Unlike a Bal Masque, where guests participate in the costuming- much like a British "Fancy Dress Party- the Krewe of Olympus stages a Bal Tableau for the pleasure of the reigning King and Queen. The "official" purpose of the party is to entertain the royalty, but it pleases them to share this with their subjects, so guests at a Tableau Ball, in formal attire, are seated at the extravagantly decorated tables of their Krewe Member hosts.
The Olympus Ball, by tradition, begins with the blowing of the Captain's Whistle, signalling the start of the Ball. The Captain's Whistle, by the way, has been passed down from Captain to Captain since 1970, and is a special treasure of the Krewe. Having survived so many drunken parties, it is as temperamental as some of our members, so now we always keep a spare handy in case it chooses not to blow! After the signing and signing of the National Anthem, the opening chorus takes to the stage to set the theme for the ball.
This year, "museum guards", with their obligatory flashlights, were so busy scanning the audience looking for trouble, that they failed to notice a band of notorious "art thieves" trying to abscond with their collection. Upon trying to take the biggest prize, an enormous pink jewel, they are foiled by it's protective systems, the alarm sounds, and mayhem ensues as the guards try to thwart the theft. Ultimately, however, the guards are tied up by the thieves, just in time for their leader, the Pink Panther (Captain Bill) to take to the stage to assess the progress of his minions.
The jewel is freed from it's protections so the Pink Panther can easily grab what his minions were unable to obtain! Once he has the jewel, he quickly leaves the stage as the guards return from their capture, discover the loss, and begin the search for the missing treasure. Captain Bill returns to the stage as Inspector Clouseau, jewel in hand, and returns it to it's vitrine so the ball can continue!
Once the Ball Captain is seated in his place of command, the Reigning Royalty returns to enjoy the show. King Dwane and Queen Randy, as Nicholas and Alexandra, greet the masses, and then take their thrones onstage to enjoy the show.
During the Ball, the reigning Royalty and the Captain are the only Krewe members seated to see the show. Everyone else is backstage, either preparing their costume for presentation, helping others get in costume, or managing curtain calls, sound cues, and all of the other details it takes to create such a production. Per the Krewe's bylaws, each member is allowed to present one "major costume" in the ball, although they may play "bit parts" to support other presentations, and most participate in the chorus numbers, as well. Some member choose not to present a major costume, but participate as stage hands, set builders, and seamstresses. Every person contributes something to make the show a success!
The only Krewe members that present 2 major costumes are yours truly and her consort, the new royalty. Because our identity is a closely guarded secret that is only revealed to the Krewe members the morning of the ball, the new royalty are required to create "decoy" costumes keep Krewe members from surmising our identity because there is nothing being built in our garages!
King Tony's decoy costume was the Chasing Rainbows Museum at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.
As you know by now, Miss Ginger appeared as Elvis- the fat postage stamp Elvis that appeared in Vegas, not the young movie star Elvis that Miss G could never pull off.
I'm sure the irony is not lost the the Queen went as "the King", and the King appeared as 'The Queen of Country Music"!
After the Elvis presentation, Miss G had about one hour to transform from "the King" into the Queen of pre-revolutionary France!
Meanwhile, what visit to a museum would be complete with the requisite field trip children, being corralled by a group of frazzled teachers?
Being the coastal South, and Mardi Gras, of course our school is Catholic, and our rainbow nuns had their hands full as they tried to prevent their screaming schoolkids from giggling at the appendages on the various statues!
After the museum visit, the school children grab their lunchboxes and take to the audience to collect donations for our designated charities!
Meanwhile, it's almost time to reveal King and Queen Olympus XLI to the world! Just a few more costumes are being presented as we are getting suited up for our reveal to the world!
Representing le Chateau de Versailles, we are wearing costumes inspired by the artworks featured on our backpieces.
This painting of Marie in her coronation robes was created by Jacques-Fabien Gautier d'Agoty, who, interestingly enough, was most famous for his morbid paintings of human anatomy! A glittered representation adorns the backpiece, and the dress was custom made by an Easter European seamtress with hand-stitched details!
By another Krewe tradition, the Royalty select attendants to serve them on stage, as well as to ensure we don't become entangled in those 16 foot trains!! It is considered to be an honor to attend the new royalty, and I was thrilled to have 2 of my dearest friends in the Krewe onstage with me!
After the reveal, we proceed down the ball floor to greet the Captain who crowned us, and receive toasts from him in the beautiful jeweled crystal goblets that are his gift to us.
Once the toast is complete, we return to our positions to receive King and Queen Olympus XL as they step down from the throne and greet the audience for the last time as King and Queen.
When they leave the stage, our reign begins as we receive members of various community organizations, many of whom bring gifts to show their esteem. They are each presented with a gift from us, as well. Then entire Krewe then comes to be received in the Grand March, and then in open court we receive members of the community at large.
Because we get to do whatever we want, and because we had not had an opportunity to rehearse court positioning anyway, the "ceremony" just sort of deteriorated into a big l party on the ball floor at that point, with lots of hugs, a few tears, and many well-wishes from the crowd! It may have seemed like bedlam to Marie, but to Queen Ginger it was exactly the way she wants to receive her subjects- at a high-sprited party with a cocktail in hand!!
There was a bit of confusion about the scheduling of the after party, but it all turned out fine as King Tony and Queen Ginger arrived at the Hilton Hotel to discover many of their well wishers right there in the lobby bar. So Queen Ginger, in hoop-skirt drag with whiteface makeup and a pompadour on her head, continued to hold court until midnight, at which point a very tired queen retired to her chambers!!
There's lot's more to tell, and lots more to show, but Queen G suspects you GingerSnaps need a rest from all this Royal talk for a bit!
PS: How do you like the new blog header?!
Love to all!!! QOXLI !