As some Queens Metal fans probably already knows, I started my jewelry company when i was living in Queens, NY, a place I loved so much, I named my business after it. After ten years on the east coast, I relocated to the swampy south and fell in love with my new home, New Orleans.
For most of the country, the months after Christmas are DARK, COLD, and, at times, DEPRESSING. But In New Orleans, they are some of the most joyful and beautiful stretches of the year. Because after Christmas comes MARDI GRAS!!! The giant misconception about Mardi Gras is that it's nothing but boobs, frat guys hanging from light posts and people vomiting in the street. And yes, all of that happens. But it's a teeny tiny portion of the whole Mardi Gras celebration. In reality, Mardi Gras is a family celebration, something that parents share with their kids. The weeks leading up to "Fat Tuesday" are an endless stream of parades, balls, music, pageantry, and ELABORATE costumes. One thing I was told before I moved here was, "Everyone in New Orleans has a costume closet." And it's true. It's impossible NOT to have one, unless you plan on locking yourself in your house for all of carnival season (and most of the rest of the year too.) In the few years I've spent as a resident of this beautiful city, I've acquired more wigs, corsets, tutus and pairs of fake eyelashes than I could ever count. I've spent countless hours covering my shoes in glitter and attaching strips of battery powered neon to corsets. I've spent many late nights comparison shopping one piece latex body suits, or hot gluing thousands of feathers to an elaborate tiered tutu. And the weird thing is.... no one here thinks this behavior is weird.
On Mardi Gras day, the whole city sparkles, and the people sparkle too. Everyone is decked from head to toe in their finest and most over-the-top creations. You'll see all types of costumes --- beautiful, raunchy, hilarious, politically inspired. Every one created with love, and lots of dedicated hours.
This is a city of creative eccentrics, of hard partiers and working artists. It's a city full of families who've been celebrating mardi gras for generations, and thus it's a city that embraces it's traditions. It's a city with a fair share of expats, who fell in love with this place and wanted to become a part of it. Put these people all together and when carnival season starts, it's impossible NOT to get swept up in the magic.
And , of course, theres the most recognizable symbol of Mardi Gras: beads. It's a misconception that women need to lift up their tops to get a strand of beads. In reality, thousands and thousands of beads are thrown from floats every year, to absolutely everyone. If you attend a parade in New Orleans, you can easily leave with so many strands of beads around your neck that you can barely stand upright!! What surprised me when i experienced my first Mardi Gras was how distinctive the beads can be. There are your standard round ones, of course, but then theres beads customized for every Krewe. These beads can match a theme or a commemorate an event. They are truly works of art!
So, for the next few weeks, Queens Metal jewelry is going to take a bit of a back seat to a different kind of jewelry, as I join my newly adopted home in celebrating, partying, costuming and generally basking in this fabulous , unique and wonderful time of year.