we have already done our skeleton pub crawl for animal rescue. for those who know we do this its always the first week of october. its an altar pub crawl, and this year we raised funds for the pet asylum and animal rescue. below is a photo of us at the start with a few bulldogs from the new orleans bulldog rescue. get their calendar for this fabulous photo by kim welsh aka bone soir!
image courtesy of new orleans bulldog rescue and kim welsh
we got lots on our plates for the rest of the month. beginning with krewe of boo on oct 30 rolling through the french quarter. we will be carrying our dia de los muertos theme through the french quarter with our signature throw a skeleton barbie doll. these are recycled and hand painted ONLY 200 will be available, so make sure you get out there and flag our barbie bonez down.
then we roll into the lestat ball on halloween, then will be romping through the french quarter. on nov 1st we will honor Queen Mercy B / BABYDOLL with the Wild Tchoupitoulas on her 89th birthday. Come NOV 2nd we will be out there for the day of the dead parade at dusk.
may you have a blessed holiday and honor those who came before you! we will!
Welcome to Calacas Y Maracas! (Skeletons with Maracas )
Skinz N Bonez and Soul Sweepers yearly stroll through the French Quarter welcoming the fall season.
We began a tradition last year to raise awareness for animal rescue in the New Orleans area, and this year we specifically chose to honor the Pet Asylum in the French Quarter.
We also chose the month of October because of “Dia De Los Muertos” or Day of the Dead. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. Each October families put together Altars or “Ofrendas” honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. Dia De Los Muertos is a month long celebration of Altars and gifts leading up to November 2nd “ALL SOULS DAY”. We will recreate a moving Altar crawl, with YOU as a key player.
As a participant, you will get to dress up skeleton, walk with Skinz N Bonez and Soul Sweepers LLC and Altar Crawl. All while raising awareness of Day of the Dead, and Animal Rescue. We urge you to bring drums, incense, pictures of those who have passed, offerings for those who have gone before you, and your joy de vivre as we drum and dance sing and chant our way to the designated stops.
each stop will have a happy hour special for those who participate. We will also have a donation station on our Altar Float for those who wish to give more.
Partial Proceeds of this campaign will go to help the Pet Asylum located at 513 Dumaine in the Historic French Quarter. Although they aren’t officially a Pet Rescue Group, they find themselves out there helping the community, searching for lost pets and returning them, helping injured animals, and finding homes for the abandoned. We’d like to extend a hand to them for all the good they do for their community.
These stops will be for face painting along the route. We will stagger our painters as we stroll down river.
Jumani 141 Chartres St
Molly’s on Toulouse 732 Toulouse St
The Kerry 331 Decatur St
The Stops ON THE ALTAR CRAWL are
Erin Rose 811 Conti
Fahy’s Irish Pub 540 Burgundy
Spitfire 627 St Peter
The Golden Lantern 1239 Royal St
Lafittes Blacksmith Shop 941 Bourbon St
We URGE you to dress for Day Of The Dead or as a Skeleton. If you need your face painted? we will accomodate in the perks section. Our artists are quick and do a beautiful job of recreating sugar skulls. If you look in the pictures section you will see some of the beauty from last year.
Our Altar Crawl will be led by none other than “El Brujo”, who will guide us through the french quarter as we present an altar to each of the stops. El Brujo is non other than the infamous Jose Torres-Tama, Latino Performance Artist. Our Soul Sweepers will brush aside all previous juju and open the door for the stroll. Each altar will be created by one of the members of Skinz N Bonez to honor that specific stop. This is a fabulous romp through the Historic French Quarter on streets named by the Spanish came before us, and in the most reverent way possible, we will call out for those to walk with us. Dogs are a major element within the veiled world and lead the way for those passed to those living. Therefore we will honor all pets who protect and serve the living. Dia De Los Muertos is a month long celebration leading up to Nov 2nd ALL SOULS DAY.
