Usually when you think Masquerade, you think of a ball with people dressed like it’s 16th century Italy during the Renaissance: fancy masks, lots of layered clothing, and elaborate dresses and costumes. You think of that lady with the tight corset, walking around with a feather mask held on a stick, and all you could see were her bright eyes and her redder than red lipstick. And she’d be over in the corner just eyeing you without saying a word and call you over just with a blink of a shiny green eyes…And then…Oh I digress…(at least that’s what comes to my mind when I think masquerade). You also picture people spinning around to waltzes by Chopin, Johann Strauss or Franz Schubert, people saluting each other by bowing, people of the utmost class dressed up as to be unidentifiable… Now when Keep It Local does throws its annual Memorial Day Masquerade party, we’re dealing with a totally different type of masquerade.
First of all, scratch the fancy dresses and Renaissance clothes; this is 21st century jeans, shirt and sneakers era. I might have spotted people wearing some collars but only a handful. Even dresses for the ladies were quite scarce (except for that group that came from a wedding towards the end). And who the hell listens to waltzes these days anyway? Drop me some hip hop and Rn’B courtesy of DJs I Wanna Be Her and Kid Slyce aka Thick As Thieves alongside DJ Bird Peterson and and we can party better than those people did at the Venetian Carnival back in the day. In terms of masks (which is the essential element in a masquerade), forget the fancy feather masks and bring in Batman, SpongeBob Squarepants, Scooby Doo and Curious George (and a few colored masks). And yes, I picked Curious George.
Why Curious George? I’ve never even seen the cartoon or read the books. I just find monkeys funny (and it wouldn’t have been as funny if I had on the SpongeBob or Batman mask. I’m from Africa so I played along and took the monkey mask. I did walk up to people and called them racist as a joke though. It’s like monkeys can get away with doing the silliest things. So I rocked that monkey mask all night, even while I visited other spots like Red Fez and Six Lounge. Everywhere I went, people couldn’t help themselves: “yo, what’s up with the monkey mask?” and I simply replied “some wear sunglasses in the club, I wear a monkey mask (oh and I’m coming from a masquerade party)“. Plus I’m sure it was a funny sight to see some dude bust some moves with a Curious George mask on. Even jokingly, I told my boy Blitz we should start a crew called The JabbaMonkeys and we’d all wear monkey masks: Curious George, Donkey Kong, Mighty Joe Young, King Kong and Bubbles aka The JabbaMonkeys.
I would go around and mimic other people dancing. Monkey see, monkey do. And when you have a mask on, you can’t see on the sides so I couldn’t always get out the way. I probably kicked some people while dancing but it was cool for I was Curious George that night. I even cut the slit where the mouth was on the mask so I could make a grimace and pull my tongue out too. A couple of people thought it was part of the mask and actually touched my tongue. Yes, that was gross. But what really made my night was when I ordered a drink at the bar. Dennis made it within 10 seconds, including squeezing 2 pieces of lime in it then threw his hands in the air expecting a round of applause with a proud look-what-I-just-did expression on his face. And I simply put my monkey mask on and waved from side to side and clapped with my hands above my head…Ooh monkeys do silly things…