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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Periods & styles of Magic » » Just curious about RenFaires... (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Dr. Hoodwink
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I'll admit my ignorance about RenFaires...I've only been to the one around Baltimore once and worked as a juggler at the NC faire back before it got big. I'm just curious about something.

Are RenFaires losing their historical focus? I see pirates and faeries and such as performers at just about every Faire I've looked at online, while I hear about requirements regarding historical accuracy posted on this forum.

Does this mean RenFaires are moving into more of a fantasy mode?

FYI, I'm a magic hobbyist with pretentions of putting on a show one day, but not at a RenFaire.

Regards,
Rob
Lion Dope
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In my experience, Ren Faires make an attempt to be historically accurate in very broad terms. Yes, there are some variety acts on the circuit that really push the envelope (i.e. Faeries, wizards, etc), but keep in mind that Ren Faires are first and foremost entertainment venues, not re- enactments. Every faire I've worked with has had a creative or artistic director, who pretty much dictates the degree of latitude that will be given.
In my opinion, it is the patrons who push faires toward the fantasy. I've seen patrons dressed up as faeries, hobbits, orcs, ents, Link (from the Zelda game), Rainbow Brite, "Matrix" Agents, Kiss, Imperial Stormtroopers, Doctor Who (actually this makes sense, because he can travel through time), etc. etc. If I had a dime for every bad "Jack Sparrow" costume I've seen, I'd be a rich man!
Mike
MagiUlysses
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Greetings and Salutations,

I can only speak to those events I have attended, worked and or where I have performed: which includes most of the major and minor faires and festivals in the Midwest. You are correct in that you see more fairies and pirates than you did a few, say ten or so years ago. I didn't originate the saying but find it accurate: ren faires are to history what Etch-a-Sketches are to art. I won't begrudge any faire's attempt to make a go of it, and I don't believe people want history in big bites but small pieces. Let's face it, most people were peasants back then, and life wasn't all that pretty for the common man. People want Hollywoood not history. Bill Palmer will likely roll through here and give me a Gibbs' slap to the back of the head, but so be it. Things could be different outside of the Midwest. I've never attended a faire on either coast or in Texas, so my view may be limited. But I have to concur with your assessment.

Joe Zeman aka
The Mage Ulysses
Payne
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Ren Faires never had much of a true historical focus to begin with as they are trying to recreate an amalgam of events that never took place. They are a mix of Tournament, Market Faire, Royal Court and city street scene all rolled into one and filled with acts and merchants selling and doing things unheard of in the Renaissance. As popular and period looking as they seem to be turkey legs and corn on the cob were never consumed by anyone in Europe during the renaissance. Also having Royalty strolling about with commoners at a market faire is highly unlikely as was holding a jousting tournament in 16th century England as it was in steep decline by that time. So pirates and faeries flitting about is just as proper as seeing the Queen and her consorts strolling about the faire.
This however doesn’t prevent the owners and operators of these festivals from giving lip service to the historical “authenticity” of their event. And face it, you’re average American hasn’t a clue as to what is or isn’t period or even when the English Renaissance actually took place. I’ve met folk who thought it was a just couple hundred years ago.
Of the three faires I work two are fantasy faires allowing all manner of inaccuracies in while the third, the longest running faire I work at (28 years now) is the most historically accurate, albeit the smallest. It is actually now morphing from the summer festival it started out to be to becoming a living history recreation village. Most of he vendors are now gone being replaced by docents demonstrating period crafts and virtually all the performers are presenting proper period entertainments. I still present modern effects but with a much more period esque presentation then you would typically find at your average renaissance faire (at least in my experience.
Here’s a video one of the patrons took of me from this years faire http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ly3UYEPFeO0
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
Dr. Hoodwink
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Evenin', all.

I did a little surfin' around this afternoon and found a couple of renfair forums (forgive the initial post...I'm on my first new computer since my Apple IIc and I'm playing catch-up on this whole interwebnet thingie). I didn't realize that there were so many and that there was so much money involved. I'll bet that the renfair community would be an interesting subject for a folklorist or anthropologist, if someone hasn't done it already.

Looks like performing at a faire is a whole lotta fun. Reminds me of a capitalist SCA event where you get to freak the mundanes for fun and profit.

I'd really like to get to a good historical fair sometime, but the fantasy elements sure look nifty.

My trip to the Maryland festival was back in about 2001 or so. Didn't have much fun thanks to the group I was with (just wanted to shop, saw no shows). I'm trying to get some of my co-workers to go...looks like we might make it to one of the North Carolina fairs in the fall.

Regards,
Rob

Posted: Sep 1, 2009 1:33am
Mr. Payne,

Hey, thanks for the video link. I was chuckling all the way through.

Believe it or not, that was the first time I've ever seen that effect. I always wondered if rope tricks were really that much fun. Now I know they are. You may have inspired me to do something with the rope in my magic case other than run through my old Boy Scout knots.

Just have to figure out a line of rap to go with my character.

And develop some style.

Thanks again.

Yr servant,
Rob
Mr. Mystoffelees
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Payne-

Nice!! Thanks for the vid...
Also known, when doing rope magic, as "Cordini"
Arkadia
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Payne: As always: superb!

/Ark
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scaress
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Renfaires are for fun.

if you want history then go read a book.

I went to a ren fair once with an official historian. most people avoided him.

although I did go to one that was in a parking lot full of carnie's wearing pirate hats. that was pretty lame. I guess you want enough history to be able to 'suspend belief', and no more.
Bob Sanders
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RenFaires certainly do have a following. Frankly, I know nothing about them. I have worked two in nearly a half century in the entertainment business. Both times I stepped up on the boards, did my 22 minutes and left.

We have been approached several times by those wanting to use our ranch as the venue for a RenFaire.

I really wish I did know more about them.

Bob Sanders
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Bill Palmer
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If you want to work a renaissance festival, and you don't know what to do, I have a set of notes available.
"The Swatter"

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MagiUlysses
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Greetings and Salutations,

I have said notes, and said notes are spot on! (This is not a paid ad or endorsement for said notes, however, Bill, I will kindly accept any remuneration you think worthy of said endorsement!)

Seriously, I have worked at renaissance festivals for a number of years, and Bill's note are a great primer on how to go about the business of working them.

And, he tips a couple of nice routines to boot.

Whatever he's charging for them these days, pay him. You'll be glad you did.

Joe Zeman aka
The Mage Ulysses
G.Gilbert
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Sold..

Bill, how much?
Payne
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I too have notes that would be of use to the Ren-Faire performer. Not only do they contain a couple of my routines from faire. They also detail how to go about converting modern props and routines into period appropriate ones.

order them here

http://www.lulu.com/content/paperback-bo....../7158451
"America's Foremost Satirical Magician" -- Jeff McBride.
yaquimagic
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Bill, I am also interested in your notes.
misterillusion
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Quote:
On 2009-11-20 19:08, Bill Palmer wrote:
If you want to work a renaissance festival, and you don't know what to do, I have a set of notes available.


Hi Bill....I would be interested in a copy of your notes if still available.
Thanks, Charlie
May every day be magic!

http://www.misterillusion.com
yaquimagic
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I recently purchased Master Payne's lecture notes " Sometimes the Jokes are for Me". If you don't have them, I would suggest you contact Master Payne and get a copy. Better yet try and see him perform and lecture.
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