Friday, September 16, 2016

Renaissance Newsletter #19

Past Faires/Events

Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire

…Each weekend had a different theme for the Elizabethan-era faire. This weekend is themed “Fantastical Faeries,” and next weekend is “Her Majesty’s Royal Masquerade.”
The fair is an opportunity for visitors and participants to share in the revelry and pageantry of music, costuming and fair fare. 

For the Ferro-Barber family, of Snohomish, it’s also an opportunity to teach and have fun making crafts of old. Misty Ferro-Barber and her twin 15-year-old daughters Cami “Rose” and Delia “Alicee.” The young women have been attending Renaissance fairs with their family business, Ovis Capillis, since they were old enough to walk…

A typical day for the Ferro-Barber women consists of wearing long dresses, aprons and caps and doing crafts at a communal table, as fair visitors walk by or stop to watch. One craft the girls are proficient with is making St. Brigid’s crosses — yarn interwoven around popsicle sticks. They also use drop spindles, the precursor to the spinning wheel, to turn raw fiber into yarn….

In addition to a plethora of shops to buy clothing of the time, musical instruments and crafts, there are many food vendors selling traditional foods of the time — turkey legs and meat pies — as well as modern fair foods, such as corn dogs and ice cream.
There are stages filled with musicians and other performers, jousting, camel rides and an ever popular rat circus called, “Cirque de Sewer...”

Big Bear Renaissance Faire (CA)

The Big Bear Renaissance Society celebrated 15 years of bringing the Middle Ages and pirates to life in Big Bear Valley. The Big Bear Renaissance Faire opened Aug. 6 and continued for two more weekends Aug. 13-14 and 20-21 at Pedersen’s Saw Mill on Rim of the World Drive in Fawnskin.

Chief executive officer Mitzi Linscott said there were at least 1,000 visitors on opening day Aug. 6.

There are vendors, performers and guilds. All the vendors make their own wares. The performers include world-class jousters and a juggling school. The guilds are educational, teaching what a guild does and its country of origin.

Some of the performers are the Imperial Knights, mounted warriors charging at each other with lances; Fowl Tales and Captain Jack, storytellers; and Her Majesty’s Minstrel Cycle, a comedic singing group.

Brian Thornhill of the Fae Guild is one of the few locals. The guild is sponsored by the Castlewood Cottages, which offers differently themed cottages on Main Street in Big Bear Lake.

“The guilds are representative of many different cultures, kind of like clans,” Thornhill said. He said he’s been attending different Renaissance fairs since he was 18.

Mollie Matthews and Suzanne Cable have a booth, Tribal Beats Wear, but they’re also belly dance performers. This is their fifth year attending the fair. “It’s amazing today.
We’ve had very large audiences for our performances,” Cable said.

Mary Ann Gullo of Wild Weavers explained how she got into basket weaving. “I took a college class in the ’80s. I hate to admit it,” she said with a laugh. “It’s very relaxing. It’s perfect for people like me with no patience. I’m done in four hours. But it is wearing on my hands.”

A favorite is the jousting. Sir Thomas the Black Knight promised Sir Jason, the Black and White Knight, would be “the black and blue knight when I finish with him….”
Compete article:

Middle Platte Renaissance Faire

“Barnacle-bottom harbor hussy.”

“Impudent false-tonged bowel movement.”

“You couldn’t even pilot a ship in you own toilet.”

A fight breaks out among the Brethren of the Tide, the most feared pirate captains to ever sail the seven seas. But according to the code, the captains can’t draw upon one another, especially in a crowded tavern.

So it was a duel of epithets instead of swords between two mighty marauders at the Long Bowman Tavern at the Middle Platte Renaissance Faire Aug. 19-20.

The swashbucklers are plotting to invade the pub with tales of the sea and rowdy shanties as mugs lift to their nonsensical toasts.

The two-day festival takes visitors back in time to experience crafters’ works of art, brave knights battling, jesters entertaining and tea with the king and queen. They’ll find entertainment from jousting to fairy minstrels and activities for all ages from a Viking encampment to costume contests. They can relax in the Long Bowman Tavern with refreshing brews, at least until the pirates take over..

“We do, however, make it quite entertaining,” said Tracy Phegley. As Captain Mustard of the Grey Poupon, he has a serious anger problem and always tries to supersede Captain Booty. But he’s one of oldest members of the brethren, and as a former British commodore, he knows the weaknesses of their enemy…There’s Captain Peacock, a flamboyant, popinjay-type pirate; the lady pirate Scarlett proving she can pillage with the best; and a first mute – er, mate – who can’t speak since she was hit in the throat with a ship’s belaying pin.

Stephen Shipley is the drunken Captain Plum. He’s belligerent, arrogant and always good for a laugh at someone else’s expense, said Shipley, who also performs in the dinner theater version.

His shining moment is his sea tale about how he became a pirate.

“When I was young I snuck aboard a ship to sea,” he sings in a familiar shanty. “I found it was a pirate ship and the captain said to me, we’re going fore, we’re going aft wouldn’t you all agree, a bottle of rum to make me numb, and that’s the life for me…”

Complete article and pictures:

Mid-South Renaissance Faire

…The event was set to take place during the summer of 1576, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

True to the time period, volunteers greeted passers-by courteously with phrases like "Good day my lady" and "Good morrow my lord."

Visitors browsed tents selling a variety of Elizabethan wares from corsets to wooden swords. Performers also offered live entertainment with Celtic music, belly dancing, jousting, knife-throwing and sword fighting.

"Lords of Awesome" John Williams and T.J. Miller traveled from New Jersey to put on their comedy sword-fighting show.

"My favorite part about this is, unlike other performance venues, we actually get to meet and interact with our audience in a very personal way," said Miller, whose "Elizabethan" name is Roger Awesome. Williams is known as Jack Bold.

Volunteers Synettra Banks and Gerald Graham manned a "Monks Ale" stand where visitors could purchase beer and "tankards" to drink them from. Bartenders by trade, the pair filled the earthenware mugs with a variety of ales.

