I stumbled across this article today about gender roles and how as a culture, we’ve made great strides (though we still have a long way to go) in making it socially acceptable for a woman to wear pants and play with power tools, or be a surgeon, or run a company, but if a man does ballet, or wears pink, or likes flower gardening, then he’s obviously gay. As the author asks, “why is it alright for girls to break out of gender roles and embrace their love of tools or cars or spaceships, but when a boy wants to dress up like Princess Jasmine people are uncomfortable?”
It got me thinking about men and boys in the faerie culture. One of the things I love about the “modern” faerie festival is that it’s very gender-neutral. Sure, there are plenty of pastel princesses with shimmery wings and pretty curls, but there are also male faeries and sprites and goblins and elves and greenmen. It’s more about the connection with nature and the other worlds that touch ours than a specific gender role. The gentleman in the photo above, for example, is someone I’ve seen at just about every local faerie and renaissance festival, though I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never actually chatted with him (I did stumble across his website, though – he and his wife are the proprietors/creators of Mythical Masks and Miscellaneous Oddments, and he frequently posts some interesting articles and musings on his blog) – he always looks wonderful in natural, woodsy outfits.
Like Kat mentioned, this was the first year for RenCon. And, admittedly, we didn’t do a very good job preparing for it — both of us worked a full day at the dayjob, didn’t get there until the evening, didn’t have much of a plan, and were just kind of going with the flow. I had this sort of self-delusion that I would liveblog the event or something, but that just didn’t work out: I don’t think anyone’s going to read about my dinner, or my pleasure with the Guinness I had in the evening.
That being said, an event like RenCon is very much what you make of it. We went with one other friend and without much of a plan; we didn’t put much into it, and so we only have ourselves to blame for not getting much out of it.
All else being equal, though, RenCon definitely felt like a new, fledgling convention. It’s obviously FaerieCon’s “little brother,” and had a lot of the same faces, people, and general setup as its more established sibling.
There were fewer vendors than FaerieCon, but the band quality was equally high. I think both RenCon and FaerieCon will be known for the awesome music. This year, they’d set up tables at the back of the ballroom. On one hand, I bet that was appreciated by people looking for somewhere to sit. On the other hand, the tables became an obstacle to getting involved with the party.
I think RenCon will grow to be as awesome as FaerieCon, but I do hope it’s better attended next year. I’m sure Kat and I will be posting some more specifics over the next few weeks, but the general gist is this: it was awesome, but go to RenCon with a plan. And, hopefully, it’ll be bigger next year.
Ever since it was announced in 2005 that the Jim Henson company was making a sequel to the Dark Crystal, fans like myself have been eagerly awaiting further news. It was mentioned again in the Jim Henson podcast in 2007, and then again in the Power of the Dark Crystal blog in February of 2009. That most recent post even included a short YouTube video which is a slideshow of fantastic images, presumably pre-production concept sketches and such. I must say, they look absolutely gorgeous.
According to it’s IMDB page, The Power of the Dark Crystal is set hundreds of years after the first movie, and “follows a mysterious girl made of fire who steals a shard of the crystal in hopes of reigniting the dying sun.”
“But Kat!” you protest. “Why are you telling us this now? It’s old news, and we’re frankly pretty sick of hearing news about awesome movies that never actually happen!”
Well… I’m telling you this now because there has been another tiny snippet of news on the subject! Josh Winning at TotalFilm.com says, “According to artists/designers Brian and Wendy Froud, though, the project is alive and well, albeit taking its time to come to fruition.” The Frouds, responsible for an entire genre of fabulously fantastic fairies, gnomes, sprites, and goblins, have been involved in the creation of the sequel, which will be true to the spirit of the original. “The backgrounds will be CGI, but the main characters will be puppets,” [Wendy Froud] said. “They decided that was really the only way they wanted to do it to keep the integrity.”
The Power of the Dark Crystal is currently slated for release sometime in 2011. We shall wait with baited breath!
And what better way to welcome everyone back to the Daily Faerie than with reports of a new movie in the works about everyone’s favorite Evil Fairy Godmother? According to several sources, Angelina Jolie is interested in playing the title role in the upcoming live action version of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, called Maleficent. In this writer’s opinion, if anyone can pull it off, she could. She has the angular face, the statuesque frame, and that slightly devious glint in her eyes.
