Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Renaissance Faire Newsletter #22


A journalist named William Crum is doing a book on the history of the Kansas City Renaissance Festival. He is looking for anyone who has any information on the whereabouts of anyone who appeared in the first four years of its existence. He can be reached at bwculinary@yahoo.com

Texas Renaissance Festival Marketing Director Travis Bryant has announced the annual festival had set a new opening weekend (October 8-9) attendance record, with 60,254 visitors passing through the gates. Bryant credited nice weather as a major factor in creating the record-setting weekend. New acts and vendors are also believed to have contributed to the large turnout.

For the past several years, the Renaissance Knowledge Network (ReKN: http://rekn.itercommunity.org) has sponsored sessions at theThe Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS) https://acmrs.org/about
 exploring the intersection of computational methods and Medieval and Renaissance Studies.  For the 2017 gathering, we invite paper proposals that explore any topic related to the study and teaching of the Middle Ages and Renaissance and its intersection with the digital Humanities, especially those that focus on the general theme of “Paradigm Shifts during the Global Middle Ages and Renaissance.”  Please send paper proposals including a title, one paragraph abstract, and brief biographical statement by 15 November 2016 to Ray Siemens (siemens@uvic.ca

Past Faires/Events

Connecticut Renaissance Faire

Kansas City Renaissance Festival

…I’ve been going to renaissance festivals since I was 14, and as the Kansas City Renaissance Festival was less than an hour away from home, it was where I stretched my renfest wings…

This year we watched a pirate eat fire = impressive. She also performed some nice tricks with rope and bawdy jokes at the expense of her audience volunteers. The pirates are usually a solid group to watch, always entertaining in their rabblerousing ways. There are many stage acts we have yet to catch, but some of the best entertainment can be found as you stroll through the festival – singers and musicians performing period-style music that floats along the breeze and sets the tone for the day…

If you need a break from the grind and haven’t been to a renaissance festival before, obviously, I would say get ye to the faire. You’ll have a great time laughing at all the shenanigans, and you’ll be supporting local businesses and artisans, who create some amazing custom items to enjoy when you’re back home…Nebraska has two festivals – May(ish) in Bellevue, and June in Omaha. The Internet tells me Oklahoma has a fairly large renfest, comparable to KC’s, in May (makes note “Oklahoma renfest, 2017 – tell husband”). Iowa in May too, another big one in Colorado during the summer (ooo) — basically, any state you live in has a renaissance festival, so there’s no excuse. Find some time to go have fun and be young, no matter what the activity.

The Minnesota Renaissance Festival

Age of Chivalry Renaissance Festival (NV)

Faire People

Sandy Kolls (aka Lady Cooks A-Lot)

"…I've been involved with the Kingdom of Riverssance (IA) practically from the start," said the mother of four adult children and grandmother of nine. "And I've been playing Lady Cooks A-Lot for the past four to five years."

And how did Kolls, a retired "school lunch lady," get connected to the Elizabethan Age? Let's just say she was born into it.

"My grandparents were originally from Surrey, England, which is an area that has lots of castles," she explained. "I've also vacationed in Germany where my husband Jim (aka Sir Helps A-Lot) and I visited a real-life castle ourselves."

In addition, Kolls has done extensive research on the foods popular during the Renaissance.

"Renaissance food was as refined and as sophisticated as the era itself," she said. "As it is today, meals were carefully prepared to please both the eye and the palette."

Exactly what would the Sir Galahad of the day be gnawing on? Kolls said noshing knights would likely be feasting on a roast of sirloin beef and slurping down soups sweetened with sugars and sprinkled with such aromatic herbs as marjoram, sage, thyme and sweet basil.

Other traditional staples such as salads, cheese and pastas first came into prominence during the Renaissance. However, such high-falutin' foods were often meant solely for the (wealthy)…

James Fortner, (Don Rodrigo the Duke of Santiago, “the evil Spanish knight”)

…(T)hey perform “theatrical jousting,” which is basically exactly what it sounds like: While the jousting is real – the knights gallop towards one another and hit each other, hard enough to sometimes shatter lances – the drama is staged. The knights' falls from their horses, as well as the their frequent demands for a sword fight or a “joust to the death,” are all choreographed. (Sorry to break the illusion, but no one actually dies during the RenFest joust.) And like at any play, the knights follow a script.

But just because it has the word “theatrical” in the name doesn't make the jousting any less difficult. Performers must be able to ride horses in armor, to sword fight, to perform stunts, to memorize choreography, to act. The show might involve hooking rings on lances, slicing vegetables in half with swords or any number of specialized skills. “I think it's harder than most competitive jousting just because there's so much to remember,” Fortner said.