Come Join us for this wonderful stroll through the Historic Quarter with New Orleans only female bone gang…. Listen to the drums, hear the whispers of those who came before us, and celebrate the beginning of the fall season.
we are super busy creating these dolls for krewe of boo. once completed? they will be THEE DOLL to own. these are some coming off the production line, still got to dress them out, but you get the idea. stay tuned for finished barbies!
our fabulous skellie barbies on the production line.
this years going to be great. lets begin with the skeleton barbie. we take donations of barbies all the time because we believe that recycling is a good thing. Barbiebonez never looked so good, so this year we will be throwing them for krewe of boo parade on oct 30th. skinz n bonez n soul sweepers LLC has been picked for next years krewe of boo signature throw. get yours before everyone else, and get one from the krewe that started them! thee big easel presents the skeleton barbie.
how do you reserve one? your pledge of $25 to skinz n bonez through our paypal account will not only get one sent to you via mail, or locally delivered… it also helps us with the costs of paint and glitter. what better way to celebrate your inner bone than a skinz n bonez barbie. all skellies will be sent as they come off the line. order yours now before october, so you can add her to your crown.
we are recruiting for the 2014 halloween season. If you would like to join us? please leave us a note. Calacas Y Maracas is october fourth. we will parade through the quarter in honor of those passed. honor your ancestors and join the bonez as we welcome the day of the dead season to new orleans in style. we will bring altars with us, and our brand of song and dance.
to join us for calacas y maracas you will need to donate $10 to our fund. we have chosen Pet Asylum in the quarter this year as our animal rescue. partial funds will go to help these wonderful people who help others with their pets.
join us on october fourth in one of our many spots to get your face painted. please don’t forget to tip our artists too for their fabulousness.
this summer begins with cooler temperatures for new orleans, but us bonez still don’t mask until fall.
this sat the 12th is the running of the bulls here in new orleans. be at lafittes blacksmith shop at the crack of dawn to meet up with us and the krewe of rolling elvis. later in the evening? at dusk? meet us in your best french regalia in front of mollys on decatur for the pair o dice tumblers pub crawl and celebration for bastille day.
don’t forget the red dress run in august, and midsummer mardigras and our anniversary either.
calacas y maracas is oct 4th this year. nothing like skeletons on parade for charity
to join skinz n bonez? please send us a note. we do have dues, and we roll many, many parades throughout the year.
This years Jazzfest was very special… The second sunday was the warmest of the weekend, and even though we had a tent? it was very HOT…. Tom joined us again from Tennessee, and Shaq provided drum support for the wild tchoups, and here’s big queen, tinkerbonez and jawbone providing a little rythym…
Queen Lynn and Shaq!
Shaq and Tom and Tinkerbonez! CHA WA
Juju Shaq Tom Tink Jaw Celestial bonez
Jahiem gets down with Sambone
the divas BE OUT! Jawbone, Queen Amaire, Jujubonez and Queen Remy! listening to some Glen David Andrews!
Nitbone shakin a tail feather!
Boneapart and Celestial bonez get down!
Next up? we are learning the National Anthem in French for the Bayou St. John fourth of july flotilla. Our Big Queen will crown the next queen as she ends her reign…
This summer we will be planning Calacas Y Maracas, and beyond! Working on more handmade throws and Barbie Bonez…. All Hail this glorious season, with Chewbacchus, Dreux and Barkus being new on our schedule! Laissez les bonez temps rouler!
what CAN we say? each year we grow a little more, evolve a little more, and learn a little more. this year was no exception.
new krewes we joined were barkus chewbacchus, dreux, and a stellar appearance at tit rex. here’s a few shots to entertain you with. as the kaiju flambeaux lost out on the permit to light em up? we became the flambonez. being at the front of this fabulous parade was a hoot. we brought drums and a dancebeat to the mechagator, and lit the way despite the ruling. here’s to the flambeaux and Andy Baker who along with Theta and others, came up with a creative way to lead the parade in style. all hail!
