The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus is the latest group with designs on Lee Circle: The empty pedestal could hold a statue of a Wookiee.
Actually, the krewe has created a miniature 3-D replica of downtown New Orleans that will roll as a theme “contraption” (not float) in its Carnival parade Feb. 9 in Faubourg Marigny, and Wookiees are everywhere. The parade theme is “Space Farce,” and Brian O’Halloran, star of Kevin Smith’s early film “Clerks,” will serve as King Brian the First, Commander of the Space Farce.
The theme contraption features a large-brained alien in a silver flying saucer hovering over New Orleans. Many landmarks below it have been remade in the group’s Chewbachannalian vision. In the center of Jackson Square, there is a statue of a Wookie on a horse.
Krewe du Vieux — the beloved Carnival walking parade unbound by good taste or public decency — will roll (or stagger) Feb. 16 with a theme tak…
“Star Wars” characters, vehicles and minutia have inspired the krewe since its inception in 2011, but as it has grown to include nearly 100 subkrewes and 2,000 marchers in its parade, it has broadened its universe.
The original trio of founders handed over leadership to three new krewe “Overlords” after last year’s parade. This is the debut parade for Brook Ethridge, aka Overlord Padme Almandine, Richard Riggs, aka Overlord Dr. Rotwang Caligari Strangelover, and Aryanna Gamble, aka Overlord Space Goddess Snackagawea.
Ethridge founded the now 100-member Leijorettes dance team, most of whom dress as Princess Leia in her iconic white dress with her hair curled in buns over each ear. The Overlords agree that “Star Wars,” “Star Trek,” “The Princess Bride” and “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” provide a base of shared interest for many krewe members. But the group welcomes all sorts of interests.
“When I started out, this was very much a sci-fi krewe,” Gamble says. “But now it’s a fandom krewe.”
A subkrewe devoted to Cher will debut this year. Gamble’s subkrewe, Remix, always has focused on mashups. Last year, it combined Pokemon and pop music. This year, it will fuse local food and characters from science fiction.
Mashups are common among subkrewes, such as the Space Vikings, and some celebrate pop culture, such as the Krewe of Sharknadeaux, Krewe of the Living Dead, The Rolling Elliotts (inspired by “E.T.”) and a group of Wonder Women. Solo marchers can join the krewe’s “nerd herd.”
A list of Carnival float parades and marching krewes in Orleans and Jefferson parishes in 2019.
Many Chewbacchus members share an interest in DIY approaches, making throws by hand and keeping participation accessible by maintaining low dues. Throwing beads is not encouraged unless something makes them unique, such as a handmade medallion. Gamble likes to be able to match throws to spectators. Last year, she was able to give a hand-made toy version of a BMO game to a person who attended the parade in a BMO costume. Krewe members can attend an annual Throw Swap, in which they view and share hand-crafted throws. The krewe also holds “Set Your Phasers to Stunning,” a costume fashion show that previews the parade for members.
The “Space Farce” parade begins on Press Street and circles the Marigny via North Peters Street, Frenchmen Street and St. Claude Avenue. The post-parade Chewbacchanal is at 10 p.m., though the location had not been announced at press time. It will include music by Sexy Dex and the Fresh, Tristan Dufrene, Dead Music Capital Band and the Browncoat Brass Band. Tickets are $20 in advance, $20 at the door for attendees in costume and $25 general admission.