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The Faire is Over

15 Sep

I’m going on hiatus. This season of CRF will be my last faire season.

I don’t know how long this hiatus will go on. I’ve sworn to wait the entirety of 2016 before I make any decisions, and in the meantime I am trying to focus on the here and now and get healthy.

The last fiveish years have been really difficult. At some point in late 2013 I wrote “I am burned the fuck out” in a post I never finished, and that feeling never went away; it only got worse. I began seeing a therapist after finishing Scarborough this year, and I’ve been diagnosed with depression and general anxiety disorder. I need a break from travel, stage fright, homesickness, post-show depression, worrying about money, being sick, and the physical and emotional demands of performance, the venue, and juggling two or three jobs. I’ve got a full time job that is enjoyable enough and pays well enough to keep at for the foreseeable future. mr. biscuit and I are working on getting our debt paid off, and I’m working on getting healthy.

I attended my first renaissance festival in the fall of 1992 or 1993. My friend’s family took me and my sister. The next 7 or 8 years my family went to the Georgia Renaissance Festival for a weekend every year. I loved it. I would cry when it was time to leave at the end of the day. In 2004, as a college sophomore, I auditioned for and got hired to be on the cast. It was a dream come true, and this is what I said about opening day (courtesy my livejournal):

“Ren Fest was the absolute shit, I’m tired beyond all reason, my poor breasts are sunburned, and I haven’t stopped smiling in about 3 hours.”

I spent six years on the cast of the Georgia Renaissance Festival, and for the most part they were excellent years. How many things happened there? I can’t even begin to tell you. I met mr. biscuit, and any number of my closest friends. I discovered within myself a talent and affinity for this very particular type of performance. I made a lot of people smile. And I had a shit load of fun. Leaving was one of the hardest decisions I had made up to that point, but I left to pursue other opportunities. When I told the entertainment director that I would not be returning for the coming season, I already had plans to go after the Scarborough Renaissance Festival. I got in. And after years of trying, I got into the Carolina Renaissance Festival. And I did really well. I met more dear friends, and developed a funny, tight, high-energy, educational, empowering act that can be as intimate or broad as the situation warrants. And I made money, and I had the time of my life, and I learned how to sew.

Esperanza began as a Spanish pirate who was in England trying to track down King Henry VIII in revenge for the death of her mother. She evolved into a Recruitment Officer for the Spanish Army, building an army on English soil. This is how the costume looked my first year:

Esperanza v 1

And this is how the costume looks now:

Esperanza final version

Things that have not changed: my penchant for making ridiculous faces.

In between, we had this:

Esperanza v 2

And this:

esperanza v 3

And this:

Espera

And this:

Esper

And this:

Esperanza

And somewhere along the line I wore myself out.

I don’t know where I’m going from here. My goal is to get healthy—to manage my allergies/asthma, my IBS, my increasingly difficult periods, and my anxiety and depression to a better degree than I am currently managing. I just want to have more good days than bad days. We want to get to a better financial place, to pay off our credit card and student loans so that we can take care of our aging cats and get a new car when we need to and afford to move again when our lease is up, and rebuild our retirement savings after the huge hit they’ve taken in the last few years, and maybe save to buy a place. We want to continue the progress we’ve made towards making our living space pleasant, beautiful, and well-organized(ish). I want to celebrate Halloween and Easter in a way that doesn’t mean working.

This decision was mine and mine alone. I consulted my most trusted advisors over and over again, but ultimately the only person I have to thank/blame is myself. It’s hard to walk away from something I worked to get for years. In pursuit of this dream I spent years going all over the country on my own dime to try and convince entertainment directors to hire me. I cried and struggled and swore and panicked and learned to sew, and eventually I succeeded, and then…I stopped. I know I made the right decision—when I sent the emails to my entertainment directors, I felt a huge sense of relief. But if there is one thing that art students hear over and over again, it’s “don’t give up;” it’s hard to feel like I’m not giving up.

Then again, maybe I am. Maybe I’m just not cut out for this. I love this work, but the things that go with it—travel, shitty working conditions, illness, iffy income, anxiety, homesickness—are just so hard to manage. Maybe I’m just not cut out for those things. Maybe the joy of the work—and there is so much joy in it for me, so that I sometimes feel like I’m going to explode from it—is not enough to carry me through the attendant trials and tribulations. Maybe I’ll never do this again.

Then again, maybe it is, and maybe I will.

I don’t know.

And I’m ok with that.

now leaving spain

DragonCon wrap up. FINALLY.

10 Oct

DragonCon is over.

DragonCon was over like a month+ ago? I KNOW THAT. I was busy…I don’t know, doing something, probably. Working. Watching the BBC on DVD. Getting ready for the opening of the Carolina Renaissance Festival. I AM A BUSY PERSON, DON’T JUDGE ME.

Where do I even start with this wrap up? I guess with a quick review: our costumes went SUPER well.

seal

Glad you dig it, Mr. Seal

We did almost all of our costuming on Sunday, which made for an exhausting but exhilarating day, and also meant I had an excuse to shower twice.

It was AMAZEBALLS. Allow me to show you more…

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Dragon*Con: a progress report in pictures

17 Jul

Dragon*Con work has kicked into gear here in the biscasa*. stone biscuit, mr. biscuit, the bismates**–even the biskitties** are getting in on the action, though not in quite the way we hoped (i.e. they have not learned to stitch, glue, or pin, but instead continue to uselessly insinuate themselves into the laps of sewing persons).

