The Nottingham Village Festival over the weekend of November 16 and 17 was a success beyond our expectations, both a financial success that bodes extremely well for the future of the festival, but also an artistic, and a performance success, and even more important, a Renaissance Festival that seeks to, and seems to be succeeding in, capturing the elusive, magical spirit of the early days of Renaissance Faires, in nearby Agoura.
(Yeah, that’s me, doing the old scrofula bit)
Yes we had a glitch or two at the opening, indeed the opening gate had to be delayed for a while, due to unavoidable circumstances, and we’re already planning on how to keep the problem and the few other mechanical difficulties from recurring in our next run. But the most important things that we are planning about that next run, is how to keep the magical spirit. Our creative staff at the Nottingham Village is an amalgam of some of the most seasoned veterans in the entire Faire Community, now mixed together with some exceptionally talented newcomers who already showing a flair for working on the streets. (Our Lovely Queen, Christina Veneroso McCann is pictured) Our Renaissance Master’s Pavilion got its first try out over the weekend and there, too, we are very encouraged with the results and the reaction that we received from our happy guests. Long story short-last weekend presented to me two of the best days of my life, and the promise of many more. Long Live Nottingham! (www.nottinghamfestival.com)
The Nottingham Festival…a project I’ve been working on now for well over a year…is coming up to its first big event, the “Nottingham Village Festival” this weekend at Tapo Community Park (Also known as Lemon Park) in Simi Valley. That’s this weekend Nov 16 and 17. This is a brand new Renaissance Festival with all the favored traditional trappings as well as some exciting new aspects that will make this a new kind of Renaissance Faire. I’ve done a fair portion of the writing for this festival, including the Morning Gate Show and the Queens Show in the afternoon, and I was proud to be part of the team that created one of the new ideas unique to this faire, the “Renaissance Master’s Pavilion” in which visitors get a chance to talk to some of the leading lights of the Renaissance…like me, as Amerigo Vespucci. I’m also the Master Mayor of Nottingham, Sir Henry Quarneby, and we have a wonderful cast of actors playing townsfolk and courtiers, and Christina Veneroso is our Queen Elizabeth the 1st. If you are in the area, I urge you to come visit the 16th century at the Nottingham Festival, it’s the most fun you can have with funny pants on. Information at http://www.nottinghamfestival.com!
I’ve got Northern California Renaissance Faire coming up and I’m working to prepare for Nottingham Faire in November, and my work currently has me quite busy. I’ve been slipping in even putting reruns up. Rather than have you all think that I’ve lost my mental abilities, I’m declaring that, after nearly three profit free years, I’m putting the Almanac on Hiatus. It’s not dead. I’m awaiting a delivery of new passion from my muse to begin work on it again, (and such a delivery got me started on this in the first place, so don’t scoff.)
YOU CAN FIND THE ALMANAC FOR TODAY IN HISTORY, JUST SLIDE OVER TO THE ARCHIVE LINKS ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE PAGE AND LOOK FOR YOUR MONTH, THEN DAY.
I’m not going to say “It’s been fun” although it has been, in spades. I’m not declaring this project finished. I’ll be back to it. To all of you who have enjoyed it, thank you, and keep an eye open. I’m sayin’ I’ll be back.
On this date in 1930, the Street and Smith production company launched its new Radio show “Detective Story Hour”, based on their pulp magazine material. This show had a gimmick..a spooky narrator character. He’d come on every night and start the show with this little welcome. “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow Knows!” It didn’t take too long for the narrator to become the star of the show, and The Shadow was quickly added to the pantheon of proto-superheroes. Realizing they had a live one, the Circulation manager hired a part-time magician by the name of Walter Gibson to start writing the adventures of The Shadow, under a pen name, Maxwell Grant, developing for both the pulp magazine audience and radio. The Shadow was described as a wealthy man about town who had traveled extensively in the mysterious east and had the ability to ‘cloud men’s minds’…the perfect superpower for a radio audience, because all it took was a little reverb, and boom, you’re invisible. The creators of the Shadow were a little wobbly on his secret Identity. Originally he was actually Pilot and War Hero Kent Allard, but in some variations he occasionally poses as Lamont Cranston, a wealthy playboy, who is sometimes a separate character, and sometimes isn’t. Doesn’t matter. He can cloud men’s minds! And every episode of the radio show ended with this stern reminder. “The Weed of Crime bears Bitter Fruit! Crime Does Not Pay!”
Album Notes: Grateful Acknowledgments to Mike Koenig, and Drum 8. “I Knew A Guy” Written and Performed by Kevin McLeod, Licensed under Creative Commons “Attribution 3.0″ http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ and used here by permission, and with appreciation and thanks. Some audio may be used under the Fair Use Doctrine
Allow me to introduce you to Isabella Marie Boyd, better known as Belle Boyd, who, on this day in 1862, was arrested for spying for the South in the Civil War. She was 18 years old. Her town of Front Royal, Virginia was occupied by Union Troops in the early going of the war, and by the time she was 17, she’d already been arrested for shooting a Union soldier in her front yard. She was exonerated by a board of review but the occupying Union troops assigned a detail of soldiers to keep a close eye on her. That turned out to be a mistake, because the teenager was an avid evesdropper, and managed to get a great deal of useful information to Confederate Generals, using her slave as a gobetween. Her father owned the local hotel, and it was not unusual for her to be around when Union Strategy was being discussed there. Stonewall Jackson had given her an honorary rank of Captain. After the arrest on this day in 1862, Belle Boyd was threatened with the noose, but the Union didn’t have the stomach to hang a cute 18 year old girl, and she was home within a month after a prisoner exchange, where she immediately resumed spying for the south. The year after the war ended, Belle Boyd moved to England to pursue a career as an actress, and immediately fell in love with, and married a former Union Army officer. When he died two years later, she returned to the US. Belle Boyd never could make a living as an actress but toured post-civil war America giving lectures about her turn as a southern spy. And speaking of the Civil War, it’s documentarian Ken Burn’s Birthday.
Album Notes: Grateful Acknowledgments to Mike Koenig, and Drum 8. Some Musical Motifs Written and Performed by Kevin McLeod, Licensed under Creative Commons “Attribution 3.0″ http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ and used here by permission, and with appreciation and thanks. Some audio may be used under the Fair Use Doctrine.
On this day in 1942, Joseph Stalin, acting as the People’s Commissar of Defense issued Order number 227…and it’s a fine example of Stalinist thinking. At this point the Soviet Union was hard pressed by German Invaders, and Order Number 227 was intended to stiffen the collective spine of the Soviet Army…and it was a pretty stiff set of orders itself. Under Order 227, Commanders were expressly forbidden to retreat from battle without specific orders, or face a tribunal. It also created what were called “Penal Battalions.” If you were a screw up or a rule breaker, you were assigned to a penal battalion…and the penal battalions were sent to the worst battles and got the worst assignments. Order 227 also created what were called “Blocking Detachments” or “Barrier Troops”…details that were assigned to the rear of battle actions who were charged with shooting their own troops if they fled or retreated without orders. Order number 227 included the phrase “Not a step back.”…which became a slogan of the antifacist resistance in world war II. It’s the birthday of Earl Tupper, the inventor of Tupperware, and of Phil Proctor of the Firesign Theatre. Happy Birthday Phil.
Album Notes: Grateful Acknowledgments to Mike Koenig, and Drum 8. “Padanaya Blokov” Written and Performed by Kevin McLeod, Licensed under Creative Commons “Attribution 3.0″ http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ and used here by permission, and with appreciation and thanks. Some audio may be used under the Fair Use Doctrine