Showing posts with label mardi gras. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mardi gras. Show all posts

22.8.19

Aesthetic Thursday: Design Art from the Krewe of Proteus from the 1892 Mardi Gras in New Orleans


"A Dream of the Vegetable Kingdom" — Proteus Pageant of 1892
I have a wonderful postcard of a fairy man that my mother sent me. I'm guessing he is the king of Proteus. He holds a scepter with what appears to be a butterfly at the end. In fact, he's more butterfly than fairy — as can be seen by the gorgeous decal of a butterfly pinned to his chest, and the butterfly adorned on his crown and the sheer fact that he's wearing butterfly wings. His boots are also butterfly-decorated and he is wearing a cape and white leggings. He has a turn-of-the-century mustache that was popular for men at the turn-of-the-century and he seems ready for a magical evening.  
Water-color from Tulane University Special Collections
"Proteus, No. 1"
New Orleans Mardi Gras Krewes Are Part of the City's History
The image is of a costume watercolor design for select members of the Mystic Krewe of Proteus — a now-defunct Mardi Gras men's pleasure group. The watercolor has been preserved by the folks at Tulane University's Special Collections Library. The university has amassed a wide assortment of what they call their "Carnival Holdings". This costume, which is in the collection, was designed for the pageant that year — in 1892. Mardi Gras krewes are typically famous for their public parades that entertain citizens of the city with illustrious floats that traverse the city at night and garner people with "throws" — but lesser-known is the glamourous pageants that krewe-members organized every year. They were often masked balls for the upper crust of the city — I say past tense as if they do not occur anymore. In fact, one of the hottest tickets for any socialite in New Orleans is one of these balls or pageants. I have a fabulous picture of my mother and great grandmother at one of these balls. They are truly a feature of New Orleans history — and this winged fairy man, part of Proteus's theme for that year — "A Dream of the Vegetable Kingdom" is highly inspired. I'd wear it!
source: Carlotta Bonnecaze, "Proteus, No. 1," water-color costume design for Proteus pageant, 1892: "Dream of the Vegetable Kingdom" / Schindler, Henri. Mardi Gras Treasures: Costume Designs of the Golden Age. Gretna, La: Pelican Pub. Co, 2002. Print.

12.7.18

Throwback Thursday: My Mother at the Anubis Carnival Ball in New Orleans (Circa the 1970s)

Pamela Perronne dressed up in purple brocade as a maid in waiting for the Anubis Carnival Ball in New Orleans, Louisiana (c. 1970s)
Mom at the Anubis Ball in New Orleans, Louisiana (circa 1970s) 
Throwback Thursday: 
A few Thursdays ago, I posted a Throwback photograph of my maternal great-grandmother at the Anubis Carnival Ball in New Orleans. As a successor to that post, here is a photograph of my beautiful mother Pamela Roselli. She was a maid escort in the ball. The photograph is circa the 1970s - I'd say. As far as I can tell from my research, the Krewe of Anubis was a non-parading krewe - which basically means they did not have a parade during the Mardi Gras season. The krewe was originally established by local businessmen in the pharmaceutical industry. I don't think Anubis is still functioning as a krewe today. Does anyone in my family have an exact date on this photograph? I'd love to add it to my family history files.

28.7.17

Family Photograph: Throwback to A New Orleans Mardi Gras from the 1990s

I really like Mardi Gras. Even when I was thirteen. Throwback post to that time I went to "all dem parades" for Mardi Gras back in 1993.
For many years as a kid, I would go with my family 
to the "truck parade" on Mardi Gras day on Veterans
Highway in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana. 
I wanted to save this post for actual Mardi Gras - but, heck, it's kinda too funny to wait - and I'm impatient.

For me, New Orleans Mardi Gras wasn't really celebrated in New Orleans. We went to Jefferson Parish, secured a spot on Veterans Highway in Metairie, a few miles west of the Orleans Parish line.

On this strip of highway, folks set up ladders on the neutral ground (the grassy median). We got there early, lugged ice chests filled with sandwiches, cola, and liquor (for the adults).

In the Metairie version of Mardi Gras, the first parade is run by the Krewe of Argus (compared to the Krewe of Rex which runs on Saint Charles in New Orleans). Argus is an interesting choice for a Mardi Gras pleasure krewe. Argus is the mythological creature with a thousand eyes - so he can sleep but keeps several eyes open. The signature Argus float is spectacular in my memory - a bust of the many-eyed giant flanked by papier-maché peacocks.

Maybe I caught the undies and bra at Argus? I don't remember.

In the photo, we're waiting for the truck parade. It rolls immediately after the Krewe of Argus. The trucks number in the low hundreds. They're eighteen-wheeler cabs affixed to a flatbed converted into a Mardi Gras float.

Maybe I got the wig from home? I'm not sure - but judging from this picture it was one helluva Mardi Gras in Metairie, Louisiana.