Plus, unlike in competitive jousting – where knights aim to hit their opponents' shields in a certain way, not to necessarily unhorse them – the Hanlon-Lees performers must fall off their horses all the time because it makes for a better show. “We're doing four saddle falls a day, eight a weekend for us,” explained Fortner, who now also works as a civic engineer for the Air Force. He added, “So we're falling off constantly, at 35 miles an hour, all weekend long, for people's entertainment…”

Ariana Parodi-Gibson, Queen,and Lynn Jenkins "Neferteri"

For Ariana Parodi-Gibson, Renaissance fairs are a family affair.

Growing up, she routinely visited fairs within the United States and internationally, having lived in Germany for a time. This year at the Newport News Harvest Faire, she'll be joined by her knight-playing husband and their 3 year old, her "crown prince..."

Parodi-Gibson's queenly duties include opening and closing the fair, perform "knightings," teach guests how to curtsey and bow, and maybe even sentence some prisoners arrested by the sheriff.

"There's a yucky underbelly of medieval times," she said. "That's part of the beauty and majesty of it."

Taking up about six acres of Endview Plantation, guests can mill about and interact with five different encampments made up of medieval folk, pirates and Vikings who will demonstrate labor, goods and games of the period.

Other activities for guests include watching knights sword fight and joust, learning archery and doing a little bit of shopping. Woodworking, leather goods and items made by a blacksmith will be available for medieval-themed collections…

Lynn Jenkins is a belly dancer, known as "Neferteri," who has been with the Harvest Faire for as long as she can remember in her 30 plus year career.

"Once you put on a costume you transform from the every day business professional to the character and the mood and the venue and where you're at," she said. "I love it. It's like an escape."

Jenkins is one of many performers partaking music and dance shows in the Harvest Faire. Jenkins said the stage and audience are typically close together, making audience interaction a must for performers.

"We do like to get people involved," she said. "Usually at the end of their dance we bring people up from the audience, have them engage and dance with us to make it a more enjoyable experience for them…

Frank Dixon “Heyo, the court jester;” Jamie Dellorco, Princess Snow;” and Ryan Hanley, “King Hector.”

..These three are seasoned members of the cast at King Richard’s Faire, a popular fall tradition that plays out on several wooded acres in Carver.

“There, I’m Heyo, the court jester,” says Dixon, who has been living his medieval half-life for about 23 years – 21 of them as HRM King Richard’s chief fool…

 “I play Princess Snow, who is sister to the queen,” says Dellorco, whose dark hair and eyes, and rosy complexion, make her a perfect choice.

The Jester

At the faire, Dixon trades in his week-day attire for a typical jester’s floppy, multi-colored, three-horned hat, a diamond-patterned, flowy-sleeved tunic, tights and jester-style "clown" shoes.

As he plies his trade as Heyo, he carries a jester’s bauble, or staff, topped by a Homer Simpson figure “dressed up to look like me,” he says jovially.

Dixon talks about his role as Heyo the Jester with obvious exuberance, noting his regular work is “kind of a high stress job, so it’s nice to cut loose on the weekends.”

He enjoys the comedy of his persona, and the license it gives him to poke fun, both on stage and amongst the crowd – where cast members are set loose to wage what he calls “guerilla comedy” whereby faire visitors are treated to un-rehearsed, fun-loving teasing.

“I’ve always been kind of a jester myself,” Dixon confides.
As such, coming up with his wisecracks seems to come naturally to him. “I don’t know where it comes from. It just enters into my head,” he claims with a chuckle.

While there is a lot of improv that tickles modern sensibilities, there is also some element of historical accuracy Dixon inserts into his character.

“I did some research into the history of jesters. Basically, the jester was kind of a political comedian,” Dixon explains. “The jester was mostly to entertain the court with songs and tricks and juggling and all that, but historically the jester was also the political commentator. He could say things without having the repercussions of saying something the king didn’t want to hear.”

Dixon’s humor at King Richard’s Faire isn’t limited to his character. For the past several years, he has been involved in writing the musical show put on by the royal court and, as part of that, creating each year’s storyline. He has worked variously with a team of writers and solo. This year’s work is a solo creation, based on “Weekend at Bernie’s.”

The Princess

Besides being the queen’s sister, Princess Snow is also a member of a “girl group” of princesses who break out in choreographed songs that bring to mind the girl groups of the 60s…

When she began working at King Richard's Faire, Dellorco was already enamored with the renaissance fair scene, having been to the Carver faire and others as a kid.

“I loved the atmosphere,” recalls Dellorco, who moves about the faire in an ornate blue, yellow and red gown over a wide hoop skirt, with a glittering diadem in her hair.

King Hector

For Dellorco, as well as her fiancé, Ryan Hanley -- who plays visiting King Hector -- being part of King Richard’s Faire means many weekend bus trips from New York, where they now reside.

For Dellorco, the fairy tale of her King Richard’s persona has expanded into her real life world – last year, Hanley, also an actor who works for Actor's Equity, proposed to her at the faire.

The two met outside of the faire, but the annual acting gig has been part of their courtship since Hanley joined the cast five years ago.