"I've never been to a renaissance fair myself," Graham said. "And now that I'm working one, I love it."

Graham and Banks, both Memphians, put together their costumes by researching fashion from the time period online. Banks was clad in a red, long-sleeved gown and black headpiece, while Graham aimed for more of a pirate persona with a black vest, white blouse and hat with its brim pinned….

NY Renaissance Faire



Angie Kinser has been many things. She’s currently a music teacher …. But over the years, she’s been a bell choir ringer, a Terpsichore dancer, a vain countess and, most recently, Lady Odette Partridge Tailfeather: royal keeper of the secret messenger birds, and a prominent member of the Princess Court….

Kinser has been a Minnesota Renaissance Festival actor for 18 years..This season, she’ll be hobnobbing in the Palace Gardens as Lady Odette: one of those high-status characters to whom other actors must bow and show reverence.

“The job comes with certain perks,” she said.

It also comes with surprising responsibilities.

Renaissance Festival performers have to provide their own characters, their own quirks and gimmicks and, most dauntingly, their own up-to-standard costumes. Unlike a lot of performers, Kinser said, she’s not a seamstress. She hired historical costumer Laura Ulak to make Lady Odette’s dress. But she does fashion her own legions of hats and accessories.

“Every piece of costume is expected to have some bling on it,” she said. Thanks to Kinser’s diligent work, Lady Odette has bling in spades. Kinser constructed fanciful bird habitats to wear on top of her head. Some are delicate canary cages, others bird palaces complete with moats, even one little bird-sized Cinderella carriage bedecked with a string of lights.

She’s been working on this costume since March, with a little inspiration from the twee-er corners of the internet.

“I’ve been having a lot of fun looking at Pinterest pages online,” she said.

That isn’t the only research she’s done for this role. Being Lady Odette requires some actual knowledge of birds, a history background and a few quirky jokes up her billowing sleeves.

“Can you guess what this bird’s country of origin is?” she would ask, whistling a bar or two from “Alouette” or “La Cucaracha.”

From there, she constructed her character: what she would sound like, how she would carry herself, how she would respond to the patrons and peasantry alike as the court passed by. It can take a long time for a character like Lady Odette to gestate…

Kinser said she’d like to keep doing this as long as she can; “Until my body will no longer allow me to do it,” she said. As much as she loves being a performer, it’s actually physically punishing work. The typical workday is 10 hours long - 12 if you count how long it takes you to get to work and get ready. Every shift, Kinser has to put on a chemise, a pair of bloomers, a corset, a hoop skirt, an overskirt, an underskirt, a bodice and several strands of chains and pouches - plus her headdress du jour.

There’s little variation in the sheer number of layers a performer has to wear from August to October. During the dog days of August, she said, she’s constantly drinking water.

“Back in those days, the average temperature in England was 56 degrees,” she said. That’s a long time to be standing out in the summer sun, covered head to toe in ruffles and feathers and pretending it’s a brisk day in 15th-century England.

The higher-profile actors - like the members of the Princess Court - do get paid, which is a bonus. A lot of the performers at the Renaissance Festival are purely volunteers. But when it comes down to it, Kinser said, she probably spends more just getting ready for the fair than she earns as a performer.

“You don’t do the Renaissance Fair for the money - you do it for the joy of it,” she said.

She enjoys the banter with the patrons, some of which are witty enough to test her improvisation skills. She enjoys the exercise of her creative muscles, both as an artist and an actor. But perhaps even more than that, she enjoys the communion she shares with other “festies,” which are, she said, some of the friendliest people you’ll ever meet.

Society for Creative Anachronism

Lili has wanted to be a sword-fighter since she could walk.

“I remember she would pick up a helmet and say: ‘I fight, Mommy, I fight!’” said Lady Gudrun Saebjornsdottir, known in the mundane world as Darby Le Clair of Walla Walla.

But children cannot fight at events until they are 6, according to Society for Creative Anachronism rules.

Lili’s sixth birthday was in April, and Saturday she donned her tailored suit of armor for the first time and entered the Squirrely Field arena in Waitsburg’s Preston Park.

Her opponent, Squire Hamarr Haxson, aka Ray Conklin of Tri-Cities, wearing chain-mail armor and metal helmet, took up a foam sword and knelt, ready to face her.

“Take him out!” cried a medieval onlooker.

“Lili put your shield up,” called out Lady Gudrun.

Less than 15 seconds into the bout, Hamarr let his guard down long enough for Lili to stab him in the throat with her sword.

The heavy-class fighter went down amid roars of laughter on the sidelines…

Such scenes are not uncommon at SCA events, although usually youth participants would fight other youth and adults fight with adults.

Saturday’s event was short-handed because the annual Autumn War had drawn a number of local, regular fighters to Chehalis, in Western Washington, this weekend.

Only a handful of tents — handmade medieval-style tents or modern tents wearing medieval “disguises” of colorful cloth and flags — were set up at the park.

SCA is an international nonprofit educational organization dedicated to the preservation, research and re-creation of the crafts, arts and experiences of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, pre-1600.

The local society chapter, Barony of Wastekeep – a part of the greater Kingdom of An Tir, includes the Tri-Cities, Walla Walla, also known as the Canton of Akornebir, and surrounding areas.

Unlike Renaissance fairs, society gatherings are participatory events. Nobody remains a spectator.

Participants dress in period costumes, purchased or handmade.

“You don’t have to go full-out period either, if you don’t want to,” said the Baroness. She usually sports full Elizabethan costume, for example, but this weekend she was dressed in Norse garb to beat the heat….

Complete article and pictures:


A beautiful and beguiling image of the Renaissance at its glorious height

TAKE a good look at this picture. It’s a painting of a maze in northern Italy around women being serenaded by a quartet and on the far horizon, hunters on horseback pursue a stag into the woods. In the maze itself, young couples stroll and embrace and kiss and all around the labyrinth there are groups of people picnicking and relaxing and dancing. It is a beautiful and beguiling image of the Renaissance at its glorious height.

