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‘tit Rəx 2014 SHOWFLOAT AUCTION

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The first of its kind! The Krewe of 'tit Rǝx is proud to bring you an evening of socializing, cocktailing and of course 'tit ART. 

Have you always wanted to own a little piece of Mardi Gras? Now is your chance! Select floats from years gone-by will be up for bid, along with 'tit Rǝx-related artwork from krewe members and others in the 'tit communauté. John Calhoun of The Goodnight Show will conduct the auction.

Come out on Thursday, November 13th, 2014 to the Art Klub at Michalopoulos Studio – 519 Elysian Fields Ave. Doors open at 7pm, cocktail hour to follow, auction begins promptly at 8pm.

Tickets are $10 at the door and include a special 'tit cocktail to start the night off right.

Why are we doing this? It's a fund-raiser, for a great cause. 

As you may know, 'tit Rǝx will be rolling its seventh year this coming Mardi Gras and we are bigger (ahem) than ever. For 2015 we would like to add one more band to our ranks, and we'd also like to be able to pay our regular band members the wage they deserve. What's a Mardi Gras Parade without music? Right? We would also like to continue our support for local arts causes like Roots of Music. It's also an excuse to have a party. We like parties.

Veronica Russell: Runway Alchemist & Shoebox Queen

Nutria coat designed by Veronica Russell and modeled by Amanda Thompson

by Cree McCree

[Editor’s note: In this series, the ‘tit Rəx krewe pays tribute to beloved member Veronica Russell, who passed away August 6, 2014, at age 44.]

In 2011, when we were preparing to stage Nutria-palooza! on the Bayou in Lafayette, I asked Vee if she wanted to design something for our Righteous Fur fashion show. She dove into the project with her usual enthusiasm, requesting additional pelts to manifest the amazing vision she had in her head for two fantabulous pieces.

While most of the other designers used nutria as trim, rather than the primary material, Vee challenged herself to create a 3/4-length nutria coat that was a true engineering triumph, as well as a stunning design. I'll let her describe it in her own words, which she wrote for the runway blurb:

Fully lined and trimmed with Ikat weave silk from the ChangMai province of Thailand, with a warm fleece interlining, this luxurious coat boasts welted pockets at the hip and vintage lucite button closures. Coat skirt zips off to create a chic cropped jacket. A third look is achieved by zipping the coat skirt onto the collar, transforming the coat into a dynamic caped jacket. 14 pelts went into the making of this jacket.

Fourteen pelts! Three looks! And model Amanda Thompson worked every one of them on the runway, making a grand entrance in a piece fit for a ChangMai princess, then zipping the skirt off to reveal a sassy little jacket and reattaching it as dramatic wing collar. Talk about a show stopper!

But Vee saved the best for last, when she unveiled an ethereal bridal gown for the show's finale. In her own words:

Veronica's nutria bridal gown, modeled by friend and collaborator Diana Shortez

Veronica’s nutria bridal gown, modeled by friend and collaborator Diana Shortez

Elegant enough for a bride, but classic enough for any formal affair, this bias-cut chiffon gown in graduated tones is trimmed all around with 1/2" nutria fringe and rows of glass and metal seed beads. The tulle "Crysanthemum" headdress is mounted on a nutria-covered juliet cap.

Breathtaking! Modeled by her dear friend and longtime collaborator Diana Shortez, this lighter than air creation was pure magic: Vee transformed the much-reviled swamp rat — that pesky invasive species that feasts on our disappearing wetlands — into the finest, most delicate vision of an angel glimpsed in passing as she floated down the runway, trailing stardust in her wake.

I get goose bumps thinking about it even now.

Veronica Russell was a world-class designer and costumier, whose work for Righteous Fur represents but a fraction of her creative contributions in the design world alone — which, as we all know, was just one of the many magic hats she wore. She was also a total goofball and completely humble about her gifts. The words "crud!" and "poop!" pepper her end of our email exchanges, which are so conversational I can hear her talking in my ear right now:

hahaha- this is my curse. I always end up bugging someone about something FIVE MINUTES before they're gonna get back to me anyway. ("Hey, FedEx- Where's my effing package, huh?!?! Oh wait, someone's at the door… and it's the FedEx guy. Thanks!")