 “He auditioned for the fair because he was sick of not seeing me in the fall,” says Dellorco.

The first year, says Hanley, “I got cast as their pickle man, where I was both a food vendor and a performer.”
This past season, he re-auditioned to get the role of King Hector.

Mitch Gaspard and Sandra Hand

“…It’s the greatest people-watching opportunity anywhere,” said Mitch Gaspard of the Texas Renaissance  Festival. He should know, since Mitch and his long-term partner, Sandra Hand, have been going to the RenFest every year since the festival opened. For decades, the two have gone decked out to the festival as the French King Henry IV and Queen Marie de’ Medici. (Between the two of them, Gaspard estimated, they have about 80 costumes. They’ve even built a separate room to store them all.) They’ve watched the festival evolve from being a collection of tents and carpets on the ground to the massive, medieval extravaganza it is today…

Gaspard and Hand recommended that festival goers check out the Ded Bob Sho, which was packed on Saturday afternoon. “There’s something here for everybody. It doesn’t matter how old you are,” Hand said, adding that you can’t expect to explore the entire festival in just one day—though it’s still worth trying. “I decided, at 84 years old, maybe it was my last day. And I was gonna spend it here…”

Nicole Morin “Lady Lettice Knollys”

Nicole Morin decided to try out for a part in the Connecticut Renaissance Faire: …Lady Lettice Knollys.

Though Knollys and Queen Elizabeth claim to be friends, they are more or less “frenemies,” Morin explained. “Of course I want to be better than her, and I think I am. You know prettier, wittier, smarter,” Morin said. “She’s got the crown, I have everything else.”

Morin researched Knollys in preparation for her character. “Lettice was a real person, she existed so you want to learn about her. What she did, who she was, how she carried herself,” Morin said. “She had three husbands and one of them was Queen Elizabeth’s great love, Robert Dudley.” Morin also wrote a song for the show.

“I had zero preconceived notions of what this was going to be, whatsoever,” she said of the fair. “It has exceeded my expectations. It’s just been a really great experience.”

Jenna Bullock-Papcin “Lady Mandrake”

Connecticut Renaissance Faire fairgoers can try archery, spear throwing, or fighting with a knight, and they can help Lady Mandrake solve a mystery. “Her husband was fairly high up but passed and she solved his mystery of what happened to him,” Jenna Bullock-Papcin said of her character, Lady Mandrake. “Somebody had done him in and by doing so she became well known to the queen. The queen is very fond of her. Every year she solves puzzles and mysteries for the queen.”

Bullock-Papcin creates a new mystery each week. Instead of solving the mysteries on her own, gets help from fairgoers. Then, with the help of the other town folk and vendors, she hands out clues throughout the fair.Those who want to play need to look for people who have the same symbol that Lady Mandrake dons.

“It involves talking to other folks, vendors, people with (Lady Mandrake’s colors), they piece it together after collecting clues from each of us and then figure out who did it,” she said.

Bullock-Papcin has been part of the Connecticut Renaissance Faire for the past seven years…


Italian Renaissance artist who made the first pornographic prints

Marcantonio Raimondi is probably one of the few blind spots in our knowledge of high Renaissance art…

A printmaker and engraver, he rejected a career as a goldsmith and armour engraver to instead pursue what was a developing area for art: printmaking, which would allow people to see, experience, own, and even hold copies of well known epic works.

The exhibition - Marcantonio Raimondi And Raphael - looks at his collaboration with Renaissance 'celebrity' Raphael, and includes work from the Royal Collection Trust Windsor, the British Museum, the V&A, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, Ashmolean Museum Oxford, Stamford University, Leeds Art Gallery, and Liverpool Libraries…

The naked human body was a common feature of Renaissance art, and even sexual activity was widely portrayed - but the characters were always mythological (as we can see pictured above). For the first time Marcantonio produced 16 prints that showed real people in sexual positions, known as the I Modi prints or Toscanini album…

Complete, fascinating article and pictures:

The Cloisters

…The collection of art at The Cloisters is nowhere near as voluminous as its counterpart on Fifth Avenue, but this is because most of the artwork has the common root in Medieval Europe, whether in the stained glass displays, statues, tapestries or even jewelry. The building itself even falls under the medieval art umbrella. According to the Metropolitan website, “The modern museum building is not a copy of any specific medieval structure but is rather an ensemble informed by a selection of historical precedents, with a deliberate combination of ecclesiastical and secular spaces arranged in chronological order.”

The building’s architecture is directly based upon the twelfth century apse found in the Church of Saint Martin of Fuentidueña, Spain, which refers to the museum’s dual purpose as an institution dedicated to both art and its history.