16.2.10

Signposts: Mardi Gras Irony

A sign at the entrance to the French Quarter in New Orleans tells people do not walk around with glass bottles (but you can put your drink in a plastic cup).
I found it ironic that this municipal sign is attached to a pole on the entrance to Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana.

13.2.10

Mardi Gras: Go to the Endymion Parade

The best way to know New Orleans is to traverse her streets during Carnival.


My friend's D's brother D.

6.2.10

A Mardi Gras Prosody: "The Night that Precedes Chaos"

I only had a twenty. Bought a coffee at Camellia grill. Got some change. Holla. Were the elections today?
A still photograph of a full cup of black coffee (with a torn sweet and low on the saucer)
Getting on a streetcar can only bring one as far as Napoleon avenue; every Carnival goer without a car knows that!
Chancellor Karla takes a ride on the New Orleans Streetcar (interior)
Here we go. The only information I don't have is the route. Saint Charles is blocked. We get off the streetcar. We're taking Freret street.
Chancellor Karla takes a ride on the New Orleans Streetcar (interior)
We are on La Salle/Simon Bolivar now, to Jackson avenue, to turn on Oretha Castle Haley Blvd.
A view in front of a Saint Charles Avenue Mansion Lit Up at Night (exterior)
I think we're on Loyola. Will be at Canal in no time. A handsome time to let loose. Now all I have to do is find Taryn.
Faye Maurin enjoys a candid shot at a local restaurant in New Orleans on New Years Day

28.2.06

On St. Ann and Bourbon

Inez says Bourbon in French (BOR-bon) while flirting with Lanette from Poplarville. “LAAAnettE, pass me a clOve, s’il vous plait.” Lanette laconically slithers one out of a white and blue cigarette box and shakes it onto Inez’s hand. “OUAI. Merci,” Inez cries in rapt glee, using the word “yes” as a sign of joy rather than positive affirmation. Lanette is smeared with cakey doughy make-up and her teeth shine with the brightness of adult braces; she’s a dishwasher at a corner hotel restaurant on Dumaine and Royal. Inez wears a grey t-shirt and jeans, her hair cropped, her face round like a kewpie doll. I had never met them before; they’re my friend’s Tony’s friends but they had graciously given me a ride from the corner of Magazine and Elenore to the Quarter. Standing at the corner, watching the défilé of cars, I felt like a street prostitute, early in the morning -- the people perched in their cars eyed me up and down, everyone, as they rode passed, following the chartered Magazine, that follows the chartered Mississippi. The mind-forged manacles I hear.

I am dressed blandly, but I figure I complement the colors with my bright yellow collared shirt adorned with Endymion and Bacchus beads and a blue blazer, looking bohemian in performance but nothing compared to Bianca Del Rio, the hostess on stage -- she wears a whole new set of eyes to look pretty and a Raggedy-Ann hair-do two shades of orange to the left. She only has three jokes in her repertoire: ‘Dam that levee with a tampon, hon’; ‘Bitch, you need to get off this stage’; or jokes that were only funny because she peppered them with, ‘fuck, whore, and mother fucker’.

The crowd is full this year. It is hilarious to see the mix of people on the street filing pass centre stage. I see an octogenarian and his octogenarian wife decorated with sequins and grinning from ear to ear. A couple from MinneSNOWta cupping their mouths in fake horror at the debauched language push through the crowd and out of sight. A Dallas football player with a Yin-Yang symbol on his abdomen grabs my ass and tells me he loves Bianca. A mealy, shirtless dude is pawing the concrete floor for fallen dollars; he claims to be a priest.

Jason, a Tulane architecture student (with a Roman-style haircut) told me about his plans to rebuild Tremé, a rotted out neighborhood plunged in depths of floodwater. There were two Adonises in greeney vines who kissed one another on the cheek every time a joke cracked on stage, holding tight to each other’s buttocks. One was younger than the other; the older like a handsome middle-aged spirit, an Oberon with his Puckish fairy in tow -- a sight to behold. One of my favorites. They looked like a Pierre and Gilles photograph. Tony took a photograph of them with his cell phone.

Lanette flames a cigarette with the quick light of a match on the back of a red pub matchbox. The balcony above us is filled with spectators and Larry, the compulsive liar in our group, claims to know the most beautiful of them all. He points to a River Phoenix god and grins. Waving. He is Capote-esque in his flair and deceit. A large, reddened scar, adorns his right cheek and I am afraid of him. He is my best friend Tony’s boyfriend. Larry, dressed in a boa lifts his beer to the Olympian skies. The sky cover is azure blue and pimpled with one-dimensional wisps of smoke. That night, in my dreams, I dream in black and white, over-stimulated from reality’s rainbow of color. Tony thrusts his canteen with gin and tonic in my face, “Drink it, you’ll need it.”

