Soundout

Posted on 31 Jan 2008 at 8:23pm
By John Wright

5 questions with Marc Spurlock

Marc Spurlock, a local physician, is captain for Bal Masque II, the second annual gay Mardi Gras celebration put on by the Mystic Apollo Krewe of Dallas. The Bal, which benefits AIDS Arms Inc. and Texas CAN!, will be Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Dallas Convention Center Arena. For more information, go to www.kreweofapollo-dallas.com.

What is a Tableau Bal?


A Tableau Bal is put on by a Mardi Gras Krewe. Very elaborate costumes are presented in succession to the audience based on a theme each year. After the on-stage presentation, the costume and wearer are put on a cart and moved through the audience (much like an indoor parade), and beads and trinkets are thrown to the crowd. Some of the costumes are made locally, some in New Orleans. A king and queen are crowned at the end of the Bal.

How did Dallas’ Mystic Apollo Krewe get started?
Four kings, including myself, from the Shreveport Apollo Krewe had moved to Dallas and decided to start it in 2005.

There are five Apollo Krewes: Birmingham, Ala.; Lafayette, La.; Baton Rouge, La.; Shreveport, La., and now Dallas. The Birmingham and Lafayette Krewes have been having Bals for 32 years.

What is this year’s theme?
The theme is “A Lone Star Mardi Gras.” We are trying to show Texans that Mardi Gras is not just about Louisiana. We are visiting several Texas cities with our costumes, which include Mesquite Rodeo Cowboy, Sweetwater Rattlesnake Round-Up, Chicken Ranch Best Little Whorehouse, Houston Johnson Space Center, Texas A&M, San Antonio Fiesta, Austin University of Texas Longhorns, San Jacinto Yellow Rose of Texas, Tyler Rose Festival, Amarillo Cadillac Ranch and Dallas State Fair with Big Tex.

What do the costumes generally look like?
The costumes are a little more like the Brazilian Rio Mardi Gras costumes but with not as much “skin” showing. They are quite elaborate, with glitzy body suits, 12- to 18-foot wire works with ostrich and pheasant plumes, sequins and rhinestones. The theme for that year’s Bal is key to the design of that year’s costumes. They are extravagantly beautiful and are only worn for that one year’s performance

What is the goal of the event?
The Bal Masque is a huge production each year for the entertainment of friends of the Krewe. We had around 600 people last year and plan for that many or more this year. You go to a Mardi Gras Bal to celebrate. It’s your chance to let it all hang out. You’re there to have fun; that’s all there is to it. Let the good times roll!

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 1, 2008

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