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Volume 22/Issue4 /2004

Rip & Marsha



by Rip & Marsha Naquin-Delain 
Visit their site: ripandmarsha.com

Official Gay Mardi Gras Guide Has It All

Ambush Mag is proud to serve as the Official Gay Mardi Gras Guide. As you go through this giant 84 page issue, you'll find 65 pages in ads, boasting the best club, business, krewe and organization events from Texas through Florida, plus over 200 photos of the hottest action. You can also visit www.GayMardiGras.COM, the Original & Only Official Gay Mardi Gras Website, chock full of additional information.

There are loads of events which are listed in the Calendar/Events page on Main-38. However, below are a few highlights.

Fri., Feb. 20 brings us from 9pm-12midnight, le Vendredi De Nuit Mardi Gras Avant [The Friday Night Before Mardi Gras Extravaganza], benefiting Belle Reve & United Services For AIDS, at The Carrollton in New Orleans; and the Night of the Black Mask: The South’s Oldest Leather Block Party, 10pm-2am, at the Phoenix/Eagle in New Orleans.

Sat., Feb. 21, it’s to Baton Rouge for the 12noon Annual Spanish Town Parade at 5th & Spanish Town Road, then return to New Orleans for the 8pm Krewe of Armeinius Bal Masque XXXVI at the St. Bernard Cultural Center in Chalmette.

On Sun., Feb. 22 the Lords of Leather Bal Masque XXI hits the stage at St. Bernard Cultural Center, 8pm in Chalmette/New Orleans.

And finally, it’s the big day, Mardi Gras, Feb. 24, kicking off with the 12noon 40th Annual Bourbon Street Awards sponsored by Oz and Bud Light, at the corner of St. Ann at 800 Bourbon, emceed by Bianca Del Rio & Blanche DeBris, presenting Best Drag, Best Leather, Best Group and Best of Show Awards, plus $500 cash for Overall Best Costume in New Orleans. It's followed by the 2pm 17th Annual Official Gay Mardi Gras Bead Toss: Drums, Drags & Dragons! Led by KCQ [King Cake Queen] XI of Gay Carnival, Ms. L, The Dragon Queen at World famous Ambush Headquarters Balcony, 828 Bourbon St. in New Orleans.

Gay Mardi Gras Traditions/Balls Date Back to 1949

The traditions of Gay Mardi Gras Balls came into being in the 1950s. The first Gay Mardi Gras krewe was the Krewe of Yuga or "KY." This krewe was formed to satirize the straight, aristocratic Mardi Gras traditions in 1958. In 1962, the Krewe of Yuga threw its first Ball at a badly chosen sight, a private children’s school. No sooner had the tableau begun with queen and maids expectantly waiting the adoration of the spectators when police cars roared up and the ball was raided. Doors were locked and people were unceremoniously hauled to jail.

Taking a deep breath, the Gay community soon reorganized and new Gay Mardi Gras krewes began to flourish. Peaking in the early 1980s, there were dozens of Gay krewes that were the highlight of the Carnival season. Local matrons would beg for tickets from their hairdresser. They were quite the event.

The Gay balls required formal attire and the tableaus were a sight to behold. Many a cocktailed queen was seen to fall over from the weight of a bigger than life costume. It was all wonderful, some of the most cherished Carnival memories.

Why past tense? AIDS took many of the best and most talented people from New Orleans. It would be easy to blame a weak economy and apathy for the decline of the Gay krewes. It’s not that. It was AIDS that hurt this fine tradition, redirecting funds from carnival clubs to fight the disease.

However, several krewes did survive across the Gulf South, plus new ones have organized in recent years.

Historical Gay Mardi Gras Events:

1949, Fat Monday Luncheon debuts at Brennan’s Restaurant/New Orleans

1958, Krewe of Yuga/New Orleans, 1st gay Carnival club debuts

1962, Krewe of Petronius/New Orleans debuts

1962, Yuga/New Orleans ball raided

1963, Bourbon Street Awards/New Orleans debuts presented by Arthur Jacobs, Bourbon at Dumaine Streets

1966, Krewe of Amon-Ra/New Orleans debuts

1969, Krewe of Armeinius/New Orleans debuts

1969, Amon-Ra/New Orleans presents 1st Miss America Pageant

1970, Mystick Krewe of Apollo/New Orleans debuts at Monteleone, 1st gay ball presented in a hotel

1971, Krewe of Olympus/New Orleans debuts, 1st gay ball presented at St. Bernard Civic Auditorium

1972, Mystick Krewe of Apollo/New Orleans, 1st gay ball to debuts at Municipal Auditorium,

1976, Mystick Krewe of Apollo de Lafayette debuts

1977, Mystick Krewe of Apollo/Birmingham debuts

1977, Mystic Krewe of Celestial Knights/New Orleans debuts

1977, Academy of the Golden Goddess, Inc. (AGGI)/New Orleans debuts presenting annual awards show celebrating gay Carnival clubs

