I’ve never been to a Renaissance Faire. It’s not that I don’t think it would be fun… I’m sure it would be. Beer, costumes, blacksmithing… Usually a combo that’s right up my alley. That’s not it at all, the reason I’ve never been is because, well… it’s not cool.
One of the last bastions of virgin geekdom. Everything else, from vintage video games to Star Trek, has had it’s crossover period of “so lame it’s cool”. Ren Faires are nestled in the ample bosom of Vampire Roll Playing games and Civil War Reenactment, planted firmly in the realm of dork.
“Keepers of the Kingdom” does a lot to support my theory. It’s fan-based documentary that brightly exposes the fun side of Renaissance fairs. Starting with the beginning and working it’s way to, can I call it modern day? It’s cheery filmmakers talk to friends and Ren Faire scene makers about their costumes, what characters they are, how long they’ve been doing it. Leaving those of us *not* wearing a cape having to answer the big question for ourselves. The big question being, WHY?
A little long, a little boring, and we don’t spend much time talking to anything other than the wenches cleavages. I don’t know if there is only one woman who is a “rennie” (the cute term to describe these Ye Olde Carnies) that could talk on camera or what but that’s all we spoke to. It also only skims the surface of what is going on at these places. It walks right up to some of the more interesting topics of the scene, like the runaways whom dump their life to follow the traveling fairs, but then it flits away on Pegasus wings, on to the next person, giggling. Even I had more questions for the people whom they were interviewing and found it frustrating when all we ended up hearing about was how they came up with their costume.
Dorks are defensive. It’s a known fact. They have every right to be defensive, they get picked on all the time. They think they are cool and that’s what matters, hell, I respect that. So it would take a very special film to be able to get into the *real* stuff that goes on with these people. These filmmakers have the power, they are able to get a guy from The Society for Creative Anachronism to open up about why he likes being smacked on with a sword on his home made helmet , that alone worth seeing the film . But with everyone else they just seem too friendly and cliquish to get the true story.
Am I going to go to a Renaissance Faire now? No. But not because I think it’s nerdy. No, now I’m scared. I found out too much about these people… and terrifyingly, at the same time, not enough. Fie!