hot tails of red stick
Volume 22/Issue 3/2004




by Brad Benedict

Apollo's Bal Masque XXIII

Baton Rouge Krewe of Apollo presented their latest bal masque last Saturday. Called A Fairyís Tail - Beyond Imagination, it presented the organizationí s studs in all their glory, especially the dynamic and extremely handsome Scott Blanchard. That child just oozes with sexuality and brought out the lust in everyone in that audience.

Actually, Scottís was the first major costume of the tableau, that of Peter Pan, but it was preceded with the normal opening ceremonies and the presentation of the reigning King Dennis and Queen David. This was followed by the presentation of Mr. and Miss Apollo, Mr. National Apollo, and the krewe color guard. Master of ceremonies was Les Mutt.

The captains came forth with wonderful costumes, all naturistic and woodsy. Joe Boniol and Mark Le Feaux had two beautifully designed creations. This all set the stage for Scottís dynamic performance. When he hit the stage, you knew you were looking at someone very special. In past years, Iíve also noticed that Scott took on the role exceptionally well. In person, he doesn Ďt come across as that outgoing. In fact, he seems to be rather quiet until you corner him and put him on the spot. Then the charm shows, and he comes forth as the master of the situation. It was nice to see him start off the show with so much enthusiasm.

This performance was only matched by the extremely artistic version of the Sea Witch and Little Mermaid. Leave it to Patrick and Sophelia to come up with the most original and best executed performance of the evening. Even the music matched. If you donít have the right music, it is difficult to make a costume work no matter how great it is. Truman May has in the past come up with the best scores for Apolloís balls. Overall, I would have to say that the Sea Witch lived up to the description, and poor Sophelia did a nice Little Mermaid, a little tipsy with that Jack Daniels, but still sober enough to come up out of the Mississippi River and defy that wicked old witch. Congratulations guys! You outdid yourselves with this ball category.

In all its simplicity, Trumanís Fairy Godmother was a superb performance too. The man didnít miss a beat. Even with the change of costume on stage, it still came off as a wonderful addition to the tableau. Gregís Pinocchio was another great number. This nice little guy knew exactly what he was doing, and it showed in the way he conducted himself throughout the performance. Heís that great manager over at Four Seasons Flowers and Gifts.

The most elegant costume of the evening was the Nightingale, a Jimmy Jones creation. I have found that when you have Jimmy involved in any number, you come out with superior workmanship, excellent creative results, and really beautiful backpieces. He didnít let anyone down this year, and that material he used made this entire outfit one of magical splendor. A couple of years ago, Jimmy did that costume with the blue feathers which really showed his eye for color. The Nightingale was even better. It was in a class of excellence all by itself.

Another cute number was Laceyís Frog Prince, and Richard showed his jewelry expertise in the Beauty and the Beast number. The backpieces on both these costumes were remarkable and beautiful. John Salinger was an excellent Phoenix, and my first thought was "Oh, my goodness, heís coming out in leather!" But no, he just came out as a bird. Hmmm.

Rounding out the costumes were the Mad Hatter/White Rabbit, the Grinch, the Tooth Fairy, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Puss-n-Boots. The entire ball was played to the returning King and Queen Apollo XXII. They sat on their thrones and ruled over the ball with grace and charm.

Now I come to His Royal Highness King Apollo XXIII (Frank Rocco) and Her Royal Highness Queen Apollo XXIII (Donald Joiner). Out of all the balls I can recall from the past, the historical theme for royalty was displayed in a very accurate and authentic way. Lancelot and Guinevere looked as if they stepped out of history. From handsome king to beautiful queen, they depicted their characters in the finery of the period. They were picture perfect and glowed with charm and sincerity.

Knowing Frank and Donald outside of the theater element and on common ground at parties and dinners, this is one couple that shows a rare touch of class in anything they do. They are a caring and giving couple, and they are now prideful members of the Apollo Royal Family. Their gifts at the Royalty Reception and as call outs at the ball were really exceptional and showed the thoughtfulness that they possess. May their year be a great one and their reign bring them happiness beyond their wildest dreams. Welcome to the Royal Apollo Family!