1978, Mystick Krewe of Apollo/Shreveport debuts

1979, police strike cancels parades/New Orleans; Charlene’s & the Golden Lantern group takes to the street as the Krewe of Cancellation

1980, Police cancel Krewe of Cancellation parade/New Orleans, no parade permit

1981, Mystick Krewe of Apollo/Baton Rouge debuts

1981, Krewe of Ishtar/New Orleans, 1st all-lesbian club debuts

1982-3, Edd Smith hosts Bourbon & St. Ann St. Awards/New Orleans, no Bourbon Street Awards held

1983, the Krewe of Polyphemus/New Orleans debuts

1984, Lords of Leather/New Orleans, 1st leather Carnival club debuts

1984, 11 gay Carnival krewes present balls, a record/New Orleans

1984, no Edd Smith or Bourbon Street Awards/New Orleans

1986, Bourbon Street Awards/New Orleans returns & moves to St. Ann & Burgundy

1987, Krewe of Queenateenas/New Orleans debuts presenting 1st Official Gay Mardi Gras Bead Toss, 828 Bourbon St.

1991, AGGIs/New Orleans end

1992, Petronius, Amon-Ra, Armeinius & Lords of Leather present only gay balls/New Orleans

1993, Krewe of Barkus/New Orleans parade hits the streets of the French Quarter

1994, Krewe of Queenateenas/New Orleans crown 1st King Cake Queen of Gay Mardi Gras

1999, 1st new gay Carnival Club since 1984, Krewe of Mwindo/New Orleans debuts

1999, Fat Monday Luncheon/New Orleans, celebrates 50th anniversary

2000, le Vendredi de Nuit Mardi Gras Avant/New Orleans debuts benefiting AIDS service organizations

2001, People of Substance's Krewe of Anubis/New Orleans debuts

2001, Petronius/New Orleans celebrates 40th anniversary

2002, Bourbon Street Awards/New Orleans returns to Bourbon & St. Ann Streets presented by Oz & Bud Light

2003, Krewe of Satyricon/New Orleans debuts

2004, 40th Bourbon St. Awards to be presented

GayMardiGras.COM has much more detailed information available.

5th Friday Night Before Mardi Gras Ball Feb. 20

The 5th annual Friday Night Before Mardi Gras extravaganza (le Vendredi de Nuit Mardi Gras Avant) will be held at The Carrollton in New Orleans on Fri., Feb. 20, from 9pm to midnight.

With patrons dressed in drag, costume or black tie, the Friday Night Before Mardi Gras extravaganza is the ball where guests are the tableau. Featuring an open bar, luscious buffet, festive music and celebrity guests, ball tickets are $50 per person, open to the public and can be purchased at the door. All proceeds benefit persons living with HIV and AIDS through donations to Belle Reve New Orleans and United Services for AIDS.

The Friday Night Before Mardi Gras extravaganza is the only gay Mardi Gras ball or event of this magnitude held on this night, soon to become a permanent fixture in the New Orleans Gay Mardi Gras alongside other better-known krewes, such as Petronius and Armeinius.

New Orleans diva Mathilda Jones will perform as the celebrity musical entertainment for the evening. Professional on-site photographs are complimentary.

The Carrollton is located at 4710 South Carrollton Ave., New Orleans, L.A. Call 504.483.3211 for tickets. The dress code is drag, costume or black tie. Visit www.fridaynightbeforemardigras.org for more information.

The Friday Night Before Mardi Gras is a charitable organization that holds the annual Friday Night Before Mardi Gras extravaganza. The organization’s only rule is that all proceeds from ticket sales must be given directly to various charitable organizations assisting persons living with HIV and AIDS. Over $30,000 in charitable funds was raised in the extravaganza’s first three years of existence. Last year, the Friday Night Before Mardi Gras was able to donate $12,000 which was split between Belle Reve of New Orleans and United Foundations, Inc.

The Friday Night Before Mardi Gras’s charitable work was recognized with the 2003 Teri Estrada Memorial Award. This award is presented by AIDSLaw of Louisiana, the state’s only non-profit provider of free legal services to those infected and affected by AIDS. The Teri Estrada Memorial Award is a community service award recognizing individuals who are committed to improving the lives of those affected by HIV and AIDS.

Belle Reve New Orleans is a Louisiana-based non-profit organization that provides permanent and transitional housing with full support services to adults and families living with HIV and AIDS. Founded in 1993, Belle Reve is respected in our community for its founding principles of concern, for quality of life and equal availability of services for all such persons.

United Services for AIDS provides emergency aid for individuals affected by AIDS. The emergency assistance provided by United Services helps stabilize client living conditions, prevent homelessness and provide needed medications. 

