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Best New Holiday Tradition 

Mardi Gras in the Crossroads

Kansas City isn't New Orleans. But we do Mardi Gras right because we know what counts: dressing weird and dancing to ramshackle jazz and blues. The party that assembles every Fat Tuesday in front of Y.J.'s Snack Bar at 18th Street and Wyandotte, then forms a parade and does the shuffle-boogie-march-stagger down to the Mutual Musicians Foundation, is fun no matter what. And we mean that. Why, last year, the police inexplicably showed up and, after putting an end to the float action in which local business owners had invested much sweat and glitter, made everyone march on the sidewalk. But we persevered — us, you, the guy pushing a bass drum in an office chair with wheels, and the whole rest of the Dirty Force Brass Knuckle Street Band and the Top of the Bottoms crew. Down to the foundation we did crawl, and we packed it to the rafters with butts wigglin' to jazz from a combo that included the King of Carnival himself, saxman Mark Southerland, resplendent in an owl-adorned crown and a magical golden cloak. And that whole thing was just the conclusion of a weekend of jamming, drinking and dancing. Sorry, St. Paddy's — Mardi Gras is officially the tits.

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