2007_06_arts_jill.jpgJill Cunniff keeps a blog (a "MamaLog") about being a mom and a musician in New York, but you probably know her best as the lead singer and bass player of early-90s band Luscious Jackson. The band broke up in 2000, but Jill is still creating and performing music - all while being a mom, a wife, and doing her part to clean up New York's beaches.

This weekend she'll perform at the Mermaid Parade Ball on Saturday and The Annex on Sunday.

Your latest album, City Beach, is inspired by Coney Island. Can you tell us more about the background?
I am a native New Yorker and Coney Island has always been my city beach of choice. I love the place with all its funk and flavor, what can I say? I am a big fan of all of the Coney Island USA endeavors, from the Mermaid Parade to the Coney Island Museum etc etc. Even though there is room for improvement in many ways, I would love to see Coney Island retain its character during this process. I am hoping to organize a beach cleanup with the Surfrider Foundation - stay tuned for that- or go to BarefootBeachRescue.com and vote to get Coney Island cleaned on August 18th!

What do you think of the recent developments at Coney Island?
I have been following the saga with developers Thor Equities and hear that they recently dropped their condos on the beach plan- glad to hear it. I hope they don't go too Vegas or Disney and go with a turn of the century amusement theme- that would be amazing. I love to look at pictures of the old amusements in a book I have called "Brookyn, Then and Now". It's amazing what they had going in 1904- like Luna Park, "an exotic jumble of plaster minarets, Venetian archways, pagodas and gargoyles" that became a "glittering wonderland" at night with thousands of electric lights. Or Dreamland- where visitors could travel to the four corners of the world through re-creations (like a sleighride through Switzerland, a gondola in Venice, etc).

How many times have you ridden the Cyclone?
Never- and now I won't because I am VERY sensitive to motion- not sure why. My husband goes on it regularly so I live vicariously through him.

Early on with Luscious Jackson you opened up for the Beastie Boys at the now long gone Building downtown, what were those days like?
Exciting and nerve wracking. We opened our first gig for Cypress Hill and the Beastie Boys at the Building and I remember being SO nervous. Thank god we pulled it off - or maybe our friends were just being nice.

Luscious Jackson was the first band signed to the Beastie Boys Grand Royal label, where you put out a song called CitySong. In those lyrics you called New York a " place to disappear," do you still feel that way?
I love the anonymity of New York, and I still feel that if I need to wander through the city alone I can co-exist with the human race in a way that is very comfortable for me.

Please share your strangest "only in New York" story.
As a teenager, I was on the subway with a friend and we saw a very old man in a suit slowly stop living, and I believe he passed away right there. The medics came and took him. It was very peaceful.

Given the opportunity, how would you change New York?
Slow down the development, create preservation of small business districts so they are not killed off (ie the suburbification of the West Village, Chelsea and the Atlantic Yards Project in Brooklyn which threatens to overshadow a huge area of Browstone Brooklyn).

Under what circumstance have you thought about leaving New York?
I went to college in Northern California (UC Berkeley) and CA is the main state I consider moving to. I think if NY becomes too big and commercial I will eventually call it quits. I live in Brooklyn now which is still quite charming (though moving towards possible overdevelopment as I mentioned).

Can you please recommend a good weekend hang-out that isn't unbearably mobbed?
I like Bar Toto in Park Slope for food and drinks on a nice evening. The outdoor umbrella seating is very european.

Do you have a favorite New York celebrity sighting or encounter?
I went to Big Bird's wedding when I was a kid and I haven't really topped that one.

What's your current soundtrack to the city?
The sound of my daughter's stroller wheels rolling over the sidewalk.

Best venue for music?
I like the Celebrate Brooklyn concert series in Prospect Park.

What's the best subway line?
Definitely not the F which is my train.

Favorite headlines: NY Post or Daily News?

Yankees or Mets?
Yankees- or should I say Coney Island Cyclones?