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Offline pirateslife4me

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Stereotyped
« on: September 20, 2010, 12:53:42 AM »
Hello All,

I have a question for the performers, actors, vendors and anybody else associated with Ren. Festivals. Do you ever feel like you are being stereotyped as "Carnies"? How do you respond to this? As just a patron of Ren. Festivals, I am just amazed at the talents, skills and abilities of the performers, actors, etc. However, I always maintain this stereotype that all of you are just glorified "Carnies". To most people, the word "Carnie" conjures up negative connotations, including myself. And I hate having this elitist view of you guys, because I definately think your better than that. By the way, not ALL workers in the carnival industry are bad people. But, let's face it; there is a reason they have a bad reputation. 

Offline dfloyd888

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Re: Stereotyped
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2010, 07:45:07 PM »
There is one thing to say about being cast on a renfaire.  It is an endurance test:

Film actors work 8 hours with lunch and some breaks in between.
Live stage actors do their 3-4 hours on the stage and call it a wrap.

Renfaire cast have to keep their act up from the cannon booming in the morning until the faire closes at night, with perhaps a break for lunch.

It takes a special breed of actor that can not just interact in character with patrons, other cast, and vendors, but be able to do so for over 12 hours at a stretch.

Offline groomporter

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Re: Stereotyped
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2010, 08:04:47 PM »
Part of it probably comes from a perception that we are all gypsy rennies who travel from fair to fair, but who are usually a percentage of most big fairs. There are some people who even think we take down the buildings and move them at the end of the run like a carnival.

As a crafter we've occasionally been asked "Are these your regular prices" as if they think we are gouging them during the fair, and I occasionally get surprised reactions when we tell them we are locals.

I've on the rare occasion I've had an opportunity to speak with the media about fest, I've tried to emphasize that MNRF has a reputation for having more local artists and performers than some of the other big shows.
When you die can you donate your body to pseudo-science?

Offline pirateslife4me

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Re: Stereotyped
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2010, 08:57:53 AM »
Groomporter,

That's great that they try to use as many local artists as possible. Support the local guy or gal first and then go from there.

Dfloyd,

Boy, that is amazing the amount of time you guys put into your craft during the day. Really impressive!! And I'm sure your not getting rich off of it either! But, I would imagine it beats a regular 9 to 5 job!!

Offline stonebiscuit

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Re: Stereotyped
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2010, 09:02:30 AM »
But, let's face it; there is a reason they have a bad reputation.  

I think this is really unnecessary, and kind of rude, especially in a thread about stereotyping.

To your question, however: my biggest challenge so far has been explaining to people exactly what it is I do out there, especially if they've never encountered street performance before (to wit: my in-laws). I've also had to deal with the bizarre perception that after faire closes, the participants get together for massive drug-fueled orgies in the middle of the site.

Offline stonebiscuit

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Re: Stereotyped
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2010, 09:04:44 AM »
Film actors work 8 hours with lunch and some breaks in between. [etc]

What an excellent argument for performer unionization/collective bargaining.  ;)

Offline Dinobabe

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Re: Stereotyped
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2010, 09:24:05 AM »
I've also had to deal with the bizarre perception that after faire closes, the participants get together for massive drug-fueled orgies in the middle of the site.

You mean you don't!?
Sorry, couldn't help myself.

I remember movie nights, potlucks, kids plays, quite music sessions, and the such.  I wonderful and magical time happens when the gates close. :)
And the stereotype is just that....
Natasha McCallister
Bristol Faire 1988-2005
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59.2% FaireFolk Corrupt
midsouthrenfaire.com

Offline Queen Maggie

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Re: Stereotyped
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2010, 10:00:30 AM »
The after hours stuff varies depending on locale: where there are lots of camping volunteers, yeah, some partying happens: it's about the only pay they get. For those of us who are paid professionals, we go home, collapse on the bed and sleep the sleep of the dead, so as to be able to get up at 7 the next morning and appear fresh, smiling, and ready to interact when the cannon sounds.

Oh, and those film actors...I've been in several films, and anyone other than the stars with clout show up a couple of hours in advance (say, 6:30 am, which means driving there at 5:30) hangs around till costumes are approved, gets hair and makeup done, hangs around waiting for their bits, runs through the scenes multiple times and finally gets let go around 8 pm in the evening.

There are lots of folks who assume that we are a traveling company, that every faire is the same, and that we fold up the buildings (!) and take them with us, like a circus. It's a matter of education, and making sure they enjoy themselves as to how they perceive us.
Queen Maggie
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Offline groomporter

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Re: Stereotyped
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2010, 10:23:50 AM »
Groomporter,

That's great that they try to use as many local artists as possible. Support the local guy or gal first and then go from there.

