Tuesday, September 7, 2010

shambles p.i.: the renaissance edition

When I think of the Renaissance, I tend to think of great literature, art and scientific innovations. After all, the word in French translates to "rebirth," and indeed, the Renaissance was a reawakening of sorts after the Dark Ages, a time in which religion ruled over reason. (Glenn Beck would've loved it!) So, when I decided to venture to the Maryland Renaissance Festival this weekend, I was expecting to encounter the words of Shakespeare, the art of Michelangelo and the genius of Galileo. What I got, however, was this pudgy guy in a gimp suit:

"Bringest forth thy lamed, leathered one!"

I mean, what?! Really? Nevermind the total non-sequitor to the period, think about the chafing! It was a balmy, sweaty day that Sunday in Crownesville. Seriously, Someone sprinkle this man in Gold Bond immediately...

But I confess, I did not arrive blindly. After informing people the day before of my plan to check out the Festival, I was warned: "Just beware that the Renaissance Festival is one big excuse for people to leave their houses looking like rapists and child molesters."

Indeed, nothing screams cultural rebirth (or rapist/molester) more than a bearded man in leather short-shorts. I assure you I'm joking, however. The only thing this man was blowing was glass. HA! I ZINGETH THEE! To be more precise, he was blowing glass turd swirls.

Just joking again! They're actually cats that just look like turd swirls.

But really, let's get back to the issue in question here: Are people simply ignorant to what the Renaissance period entails or is this Festival simply misnamed?

I'm guessing it's probably a mix of both. There were a few people dressed up in proper period garments (mostly those who worked there), but most of the Festival's attendees who dressed up (or are these their normal clothes?) missed the mark entirely. I can't tell you how many pirates, furries and random men in silk pajamas I saw. At the same time, I can't think of one booth or show at the Festival that exalted the discoveries of the Renaissance. Whereas I wanted to see Copernicus and a telescope, I got Sir-Munch-A-Lot and a churro. Really, the only semi-authentic attractions were the joust (no description needed), the games tent, where some pimply kid with a fake accent will teach you how to play "The Royal Game of Goose," a kind of Chutes & Ladders for adults, and a battle-axe throwing station.

I wore my lumberjack garment specifically for this event.

And despite the near-total authenticity of the above (the Medicis loved flannel), I think calling this event a Renaissance Festival is a stretch. Really, it was more like a Magic the Gathering convention.

Alas, while I may have wanted more velvet hats, pantaloons and feathers, more sonnets, telescopes and frescoes, I still managed to have a good time, that is until all the patchouli-scented hippie pirate goth fairy dust started to make me feel nauseous. Or maybe that was due to the gigantic smoked turkey legs some old man in a dracula cape was selling out of a cooler.

What's more Renaissance than ye olde food poisoning? Nothing!

Summary: If you're craving E.Coli and lots of loosely corseted old-lady boob in your face, don't miss the Maryland Renaissance Festival in Crownsville, Md., running from now until October 24.


Patty Duke said...

Thanks for the heads up. I won't waist my time.

Tanky said...

First you had a problem with the fashion statements at the Beck Festival and now the same for the Renaissance Festival. The next thing you will claim is that both festivals were attended by the same people...:)

Love-Ah said...

Can you bring M@ on as a regular guest blogger? Please?

Debbi said...

Went to it once years ago.


Marissa said...


Actually, because it was such a sh*tshow was why it was a good time. Except for the food poisoning. That sucked.


It's a possibility, but I doubt it. I give the gimp more credit than that...


There's no room for guests in this e-house.


Was it the food poisoning?

Debbi said...

Seemed more like a "Dark Ages meets a Star Trek convention" festival than one about the Renaissance.

Guess I was looking a bit too hard for Galileo.

Reading about it here is way more fun, actually.

Daniel said...

You know, you make an excellent point about the horribly-incorrect name of said festival. I feel like it's never really been addressed before. I mean, it's really a pre-Renaissance festival, isn't it? A medieval festival, if you will? Why the hell IS is called a "Renaissance" festival!?