Greetings from the other side of the best Mardi Gras ever. I trust that everyone is resting up and regaining their lucidity and health after a hectic and wonderful Carnival season.
First, I would like to thank each and every one of the 'tit Rex members, old and new, who participated in this year's parade, and without whom it would not have been the smashing success that it was. Every single member had a unique and beautiful vision that they brought to the parade, which in aggregate contributed to the unique and beautiful nature of the parade as a whole.
I would also like to give a special thanks, in no particular order, to:
Rob Cambre: who not only was a fabulous Sinatraesque emcee at parade's end, but also was instrumental in securing both space and atmosphere at the Saturn Bar for the pingpong Ball festivities.
Speaking of, Michael Hurrt and the Haunted Hearts who very smoothly and very voluntarily shared their venue at the Saturn with 'tit Rex, and made for a pleasantly memorable Ball.
Michelle Melancon, who in addition to organizing the tiny throw meetings throughout the year, went above and beyond the call of duty by making and printing out templates for tiny cups And making yet another kick-ass 'tit Rex poster (she is now 2 for 2 in kick-ass posters). Oh, yes, the sashes are brilliant, too (sorry, Jonathan! - you will always be remembered as the originator of the 'tit Rex sash).
Speaking of, Jonathan Traviesa, who helped suss out a great route and who hooked up 'tit Rex with a double helping of PR via the New Orleans Art Council.
Christopher Skinner, who generously provided the pre-parade spread at Bacchanal (it sucks that you were sick the day of the parade, scro!)
Janine Hayes, whose trustworthiness, doggedness, and fiscal responsibility ensured that our funds went to their stated purposes, who 'finished strong' by establishing parade day logistics, and who was instrumental in securing Egg Yolk Jubilee to march with us.
Egg Yolk Jubilee, for providing a class act for the second year in a row.
Dana Embree, who graciously allowed her Stitch & Bitch to be overrun with 'tit Rexers for those last crucial tiny throw meetings.
Tatyana Meshcheryakova, whose patience & tolerance enabled me to spend nearly sleepless nights in the living room during the week leading up to the parade.
Marcus, who kindly gave not one, but two! float-building workshops which helped bring our collective techniques to the next level.
The many fans who arrived at the parade in theme with tiny barricades, stepladders, boob-baring barbies, etc. So sweet.
Last but not least Cree McCree, who provided us with a great PR hook-up that really brought 'tit Rex into the public consciousness (a map in the Times-Pic? c'mon!) and thus made for a well-attended parade.
Speaking of this last bit of publicity, I would like to digress and address a potential misconception. Tatyana told me that her impression from the Lagniappe article was that I sounded as if I thought that all superkrewes are "shabby" or consistently unworthy of merit, which is not true at all. I just referenced the one underwhelming superkrewe parade in 2006 (which is understandable, considering the extenuating circumstances) as the genesis for the 'tit Rex idea. Thus, I would like to go on record as saying that I fully enjoy the Giant Spectacle that superkrewes like Bacchus and Morpheus provide; the Medium Spectacles such as Muses and Krewe d'Etat provide; the small spectacle of a krewe like Dreux and Vieux; and the tiny spectacle at which Box of Wine excels. Naturally, I feel that 'tit Rex fits in at the micro end of this continuum, not as a usurper for the title "King of Mardi Gras," but as one more element in the meta-parade that is the Mardi Gras Season.
However, what i think makes 'tit Rex unique among Mardi Gras parades is that although it is a parade with floats, yet the krewe members are at the same level as the crowd on the street: there is no unequal power distribution as there is with a krewe that rides its members above the crowd. It could be said that walking krewes are also at the same level as the crowd, but to this claim i have two points: 1.)Most stand-alone walking krewes march within the controlled chaos of Mardi Gras Day, and 2.)walking krewes do not adhere to the float format. This peculiar synthesis of walking krewe and riding krewe is revolutionary in its daring upending of traditional Mardi Gras power relationships. So, 'tit Rexers, hold your heads up high! you form a unique part of Mardi Gras history, and belong to something that is unique (at least, in 2009 and 2010...)
Getting back down to a more operational analysis of 'tit Rex, I have gathered the many trenchant observations from both participants and viewers of the parade, and will attempt to produce them all below (if i forget something, please feel free to add in the comments to this post):
Of primary importance, as it seems with so many other endeavors in life, seems to be the tempo of the parade. An illustration: Tatyana related to me that during a particularly brisk stretch of the parade, an onlooker commented "Hi! Bye!"
