Sometimes hard times, such as this year’s Carnival, inspire positive genius.
Making its way along the internet is a brilliant parody of “Masquerade,” the stirring song from “Phantom of the Opera.” The parody absorbs the melody; plays with the lyrics and creates a masterpiece called “No Parades.” Watch it and you will be stunned. You may also want to laugh at the brilliance or cry at the season’s loss.
Attention believers and non-believers: Take a listen to what the Presbyterians can do. The musical performance is credited to the St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church with musical arrangement by Steven Blackmon. The whole group should be Broadway bound except there are no performances there, but perhaps a parody is in order called, “No Charades.”
Louellen Berger, wife of developer Darryl Berger, is credited for the inspiration and lyrics. She is known for her gifted design skills including the front lawn of the Berger mansion on St. Charles Avenue, which is generally a masterpiece of decoration, especially at Halloween, when the space is populated by gaggles of playful skeletons. The creative enterprise is under the name of Skeleton House New Orleans (@skeletonhousenola). The group has also produced another brilliant parody, this one based on George III’s song in Hamilton, “You’ll Be Back,” but the challenge has been set. It will forever be hard to top “No Parades.”
Besides the music there are many visuals. The fast-moving scenes dance through the viewers’ minds. Subtitles keep us at pace with the rapid lyrics that encourage home decorating and ultimately praise the city’s creativity:
You should not be dismayed
But just look at the artistry around you.
My advice is to momentarily clear a space in your life’s distractions. Put out the dog. Mute the cell phone; click the link and listen. Warning, if you are like me you might listen several times in succession.
Carnival 2021 will be historic, not for its frivolity but for its challenges. Mention has been made that in 1979 there were no parades because of a police strike, but people were still allowed to party; dance of Bourbon Street; hug, sing, be Carnival-like. This year, we are being warned, the police will be watching. Never, not even during the war years, has the spirit of Carnival been as challenged as this year. Never have we needed brilliance so bad. The parody is called “No Parades.” I read it as meaning “No Surrender.”
Along with ancient scepters, crowns and gowns, this should be preserved in The Presbytère.
BOOK ANNOUNCEMENT: Errol’s Laborde’s books, “New Orleans: The First 300 Years” and “Mardi Gras: Chronicles of the New Orleans Carnival” (Pelican Publishing Company, 2017 and 2013), are available at local bookstores and at book websites.
WATCH INFORMED SOURCES, FRIDAYS AT 7 P.M., REPEATED AT 9:30 A.M. SUNDAYS.WYES-TV, CH. 12.
Listen to Mardi Gras Beyond the Beads, a seasonal podcast covering the ins and outs of the Carnival season: MyNewOrleans.com/beyondthebeads