Our Mystery Guest, Dick Zigun, founded a popular New York City event in 1983. Ophira and guest house musician Julian Velard work together to figure out this secret by asking "yes" or "no" questions.
OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:
While Jen and Brian get ready for their final round, it's time for Julian Velard and myself to play a game. This is called Mystery Guest. A stranger is about to come on stage. We have no idea who this person is or what makes them special, but our puzzle guru, Cecil Baldwin, does.
CECIL BALDWIN: That's right. So Ophira and Julian are going to work together as a team to figure out our mystery guest's secret by asking yes-or-no questions. All right, Mr. Guest, could you introduce yourself?
DICK ZIGUN: Hello, America, My name is Dick Zigun and in 1983, I founded a very popular New York event.
BALDWIN: All right, Ophira.
EISENBERG: A New York event. Was it an event for people with incredible, iconic voices?
JULIAN VELARD: Is this an annual event?
EISENBERG: OK. Does this event involve eating?
VELARD: Is it still happening, this event, every year?
EISENBERG: Is this event something that I could compete in?
ZIGUN: Absolutely, yes.
EISENBERG: So it's for very good-looking people?
ZIGUN: Yes, and others.
BALDWIN: And their friends.
EISENBERG: And their friends.
VELARD: Does this event take place somewhere very iconic in New York?
EISENBERG: OK. Does this event take place in Coney Island?
VELARD: Did you start the Mermaid Parade?
ZIGUN: Yes, I did.
VELARD: That was teamwork. That was teamwork, Ophira. Teamwork makes the dream work.
EISENBERG: Julian Velard is so quick at this. OK. Dick, for people that don't know what the Mermaid Parade is, how would you describe it? Someone's like, I want to go...
ZIGUN: It's the world's largest art parade. And we do it because it's a wacky way for New York City artists to self-express themselves.
EISENBERG: And people dress up as mermaids but also other nautical-themed beings?
ZIGUN: They dress up as oil slicks sometimes.
EISENBERG: Sure. What was the first Mermaid Parade?
ZIGUN: There were more people in it than watching it.
ZIGUN: And now it's bigger than Boston, they say.
EISENBERG: (Laughter) The amount of people.
ZIGUN: The population...
EISENBERG: Is bigger than Boston?
ZIGUN: The whole Mermaid Parade is bigger than Boston.
EISENBERG: And why did you decide - what was your inspiration to say that you know what we need? We need the Mermaid Parade.
ZIGUN: Because I'm one of those people who think that clothing and glitter are clothing.
EISENBERG: I agree. I love...
ZIGUN: And the streets of Coney Island are literally named Mermaid Avenue and Neptune Avenue. The idea of mermaids marching without feet struck me as funny
EISENBERG: And so you - you just decided that artists - are you - are you an artist?
ZIGUN: I'm an artist. I have two degrees in theater, but instead of aspiring to Broadway, I had this really stupid idea that Coney Island could be a staging ground. I'm also the founder of Coney Island USA, a nonprofit arts organization that runs the Coney Island Freak Show.
EISENBERG: Oh, yeah.
EISENBERG: How many years has the Mermaid Parade been going on now?
ZIGUN: Thirty-five years.
ZIGUN: This is our Coral anniversary, and we're so psyched that Debbie Harry and Chris Stein from Blondie are king and queen.
ZIGUN: June 17.
EISENBERG: Who are other memorable king and queens from prior years?
ZIGUN: Well, our rock 'n' roll heritage includes Lou Reed, David Johansen, David Byrne, Moby, Queen Latifah. Harvey Keitel not so long ago was King Neptune.
EISENBERG: (Laughter) Yeah. Oh, my God. I - I'm very proud to meet you. I love your work.
ZIGUN: Thank you.
EISENBERG: (Laughter) And I look forward to being part of the 35th anniversary of the Mermaid day Parade, one of the best things about New York City in the summertime.
ZIGUN: All right, thank you.
EISENBERG: Thank you so much.
VELARD: Thank you.
EISENBERG: Give it up for our mystery guest, Dick Zigun.
(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.