Owing to the tiny nature of the parade, I believe that it is critical that onlookers have enough time to view and appreciate our works of art. Again, I am by no means disparaging the large floats with the following analogy; it is true that visually, large objects are grasped more quickly than their more subtle counterparts: think Pamela Anderson vs. Audrey Tautou, simple addition vs. differential calculus - i think you get the point. 'tit Rex needs to be slower for our public to appreciate and love.
Part of the fault lies with me: due to our limited budget for the police escort, we had an average of six minutes a block to cover. Obviously this average was not enough. Solutions: shorten the length of the parade (no cost) and/or lengthen the time for which we have the police escort (additional cost). I think it would be more fun for us if we had a more relaxed pace (note i said "more"), and much more enjoyable for the onlookers.
apropos the tempo:
1.) The first band should be placed after the queen and king float, and before the title float. This will allow our 'tit Rex royalty to dictate the tempo of the parade.
2.) Shorten the route
3.) Lengthen the time of permit
4.) Two bands - one in front and one in back. A point that was brought up this year but must be realized in 2011 for the sake of morale and all-around ass kicking, especially considering that the 2011 parade will have more elements. A more robust fund-raising program will make two bands happen.
5.) The fishing lines by which we drag the floats need to be illuminated somehow - to avoid the tripping over of by spectators and ourselves, and for general Safety.
6.) We need title placards for each float - a thought which I had this year and last, but because of time limitations became low priority. If we truly appreciate our spectators, however, a title placard becomes essential - not least because this neat little device will free up each float puller from explaining the float to every spectator.
7.)more throws! i think we all ran out pretty quickly. Granted, loot is not the primary reason to attend this parade, but it also sucks to be empty-handed. More frequent tiny throw meetings and/or subcontracting tiny bead-making out to teenage friends and relatives.
8.) bring your own. Having your own liquor supply not only makes you happier, but also limits the time spent waiting at bars for your drink (and holding up the parade).
9.) It was suggested that rather than describe the floats via PA at parade's end, we should stick to tradition, and have a mini-review stand at some mid-point in the parade (complete with toast), at which the emcee can perform his/her time-honored duty. That way when the parade arrives at its final destination, we can start kickin ass and taking names stat!
10.) leave a comment for further suggestions
Like most New Orleanians in 2010, I will be taking my cue from the Saints' proven success model, and ride the 'tit Rex momentum for full advantage until it can be ridden no more, and then create new momentum. Rest assured, there will be no lack of copycat microkrewes in the years to come, who will be all too happy to knock us off our micro throne. Not on my watch, I say! To that end, there are two primary goals on my agenda for the coming year:
I like everyone in our krewe, but let's face it: we are a Social Aid and Social Pleasure club. Meaning: we don't hang out enough! Let's not forget the social pleasure part. After all, with membership come benefits. To a large extent I aim to make our fundraising events extended parties. More importantly, we need to have fun without the pressure of raising money. So for point 1.), I propose a 'tit Rex crawfish boil sometime in March or April (members and prospective members only). I am also volunteering Jonny to shuck oysters (he redeemed himself at the Superbowl).
for point 2.),
A.)never fear, there are many fund-raising ideas, one realizable in the near future, and one (courtesy of Gianna Chachere) realizable in the even nearer future. All of them are fun, crazy game-changers. 'tit Rex will rewrite the book on fund-raising, as it has rewritten the book on Mardi Gras parades - my personal promise to you. We will cover in greater detail in our secret meetings. Think of the period from Jazzfest to Halloween as 'tit Rex fund-raising season. We need something to spice up the New Orleans summer doldrums - why not us?
B.) the period from 29 June to July 31 I officially decree as 'tit Rex Month.
C.) I plan on announcing a Merch Czar (with the blessing of the board of directors, of course). Merchandising will become a vital avenue of fund-raising for 'tit Rex. We will also rewrite the book on Merch.
D.) my personal goal for 2010 is to have a real website up - to announce events, to sell merch, to attract donors, to attract new members.
The above sentiments are my ruminations on the parade just past and for the year to come - I welcome your input! I hope you were not too bored by them.
Pro Bono Minimis,
Your 2010 'tit Rex President,