The Cloisters’ name derives from the center of the building itself. Immersed between the various exhibitions are beautiful, green and lush cloisters and gardens. One in particular hosts an entire garden of plants that would likely be found in a medieval garden, annotated with helpful hints such as “for cooking,” “for cleaning” or just simply “poisonous…”

Complete article and pictures:

Beyond Caravaggio

The National Gallery, London 12 October 2016 – 15 January 2017
National Gallery of Ireland (11 February – 14 May 2017)
Royal Scottish Academy (17 June – 24 September 2017)

Beyond Caravaggio is the first major exhibition in the UK to explore the work of Caravaggio and his influence on the art of his contemporaries and followers.

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, 'The Taking of Christ' (detail), 1602. On indefinite loan to the National Gallery of Ireland from the Jesuit Community, Leeson St., Dublin who acknowledge the kind generosity of the late Dr Marie Lea-Wilson. Photo © The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin

Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1571–1610) is one of the most revolutionary figures in art. His strikingly original, emotionally charged paintings, with their intense naturalism, dramatic lighting and powerful storytelling, had a lasting impact on European art and the reverberations echo down to our own time. 

“The painters then in Rome were so taken by the novelty, and the younger ones especially flocked to him and praised him alone as the only true imitator of nature, looking upon his works as miracles, they vied with each other in following him.”Giovan Pietro Bellori, 1672

Caravaggio did not have pupils or travel extensively, and he died at the relatively young age of 39, and yet his influence was widespread and astonishingly diverse. From 1600, artists from across Europe flocked to Rome to see his work, and many went on to imitate his naturalism and dramatic lighting effects – these included artists as talented and varied as Orazio Gentileschi, Valentin de Boulogne, Jusepe de Ribera and Gerrit van Honthorst. Paintings by Caravaggio and his followers were highly sought after in the decades following his death, but fell out of favour by the middle of the 17th century.

The showoffers a unique opportunity to discover a number of hidden art treasures from around the British Isles. The majority of the 49 paintings in the exhibition come from museums, stately homes, castles, churches and private collections across Great Britain and Ireland. These paintings, many of which will be unfamiliar to visitors, will demonstrate how Caravaggio’s art came to inspire a whole generation of painters.

'Beyond Caravaggio' begins by exploring Caravaggio’s early years in Rome, where he produced works depicting youths, musicians, cardsharps and fortune tellers. These paintings were considered highly original on account of their everyday subject matter and naturalistic lighting. The National Gallery’s own Boy Bitten by a Lizard (1594–5) will hang alongside works including Cecco del Caravaggio’s 'A Musician' (about 1615, Apsley House), Bartolomeo Manfredi’s 'Fortune Teller' (about 1615–20, Detroit Institute of Arts) and a masterpiece by French Carvaggesque painter, Georges de la Tour, The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs (1630–34) from the Kimbell Art Museum in Dallas.

The unveiling of Caravaggio’s first public commission in 1600 caused a sensation and quickly led to numerous commissions from distinguished patrons, among them Ciriaco Mattei for whom Caravaggio painted The Supper at Emmaus (1601, The National Gallery, London) and the recently rediscovered 'The Taking of Christ' (1602, on indefinite loan to the National Gallery of Ireland from the Jesuit Community, Leeson St, Dublin). These two paintings will be reunited with other Caravaggesque works formerly in the Mattei collection: Giovanni Serodine’s 'Tribute Money' (Scottish National Gallery) and Antiveduto Gramatica’s 'Christ among the Doctors' (about 1613, Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh (on long-term loan from the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, from St Bride’s, Cowdenbeath).

Caravaggio’s practice of painting from life and his use of chiaroscuro (strongly contrasted lighting effects) were quickly emulated, but artists did not simply replicate his style; taking Caravaggio’s works as their starting point, they responded to different aspects of his art and developed their own individual approaches. Giovanni Baglione’s 'Ecstasy of Saint Francis' (1601, The Art Institute of Chicago) is the first truly Caravaggesque painting by another artist; Orazio Gentileschi, who was a friend of Caravaggio’s, is represented by two very different works, whilst his immensely talented daughter, Artemisia, is present in the exhibition with 'Susannah and the Elders' (1622, The Burghley House Collection). 'Christ displaying his Wounds' (about 1625-35, Perth Museum and Art Gallery) by Giovanni Antonio Galli (called Lo Spadarino) is one of the most striking and memorable paintings in the show.

Caravaggio travelled twice to Naples – both times whilst on the run (the first after committing murder). The Kingdom of Naples was then part of the Spanish Empire and home to many Spanish artists, like Jusepe de Ribera who is represented by three works, (notably 'The Martyrdom of Saint Bartholomew', 1634, National Gallery of Art, Washington). Neapolitan artists also frequently travelled to Rome where they had the opportunity to see Caravaggio’s earlier works: this was the case with Mattia Preti, whose 'Draughts Players' (about 1635, Ashmolean Museum of Art, Oxford) will be on display.