See you at the Lords of Leather ball on Feb. 22, sweeties. Iím going to bring you two out to the wild, wild west as my special guests. Iím leaving your tickets with Larry over at Four Seasons Flowers and Gifts. Cheers!

The Krewe of Apollo Baton Rouge Royal Family/Past & Current Royalty

Now letís take a look at some of the special people in the audience. Two of my favorite people from Shreveport were there. Darren and Desmond represented their Apollo krewe even though their ball was the same night. That was why I missed my Kenny Hebert. He had already committed to Shreveport. This is the problem when two balls occur on the same night, but sometimes itís impossible to make it happen any other way. Because of scheduling problems, my buddy Scott made his debut in Lafayette last Thursday night. Heís King Apollo in Lafayette.

It was also great to see Gene N. at the ball. Even though he was in a wheelchair, you could see that he was still proud to be a part of this group. Heís one of the original founding members along with Larry and Truman. That was twenty three years ago, and the ball was held at BoudreauxĎs on Government Street. My but we have come a long way!

An old acquaintance Jim was also there, and it was great recalling old times with him. My doctor buddy Rick was his usual charming self as was his other half Thomas. It was also good seeing Fred Acosta there. He is a staunch supporter of the krewes in Baton Rouge and Lafayette. Chuck did his part to help out in the ball, and it was sort of a return to his roots since moving away several years ago. I didnít get to talk with him, but Trumanís son was noted across the way, and seeing Billy and Daniel was like "old home week." We go back many years together. Gene R. was also in attendance. He Ďs now a New Orleans resident, but things just arenít the same without him being directly involved with the group. Richard and Guy had their usual crowd at their table, and Sam did duty at the door and then joined Leonard and others at his table to enjoy the ball. I canít forget Alicia W., the great vet, or my favorite police lady, the beautiful Marie and her Ann. I got to speak to Dwayne briefly, and my favorite lawyer was his charming self. The Possa lad is just a beautiful human being, and his Steven was dapper as usual. Handyman Scott also added charm to the eveningís festivities.

>From far and near, the Apollo bal masque always brings together friends, and being together again is one of the joys of life itself. Itís a happening, an event, something very good. This annual event is always memorable, and I have to thank Red Stickís foremost floral king Larry for allowing me to be his guest again this year. Thanks, Larry. Letís do it again! Okay?

Royalty Time At Apollo

The Vass/Fremin home was the setting for the annual Royalty Dinner for the Krewe of Apollo. This is a special event each year when all the previous royalty members can come together and visit with the new king and queen and bring them into the inner circle. The captain and co-captain are also guests at this event, and this is the only way a non-member of royalty can attend unless he is helping with the food and drinks for members. This year, the non-member honor went to Mark LeFeaux, who I feel quite sure will soon be gaining permanent status in this group.

This is the party or gathering where everyone can recall old times and really get to enjoy the company of the new royal couple. Itís a time when you can listen and learn, and this was especially true for me this year since I had not really ever talked with Frank and Donald. I noted the closeness they have for each other, and the sincerity they feel toward other people. That was evident in their speeches and in their surprise gifts they gave to all in attendance. They really are a most charming couple, and their entrance into the Royal Family is a good one.

With the pictures completed and the dinner complete, it was time to look forward to a new year when this close-knit group can come together again to welcome itís new members. Itís both a happy time and a sad time, but it is an important time. Itís a fraternity of guys who mean a lot to each other and have a common bond in life. That bond is one of friendship that goes beyond the normal realm of friendships. It is a bonding of a family that shares the memories of good times and memorable scenes.

I remembered you too, Tom. It was as if you had not left us. And it was you who asked me to be a part of Apollo that night so many years ago. I was your invited guest and sat at Geneís table when the ball was held down in Plaquemine. It was the beginning of a wonderful journey, one that continues to bless me and reward me with pride and much happiness. I will always be grateful to you for holding out your hand and leading me into Apollo.

