Crazed Fanboy's Most Memorable Moments, 2000--2009 As submitted by PCR writers, compiled by Chris WoodsTHE ENLIGHTENMENT: 10 PART HISTORY OF THE BLUES
From 2002, Terence Nuzum's ten part article takes you through the great history of the blues.
I wasn't sure whether to call this the "29th" or "30th" Bay Area Renaissance Festival, and online information is frustratingly vague. I thought the sign outside the grounds at MOSI said "29th", but didn't really remember afterwards. I dated my story from 2008 the "28th" which would make this year the "30th", so I'm a little confused at the numbering right now. In any event, it's RenFest 2010 for sure, so we'll go with that.
The village of Fittleworth -- the imaginary 16th century English town the Festival wears as a costume -- has changed little over the years since it moved to the grounds at MOSI (The Museum of Science and Industry) from its previous digs behind the Largo City Library. If anything, it's bigger and more spread out. But that's just my impression.
To really get the most out of the experience, it's helpful to be an enthusiast of the romantic and exciting period of English culture in question. The last of the true kings and queens and princes and princesses and knights in shining armor from the tail end of the Middle Ages, before the Industrial Revolution modernized the world. And a charming world it is. Or was. But is again.
For this year's excursion, I was in the company of co-editor Terence Nuzum, his mother, Yolanda, and his aunt Patty. Going as a family helps put me in a more receptive mood for this type of thing (as it did when I went with Lisa Scherer and the Ciurro family in 2008). No matter what went right or wrong, I was guaranteed to have a good time just being out with these folks. Additionally, we were blessed with fantastic weather, bright sun and clear skies.
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A casual first glance at our environs.
Quaint human-powered kids rides show how it was accomplished 300 years ago!
A look down a lane in Fittleworth.
Beautiful ladies showing their copious attributes during a comical belly-dance show.
Interesting armor! A black knight of the Sith?
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One of the coolest characters we encountered: The "Green Man of the Forest". At first glance, merely part of the shrubbery...until he moved!
Another cool character was the "Tree Man". Inset shows his well-disguised face.
The King (yellow beret) walks among us! Shown here in a casual moment talking with a commoner.
A couple of costumed characters graciously stopped to pose.
I've been attending the Renaissance Festival from the beginning and am a big supporter. The magic is still there for the most part. The period-dressed actors were out in force, though not quite in the numbers I remember. (Still, they leave the strongest memory of the experience.) A few less food vendors as well. The arts-and-crafts folk, however, seem totally unaffected by the current recession and were at least as numerous as years past, thankfully.
I've never attended on a Saturday before, so that may account for why many things seemed different. We arrived just a little too late to catch a jousting tournament and couldn't stay for the next one. I wandered hither and thither looking for my favorite fried veggies stand, but never found it. At the main food stand, The Nuzums were quite taken with the Scottish Egg -- a hard-boiled egg surrounded by a ball of sausage -- but it didn't appeal to me. Instead, I opted for the Portabello Mushroom "burger" which was OK.
I didn't see The Rat Catcher, The Glass Blower, or the Rusty Knight (and gawd do I miss the Slack-Rope Walker from back in the day--wonder whatever happened to him?), but I did take in a fetching performance by a juggler/sleight-of-hand artist who did an entire act around manipulating five crystal balls in his hands. We saw the "Green Man of the Forest" (super-cool), and the "Walking Tree Man" (also super-cool). We caught the tail end of an under-populated comedy act, the single stand-up comedian/story-teller somewhat miffed by our "late arrival" (we were just looking for somewhere to sit down, haha).
There were kids' pony rides and the usual human-powered large swings and the like. Toward the end, I saw The King walk by, but not The Queen (she could've been off somewhere officiating something).
The RenFest calendar is divided into "theme" weekends and ours was "Italian Carnivale" which featured Pet Fest, DaVinci Inventions, Bocce Ball Tournament, and Wine Tasting. The most obvious manifestation of these was the Pet Fest, where it seemed every exotic breed of dog crossed our path. We always stopped to pet the animals and converse with their owners.
Yolanda and I were very impressed with the Roasted Nuts booth (or whatever they called it) and walked away with several big bags of delicious roasted and toasted pecans. I pronounced it the find of the day, especially in lieu of the missing fried veggies.
The Renassiance Festival is always recommended for connoisseurs of English History liberally mixed with local theater. No matter what day you arrive, it'll leave a lasting impression on you.
THE BAY AREA RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays through March 28.
Where: Museum of Science and Industry grounds, 11315 N 46th St., Tampa
Admission: $17.95 adults; $9.95 kids 5-12, $14.95 seniors. Info at renaissancefest.com.
(Look for select days where a four food-can donation will get you a two-for-one pass.)
Ye Olde Editor, on left, with the Nuzum family: Patty (cap), Yolanda, and Terence.
Caught this last night (as I write this) on MSN just before work, so couldn't write a thing before now.
Action Comics #1, the first appearance of Superman published in 1938, has set another record by selling to a private collector in New York City for a cool one million dollars. That's beats the old record -- itself an Action Comics sale -- by over 100%. This marks the first million-dollar comic in history and settles an old question Ye Olde Editor has asked for ages: Would Action #1 ever be worth a million dollars and would I live to see it? Yes. And....yes.
Widely considered the Holy Grail of comic books, it was sold by a private seller to a private buyer, neither of whom released their names. The transaction was conducted by the auction site ComicConnect.com. Stephen Fishler, co-owner of the site and its sister dealership, Metropolis Collectibles, orchestrated the sale.
This particular copy had a grading of 8.0, meaning, on a scale of 1--10, it was pretty darn new and in good shape. In techno-jargon, that's "Very Fine". (There are only about 100 copies known to exist and a pristine mint #1 graded as a "10" likely doesn't exist after 72 years. The books were printed on cheap newsprint which wasn't designed for archiving. Boy, did we learn a lesson!)
Of course, any collectible is only worth whatever a buyer is willing to pay for it. That this more than doubles the previous sale (just under half a million) ramps up the auctioning power of Action #1 quite a notch.
The funny-yet-sad thing to me is this issue -- originally costing ten cents on the newsstand in 1938 -- is forever out of the hands of the casual Joe, who must view it in a museum setting, or perhaps at a comic convention under heavy guard. And that the decendants of the original creators, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, don't see a dime of this money (although I think they see plenty from movie residuals).
I often wonder how many kids threw out these comics before going into the army or whatever, or worse yet (and put this into the "if I had a nickel for every time I heard this" category) well-meaning but myopic parents decided to clean up old rooms and threw away boxes of these priceless treasures, regarding them as faded vestiges from childhood?
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