Caravaggio’s greatest legacy was the enduring power of his storytelling. He injected new life into biblical stories, often blurring the lines between sacred and profane subjects, such as in 'Saint John the Baptist in the Wilderness' (1603–4, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City). This will be shown alongside masterpieces by his followers, such as Nicolas Régnier’s 'Saint Sebastian tended by the Holy Irene and her Servant' (about 1626–30, Ferens Art Gallery, Hull - generously lent during Hull’s UK 2017 City of Culture celebrations) and Gerrit van Honthorst’s 'Christ before the High Priest' (about 1617, The National Gallery, London).

Seduced by the power of Caravaggio’s paintings, artists continued to emulate him well after his death, but by the middle of the 17th century Caravaggio’s naturalistic approach had been rejected in favour of a more classicising painting tradition. It would take almost three hundred years for Caravaggio’s reputation to be restored and for his artistic accomplishments to be fully recognised. Today he is rightly admired once again for his unforgettable imagery, inventiveness and astonishing modernity.

More savage than Caravaggio: the woman who took revenge in oil

Two women are holding a man down on a bed. One presses her fist against his head, so he can’t raise it from the mattress, while her companion pins his torso in place. They are well-built with powerful arms but even so it takes their combined strength to keep their victim immobilised as one of them cuts through his throat with a gleaming sword. Blood spurts from deep red geysers as she saws. She won’t stop until his head is fully severed. Her victim’s eyes are wide open. He knows exactly what is happening to him.
The dying man is Holofernes, an enemy of the Israelites in the Old Testament, and the young woman beheading him is Judith, his divinely appointed assassin. Yet at the same time he is also an Italian painter called Agostino Tassi, while the woman with the sword is Artemisia Gentileschi, who painted this. It is, effectively, a self-portrait…

An absolutely wonderful, must read article:

Piero della Francesca

Patti Smith sings about Piero della Francesca in “Constantine’s Dream”. Cezanne, Seurat, De Chirico, Morandi, Guston and Hockney all found inspiration in Piero’s masterpieces. Camus sees the great artist as the first existentialist; Pasolini finds in him Marxist and homoerotic ideas; Stendhal practically gave himself a syndrome because of Piero’s work. In The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje, Kip and Hana have an epiphany in front of “The History of the True Cross” fresco cycle.

Piero della Francesca’s art is as much a mirror as a shadow, reflecting complex thoughts, provoking creativity and eluding clear definition. His work shows a devotion to and understanding of geometry: shape and form illustrate spiritual mysteries. His images speak to that which is both calculable and incalculable. This complex, multiple approach is at the heart of a conceptual exhibit now open to the public in a new impressive space in Arezzo…

The exhibit includes enlarged hi-resolution details from Piero della Francesca’s major works, including the Baptism of Christ from the National Gallery in London, the Holy Conversation from the Pinacoteca di Brera, the Madonna of Senigallia from the Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, the Maddalena from the Duomo of Arezzo, the Resurrection and the Madonna of Mercy from the Museo Civico in Sansepolcro and, obviously, The Legend of the True Cross from the church next door…


City of Fools: Medieval Songs of Rule and Misrule

The Boston Camerata’s “City of Fools: Medieval Songs of Rule and Misrule” brings an ironic early music twist of recherché political theater to First Church in Boston on October 22nd. Besides directing, Anne Azéma will sing about Dame Fortune, cheating prelates, and repentant kings. Director Emeritus Joel Cohen, who helped shape this Boston/election year version of the program, will return as narrator, lutenist, and resident curmudgeon.  Instrumentalists Shira Kammen and Christa Patton have devised incredible, intricate accompaniments and solos for vielle, harp, bagpipe, and other winds…

Fretwork, a British viol consort

(A viol is a bowed, fretted, stringed instrument prominent in 16th and 17th century music.)

The Fretwork’s program, "In Nomine," will feature works by Renaissance and early Baroque composers William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, William Lawes, Henry Purcell, John Taverner and Christopher Tye….

As a rule, early music ensembles traffic in music written before the High Baroque (basically before the deaths of Shakespeare and Cervantes…

Four Shillings Short

Four Shillings Short — the husband/wife duo of Aodh Og O’Tuama from Cork, Ireland, and Christy Martin from California — perform traditional and original music from the Celtic lands, medieval and Renaissance Europe, India and the Americas. They play over 30 instruments to complement their vocals including mountain dulcimer, mandolin, mandola, bouzouki, tin whistles, recorders, charango, bowed psaltery, banjo, guitar, percussion, Medieval and Renaissance woodwinds, and a krumhorn.

O’Tuama grew up in a family of poets, musicians and writers. He received his degree in music from University College in Cork, Ireland, and a fellowship from Stanford University in California in medieval and Renaissance performance…


Medieval cities not so different from modern European cities

Medieval cities - with their agrarian societies and simple market economies - seem very different from modern European urban centers. Life in 14th-century cities centered around hierarchical institutions such as the crown, guilds, and churches. Today, companies, technologies, and a global economy dominate our lives.