But take an even closer look and you will see a hidden message, spelled out in code. Can you see the stag drinking from the river on the far right of the picture? Or the ape ambling along the top of the maze? Take a look too for the dog under the table in the bottom right of the picture or the eagle perched above it in the pergola, and the young couple entering the maze, his arm resting on her waist. All of it is code for the sensory treats on offer in this voluptuous labyrinth, but it is a warning too: you might be tempted to linger here and enjoy yourself, but in the maze of life, there’s a risk of taking the wrong turn and ending up who knows where.

Anyone who saw this picture when it was originally painted by Lodewijk Toeput in the 16th century would have been familiar with all those coded references to the senses and would have recognised straight away that it was an allegory, a story of the senses – stag meant hearing, dog meant smell, ape taste and eagle sight, with the young couple representing touch. Those who saw the picture might also have visited, or certainly heard about, some of the mazes that existed in the great Renaissance gardens including fantastical labyrinths built on rivers, creating the illusion of a puzzle floating on water like a great sailboat….

Early Leonardo piece to be shown in artist’s hometown

A landscape drawing by the Italian master artist, Leonardo da Vinci, will go on display in his native Tuscan town in commemoration of the 500th year since his death.

Florence’s Uffizi Gallery said it would loan the piece, called ‘Landscape Drawing for Santa Maria Della Nave’, to the Leonardiano Museum in Vinci, where the artist was born to a poor family in 1452.  The piece, which is the first by Leonardo to be dated (August 5th 1473), will be on show for five weeks from August 5th 2019.

An art collector has donated a lost work by the German artist Albrecht Dürer to a Stuttgart museum after discovering it in a French flea market being sold for just a few euros. The copperplate engraving, Maria Crowned by an Angel, was made in 1520 and remained in very good condition.

For a Renaissance sculpture at the MFA, it’s assembly required

What do a 15th-century sculpture and an Ikea table have in common? In the case of Luca della Robbia’s “The Visitation”: Both require assembly.

“The Visitation” arrived at the Museum of Fine Arts in four pieces—two disembodied ceramic heads and bodies. Late last month MFA staff and Italian conservators undertook the painstaking process of reassembling a glazed terracotta statue that’s about 570 years old.

“It is now considered Luca Della Robbia’s masterpiece in this medium that he invented,” exhibition curator Marietta Cambareri said. It’s the centerpiece of the museum’s exhibition of della Robbia sculpture, which opens August 9.

Della Robbia designed the sculpture to break down into four parts—as he did with much of his work. Sometimes, della Robbia and his family even left instructions for how things ought to be pieced together, as his sculptor nephew Andrea did on his own “Prudence,” a roundel loaned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. It came in 15 pieces and was assembled based on numbers inside the seams….

COLOUR: The Art and Science of Illuminated Manuscripts 

Spanning the 8th to the 17th centuries, the 150 manuscripts and fragments in COLOUR: The Art andS cience of Illuminated Manuscripts guide us on a journey through time, stopping at leading artistic centres of medieval and Renaissance Europe. Exhibits highlight the incredible diversity of the Fitzwilliam’s collection: including local treasures, such as the Macclesfield Psalter made in East Anglia c.1330-1340, a leaf with a self-portrait made by the Oxford illuminator William de Brailes c.1230-1250, and a medieval encyclopaedia made in Parisc.1414 for the Duke of Savoy.

Four years of cutting-edge scientific analysis and discoveries made at the Fitzwilliam have traced the creative process from the illuminators’ original ideas through their choice of pigments and painting techniques to the completed masterpieces.

Complete article with illustations:

Prada Helped Restore This 16th-Century Renaissance Masterpiece Painting

On November 4, 1966, Tuscany’s Arno River, swollen by days of rain, inundated Florence with the worst flood the city had seen in centuries. The raging waters caused catastrophic damage to cultural treasures—including priceless works of art—and efforts to save them have continued to this day. Now, thanks to a partnership between Italy’s National Trust and the fashion house Prada (a major arts patron in the country), one of the most challenging of these rescue missions is nearly finished. This October Giorgio Vasari’s late-Renaissance painting The Last Supper will return to view 50 years after the flood that almost destroyed it….


Musical literacy in Shakespeare’s England

It is commonplace to say that, in Renaissance England, music was everywhere. Yet, however true the statement is, it obscures the fact that music existed in many different forms, with very different functions and very different meanings. Someone living in Shakespeare’s London could easily have heard a ballad about “Queen Dido” sung loudly in the street by an enterprising ballad-seller, or “ballad-monger.” The same person might also hear in church the singing of psalms, which were set to tunes not unlike those of street ballads but with notably different texts. A noble or prosperous Londoner might be treated to an indoor, intimate performance on the lute, possibly a piece by the immensely popular composer John Dowland. Some music was not even “heard” at all, but rather studied in the form of academic texts or published treatises on music….

However, at the end of the sixteenth century, some English musicians started to promote a very different sense of musical literacy. In his treatise, A Plaine and Easie Introduction to Practicall Musicke (1597), the composer Thomas Morley begins with an anecdote about a gentleman who is utterly embarrassed at a dinner party when it is discovered that he can’t sight-sing. Morley then offers a complete, detailed lesson in how to sight-sing, beginning with the notes of the Gamut, or scale: ut, re, mi, fa, so, la. In this way, Morley teaches his reader how to be musically literate in the literal sense—how to “read” a musical score and perform it. Morley’s treatise was immediately popular, and several other instructional books on performing and composing music appeared in Renaissance England over the next few decades…

Performing Renaissance-style music on Renaissance-style instruments

Maryland-based ensemble Ayreheart formed three years ago with a single goal in mind: to play original compositions on classical Renaissance and Baroque instruments, specifically the lute.

“But our love of old music and old traditional folk music drew us back to playing some of the old tunes as well,” Grammy-nominated lutenist Ronn McFarlane says. “The new music connects with the old music in a way you'll be able to hear right away. It isn’t copied from the old music, but you can hear the connection. And so, we're two sides of a coin.”

