la Murga 5

costumes: even my sequins have sequins

Colors. Every group had it’s own colors. We were red, white, and blue.

In general the male dancers wore a full suit – totally nylon, totally shiny. Every square centimeter of the pants are covered in tassels which exemplify the movements of the legs greatly. The jacket has long tails, and is covered with designs, sequined mosaics, usually silly images, from Looney Tunes characters, to Marijuana leaves, band logos, animals and naked, provocative women. Sometimes tasteful, and sometimes… not. It was easy to tell who were veteran dancers as they had far less white space showing.

Under the jacket was a white dress shirt and a bowtie. At the ends of the sleaves were white gloves, and the sneakers were white as well… usually chucks. Everyone wears chucks. The only skin that showed for the men was their faces, and often times their eyes were obscured by tassles swinging from their bejeweled top hats.

Kids were dressed pretty much the same, but many of the young women had white shorts, and more revealing tops, and the drummers were often in simpler gear.

I mentioned before that we had 3 mascots of sorts… The 3 Stooges, with giant foam heads. I’m not sure if other groups had mascots or not.

One night the regular guy who danced around as “Larry” was out so “Moe” asked me if I’d fill in. The head was gigantic, incredibly tight, nearly ripping off my ears, and incredibly hot. I could (barely) see out the tiny mesh covered mouth, the only hole in the giant monstrosity, bumping into everyone and everything. But staggering was part of the character and the children were entranced, waving, waving, waving. Everyone wanted to hug Larry. Though it was incredibly uncomfortable, I almost didn’t want to take it off. I’m a great stooge.

There’s also something powerful and transformative about putting on a costume.

The first day, Mathias (I knew of at least 4 Matis in the group) handed me nylon pants, one leg blue, and one red, so I could fit in somewhat. Ale(jandro) gave me an extra bow tie and white gloves, but all I had for the top was a white tshirt. Between the simplicity of my outfit, my ridiculous hair, and my additions of different dance styles, I definitely stood out:) For the second weekend I decided to make a shirt for myself.

Lucas, a housemate and I stumbled upon a second-hand store, and I grabbed a white button-down with relatively few stains. Next I picked up some red and blue spray paint, 2 sheets of plastic and a box cutter. I found the original 3 stooge photos that the group used for its logo, and photoshopped them a bit to get an image I could stencil. I spent some time fumbling with the giant box cutter to make the tiny cuts that defined Moe, Larry, and Curly, along with a Bombero silhouette I had drawn freehand. I had time though before the next show, and Hannah (another very cool roommate) was sitting across the room trying to repair my pants, in which I’d torn a gaping foot-long hole from above my crotch all the way down and back up my butt while dancing the night before. I didn’t realize until the end of the night when one of the older woman let me know what color under wear I was wearing.

I was proud to show off my handmade gear to the group, who were still impressed that I was simply continuing to show up and dance everyday.

In fact, 3 weeks in, I was still getting the question, “te gusta Murga?” which later turned into, “so you’re coming back next year, right? We can get you a real outfit then. Si?”

Who knows. I definitely had a great experience:)

let
me know
what you think
just remember i have feelings too

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