During Mardi Grass, I think of Judith Butler and Divine. Pink Flamingoes. Whew. Gender Trouble. Is that a boy or a girl in front of me? I don’t know. Although I had dressed up as a Georgia floozy once for kicks, I had never before been so unsure of sex! Are we really imposed with post-Freudian categories of sex, inscribed on our bodies? Is all this a show or is this true identity? I am getting really sick, quick, of the stupid post-structuralist categories and take another swig of a gin and tonic. Looking for something to interpret without being mired in Queer Theory, I stare at a cute boy, my mind all tabula rasa and the images infiltrate my brain unmitigated by my insane hermeneutics. Unanamuo is right, “Consciousness is a disease!” (Or is it Nietzsche?). Note to self: never think of literary criticism when you are dranking and smoking in the French Quarter on Mardi Gras, I say to myself. “I’m not drunk! I’m just dranking!!” goes the old jazz tune.

In France on Mardi Gras, Inez tells me, in her village not far from Lourdes, they wear masques and profess their love or hate to those they would never confess in the flesh. A boy kisses a girl hidden beneath a masque he would never dream of meeting during Ordinary Time. Mardi Gras is a time to be someone else, to wear a façade for the evening. Social class collapses and the streets glisten with artificial egalitarian glory. The queers, dykes, jeeves, proletariats, monks, nuns, whores, bosses, boys, nerds, punks, skaters, preps, WASPS, bible thumpers, republicans, and democrats converge on our city in harmony -- for a while. Utopia, indeed. Mardi Gras is a weird version of Passover. You get rid of all the old leaven by consuming king cake and Abita Beer. You act out your repressed desires and try something different.

At the end of the party, on Ash Wednesday, the faithful crash at the end of this blitz and drag their tired bodies into church to be smeared with cendres mortes du souvenir. We all become one body in need of salvation on Mardi Gras. Vincent, also from France, tells me, though, he isn’t getting ashes on Wednesday. "Maybe next week," he says. His red and yellow costume looks a little faded and I ask him who he is supposed to be for Mardi Gras. “This is not a costume, mon ami. I wanted to dress up but couldn’t decide what to wear.” A shirtless bear passes us by with a placard that read, “God Loves Gays. After all, why did he make so many of us?” The drag queens were thinning out and people were being forced down the street like an insane parody of the entrance into Inferno: "Abandon all hope ye who enter here"

Camouflage underwear, usually not my type, but from all the boys dancing on the bar, I choose stripper #1 to tuck a five-dollar bill underneath the slip of his pants, shortened 
 staring up, like a kid awing a parent, my mouth drops open and I motion him to squat down to my level, “what are the rules?” I ask and he replies, “Whenever I want you to.” The place is dirty and dark, the only visible lights illuminate the trash and ATM receipts on the floor. The music is too loud for intimate conversation. Raw energy invades the place. A threesome in one corner. Two high school boys in another corner dancing. A drag queen who looks like Lucy Rubble smokes a cigarette by the stairwell. A drunken kid appears by my side and gives me an orange-tinged drink; he is so drunk that he falls toward me and I have to hold him up. I walk him outside to the light and prop him up against the concrete wall of the bar; he is a tan boy about sixteen years of age. I can’t help but be paternal, and say, “Aren’t you too young to be drinking?” He mumbles something as if I have said something horrible and casts his eyes to the ground. Two women come by who claim to be his mom and aunt; “He’s a little worldly for his age and we are trying to help him out.” Oh my god, I think. The poor thing. I have no fucking clue to what they mean by “trying to help him out” but I become maternal and stray my wrist against his cheek and tell him to behave. I am stunned at how soft his skin is; the women help him along the Mardi Gras streets of New Orleans and he disappears into the din.

When I go back into the bar, stripper #1 is about to go back to work. I put my arms around his shoulder and tell him he doesn’t have to do anything for me. “You’re just beautiful. I just want to tell you that." “That’s the nicest thing somebody has told me today. Thanks.” I imagine him coming back to my hotel room but the fantasy vanishes as quickly as it comes and I feel depressed. Stripper #1 climbs back on the bar and winks at me. All he needs is a can of Pepsi and he could be an advertisement in Advocate.

Tony calls me on my cell phone, upset. Bianca Del Rio has just confessed to him that his boyfriend is a compulsive liar and that she can’t stand him. “You deserve better than that bitch,” she told him. Bianca is very talented and has become nominally famous with a fashion designer in New York. Her photograph on a poster in the bar has her looking up into heaven, her eyelashes longer than a #2 pencil. Tony has vacated Larry’s hotel room and we exit the French Quarter quicker than Bonnie Clyde out of a Kansas bank. I am still really sad about Stripper #1. I can’t keep my mind off him and half pay attention to Tony’s break-up story. “It’s over with him. I can’t stand to be lied to. He told me he loved me. Now I am never going to believe it when someone says they love me. You know? And I haven’t even seen my mom in days. Because of Larry. He buys me all kinds of shit as if that’ll make up for all the lies he has been spreading. It’s over.”

We walk underneath a sign spread out between the streets, “The Mayor of New Orleans supports GLBT issues. Go to glbtnola.com for more information. When I get home I check out the site.