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PiratePalooza 2018: Buccaneer Invasion!

The 2018 PiratePalooza Pubcrawl Wrap-up

We celebrated the 14th anniversary of PiratePalooza™ on Septembarrrr the 22nd of 2018. This be my account of that adventure, accompanied by photos by Karen Grayson. All of Karen’s photos are available in an album here. – Captain Drew

The pirates who made it ashore first were greeted by the unexpected sight of a new façade on Mr. Twain’s house of ale and billiards. So fresh was this new façade in fact that it was still under construction! We were all forced to slip into that old boozing ken by the side door.

To our surprise the big wall of windows facing toward downtown Decatarrrr was blocked by a wall of wooden planks, which made the place as dark as the bottom of the ship’s hold at midnight inside of a secret ocean cave.

William ‘Foe’ Foley of the shanty group Pogue Mahone pointed up at the wooden ceiling baffles and noted that they looked all the world like the hold grates, which they did!

Soon he and Israel Hands broke out into a lively rendition of Sally Brown and all those around joined in, glad to see their mates all in one place again.

Foe and Israel singing shanties at Twain's

All too soon it were five bells and the crew piled outside onto the surprisingly swank and recently expanded patio area to hear the traditional reading of the Invasion Orders.  Thankfully, Karen Armstrong had made sure that I had a compass that actually worked (thanks Karen!).

Pirates listen to the Invasion Orders

The reading of the Invasion Orders…

Captain Drew reading the Invasion Orders at Twain's

…then away we went, charging headlong into danger!

The 2018 Crawl Begins!

After crossing the street we beat a path to the Brick Store Pub and sailed up the stairs to seize control of the Belgian Bar.

The Brick Store

Once upstairs, Israel Hands and I came to an arrangement about a pint of ale (thanks mate!) as the rest of the crew began filling out the place.  There was hardly any room for lubbers in that place! Mission Accomplished.

The Brick Store filled with pirates

The Brick Store Pub filled with pirates!

I noticed this year that the crowd wasn’t elbow to porthole like we so often have been in the past and I have to say that it was nice being able to move around a bit.  There were still more pirates than you could shake a stick at! (Protip: do not shake a stick at a pirate)

The Belgian Bar filled with pirates

Pirates enjoying the fine ales of the Brick Store Pub

Foe and Israel from Pogue Mahone began belting out some fine shanties and even trotted out a few new ones. Can we hope to see an album from these two at some point in the future? Take my money!

 

When those two drunk sailors needed a breather Redbeard from Landloch’d, and Jimmy and Jackie from the Barehead Bards would jump in with a blazing version of Irish Rover, for which they have become infamous.

The Barehead Bards at the Brick Store

If you have never wandered upstairs during PiratePalooza you are missing out on the best part!

I was happy to leave one of my senior cabin girls, Smilin’ Sarah keeping an eye on things upstairs as I wandered downstairs to check in on Mister Banana.

Captain Drew with a senior Cabin Grrrrl

When I got back upstairs one of them tars sitting at the bar come back a little saucy at me. Mean looking fella with a black headscarf.  I could tell he was in his cups because I watched him arguing with his shoe, and losing. I knew he was going to be trouble, and I was right.  Everybody knows that people in their right minds don’t argue with shoes. You take it up with the shoe’s barrister! Duh!!!

 

The Virginia Reel

I didn’t know why that feller was giving me lip, but when it come time to move the crew outside to go and curse The Commodore here he come at me again!!

Billy Bones was out of control

It was Billy Bones.

He was all worked up about something and started hollering at me. Maybe he thought I should have jumped into the argument with his shoe, but I learned the hard way not to argue with footwear because you’ll never win.

To be frank I only understood about every third word coming out of his mouth because (a) he was drunk as a lord and (2) the minstrels had called for reinforcements and one of ‘them lasses had an amazing pair of cowbells.

Cowbell.

Whatever. You get it.