Two albums later — the most recent of which, “Barley Moon,” dropped in June — the quartet has found a way to seamlessly provide two unique musical experiences.
During Ayreheart’s “When Centuries Collide” series, which will come to Second Stage in Amherst on Sunday, the band performs both classical tunes and original music written and performed on both these ancient instruments and modern ones.
The ensemble first played in Amherst for Second Stage’s inaugural performance in 2013. Lynn Kable, producer for Amherst Glebe Arts Response (AGAR), which has organized the Sunday show in collaboration with Second Stage, has wanted to bring them back ever since.

 “I think their music has an enormous range,” she says. “I think it goes from the kind of folk music we all heard when we were kids, particularly those of us who are a little bit older, and it goes right up to the kind of music that people are thinking about today. And it has a wonderful melodic flair to it.”

Before Ayreheart takes the stage, McFarlane talked about the lute, writing music and how Renaissance music can still resonate with audiences today….

A special evening of medieval musical is being held in Scotter, England (Lincolnshire}

next month. The evening will feature costumed medieval band de Mowbray’s Musicke who will play medieval music on a wide range of period instruments. They perform at English heritage sites and other historic places. Dances, songs and stories are all anticipated. The evening takes place on September 22 at 7.30pm.

Cambridge Renaissance Ensemble

The Cambridge Renaissance Ensemble, founded by Fitzwilliam music Fellow Francis Knights last year, made its Peterborough Cathedral debut in July, presenting music from the Tudor court.

Both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I were capable performers, and maintained a large number of instruments and the professionals to play them.

Composers featured at Peterborough ranged from Henry VIII himself to Tallis, Byrd, Bull, Dowland and Gibbons, and the genres included consort works, lute songs, keyboard music, liturgical pieces, popular tunes and dances.

The mixed ensemble comprised soprano, winds, virginals and Renaissance harp.

Cantate Domino | Sistine Chapel Choir

In my youth, the oldest choral institution in the world, the Sistine Chapel Choir, or using its official name: ‘La Capella Sistina e la musica dei Papi’, was going through one of its less illustrious periods.  The boy trebles were wayward in pitch and appeared to lack focus and the gentlemen members of the choir had operatic voices, with some unfortunately past their prime….

And so it was with a sense of trepidation that I agreed to review this recording mainly of Renaissance music by Palestrina made in March and May, 2015 under the new director Massimo Palombella, but what a revelation it was.  Put simply, the choir is transformed. The boys’ voices are clear, fresh, in tune and sensitive to the repertoire.  Certainly there are still remnants of romantic style, particularly occasional sforzando entries, unnecessary swelling of certain phrases and very long, slow endings, but in terms of sound, tuning and interpretation there are fundamental improvements. 

The alto part is sung, according to Palombella’s notes, by tenors who “sing in the altus range”.  These are in fact falsettists but sound nothing like the hoots of English countertenors, rather they are adult full-bodied chest voices with vibrato suggesting to me what the original treble and alto castrati must have sounded like.  Their sound is thrilling.  Tenors and basses are not operatic, have obvious musical training and sensitivity to the repertoire they are singing; particularly the chant singing on the recording is first rate, subtle and demonstrating perfect rapport.  Pulse is halved from the older style in standard polyphony such as Palestrina’s Super flumina Babylonis and Sicut cervus.  I cannot recall a more deeply piteous rendering of Victoria’s Popule meus (‘My people, what have I done to you?’).  But it is Allegri’s Miserere I wish to particularly mention…


Gaited horses most likely originated in the 9th century medieval England

Some horses have special gaits, which are more comfortable for the rider than walk, trot or gallop. Now, a study by an international research team under the direction of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) in Berlin revealed that these gaited horses most likely originated in the 9th century medieval England. From there they were brought to Iceland by the Vikings and later spread all over Europe and Asia. These findings were published in the current issue of the journal "Current Biology."

Walk, trot and gallop are the gaits which all horses can master. However, riders who want to sit in their saddle more comfortably while still making good time on long journeys would benefit from choosing gaited horses. They are able to perform special gaits, like the ambling or pacing, which are typical for Icelandic horses and allow for a smoother ride. Responsible for this ability is a mutation in the DMRT3 gene, which was recently shown by a study with over 4,000 horses from different breeds. 

To investigate the history of gaited horses the scientist analysed this mutation in the genome of 90 horses from the Copper Age (6000 BC) to the Middle Ages (11th century). They detected the mutation in samples of two English horses from 850 -- 900 AD and more frequently in Icelandic horses dating to the 9th -- 11th century. Most likely the first gaited horses appeared in medieval England and were then transported to Iceland by the Vikings. Horses have existed in Iceland since 870 BC. In contrast, no European (Scandinavia included) or Asian horse of the same period carrying the mutation for the alternative gaits was found.

It is improbable that the English and Icelandic gaited horse populations developed independently from each other in such a short time. "It is much more likely, that the first horses ever imported to Iceland already carried the mutation for alternative gaits. The Vikings recognised the value of the gaited horses and preferentially selected for this trait -- thereby laying the foundation for the worldwide distribution," explains Arne Ludwig, geneticist at the IZW. Historic sagas also suggest that Icelandic horses exhibited the ability for alternative gaits at a very early stage. Although the origin of the Icelandic horse is not fully resolved, the general assumption is that they came to the island together with the Vikings. However, since the mutation was not found in Scandinavian horses of the 9th century, horses from other regions must have been brought to Iceland as well.

Historic records report that Vikings were repeatedly pillaging on the British Isles and conquered the region of today's Yorkshire -- precisely the region the two historic gaited horses originated from. "Taking that into account our results suggest that Vikings first encountered gaited horses on the British Isles and transported them to Iceland," explains Saskia Wutke, PhD student at the IZW and first lead author of the study. The high frequency of the mutation for gaitedness in the early Icelandic horses indicates that the Icelandic settlers preferably bred gaited horses -- apparently the comfortable gaits proved to be particularly suitable for long distance travel through rough terrain.

750th anniversary of the Treaty of Perth

Perth is preparing to go back in time on Sunday when it marks the 750th anniversary of the Treaty of Perth.

Music, dance and a medieval fair have been lined up to mark the striking of the peace deal between Scotland and Norway.

