Thursday, September 20, 2012


Ye Olde Outdoor Costume Party

When my friends originally invited me to Ren Faire, I told them I would go on the condition that one of them bought me a tri-point hat. They all had a good laugh at me because tri-point hats aren’t really an Elizabethan style, but within five minutes of getting there, I saw 1) a hat dealer selling tri-point hats and 2) dozens of dudes in tri-point hats. So, who’s laughing now, “friends?”
—Ashley Cardiff learned "33 Absurd Things" during a recent outing.

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I was once threatened into drinking more mead by a two buxom woman at the LA Rennaissance Pleasure Feste or whatever they call it.


I enjoyed that.@m


I thought they were called Tricorn hats? They are 18th century, but usually Ren faires are more medieval than Renaissance anyway.


Ah yes, Ren Faires- wonderful costumes meet problematic gender treatment.


@Kinloch omg, yes. so many bosoms. in my face.


@Kinloch I swear that an actual part of the job of the men who work there is to make bawdy comments at women who are just walking by. Never eat a pickle on a stick at one of these events.


@Hellcat Exactly. I do enjoy the pageantry, despite the disconnect in my own values/philosophies on gender. I have to put my feminist self into a box on the weekends I attend Faire (it's a well worn box because of the job I have). The age of chivalry =/= valuing women as human beings.


@Kinloch While I do think about these things and often wonder about the people who do them, I myself generally don't care about this kind of thing when it's not done in a way designed to hurt or insult (for instance, I couldn't care less if the gas-station man calls me "sweetie" or even if some goon hoots out of a car at me if I am walking). I get that it's probably coming from an inappropriate place but I just don't believe everyone who does it is a raging misogynist, if that makes sense. However, I feel bad for people who do take it to heart, and they have every right to be annoyed by it. And I feel bad for people who maybe, say, just wanted to go walk around the Ren Faire on a nice day without being embarrassed or, worse, insulted.


@Hellcat It would pretty exhausting to go through life believing everyone is a raging misogynist. I agree- there should be safe spaces to enjoy a pickle on a stick, no matter how you're dressed or where you're walking.


@Hellcat One of the local Ren Faires has a Facebook contest where people were encouraged to vote for the best "babe in a bodice," which of course meant there were tons of young women who had posted their homemade-bodice-glamour-shots on Facebook and were being judged by the number of likes they had. That kind of grossed me out.


@narwhalsandwich Unfortunately, I see that very thing on FB all the time among my peers* (we are in our 30s and 40s!)... without the excuse of a contest or a really cool-looking historical bodice!

* "Peers" because it's not usually my friend-friends who do this, just acquaintances (though my sister has been known to "innocently" post a cleavage shot, complete with an "Ugh, I look awful" caption.


@narwhalsandwich Here I thought Ren Faires were spaces of equal-opportunity ogling because of the codpieces. Not so much?


@SuperGogo I know. Unfortunately, there was no "best/biggest codpiece" contest.


The Chicago Celtic Fest had a kilt contest for men that was kind of like this? I enjoyed it, but the entire festival has since been canceled. :(


@Rock and Roll Ken Doll I KNOW! It makes me sad that it is no more...especially the kilt contest.


@SuperGogo I wish! If the ratio of cleavage to codpiece were closer to 1:1 then maybe. I keep trying to convince my boyfriend that if he wore velvet breeches and a codpiece I would be unable to keep my hands off him (more so than usual) but no dice.

Blackwatch Plaid

Story time! When I was a kid, my father had the landscaping contract for King Richard's Faire in New England. My very first job as a wee seven year old was scalping tickets to aging biker types in homemade breeches.


@glittercock When I was in 5th grade, I wanted to go to King Richard's Faire SO BADLY. My friend went, and got this weird braided hair extension (that was basically a rat tail with beads) and we were all SO JEALOUS.

Blackwatch Plaid

@Ophelia I definitely had one of those. I also had some of the horns and a set of tulle wings. I was a cool kid.

Judith Slutler

Ahahahahaha all the comments on the article are about sex, drugs and nerdery


Oh, Faire. My disdain for burners is totally cancelled out by my undying love for Renaissance Faires, and my secret desire to work at one, even though I hate camping.

I own like, five faire-appropriate corsets (two I made myself), and I got every year, and this year my friends and I were Renaissance Gotham (and I was an INSPIRED Harley Quinn), and I drank frozen lemonade and mead and ate mac and cheese on a stick, and ogled the men's butts and the ladies' heaving bosoms.

So yeah. Whatever. At least I'm not killing the playa.

oh! valencia

@thatgirl please tell more about mac and cheese on a stick?


In my time working at Renaissance Festivals (which has been far more extensive than I care to think about) I saw people in Star Wars costumes (explained as, "Well, it was a long time ago..."), steampunk, ninjas, anime, bdsm, togas, bloody horror getups, Star Trek, random leftover, cheap Halloween costumes (our faire is in the spring), and so many other bizarre things, it blows the mind. People just like to dress up, I think?