It was quite a squabble.

Captain Drew arguing with Billy Bones

In the heat of the argument a gauntlet might have been thrown…

A gauntlet was thrown

…and the next thing you know we was in some kind of crazy “dance off” of the Virginia Reel, called by Israel Hands.

Israel Hands calling the Virginia Reel

I was surprised and honored to see one of this year’s sponsors, the publishers from Oz Publishing, join my line of dancers.

I have to admit that Billy Bones had a good looking line of dancers.

Billy Bones dance line

Billy Bones lovely dancing wenches

Meanwhile, back in my line, my belt had gotten all cattywhampus, so I yanked the damned thing off and proceeded to dance the reel trying to hold up my breeches with one hand. My thanks to all of my fantastic reel dancers for doing such a great job (and heck, the same to Billy Bones’ line too). Thanks to Sarah for another lovely reel, it was nice to have you back out on the square!

Sarah the Cabin Grrrrl and Captain Drew in the dance

The Lemleys can dance!

It’s important to get it into the record that this was one of our warmest dances in Palooza history, with temperatures pushing 91º F, a real challenge to everyone bowing and curtseying and promenading and fanny-spanking and casting off.

This is why it’s so important to hydrate the week leading up to the Palooza, and to drink water along the way. It’s a wonder nobody (namely me) dropped out of the dance from the heat!

Throughout this year’s dance my line and Billy’s line traded the lead off and on. By the final cast off we was all tuckered out but Sarah and I charged to the end, waaaaay ahead of Billy Bones and his lady.

Billy Bones and Captain Drew in a dance off

Any fool could see that we had clearly won.

I mean, I certainly could!

To my shock Israel announced that the dance had come to a TIE!!

Israel Hands announced the dance a TIE

He must have been watching some other dance, let me tell you! Billy and I couldn’t believe our ears.

Captain Drew and Billy Bones

Against my better judgment, but in the interest of keeping the peace, I accepted Israel’s Official Verdict (and the coin) until Foe said to me “You know if you were a real pirate you’d say that you’d won!”, which was of course flawless logic.

This left me with only one path of action: I waited until Billy walked off a bit further and then hollered out to everyone in our line:

“We won!! That’s right, we won!!”

There were so many happy faces, what a great outcome!!

I don’t even care that the Official Record says it were a TIE!!!

 

Mac McGee’s Irish Pub

The crew moved on over to seek the air-conditioned, whisky-coated comfort of Mac McGee’s Irish Pub. As always, a good number spilled out onto the sidewalk and into neighboring bars and restaurants and ice cream parlors.

Pirates love ice cream too!

Inside of Mac McGee’s I sought the comfort of my favorite make out booth for the comfort of a couch and a chance to rest my tired (but winning) feet.

Captain Drew in the make out booth

Pogue Mahone cranked up soon enough with some more shanties, while behind the bar I spotted a serving lad with a smile on his face, his phone held out in front of him snapping photos of the pirates pressed up against the bar.

Like at the Brick Store before, this year’s crew wasn’t as fully packed as the last few years. It wasn’t a big change in numbers, but it was just enough to make a difference in a very good way.

After the pirates had slaked their thirst following the reel they made the final move from Mac McGee’s down to Communion, located behind Captain Kevin Gillespie’s restaurant Revival.

 

Communion

Communion

Our crew are quite fond of Communion and I am extremely happy to inform you that if you ate there during PiratePalooza 2018 your meal was personally seen to by the owner of the restaurant, Chef Kevin Gillespie!!

If that name sounds familiar it’s because Chef is well known from his appearances on television shows like Top Chef.

In addition to Revival/Communion he owns the extremely popular restaurant Gun Show and Kevin Gillespie’s Gamechanger at the new Mercedes Benz stadium in downtown Atlanta.

PiratePalooza is honored and happy to have shared our 14th year at Communion with Chef and his crew!

