Archive for the Carnival Category

- I woke up for the first time in years feeling ready to go on Fat Tuesday rather than, the typical, “Oh, I don’t know how I’m going to do this” cruddy hangover notion. I was ready for greatness!

- As always it took us way too long to get ready for the Golden Traipse. Minor costume finishing and make-up always takes longer than we think. There are too many details that take up too much time. “What’s the hurry, we have all day to party!” my wife says but I don’t know. Kids got all day to open presents on Christmas day but they still do so as soon as possible right?

- Posed for this picture.

- We managed to get everyone loaded in ferry shuttles our neighbors generously provided and got over there. However, I lost my hand-painted tambourine so my music making would be a little less this year. There is a long story about how its being left at the house depended exclusively on a particular home inspector from 2005 but I don’t need to get into it.

- Kids stared at my costume transfixed. Also, I was losing plumage. Amount of costume failure must always be factored in.

- We walked down costume and as always, I bid adieu to any chance of seeing Rex or Zulu. It started by oversleeping and then developed into a real tradition. To this day, I have never seen any part of Rex and only saw a few moments of Zulu from a hotel window.

- I immediately began taking photos of people with the “petals of rejoicing” flower I carried with me and the whole set is here.

- Posted up on the first block of Decatur at Attiki and witnessed a mounted Serpas roll by.

- In the bar, I fashioned a noisemaker from some Mardi Gras beads, a Pabst Blue Ribbon can and duct tape. Saved by found objects!

- Began the traipse down Royal where it didn’t take long to encounter the raucous Krewe of Ragnarok composed of some friends and fellow artists who, and I aint even trying to be hyperbolic, made the greatest walking Krewe float ever, so far, replete with girls in cages, confetti canons and trays full of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

- We of course had to go by Jackson Square where Romy and I posed for this picture in the spot where we got engaged.

- At the Golden LOantern I experienced an ugly incident where a girl was passed out on the ground surrounded by people concerned about her and as Romy was calling the EMTs a guy with a fake penis came by and rubbed it on her face prompting a pushing match from a few ladies that were there who he threw beer on and yelled, “Go back to Kenner.” (I love it when people lead with their stereotypes) Though an ass-kicking was surely deserved at this point, as I am learning more and more recently, there are many things that are utterly douchbaggy but not illegal but there are many responses which are justified but illegal. I could have been the one in OPP on Fat Tuesday in a head dress and loincloth. So we left. I should have snapped a picture. Oh well. At least it wasn’t even close to the worst thing that happened this Mardi Gras.

- We posted up at the R-Bar and danced in the sun, drank more copious amounts of domestics, ate cookies, hollered at passers by, helped some people navigate the crowd in their car and made our way down to Frenchmen.

- I was able to use the PBR noisemaker at Frenchmen and Royal in a very tribal music making session that I seem to recall only small amounts of.

- Then Mollys, then Pirates Alley, then the Moonwalk, then the ferry, then a walk through the Point, then bed. Stuff happened and I recall it being fun.

- Wednesday morning I normally have that, “Wait, it’s over?” but it was stronger this year. I blame the teetotalism. Of course the alternative is to destroy myself more next year. Not sure which is worse. A three day recovery or a lingering sense that all was not done that could have been done. And Jazzfest aint the same. At least in a year when Arcade Fire aint there.

Can’t really seem to get a narrative going about this year’s Carnival so I’ll just do bullets…

- Raged, RAGED against the dying of the light in the majestic Krewe of Mama Roux and finally learned what it must be like to be an adored superstar. Yet somehow, in spit of all that adoration, some superstars still get hooked on crack. Cocaine is a helluva drug!

- Was buying my wife a Guided by Voices CD for Valentines day and saw Galactic’s Carnivale Electricos on sale a bit early at Louisiana Music Factory. Picked it up and popped it in where it played non-stop till Tuesday.

- All Fat Tuesday costuming completed before Thursday due to frenzied pace and much listening toi indian music.

- Caught Muses at Laffayette Square where there are baffrooms nearby and I can bring a six pack of beers an an “orange thing.” Unfortunatly, not only was my two-years streak of shoe-catching snapped but I think I walked away with perhaps four strands of beads and no real special throws in spite of my handsome good looks.

