by Dave Schwartz firstname.lastname@example.org
The Renaissance Pleasure Faire (http://www.renfair.com/sca/index.htm) has once again made its way to Southern California. Good ladies and kind sirs, the age of chivalry has returned!
This is one of my favorite times of the year and the Faire has much to do with it. For me it's a time to renew old friendships and make new acquaintances. For the uninitiated, the Faire is a place where people come to exercise their imagination. An abandonment of your daily cares and an adventure back some 500 years to a time when political correctness might get you run through. In short, it's 21st century proof that an armed society is a polite society!
On a given afternoon there are many wondrous sights to behold (and not all of them are wenches with their bosoms hoisted toward the sky)! Whether your interests lie in a leisurely stroll in the sun sipping mead or to actually relive the era by dressing the part (rental costumes are available) you will find your day filled and yourself entertained.
There has been a subtle change in location this year. Well, actually the Faire has moved only a couple of hundred yards, which thankfully has allowed for parking to remain the same. For the casual patron, this somewhat minor change will hardly be noticeable. But for regular faire-goers, the change has been significant. Gone is the romance of the kissing bridge and the peril of the groping bridge. Gone is access to the island of Avalon, an area designated last year by management as NC-17 to facilitate some of the more adult orientated stage productions. Avalon was also the best source of shade and a place to sit and chat with friends. These areas lent much of the charm to the faire. Many of the more colorful characters could be found at Avalon enjoying relief from the often relentless sun or taking in Sound and Fury's (www.soundandfury.org) production of "TESTACLESE: And Ye Sack Of ROME."
Avalon may be gone but the show must go on! Sound and Fury has returned to perform this year, unfortunately to a location that is far less inviting. Other recommended booths and attractions include The Tower of London, Maspien Armours, The Feast and of course Lady Brenda, Egyptian Mystic and Psychic Reader.
The Tower of London (currently building it's web page) has been a part of the Pleasure Faire for years. Operated by Mary and Jerry, They can provide much of your leather needs. From corsets to floggers, belts and restraints of various sizes, the Tower is the place for both the medieval and the playful at heart and a favorite stop for the ladies. If you come to the faire seeking adventure, then this is the shop for you.
If you are interested in leather armor, Maspien Armours (www.maspien.com) is a must stop. Looking for high quality Bracers, Spaulders, Gauntlets or Greaves & Cod Piece? Got a clue to what I am even talking about? This shop offers some of the most unusual clawed bracers that I have ever seen. They are remarkable in appearance and functionality. If you're looking for medieval leather armor, I can't imagine needing to go anywhere else. Maspien offers the highest quality but isn't cheap. But then the best never is.
Lady Brenda, Egyptian Mystic and Psychic Reader, (www.ladybrenda.bizland.com/renance.htm) specializes in Tarot, Crystal Ball, Palmistry or Egyptian Cartouche reading. Lady Brenda Matarazzo Ph.D. is a Druid High Priestess and founder of the GROVE OF THE GREEN COBRA TEMPLE OF WICCA AND DRUIDISM. She is a practicing witch and druid for over 20 years and her work has included teaching seminars, lectures, and classes in Witchcraft, Druidism and Egyptian Magik. Lady Brenda has also appeared on radio and national television revealing the truth behind the old religions of Witchcraft and Druidism, and she believes that through the attainment of knowledge the seeds of truth shall grow.
The Feast is one of your better values for lunch. For $12.50 you get a full meal and entertainment including song and dance. Make reservations early because it does sell out. But a word of caution. Be very careful where you leave your tip. Many a lady felt secure in placing her money safely in her bosom only to find that the servers are more than willing to retrieve the gratuity in return for their efforts. They call their little game "Hounds and Hares," I call it a terrific little scheme for a few moments of unbridled pleasure.
Last year's visitors included the Dark Angel, a gentleman from Chicago who came to celebrate the renaissance with us. His costume was based more in the fantasy realm, but remarkable none-the-less. He spent much of his visit handing out dozens of roses and taking photos with admiring women. (There are worse ways to spend your weekend) As I said earlier, the Faire is a place to exercise your imagination. Three or four years back it wasn't uncommon to find "Jimi Hendrix" hanging out at the May Pole. There have also been visitors from the realm of Star Trek. Now I know Jimi does not necessarily fit easily into the renaissance period and I would only suggest that the Star Trek visitors were doing some time traveling. Nonetheless, it's all a part of the day's adventure.
And then we have the Troll. There is little that I can say here other than "seeing is believing"! The Troll is one of the more remarkable and entertaining characters at the Faire. Some days he is up in the trees, hanging from his web of ropes, while others you will find him sitting under them accompanying several of the wandering musicians on bass.
There are so few places where you can so completely suspend reality. This is one of them. An opportunity to exercise your creativity or to allow someone else to exercise theirs upon you. Turkey legs, seemingly endless beers, ales or meads and buxom wenches are plentiful. Jousting, shopping and "men in skirts" are the rule of the day. The only thing that you will find a distinct lack of is dollars. Yes, the Pleasure Faire can be expensive. Bring $100 or bring $1000, you will spend every dime of it and have fun doing so.
Recommendations for the first time visitor? A few. SUN BLOCK, SPF 30 or better is required for all exposed areas. If you're planning to rent or purchase a wench outfit, there will be plenty of exposed areas to be concerned with. Drink plenty of fluids. It gets hot at the Faire, often triple digit hot. And finally, relax. This is different world than the one you left in the car. Enjoy it completely.
Recommendations for the owners (the Faire is now rumored to be partly owned by Disney). Shade and a God Damn place to sit down would be nice! Do you have no sense man? Take away our bridges; take away the island. What in the hell were you thinking? Oh, sorry. didn't mean to get off on a rant here. I was just repeating something that I overheard EVERYONE saying. Didn't mean any offense by it. Especially to Lord Mouse. (Damn big eared rodent!) I've always like the mouse, really.
The Faire opened May 6th and will continue on through June 25th. I highly recommend that you don't let another season pass you by.