Big Queen didn’t care about the rain, and neither did her Catahoula Cur. all hail the bonez rolling with Dog Day Afternoon. After a good rain, the parade went out anyhow, and turning the first corner? a deluge came down. The Top picture is of Lael and Sivaan Saacks as they hand out throws along the parade. all hail dog day.
along the parade route with the Rainbone, Bikerbone and Queen as a Muses shoe is caught! All hail muses!
rolling at four twenty, krewe of dreux went out on a beautiful saturday and marched through chilly gentilly. here at the end of the parade route? is new members KAHLUAbonez, and Thetabonez…. with big queen, jawbonez, and dr strangebone.
group portrait at the top as we finished the six mile parade OKEANOS. our third year with this parade, and also a wonderful breakfast with our favorite food truck TACEAUX LOCEAUX again, we cannot express how much we love Okeanos.
of course here’s jaheim getting his game on, with morpheus and big queen. the top picture is of the krewe on a rainy fat tuesday at the lafayette cemetary!
and last but not least, all on a mardigras day. at six thirty in the morning we went to the river with JayBobs ashes. lighting off fireworks, and passing around the whiskey we said goodbye to JayBob. All Hail Jim! Jay! Flo! Anton! Kaiser! and Randy!
Enjoy yourselves, its later than you think. Life is short, on mardigras day we come to remind you that you are mortal, and life is fleeting. Like carnivale, shed your flesh to the bone, and bring forth your ancestors and your friends. Life is a beautiful ride…. May the horses leading your lifes parade be stallions or clydesdales, and clippity clop and trot you through life like a king or queen.
With much discussion of appropriation of other peoples culture, We thought it was time to bring up where and how Skinz N Bonez came to be.
There are many factors that played into the creation of this krewe. I’d like to begin by talking about MY personal love affair with the skeleton. I don’t know what drew me in, maybe it was because I’m an artist. All those classes of figure drawing, muscles, bones, and beyond? Either way I was so enchanted that by the time I had graduated from high school? I was “masking” skeleton. EVEN made it in my high school yearbook with three friends in skeleton makeup.
In my twenties I had moved to Seattle where I was involved with the music scene that was exploding. I was very reverent in my clothing choices and skeletons played into that. Rings, Necklaces, Tshirts and anything I could find to continue my skeleton drag show.
Then I found out my father had cancer. Over the next so many years I would find myself facing the skeleton in a much different light. The Aids virus ran rampant, and I lost about 28 friends in a very very short time frame. My fathers own death from cancer happened right about that time in my life. I found myself going into my 30’s with death at every turn. Some friends overdosed, some were murdered, some passed from aids, and then there was my roomate, and my father. ALL of these happened within a two month period of my 30th year. IT was devastating to say the least.
I began to get sick. I couldn’t function as I hadn’t decided where they had gone, why they had gone or what to do next. I think every person goes thru death differently, some deal with it better than others. I found myself visiting an angel therapist who hypnotized me. I had to find closure and in the world I had created? there was none.
Then I saw the closure. Walking thru the Pike Place Market I spied a latino store with miniature skeletons in the window. Upon further inspection I realized that this was no ordinary skeleton, but bonez that were smiling, laughing and carrying on. Colorful and filled with LIFE not remorse.
I embraced the Latino Holiday Day of the Dead. “Dia De Los Muertos”. I had found a new way to see the lives that were gone, and the lives before me. Instead of this morbid and dark view of the american viewpoint? I saw the Latino celebration of life in all its color, beauty, and happiness. I began to draw again.
Over the years I made the decision to collect Day of the Dead figurines. To go to Latino stores and search for anything and everything that had a smiling skeleton. I would throw a party each year NOT for halloween, but for those who passed. I found myself coming out of the darkness, and putting those people first each year on Nov. 2nd. I came OUT of my funk, and turned it all around.
The yearly parties would grow each year. Friends would bring pictures of loved ones who had passed, belongings that they cherished and the altars would grow larger and larger. Even when I left Seattle for Portland, Portland for Arizona, and Arizona for New Orleans? these were the things that made me smile and healed myself and others.
We take so much for granted when someone passes. Some of us make it all about ourselves, and don’t see that others are suffering too. Some of us only see those who ARE suffering, and then others are just met with complete grief and loss and cannot go forward. I found that embracing a culture where the skeleton was happy in my art, my sculpture, my house and my friends? that I could move forward.
Afterall the skeleton represents life, represents the soul moving from one plane to the next. We all are skeleton inside, and skeleton in the end. We all have this in common, and we all will experience death in the end. So why not celebrate that life you have, the lives others have touched you with? It was if a GRAND wake had brought me back to life.