Tim Burton is rumored to be directing, as well – it’s even listed as “In Production” on his IMDB profile. Whether this is a good thing or not will probably depend on your opinion of Tim Burton. Personally, I’ve been somewhat disappointed with his works of late. It seems like he’s become simply a parody of himself, and it takes less than ten seconds of viewing a Tim Burton film before one can tell beyond a shadow of a doubt “Oh, this is a Tim Burton film.” To have a signature style isn’t a bad thing. To be unable to branch beyond it is. I’ll admit, I haven’t seen his version of Alice in Wonderland yet, but from what I’ve seen of the reviews, it follows true to his recent form – a lush, beautiful, but ultimately disappointing vehicle for his bizarre vision.
Nevertheless, I’ll be looking forward to seeing how the rumors pan out, and whether this results in a resurgence of the huge pointy headpiece in bad faerie fashion!
Last night, Kat and I were cruising home from dinner. Being somewhat a coffee fan, we took a swing by the local Starbucks on the way home. It’s one of those drive-through Starbucks, so we were hanging out in line with my window down. As we sat there, we heard a loud, repeated sound. At first, Kat thought maybe it was a bird. But we quickly realized that it was the kind of sound a cat makes when its in a lot of distress.
Kat immediately hopped out of the car and when in search of the cat. I grabbed our drinks, pulled the car around, and joined her in the search. As we both started pinpointing the sound, there was absolutely no doubt. This was a kitten, and it was plainly unhappy.
Now, in case you don’t have cats, there’s a few things here that are important to know. First, an experienced cat owner is absolutely able to tell the difference between “angry kitty,” “plaintive kitty,” and “unhappy kitty” meows. I’ve had some new pet owners tell me it sounds the same. Well, it takes a while, but I promise: in time, you can tell the difference. Second, cats who don’t want to be found are not going to be found. (Every cat owner tends to have a story about how they were completely panicked all day that their cat had fled off the reservation — only to have the thing lazily disentangle itself from the laundry basked that you checked ten times when dinner time comes around.)
But we were lucky. This kitty seemed to want to be found. It was mewling steady and without fail. Unfortunately, it was doing so from inside the warm, dry engine block of a GMC truck. Did we mention it was pouring down rain at this point?
You can imagine what we were thinking. Our worries ran the entire gamut from “If that kitty touches the truly hot parts, it’ll get burned!” to “What if someone starts the car?”
Over the next hour, Kat and I tried to coax the kitty out from under different engine blocks. Every time we got it out of one, it would dart to the next car and take up its frightening perch. I went inside to see if anyone had information, and they told me the kitten had been in the parking lot all day. We built up quite a gallery of well-wishers and helpers; nearly a dozen people stood around outside with us. One coffee-goer (it had been her truck under which the kitten had been taking refuge when we arrived) even jogged down to the nearby grocery store for a can of tuna. The tuna nearly worked, but the sly kitten still managed to elude capture, wolfing down the “bait” while staying just out of reach.
After an hour, Kat and I reached a consensus. This kitty was uninterested in being “caught.” More importantly, we had to trust that the kitty knew what it was doing. It had been there all day, was currently warm and dry in its hiding places. Meanwhile, Kat and I were wet from the pouring rain, cold from the October chill, and no closer to capturing the kitty now than we had been an hour ago.
So, in the end, we chose to trust that the kitty knew what it was doing, and we went about our wet and merry way.
The lessons from this experience weren’t obvious to me at first, and it’s probably not very obvious to you why I’d write about it on a Faerie site. But it reminded me so much of so many struggles we all have every day.
First, while it might seem the right and noble thing to charge in, catch the kitty, and save the day — we never really knew that it needed our help in the first place. Sure, you can’t talk to a kitten, and it’s not like we could diagnose anything wrong with it. But we instantly took our own, personal approach to the “problem,” and it took us a long time to realize that it wasn’t going to work. That’s us getting trapped in our own paradigm.
Second, there are good people in the world. We had nearly a dozen people joining us in our little wet adventure. We made quite a crowd out in the Starbucks parking lot, crawling around on the rain-soaked cement. Passersby probably thought we were crazy. But every one of those people wanted to stop and help that kitten. They were trying to do the right thing, without any benefit to themselves.
In the end, I’m left today hoping the faeries took care of that kitty. (Or, maybe, that the kitty took care of itself.) We tried, and it makes me happy to think that, if nothing else, the little kitty got a can of tuna out of the deal.