Party like it’s 1499…

It’s Renaissance Fair time! Well, at least in my area.

Most of the Renaissance Fairs (or Faires) intend to show life in the 1500’s, usually in Tudor England. Many fairs encourage a broad range of time periods and costumes though, as fantasy elements and pirates are generally accepted and sometimes even encouraged. The fairs tend to be a mix of entertainment and shopping. Some of the entertainments are educational, such as cultural dances and birds of prey demonstrations, but some are purely for laughs (Tortuga Twins, anyone?). Shopping ranges from jewelry and clothing, to incense and furniture. And the food! Typical fair food I guess, where anything you want fried is on the menu. But there’s also turkey legs the size of your head and mead, at very high prices of course, but where else are you going to find mead readily available?

I grew up going to the Georgia Renaissance Festival (it’s the same age as I am too!). At its old location you used to have to walk through a tree-lined path from the parking lot before finally getting to the entrance gate; hearing the sounds of the fair (the music! the cheering crowds! the general noise of large amounts of people!) for several minutes before finally getting to go in was almost torture for my little excited self. One magical year an employee at the fair requested to take a few promotional photos of my family. In return, we would be given free ice cream sundaes. When you’re eight years old, life doesn’t get much better than ice cream (and almost twenty years later, I’m embarrassed to admit that my feelings haven’t changed much). Since I’ve gotten older I’m really the only one in my family who still enjoys going. My sister has allowed me to drag her along occasionally but she’s moved out of state now and is beyond the begging of her baby sister. This year I may just have to go it alone.

If you’re looking for a fair in your area, this website seems to be a pretty good resource. It’s a year or two out of date but it could be a good starting place to find the fair closest to your city.

Any other fair-goers out there? I’d love to hear your stories too.

AnachroCon 2012

I personally find the steampunk sub-genre very interesting. Not being very machine minded myself, I’m not sure I have much to offer to it but I do love history and especially the Victorian time period. Apparently this genre has been around since the late 80’s, although I feel like I’ve just started hearing about it in the past few years or so.

There are all kinds of materials out there about steampunk.

There are the books…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s the jewelry…

 

There are the fashion choices overall…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is even a fun dress up game to play online.

And, of course, there is a convention that caters to all things steampunk. Well, there are plenty all around the country I am sure, but this one in particular is close to me. They say it better than I can on their website:

AnachroCon is a celebration of history both real and imagined. It is a place where those who have a love for yesterday’s future mix and mingle with those who chronicle the past and present.

AnachroCon is a home for Steampunks, Neo-Victorians, Retro-Futurists, Historical Re-enactors, Time Travelers, and general students of history, as well as those wishing to explore these areas.

We are dedicated to the principle of providing a safe social environment for the free exchange of ideas. We gather to interact, share, dance, and explore the possibilities of all things historical, alternately historical and fictional. We also strive to hold ourselves to the highest standards of decorum and education.

AnachroCon is, and shall remain, a convention at which the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Held on February 24th-26th, 2012, AnachroCon has speakers, authors, artists, impersonators, and a vendor’s room. Only $50 until January 31st and $60 at the door, the convention will be held at the Holiday Inn Select Perimeter. I’m not sure if I will be able to go (money’s a bit tight), but it certainly looks like fun!

All the info can be found at their website.

 

FaerieCon

FaerieCon 2011.

I found out about this through a random ad online somewhere.  November 4th-6th, in Baltimore, there’s going to be a convention on all things faerie.   I love going to conventions.  I haven’t been to many, but the  atmosphere at them makes me wish I could go to more.  People are generally so friendly and so open and they are on of the few places I feel normal.  How could anybody not?  But the main thing that caught my eye about this were three of the guests: Brian and Wendy Froud, and Charles Vess.

Brian and Wendy Froud

Brian illustrates, Wendy makes dolls and puppets.  Brian Froud draws fairies and has published several books including Faeries (with Alan Lee!) and Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book.  His amazingly detailed and intricate illustrations force you to actually look at the drawings rather than glance at them and move on to any text.

Wendy, his wife, makes dolls.  Her work has been published too, but you’ve most likely seen her puppetry work.  She used to work for Jim Henson and she created Jen and Kira in one of my favorite movies, The Dark Crystal.  She also created puppets for Labryinth and The Empire Strikes Back.  But, The Dark Crystal?  Mind blowing.  Especially when you consider almost everything is puppetry.

Brian Froud also helped as a conceptual designer on that movie and supposedly a sequel is being planned.

Charles Vess

Charles Vess is also a fantasy illustrator.  He draws a lot of fairies and elves and not your Disney Tinkerbell types either.  His creations are sly and mischievous with an otherworldly beauty to them.  I first came across his work through the book Stardust by Neil Gaiman.  One of the editions published had full color illustrations by Vess as well as border work and smaller illustrations throughout.  For someone like myself who wants the book to be as beautiful as the story, Vess did not disappoint.

He also added illustrations to Susanna Clarke’s book of short stories, The Ladies of Grace Adieu.  Many of the stories in that book deal with fairies, well, more correctly, the fey.  Clarke’s fairies are dangerous and unpredictable and Vess’ illustrations capture the wildness of her characters and stories perfectly.

And finally, I shall leave you with this recent discovery.  Drawn by Vess, you should recognize the scene immediately if you have read the book it’s from.