I can't begin to tell you how much fun we had last year, but maybe the photo above will help you understand.
Yes, that's me, chief instigator at Jasper Magazine on the far right, and to your left you see the be-stogied Kyle Petersen, grad student and USC English instructor as well as music editor for the magazine who, in lieu of a drum is appropriately banging on an empty panettone tin with relish. Continuing left and behind Kyle is Ed Madden, literary arts editor of Jasper, poet and one of USC's most beloved professors. Further left is Bob Jolley, aka the Beer Doc, Muddy Ford Press publisher, ER physician, and general founder of the feast out in our neck of the woods and, beside him, our eldest, Annie, grad student, USC instructor, political junkie, and newly the queen of distribution for Jasper Magazine. (Had she not been dancing out in Seattle, our youngest Bonnie, would most assuredly been in this photo as well.) In keeping with the family affair, my sister-in-arms, Kristine Hartvigsen, associate editor of Jasper, photographer, and the voice of experience around here, is pictured below arm-in-arm with the boy we wish were our little brother, local artist Michael Krajewski. And below that, Ed is pictured with his beloved, Bert Easter, antiques-meister and an integral part of university students' first year experience.
The day started early at City Roots Farm as we rolled up to a small but growing crowd of friends and soon-to-be friends dressed in their finest purples, greens, and golds with assorted costumes that ranged from a crawfish to a local artist who had fashioned a boa from discarded plastic grocery store bags.
What we lacked in organization we made up for in sheer audacity, and before we knew it, we were parading down Rosewood Boulevard to the beat of the Next Door Drummers. We lit our stogies and passed our flasks of the finest adult beverages. We sang, we chanted, we threw beads to shocked but delighted onlookers. In the vernacular of the 1960s we seriously let it all hang out. Returning to our starting point at the farm, we feasted and drank and listened to good music as the night wore on.
All this happened as a result of a few weeks preparation.
Well, folks, we've been working on Mardi Gras 2012 for a year now and, Sisters and Brothers, this year we are blowing it out of the water!
With close to 20 bands on board already, a food truck rodeo, a much larger marching contingency that includes some of your favorite local artists and Columbia's own Alternacirque and more, the addition of a canine parade as well, this year's Mardi Gras Festival hosted by the Krewe-de-Columbi-ya-ya is sure to go down in history.
So this I posit to you: If you are reading this blog you are either a lover of the arts and Columbia's arts community or you are a friend of this magazine. Either way, you are a perfect candidate to attend this year's festivities either as a reveler, as one of the smart folks who grabs one of the last spaces to become a member of the original and hosting krewe, the Krewe de Columbi-Ya-ya, or by starting a krewe of your own!
And starting your own krewe is decidedly easy-breezy -- we have very few rules & all we ask for is $50 to offset parade costs and that you have at least 10 folks in your krewe.
Are you listening folks at The Whig, Trustus, Art Bar, Tapp's Arts Center, Town Theatre, Workshop Theatre, The Betty Page Turners, Jam Room, Hunter Gatherer, 701 CCA, and every freaking department or program at any of Columbia's universities? What better way to bond and let off steam and show your city spirit than by representing yourselves proud and loud at Mardi Gras?
We roll on Saturday, February 18th and this year our theme is "Going to the Dogs" which means we also have a canine contingency in our walking parade. You can register and walk your pup in the parade and we'll donate the $5 registration fee to The Animal Mission. Other proceeds will go to benefit Doku Farms.
Come on out, Friends and Neighbors -- we're growing large and one of these days you'll be so happy to look back at the beginnings of what is sure to be a great Columbia tradition and know that you were a part of the start of it all.
Laissez les bons temps rouler, Columbi-Ya-Ya!