|Brandon Styles, coordinator Gary Virginia, Grand Marshal Bruce Vilanch, Deana Dawn and Chad Stewart at the exuberant celebration. Photo by Rink.
By Queen VII Sister Dana Van Iquity
Krewe de Kinque, the queer leather/fetish Mardi Gras celebrating fundraisers and fun-raisers since 2004, held their annual â€śBal Masqueâ€ť at Trigger bar on March 5. The party was a festive fundraiser for the Richmond/Ermet AIDS Foundation, one of the leading sources of funding for many local AIDS service providers. Mardi Gras is all about having fun, and KdK likes to do it in SF style â€“ a little kinky and a lot in giving to those in need. It was the stepping-down ceremony of Mardi Gras King VII John-John and Queen VII Sister Dana, and the stepping up and crowning of the new VIII monarchs, King VIII Frank Vera and Queen VIII Garza.
Inside the bar had been decorated to the nines with the official Mardi Gras colors of green, gold, and purple. A huge goblet made of balloons greeted the guests, and a giant bead necklace of green, gold, and purple balloons circled the ceiling, all made by the newest KdK member, Coy Ellison. The balcony was decorated with a long, long metallic â€śboaâ€ť of the official colors, along with big shiny stars. In keeping with the decadent retro theme, â€śStudio 69,â€ť a huge smiling half moon overlooked the partiers, similar to the Club 54 moon, sans the coke spoon (because, while some KdKers might partake in drugs, they would never condone it). Gracing the stage were humongous gold glittered Comedy and Tragedy masks, typical of Mardi Gras.
As participants got their pictures taken in their colorful celebratory outfits, a big overhead screen blew them up and showed them off. A sign within stated the KdK Mardi Gras rule: â€śShow yer ass and get some beads.â€ť
As the official Mardi Gras slogan goes: â€śLaissez les bons temps rouler!â€ť which translates to: â€śLet the good times roll!â€ť And roll they did with the genuine New Orleans style music by the Dixieland Dykes + 3 while VIPs enjoyed hosted Stoli cocktails and Nâ€™awlins cuisine including jambalaya, shrimp, and corn bread by Macadamia Events & Catering and Lime.
Comedy writer and actor Bruce Vilanch was the Grand Marshal of the event. He wore a flaming red and orange Playboy bunny insignia tee shirt, to come off hemi-hetero and yet a flaming fag. Later on he would be seen sucking on a blue balloon shaped like a big dick, so he didnâ€™t appear all that straight. DJ Steve Fabus played delightful disco tunes until Aaron Priscorn blew â€śThe National Anthemâ€ť on his horn, and Vilanch led everyone in the Second Line Parade, gaily snaking around and around the bar.
House of Garza (Gypsy Love, Tweaka Turner, Kippy Marks, Carlos Venturo, Marco X Middlesex, and Garza herself) performed to Donna Summerâ€™s â€śLast Dance.â€ť Shakey Gibson jumped into the go-go cage to sing â€śYoung Hearts Run Free.â€ť Ethel Merman & Company sang â€śLe Freak Câ€™est Chicâ€ť and â€śShe Works Hard for the Money,â€ť a Donna Summers fave rave. John Weber & the Weberettes did a fabulous â€śLove Without Bordersâ€ť and â€śGet Down, Get Loose.â€ť Madam Dough (Grand Duchess Cookie Dough in dark wig) & Her Bad Girls did, what else but â€śBad Girlsâ€ť by Donna Summers.
Sadaisha Shimmers & Company did Cherâ€™s â€śWelcome to Burlesqueâ€ť from the movie, â€śBurlesque,â€ť bumping and grinding to the beat. Caroline Lund sang live her hit single, â€śMove Your Bodyâ€ť and accordingly moved her body all over the stage. Gypsy Love sang live to a dance cover of the classic disco number, â€śGroovelineâ€ť by Heat Wave, and she made some exotic belly dance moves to really rev up the audience.
Chris Lee, aerialist, climbed up a baby blue hanging fabric to do death-defying trapeze tricks, hanging upside down, twirling and whirling in the air, swinging, extending his legs in a splits, and wrapping and unwrapping himself in the fabric like a cocoon â€“ displaying incredible muscular control. He did it all without a safety net below. The audience was in awe.
As I placed the crown on Garzaâ€™s big black wig, she told me, â€śI am so honored to be Mardi Gras Queen and following the footsteps of Sister Dana.â€ť
King Frankie later said, â€śI am thrilled to be Mardi Gras King. Itâ€™s all about fun and debauchery!â€ť
All the past Mardi Gras KdK kings and queens joined the newest MG monarchs on stage in a tableau to â€ś100% Pure Love Gumbo Mix,â€ť and the party continued on with dancing under the Studio 69 mirror balls and lights. Of course the partygoers tried to save some of their energy for the official Mardi Gras Fat Tuesday bus bar crawl on March 8 all throughout gay San Francisco saloons!