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A Renaissance Fair(e) for the Web
May 8, 2010 8:56 PM   Subscribe

Renaissance Fair(e)s are fun(ny). All's Faire is a web comedy series about the fictional Southeastern Delaware Renaissance Faire and its actors/employees.

With 14 episodes, there are a lot of subplots and interesting characters. The weird commercial aspect of such fairs and spotty emphasis on authenticity is featured heavily. (This is a bit single-linky, but after the Mary Kate Olsen webseries FPP the other day, I thought this might appeal.)
posted by k8t (31 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Oh man, one of my college friends makes this series (and is one of the actors)--SO awesome to see it on Mefi. I also recommend their series about a band on tour, The All-for-nots.
posted by leesh at 9:19 PM on May 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've noted a trend recently of web series based around maladjusted and socially awkward misfits. Is this really the only formula that works on the web?

That said, The Guild is hilarious. This, less so.
posted by Netzapper at 9:54 PM on May 8, 2010


Too funny..and scary in its accuracy...
posted by tbonicus at 9:55 PM on May 8, 2010


This is a bit single-linky

Single. Links. Are. Fine.
posted by Cyrano at 9:57 PM on May 8, 2010 [15 favorites]


"maladjusted and socially awkward misfits"

Not everyone working at the Ren Faire was an introverted Dungeons & Dragons / Magic; the Gathering geek living in their mom's basement.
posted by tbonicus at 10:00 PM on May 8, 2010


I'm not saying real Ren Faire folks are all misfits. Most of the ones I've known were either aficionados of obsolete crafts or just theater kids, and generally pretty cool folks when not in character. I'm just noting a trend in recent, popular web shows.
posted by Netzapper at 10:06 PM on May 8, 2010


obselete craft: astrolabe craftsman
posted by tbonicus at 10:11 PM on May 8, 2010


I'd suspect that Ren Faire folks are more likely to be misfits now than 30+ years ago when the concept was novel enough to attract a wider variety of participants. Of course, it has been 30+ years since I was a misfit at one. (I stopped attending when the Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire moved out of Agoura and there's no way I could fit into my fake suede pantaloons now)
posted by oneswellfoop at 10:59 PM on May 8, 2010


I'd suspect that Ren Faire folks are more likely to be misfits now than 30+ years ago when the concept was novel enough to attract a wider variety of participants.

I can only speak to the last 20 years, but the mix hasn't really changed much.
posted by desuetude at 11:01 PM on May 8, 2010


I'm sure there are some really cool, good people who work these. Probably even the majority. But everyone I ever knew who was involved in Ren Faire's was a fucking weird, gross freak. And, coincidentally, they were all also into swinging, and said that the Ren Fair was an oozing, anything-goes fuckfest after-hours.

What bothers me is that Renaissance Fairs are really Medieval Fairs. But oh well. The best thing ever written on Renaissance Fairs probably has to be Sandman #73: Sunday Mourning.
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:18 PM on May 8, 2010


I know Ren Fairs aren't meant to be all that accurate, but I always laugh when I see a Cinnabon or Starbucks booth.

I was at the local Ren Fair just a couple of weekends ago and one of the striking images I remember was a guy in a Penny Arcade t-shirt looking thoroughly miserable. Later on I saw him with a woman who was presumably his signifcant other, dressed to the nines in period garb. Ah, geek love.

(Saxon Kane: I love that issue. Hob Gadling is probably my 2nd or 3rd favorite Sandman character.)
posted by kmz at 11:48 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


And, coincidentally, they were all also into swinging, and said that the Ren Fair was an oozing, anything-goes fuckfest after-hours.

You don't say! I'd wear chainmail for that.
posted by Netzapper at 12:25 AM on May 9, 2010


Heh.. I find it amusing, this meme of "RenFaire people" being socially inept. I did the Nothern California Renaissance Faire (when it was at Blackpoint Forrest) for about 7 years in my teens, and it was the polar opposite of what people think of it.

The parties after-hours were pure debauchery. Yeah, there were a few maladjusted LARP* types.. but mostly it was a bunch of really cool people that put up with the boring daytime show just for the amazing after hours partying and socializing. I've never been to any parties since that time that featured such a high density of fun, interesting, and/or sexy people, honestly. I lost my virginity there, sampled my first hallucinogens there (under the guidance and protection of people totally suited for the task), met lifelong friends. I also leaned Irony™. Because, you see, most people doing RenFaire don't actually take it seriously in anyway.

