To some, we are odd. Dressed in "costumes", speaking with bad accents, and eating food on a stick. We are the freaks and the geeks. We are drama club, chess club, and d&d players. We are too fat, too thin, too smart, and too socially awkward, until we walk through the gates. At Ren Faires/Fests all over the country, we shine. History majors are not scoffed; World of Warcrafters are not jeered. The more you know, the better. Memorized the complete works of Shakespeare? We celebrate you. Willing to swallow swords, walk on glass, or attempt other feats of weird, ridiculous, or gross? You are our idols. Play the bag pipes, the pan flute, the ocarina? You are our rock stars. Even better, you talk to us, take pictures with us, and honestly appreciate us. You were once just like us, and you don;t forget it. For that we love you even more.
The Ren Fest is the one place where you can be without feeling different. Everyone was a geek, a nerd, a dweeb once. Everyone around was once picked on, or left out. Men buy you roses, and flirt with you, sometimes for the first time in your life. Women who were always told they were ugly, fat, or unwanted, are loved, revered and celebrated. Men who were awkward, and picked last for everything, are winked at, chosen first, and suave.
At Faire, the weird ones (or Mundanes) are the jocks, the preps, the bros, and the populars. They are the ones who do not fit in.They are the ones looked at funnily. They are the ones desperate to fit in. They want to be one of us.
Eventually, we all have go back to reality, but I have found we begin to take a little of that fantasy back with us, and steadily, our reality can become closer to this fantasy, as we become more confident, and take some of the things we have learned about ourselves back to the real world.
For me, I have learned that I am beautiful, funny, and a good seamstress. I have more confidence, and can talk to strangers without fear.I have learned that a good fight sequence is more beautiful than ballet, and there is nothing better than a man in a kilt.I have learned to appreciate myself, and my quirks.
Thank you Rennies, for all that you do. Thank you for entertaining us, for encouraging us, for talking to us, and for being just as geeky and freaky as we are.
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Maryland Renaissance Festival Grants Visitors an Escape From Tough Times
By Bobby McMahon
Capital News Service
Friday, Oct. 9, 2009
CROWNSVILLE, Md. - The economy is in shambles. A new and terrifying disease is spreading throughout the area. But people are making the most of tough times.
Welcome to England, circa 1543.
Now in its 33rd year, the Maryland Renaissance Festival in Crownsville is a time warp back to the days of King Henry VIII, offering all manner of escapes from normal life.
The fair is open weekends now through Oct. 25.
Despite the down economy, attendance is on par with past years, with about 14,000 people coming through the gates each day. Many visitors, including Annapolis resident Erin Higgins, consider the festival comparatively inexpensive.
"It's a cheap thrill," Higgins said, dressed for the occasion in a black corset and appropriately antiquated pants. "It's eight bucks more than a movie ticket [for admission to the festival], and you're here all day. And the people-watching is great."
Wandering through the 27 acres of woodlands, visitors clap along with fiddlers and other traditional musicians, laugh as jesters in big floppy hats perform, and catch passing glances of men dressed as knights and women in bust-heaving dresses.
Tyler Petrini, a 23-year-old teacher from Catonsville, enjoys the "you-can't-get-this-anywhere-else" experience of the festival, particularly the food.
"There's nothing like holding a turkey leg and drinking mead," Petrini said. "You can't do that anywhere else."
Jules Smith Jr., the general manager of the festival, said turkey legs are one of the most popular food items. To feed the turkey-leg-starved masses, he orders about 58 tons of the popular item in early spring.
The festival also offers a multitude of stick-mounted foods -- macaroni and cheese on a stick, steak on a "stake" and chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick. All this food on a stick apparently makes people thirsty, as guests consume 250,000 glasses each of beer and soft drinks, as well as 200,000 bottles of water during a season.
Unusual food is not the only draw for visitors, as actors, acrobats and magicians perform at stages and in open areas throughout the venue. Many shows require a great deal of audience participation, and Carolyn Spedden, the artistic director of the festival for more than 20 years, says this full-on experience is what sets it apart from other forms of entertainment.
