Mardi Gras Goes Virtual: The Krewe of Vaporwave


Trey Guillotine, Entertainment Editor

New Orleans’ first! Modern Catholicism’s first! The world’s first! Show me a previous virtual krewe and we will cede the title,” claims the leader of the Krewe of Vaporwave, who goes by the initials M.S, through an email interview. “The idea for the Krewe of Vaporwave, like Vaporwave itself, came from the internet. It started as a Craigslist ad! Now, some of us have one another’s home addresses.” While the many Mardi Gras krewes in New Orleans have their own unique styles, designs and quirks to set them apart from the rest, the Krewe of Vaporwave is something entirely different. Trading in the usual extravagant floats and marching bands, the Krewe of Vaporwave creates both virtual and physical art installations centered around internet culture. 

“At the fake World’s Fair we threw at the Music Box in 2018, (we called it “The World’s Unfair”) we made the biggest TV wall in the history of New Orleans and probably Southeastern Louisiana: 47 TVs,” says M.S. about their past events. “We also scrimmed and projection-mapped the surfaces of all of the structures. Last year, we activated the long-dormant Piazza d’Italia with Oedipus Max, the world’s first Vaporwave Rock Opera. Another first. Trailblazers, we.”

To celebrate the 2020 Mardi Gras season, the Krewe of Vaporwave presented “OwO: A Deep Net Symposium.” When asked if the symposium was actually a Mardi Gras Krewe ball, a convention, or a party, M.S. responded with a simple “yes.” Taking place Saturday night, Feb 15,  Vaporwave opened its doors to the public and encouraged them to take part in the celebration and to dress up as some of the internet’s most popular, and some of the more obscure, internet memes (yours truly was dressed in their favorite Deadpool shirt). Within, guests found swag bags containing specialized lanyards and flipbooks. At various tables set up throughout the space, they could get temporary tattoos of various internet memes or a “wrecked anime portrait.” Some of the rooms held living art installations of “gamer girls,” and one even had a number of retro video game consoles like the Nintendo Entertainment System (N.E.S.) where guests could play “Mario Bros.” and a P.C. to play “The Sims.”

“I mean, we are made up of people, so we are actual,” says M.S. “We do internet-stuff, so we are virtual. And for what it’s worth, the adjective before the krewe name is traditionally, like, not true. Chewbacchus is technically ‘intragalactic.’” Despite its virtual nature, Vaporwave is still a Mardi Gras crew that showcases some of the best, and some of the strangest, corners of internet culture. “We are fun and great. That’s what I want people to think,” concludes M.S. “I don’t want them to think too hard. You have to soften them up a little if you want to implant your messages. Keep your feet on the ground but reach for the stars.”