Deride all you want, but it's your loss.

* The LARP types that were really into historic recreation were pretty fucking cool too. They taught me how to load and fire an arquebus with military precision, fight with a real halberd, and to fence with a Shinai.)
posted by cj_ at 12:41 AM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


On preview..

And, coincidentally, they were all also into swinging, and said that the Ren Fair was an oozing, anything-goes fuckfest after-hours.

That's a bit far, and probably an exaggeration. There's a bunch of sex going on just like you'd expect from any scene where a bunch of young people are getting drunk and blowing off steam (the older people tend to go home after the show closes instead of camping out). But it's not like the whole cast cram into an Elizabethan-style tent and have an all-cast orgy. Or I didn't get memo.

What bothers me is that Renaissance Fairs are really Medieval Fairs.

This probably differs from faire to faire. The one I was involved in took Elizabethan historical accuracy pretty seriously. But you have to understand the limitations of this medium, which is that 95% of the actors are volunteers. Yeah, they probably actually pay a professional actor to play Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth I, but the rest of the cast actually pays to be there. They feature a few weeks of preparation workshops to try to at least get your accent decent, teach you a few "period" songs, and emphasize that you shouldn't be wearing your digital watch while in character. They don't have the money to hire a full crew of professional actors, so historical accuracy is not a primary concern. Mostly "having fun" is, as crazy as that sounds.
posted by cj_ at 12:56 AM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


everyone I ever knew who was involved in Ren Faire's was a fucking weird, gross freak..

Sounds like you just need to be more selective about who you 'know'.

Expounding on what cj_ said:

Stereotyping is easy to do - especially when the group being stereotyped speaks and dresses the way 'Rennies' do, are considered 'geeks' and have such eclectic interests. They are truly outcasts of 'normal' society in every sense of the word. And therein lies their strength.

The Ren Faire crowd was a mix of the most interesting, intelligent - and yes, 'sexy' - people that I met in the US. It's easy to scorn from the outside, but once you're in, you're accepted as part of a family that looks out for its members, and assistance of various kinds (both within day-to-day Faire life and otherwise) is never too far away, no matter where you are in the country.

There are also many families making a living using very rare skills while keeping arts alive that run the risk of being lost forever were it not for this group of artisans and their way of life, and children that grow up in an environment where they have the opportunity receive both a formal education and others (e.g. music, dance, acting, acrobatics) from a very early age.

The part-timers I had the privilege of working with were well-adjusted, socially outgoing, fun people with amazing skills of various kinds; glass experts, fine dining chefs, musicians, historical experts, linguists, sound engineers and stage production professionals, actors, stuntmen, animal trainers and handlers, weapons experts and MENSA members.
The full-timers were, oftentimes more than not, older, well-travelled, well-to-do individuals with families and unique skill sets that kept them self-employed well past retirement age.

The Faire I was involved in was quite serious about historical accuracy, and the costume nazis (bless 'em) went so far as to reprimand if the colours one was wearing were reserved for members of 'royalty' and should not be worn by 'peasantry'.
The behind-the-scenes management skills involved in smoothly and safely operating some of the larger Faires without destroying the atmosphere for the patrons also deserves some credit, because it is, indeed, a pain in the ass. (You try handling elephants, horses and swords when there's kids running around.)

As for sexual debauchery, it wasn't any greater than with the group of actors involved in any play, movie or Cirque de Soleil production (i.e. a group of like-minded people that work closely together for a period of time in a fringe group) except that these people live and travel together much more frequently and relationships have the opportunity to become more complicated.

And anyone who is interested in going out for a few beers and enjoying themselves while listening to some great music should be jealous if they haven't had the opportunity to stick around after hours and spend time with a group of interesting, talented people who haven't seen each other for a year and who will maybe only see each other for a month or two...or gone out for a night on the town with them in full Faire garb.

Near unimaginable amounts of fun.

Good day, sir. And fare thee well.
posted by tbonicus at 3:01 AM on May 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: an oozing, anything-goes fuckfest after-hours

this is why we had to hire a mod for the midnight shift!
posted by HuronBob at 3:25 AM on May 9, 2010


I dated a girl once who grew up in the RennFaire community. She was so magnificently fucked up (and, I'm sorry, told me jaw-dropping after-hours stories that were *not* okay) in such a variety of stunning ways, I'm afraid it's kind of ruined Faire for me forever.

