Dawn and I watched many a New Orleans Carnival parade and almost always while drinking. Most high school marching bands are local and, as you can imagine, the marching groups feature many a plus sized dancer, cheerleader, flag girl, what have you. One year, in our boozy bleary eyed self-amusement, we pointed out an exceptionally small framed dancer. Dawn yelled out, in a voice like you would use in a pet store when you spotted the cutest puppy in the world, "Look at the itty bitty one!" Thus began our favorite game to find the smallest member of each marching band. We haven't shared the game with others. Why, I dunno. Maybe it is only fun while tipsy. If you want to give it a try, remember to always say it loud and proud but in the cutesy puppy voice.
Jackin' with celebrities is another amusing Carnival pastime. Big mega krewes hire celebrities to ride in their parades. It is part of the crowd's experience to note if the celeb seems to be having fun and enjoying the Carnival experience. The more fun they seem to have, the more validation the crowd feels. Here are some celeb moments I remember.
Billy Crystal looked positively terrified for his life.
John Goodman was drunk drunk drunk. I shot him with my super powerful water gun disguised as a soda can. Bam, right in the face. He looked like a Stooge in the steady stream. He wiped his face and then grabbed his nearest buddy and pointed in the direction of the incoming water. His buddy leaned over to see what was happening. TAG! Steady hands and battery operated water stream in his friend's face. His friend Timothy Hutton. Two fer!!!!
Glenn Close seemed to enjoy her ride. Folks were screaming "Glenn Glenn Glenn!". We aimed our cameras but she was waving to the opposite side of the street. My friend John waited until the crowd took a breath and then yelled clearly, "Glenn, I will not be ignored!" Glenn snapped her head back to our side, zoomed in on John and laughed her ass off. Good times.
Camryn Manheim held a fistful of pearls, taunting the crowd. They screamed in bead starved delirium. Next, she held a the strands and ran her tongue over the pearls. A collective "ewwww" could be heard . . . then nervous laughter. The crowd seemed embarrassed that we all thought and said the same thing.
That Steve Guttenberg Police Academy dude liked our super duper water gun. He opened his mouth and received the flying fluids like a pro. The crowd laughed.
Val Kilmer. Oh Fuh Gawd. He was messed up. The parade slowed and Mr. Cool just sat in his spinning tea cup chair and and smiled. We screamed "Valerie Valerie Valerie!" and to our amazement, he laughed and waved. Movement ~~ he's alive! The krewe handlers handed him a wrapped po' boy and he scarfed into it while we watched. It was kinda like watching animals eating at the zoo. Interesting but not all together pleasant. All the sudden, Valerie decided to stand. He listed. He swayed. The crowd oohed and aahed as if they were watching the Flying Wallendas. He made his way to the hidden can under the float. We couldn't see him but geez Louise, everyone knew where he was. I mean, what must it be like to go to the bathroom with a whole crowd just feet away? He took so long that the crowd started chanting his name. The float started rolling as he tumbled out. Good times, good times.