Photopage
 

The Crass Menagerie

THE INDEPENDENT PRINCIPALITY OF ORLEANS – divergent realities will come together in a crass, cosmic and completely surreal performance, when the critters, Twitters, porn-fritters and oh baby baby babysitters of Krewe du Vieux will take to the streets of the Marigny, French Quarter and CBD on Saturday, February 11 at 6:30 PM.

Barry

Spectators are advised to watch out for wild animals, wandering crassholes, and menageries à trois.


A Man of Character
– Many Characters

If N’Awlins ain’t got nuttin’ else, it got culcha, hawt!

And no one, absolutely no one, has captured our whacky, wonderful culture better than artist and writer Bunny Matthews. Now, in a case of life imitating art imitating some alternate universe, King Bunny will be living that culture as the merry monarch of Krewe du Vieux 2017.

“Even as a child I could see that we were di erent,” recalls our scribbling Sire. “My mother used to bring me with her to Schweggman’s, which is where it dawned on me the people in New Orleans talked in a di erent way. I don’t think that’s bad, I think it’s good.”

In many ways, the results were probably pre-ordained. “I like to draw,” understates our artistic Archduke. “So I just put myself in their shoes. Everybody’s like Vic and Nat’ly, really.”

Barry

Ah yes, Vic and Nat’ly Broussard,the quintessential New Orleans characters. Purveyors of sloppy po’boys from a vaguely located 9th Ward shop, this illustriously odd couple rst appeared in 1982, in the pages of the old Figaro. Since then, they have traveled the world in books and even the “Vic and Nat’ly Show” on television.

Our cartooning Caliph was himself the host of the show, which featured its own collection of characters as guests, from Cab Calloway to Marilyn Chambers to Pete Fountain. And if the guest du jour failed to appear, our King would simply run down to the bus stop on the corner and grab people.


Bunny Matthews Is Drawn to Royal Role


While perhaps best known for Vic and Nat’ly, as well as “Tammany Toons” and a number of other cartoons, King Bunny is indeed a real artist. While his instantly-recognizable style has an almost inherently humorous bent, he has tackled serious subjects when the occasion called for it. A prime example came after the BP oil spill, when he did a remarkable parody of Picasso’s “Guernica” called “Nint’ Wardica”. That it was created with charcoal on a sheet of Tyvek only served to further emphasize the message. The piece now hangs in the Ogden Museum of Southern Art.

That said, the King’s natural subject matter tends to trend towards the lighter side of New Orleans life, whether it’s o ering a unique look at Mardi Gras or producing a series on that favorite local fauna, the cockroach, for the Audubon Insectarium. Those wishing to explore his artistic talents further can nd his work at the Arthur Roger Gallery locations and website.

(And just to prove that in New Orleans there are no coincidences and at most two degrees of separation, Mr. Roger’s father was a conductor on the original streetcar named Desire ....)

Our multi-talented monarch is also an exceptional writer. In particular, he has covered the regional music scene for a variety of publications over the years, which has only increased the variety of characters available to this Sultan of Sketch.

No one ever seems to make it through life without a few major curveballs thrown their way, and King Bunny’s great challenge arrived in the form of being diagnosed with brain cancer in June 2015. You will not be surprised to hear that he has faced it with an exceptional mix of determination and good humor.

Jim Aiken
 

“I didn’t do anything wrong, I just got cancer,” is the King’s matter-of- fact explanation; indeed, the disease runs in his family. “Now you got it, so now you ght it. You can’t think about stuff too much, you just have to do it. “Cancer is part of our evolution – sharks and elephants don’t get it,” observes our erudite Earl (many of his Vic and Nat’ly cartoons include quotes from great literature). “It really shows you what’s important in life.”

King Bunny credits Queen Debbie with being a tremendous source of support in his battle against the disease; she in turn points out that “he is the only person I know who has gained weight while having cancer!”

While the fight has occupied the largest part of his life for the past 18 months – he’s had four brain surgeries and been hospitalized much of that time – it has done nothing to dampen his spirit and little to impact his art – with one exception. “I stopped drawing Vic with a cigarette in his mouth,” notes the King. “I promised my doctor I would do that. I realize I have a bully pulpit through my art, so I use it to show people you can fight.”

And the battle seems to be turning his way. “I can feel my body coming back,” he says, aided by physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy – and now, Krewe du Vieux therapy. Our comical Count’s connection with the Krewe goes back a long way. Bunny and Debbie used to go watch the old Clones parades, and were friends with Don Marshall, the prime instigator of Krewe du Vieux. And when the Krewe needed a logo, the choice of artist was obvious.

“We talked about doing a parody of the old-line krewe logos,” remembers His Majesty. “Krewe du Vieux should be fun, so that’s the direction we went.” The result was the much-beloved Goofy Guy, the legendary symbol of the Krewe. Rex himself has nothing on Goofy.
In this context, selecting Bunny Matthews to be this year’s royalty was a natural. “Everybody says Krewe du Vieux is perfect for me – what does that mean?” ponders the puzzled Potentate. “But truly, it’s an honor. I’m glad to do it – I’m glad that I’m alive!”
As he and Queen Debbie prepare for their royal ride, King Bunny has a simple piece of advice for his equally simple subjects: “Have fun and party hard!” Yeah you rite!

 
 

Krewe du Vieux Doo Saturday, February 11
Doors open 9:00 PM

CIVIC THEATER 510 O’Keefe Avenue

featuring in order of appearance

George Porter Jr.
and
The Runnin’ Pardners


with special guest

Walter Wolfman Washington

TICKETS $40
Available from Krewe du Vieux members

poster

     

The Krewe du Vieux’s seventeen subkrewes will each present their own interpretations of the theme. Subkrewes include the Krewe of C.R.U.D.E., Krewe of Space Age Love, Krewe of Underwear, Seeds of Decline, Krewe of Mama Roux, Krewe of L.E.W.D., Krewe of Drips and Dis- charges, Krewe of K.A.O.S., Knights of Mondu, T.O.K.I.N., Krewe Rue Bourbon, Krewe de C.R.A.P.S., Mystic Krewe of Spermes, Mystic Krewe of Comatose, Mystic Krewe of Inane, Krewe du Mishigas, and Krewe of sPANk.

Also marching will be many of the city’s top brass bands. Showcasing the local brass band talent is one of many Krewe du Vieux traditions not eligible for coverage under the health care reform bill.