Armeinius Goes Looney Feb. 21

The Captain and Krewe of Armeinius present their thirty-sixth annual gay carnival ball: Armeinius Goes Looney Sat., Feb. 21 at the St. Bernard Civic Auditorium, 8245 West Judge Perez Dr. in Chalmette, LA. The doors will open at 7:45 pm with tableaux at 9pm. Attire is strictly formal (tuxedo/floor length gowns). No costumes, food or cameras please. Balcony seating is available at Second Skin Leather Co., 521 Rue St. Philip, in the French Quarter, or order on-line at www.Armeinius.com for a $15 minimum donation.

For additional information, phone 504.949.4604 or e-mail krewe@armeinius.com.

AIDS Awareness & Volunteer Training Feb. 28

You can help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS when NO/AIDS Task Force conducts an AIDS Awareness Volunteer Training Seminar Sat., Feb. 28, 8am-5pm, at 2601 Tulane Avenue, Suite 500, in New Orleans.

Registration opens at 8am and the seminar begins at 8:30am. The workshop will present a comprehensive insight into the medical, risk reduction and social issues surrounding HIV/AIDS. Areas that one can volunteer are Statewide HIV/AIDS Hotline, Community Outreach , Speaker’s Bureau, HIV Antibody Counseling and Testing or help out with home delivered meals or food bank (Food For Friends).

If you are interested in the AIDS Awareness & Volunteer Training, please call 504.821.2601, Doreen at extension 205 or James at extension 225.

Artist creates "Flaming Penises" to join "Flaming Bitch" series

Artist DeNeice Guest

& Musician Phil deGruy

Artist DeNeice Guest is debuting a new series of hand built ceramic sculptures complementing her flaming Bug-Eyed Bitches. Her Flaming Penis series consist of ceramic busts with prominent penis-shaped oil lamps. The flame from the lamps can be adjusted to burn as high as the top of the 10-12" sculptures.

New Orleans musician and international lunatic Phil deGruy commissioned the first piece titled Pope Penis XXXI. Characters in the new series include the Papal Bull Penis, Play Ball, Mardis Gras King Flambeaux, the Hot Jazz Dude, and individual Disembodied Penis Oil Lamps. Other works include lamp oil and propane powered ceramic Flaming Bitches, as well as non-flaming Bug-Eyed Bitches of indeterminate gender.

The works can be viewed by appointment at the Quarter Moon Gallery in Bay St. Louis, 228.467.7279 or on-line at www.DGuest.com. Custom pieces may be ordered directly from the artist by calling 866.583.6864.

D-Dance Returns to Southern Decadence Returns to Southern Decadence Lineup

After a successful showing at their inaugural event during Southern Decadence last year, SoDecadent, Inc. has announced they will again be producing the D-DANCE event this Labor Day weekend. Last year’s event not only showcased the talent of internationally renowned producer, re-mixer, and DJ Tony Moran, but also provided room to dance and ample air conditioning on an otherwise steamy Labor Day weekend.

SoDecadent, Inc. was incorporated last year with the sole purpose of producing the new annual event in conjunction with the Southern Decadence festivities. All proceeds generated from the event through the sale of merchandise, host packages, and individual tickets are donated to the NO/AIDS Task Force. Production costs are offset thorough corporate sponsorship opportunities.

This year’s event will be held on Sat., Sept. 4 from 10pm until 4am at the Municipal Auditorium, with Tony Moran making his second New Orleans appearance as featured DJ. For more information regarding host package availability or either corporate or individual sponsorship, please contact SoDecadent, Inc.

SouthernDecadence.COM and Ambush Mag return as corporate sponsors of the event.

For information visit www.d-dance.com, e-mail SoDecadentInc@aol.com, or phone 504.588.9556.

SoDecadent, Inc. is a non-profit organization, and has applied for their 501(c)3 status.  All donations may be tax exempt in accordance with local or federal tax guidelines.

Louisiana Sex & Politics Forum March 7

Join the Woodhull Freedom Foundation board members, Judy Guerin and Richard Cunningham, Esq., and local Louisiana sexual freedom activists for a discussion of local sexual liberty issues and possible solutions. Scheduled for Sun., March 7, 1-3pm, the forum will be hosted at the Radisson Hotel New Orleans Fleur De Lis, Room 8, 1500 Canal St.

A brief overview of local issues will be followed by an open discussion about the pros and cons of working on various issues, and the best strategies and tactics to use to achieve the goals that local attendees establish.

If you care about the rights of minorities, the Constitutional protections of privacy, freedom of speech and freedom of assembly, reproductive rights or broad social justice issues, you should attend this meeting. All are welcome.

