Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Medieval Cleavage Not Pictured

     I know...I know... I've been a total slacker at this whole blogging thing lately, but in my defense, it has been a chaotic and jam-packed week for me. I started my new job which kept me busy during the day, and it was tech week for Magic Flute which took over my evenings. Both experiences were a bit stressful but rewarding.

     I've officially had my New York debut performance! How crazy is that? I really tried to cram in as many New York firsts as I possibly could into the month of September, and before I could even start to step back and savor it all, October snuck up on me!

Andy had anvil envy I think.
    Another unexpected benefit of my experience in Magic Flute occurred when I overheard the Second and Third Ladies talking about how they were going to a renaissance festival the next day. I used to love going to the ren fest in Des Moines when I was in high school, and I was surprised by how homesick and nostalgic the idea made me feel.

     So the next day, we joined the hoards of other ren fest enthusiasts on the subway and headed uptown. It was certainly a strange sight to surrounded by busty wenches in corsets, men in colorful tights, and children dressed as their favorite Disney princesses and/or brandishing wooden swords. (We even saw a little boy dressed up as Woody from Toy Story, carrying a shield, and thought to ourselves, "Why not?")

     This renaissance festival was packed! I've never seen such a varied crowd at this kind of event, and the people watching was the best part. Luckily I had Andy with me who was much more observant than I am, and without his drawing my attention to characters at the right moment, I would have missed some of the most interesting sights of the day. I'm still disappointed I never got a picture of the giant man in a viking costume who looked as if he just dressed like that everyday. He's probably pillaging upper Manhattan as I'm typing this.

      My first priority once we arrived was beer and food! I've been getting in touch with my gluttonous side this month, and it was not disappointed by the medieval refreshments. I made sure to get all the classics: Oktoberfest beer, a massive turkey leg (don't worry I shared with Andy), and kettle corn.

     We had to wait in an extensive line for the turkey leg, but it was worth it in the end. Delicious smoked turkey and a cold beer in the hot sun? The perfect pairing even when one is being jostled  by sweaty men in flashy capes and wizard beards or being shouted over by scantily clad jousting tournament groupies.

     Ren fests can be so infectiously fun. There is such a general feeling of acceptance, enthusiasm, and activity, and no matter how many fairs I attend, there is always something new to see or learn. It was interesting to get Andy's take on the various demonstrations and performances. On my own, I probably would never have stopped to watch a blacksmith at work, and getting Andy's insights on a magician's tricks was vastly more fascinating than the performance itself. I also would never have tried to use Devil Sticks without his encouragement. (I was hopeless with them, but he was too nice to admit it.) His presence gave me a fresh perspective on the renaissance festival world, and I liked it.

I knew I should have brought my kilt to NYC!
      As a performer, I admire the variety and quality of dramatic and musical events offered at the fair. They had everything from kilt-clad bagpipe bands to abridged Shakespeare (sometimes performed while balancing upon fellow players) to whimsical harp music to a ubiquitous grey haired storyteller in black. There were tons of acts we missed as well, and I still wish we had made it to the Celtic dances or could have found seats at the jousting tournament. We can only be so many places at once, however, so I'll have to learn to live with those regrets.

     All in all it was the perfect way to end my busiest week in NYC so far, relaxing and re-energizing. I'm starting to feel more settled into my new surroundings, and I want to thank all my old friends and new acquaintances that have helped make this possible. I want to thank Andy most of all for always being supportive when I am freaking out and answering all my NYC related questions. He's been the sweetest tour guide and consultant a girl could ask for, and my first month here would have been confusing and dull without him.

     Almost everyone I have met in New York has been so friendly and welcoming, especially my new co-workers. Life is starting to feel more secure, and as a result, my overall mood has brightened despite the early morning commute and sleep deprivation. I've only been living here for less than a month, but I can tell already that this city has a special place in my heart. I've grown so much in my short time here, and I hope that it foreshadows lots of positive changes to come.

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