It's not so much that they try for that, it just seems to have worked out that way in the past.
When you die can you donate your body to pseudo-science?

Offline stonebiscuit

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Re: Stereotyped
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2010, 12:11:38 PM »
You mean you don't!?

Not since the restraining order.  ;)

In all seriousness, I do love after-hours celebrations, especially if they involve food, beer, and a place to sit down. It's the idea that we're all getting high and naked together that baffles me. I'm sure some people do get high and naked, and more power to them, but come on. Does the UGA football team get into a big orgy after games?*

I guess I object to the othering of participants. In my experience, the people involved in ren fests are fundamentally similar to the people who aren't. We eat, drink, clean, fall in love, worry about money, raise families, work, vacation, watch Rome on DVD because we missed it when it came on TV, etc. just like everyone else.

*Rhetorical question. If you have knowledge of such a thing, please don't share it.

Offline pirateslife4me

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Re: Stereotyped
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2010, 09:20:41 PM »

But, let's face it; there is a reason they have a bad reputation. 

I think this is really unnecessary, and kind of rude, especially in a thread about stereotyping.

Stonebiscuit,

It's not rude, it's reality. I've read about the carnival life and a lot of those carnival workers are running away from something, so to speak. The carnival industry is notorious for hiring some unsavory charactors. As a result of this, it's inevitable that the industry's' reputation is going to suffer. And I did stress that not ALL carnival workers are bad people. 

Offline Rani Zemirah

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Re: Stereotyped
« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2010, 01:09:33 AM »
So... you believe everything you read?  I actually spent many seasons working carnivals during my 20's, and you would be amazed at how many of the people there are no different than anyone else, except for the fact that they travel while earning a living, just like so many Rennies.  There are families, lots of 18-20 somethings just looking for a season or two of adventure, seasoned veterans who love the lifestyle, owners, vendors and thrill seekers, just like at Faire. 

Reading about something is never the same as living it, so saying you know something to be true without experiencing it is no different than forming a prejudice based on rumor, hearsay and innuendo, no matter who is telling the story... 
Rani - Fire Goddess

Aut disce... aut discede

Offline pirateslife4me

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Re: Stereotyped
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2010, 12:31:53 AM »
So... you believe everything you read?  I actually spent many seasons working carnivals during my 20's, and you would be amazed at how many of the people there are no different than anyone else, except for the fact that they travel while earning a living, just like so many Rennies.  There are families, lots of 18-20 somethings just looking for a season or two of adventure, seasoned veterans who love the lifestyle, owners, vendors and thrill seekers, just like at Faire. 

Reading about something is never the same as living it, so saying you know something to be true without experiencing it is no different than forming a prejudice based on rumor, hearsay and innuendo, no matter who is telling the story... 

And I'm supposed to believe you, just because you come from a carnival background? Your opinions are obviously not going to be objective, being that you're coming from a carnival background. Did you work at every single carnival company out there? You didn't. Your experience working with however many carnivals you worked is not truly representative of the carnival industry as a whole. Just because the carnival company/ies you worked for had good people, doesn't mean all carnival companies are that way.

Offline Rani Zemirah

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Re: Stereotyped
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2010, 01:09:05 AM »
And just because you read something, somewhere, doesn't mean you are justified, or correct, in declaring definitively that they are any way whatsoever, or passing judgment on something you admittedly have little experience with.  For someone who says they "hate having this elitist view of you guys", you seem to be rather intent on maintaining, and even perpetuating it.  I also occasionally perform at Faires, so to answer your original question...  I only feel stereotyped in that way when someone who has obviously already formed a prejudice makes very sure that I'm aware that they think that way.  I have never felt that way around anyone who is familiar with the industry, or has had any real experience with it at all. 

Oh yes... and many Rennies also have full time, year-round, 9-5 jobs, in addition to working every weekend that their particular Faire is open, even if they travel to work more than one Faire.  Many do it mostly because they love it, even if, or when, it doesn't pay enough to be able to quit what some people might consider to be their "real jobs". 
Rani - Fire Goddess

Aut disce... aut discede

Offline Celtic_Fae

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Re: Stereotyped
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2010, 02:16:43 AM »
Judge not lest ye be judged, especially when you've only passive observation against someone else's life experience. If you really thought Renaissance performers were better than your elitist view, then you wouldn't have an elitist view over the performers to begin with. Whether you intended it or not, your wording came across quite rude.

 

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