2009 - My how time flies!
After noticing that my last post was from October 2008 and some gentle prodding from "Princess Esmeralda" has inspired me to once again endeavor to communicate with the world at large.
It's 2009! A new year! A new president. A time for making (and breaking) resolutions...and a time to get ready for a terrific year ahead! At this moment we are feverishly preparing for the 2009 season of the Arizona Renaissance Festival! We'll be performing weekends beginning February 7 and continuing for 8 glorious weekends - including Presidents' Day.
However, before rushing into the new season I thought I'd do a little catching up - so here goes.....
We ended the 2008 Renaissance season at the beautiful Carolina Renaissance Festival. Perhaps folks are deciding to "take a vacation" closer to home and explore distant worlds near their back yards, or people are learning what a good entertainment value a "Ren Fest" can be because despite worries of gas shortages and difficult financial times the festival was a success with more folks attending than ever before. Carolina was a lot of fun!
On our way back to Arizona we decided to visit a Renaissance fair we'd never been to before - the Louisiana Renaissance Festival. We've known Rick, one of the owners of the festival, ever since his days as a "Hawker" at the Arizona Festival. He often visits faires around the country and we ended running into him at almost all of the festival we worked last year. He kindly invited us to visit - so we did. We showed up the weekend following the closing of Carolina. Good friends were performing there - the Tortuga Twins, Paulo Garbanzo, The Washer Women, Jousters, Fool Hearty, The Pirate Shantyman and his Bonnie Lass, The Lost Boys, and more...(I know I've forgotten some folks, I hope you'll forgive me!). On our first day we decided to hang out with the court. Don Juan and Miguel were greeted warmly by her majesty Queen Elizabeth I! And we had a really great time just being around her....Elizabeth (Kimberly Stockton) is a fun queen, lovely with children, firm with her court (in a playful fashion) and truly dedicated to ensuring that everyone have a really good time! And the actress under the (gorgeous) gown is a bright, cheerful, intelligent and talented woman. Thanks for being so kind to us Kimberly! After spending most of the day with her, Don Juan and Miguel checked out the enclosed bar where the Lost Boys were rocking and the Tortuga's tickling the fancy of the bar crowd. What a fun scene! And what a cute, small, festival. It has a lovely little lake in the center - so the festival surrounds a very peaceful scene. I still hold an image of a Scot in full regalia, standing on a fog-enshrouded peninsula, piping as the Queen approached and the fog slowly lifted....lovely. We spent the next day there sans costume (as ourselves) and still had a terrific time. It's not often I get to visit a fair - and a new one. If you're ever in the area at that time of year I highly recommend stopping by and sharing in the fun. Thanks to Rick and everyone there who showed us such a nice time!
After Louisiana our paths separated - Don Juan et. al., continued onto Arizona while I stopped by the Texas Renaissance Festival, Toon Town and Nuevo Chile. I was able to attend (not as Miguel) the final weekend - which was Thanksgiving weekend. TRF is still a beautiful festival. One of the true Grand Daddies of Renaissance Festivals which has truly earned its reputation as one of the best! Thanks to Jeff Baldwin I had run of the place. What good fun. Jeff is the General Manager of the entire shebang! I remember Jeff as a street performer. As I recall he used to do a show with fellow General Manager of a Texas Renaissance Festival Coy Sevier (Scarborough) who I also ran into that weekend! Talk about old friends! I will not even try to list all the names, so many good memories. The Texas Renaissance Festival had a really great year in 2008 with well over 400,000 souls entering the gates! That's a lot of people!! On a personal note I would like to say thanks to Lewis Pillsworthy for saving Thanksgiving! Louis is half of "The Other Brothers" (when we worked with them they were called "Throw Up"). Thanks Lewis!
Also while in Texas we did get some more work done on "I Sense Danger". Kelly Stallard - a friend who I have worked with at the sterling Renaissance Festival wrote a beautiful score for "Danger" - We were able to get most of it recorded while I was there - with Jim Hancock (The Burly Minstrel) finishing up the task after I left. We were able to get some top-notch musicians to help us out - Martha Gay (Cantiga) on harp, Bob Bielefeld (Cantiga) on flute, Alex Korolov (Cantiga) on viola-gamba, Owl Morrison on viola, and Michael Huebner (Wolgemut) on drums. More about that later.....
So, after TRF I scurried home to enjoy a Holiday Season which was warm, full of family, fun and a nice quiet quality. I do believe this was true for many people this year - that the Holidays were quiet and somewhat contemplative. I loved it! Thanks for all the cards, and good wishes...I hope they are returned to all ten-fold.
"The Lost Princess" - I know that "Princess" has been available for some time now but a company called S'More Entertainment - out of California, is setting up for a new domestic release of the DVD. We've been working closely with them to try to bring something new to this version. First, we are allowing them to use some of the footage from our documentary "An Inside Look" for one of the extras, plus we've given them access to a fairly large photo gallery. Also, as something I want to do now for "I Sense Danger" - Don Juan, Esmeralda and I went to a studio and recorded a comment track to the film. It's entertaining, illuminating and humorous. I believe the release date is set for April. I'll let you all know when and where it will be available. Oh, here's a weird note. For those of you who are indeed fans of "The Lost Princess" we could use your help on IMDB.com - which is an Internet movie listing service now owned by Amazon.com. If you liked the movie - please go to the site and give "The Lost Princess" (2005) a decent rating. I must warn you that if you give it a 10, that score will probably get thrown out - so please give it a fair (but decent) rating. Thanks for the support - this can help us later.
I SENSE DANGER
I have been getting many queries about "Danger". And I thank you all for your patience regarding the release date. I and the whole Blind Dog team, are anxious to have it get into your hands. We had hoped to release it during Arizona, but, realistically think we will have to wait until Scarborough or, at the latest, Sterling. I apologize that it is taking so long - but we want this one to be as perfect as possible. We have all been putting in many, many hours in these past few months. I just went to Texas last week to help Jim Hancock (Burly Minstrel) work on assembling the final pieces of sound and beginning the final mixing process. We still have a bit of the score to record and a clean-up on one of the three musical numbers in the piece. Jose has been working with our artist friend (and genius) Steve Parke - and they are creating a great design for the packaging and poster - I know you'll all love it. Louie and Duncan have been working diligently on all the video (picture) special effects. We are nearly done and can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. As things happen I shall let you know. But for now - I promise you that "I Sense Danger" will delight all of you and be worth the wait. As of now we are planning a "Premier" in either Syracuse, Oswego, or Rochester this summer. Again, I'll let you know details when I find them out.
We'd like to take a moment to thank The folks at Renaissance Magazine for their continued support - they reviewed Blind dog projects "An Inside Look" - our documentary about ourselves on DVD and "Heartstrings" - the beautiful CD by harpist Martha Gay (Cantiga) and cellist Max Dyer (Cantiga). Also, there is a lovely article about your favorite dynamic duo in the latest edition - Issue #64 (vol 13#6 ISSUE 64). Thanks Danielle for your sweet words!
AND, FINALLY, NOW......
Well, back to the beginning on this. We are gearing up for the Arizona Faire - hope you all come out to see us.
Our year is shaping up beautifully. We'll be here in Arizona, and then back to Scarborough Fair in April and May. We will return to Sterling (huzzah!) this year for SEVEN weekends of fun. After that we'll be at Mt Hope at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Festival for yet another seven weekends. The beer is so good there! And we should be wrapping up our year at Carolina again.
Well, that's it for now. For those of you who are being really hurt by the economy are thoughts and prayers are with you. If we all pull together, we can all make this a chance for some meaningful and excellent change.
Be well. And "Godspeed".