Splash Goes Into High Gear

It was a spectacular grand opening for Splash, located on Highland Road near LSU. The changes made to this place are definitely the best yet. I especially like the upstairs bar, but the old piano room is what I could describe as the drag queen room. At least, thatís what Sophelia called it. Itís got giant high hill shoe chairs, fitting for the charming queens who will be resting here. The color scheme in this room and throughout the facility adds a definite charm to the surroundings.

Other improvements include the upgraded dance floor with the additional mirrors. This gives the appearance of double the space (or double the pleasure, whichever comes first). Lighting is also on a grander scale than before. I really think this has become one of the top entertainment venues in the South. New Orleans has Oz, but old Red Stick has the swanky and uniquely beautiful Splash. You have to see it and experience it to believe it. Yíall come soon!

Owners Cory and Jeff should be proud of this accomplishment. I saw the place as it was going together, and it was actually still going together right up until Matthew, Phillip, and Trinia became the first paying customers of the night. I guess I should tell you about this foul-mouthed person who came shortly thereafter, but I canít do that in a family publication. However, this person should be ashamed to be seen in public. I was embarrassed and moved away like other people were doing. If she were onstage and doing a special act, she could definitely compete with Bianca, one of my favorite performers of all time and a most talented individual. (And you really are a talented sweetheart, darling.) Enough said for individuals who like to make grand entrances, use the F word in every sentence, criticize bartenders, and call attention to their stupidity by making an ass out of themselves. Be nice, sweetie. It would definitely improve your image. Let your beauty shine above the vulgarity.

I suppose as the evening continued, this was all lost in a sea of happy people. The opening was great, but the following night was even better. Packed is the only way to describe it. Letís hope the trend continues. For music, dancing, great drinks, and meeting friends, Splash is the place to be.

Oh, and let me tell you about Lance. This beautiful young man now graces Splash. Iíve told you about him before when he worked at Georgeís, but heís so very nice and I just think heís great. You just want to snuggle up to him and not let him go. Heís really a handsome young man, and heís a great bartender who watches his customers and knows how to keep them happy. I know where Iíll be going for rest and relaxation. Iíll just sip on my drinks and watch this magnificent young man. Excuse me, sweetie, if I stare. I find it difficult to keep my eyes off you. Wow!

Someone else I find extremely attractive is Little Corey. This youngster just beams with personality plus, and you just want to wrap around him and squeeze him. Heís just one of those guys you like to hang out with because of the spark that he adds to any gathering.

Of course, Wayne and Kevin have that spark too, but thatís another story. They spark around the clock, and thatís a good thing.

Checking Out George's

Things are always hopping at Georgeís. In addition to karaoke and fine male dancers, there is a camaraderie here that is also very nice. I always run into old friends here, and Iím always welcomed with enthusiasm by everyone.

One of my favorite nights is Wednesday during happy hour. Last week was the most crowded I have ever seen it. It was so nice seeing so many kind faces and enjoying the presence of super bartender Daryl. He makes it worth going out to Georgeís. Heís just a charming young man, and I enjoy his company a lot.

I always enjoy seeing Mark out too. Heís just moved back to Spanish Town. He had moved back home to take care of his parentsí house, but it was just too far from the heart of the city, and back he came to wonderful Spanish Town. He and Paul are often seen together, and they always seem to liven up the surroundings. By the way, Mark, was that your naked rear I noted at Georgeís the other day? Wow!

Whenever you want to relax with friends, thereís no better place to be than Georgeís. Try it, and enjoy a cool one or two before going home. They know how to put the happy in happy hour.

Counting Down To Mardi Gras

Well, January is already gone, and here we are near the end of Mardi Gras. It just all seems to come and go so quickly.

Be sure to have a great time this year at all the bal masques, but also be watchful of those who might spoil an otherwise happy occasion. Mardi Gras is a fun time, but it also has its limits, which we need to respect. Just stay out of trouble, and bring a designated driver (or walker) with you. I hope I can share this time again with John and Mark. Last year was a memorable one for me, and I think an encore is overdue.

Enjoy old friends. Welcome new ones. Itís time for a great show. Do your part to make it a happy time, a rewarding time, and a safe time. Letís all party!

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