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Jousting with Umbrellas Blog Home
Posted by Harvey the Corpsman
Oct. 09, 2008 05:39 PM  

Some time ago a young man approached me and asked if I was familiar with the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism). I assured him that I was, and he asked if I was a member, and I responded with this story:

In every genre of historical role playing there are always two differing styles of participation. The one group tries for historical accuracy to the point of perfection while the other views their participation as a way to share in the fun with a minimum of historically accurate discomfort. The SCA strives for a real Medieval lifestyle. They weave their own cloth, use only cotton thread and forge their own tools. Yes, I'm aware they combat with foam and duct tape and generally use port-a-potties, but for the most part, they strive for authenticity. Now, the other side to this coin-of-the-realm is the player who may range from a performer to a "playtron". They love costumes and Celtic music, but they prefer "flushies" and hotel rooms.

More contemporary re-enactors also display this duality. There are the Civil War soldiers who load their own black powder, wear wool underwear and sleep in the rain. But again, there are those who put on Wild West accoutrement, carry blanks and fall off buildings for fun.

In other words, in any style there are the "purists" and the "players". I assured my young inquisitor that I, for one, always fall into the second category.

Now, I say all of this to bring up one pressing issue that I continue to run headlong into at various Renaissance Faires. . . The Costume Nazi! This loving soul comes to the position usually with two major qualifications. They own a picture book of costumes, and they have the personality of a wet badger. Buttons, not zippers. Period footwear! No glasses! No paisley! And, God forbid, no metal shafted umbrellas. Their job is to keep the faire looking "period".

This confuses me on several levels. I've never actually been to a true period faire ["How do you know he's the king?. . . He's the only one who hasn't got sh*t all over him!"] Jousting isn't Renaissance, Chinese umbrellas aren't either. Neither are Goddamned foxtails! And, for the most part Royalty didn't go to these market faires. I've never seen a flogging or a beheading. There aren't any lepers in the street, and where did all the fairies come from? Oh, yes, can you say open sewers, beggars p*ssing in the streets and livestock. I knew you c o u l d n' t.

Faires. All faires are fantasy faires. They are entertainments designed to provide patrons with fun while sucking money from their pockets. They don't care about anything but a good time, and that's the ONLY reason we exist at all! If you teach them a little history, it's an accident. And while you did it, you taught them a dozen incorrect facts.

Costuming should be unique, special, memorable, laughable, and . . . practical. When historical accuracy becomes a stumbling block to survival for cast and crew, the Nazi must be tossed in the oven! If it's pouring rain and my crew backstage needs an umbrella, screw you! They get an umbrella. My shoes will have arch support and good tread, and they will be built on right and left lasts. I bet yours are too, Adolf.



Take a deep breath!!!



OK. This is supposed to be fun for me, too. And it will. You may be kept in the dark and fed bullsh*t like a mushroom. But me, I'm a fungi (fun guy)! Get it? I didn't think so, it's not period.



I couldn't have said it better myself. No. Really. I've tried! It was great seeing you guys this weekend. Harvey, like I showed you this weekend, ya'lls music is with me where ever I go. On my iPhone
Posted by PrincessDeEspana on Oct. 14, 2008 01:37 PM

Bravo Harvey!
Posted by Dana on Oct. 21, 2008 09:57 AM

A couple of years ago, a nazi approched my friend's daughter. She was told her wings were upside down, and she looked at them and replied with, are you sure? Granted, they were, but otherwise they would smack her in the face every time she moved. It was pretty neat to see her take her garb and switch it up to make it unique. Stupid nazis!
Posted by Atyoo on Oct. 21, 2008 10:14 AM

*LOL* Somebody clearly got on the dear corpsman's nerves... I must say, I have missed the tirades that man can spit out anytime and anywhere - thanks Harvey ;)
Posted by Angel on Oct. 21, 2008 12:53 PM

You just don't have nearly as much fune at any faire if you aren't comfortable....I agree with you wholeheartedly !!
Posted by Spirit on Oct. 21, 2008 12:53 PM

YEA Harvey, You the fungi, he hehe he get it
Posted by Brenda Leavell on Oct. 21, 2008 01:06 PM

Hazzah to you! I am a costume maker, and you know where I get most of my "period" fabric? Second hand stores. The really pretty "period" Elizabethan dress?...drapes. The really nice doublet that man is wearing...table cloth. Awesome stripy pants for pirates...gangster t-shirts. All from second hand stores and the discount racks at the fabric store. The most awesome garb I own is an absolutely beautiful Elizabethan bodice. Know where I got the really expensive fabric to make it (that was free, I didn't pay a penny for it)? A funeral home. The left over satin from the caskets...yeah...no kidding. It seems fit for a pirate to wear that, don't you think? Yeah, I'm cheap. But I look good. LOL.
Posted by Captain Lily/Ash on Oct. 21, 2008 10:14 PM

ROCK ON Harvey , I knew there was a reason this Scallywag liked you .
Posted by Rich on Oct. 23, 2008 05:22 PM

I was never confronted with a nazi as I would have squished thier tiny little heads BUT I had heard them chewing other out and I just had to laugh in my polyester pants and jean undies....yes, it hurt.

Keep up the good work Harv!
Posted by Big e. on Oct. 23, 2008 08:41 PM

Jousting isn't Renaissance? Then why the HELL have I been wasting my time for?
Posted by Mop the Swabbie on Oct. 25, 2008 09:20 PM

You said it and I loved it. On a diffrent note.You guys are so awsome. I and my family had so much fun pirate weekend. I saw some people left during a dirty mind song (he he he dirty mind) and thought they need to get a grip and relax. You can laugh or you can cry. I like to laugh. I need more of it these days. So a HUGE thank you to you and fellow mates. Keep up the great entertainment. P.S. your all very handsome too.
Posted by Carlene on Nov. 02, 2008 11:45 PM

with you every step of the way. and miss the f*** out of you guys...

post your times for Norman so i can already schedule the rest of fair around you.
Posted by Emerald on Nov. 10, 2008 04:25 PM

Huzzah Harvey!

Welcome all Fairies, Scotsman, Pirates, and heck even the Storm Troopers. Just have fun!
Posted by Russell on Nov. 11, 2008 10:50 PM


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