Locals in costumes, a percussion band and a stilt group are ready to stride down the Venice boardwalk and pass out beads in honor of Mardi Gras Saturday, February 2nd before the actual Mardi Gras, Tuesday, February 5th.
The group known as The Krewe of Grandview will meet
at 1 p.m. at the corner of Rose Avenue and Ocean Front Walk in costumes in line with the theme “Mythomania,” a combination of mythology and fantasy.
They will walk south to Windward Avenue, pass out beads, play music and leave for the
“afterparty” that starts at 4 p.m. at the Santa Monica Bar &
Grill, 3321 Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica.
The afterparty is set to feature DJ Saynt with a house music mix; funk band The Gumbo Brothers; and DJ Pia spinning Brazilian funk.
The grass-roots gathering began in Mar Vista seven years ago as a response to the feelings of fear, anxiety and loss of control resident Jessica Long and others around her felt after the September 11th attacks.
“We have the capacity to live in fear or not, to be angry, or to be happy,” Long says.
Long’s boyfriend and musician Johann Stein also wanted to bring the music and festivities he experienced growing up in New Orleans with Mardi Gras to the local area because he felt it was missing.
The event began as a walk for freedom of expression right before “Fat Tuesday” down Grand View Boulevard with an afterparty at Stein and Long’s home.
About five years ago, Jon McBride was among a number of musicians invited to attend their party for a jam session and to share a large pot of Stein’s gumbo.
After that installment, The Gumbo Brothers was formed to play during their afterparties with Stein on vocals and guitar; McBride on saxophone and organ, fellow Louisiana native Gregory Sonnier on vocals and base, and Santa Monica native Reggie Longware on drums.
Now, the band plays regularly at the Santa Monica Bar and Grille and other locations.
The year after that, it was decided to move the walk to Ocean Front Walk, the Venice boardwalk.
Stein says Mardi Gras is about being “free; it’s public; it’s celebratory; and it’s expression,” which are attributes that Venice beach should benefit more from.
McBride says he continues his involvement because of the sense of community shared among the Krewe.
“It’s fun to be involved with a group of people who just for no other reason want to have a good time,” he adds.
The group spends months planning the Mardi Gras event, coming up with themes like last year’s “Space Funk,” picking a king and queen and having
pre-parties like the extravagantly costumed King’s Ball, Long points out.
In the end, the real purpose of this Mardi Gras walk is to follow the tradition of the holiday, which is symbolized by bead throwing as an offering to the people in the street and community, Long says. The Krewe of Grandview has this occasion for Venice residents, nearby locals and tourists.
“It’s just a way to be generous,” Long adds.
Information, (310) 737-1066.