Mr. Cunningham is a long time social justice and sexual liberty advocate and has initiated and supervised landmark legal cases related to equal political coverage of opposing views on television (the "Fairness Doctrine"), the right of government employees to protest government policies and the right of women to attend military academies. As senior international trade partner at the Washington, D.C. law firm of Steptoe & Johnson, LLP, he frequently advocates with U.S. and international politicians, diplomats, corporations and governments. He is the Chair of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation and Federation, a member of the Bretton Woods Committee (a bipartisan, non-profit group organized to build public understanding of international financial and development issues and the role of the Bretton Woods institutions—the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and the regional development banks—in the global economy), and a former board member of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom Foundation.

Ms. Guerin is a long time political activist on issues of gender and sexual expression, and issues of youth sex education and access to birth control. She is a well-known author, speaker and educator on these topics. She currently serves on the boards of the Woodhull Freedom Foundation and Federation (WFF) and GenderPAC and is an advisor to the European Union Human Rights Commission on issues of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex individuals and sexual freedom issues. She is a member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality and the American Association of Sex Educators Counselors and Therapists. She is a former steering committee member of the National Policy Roundtable of GLBT & HIV/AIDS groups and the former executive director of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom.

For further information, contact rlevy@woodhullfoundation.org or call Ricci Joy Levy, Managing Director The Woodhull Freedom Foundation & Federation, 202.466.2900 or visit www.woodhullfoundation.org.

The Woodhull Freedom Foundation and Federation (WFF) are devoted to education and public advocacy in support of the proposition that safe and consensual sexual expression is a fundamental human right.

Based in Washington, DC, WFF brings together experienced, successful sexual freedom activists who seek to eliminate the barriers, governmental and private, to expressions of human sexuality in the United States and around the world. Helping to mobilize diverse grassroots communities, WFF utilizes lobbying, outreach, and education to help change antiquated and unjust sex laws.

WFF supports civil liberties, emphasizing issues of sexual expression, sexual orientation, gender and racial discrimination.

Crack Whore Ball 5 March 8

The 5th annual Crack Whore Ball: Cracker Jaxxs On Tour, honoring all service industry personnel, is set for Mon., March 8 at the MatriXXX, 940 Elysian Fields in New Orleans. The event will feature DJ Chris Allen and boasts an open bar from 9pm-1am. The highlight is the crowning of Crack Whore 5.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 at the door, and are available at Ninth Circle, 700 N. Rampart, and Voodoo, 718 N. Rampart. A shuttle bus will be provided to the ball from 8:30pm-9:30pm and from the ball 12:30am-1:30am.

The After Party: Twacked premiering Left Over Bitches and featuring DJ Chris Finland will be hosted at Ninth Circle 12:30am til.

Precedent-setting GLBT Scholarship at Loyola

On April 17, Etcetera of Loyola University in New Orleans will host its second annual Gayla, a black tie benefit that will secure the funds to create what is believed to be the first scholarship given by a GLBT organization at a Catholic University.

Loyola University New Orleans has unfortunately been the recipient of negative press in the past few months. The first nationally publicized issue arose when Loyola president, Fr. Bernard Knoth, abruptly resigned after charges of sexual abuse were deemed credible by a catholic inquisitorial committee. To serve as interim president, Fr. William Byron was chosen by the board of trustees until a permanent replacement could be found.

Unfortunately, a few weeks ago, the school again made national news when the interim president denied the Women’s Issues group the ability to hold a fund-raiser in the form of a production of The Vagina Monologues, due to his interpretation of "unseemly" and "inappropriate" subject matter. His ruling is still under investigation by various committees, as it calls to question the rights of students and groups’ autonomy within the university.

If Loyola is to make national news again with the precedent of this event and scholarship, the organization wants it to be a positive voice that arises separate from the festering negativity that has recently surrounded the small campus.

What began (10) years ago as one of the first Catholic university sanctioned gay student groups, under the name G.O.A.L. (Gay/Lesbian Outreach at Loyola), has now prospered into an organization that boasts over 50 active members, and over 150 Loyola community participants in our events. Etcetera is Loyola’s Gay-Straight Alliance group that has steadily gained preeminence as one of the most active and diverse groups on campus and recently became the most funded group by the Student Government Association.

Gayla’s inception last year raised over $6,500 towards the scholarship. Once the funds are secured, the scholarship will take the form of an annual award given to a student who has demonstrated public service in the gay and lesbian community and who actively tries to make a difference in their world. The scholarship itself is named the Geoffrey Scholarship, in memory of a Class of 2007 freshman who was killed in a car accident and was never able to disclose his sexuality to his family.

In addition to a silent auction and a buffet dinner, the event last year was highlighted with performances by Bob Smith, a nationally known gay comedian, and Kristen Becker, a local lesbian comedienne.

This year the support both from the New Orleans community and from the Student Government Association will undoubtedly help achieve the goal to both create the scholarship and secure its status as a yearly black tie event for the university and the city community to enjoy.

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