History of The Realm
The Imperial Court of Massachusetts
The Imperial Court of Massachusetts (ICMA) is celebrating its 24 th year as an organization, and looks back on long and valued history as a fundraising organization in Massachusetts. It grew out of a local chapter of The International Imperial Court System, The Imperial Court of New England and its successor, ICMA’s Mother Court, The Imperial Court of Rhode Island. Ralph Martino and B.B. Hayes- as Emperor and Empress III of New England, and as Founding members and Emperor and Empress I of Rhode Island, appointed Jack Murphy to the ceremonial title of Baron I of Massachusetts. And so it began….
In 1995, John Raimondo Reeves became Baron II and Amanda Arpel became Baroness I of Massachusetts, and it was the intent of the new Baron and Baroness to take their titles beyond ceremonial functions and to establish an Imperial Court Chapter in Massachusetts. The first Adornment took place in August 1995 and the barony was legally Incorporated as The Royal Commonwealth Society, Inc. in May 1996, making this our 21 st year as an incorporated
organization. Through the Second Reign of Baroness Amanda Arpel, and the Reigns of Baron III Jesse Brown Atkins and Baroness III and IV Daphne Prideaux- Tchkinski, the organization grew slowly and steadily, but corporate structures and 501c3 status were put in place, preparing the organization for “Empire” status. In January 2001, during the Reign of Baron V Kevin of The Far East and Baroness V Crystal Crawford, The International Imperial Court System elevated The
Barony to sovereign imperial status and became known officially as “The Imperial Court of Massachusetts”.
In April of that year, Crystal and Kevin were elected Emperor and Empress Elect and became our first elected Monarchs. Crystal completed her Reign as Baroness V, but due to personal reasons, chose not to go forward as Empress and at Coronation I, in November 2001, Imperial Titles were bestowed upon Kevin Drake of The Far East. In 2002, Emperor Kevin stepped down as Emperor after completing his reign and was honored with a Jose Honor and was made an Heir Apparent to our founder Jose Julio Sarria, becoming a member of The International Imperial Court Council, largely due to his work securing empire status and extending the visibility of ICMA throughout the Court System.
During 2001-2002, ICMA held events in Boston, Hyannis, Worcester, and Randolph and ICMA members traveled extensively to regional, national and international court events, setting the stage for rapid growth of ICMA during 2002/2003 Reign of Emperor II Tim Davis and Empress II Corvette. Membership increased significantly, helping to increase fundraising as well, and new important connections were made with both local and national organizations. The Coronation ball was moved to the regal Park Plaza Hotel that year and AIDS Action Committee was the beneficiary, lending its name and reputation to our fundraising efforts. That evening saw the crowning of our next Monarchs, Emperor and Empress III, Randolph “Gucci” Spendzalot and Wilma Von Schwink. In May 2004, family responsibilities forced Randy to relocate to Florida, and our Empress completed her reign without an Emperor. This was a valuable experience for the organization, as it proved that despite the loss of a monarch, the organization was strong and cohesive enough to stay on its fundraising track and Host The Jose Honors in November 2004.
The Reign of Emperor IV Peter George and Empress IV Verna Turbulence can be credited for solidifying the direction and future of the ICMA, as fundraising increased substantially, visibility in our community and our outreach to other organizations doing similar work in the Commonwealth. With Verna and Peter at the helm, the bar was raised at all Court events, and the glamour, quality and flair of our Coronation festivities, which had unprecedented attendance, became a hallmark. Verna Turbulence’s Drag Brunch had become a staple fundraiser and became an annual “Rite of Spring”, raising tens of thousands of dollars to date.
Emperor V Chadwick Burke and Empress V Amanda Stragg built on this with additional outreach to the Merrimack Valley and brought in a great deal of money through non-show efforts, such as raffles and outreach with other organizations.
The reign of Empress VI Paris Idean saw the court with only one monarch, but once again, the ICMA achieved what seemed impossible- a year filled with fundraising and a beautiful evening at Coronation VII- where the tradition of a Glamorous Masquerade was started in November 2007. That year, The ICMA was honored with a “Leadership Through Action” award from The AIDS Action Committee for its ongoing support of AAC through ICMA events and volunteer
services provided at their events.