The Treaty of Perth, signed in the city in July 1266, saw Magnus VI of Norway and Alexander III of Scotland agree over sovereignty of the Western Isles and the Isle of Man, following years of disagreement which failed to reach an end at the Battle of Largs in 1263…

From noon, the heart of the city will witness celebrations mixing both Scots and Norse culture and bringing to life our shared history, with Viking strongmen, medieval music, weaponry and archery mingling with the crowds. There is even the chance to win the best beard competition.

Complete article:

Dressing in late 14th century armour

A video shoving how to dress in and wear armor (harness) from late 14th century. The harness is a detailed reconstruction based on the effigy of the Black Prince (1330-1376) in the Canterbury Cathedral, other relevant effigies, paintings in 14th century manuscripts and late 14th century armour displayed in The Royal Armories in Leeds.


Bringing medieval theatre to life in Toronto

..The Poculi Ludique Societas (or “The Drinking and Gaming Society” when translated from Latin)…. uses both research and performance to show how many brilliant scripts are overlooked when historical drama is considered synonymous for Shakespeare.

After a successful series of shows in the United Kingdom, the company brought two productions– back to Toronto.

The first play, circa 1464, i Mankind uses elaborate speech and bodily humour to tell the story of the frenzy that surrounds Mankind’s struggle to stay focused while he is being pulled in seemingly opposite directions by Mercy and Mischief who are personifications of the traits after which they are named.

Dated to the late 1300’s, The Pride of Life, is about King Life, whose own immorality hangs in the balance when he opts to spend time ‘living it up’ with his knights rather than heed to the Queen’s warnings about a potential new rival that has entered their kingdom.

Because only the first half of the original script of The Pride of Life was ever found, Sergi says that the productions involve audience input and each performance is “unpredictable…”

Association for Renaissance Martial Arts

….Joshua Sanderlin has put in more than five years of study through the historically informed combat group ARMA (Association for Renaissance Martial Arts). His weapon of choice: the long sword. At three feet in length and with a long slender blade, the long sword was the weapon of choice for elite soldiers and nobility during the renaissance.

Learning how to master the saber has required countless hours studying centuries-old manuscripts from long deceased masters and more than a few bumps and bruises…

“A lot of our training techniques come from manuscripts from the Renaissance era,” Sanderlin said. “The oldest source dates back to around 1297.”

The training would have been used in combat, he said, but surviving duels or preventing a robbery were also practical reasons. Schools that focused on swordsmanship would have been affordable to middle class merchants and the like throughout the Renaissance and into the Baroque eras.

While the long sword is a favorite weapon of choice for Dallas members of ARMA, the training encompasses several other period weapons like the messer (a long machete-like knife), spear, shield and buckler (small sword), and rapier (popularized in The Three Musketeers)….

New Books

Oil and Marble
A Novel of Leonardo and Michelangelo
Stephanie Storey
Arcade Publishing

From 1501—1505, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti both lived and worked in Florence. Leonardo was a charming, handsome fifty year-old at the peak of his career. Michelangelo was a temperamental sculptor in his mid-twenties, desperate to make a name for himself.

Michelangelo is a virtual unknown when he returns to Florence and wins the commission to carve what will become one of the most famous sculptures of all time: David. Even though his impoverished family shuns him for being an artist, he is desperate to support them. Living at the foot of his misshapen block of marble, Michelangelo struggles until the stone finally begins to speak. Working against an impossible deadline, he begins his feverish carving.

Meanwhile, Leonardo’s life is falling apart: he loses the hoped-for David commission; he can’t seem to finish any project; he is obsessed with his ungainly flying machine; he almost dies in war; his engineering designs disastrously fail; and he is haunted by a woman he has seen in the market—a merchant’s wife, whom he is finally commissioned to paint. Her name is Lisa, and she becomes his muse.

Leonardo despises Michelangelo for his youth and lack of sophistication. Michelangelo both loathes and worships Leonardo’s genius.

Oil and Marble is the story of their nearly forgotten rivalry. Storey brings early 16th-century Florence alive, and has entered with extraordinary empathy into the minds and souls of two Renaissance masters. The book is an art history thriller.

A Thyme and Place
Medieval Feasts and Recipes for the Modern Table
Lisa Graves, Tricia Cohen
Skyhorse Publishing

Fancy a leap back in time to the kitchens in the Middle Ages, where cauldrons bubbled over hearths, whole oxen were roasted over spits, and common cooking ingredients included verjuice, barley, peafowl, frumenty, and elder flowers? You, too, can learn the art of gode cookery—or, at least, come close to it.

With gorgeous and whimsical hand-drawn illustrations from beginning to end, A Thyme and Place is both a cookbook and a history for foodies and history buffs alike. Cohen and Graves revive old original medieval recipes and reimagine and modify them to suit modern palates and tastes. Each of the 35 recipes is tied directly to a specific calendar holiday and feast so you can learn to cook:

• Summer harvest wine with elder flower, apples, and pears for St. John’s Day (June 21st)
• Right-as-rain apple cake for St. Swithin’s Day (July 15th)
• Wee Matilda’s big pig fried pork balls with sage for Pig Face Day (September 14th)
• Roasted goose with fig glaze and bannock stuffing for Michaelmas (September 29th)
• Peasant duck ravioli and last of the harvest chutney for Martinmas (November 11th)
• And many more!

Accompanied by juicy fun facts and tidbits, these recipes will revive your inner period cook and allow you to impress your guests with obscure medieval knowledge. Keep the old culinary traditions of the Middle Ages alive, whip up some bellytimber, and fill the dinner table with food and friends at your next house banquet.

October Faires


Alabama Renaissance Faire
October 24 - 25, 2015, Sat. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sun. 12 p.m. - 6 p.m.
Admission: FREE / Contact: Bill Warren, PO Box 431, Florence, AL 35631, (256) 768-3031, email:, web: / Site: Wilson Park, downtown Florence, AL / Booths: 100 / Attendance: 38,000 / Weapons: must be peace-tied / Full service camping w/in 5 mi., food and lodging w/in 1-2 miles. .