- I DID however witness a SHOE FIGHT! This one involved the Popo as a member of my party and an old lady got into it over ownership of a shoe. At first I thought perhaps my friend was at fault for ganking the shoe but the behavior of the old lady and the rest of her group the rest of the night seemed to suggest they were no angels themselves. Also, I love seeing “throw fights.”

- I slipped a bit from the “marathon not a sprint” technique Thursday night and consumed all the beers in the orange thing plus a shot of whiskey. A shaky base in which to build on.

- Having only missed one Bachuss and one Orpheus and zero Muses and D’Etats since 2006, I was determined to keep up a decent run of appearances over the years on the Thursday / Friday / Sunday / Monday night parades so I ventured back out Friday night, caught up with some friends and drank copious domestic lagers to further weaken my marathon stance. Also, throw drought continued as I honestly don’t think I caught a single item in D’Etat and only a few in Hermes. Fabulous floats in Hermes as always. Caught that parade on Canal by myself next to a very enthusiastic old couple who were acting like I did way back in 1983. Including the couple beers I had at work that day and the wine with dinner I think I had like 8 beers that day. Marathon not a sprint?

- Since the chance of rain was almost 100 percent on Saturday I stayed home from the Square and recovered from the hangover I incurred from the night before. Unfortunately for all of Algiers, our only neighjborhood parade, NOMTOC was cancelled and moved Uptown, ruining a lot of my neighbors and probably the participants’ good times. Haven’t heard anything about how it went.

- All throughout Saturday as the rain approached I wondered how Endymion’s “super campers” were fairing in the weather and could not help but delight in a tiny bit of schadenfreude at the deplorable conditions at the parades onset. Worked out for everyone involved in the end thankfully.

- The weather conditions did not bode well for sales at the Square but I put on last year’s funky pope costume and went on out anyway. Didn’t make a lot of money but did enjoy hollering at the Jesus freaks who now actually have divided into two camps, a nicer “we don’t want you to go to Hell” camp and a “You’re fucking going to Hell sinner!” camp. I just yelled “Zealots!” at those guys. Next year, I plan to make some signs with William Blake and Ecclesiastes quotes on them. Don’t they know “eat, drink and be merry” comes from the Bible?

- As a result of having worked, I missed Pants in Toth.

- More throw drought endured at Bacchus believe it or not but it was still better than previous parades. Beyond the fact that I just wasn’t getting thrown to a lot, when I was thrown to I wasn’t catching the fucking things. I felt like a bad wide receiver.

- I could blame a bit of my Bacchus issues on my positioning which was: On my right African American family of five with three kids ranging in age from 3 – 9. Behind me, three six-foot tourist men from Midwest. On my left, two high school girls from North Shore on boyfriend’s shoulders. No chance. When I moved, throw numbers increased.

- Thought Will Farrell was a good Bacchus, he played a little cowbell for us and the rumor was he was tossing cowbells as throws. Still think Hulk Hogan was the best Post-Katrina king.

- Managed to teetotal a bit this night but my neighbor more than made up for it.

- Lundi Gras always has a real nice vibe to it. In spite of the huge Christian concert that occurs in Washington Artillery park and also in spite of people’s binge’s pretty much reaching their receptive ends of the lines and hitting rock bottom. For those that can handle their drugs and alcohol, you can see the look on people’s faces in the Quarter that it’s been exhilarating for them. And they buy lots of presents for their friends and fam.

- My mom got in on Monday night and we loaded up the orange thing and checked out Orpheus where she delighted at all the celebrities. She thought every float was going to have a star on it.

- Hollered at my friend and fellow Jackson Square artist chaperoning St. Aug both nights. He told me earlier in the week he used to be the drum major back in the day. Never knew.

- Okay when I die and yall do my second line, here’s what I want: Rent the Smoky Mary float, put my casket on the locomotive part, all my friends ride in the back and throw throws while brass bands blow through the speakers. Yall make that happen for me please.

- Again, I took it easy so to prepare for Fat Tuesday and just go crazy so I only had a few beers.

Part 2 coming soon…

Found this great gallery of muses shoes on Flickr.

I was looking through my Fat Tuesday photos and saw this one taken late in the day / early in the night at a point when I was mostly intoxicated and quite spirited. It is a case when an instrument perfectly captures the state of its operator…

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- Where were all the Reno 911 ladies? When it says “cast”, I want the cast!

- There was some Awards show that happened?

- There was some speech?

- The whole season was preceded by a crippling stomach virus last Tuesday that didn’t retreat until a few hours before Muses.

