Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mardi Gras

I'm against it.

Art:  Detail from "The Conflict Between Carnival and Lent" - Pieter Bruegel.  Few people realize that the central figure depicted here is actually a portrait of a man named Marti Grau, who happened to be a favorite dance partner of Bruegel's mother at every Shrove Tuesday celebration, before and after her husband died.  Long story short - the term Mardi Gras is derived from the name of Mrs. Bruegel's paramour, Marti Grau.  That said, their story is much too ribald to repeat here today, I'm afraid. 



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  2. Thanks Adrienne - I know how much you like to dance.

  3. It's really about the beads...

  4. Pablo nailed it. I suspected you were pulling our chains. I just had my one night of Mardi Gras revelry - a chance to meet up with several old friends, see family, enjoy a parade, and smash the bottom of my car on one of New Orleans's famous potholes at 2 am.

    Please no one believe that Mardi Gras is all "Girls Gone Wild". Most locals hate that crap, and avoid the French Quarter like the plague. I am not thy old but old enough to remember a family holiday that was slightly off, where good Louisiana families could gather the generations to see grandma get a bit, uh, tipsy, and eat lots of good food.

    Of course, if no one is celebrating Lent anymore, what's tge point?

  5. Ooh, and in tge midst if it all I got the chance to defend the Church in the HHS debate, in her teachings on contraception, and explain why I still wear my wedding ring, though things are over (many of my friends are tge "too smart and realistic for the Church" types). And I drank responsibly. So I guess that's witnessing at some degree, albeit badly.

    Perhaps I should carry a giant cross into the French Quarter and tell everyone they're going to hell? By the way, before anyone admires their courage, they have just as many signs saying Catholics are goin to hell because of our "false religion". Yes, in the middle of French Quarter debauchery, they find the time to Catholic-bash.

  6. LOL! I wondered what you were doing.

  7. Orpheus - Monday night's superkrewe. Bunch I celebrities in it because it was started by Harry Connick, Jr. Actually, tge coolest part was that the mayor himself was on a float throwing beads. I should have shouted to him about how the hell his sister, Senator Mary Landrieu, a "good Catholic" could sell us all out like that.

  8. You know I lived for years in Cologne, Germany. Arguably the Karneval capital of Germany. There was excess of course especially among the libertine homosexual community but I have to say that for the most part it was a family affair of fun. The streets/streetcars etc are full of people in costumes. There is music everywhere and parades. What I don't understand about the homo revelrie in New Orleans is that it's not like they are going to have a Russian Orthodox Great Lent after all the sin. I doubt most people even know why there is such a thing as carnival. I guess in the Rheinland there is still enough of a vestige of Catholic culture that people know what it is and that Lent involves sacrifice. The famed Stigmatist Therese Neumann of Konnersreuth suffered a lot (more than normal) during Karnival to atone for the excesses.

  9. Servus - it's the same down in the Black Forest, but without the sexual debauchery. Sure, some risqué songs and stuff, but not the kind of crap one sees down past St Anne St. My father in law loves to drink during "Fastnacht" but doesn't touch a drop of the stuff til after Easter.

    Until quite recently, most people in New Orleans were practicing Catholics who would be embarking on Lent. A lot still are. Lots today are "cultural Catholics".

    The gay community in New Orleans is limited to certain
    areas, as is the more eggregious heterosexual debauchery. And most of the people living in the Quarter ir transplants attracted there. Most locals think crap like Southern Decadence is disgusting, as is the "sex acts in the streets" Mardi Gras that one sees down in that part of the Quarter.

  10. I explicitly remember as a kid, on Mardi Gras day on St Charles avenue, a troupe of gay guys wearin nothing but duct tape and leather came traipsing down the street. People were pissed. This is not the kind of revelry most people signed up for.

    Of course, those lost souls were doing it BECAUSE they knew that's a family area.

  11. Mercury:

    Yes!Fastnacht is the same thing. Every village has its own Karneval celebration not unlike Brueghel's painting. Most of the time it involves singing and what they call "Sitzungen" where people go to a theater or auditorium and listen to jokes, foolery, stories, songs in their local dialect. There is a tradition then of going arm in arm from one place to the next singing, "the caravan moves further along the Sultan is thirsty"

    I hate to generalize but gay men are always looking for a big party in order to cruise. Its a very sad situation.

  12. Terry, I have no idea what you are on about. Happily I have given up trying for Lent


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