There are  two major projects going on in these pictures: Rococopunk and the Post-Apocalyptic Avengers. Also, a great deal of drinking. We’re hitting all of these piece-meal, except the drinking, to which we’re all strongly committed. Behold, a small sample of our recent successes!

Obviously, not all of these were made by me. I can lay no claim to the Scarlet Witch headpiece (done in a satellite office), the medals, nor the enormously well drawn pattern piece.  My pattern pieces tend to look like they were done by a four year old.

We look forward to more progress, as well as more drinking. Always more drinking.

*a combination of “biscuit” and “casa”
**”biscuit” and “housemates”
***”biscuit” and “kitties”

Fabulous Costume Movie Madness Tournament of Champions: And the winner is…

9 Apr

It’s time, finally, to announce the Grand Champion of the Fabulous Movie Madness Tournament of Champions. I know that voting in the Championship Poll has been closed for several days, and I really should have announced the winner quite some time ago. Instead, I got my transmission replaced and drove to Texas in the middle of the night! And then the Scarborough Renaissance Festival opened, a friend came to visit me, we went to see Jurassic Park (which was just as awesome as it was 20 years ago)and also I was very sleepy and had to consume a lot of quiche. So basically, my bad, and I will announce the winner right now

…first, though, allow me to say a quick word of thanks for all your votes and attention. A little over a month ago, when we began this little tournament, I had no idea it would be so much fun, or that I would swear so much while I was running it, but it was and I did, and I regret nothing. I couldn’t have done it without you.

If you’ll recall, the Championship Poll found us choosing between The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Moulin Rouge! A tough contest to be sure, but as far as I’m concerned, almost all of these matchups have been tough. There can be only one winner, and that winner is…

with 69.57% of the vote…

The Lord of the Rings

trophy

lotr award

Congratulations, y’all!

 

I think it’s appropriate that a series such enormous care and attention to detail has come out on top of a tournament I basically slapped together. Wait, that wasn’t what I meant to say! What I meant to say was, I think it’s appropriate that a series with such enormous care and attention to detail has come out on top. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I were to say that the Lord of the Rings trilogy is a cinematic masterpiece as well as the defining film event of my generation. I will never forget the first time I saw it in the theatre. I was 17. It was the last day of high school before Christmas break, and my new boyfriend, who was a big fan of the books, took me to see it for our first real date. I don’t remember much of the date, or the rest of our short relationship, but I will never forget how my heart soared the first time the camera zoomed down down down into the pits of Isengard (at this point I dropped my date’s hand and leaned forward in my chai to better absorb what I was seeing), or how it shattered into a thousand pieces as Aragorn strapped on Boromir’s gauntlets as his funeral boat glides down the Falls of Rauros. The next year, as a freshman in college, I met a group of girls who were also in love with the movie. We all gathered in my tiny dorm room to watch it on the tiny monitor of my brand new computer, and became best friends, calling ourselves the Brenau Fellowship. Eleven years later, they’re still among my best friends. The life-sized cardboard cutout of Legolas I got for my 18th birthday has been with me ever since. Watching the films with my most recent boyfriend, who was a big fan before we even met, became a ritual that deepened our affection for each other and continued after we married. To this day, when I’m in a hard place, I revisit the films or the books. The Lord of the Rings won dozens of awards, did a lot to legitimize fantasy as a movie genre, spawned a thousand copycats, made a jillion dollars, and basically changed cinematic history, but more importantly as far as I’m concerned, it changed my life.

And now, while I cry a little, pictures of the cast celebrating!

lotr hugStars of the Lord of the Rings leave Wellington, T lotr hug 3 lotr hug 2 The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Premiere

 

Fabulous Costume Movie Madness Tournament of Champions: Voting Round One

14 Mar

Erg! I’m so sorry this is a day late. I spent most of yesterday wrestling with PollDaddy and WordPress, only to discover that the issue appears to be with Chrome. From my end, polls are displaying just fine in Firefox, so if you want to vote and can’t see anything, give Firefox a shot. I can only assume this is because Google is mad at me for not switching over from Facebook.

Anyway! Assuming you can see the polls, go forth, argue for your favorites in the comments, and vote vote vote!

Warning: this post is a monster, with tons of pictures and video. Future posts will be shorter as competitors are viciously annihilated upon the field of battle.

Voting will continue through midnight on 3/15. Enjoy!

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Fabric!

16 Jan

I went fabric shopping yesterday, and damned if I’m not pretty stoked about my haul.

yippie

Joy!

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More Avengers pics!

2 Oct

As I believe I mentioned like sixty times, we had a photoshoot last Sunday with the amazing Raven Shutley. I can’t recommend her enough–she was super fun to shoot with, the turnaround was lightning-quick (we had pictures within a couple of days), and the finished product is awesome. I’ve posted these on every social media site ever, but there’s no such thing as overkill on the interwebs. Some of my favorite pics are below the cut, mostly of the costumes Chris and I did because this is, after all, my blog. My name’s on it and everything. I think I’ve made this joke before.

Hopefully some of the others involved will be doing guest posts about the construction of their costumes. There are also some changes I want to make to our getup, which I’ll probably post about later. In the meantime, pictures! Pictures everywhere! Check out our Facebook page!

And then I’m going to finish the updates on my faire costume before the Carolina Renaissance Festival opens on Saturday! Come out and see me! Find me and mention my blog  or my Facebook page and you’ll get a present*!

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