Parades II.

by angeliska on April 7, 2009

Ahem! I will now turn back the calendar pages to February
and continue revisiting my marvelous Mardi Gras visit..
Bear with me, faithful readers- it make take several installments,
but I promise it will be worth the wait in juiciness and flavor..
These tales take time to ripen, and also- well, the present
always has a way of intervening in the most interesting ways..

We visited Pandora and Nina’s classroom and studio space
where they teach a Parade Arts and Puppetry class to local youths.
Colton Middle School was one of the many public schools that never
re-opened after Katrina. Grants were acquired, and the abandoned space
has been transformed into studio spaces for artists-in-residence
who teach classes and workshops to the community.
Check out the Colton Studios site for more information about this project.

Their class constructed an amazing float for the parade-
It’s the Bush Family (George Dubya, Laura and the twins)
depicted in papier mache as fish-monkeys being hauled
out to sea to drown by a mighty bull ridden by President Obama
(who is wearing a fabulous tracksuit and sporting a Jheri-curl afro!)

I got a sneak peek at the float the night before the parade-
so this is the bull before Obama has been set astride.
Such power and ferocity in a paper form- and so much inventiveness
and passion from these middle-school kids, it was so great to see!

I found this wonderful Shedu (or Lamassu) whilst getting very lost
in the echoing labyrinth of Colton. The Shedu is a celestial being
from Mesopotamian mythology. He is a human above the waist
and a bull below the waist. He also has the horns and the ears of a bull.
The bull man helps people fight evil and chaos.
He holds the gates of dawn open for the sun god Shamash.

I then encountered this wise owl, and his jovial companion the moon.

Can you believe this enormous paper Hurricane?
It was so beautiful and terrifying to behold. So delicate,
that perfect form representing so much sadness, so much destruction.

Colton Parade Arts Class presents: OBAMA TIME!

Oh yeah, I forgot that Obama was holding a boom-box on his shoulder!
That’s Miss Mo Lappin of HOWLPOP laughing her famous laugh-
she’s one of my favorite people, and a fabulous fashion designer.

Pandora and the kids all worked so hard for weeks to make this happen-
it was truly thrilling to see it all come together. I loved seeing everyone
from the neighborhood coming out of their houses and joining in the parade..

Drew and Randall (aka. Londo Sandooglebomb and Chili Franjelico)

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman)
The parade was accompanied by the Ninth Ward Marching Band
who rocked my world by playing the best line-up of songs ever:
Hey There Lil Red Riding Hood by Sam the Sham & The Pharaohs
Here Come The Girls – Ernie K. Doe
The Boys Are Back In Town – Thin Lizzy
and of course the theme to Halloween by John Carpenter,
which gives me the most delightful chills every time!
It’s pretty incredible to have some of your most favorite songs
of all time translated into brass and crashing cymbals and glockenspiel!

The dance team was off the hook- and check out Miss Nina Nichols in her big white hat!

The parade ended up at Mimi’s in the Marigny, with all the cheerleaders and gun girls
lined up dancing on the bar, and the whole parade crowded in, the band going crazy.
I had a giant smile on my face and tears streaming down my cheeks, at that moment-
in my old neighborhood bar, with all my long-lost friends- feeling like I’d come home.
I never knew Thin Lizzy could evoke such poignant and joyous emotions in me,
but that song is forever transformed. These videos don’t do any of it justice-
I really wish you could have been there with me. One day you’ve got to see it for yourself!

Okay, one last bit of cuteness- the adorably dorky baton squad warming up
on the neutral ground- I like the crazy color and the sound is pretty good.
Listen- I know everyone’s feeling the pinch right now,
but if anyone has a minute and a little dosh to spare- please go check
out the New Orleans Airlift Project! My dear friends are going to
Berlin this summer to perform and share what NOLA is all about-
it’s going to be really amazing, but not everybody has been able
to get the funding and travel grants to get there. Check out the
short film featuring artists’ works, music, interviews and documentary
footage for a glimpse of New Orleans Now, and if you can- please
donate and spread the word far and wide!
The New Orleans Airlift is coming to Berlin this June 2009
to present a showcase of New Orleans style entertainment.
Catch them performing at the Berlin Lacht Mariannenplatz Festival
from June 12th- 14th and Fusion Festival from June 25th – 28th.
So far, the roster includes
The Black Forest Fancies
The Buckleshiners
Cloris Flap
Bagatelle Theatre Company
The Scotty and Billy Dance Company
MC Sub-Zero Permafrost
My Graveyard Jaw
The Magnetic Ear
Meschiya Lake
Rusty Lazer
Tausend danke, y’all!


aw, that made me teary. also YAY FINALLY MARDI GRAS POSTS!!
costume posts, please!!

by verhext on April 8, 2009 at 9:49 pm. Reply #

beautiful!!! i love that pandora and nina are working with middle schoolers there to create such beautiful things out of the chaos – that is amazing!!! say hello to them and that i am happy to have fellow middle school-philes!!! see you sunday? love, p

by Patience on April 9, 2009 at 8:18 pm. Reply #

last time i was at mardi gras was in 2006! seing these pictures and videos of the familiar people and places makes me very homesick for new orleans. i lived ther for 20 years. i may have to restart reading proust’s “in search of a lost time” to help reflect on the transitory aspect of life

by jose fernandes on May 1, 2009 at 11:38 pm. Reply #

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