Renaissance Feast
October 17, 2015, 7 p.m.
Admission: $25 - limited to 200 ppl / Contact: Bill Warren, PO Box 431, Florence, AL 35631, (256) 768-3031, email:, web: / Site: Florence-Lauderdale Coliseum / Booths: N/A / Attendance: limited to 200 people / Weapons: must be peace-tied.


All Hallows Fantasy Faire
October 24 - 25, 2015, 12 noon - midnight
Admission: $16 / Contact: Sonora Cultural Faires, Patric Karnahan, PO Box 4541, Sonora, CA 95370, (209) 532-8375 or (800) 446-1333, email: or, web: / Site: Mother Lode Fairgrounds, Sonora, CA / Booths: 40 / Attendance: 5,000 / Weapons: must be sheathed and peace-tied / On site camping available for participants.

California City Renaissance Festival
October 17 - 18, 2015, 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sun. til 5 p.m.
Admission: $8 / Contact: California City Arts Commission, Brenda Daverin, 21000 Hacienda Blvd., California City, CA 93505, (760) 373-3530, email:, web: / Site: CA City Central Park, 10350 Heather Ave., California City, CA / Booths: 30 / Attendance: 5,000+ / Weapons: must be sheathed and secured / On-site camping for guilds and vendors; off-site nearby in Mojavc.

Folsom Renaissance Faire and Tournament
October 17 - 18, 2015, Sat. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sun til 5 p.m.
Admission: $16 / Contact: Renaissance Productions, 116 Dorado Terr, San Francisco, CA 94112, (415) 354-1773, email:, web: / Site: Folsom City Lions Park, Folsom, CA / Booths: 70 / Attendance: 7,000 / Weapons: must be peace-tied and blades covered; no firearms / On-site camping for participants, motels w/in 5 mi.

Great Western War XVI
October 7 - 12, 2015, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sun. til 5 p.m.
Admission: $25 / Contact: Madelena Hidalgo and William MacFyr, Kingdom of Caid, SCA, 7575 West Washington Ave., Suite 127 #113, Las Vegas, NV, 89128, email:, web: / Site: Buena Vista Aquatic Recreational Area, 13601 Ironbark Rd., Taft CA / Booths: 50 / Attendance: 7,000 / Weapons: no functional firearms / limited on-site camping, hotels nearby.

Northern California Renaissance Faire
TBA September - October, 2016, (WO) 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Admission: $25 / Contact: Play Faire Productions, 201-A McCray, PMB247, Hollister, CA 95023, (408) 847-FAIR, email:, web: / Site: Casa de Fruta, 10031 Pacheco Pass Hwy (Hwy 152), Hollister, CA / Booths: 145 / Attendance: 50,000 / Weapons: must be sheathed and peace-tied / See web site for camping & hotels.

Seaside Highland Games
October 7 - 9, 2016, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Admission: $16 / Contact: 9654 Kessler Ave., Chatsworth, CA 91311 (818) 886-4968, email:, web: / Site: Ventura County Fairgrounds, 10 W. Harbor Blvd., Ventura, CA / Booths: N/A / Attendance: N/A / Weapons: call for policy / Hotels nearby.


Connecticut Renaissance Faire 'King Arthur's Fall Harvest Fair'
October 1 - 30, 2016, (WO & Colmb. Day) 10:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Admission: $17 / Contact: PO Box 433, Danielson, CT 06239, (860) 478-5954, email:, web: / Site: North Haven Fairgrounds, 300 Washington Avenue, North Haven, CT / Booths: 100 / Attendance: 24,000 / Weapons: must be sheathed and peace-tied / see web site for lodging info.


11th Annual Fort Myers Beach Pirate Festival
Dates: October 7-9, 2016
*October 7th 6pm-12am
*October 8th and 9th 10am-5pm
Location: Street festival along Old San Carlos Boulevard, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931
Vendors: 50
Attendance: 10,000
Hotels and camping nearby
Weapons must be sheathed and peace tied
Contact: Belinda Hadcock  239.777.1727


Stone Mountain Highland Games NEW LISTING!
October 14 - 16, 2016, Fri. 7 p.m. Historic Pub Crawl, Sat. & Sun. 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Admission: $19 / Contact: PO Box 14023, Atlanta, GA 30324, (707) 521-0228, email:, web: / Site: Stone Mountain Park, GA / Booths: 20 / Attendance: N/A / Weapons: policy not stated / see website for info.

Tybee Island Pirate Fest
October 6 - 9, 2016, Fri. 5 p.m. - 11 p.m., Sat. 9:30 a.m. - 11 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m. - 4 p.m; Buccaneer Ball Thurs. Oct. 7, 7 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Admission: $15; $25 for ball / Contact: PO Box 1326, Tybee Island, GA 31328, web: / Site: South Beach Parking Lot, Tybrisa St. to Strand Ave., Oceanfront, GA / Booths: 20 / Attendance: N/A / Weapons: policy not stated / see website for info.


Idaho Renaissance Faire
October 8 - 9, 2016, 11 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Admission: FREE / Contact: Idaho Renaissance Faire, Nikky Scofield, 944 Lower Bluff Rd, Emmett, ID 83617, email:, web: / Site: Gem Island Sports Complex, Emmett, ID / Booths: 20 / Attendance:2,000 / Weapons: must be sheathed; no firearms / See web site for info.


Fishers Renaissance Faire
October 1 - 2, 2016, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Admission: $12, $10 in advance; family packs available; special pricing for active and retired military / Contact: Adam Fivush, Fishers Renaissance Faire, 1 Municipal Dr., Fishers, IN 46038, email:, web: / Site: Klipsch Music Center, 146th and Olio Rd, Noblesville, IN / Booths: 80 / Attendance: 12,000 / Weapons: must be sheathed and peace-tied / Camping available on-site for artisans and entertainers; hotels nearby.