- Muses was once again the best parade of the season. Next year, I won’t be denied my shoe.

- First time I ever saw Morpheus and though it was sorta ghetto.

- Skipped Endy as usual and we had a huge bonfire in the neighbor’s backyard.

- Missed Bacchus do to a slight relapse of the stomach virus but did watch it on TV. Man, if you thought Norman was tipsy during election coverage your should hear him on parade duty. Even though the best line of the night was delivered by his collegue who said, “I never knew Godzilla had such a tiny head!”

- Lundi Gras was spent costume making and Orpheus watching. Great, great parade. It’s one of my favorites. Love that train and it’s nice to have lady riders so I can get some throws like all the ladies do.

- Woke up around 8:30 on Fat Tuesday got dressed in my Hugging Molly costume and was on the ferry by 10:30. Missed Rex and Zulu again and that makes it 11 Mardi Gras without them.

- Began on Canal, worked our way up Chartres, then Royal, then Jackson Square, down Royal, over into the Marigny, around Frenchmen, over to the R Bar, back down Decatur to Jackson Square and into Pirate’s Alley, over to the Moonwalk, fell, got up, made it to the ferry, ate a burger and walked home.

- I drank all the Indians in the “yellow thing”and bought several beers as well.

- I dodged a large hole in my path around the Marigny then heard beer and bodies hitting the ground behind me as members of my party fell in.

- I saw a real live Vic and Natly.

- “Guy Shaving” was out again this year.

- I fell on the moonwalk. My foot stepped off the walk and I “overcorrected” and, ever-so-gently, collapsed.

- Even though I was very tore-out-the-frame and wearing a long white cloak, I was not shot or robbed on my walk home.

- My Hugging Molly costume was a success and I hugged many unsuspecting victims all day.

- I saw one penis, four boobies and an assload of asses.

- A map of our traipse is below…

It seems like every F’n one in town is going to Krewe Du Vieux tonight so I have just two simple requests…

1.) To the thugs, please don’t kill anyone.

2.) To the NOPD, please don’t kill anyone!

See yall out there.

Also, I think it was the late great Ashmo who proclaimed the permanent weather forecast for KDV as “cold as fuck” and for Jazzfest as “hotter than hell.” Looks like he’s got some pull in the Universe cause it’s gonna be nice.

Val Kilmer is Bacchus and I am reserving my opinion until I see him on the float because, that’s when you can tell if they are a good Bacchus or not. But hey, what does former Bacchus Steve Guttenburg think?

Ok, this entire post was just an excuse for me to post that recent pic of Gutt.

I spent Lundi Gras running around the West Bank looking for costume supplies, some horns, some spray paint, a few minor things. I’m trying rely more and more on the existing “costume box” than having to go out and buy a bunch of stuff two times a year. The box is becoming its own haberdasher of masquerades.

I wasn’t planning on getting my groove on too strong for Lundi Gras as I have been known to do in previous years. So I ate a good dinner, shaved my head into a mohawk (so I wouldn’t have to do it in the morning) and took the ferry over.

I met up with some friends and we just sat outside their hotel on Tchoup hotel and waited for the parade and talked to folks.

When it came by, I snapped a few pictures of Salt ‘n’ Pepa and Miiiiiiiiiiiiitch and noted that Sydney Torrez has the build of a nine-years-old boy.

The Krewe of Orpheus seemed to be out of gas by the time they reached us. Much of the choice throws were gone or were being saved for the Convention Center. The red flambeauxs were out of flares and the gowns were hanging off. Everybody was dragging their ass. It was still a great parade. I just remember it being better last year when we saw it a few blocks up.

I am happy to say that this was the first parade of Mardi Gras in which we did not haveto endure a single douche in our general area. Very nice!

After it was finished, I quietly worked my way back to the ferry and got a good night’s sleep.

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I woke up on Tuesday prepared. Ready to be a two-man Krewe with Romy. It took us a while to leave the house but we finally made it out the door at noon. A pitiful time to leave I know. Costumes take time. She was a drag queen and I was the Axeman of New Orleans. We posed for a pic outside the house.

We were among a dozen or so costumed folks on the ferry but met up with our friend Brice and chatted him up while we crossed. He said to find him later on Frenchmen where he would be with a fella serving drinks from a gas pump.

