans. He helps them get in shape and instills a sense of pride in their culture that was almost destroyed in 2005.”


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