Glad to see there's a very good side to them, too. Perhaps I'll come around to 'em one of these days :)
posted by kalimac at 4:06 AM on May 9, 2010


Everything has its good and bad side:

I met a home-schooled child of a pastor and a university professor who was also magnificently fucked up for a variety of reason that were rooted in the environment of his upbringing.

I don't see the problem being specific to RennFaires or pastor/university households however.
posted by tbonicus at 4:39 AM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


And, coincidentally, they were all also into swinging, and said that the Ren Fair was an oozing, anything-goes fuckfest after-hours.

Yeah, I was going to say, the only people in my life I've known that were into polyamory were also renn faire/sca types.
posted by empath at 7:20 AM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know a lot of people who were introduced to kink and/or poly via Ren Faires!

But, what with the internet and all, it's by no means most of the people I know.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:35 AM on May 9, 2010


For some strange reason, I thought that this read "Renaissance Science Fair" and was strongly disappointed at not having presentations on "Our Flat World", "Thar be dragons", and "Rats thine other white meat" by peole who were dorky by even renaissance fair standards...
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:42 AM on May 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I will attest to RenFaires being absolutely hotbeds of out swinger/poly folks. (A subset of which are often oddly politically conservative as well.)

If you're only looking for gross people, I guess you can find a lot of them? I mean, there's a lot of opportunities to be all sneering and mean-LOL if you want.

I dunno, I'm busy paying attention to the whipsmart, very funny, very accomplished people I've met there.

(Protip: I also ignore the opportunity to be randomly mean to people in unfortunately unflattering clothing with high levels of personal drama when walking down any given city street. It doesn't seem that hard to me.)
posted by desuetude at 2:46 PM on May 9, 2010


I witnessed more swinging, kink and polyamory in the Midwest rave scene than I did at the Ren Faire.
posted by tbonicus at 9:14 PM on May 9, 2010


I forgot that metafilter doesn't like poly, my bad.
posted by cj_ at 12:29 AM on May 10, 2010


metafilter loves poly!

ok, like 30% of metafilter seems to be secretly polyamorous. so it kinda loves poly.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:42 AM on May 10, 2010


Yeah, except the subject comes up constantly and tends to involve such adjectives as: creepy, skeezy, disturbing, not ok, weird, gross, freak.

I get it.
posted by cj_ at 1:52 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ok well I generally agree with you and if you ever want to talk about it with me mefimail me. I'm reluctant to have this discussion in this thread for various reasons.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:08 AM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


There are individuals on MetaFilter who post comments that include all sorts of adjectives. MetaFilter itself is not a thinking, feeling organism.
posted by ODiV at 2:26 PM on May 10, 2010


Yeah, except the subject comes up constantly and tends to involve such adjectives as: creepy, skeezy, disturbing, not ok, weird, gross, freak.

I get it.


I bet a lot of those 'misfit' types have tattoos and piercings too, the MONSTERS.

Honestly, for MeFi being such a hub of interesting, intelligent, niche discussion, most sub-cultures tend to get shat upon pretty quick when discussed. I mean, christ, show a little open minded empathy - it's not like we're talking about furries here, people..
posted by FatherDagon at 8:14 PM on May 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


internet fraud detective squad, station number 9: I will take you up on that next time this comes up and gets me pissed off instead of whining about it on the site. :P

Honestly, for MeFi being such a hub of interesting, intelligent, niche discussion, most sub-cultures tend to get shat upon pretty quick when discussed.

Yeah, no doubt. The older and more cynical I get, the more I think there isn't really any such thing as tolerance. Just those who have different sets of people they accept without question and sets of people they gleefully treat like shit. One group may have decided they hate blacks while another hates people who like top 40 music and wear khakis, but it's the same bullshit to me.

I don't know I'm any better on the inside, but I am at least aware of it and try not to hate on a whole group of people in my public scribblings. Maybe I fail sometimes, I don't know, but I like to think I try not to be an asshole.
posted by cj_ at 2:41 AM on May 15, 2010


Wandering back to the OP: My husband was in the TRF (Texas) cast for a couple of years and he thinks this is awesome. We haven't checked it out on a while--we found it when we got our Roku, which has it on one of the free channels--so thanks for reminding us to look it back up.

(And I like most of the faire folks I've met, who are no more/less dysfunctional than the mundanes I know.)
posted by immlass at 5:58 AM on May 15, 2010


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