Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Texas Renaissance Festival!

At last blogging, I'd just closed out October. So naturally, it's on to November. I suppose when most people (in America) think of November, they think of Thanksgiving. I do too, of course. I mean, I don't think I could count the year as a success without indulging in disturbing amounts of my aunt's corn casserole and homemade mac n' cheese come turkey day. Still, there's more to November than fun with the family and the embracing the sin of gluttony. There's also Black Friday. Now, I'm not a fan because of the sales, no. I'll keep my money and my sanity, thanks. I'm a fan because it's a free day. There's no work, no expectations, you just have a day to do whatever you will.

I will usually travel. A couple of years ago, I was cruisin' around the Bahamas with my sister...and last year,  I was jetting out to Texas to visit my friend Cindi. Cindi's awesome and we always have a lot of fun together, regardless of what we're doing. However, when the doings involve Spooktacular musicals and the Ren Faire, it's extra fun!

Bloods vs. Crip: Holiday Showdown
Me, Cindi, and her mom at the Alley Theater in Houston getting ready to see A Christmas Carol - A Ghost Story of Christmas. Live theater is always fun and this particular production was a little nuttier than your usual Dickensian classic. The costumes, make up, and dance numbers really shook up the familiar tale. After the show, we headed down to the Spaghetti Warehouse for dinner. The building itself is beautiful, filled with expensive antiques, rich woodwork, and supposedly a ghost or two!  Ooo! The food was good, even if I didn't get to see any spaghetti specters.

Cindi and I headed back to her house after the dinner and spent the rest of the night reading, watching movies, and picking out garb for the next day. I was extremely excited to go to the Ren Faire, and I'll take any excuse I can to play dress-up. The theme for the weekend was Celtic Christmas and well, I took it to heart...or maybe I should say head...

^ Is a perpetual child.
Now, the corset, skits, belts, chemise, etc, all of that was provided by Cindi, but the headpiece, I made that myself from some spare antlers and stuff from ye olde Hobby Lobby. Cindi is actually a regular at Faire and is well-known as Mystic. Being as I was a Ren Faire virgin, I had no special name...yet.

The jester is Cindi's friend TMI, he works at the chainmail shop making all kinds of spiffy wears, and is in general a pretty cool guy.
We arrived at the Faire just in time to watch the end of the chainmail bikini contest.

Chainmail. bikini. contest. 

It's really a lot like a regular bikini contest except for the fact there's no beach for miles, the swimsuits are metal, and I'm pretty sure at least one of those chicks was a dude. 

These leather clad fellows are Cindi's friends the Berserkers. They make and sell leather armor. It's really incredible stuff and not the easiest thing in the world to do. I made a very basic leather corset once, and can't imagine all the work that goes into the heavy detailing on the pieces they're wearing.

As I've mentioned, I like horses. I particularly like larger kinds, like this gorgeous Friesian, my favorite breed. I believe this woman was part of the cast and this was her job, to ride her awesome horse and interacting with the crowds of people.  Oh, and speaking of horses...

Now, for  Ren Faire, there's nothing too peculiar about this pic, right? I mean, a shirtless, long-haired guy with a drinking horn, and a lady with antlers isn't that out of the ordinary. However, that's only because you're not seeing this from the proper perspective.

You see, he's not just any bare-chested, long-haired man with a drinking horn, nope. This guy is a bare- chested, long-haired, Centaur with a drinking horn. A full on Centaur! He goes by the name of The Mighty Kiron, and he's pretty dedicated. He's a regular fixture at TRF, several other festivals, and is, I believe, available for events. The costume itself...I never actually saw him walk around, but I assume he's mobile. I do know he's got that thing rigged up so that the tail swishes and swats just like the real deal. I've also come to find out that there are other 'anatomical features' that can be, uh...manipulated...but I'm not blogging about it!

I can't remember this person's name, but it was nice to see someone else with antlers. Though, I do have to admit, I'm jealous of their rack. (a wink, wink, nudge, nudge...) Antlers here was nice person, and told me that thanks to my headgear, I was now a lifelong member of the horned clan. So, I can cross that one off the bucket list.

Looking for Hobbits.
I'll go out on a limb here and say it's not often you see an Ent lumbering through a crowded street. However, Ren Fair, doesn't leaf much to the imagination, and folks feel pretty free to really branch out with their costumes. Cindi and I were pretty much rooted to the spot watching him as he walked past. We just stayed out of his way. I don't know if tree-folk are dangerous, but I'd still assume his bark is worse than his bite. I wood stick with the puns, but well, as far as how to continue, I'm stumped!

In addition to the fantastic variety of garb were the various performers playing throughout the fest. Cindi and I took a couple of seats for Sound and Fury's irreverent telling of Testicles and the Sacking of Rome. 

 There was much innuendo...
 ...In your end-o.

If you're looking for some mean finger cymbals and some hardcore mandolin skills, look no further. I joke, but the music was really enjoyable, if you're into that whole medieval vibe...which I am. The only name I can remember is Tartanic, and they were great, but I don't believe they're pictured. 

The shouting Bishop here had just performed a marriage and was yelling at people to 'make way!' for the bride and groom...whom you can see right behind him and the beefeater. This couple had ditched the traditional white dress and fancy tux for black leather and red velvet. Hey, it's your party, if it's what you want, go for it! I'd love to be a guest at a Ren wedding. I have to think it'd be a lot of fun, and who doesn't love a good offbeat hitchin'?

Food of the gods.
Ye olde potato shoppe. I'm showing you this for two reasons. Firstly, to point out that the structures at the Faire grounds are permanent. People actually live in the upper rooms during the months of the festival. Cindi and I hung out in one such dwelling after the gates closed for the night. Secondly, because that baked potato was possibly the most amazing thing I've ever eaten. My view might be tainted by the fact that it was getting on in the afternoon and I'd not had much beyond a few bottles of cider, but I'm still pretty sure that spud was touched by an angel. 

Avada Kedavra?

Like all good outdoor events, the night ended with a barrage of fireworks and much cheering and clapping from the crowd...and that was that, the patrons were ushered out and the day was at an end. TRF was a great event and I'm really hoping to go back this year, but well, I'll just have to see what next month brings...hopefully a bonus in my paycheck, some lucrative freelance, or maybe just a suitcase full of money on my front porch, because that would be fine by me. 

As far as the rest of the trip, Cindi and I spent our time browsing in bookstores, shopping in Old Town, and just kicking back at her house. Finally, after downing some Tex-Mex at the Seven Horses, it was time for me to hit the skyway and head home...

for a day...

because New Orleans was calling my name...which by the end of Ren Faire, was Frosty.


Anonymous said...

The women with the antlers who's name you can't remember is Mys Tery, she's been at the Texas Ren Fest for years.

Elizabeth Douglas said...

Thank you! I could not remember her name for the life of me! She was a lot of fun to meet!