Musings On The Renaissance Festival: Boleyn for Dollars Anyone? ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Musings On The Renaissance Festival: Boleyn for Dollars Anyone?

No doubt that it is the small scale of everything and the absence of "alienation" that makes it so appealing. Same with Disney World's Magic Kingdom and the Enchanted Forest you older folks might remember. We fantasize for a more "real" sense of place that somehow The Renaissance Festival affords us, or we think it does that.

The Festival:
Is surrounded and enveloped by trees and nature
Has no roads
Has no cars
Has lots of music--live and not recorded
Has artisans and craftspersons selling directly to us
Lovely clothing and accessories, handmade from real objects
Has buildings constructed of wood and at a small, human scale
Has a wise and benevolent King and Queen who graciously meet their subjects
Has beer...lots of brands and at fairly good prices
Has no roads
Has no cars
Fun for people of all ages allowing interaction and communication
Has ladies who wear bodices that push their cleavage up...and out..ahh la la
Has men who wear silk and tights and pointy shoes..ooh la la
Has no electronic games or tv screens--only "real "things

Now of course, what they are trying to show us is something along the lines of what current day marketers imagine that a market or festival day might possibly have been like in an English town, perhaps in the 13th or 14th century as England was a rising world power (Even though the king appears to be Henry the Eighth and he of course came later...but let's not lose our head about it....). Everything is happening all at once and there is a never ending stream of entertainment and merriment--fun for the whole family. I loved it. So did the whole family.

But it really underscored many things, many elements that we all really seem to like, if not to crave in urban or small-town life. We want trees. We want artists, artisans, musicians and entertainers playing real music and selling real things--all for real people. There are no celebrities and thankfully only a few snippets of corporate culture that manage to invade the peaceful atmosphere of the old days (Lady Visa and Master Card, for example). We want to walk and stroll and people-watch. We want to do this without the noise and dangers from cars whether they are moving, stopped in traffic or just parked. We want people who are participants and observers and people who we can observe, as people watching,which if quantified, would probably rank as the number one industry or meta-industry in the world.

Of course, a thousand cars all parked outside the gates in an open field. We could not escape the circus of pasty-faced, obese people wearing obnoxious tee-shirts, talking on cellphones (Oh, I can't talk now--I'm in the middle of a sword fight..Sorry, Can't send e-mail, I'm wearing chain mail)while gnawing on steak on a stake.

It got me to thinking. What we really need NOW is a renaissance in our urban life and culture, something that might make every day in our towns and cities more like what we seem to like about our visits on those idyllic fall weekends to something we call today "The Renaissance Festival"
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