Despite the dramatic changes in economic and political structures over the last 700 years, a new look at medieval cities' population sizes and distributions suggest that some urban characteristics have remained remarkably consistent.

A paper published in PLOS One highlights one major similarity: in both medieval and modern European cities, larger settlements have predictably higher population densities than smaller cities.

The authors write: "This would suggest that the institutions of Western European urban systems ca. 1300 did not substantially constrain social mixing, economic integration, or the free flow of people, ideas, and information."

In short, the social dynamics enabled by medieval cities were fundamentally similar to those of contemporary cities.

The authors analyzed data from 173 medieval cities from across Western Europe, finding that these data show statistically indistinguishable community grouping patterns among medieval capital cities in Italy, England, France, and Belgium and much younger European cities.

On the macro, institutional level, modern and historical cities may look very different, says Bettencourt. We are now finding that what we know about contemporary urban processes may be applicable to the past because of similarities in micro-level behaviors and the effects they have on the larger system, he says.


Shakespeare's First Folio exhibit arrives in Duluth

…The collection of plays that was published in 1623 is being kept in a temperature- and humidity-controlled ¼-inch acrylic case under a specific level of dim light. The "First Folio! The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare" runs through Oct. 26 at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

It's a traveling exhibit — 400 years after the Bard's death — by the Folger Shakespeare Library, keepers of 82 First Folios…

It's believed that 750 copies of the First Folio were published seven years after Shakespeare's death. There are 235 known remaining copies…

Narnia books enhanced with medieval cosmology

Planet Narnia is a stunning book. The renowned scholar Michael Ward has written it in order to unveil the secret plan of C.S. Lewis for his Narnia series.

Medieval cosmology looked to the skies and saw seven “planets” orbiting the Earth: namely, Luna (“the Moon”), Mercury, Venus, Sol (“the Sun”), Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn. Lewis used each planet as a theme for each one of the seven books in his Narnia Chronicles.

The subtitle of Ward’s book is: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis. As it turns out, Lewis’s imagination was even more fertile in the Narnia books than was previously realized. Lewis enhanced his stories with an extra layer of literary symbolism based on the various meanings of the planets for the medieval mind.

Lewis was a scholar of medieval and Renaissance literature. In his book The Discarded Image (1964), Lewis explained what was lost when “the medieval synthesis” was discarded by the modern world. Theology, science, and history had all been organized into one cosmic vision of meaning.

But Lewis’ appreciation for this “single, complex, harmonious mental model of the universe” could not be confined to a lone scholarly book. Instead, he extended it, by making it the hidden inspiration for his Narnia stories….

Rarely-Seen Renaissance Books

…From September 22 through January 16, 2017, The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is showcasing some of the city’s most stunning, oldest printed books originally created by master artists for scholars, princes, and popes with their exhibition entitled Beyond Words: Italian Renaissance Books

Gardner’s own rare book editions (among them historically significant 15th century copies of Dante’s The Divine Comedy) illustrate firsts in Italian Renaissance publishing, with her editions featuring the work’s original illustrations—paintings by Boticelli—which Gardner was first to bring to North America…

Related programs and lectures

Saturday, October 29, 11:30 am – 4 pm
Dante Festival
An Italian poet who lived in the late Middle Ages, Dante Alighieri is considered one of the most important and influential writers in the Western World. Isabella Gardner’s interest in the art and culture of Italy began with Dante, and her collection includes rare editions of his work. Join us for a day of creative exploration featuring art-making, music, readings, and participatory gallery experiences that will bring Dante’s words to life…

Saturday, December 3, 3:30 pm
Stephen Greenblatt, John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University; and Ramie Targoff, Professor of English, Jehuda Reinharz Director of the Mandel Center for the Humanities, and Co-Chair of Italian Studies at Brandeis University
Enter the rich world of the Renaissance through six books in Beyond Words: Italian Renaissance Books that capture different aspects of this extraordinary period. The speakers will discuss, among other things, political life, religion, literature, humanism, exploration, and travel…

Complete article:

October- December 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: bwarren@florencek12.org, web: alarenfaire.org / 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. .

Mobile Renaissance Faire and Pirate FestivalNovember 14 - 15, 2015, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.Admission: $10 / Contact: Steven Melei, Mobile Renaissance Faire, 3603 Mobile Hwy., Pensacola, FL 32505, (850) 429-8462, email: sadie50us@yahoo.com, web: www.gcrf.us / Site: Medieval Village, 30569 Eagle Lane, Robertsdale, AL 36567 / Booths: 50 / Attendance: 6,500 / Weapons: must be peace-tied / Camping and hotels nearby.