Rosenvolk German Medieval Festival
October 14 - 16, 2016, Fri. 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. - 10 p.m., Sat 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., Sun 11 a.m. 6 p.m.
Admission: $12.50, children 6 - 18 $10, 5 & under FREE / Contact: Catherine Le Blanc, (812) 309-3479, email:, web: / Site: 18th Street Park, 422 E 18th Street, Ferdinand IN 47532 / Booths: 40 / Attendance: 7,000 / Weapons: must be peace-tied / Camping and hotels nearby.


Kansas City Renaissance Festival
Through October 16th, 2016
Open Weekends and Columbus Day
10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Admission: $20.95 / Contact: Carrie Shoptaw, 628 N. 126th St., Bonner Springs, KS 66012, (800) 373-0357, email:, web: / Site: 633 N. 130th St., Bonner Springs, KS, 15 min. west of downtown Kansas City, off I-70 / Booths: 165 / Attendance: 200,000 / Weapons: not allowed / see web site for info


The Maryland Renaissance Festival
Through October 23, 2016, (WO + Labor Day) 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Admission: $24 / Contact: Intl. Renaissance Festivals Ltd., PO Box 315, Crownsville, MD 21032, (800) 296-7304, email:, web: / Site: 1821 Crownsville Rd., Crownsville, MD / Booths: 187 / Attendance: 290,000 / Weapons: not allowed / BR avail., Campground w/ toilets, showers, electric & water avail. w/ $75 leaning deposit & $10 surcharge per person; hotels nearby.


King Richard's Faire (MA)

King Richard's Faire, New England's largest and longest-running Renaissance Faire, announces the opening of its 35th season, to run September 3 through October 23, 2016 on weekends and Monday holidays (Labor Day, Columbus Day). Tucked away on 80 acres of enchanted forest in Carver, Mass., King Richard's Faire announces offers guests a full day of live, interactive entertainment for all ages and Saturday special events. Guests will enjoy daring knights jousting on horseback and eight stages filled with song and dance, stunts and storytelling. Guests can mingle with the King and his royal court, noble and not-so-noble subjects and skilled performers, and over 100 unique and talented artisans, including New England artists. At every turn, guests will encounter fantasy and wonder through minstrels, musicians, acrobats, stilt walkers, giant puppets, wenches, and more.

Faire hours are 10:30am-6pm every Saturday, Sunday, and Monday holidays. Tickets are $31 for adults (12+) and $16 for children ages 4-11. Children under 4 are free, and parking is free.  For special celebrations or group discounts, email The Faire is located at 235 Main Street (Rt. 58) in Carver, Mass. 02330, 508-866-5391. Visit King Richard’s Faire on Facebook ( and on Twitter and Instagram @KRFaire.


Through Oct 2
The Michigan Renaissance Festival is open weekends (Sat. & Sun) August 20- October 2. The Festival is open Labor Day and Friday, September 30. Open 10am-7pm, Admission: $21.95 / Contact: Michigan Renaissance Festival, Tim Liss, 12600 Dixie Hwy., Holly, MI 48442, (800) 601-4848, email:, web: / Site: 12500 Dixie Hwy., Holly, MI / Booths: 200 / Attendance: 250,000 / Weapons: must be peace-tied / See web site for lodging.


Minnesota Renaissance Festival
Through October 2, 2016, (WO + Labor Day) 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Admission: $22.95 / Contact: Erica Christo, Mid-America Festivals, 1244 S. Canterbury Rd. Suite 306, Shakopee, MN 55379, (952) 445-7361 or (800) 966-8215, email:, web: / Site: 5.5 mi on Hwy 169, Shakopee, MN / Booths: 325 / Attendance: 280,000 / Weapons: must be peace-tied / On-site camping and showers for participants; camping and motels nearby.


Central Missouri Renaissance Festival
Oct. 22 - 23, 2016, Sun. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Admission: $12 / Contact: Renee Scheidt, 4274 Co Rd 220, Kingdom City, MO, 65262, (573) 449-8637 , web: / Site: Boster Castle, 4274 County Rd 220, Kingdom City, MO / Booths: 45 / Attendance:


23rd Annual Age of Chivalry Renaissance Festival (NV)

…Traveling back through centuries when knights and kings, maidens and wenches, minstrels and jesters ruled the world, the festivities run from Friday, Oct. 7 to Sunday Oct. 9, and feature various shows per day, more than 100 artisans, historical reenactments and plenty of food and drink to satisfy the masses….

The fair will boast a royal parade, ending with a public stoning, featuring kings, queens, warriors and peasants on Saturday and Sunday. Experience full-contact jousting tournaments, live combat battles, no-holds-barred gladiator battles, black powder demonstrations, strolling minstrels, contortionists, magicians, storytellers, jokers, jugglers, flame eaters, belly dancers, trained parrots and pirates. Additional attractions include bow and arrow and axe target games, medieval barber and surgeon demonstrations, Princess Tea Party and storytelling, Scavenger Hunt, and Renaissance guilds…

Admission: $13 / Contact: Clark County Park & Rec, 2901 E. Sunset Rd., Las Vegas, NV 89120, (702) 455-8200, email:, or salibab@co.clark.NV.US, web: / Site: Sunset Regional Park, 2601 E. Sunset Rd., Las Vegas, NV / Booths: 200+ / Attendance: 40,000 / Weapons: must be peace-tied / Free on-site camping for participants (space limited); park w/in 1 mi. of the Las Vegas strip.

Road to Reno Celtic Celebration
October 1 - 2, 2016, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m
Admission: $5 - $10 / Contact: Celtic Celebration Inc, P.O. Box 3881, Reno, NV 89505, (661) 615-0410, email:, web: www. / Site: Bartley Ranch Regional Park, Reno, NV / Booths: 50 / Attendance : 2,500 / Weapons: must be peace-tied / Hotels nearby.


New York Renaissance Faire
Through October 2, 2016, (WO & Labor Day) 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Admission: $24 / Contact: REP, 600 Route 17A, Tuxedo, NY 10987, (845) 351-5174, email:, web: / Site: Sterling Forest, 45 minutes from NYC, 600 Rt 17A, Tuxedo Park, NY / Booths: 150 / Attendance: 150,000 / Weapons: must be sheathed and peace-tied / Hotels & B&B within 15 min.