With the start of Emperor VII Adam Della Lune’s reign, The Imperial Court of Massachusetts learned that it would be the 2008 recipient of The Jose Honor’s “Court of Distinction” award. This award is given every two years to a chapter of The International Imperial Court System, a reward that recognizes the hard work of all ICMA members. That year, Empress Verna Turbulence was named to the International Imperial Court Council as an Heir apparent to Nicole The Great, Queen Mother I of The Americas. Although Adam reigned alone, he relied on and honored the former Empresses of past Reigns, and kept the interest and motivation of the organization alive throughout the reign. The Imperial Ballroom of The Park Plaza was crowded with a glittering array of notables when he stepped down and we witnessed the crowning of our next monarch, Emperor VIII Justen Tyme. Fundraising continued with the support of the ICMA membership and a decision was made that year to award Community Servings the role as beneficiary. The Ball itself also moved to its new home, The Imperial Ballroom of the Courtyard Marriott Boston Downtown.
Coronation IX was where we witnessed the crowning of Emperor IX Junior Viadinho. Junior brought youth and enthusiasm to the organization and a much needed boost in our fundraising. He was followed the next year by Empress X Ariel Gibbs, who was attended by our first Regent Monarch , Emperor X Adam Della Lune. The Monarchy and the organization moved valiantly forward, attending community events, fundraising and traveling throughout the realm, but a fissure had occurred and by mid-year, the Board of the ICMA had begun re-thinking the Coronation Event considering the expense and time commitment from a dwindling membership. A meeting confirmed the lack of commitment and a vote was taken by the Membership which not only moved to cancel the Coronation event, but also to disband the organization.
The news was met with concern by The International Imperial Court Council and particularly our titular head, Nicole Murray Ramirez- Nicole The Great Queen Mother I of The Americas. She and several Heir Apparents reached out to the membership and in an effort to provide a form of leadership trusted by The IICC, Nicole The Great decided to bestow Empress IV Verna Turbulence with the title of Queen Mother of Massachusetts, Protector of The Realm, in an
attempt to preserve the history of The ICMA. Upon the news of this appointment, Verna Turbulence called a meeting of the membership and former monarchs and made an appeal to their sense of history and in an attempt to save something from the situation, it was decided to formulate a “re-boot” of the system they had come to know and try something new. She had received a commitment from Nicole The Great that The IICC was willing to stand by the decision and thus began the start of a new organization. Within our first months, a Privy Council was installed to help the newly appointed Queen Mother, and fundraising efforts began in earnest. A Monthly Bingo event- hosted by the court at Club café- one of Boston’s oldest Gay Owned landmarks was established, and our annual “Verna Turbulence’s Drag Brunch “ event was phenomenally successful, raising in excess of $14000.
Upon our “re-boot”, we were approached by members from the western portion of our state about helping them form an organization of their own. We heartily approved and within the guidelines of The International Imperial Court System we have moved forward with this process. At our first protocol event following the restart, ”The Black and White Ball”, Queen Mother Verna Turbulence elevated and named an Imperial Crowned Prince and Princess for both ICMA and Western MA. ICPs Noah Von Ark and Lakia Mondale were to serve here in Boston and ICPs Nelson Roman and Jenayah De Rosaria were installed to help carry out the
works of the Queen Mother in Western Massachusetts. Within a year, our memberships had grown, our fundraising continued to increase, and most importantly, we began to work with many new beneficiaries and organizations, increasing our mission.
In November 2014, we welcomed Queen Mother I of The Americas, Nicole The Great, and several members of The International Imperial Court Council here to Boston for our Coronation XI Festivities, at which we witnessed the official “In-State” crowning of Empress IV Verna Turbulence as “Queen Mother of Massachusetts and Protector of The Realm”. The attendance at the Ball set another record and helped us raise over $14,000.00 for The Boston Living Center.
The splendid evening culminated in the crowning of our longest serving ICPs Noah Von Ark and Lakia Mondale as Monarchs to Reign XI. With the crowns finally and firmly on their heads, the newest Monarchs set forth upon a wonderful year of renewed interest in our membership, fundraising and reaching out to new organizations on our community.
Their year ended in a triumphant “step-down” at Coronation XII and was attended by visitors from other realms as far as San Francisco, as well as their own community. Within that crowd was the excited family and friends of Zak Wood- who was to be crowned Emperor XII that evening. Emperor XII Zak Wood has once again brought the determination and excitement of youth back to our court and has been fundamental in helping our Court increase membership and carry on with the monthly and annual events we have come to be known for in our community.
2016 has also been the year that our hopes and dreams for the Principality of Western Massachusetts came to fruition, with their approval from the International Imperial Court Council for full court status, making them the newest jewel in the crown of International Imperial Court System, The Imperial and Sovereign Court of Western Massachusetts, where they will crown their first Monarchs in April.
Last updated on 12/19/2016