We disembarked and made our way toward the Marigny, stopping at a bar the name of which eludes me. We met our neighbors at said bar and had a drink to get warmed up for the jaunt. They called some other friends who met us a few minutes later and they had a drink too.

A girl under the influence of either pharmaceuticals and alcohol or hallucinogens and alcohol was dancing around and harassing me. Then she went outside and played in a cyclone of confetti whipped up by the wind and the buildings.

Another couple joined us and we set out for the Marigny. But it would be some time before we arrived and, our numbers would be dwindled.

We walked a block before everyone’s drinks were empty and their bladders full. We encountered several entities along the way, among them a Frida Khalo and a marvelous drag queen and a golden gimp.

After everyone got situated we set out again.

Then I lost them when I doubled back to catch some Indians.

Then we encountered this gentleman who Romy adored. He said he has never dressed up like this before but I have a hard time believing him since his scrotum was shaved. Unless he shaved it for some other reason. Very possible I suppose. Either way, we all were staring at him and I could tell he was loving every minute of it. One lady in our group was begging him to work out. I don’t think she understood doing so would defeat the whole purpose. Think shock and awe.

We left our direct route to travel Royal for a few blocks and everybody stopped and got drinks and peed again. The some people saw folks they knew and we stopped a few more times. Then someone stopped to talk to strangers. In an hour, we probably traveled a block and a half.

I saw this leather bound guy who said he was in love with my teeth. We had brief conversation that went like this:

Him: I love those teeth!
Me: Thanks!
Him: That costume is too much! You are fine!
Me: Thanks!
Him: But those teethe are the best!
Me: I could have glued them in but I wanted to take them out so I can drink and blow my horn!
Him: I’LL blow your horn!
Me: Thanks! See ya later!

We made our way around Royal and finally ended up by the Alibi where several members of the party stopped to get drinks and pee.

The one of my friends said he wanted to go to the Cathedral so, “Lance can harass the Christians.” I don’t know why I was volunteered as the one to harass our heavenly brothers but I have never been one to look away from responsibility when it is thrust upon me. So I walked up to the damnation congregation gathered in front of the Cabildo in my “Axeman of New Orleans” outfit and stood in front of them for a quick picture. Well, the guy on the megaphone behind me was preaching the word hot and heavy and I must say his gospel inspired me. I started showing my teeth and mimicking his words and pointing at people around me with my axe and horn, telling them they were sinners. My friend was snapping photos the whole time. This whole act inspired people around me to come up and get pictures with me and before I knew it there was a whole crowd gathered around witnessing the event. Evey time I decided enough was enough some more people made get in front of the crowd and pose with them. Then a guy dressed as a priest came up and demanded I take communion right there. he gave me a the body of Christ and some blood straight from the box. By this time another fella dressed in a green pope outfit started arguing with the congregation and the Guardian Angels had to step in to break it up. I used this opportunity to pose with Romy (dressed as a drag queen) one last time. I grabbed the sock stuffed in the crotch and we posed for this picture.

Then I removed myself from the situation before I was charged with inciting a riot.

It seemed like our group was never going to make it to the Marigny so Romy and I left them at the Cathedral as a means of possibly forming a vanguard that would serve as a motivation for them to move froward.

We left Jackson Square and proceeded to Molly’s where we were able to rest our feet and drain our bladders. We phoned the Krewe of few times but they said they were further away than when we left them. After chatting with very nice tourists, Romy’s hairstylist and some other folks, we departed for Frenchmen. This was around 3 p.m. Thats right, it took us 3 hours to get to The Marigny. It was as if it was the Land of Oz or something.

Along the way I saw this insane female joker and her sad little Warrior.

When we reached the Marigny the dancing and music in the street was in full effect. There was even a clarinetist. Things were getting a bit blurry and all the people we met and the costumes we saw were starting to blend together. We danced our butts off and I consumed some more beers.

Interestingly enough, I never caught a serious buzz this entire Carnival. I was lightly buzzed a few times but never really shitty on the mic. I never reached any significant hangover even though it was my intent at least once. I don’t really drink during parades because (and I know this makes me sound like a serious Mardi Gras nerd) the parades are often exciting enough. Now it seems that Fat Tuesday has reached that same level.