@Mandalas And now, having looked at the article, I'd like to add that the NY Ren Faire does seem to be kind of low rent. Girl needs to go to one of the bigger, more fun ones.

fondue with cheddar

#15...Why is the price sign so much better-crafted than the merchandise for sale? That's just sad.


@a whole thing of candy beans (formerly jen325) I know exactly which vendor that is, and those are the kids' toys ones. Other vendors have serious swords/pointy things and armor.

fondue with cheddar

@thatgirl Okay, that makes sense I guess. I know there are all different levels of quality among ren faire goods, but a half-assed spray paint stencil seemed a little lame. Kids wouldn't know the difference.

I've never been to the NY one, only the PA. I totally recognize the dude with the bubble wand, though. I wonder if he does the PA faire, too.


The last time I went to a Renaissance Faire, I saw someone walk by in a full-body gorilla suit. While wondering with my friends if he could be a medieval gorilla, Darth Vader walked by. We gave up explaining.


I love RennFest! I live right near the Faire in MD. I still haven't worked up the courage to go in my old Renaissance-themed Halloween costume. Maybe because it doesn't show enough of my heaving bosom?


@skippersarah I attend that Faire every year myself. I pick a weekend that has (a) temperatures at 68 and (b) falls right after payday.


@Kinloch Yes! Because it's so freaking hot! Not to sound like a creeper, but now I want to find you...


@skippersarah I once wore my dress (which is 8-10 yards of brown velvet) on a day where it was a little over 80 degrees. My dry cleaner wept tears seeing the damage to the velvet. I usually attend on Sundays, either closing weekend, or weekend before closing.

Maryland Faire 'Pin Up?


@skippersarah I've worked there (for one of the clothing vendors) the past 3 years, but haven't yet made it out this season. Faire Pin Up sounds awesome!


@SarahDances @Kinloch Um, yes, Faire Pin Up on a cool weekend sounds amazing! We need to do this.

hahahaha, ja.

I've always wanted to go to a Ren Faire dressed up as someone from approximately the correct time period but totally not the correct geographical location. Like ... a Mongol warrior.


@hahahaha, ja. such a good idea!

RK Fire

@hahahaha, ja. Same here. Or, since I'm a POC, I've always wanted to dress up and be like "what are you looking at? I got here through the Silk Road, BITCHES."


@hahahaha, ja. At my favorite faire ever, they had lots of people who did this (for "lots" read "maybe 30 total") and they were all in the gypsy camp, which I thought was cool. Who better to bring back people from foreign lands than the gypsies? They'd have a Moroccan bazaar and Egyptian folks and I don't even know what-all. Correct period, different place, came with the gypsies. Loved it.


"I mean it's one banana, Michael. How much could it cost? Ten dollars?"

the roughest toughest frail

I just looked up the NorCal Ren Faire and they have an Oktoberfest theme weekend! I'm seriously thinking about attending.
The first and last time I went, my friends and I spent the majority of the time trying to create the necessary "trapped baby head" bosom with our cheap corsets and obnoxiously hitting on the knights preparing for the joust.

RK Fire

Ever since I read the Sandman series, I can't think of Renn Fests without thinking of Hob Gadling (an immortal man from the Elizabethan era) quotes, like:
-"You know what's wrong with this place? Well, the first thing that's wrong is there's no shit. I mean, that's the thing about the past people forget. All the shit. Animal shit. People shit. Cow shit. Horse shit. You waded through the stuff. You should spray 'em all with shit as they come through the gates."
-Ah, I've been trying to find this quote, but basically Hob says something along the lines of "this makes as much sense as having a Wild Wild West re-enactment in the middle of London."

That isn't to say that I don't like Renn Fests nor have I bought a few sets of clay horns and dried flower garlands over the years.

RK Fire

Also: "All furries are otherkin, not all otherkin are furries"
Wise words. Wise. Words.

Blackwatch Plaid

@RK Fire And yet, there are plenty of furries that would vehemently disagree.


Ahh, I haven't been to the Nor Cal Ren Faire in at least a year or two! Need to go this year, I have an almost physical craving to see Moonie and Broon again.

baked bean

I live near KC and its Ren fair sounds like it's more legit, but I've never been there. If she is giving an accurate description of the NY one, of course, which she probably isn't since she's making fun of it.
Someone told me they had rides? And looks like they have a Silk Road weekend.

I will probably never go, regardless. I hate crowds and touristy things and buying shit. Also historical inaccuracies would bother me, I'd want the experience to be more real if it were to exist.

Plus having an Italian Ren Fair would make 100000000000 times more sense, because duh, that's where all the cool shit was happening.

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