Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Day of One's Own

Today's the last day of the Renaissance Pleasure Faire so if you're going, read this later. Mornings are best. Afternoons get crowded. Though I admit, the crowds can be the best part.

I went again yesterday. You could say I like it a lot, and I'm just beginning to understand it. Many of the performers, if not most of them, are not paid. They rely on tips and the passing of the hat. They dress up and go out to Irwindale every weekend to participate in the atmosphere--to live in it--because they love to immerse themselves in another culture. It's not really the culture of the Renaissance. It's something else entirely.

What I wanted to do this time was experience it on my own terms, at my own pace. Sometimes when I'm with others, I know I'm holding them up so I don't take my time with the camera. I don't try different angles or settings, I don't watch for the right moment or search for the light or wait for the most interesting person to walk through a shot.

So yesterday I took my camera to the Faire, and no one else. The two of us had a wonderful time. There is an awful lot of smiling going on there.

As a younger woman I was much too self-conscious to do such a thing by myself, and even now I rarely get to spend a day wandering alone and taking photos. But I turned out to be pretty good company, and although I wasn't much of a conversationalist I had a wonderful time.

That and much, much dust up my nose.

20 comments:

Latino Heritage said...

As a musician it is one of the few places where the music can be enjoyed with other who understand and appreciate that time in history. The resonance of chords and and the rhythm of the lyrics make sense there. Where else can one play garklein or Bass recorder and not feel out of place?
Thanks for sharing your sense of the Renn Fair.

Bellis said...

Your camera took a beautiful photo for you. It's so romantic! Where are all the princesses that will wear these headdresses?

I've never been to the Renn Fair because I thought it would be an inaccurate, American view of British history. Such a snobby thing for an English person to think! But now i can't wait to go next year, as you're right, it's its own thing, and really enjoyable as such. The main difference is the weather. As this cold, unsunny month of Merrie May in England is proving, the real medieval faires would usually not have had the warm sunny weather you experienced. But people were hardier in those days, and didn't mind their clothes getting muddy.

There are some wonderful celebrations happening in England at the moment, for the Queen's 60th Jubilee. If only the sun would come out!

BaysideLife said...

Similarly, I was never one to go to fairs, art shows or anywhere for that matter on my own. My camera not only became my friend and companion, but my emancipator. Somehow with my camera around my neck, I'm able to walk through these venues confidently and comfortably. I see so much more because I have the time to study and decide how I want to capture the moment. I look forward to those days when I can be on my own with my camera. I hope you get more of those days with your camera.

Petrea Burchard said...

LH, I heard so much beautiful music yesterday! And I was able to stop and enjoy it as I pleased. Lovely harmonies, unusual instruments.

Bellis, you're absolutely right--it's inaccurate. Not entirely, because many of the professional players are meticulous. But anyone can play. You and I can go in costume. So the place is rife with everything from faeries to pirates to belly dancers. But you can tell the pros from the amateurs, and they are very, very good.

Bayside, I felt fine talking to people and even eating my lunch by myself. I didn't even take a book. The camera really helps!

Anonymous said...

Petrea, one of the most liberating things I ever did was to learn to enjoy my own company and to travel on my own. Or to take side jaunts on my own while staying with friends abroad. It came after my children were grown.

My first independent move was to venture out in Paris to find an electrical converter and a haircut (!). (I can say good morning, good evening and thank you in French.)

On another trip, I became so comfortable, blended in so well, that an American family came up to me in the Paris Metro and began to speak in fractured French, asking for directions. Oh, frabjous day!

A solo train trip from Paris to see the amazing Cathedral at Chartres. The only way to go.

The independence is bliss. No one urging you along, or standing on one foot or the other while you study what YOU want to see. And maybe take some terrific photos.

I've never tried the camera-around-the neck-bit. Sounds terrific!

Happy Sunday to all...
Betsy

Pasadena Adjacent said...

So this takes place at the Santa Fe dam? around the water... I went to the faire when it was in Topanga. I have a few friends who were heavily immersed in the dragon and dungeons crap who lived for this faire. All smithies from CSLB.

Book Dragon said...

My husband and I went yesterday and had a great time. We left about 2 p.m. and there was still a line of cars coming in.

And you're right about the nose being a target for the dust

Thank you!!!!