Sterling Renaissance Festival
July 1 - August 28, 2016, (WO) 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Admission: $25.95 / Contact: Lisa Interlichia, Sterling Renaissance Festival, Inc., 15385 Farden Rd., Sterling, NY 13156, (800) 879-4446, email:, web: / Site: 15385 Farden Rd., Sterling, NY / Booths: 100 / Attendance: 100,000 / Weapons: must be peace-tied / See web site for lodging info.

Niagara Celtic Heritage Festival & Highland Games
September 17 - 18, 2016, 10 a.m. - 10 p.m., Sunday until 6 p.m.
Admission: $25 weekend, $20 Saturday, $12 Sunday / Contact: Vicki Banks, (716) 778-5730, email:, web: / Site: Krull Park, 6108 Lake Rd., Olcott, NY / Booths: 75 / Attendance: 12,000 / Weapons: must be sheathed and peace-tied, no functional firearms / Hotels, camping, other lodging nearby. See website.


Carolina Caledonian Fest
October 28 - 30, 2016, (WO) 11 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Admission: $12 / Contact: Allen McDavid, AKA Entertainment & Media, 518 S. Elm Street, Greensboro, NC 27406, (336) 707-9188, email:, web: / Site: Lu Mil Vineyard / Booths: 35 / Attendance: 12,000 / Weapons: allowed / Participant camping on-site.

Carolina Renaissance Festival
October 3 - November 22, 2015, (WO) 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
Admission: $24; $23 adv / Contact: Matt Siegel, 11056 Renaissance Dr. #130, Davidson, NC 28036, (704) 896-5544, email:, or, web: / Site: 16445 Poplar Tent Rd., Huntersville, NC / Booths: 110 / Attendance: 170,000 / Weapons: must be peace-tied / Participant camping on-site; motels and campgrounds nearby.


Ohio Renaissance Festival
SEPTEMBER 3 — OCTOBER 23, 2015, (WO + Labor Day) 10:30 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Admission: $20, $18.95 adv online / Contact: Ohio Renaissance Festival, Cheryl Bucholtz, PO Box 68, Harveysburg, OH 45032, (513) 897-7000, email:, web: / Site: SR. 73 between I-71 & I-75, Harveysburg, OH (gps: 10542 E SR 73, Waynesville, OH) / Booths: 140 / Attendance: 175,000 / Weapons: must be sheathed and peace-tied / Check website for lodging info.


Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire
August 6 - October 30, 2016, (WO & Labor Day) 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
Admission: $30.95 / Contact: Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire, 2775 Lebanon Road, Manheim, PA 17545, (717) 665-7021, web: / Site: Mt. Hope Estate and Winery, Lancaster, PA / Booths:100 / Attendance: 200,000 / Weapons: must be peace-tied / No on-site camping; hotels and campgrounds nearby.


1st Annual Tennessee Pirate Fest
Seeking Vendors, Applications due 9/1
Darkhorse Entertainment, LLC, is announcing the first annual Tennessee Pirate Fest to be held on Columbus Day weekend in October.  This family-friendly event will be in Harriman at the Tennessee Medieval Faire site--just 30 miles west of Turkey Creek.  All are invited to the fictional pirate haven of Port Royale in the Tortugas, circa 1700-1800’s.  “The Pirates of the Caribbean movies are popular, and acting like a pirate is fun for all ages.  ARRR!” said Barrie Paulson, VP-Manager & Entertainment Director.
Pirate entertainment will include live music, comedy stage shows, interactive street characters, costume contests, beach games, original crafts, delicious food, and refreshing beverages--including beer.
Festival organizers are seeking quality craft and food vendors to fill the village.  Vendor applications and guidelines can be downloaded from the website under the vendor tab.  The application deadline is September 1st.  
The Tennessee Pirate Fest will take place October 8-9-10 from 11a-6p ET--rain or shine.  Ticket prices will be $13.00 for ages 13 and up, $8.00 for ages 5 to 12, and free for ages 4 and under.  Parking will be free, and tickets will be available for purchase at the gate with cash or credit.  Onsite camping for patrons is not included, but public campgrounds and hotels are nearby.  The festival is located at 550 Fiske Road, Harriman, TN.  For Faire rules, guidelines, and more information, please visit and “like” them on Facebook. 


Texas Renaissance Festival
October 8 - November 27, 2016, (WO & Thanksgiving Fri) 10 a.m. - dusk
Admission: $27 / Contact: Texas Renaissance Festival, 21778 FM 1774, Plantersville, TX 77363, (800) 458-3435, email:, web: / Site: 21778 FM 1774, Plantersville, TX / Booths: 400 / Attendance: 606,000 / Weapons: must be peace-tied / See web site for lodging info.


Annual Harvest Faire
October 7 - 9, 2016, Fri. 5 p.m. - 9 p.m., Sat. 9 a.m. - 9 p.m., Sun. 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
Admission: $5-$15 / Contact: Amy Reineri, Harvest Faire, 887 Garrow Rd, Newport News, VA 23608, (757) 358-5412, email:, web: / Site: Endview Plantation, 362 Yorktown Rd, Newport News, VA / Booths: 24 / Attendance: 1000 / Weapons: must be peace-tied; no pole-arms / On-site camping available for participants.

Gloucester Renaissance Festival
October 22 - 23, 2016, Sat. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Admission: FREE / Contact: Chris and Mia Pugh, Medieval Fantasies Company, PO Box 13, Churchville, VA 24421, (540) 294-1846, email:, web: / Site: Historic District of Downtown Gloucester, VA / Booths: 20 / Attendance: 2,000 / Weapons: not allowed / on-site camping available for participants.


Spokane Renaissance Faire
October 4 - 5, 2014, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Admission: $10 / Contact: Spokane Entertainer’s Guild, Tara Mickschl, PO Box 48782, Spokane, WA 99228, (509) 998-9596, email:, web: / Site: 20424 N Dunn Rd, Spokane, WA / Booths: 20 / Attendance: 300 / Weapons: must be peace-tied / On site camping available for participants.

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