 

The Concert

Redbeard of Landloch’d was quick to arrive and set up the stage for the night’s concert, and this year he had a new sound system, providing the best sound PiratePalooza has enjoyed yet!

The performers for this year’s pub sing included these very talented pirates:

Tenpenny Travelers – Tara Maurer, Mike Quigley, Ariel Kristen Kasten, and Katherine Maurer

Tenpenny Travelers 2018

 

Landloch’d – Ed Rigel and Steve Wright

Lanloch'd in concert at PiratePalooza 2018

 

Ian O’Donnell and Pogue Mahone (Joseph Davis and Tommy Morfoot)

Ian O'Donnell, Foe and Israel

 

The Shenanigans (Merry Peterson, Christine Reagan, and Michael Beasley)

The Shenanigans at PiratePalooza 2018

 

Wine, Woman & Song – Fiona and Alton Leonard

Naughty Nellie and Renwick Sangster at PiratePalooza 2018

with a special appearance by The Barehead Bards (James and Jack Keane).

 

A Toast!

Lady Franchette Von Pittman took to the stage and called all in attendance to raise a toast to our mate Bonecracker, who was laid up from an unexpected battle with a band of ruffians wielding a pilfered autocarriage.  Heal up Gary, we’ll expect to see you at Palooza next year!

Lady Franchette Von Pittman raising a toast to Bonecracker

 

The Shirts

I was especially happy that we sold out nearly all of the 2018 shirts and more than a few of the shirts from previous years. Those older shirts are becoming more and more collectible! Wear yours in pride, you’re part of a very elite group of pirates!!

Pirates modeling the 2018 PiratePalooza shirt

 

 

The Final Pub Sing

As we drifted deeper into the evening the music grew richer and the lights glowed brighter and more golden…

The benches filled at Communion

Animated conversations at the PiratePalooza pub sing

Israel and Ann enjoying the concert at PiratePalooza 2018

…and all too soon we was into the final pub sing!

There were many fantastic songs sung throughout the night but the highlight of the night for me was when the Bards performed a confrontational, Vegas-style rendition of “Tree on a Tree on a Tree on a Tree” which involved rutabagas.

The Barehead Bards singing the longest song of PiratePalooza 2018

And then, before you knew it, we was singing Leave Her Johnny, and the Palooza: it was ended. Some drifted up to Twain’s, others off to the square, and others to all points in between.

In case you didn’t hear my traditional speech closing speech here’s what you missed:

“And now, in accordance with pirate tradition, I declare the XIV PiratePalooza Pubcrawl & Pubsing closed, and I call upon the pirates of the world to assemble one year from now in Decatarrrr to celebrate the XV PiratePalooza Pubcrawl & Pubsing!”

– – –

A GREAT BIG THANKS to everyone who made something happen at PiratePalooza #14, this ship could not sail without your smiling rummy, pock-marked, toothless faces!

All of PiratePalooza thanks our sponsors Basecamp ATL,  Oz Publishing,  DeProMark FX!!

My gratitude to Ryan Rosenberry of Red Beard Restaurants for his excellent coordination, to Joe Callaway for his professionalism and hospitality, and Chef Kevin Gillespie for surprising the hell out of us! Please be sure to visit their restaurants!

Enormous thanks to the crew: Music Coordinator Ed Rigel, Shirt Ops Todd Sayre and Patricia Nall, Security Leads Chad Gilbert and Selena Pittman (and Officer Pitts), and certainly Senior Cabin Grrrrl Sarah Lewis.

An extra special thanks to Karen Grayson for capturing the entire day’s event from beginning to end. We love your photos!

Our gratitude to the City of Decatarrrr and all her businesses that endure our annual invasion with such good humor and friendly service.

PLEASE let me know if I’ve left anyone out, I need to make sure to get them here in the record!

Until next PiratePalooza I shall see you in the dumpsters of Cardboard*Con, the streets of New Castle, and the habitrails of Dragon*Con!

 

 

 

 

 

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