Intergalactic Grass Skirts and the Krewe of Chewbacchus

Thanks to the way New Orleans embraces a good time and loves to play along, party ideas that appear to come from left field can sometimes catch fire and turn into huge social events.

See our local version of the Running of the Bulls, with fishnet-wearing, bat-wielding roller girls replacing the bulls. From its start in 2007, it has shot from an underground happening to a major annual event now featured in official city tourism promotions. Then there’s the upcoming Red Dress Run, a fun-run/bar crawl that draws some 7,000 crimson-clad participants and is responsible each year for a sudden, seasonal drain of all plus-sized red dresses from local thrift stores racks.

The next example could well revolve around party-hearty Wookiees and beer-swilling bounty hunters from outer space.

This Mardi Gras season marked the inaugural Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus, a sci-fi themed marching club that hit the streets after, of course, the Bacchus parade (the parade’s tagline: “saving the galaxy one drunken nerd at a time”).

The concept is a collaboration between a couple of local creative geniuses, namely Kirah Haubrich of Three Ring Circus and Ryan Ballard of Razzamataz Productions, and it quickly proved magnetic for local sci-fi fans and costume junkies. They hit the Carnival streets in all manner of disguises and personas, with bicycle floats built into spaceships (an X-Wing fighter towed a fully-stocked, alien-staffed bar dubbed Bar2D2) and a marching band called the Wild Tchewbacchatoulas.

The idea went over big, and planning and parties are underway for the next rendition for Mardi Gras 2012. Of course, as with anything experiencing a surge in popularity, the krewe has had to evolve some strict rules, like these concerning permissible costumes: “1. No unicorns (unless they have rocket thrusters). 2. No elves (unless they are cyborgs)."

For those who can abide such regulations, however, joining the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus is easy and the group is holding a party this Saturday at Tipitina’s to offer prospective members a taste of krewe culture.

The event is the Alien Beach Party, with a sci-fi/surf rock/tiki theme, and the night’s band schedule has an appropriately trippy lineup including: the psychedelic country rock of Clockwork Elvis; Hawaii 504, a combo Hawaii/New Orleans R&B act; and the Tintypes, who will also back up the Wild Tchewbacchatoulas as they perform their anthem “Alien Red” and other sci-fi send-ups of Mardi Gras Indian classics.

As you may well imagine, costumes are strongly encouraged at this open-to-the-public party, and the people-watching is bound to be entertaining.  You can sign up for the krewe (membership is $42). And the Alien Beach Party may also be a good place for those curious about the developing case of the City Park Sasquatch to catch up on the latest findings from the field by the New Orleans Big Foot Society.

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