Petrea Burchard said...

Betsy, John and I actually travel well together and I had a lot of fun with him in Paris. But we did take a day and do our own thing, and we both loved that, too.

PA, that's the place. You reinforce what I discovered: there is very little crap to buy there. Plenty of stuff to buy, but it's all finely crafted goods. I bought a beautiful leather book and a fine leather box.

BD, wish I'd known you were there, I'd have looked for you! I also left early, about 3:15. Still more cars coming in.

Petrea Burchard said...

I should be honest about the food. The food is okay, small portions, expensive. And they don't allow outside food. But I love the mead!

Anonymous said...

Petrea, your mention of the lovely handcrafted items reminded me that I had gone to a Renaissance Faire many years ago. Bought a lovely hand mirror made of smoothly polished unusual wood. A gorgeous piece that has been as fun to hold as it has been to use and look at. A piece of art.

You mention that you and John travel well together. You are blessed.

Betsy

Deb said...

Glad to hear you had such an enjoyable 'day of one's own' They are a rare luxury in these busy times. Looks like you took some great photos too, really like this one (and ribbons are so not my thing!)

Kelly said...

It sounds like you had a lovely day!

Petrea Burchard said...

Indeed we are blessed, Betsy. We enjoy being together just about everywhere. Except Faire. It is not his milieu! It's okay. He went to visit a prison in Paris. I skipped that.

Thanks, Deb. Nope, I don't wear ribbons well. But I thought they looked pretty in the sun.

Kelly, indeed I did!

Katie said...

Delightful photo! Cool that you went back on your own to go at your own pace. It's definitely liberating to be somewhere alone take photos the way you want to. It's great to share experiences with people you enjoy being with, but having time by yourself is also worth pursuing. Glad you enjoyed your company!

Speedway said...

Years ago, when I was with another man, I saw an opportunity for a beautiful photo. My friend said we didn't have enough time to return to the spot - we had hours - and I still sometimes think about that missed photo. Of course, he didn't last.

I guess I've been looking for someone ever since who'd take those rambling journeys with me but, with one exception, have found it's a trip I'll make alone. I get out and walk for 2-8 hours at a time, ID and cash in one pocket, little camera in the other. I've met a lot of nice people, but finding someone who can tolerate frequent starts and stops, standing quietly to wait for a shadow to fall the way I want, taking shots of the most inane, everyday things ... it'd probably be frustrating to anyone but myself. And I've found I actually enjoy it.

That said, there are some places I want to explore, but feel I definitely need "back-up."

Ms M said...

Love your photo of these "rainbow ribbons". And so glad the two of you had a good time :-)
I really enjoy going out alone with my camera to take the time and space I need to take the photos I "see". I hope you continue going on a "camera date" every so often.

Petrea Burchard said...

Katie, I got the best of two worlds by going twice!

I hear that, Speedway. I miss some shots I want for all kinds of reasons. I'm fortunate: John and I enjoy taking photo safaris together when we find an interesting place to explore. A few hours shooting, then lunch.

I know the feeling, Ms. M. I'm glad you get to enjoy it, too.

F. Z. Harper said...

I have so many mixed feelings about the faire. I quit working at Ren. Faires when other venues were more than willing to pay me from $300 to $500 for a few hours work on a Sat. or Sunday and the Ren. Faire was paying me nothing, or if I worked for someone in a booth I might get minimum wage & a tiny commission. I could go as a tourist, but then I don't really feel like a participant, but more like an outsider. I will go if friend's drag me there, but then, like you said, I want to dally and take photos and they want to race on to the next shopping area. Being a performer I want to sit through all the shows and don't want to leap up halfway through because someone needs a turkey leg or a bathroom run.
It is however one of the best people watching places in the world. It's a culture onto itself.

Petrea Burchard said...

Hello, F.Z. Harper, thanks for your comment.
Yes, I'm a performer too, and I understand what you mean. Being a member of three performers' unions, I don't think I could bring myself to do it. Yet I know these folks do it for the love, and I get that, too.
By the way, you are prolific! I've never seen anyone with so many blogs! I nosed through a couple but I'm not finished. Nice to meet you.

Susan Campisi said...

You and your camera make a wonderful pair. The Faire sounds interesting and fun. One of these years I'll check it out.