After a few hours in the Marigny, we decided to head back the other way. Romy traipsed almost the entire time. She felt muy buenisimo in her drag queen outfit. I would sometimes catch her rubbing her stuffed sock. A drunk tourist up on the balcony saw her doing it and the ensuing conversation went something like this:

Him: (leering) What you rubbing on there girl?
(approaching the balcony and grabbing the sock) Her: My dick!
Him: (stammering) I…heh….you….ahhh…what’s…uh…

It takes a lot to render a drunk Alabaman speechless on Fat Tuesday.

Romy made me take several more images of her on the way back to the ferry and then we boarded, ate a burger at the Dry Dock and went home. Mad props to Subu for picking us up and dropping us off.

Until next year ya’ll!

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Best parade: Muses (what they lacked in bands they made up for with Steppers and the like). Close second to Hermes.
Best throw: Bags of REAL GLASS BEADS.
Most throws: Orpheus
Best band: O. Perry Walker and St. Aug.
Best celeb: Hogan
Best pics: Banjo girl, Tuba man

… Hell he brings.

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Like Romy said, we have no tolerance for intolerance!

More later.

We set out around noon on Sunday. Parked by the ferry, boarded and embarked. Leaving the landing, a man began playing bongos and another strummed the guitar. They began singing Amazing Grace and all the middle-aged men with them sang along. Methinks they were going across the river to preach the gospel. Whatever the cause, their hymns made for a very spiritual jaunt across the river and, after all, it was Sunday morning.

My neighbor across the street Josh was riding in Thoth and had given us the code: 2NT1.

We met up with friends, family and neighbors and mostly hung around the 600, 700 and 800 blocks of Tchoup. We watched a few of the first parades roll by, maged to grab several bags of REAL GLASS BEADS and sip on a few cocktails. This was to be a long night so I made a “one drink an hour” rule which was broken in the first hour.

After an incredibly long wait (the highlights of which was this fantastic machine and my meeting Clevon from Idiocracy) five-hour wait, Thoth finally began to roll buy. Unfortunately, because of our back end position, the throws were lean.

Then the neighbor rolled by and started showering throws upon us. I even got me a spear and a lil rose.

Romy was getting hungry so we decided to head over to Drago’s in the Hilton. We wanted some Ersters but there was a sign out from that said they were only doing a buffet that night. No ala carte. We were pretty hungry so we decided to pay the inflated price. Then once we ordered we saw that that there were people ordering the ersters ala carte. So it goes. We should really try them at the other location anyway. The buffet was only okay. I’ve never known Carnival to be much about eating out.

I was watching the game at the bar TV between buffet runs, marveling out how much uglier Tom Petty has become. He was never cute and age hasn’t helped. I love him to death though. He’s a Florida boy.

We left the Hilton and hung out with the neighbors at their hotel and watched the game. I got nervous about missing the start of the parade so we went downstairs before the end. Luckily there were several TVs in bars and restaurants showing it. Thing was, the set I chose to watch it on was about 3 seconds behind the huge projection Lucy’s had going on the side of their building. So when Tyree made that incredible catch, I heard the whole street go crazy before Eli had even busted out of the sack attempt. Anyway, the finish to the game had everyone loving each other. High fives abound.

Then Bacchus came rolling by. I wore my “Hulkamania” shirt just to get noticed by Hogan when he rolled by. Well, I chased that steroid-freak for four blocks, running into little old ladies and everything, and I couldn’t get him to look my way. I truly felt like a peon.

In Hogan’s defense though. I do have to say he made for a pretty good King. Reason being, he is a performer. Actors and athletes are performers too but, not in the same way. A wrestler has to communicate with his audience in a very simple, very flamboyant and over-the-top way. So Hogan went through all his moves, his flexing of the muscles, his pointing and cupping his ear, all the real crowd-pleasing stuff. The people ate it up.

He just didn’t notice ME.

We finished up the parade and saw our fair share of Mardi Gras amatures, including a little brunette girl in a “French Quarter Princess” shirt who felt every throw tossed in her general area was hers by birthright. She argued with me over one then after I didn’t see things my way, snatched the rose I received earlier from off my belt loop. I guess there’s a douche in every crowd. My location probably has a lot to do with it but, WTF, I gots to stick by the ferry.

Bacchus finished up and we caught the last boat over. By this time, the fog had settled in and I was really surprised they were even running it.

Out on the river it was causeway type situation. We couldn’t see where we were going and we couldn’t see where we were from. The GNO looked like some mystical palace. I gave the river a strand of beads and asked Romy what would happen if we crossed into some other dimension out here in the fog.

It was a rhetorical question.