"We're trying to involve all the senses [with guests], instead of just sitting and visually watching TV or a movie," Spedden said. "I think that is what makes it a little unique"
Also special to the festival, Spedden said, is how visitors develop relationships with performers, as many have been taking the stage for a number of years.
"The closest relationship I can link it to is the way some people feel about their favorite characters on long-term TV sitcoms," Spedden said, comparing fan favorites like "O" and "The Renaissance Man" to characters on "Cheers" and "Friends."
"People feel like they know them," Spedden said. "Our performers get that as well."
|Actor Mark Jaster performs at the festival. More photos in slide show. (Photos by Maryland Newsline's Rachael DeNale)|
Many of these performers -- as well as the artists and craftsmen who make the festival run -- travel a circuit of renaissance festivals throughout the country, starting in Arizona in February and ending their season in November. Smith said it's the creativity and outdoor environment that draws performers to this lifestyle.
"I know the sword swallower has told me he could be performing in a nightclub, but he'd only see klieg lights," Smith said. "Here, in daylight, in the woods, he gets to see people respond to every nuance he does. Not everybody will catch everything, but he knows the people who are appreciating what he does."
Smith also noted how those who work the festival appreciate the sense of community, a sentiment echoed by Kunji Rey, a henna tattoo artist at the festival and a trained massage therapist based in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Rey grew up in the circuit, selling jewelry and making garlands since she was little, and appreciates how she can travel to any renaissance festival and find someone she knows.
"It's an amazing community to grow up in," Rey said. "I've known some of these people literally my entire life."
Rey also said that, for all the uncertainty in the economy and trouble throughout the world, people still need a good time. Walking through the gates into another time, visitors revel in the huzzah-shouting fun the festival provides, escaping -- if only for a moment -- the troubling world outside.
In planning for this year, Smith and his team were mindful that a constant stream of bad news would make people look for a distraction.
"People are eager to be entertained, looking for a diversion, and that's why our theme this year is 'Escape to the Maryland Renaissance Festival,' " Smith said.
Roy William Cox -- aka Sir William Westmoreland -- a jouster who has been performing for more than 30 years, said it's important to put on a good show for an audience in need of escape, particularly when times are worse than they are now.
"When 9/11 happened, they thought about closing the fair down, but then the powers that be decided 'no, we're going to go ahead and do it because people are going to want to get away,' " Cox said. "And it was one of best weekends ever. ... People want to escape, they want to get away from that. And even in this economy, people save for the year just to come here."
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Aug 14 · Nike Air Max LeBron VII - Artist Series - Cynthia Rudzis - Washington D.C. Event Recap
Nike Air Max LeBron VII Artist Series Cynthia Rudzis Washington D.C. Event Recap
A few days ago, when LeBron James visited Chicago on the first stop on his More Than A Game World Tour, we got a look at the Chi-Town installment of the Air Max LeBron VII Artist Series created by Jeff Zimmerman. Yesterday, King James arrived in the nation’s capital, and as expected, attendees of the event were given a look at the Washington D.C. Artist Series version of the Air Max LeBron VII. the shoe was customized by local artist, Cynthia Rudzis, who decided to go with a tattoo-style illustration that sports some patriotic themes like stars, stripes and the American Eagle. After the jump, you can read all about Cynthia’s inspiration and objective with her shoe design and also get a look at some more pics of the shoe and the event, including a b-ball session with some D.C. youngsters. Via Nike Basketball’s Twitter.
Washington D.C. Artist Collaboration
At a presentation that took place during Nike’s grassroots activities in Washington D.C., Cynthia Rudzis gave James a uniquely designed pair of Air Max LeBron VII shoes.
After a long career as a graphic designer and art director, Cynthia Rudzis left a corporate design career to pursue a very traditional apprenticeship as a tattoo artist. Embracing both a solid design sensibility and a deep respect for Traditional American tattooing, she practices her craft in a private studio in the District of Columbia.