November 7, 2015, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Admission: $1 / Contact: Gravette Library, 407 Charlotte St SE, Gravette, AR, 72736, (479) 787-6955, email: soler@ochonline.com, web: Gravette Public Library Facebook Page / Site: Old Town Park, Gravette, AR / Booths: 25 / Attendance: 1,300 / Weapons: must be peace-tied / Camping nearby.


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: fairestaff@gmail.com or blackirish28@hotmail.com, web: www.allhallowsfaire.com / Site: Mother Lode Fairgrounds, Sonora, CA / Booths: 40 / Attendance: 5,000 / Weapons: must be sheathed and peace-tied / On site camping available for participants.

Kearney Park Renaissance FaireNovember 7 - 8, 2015, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.Admission: $10 / Contact: Joyce Roberts, Two Fayre Ladies, 4546 E. Ashlan, Fresno, CA 93726, (559) 392-0965, email: queensfavr@aol.com, web: www.twofayreladies.com or facebook page “Kearney Renaissance Faire” / Site: Kearney Park, 7160 W. Kearney Blvd., Fresno, CA 93722 / Booths: 40 / Attendance: 5,000 / Weapons: must be peace-tied / On-site camping available for participants.


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: havefun@ctfaire.com, web: www.ctfaire.com / 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.


Camelot DaysNovember 14 - 22, 2015, (WO) 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.Admission: $15 / Contact: Brad Hanafourde, Camelot Days, Inc., 6971 SW 64th St., Miami, FL 33143, (786) 332-0047, email: brad@camelotdays.com, web: www.camelotdays.com / Site: Topeekeegee Yugnee Park, 3300 N. Park Rd. Hollywood, Florida 33021, I-95 to Sheridan St., west to N. Park Rd. / Booths: 150 / Attendance: 4,000 / Weapons: must be sheathed and peace-tied / Limited on-site camping by request for performers and vendors.

Lady of the Lakes Renaissance FaireNovember 4 - November 13, 2016, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.Admission: $13 / Contact: Educational Foundation of Lake County, 910 E. Dixie Ave., Leesburg, FL 34748, (352) 326-1265, email: cullen-battc@lake.k12.fl.us, web: www.medievalfest.com / Site: Hickory Point Recreation Park, 27341 St. Rd. 19, Tavares, FL / Booths: 75 / Attendance: 13,000 / Weapons: must be peace-tied / Hotels/motels nearby.

Sarasota Medieval FairNovember 7 - 22, 2015, (WO) 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.Admission: $17.95 / Contact: Sarasota Medieval Fair, Inc., PO Box 21371, Bradenton, FL 34204, (888) 303-3247 (FAIR), email: info@sarasotamedievalfair.com, web: www.sarasotamedievalfair.com / Site: Sarasota County Fairgrounds, 3000 Ringling Blvd., Sarasota, FL / Booths: 100+ / Attendance: 63,000 / Weapons: must be peace-tied / No camping on-site. Hotels and campgrounds nearby.


November 5 - December 11, 2016, (WO & Thanksgiving Friday) 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Admission: $18 / Contact: Alvon Brumfeld, PO Box 220, Robert, LA 70455, (985) 429-9992, email: info@larf.org, web: www.larf.org or www.la-renfest.com / Site: 46468 River Rd., Hammond, LA / Booths: 100 / Attendance: 55,000 / Weapons: must be peace-tied / Camping & hotels within 15 minutes of site.

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: info@rennfest.com, web: www.MarylandRenaissanceFestival.com / 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.

FaerieCon: The Int'l Faerie Convention 
November 4 - 6, 2016, Fri. 1 p.m. - 11 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m. - 11 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Admission: $45 for weekend pass or $12-20 per day / Contact: Kelly or Emilio Miller-Lopez, PO Box 51177, Eugene, OR 97405, (514) 687-0945, email: info@faerieworlds.com, web: www.faeriecon.com / Site: Baltimore Marriott Hunt Valley Inn, Baltimore, MD / Booths: N/A / Attendance: 6,000 / Weapons: not allowed / Hotels nearby.


Camlann Medieval Village (MA)

Where can you go to eat fenberry pie, learn calligraphy and listen to medieval minstrel music? Camlann Medieval Village in Carnation offers all three in a living history display of the Middle Ages….

According to Roger Shell, one of the founders and the president of the Camlann Medieval Association, some modern renaissance fairs have become less accurate and historical... Authenticity at Camlann Village is a top priority.

In 2006, the village switched from operating as more of a renaissance fair to operating as a museum-quality presentation… Instead of portraying the extravagant lifestyles of kings and queens who made up only a tiny portion of the population at the time, Camlann paints a more ordinary picture of life in medieval England….

Those who work and volunteer in the village stay in character while weaving, playing instruments, making pottery, pressing cider, timber framing and a number of other tasks common in the 14th century….

At the Michelmasse Festival on September 25, a volunteer showed visitors her one-room cottage equipped with a twin-sized bed, a small table and a cooking fire in the middle of the dirt floor.