Oh MAN- I was so tied up in actually physically finishing the pieces, I completely forgot my writeups!  We are leaving here by 2:00, barring any getting-lost, we should make it in the neighborhood of 4:00ish. See you then! So excited!!

BareFloatOh MAN, Veronica! I miss you! I wish you were here whipping up another fabulous creation for our next Nutria-palooza. I wish we could toss around ideas for the next 'tit Rəx parade. I'd love to see what you'd do with this year's theme. If ever there was someone who could nail "L'Enfant Terrible" it's you.

But I'll have to make do with my wonderful memories of you — like the time I was in a panic trying to find a shoebox at the 11th hour for the tR "Bare Minimum" parade. You generously invited me over to view your stash, and when you opened your closet, it was filled to overflowing with shoeboxes of every size and shape. My eyes almost popped out; I'd never seen so many shoeboxes!

If ever there was a woman born to march with 'tit Rəx, it's Veronica Russell: the Imelda Marcos of Treme!

I'm pleased as punch that the float I created using the shoebox you gave me — "Bare to the Bone" — is my contribution to our upcoming tR showfloat auction. Your spirit will be riding high at that event, not only on my float, but in all our hearts.

Godspeed, Veronica!

 

 

 

Remembering Veronica Russell

Veronica Russell with her 2014 'tit Rəx float, We the Peephole

Veronica Russell with her 2014 ‘tit Rex float, We the Peephole

by Janine Hayes

[Editor’s note: In this series, the ‘tit Rəx krewe pays tribute to beloved member Veronica Russell, who passed away August 6, 2014, at age 44.]

Honestly, I wish I had known Veronica better, but I'm happy that I knew her at all and that she thought so much of our krewe that she wiggled her way in.
 
I remember Veronica kind of just being around at some 'tit Rəx meetings in our second year. She was friends with some of our members, so I didn't think anything of it. You can't just sign up to make a float in 'tit Rəx — you have to be invited. But we don't disallow you from hanging around. 
 
There was a social at Bacchanal back when we used to start our parades there. Everyone was drinking wine and carrying on. Veronica showed up and sat down at my table. I knew her from the scene of artists and theatre people. I knew she was a talented woman. 
 
At some point she casually piped in about making a float. As a board member I knew the "rules" and immediately felt slightly uncomfortable because I didn't want to reject her. I think I vaguely mentioned something about having to be invited, and felt bad. She, on the other hand, took it in stride. She said something to the effect of, "Well, all right then, that's cool." (In retrospect it was like a cat waiting for a mouse to come out of its hole — patience!)
 
Time passed. Our parade rolled. The following year was an intense one, as we were up against Rex asking us to change our name. Someone suggested "Napoleon Avenue Complex" as our theme, and we went with it. As with all parades we needed a title float, one that sums up the theme in one fell swoop. Who would make it? It's a challenging task. Jeremy, our president at the time, had been hinting at inviting a guest artist to make the title float. Some names were bandied about, and eventually Veronica's made its way to the top of the list. Veronica Russell can make our title float!
 
Without missing a beat, Veronica made a stunning title float for our embattled year. "Mardi Gras for All" was emblazoned on it. Little tiny 'tit Rəx krewe members, sashes and all, stood on a shoebox float that resembled a traditional Mardi Gras float and demanded equality. A larger King Rex hung helplessly above a flame. 
 
Brilliance was achieved once again by Veronica Russell. She was a natural fit to our krewe, and to this day I am glad she was persistent. From there she went on to make two more fabulous floats. Her technique will be sorely missed, as her work was beautiful in detail. Her spirit remains and she will never be replaced. 
 
Veronica's first 'tit Rəx float, Napoleon Ave Complex

Veronica’s first ‘tit Rex float, Napoleon Ave Complex

 
 
 
 
 
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