Cynthia approached the design of the Nike Air Max LeBron VII much the same way as she would approach a tattoo. She likes to balance positive and negative space, especially when she is working with traditional images. Looking at the shoes head-on is sort of like looking at a person with a tattoo sleeve: one side is slammed full of line and color, and the other balances it in its natural state, with just a hint of design tying the two together. The left shoe is fully “sleeved-out”, while the right is tied in with traditional script.
Cynthia chose the design in relation to the LeBron’s pillar of “Community”, because no matter what political, social or ethnic background the members of Washington DC’s population belong to, they are all tied together with the knowledge that they live in the heart of the nation’s decision-making core.
When she’s not drawing, painting and tattooing, Cynthia spends an inordinate amount of time traveling with a camera in hand. She lives with her husband on the shores of the Chesapeake.
The series, titled “More to Love,” is billed as the first “dating show for the rest of us,” throwing open its doors to overweight contestants.
“For six years it’s been skinny-minis and good-looking bachelors, and that’s not what the dating world looks like,” Fox president of alternative Mike Darnell said. “Why don’t real women -- the women who watch these shows, for the most part -- have a chance to find love too?”
The project has a similar format to "The Bachelor," where a group of woman compete for a relationship with one man (producers describe him as a “Kevin James-type”). "More to Love" also marks the first time Darnell and Fleiss have teamed for a series in nine years. The duo’s previous dating show was the controversial and groundbreaking 2000 special “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire?” which set the format template for ABC’s “Bachelor” and a legion of imitators.
“More to Love” was inspired by the recent ratings success of “Bachelor” and the popularity of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” which Darnell credits with shattering an industry assumption that TV viewers only wanted to watch highly attractive people.
“This show is going to get a lot of people talking,” Darnell said. “It may be a little controversial, but I think it will mostly be positive. This is so simple and so obvious, yet it has never been done.”
Broadcast reality-dating shows such as the CW’s “Beauty and the Geek” and NBC’s “Average Joe” have featured less-than-handsome men but paired them with model-esque women.
“Most of the country isn’t a Size 2,” Fleiss said. “It’s the dating show for the rest of us.”
Contestants will do the sort of activities seen on “Bachelor,” but producers suspect Jacuzzi or massage dates will take on a different perspective. “More to Love” will have makeover aspects -- when contestants eat a fancy dinner, for instance -- but Fleiss said the focus will not be on physical improvement.
“We want to send the message that you can be the size you are and still be lovable,” he said. “We aren’t going to thin these girls down so they can find love -- that’s a backwards message.”
But Fleiss has left open the possibility of twists. “More to Love” is casting, and no airdate has been set. For Fox, it marks a return to the relationship genre years after the network aired such shows as “Multi-Millionaire,” “My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance” and “The Littlest Groom." "More to Love" is produced by Next Entertainment in association with Warner Horizon Television.
HELP ME GET MY HORNS
I will be starting an Auto 11 on Friday evening and would love to buy a cherry bomb from someone. Let's negotiate.
I've been stuck at this level since December and I'd really like to get my horns.
Please, If you're looking to sell a Cherry Bomb come talk to me. Let's make a deal.
@ fubar As many of you know I just got back from TX for Ren Faire. The wonderful man you see above is the whole reason i travel to TX. If I hadn't met him online oh so many years ago, I'd never have gone out there. This pic was taken this past Saturday at faire. Sadly, we lost this wonderful, gentle soul last night. I am soooo going to miss you Mike. You will alwayssss hold a very special place in my heart. I love you and miss you very much
Good morning friends. I'm about to head out to Dallas for the weekend and to go play in my corsets (hoot!) at Scarborough Ren Faire.
I'll be online over the weekend, probably in the early am and later in the evenings.
I will be home mid afternoon on Monday.
Don't forget about me while I'm gone :-)