Meet the Mother Shucker
Written by Adam Peltz
Thursday, 15 February 2007 21:56
|Meet the Mother Shucker|
A couple of months ago, a friend of mine suggested I join up with the Bearded Oysters dance troupe. She told me she’d done it a few years back and had had a ball. So I did. I signed up, sent in my parading fee and the money for my costume-- and then, soon after, decided I’d better find out what it was I’d signed up for. I figured the smart thing to do would be to track down the creator of the troupe, the one and only Miss Karina Nathan-- The Mother Shucker. This is how the conversation went:
As the Mother Shucker of the Bearded Oysters, I thought you would be the perfect person to fill me in on what, exactly, a Bearded Oyster is.
A Bearded Oyster, in addition to being a Southern version of the Bearded Clam, is a free-spirited and playful lady that loves dancing, Carnival, attention, and sisterhood.
How long have the Bearded Oysters been in existence?
The Bearded Oysters first appeared on the scene for Krewe of OAK’s Midsummer Mardi Gras in August, 2004.
If someone wanted to see the Bearded Oysters for themselves, where and when could they catch them parading this Mardi Gras season?
The Bearded Oysters will be dancing in the Krewe of Muses Parade on Thursday, Febuary 15th, starting at 7pm as well as the Krewe of OAK (parade) on Friday, February 16th at 8pm.
Do Bearded Oysters only come out at Mardi Gras?
Yes and No. In addition to the traditional Carnival season, the Bearded Oysters participate in the Krewe of OAK Midsummer Mardi Gras Parade which is usually held on the last Saturday of August.
What inspired you to create an all-female dance troupe?
There were several inspirational moments in the conception of the Bearded Oysters. The first was four years ago when I experienced my first Mardi Gras and witnessed the phenomenon of the Pussyfooters Dance Troupe. They just blew me away. They were dancing in Krewe of OAK and I had never seen anything like it. They were sexy, smart, and funny. I immediately began investigating how I too could participate. My investigation led me to a choreographer at Loyola. I asked her if the troupe would be looking for a costume designer. The answer was no, but she encouraged me to start my own troupe. My own troupe? I don’t know why I thought that would be an easy endeavor, but I was determined to leave my mark on Carnival. Several days later I was off to MOMs Ball in a bra, thong, heels, mink stole and a beard. I had such a blast in the costume. The beard seemed to protect me, to allow me to be as sexy as I could but still not be made to feel uncomfortable. I immediately decided to start a troupe of bearded ladies. I played with names and originally decided on the Bearded Clams. I lived right by Jaques-Imo’s and asked the manager if they threw away clam shells which I would be needing to make costumes. He said “oh yeah, tons of ’em. How many do you want?” I told him to just dump several bags of them in my front lawn. So I wake up several days later and open my front door and all over my lawn are oyster shells. I laughed to myself and said “Bearded Oysters?” It was even better since it was slightly less obviously offensive, but also oysters are local and even sexier than clams.