A candle made from rope and goose fat burned on the table. A dried cod hung from the ceiling. A pot for urine sat beneath the bed. Urine, the volunteer explained, is good for several tasks including dying fabric and tanning leather.

Camlann Village is open every weekend during the summers and provides workshops and feasts throughout the year.

The next workshops occur in November. One on November 13 teaches about castle architecture and one on November 20 teaches about what King Arthur was like as a person. Workshops cost $30 per person.

The Bors Hede Inne serves food made solely from hearty Middle English recipes. Guests can eat and experience medieval dinner-theater presentations at the restaurant year-round, Wednesdays through Sundays between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Reservations are requested.

Camlann’s All Hallows feast takes place on October 29. Included in the two courses are rose petal pudding, roasted tongue, fish and spinach tarts and roasted capon in dragon’s blood sauce. Costumes and reservations are required and the cost is $45 per person….

Complete article:

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 info@kingrichardsfaire.net. The Faire is located at 235 Main Street (Rt. 58) in Carver, Mass. 02330, 508-866-5391. Visit King Richard’s Faire on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/TheKingRichardsFaire) and on Twitter and Instagram @KRFaire.


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: www.centralmorenfest.org / Site: Boster Castle, 4274 County Rd 220, Kingdom City, MO / Booths: 45 / Attendance:


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: ajmcdavid@aka-entertainment.com, web: www.caledonianfest.com / Site: Lu Mil Vineyard / Booths: 35 / Attendance: 12,000 / Weapons: allowed / Participant camping on-site.

Carolina Renaissance Festival
Put the Renaissance Festival on your Halloween list of things to do with free event admission for kids, free Halloween bags and treats to be found all around the 25-acre festival village. There will also be a Halloween Treasure hunt and a Halloween costume contest with prizes.

Already the Carolina’s largest costume party, the Renaissance Festival becomes the place to start your Halloween celebrations from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Oct. 29-30. In addition, the festival is a great place to buy your Halloween costume or costume accessories.

A full day of regular festival entertainment is complimented by the “Knights of the Living Dead” a zombie jousting challenge, three times daily throughout the Halloween weekend. Children ages 5 through 12, normally a $14 admission, will be admitted free.Treat bags and goodies will be provided free to children each day, while supplies last.

The Renaissance Festival is a medieval amusement park, a 12 stage theater, a 25-acre circus, an arts and crafts fair, a jousting tournament and a feast – all rolled into one non-stop, day-long family adventure.

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: carolinarenfest@royalfaires.com, or matt@royalfaires.com, web: www.royalfaires.com/carolina / 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: ohio@renfestival.com, web: www.renfestival.com / 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: www.parenfaire.com / 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.


Texas Renaissance Festival

Hundreds of visitors to Todd Mission stepped into a time warp this weekend, as the Texas Renaissance  Festival opened its gates for its 42nd season. Everyone from a shirtless man in Ray-Ban sunglasses carrying a bottle of red wine, to a woman in a bright blue Cinderella dress—complete with six-foot-long train—seemed to be enjoying themselves on opening day of the two-month-long festival.

The version of the Middle Ages on display at the RenFest isn’t exactly completely historically accurate. Costumes ranged from leather dominatrixes to Star Wars storm troopers to Anonymous-style Guy Fawkes masks. There was also a fair amount of lederhosen on display, as the weekend’s theme was Oktoberfest…

Despite it only being opening day, none of the acts we caught seemed rusty. Christophe the Insulter—who, as his name implies, will insult any audience member if you pay him enough—impressively managed to work in references to both Saint Francis of Assisi and Cousin Itt, and to quote Alien within about ten minutes. (Parents, do not take your children to see his act unless you want them to acquire a very thorough understanding of female anatomy…)

This year is your last chance to visit the festival before its off-season facelift. Next season will see the RenFest expand to add three more acres to the park, to create a storybook village-type area, as well as a new themed weekend…

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: TAlbert@texrenfest.com, web: www.texrenfest.com / Site: 21778 FM 1774, Plantersville, TX / Booths: 400 / Attendance: 606,000 / Weapons: must be peace-tied / See web site for lodging info.

Utah Winter FaireDecember 2 - 4, 2016, 12 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Admission: $7 - $12 / Contact: Lora Harpster, Utah Winter Faire LLP, 2723 S 450 West, Bountiful, UT 84010, (801) 803-4131, email: utahwinterfairinfo@gmail.com, web: utahwinterfaire.com, / Site: Legacy Events Center, Farmington, UT / Booths: 40 / Attendance: 4,000+ / Weapons: must be peace-tied / Hotels nearby.

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: sirblackwolf@medievalfantasiesco.com, web: www.medievalfantasiesco.com/Gloucester.htm / Site: Historic District of Downtown Gloucester, VA / Booths: 20 / Attendance: 2,000 / Weapons: not allowed / on-site camping available for participants.

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