FINDING HENRI DAVID'S jewelry store at 13th and Pine street may be like an egg hunt - there's no signage, just a business card taped to the window with the word "Halloween" on it. But you won't be able to miss the man himself this Sunday at the 83rd annual Easter Promenade and Parade on South Street.
Philadelphia's famed jeweler/bon vivant/LGBT advocate will be the guy in the outlandish hat (it's embellished with plastic eggs) leading a bunny-hopping procession of people who are dressed like rabbits.
David, whose extravagant October costume parties have earned him the nickname "Mr. Halloween," is also Mr. Easter Parade, this year marking his 34th year as grand marshal.
He spoke recently with Daily News intern John Corrigan about the parade, his Halloween parties and his A-list celebrity clientele.
Q What will you wear for the Easter parade on South Street this
"I'll have a very colorful, very large Easter bonnet on my head. We'll have a whole bunch of people dressed as bunnies doing the bunny hop.
They will lead people off the sidewalk to join the parade in doing the bunny-hop down South Street.
We'll have a live band playing "The Bunny Hop." We'll have stilt walkers and, as always, a lot of candy and surprises for the kids."
Q Your first Halloween party was held in 1968. How does a 19-year-old organize such a public gathering?
Guts. Balls. I would go to New York with friends who took me to these events in ballrooms and thought, wow, this is really cool. There's nothing like this in Philly.
I lost my shirt for the first five years, at least. But my friends had a blast.
Q Who are some of your most famous jewelry clients?
Stevie Nicks, Elton John, Dick Clark, Duran Duran, Sheryl Crow. It's all word of mouth. We had the Rolling Stones here one day, completely unannounced. They came in during the day with their limousine parked outside, shopped around and pointed to what they liked, and their guy handed me money. It was cool.
Q What are your thoughts on the progress of the gay-rights movement?
I was at Stonewall in the beginning, I really was. We've come a long way, but we are far from done.
Getting gay marriage passed is not the only thing that's important. It's very important, but it's not the only thing. Whether it's bullying or whatever, there is so much more.
What I've tried to do is always be out and open, but also accessible to the other communities. I give you a chance for a good party. Whether you care about what people do at home is not something I can worry about.
Q Are you grooming anyone to
take over the party scene once you retire?
My eyes are open. I'm always looking. I go to every event that I can, just for fun, and I meet the people running them, and I don't see that spark.
I get hired by charities to do events, and I go to meetings and sit and listen to the committee and [makes snoring sound]. I realize these may not be party people.