So you can imagine how I felt when I came to New Orleans and saw the “bone gangs”. Albiet they were much different from the skeletons I had envisioned and healed myself with. One was frightening and carried a dark and mysterious tone. Another paraded with satire and huge heads. Another group was dark and waking up the hood with fireworks and whiskey.
either way? I had found another incarnation. I was diggin it.
Most of these krewes were male oriented or closed to membership. In the meantime? in the secret societies that they created? they seemed fragile and were fleeting. much like life itself, fleeting. THEN it happened. Katrina hit.
PTSS set in again for me. post traumatic skeleton sickness, death all around with hints of despair and laced with a possibility that New Orleans may never recover.
this could not be for me. I had found krewe du vieux, found my first parade to roll in, found my first great job, and was finally coming out of a bad divorce. I had already masked skeleton at moms ball. masked skeleton on mardigras day. already had embraced that secret society of one. that one being me and my city.
When I came back to New Orleans from Katrina, and the whirlwind of traveling and searching I saw the Latinos had come back. Here they were fixing the city up. A city that had plaques that said the original names in Spanish.
The Spanish had come to reclaim their city. It was time. It was time for the skeleton secondline, to embrace the hispanic day of the dead. Afterall, rebuilding a city that had deep latino and carribbean roots? yes. my mind and my creativity were bursting at the seams.
LOL IN my high school yearbook was a portrait of the artist in high school all boned up…. yes, my inner skeleton was on fire.
I bounced back from katrina with all kinds of paintings of broken houses, skeletons, musicians, architecture, secondlines and more. I also found myself wanting to mask more and more. A chain of events went down for me that changed my outlook, and helped to form what you now see as Skinz N Bonez.
I had been at the “Healing Center” and gotten involved with that corner of my neighborhood changing. It was at the “Anba Dlo” festival that I met a Mardigras Indian by the name of Wildman John. I was selling skeleton maracas, and he wanted one for his suit. We exchanged numbers and within weeks I was talking with him, and planning on checking out his tribe the Wild Tchoupitoulas.
At the same time? I rolled Box Of Wine. That was a long day of waiting to get on the route, and a float had broken down so we were at the mercy of the police. I had bumped into two lovely friends who were dressed skeleton, and was now regretting that I hadn’t done the same. My original outfit for box of wine was a grecian dress, WHICH did get used at spanishtown parade later that season, but for the time being? it was freezing outside. so I had dressed as a “glitter punk”. By the end of that parade my mind was filled with Indians and Skeletons and more. We even sat on the balcony next to the avenue pub talking about a female bone gang.
NOW back to the Indians…. The Wild Tchoupitoulas were down to only a few members at this point. I attended St Josephs nite for the first time, and stood there with a friend. He and Big Queen didn’t have drummers, they seemed so part of this giant beautiful picture! The night went off with so many beautiful images, and the city was still on a very thin cultural landscape. Police were clashing with Indians at this point, and there were obviously lawyers on the route to insure that the culture wasn’t stepped on. AND THEN I SAW IT. a lone skeleton stepped out onto the street with a broom and began to sweep away the souls left behind, and now my mind was really thinking….. drums…. bonez…. drums…. bonez…. Even Bec was smiling about it.
I sat with my boyfriend and talked names. He came up with skinz n bonez. the skinz part? would be drums. bonez, bonez. By June of that year I took out an ad on facebook for the HI HO LOUNGE, since I worked there. “Looking for women to form new krewe playing drums and running with Indians”.
The first meeting? was hilarious. so much creativity, and so much shy, and no real skills for most of our part. Wildman John got us in a circle and started breaking down the barriers. We learned songs, we learned to take chances. I would later add Dancing Man to the mix, to get us ladies in shape. We embraced our first parade in the treme. 6t’9 social aid and pleasure club.
I had already met Ronald Lewis at this point. the year before the krewe began? I was blessed to paint his face on fat tuesday. He met at my house, and we had a great conversation…. I was also blessed that year to go out with Wildman John to the Uptown Indian second and dryades lineup. Big Queen Yolanda was there, as well as myself. I never stood in the lineup. I stood to the side, and was his flag bearer. I did anything and everything they asked of me. It was somewhat intimidating at first, but then I realized that they needed drummers. all these factors played into skinz n bonez. There wasn’t a moment where I didn’t talk to John, or ask permission.
