Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Alive and well....

Hey folks!

I am SOOOOO sorry that I've not updated this journal for such a long time. I really have no excuse. It just seem that the Arizona Festival has been flying by.

The first two weekends of the festival this year (which now seems like ancient history) really caught all of us off guard. Bam! We open - then Bam! Two Student Days (Tuesday and Thursday - around 30,000 kids) and then Bam! A three day weekend, a "few days" to recover (in Rennie world this is barely enough time) and then, Bam! The third weekend. On top of this we had been getting The Lost Princess ready for distribution - which took away real and creative time from us. But really, I guess, no excuses. SO PLEASE forgive me.

Actually the fair here has been going great. Lots of people and lots of fun. There is a different magic here in Arizona than in some of the other faires. I'm not certain that I can put my finger on it - maybe its that the folks who visit here from around the country are SO relieved to be in nice weather that they are more joyful, or maybe it's that we get to see old friends and fans here from festivals we are no longer involved with (Michigan, TRF, BARF, Boston, KC, Colorado) and there is a magic in the sense of "reunion", or perhaps its that so many people from around the country have ended up in the Valley of The Sun that its like a constant family gathering celebrating a very personal holiday. Anyway, there is a magic here. Also, I really love this part of the country and get to visit my family (Dad, Brother, Nephew and his wife and kids - love those children, so good for our souls) And, the family visits - which only happen during this festival (I want to change that) - have a tendency to delightfully distract me.

The weather has been pretty good, only one real "rainy" day - which was President's Day - and even then it was mostly pleasant. The sixth weekend was probably the most brutal - with temps topping 100 in the desert near Apache Junction. Thankfully last weekend was brilliant and fairly cool. I also love this fair because we get to work with Esmeralda (who actually has a life of her own). We won't see her during Scarborough - but will (I think) see her for the rest of the festivals. AND we perform the "Queen of Spain" Show here. As wacky and "problematical" as that show can be - it, in my opinion, has the capability of being our funniest show, and our most edgy. I find it a bunch of work and a great joy to perform. I hope we figure out a way to do it at Scarborough.

Another great aspect of this festival is the strong sense of community. I live (stay) near good friends - the Nuns, the Hanlon Lees, Scratch, Clan Tinker, Thomsellectomy, Cast in Bronze....Etc. Just last week we organized a R.E.S.C.U. event and raised some good money for the community. For those of you who don't know about R.E.S.C.U., it is a charity organization (real and legal) which is dedicated to helping those in our Renaissance community in medical need. The nature of our work, and being mostly "self-employed" means that many Rennies are under, or non insured. R.E.S.C.U. was created in a time of great (tragic) personal need, and continues to honour those in our community who have "gone ahead". As of now it is the community trying to support itself. I know that many PATRONS are, really, part of this community, hell, they make faires possible, and would love to help. Now we just need to figure how to get the word out to them.


Well, Blind Dog has finished and released harpist Martha Gay's (from Cantiga) first solo/duet CD HEARTSTRINGS. She performs duets with cellist Max Dyer. He is also of Cantiga and performs with the Houston Opera and Ballet Symphonies. It is really quite lovely. You can support Martha and Blind Dog by purchasing one.

THE LOST PRINCESS has been picked up for distribution by Echelon Studios. We are thrilled about this - it is every independent filmmakers dream to get distribution! Not too shabby for Rennies, eh?

MOVIE THREE (with no name) is in post. Duncan has been putting in long hours editing and is sculpting what will be our best work yet. We are trying to come up with titles: Originally it was "Bernard the Bad Guy - the Hump of Destiny", but some people have reacted fairly negatively to that. As of now the working title is: "The Adventures of Don Juan and Miguel". (I call it "Bernard") Hopefully we'll have a premier sometime in August (but don't hold your breath).

FILM FESTIVAL: Our good friend Michael Stackpole, the New York Times best selling fantasy and science fiction author, is in charge of features at a new Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Festival and has informed us that he would love to screen one of our films there. This event will be in Tempe in October and is in association with the Phoenix Film Festival. We are excited about this - who knows, perhaps "Bernard" will be ready by then? We'll keep you updated with details as we learn them.

We are going to create a new Don Juan and Miguel DVD - this will be a mixture of show and documentary. Our cinematographer for "Bernard" - Dr. Jules is coming to Scarborough to follow us around for a couple of weeks and so we will be presenting a visual insight into our world (and perhaps community) - at the same time Blind Dog is going to produce a show DVD for Hey Nunnie Nunnie (our great friends). Dr. Jules, who has a great eye and sensibility, will also shoot them while he is Scarborough. I will post the exact dates and show times - this way we might be able to pack our prospective audiences and have a really wild audience. We're also planning on including the Nuns new song - Chastity Bell - which was written for our new film - as an extra on the DVD. Should be fun.

I am also involved in helping Frank Della Penna of Cast in Bronze get his new musical off its feet. We are planning on a "staged reading" during the run of Scarborough. We'll (hopefully) be inviting fans and patrons and will be looking forward to your feedback and your delight! Frank is a truly creative man, and the story is sweet. I am certain he has a success on his hands.

So that's it. One weekend left. I'm sitting in my Dad's kitchen and planning my packing. One final weekend here at the Arizona Renaissance Festival (Queen of Spain at 3:00 PM - Palace Theater) and then five days to get to Scarborough, set up and start the faire (our 22nd year). Happy Easter. Actually, I love Easter at Scarborough, I love the mass at our stage - the Crown Stage.

Hey, I hope I've given you enough info, I am alive, and you can thank Countess Mary for gently prodding me (not THAT way!) into getting this done. I wish you all well - and remember, beauty is everywhere.

Live well, Do good (who said that?)(Bodge did)

Doug K.