THIS year we go on our third mardigras together. This year we go with the Wild Tchoupitoulas. We will also go to the river and say goodbye to a good friend. A very close friend that I have known since seattle, and that moment when my father passed.
He too was bit by the skeleton bug. I remember the year he went out with the bone boys, and went thru houses in the bywater, drinking whiskey and enjoying the moment.
YES J. Bob I’m talking about you. He always flied those birds over the course of the entire time I knew him. LOL we gone do you rite darlin before the day begins!
wildman john of the wild tchoupatoulas, and big queen mardiclaw
at any rate? this year will be the year we have finally evolved into the drum krewe that could. At the same time? The Wild Tchoupitoulas have also stepped it up, with an expanded membership, and love of their bone girls.
I see so much commentary from folks who would make an arguement for “culture vultures” but I see my krewe in a very different light. There were series of events that played over a lifetime for myself. I don’t think meeting Wildman was a fluke. We are very tight as friends, and I know when we went out with them for st josephs night and super sunday? They went before Indian Counsel.
Its a very thin line to walk when it comes to whats happening here in New Orleans. Our culture is ever changing, and there were moments where things could have been gone forever. But they came back, and after the storm women were coming back with a renewed sense of community. I look at Muses and the lack of brass bands after katrina. They brought brass in from out of state, out of their own pockets. That mardigras was like no other. I can still see the float with no riders that symbolized those lost in the storm.
I have a very large respect for the Northside Skull and Bone Gang. My krewe is not them. We did learn much from them, and to this day? that is the ultimate experience on a Nola Level. THEY ARE thee bone gang. As Ronald Lewis said, there is a renaissance and the women are leading since katrina. Don’t feather, Don’t bead, don’t step into the lineup. Create your own krewe, your own traditions, enjoy. ask permission, show respect. ask questions.
I admire the GATEKEEPER. Ronald has quite a museum filled with goodness. I think everyone in this city should find the time to see what he has done. Purchase his book, come to the House of Dance and Feathers and see what has been preserved. Find the time to see some of these backstreet moments that make Mardigras so special. Stop in also at the Backstreet Cultural Museum. Mardigras Day is one of my favorite moments. RIGHT there in the street. Come see the Zulu King, come see the Northside Skull and Bone Gang, go see the Uptown Indians, go see Downtown Indians.
Go see Mardigras. See the Spectacle. Participate in the Modern Day Atlantis known as New Orleans. Find the Bywater Bone Boys, SEE the krewe of Zoolu, (a personal fave of mine…. ), Find the Gaggle of Geddies, Find the Skeleton Krewe, Find Northside, Find the Indians, Find YOURSELF. It certainly took me a lifetime to find my inner Skeleton.
Know that lifes a journey, not a destination. Know that each person has something to bring to the table. Join a Social Aid and Pleasure Club, give BACK to your community. SMILE, breathe, REJOICE, dance, but most of all? be Happy. This is a special time in the world. So many things are happening, and many of them are good, some are bad, but the worst thing that can be? is that WE as people don’t see simple truths, and beautiful rituals. Create YOUR OWN, but respect those who came before you.
The Skeleton Ritual has been something that has been going on since the beginning of time. Be it Egypt, France, Spain, Africa, New Orleans. It is my intention to add a female element to it, and a smile on your face.
we are NOT Indians. We are NOT Northside. We are Skinz N Bonez. one of the most beautiful aspects of this krewe is the amount of creativity that each member brings to us. Schoolteachers, Scientists, Singers, Drummers, Service Industry, Artists, and beyond. Husbands and Wives, best friends, and beyond. We are an incredible family of people looking to make you smile, and looking to give back to the community. The Gentlemen in this krewe are known as “Soul Sweepers” from that moment at St Josephs Nite. We even rolled Barkus this year in honor of animal rescue. Some of the Ladies in this krewe? Run other krewes, some belong to the Treme Community Choir, some work tirelessly to mentor kids. Our Intentions are to give back. I hope that you will see us on the streets, and say hello when we meet. All Hail Big Chief Sunpie Barnes and the Northside Skull and Bone Gang. may you be blessed one day to see them ALL ON A MARDIGRAS DAY.
with much love
BIG QUEEN MARDICLAW founder of skinz n bonez and soul sweepers