Spent a few hours today at the headwaters of Flarf: yes, the Florida Renaissance Festival, squatted down – with its hordes of wandering minstrels, busty wenches, moody teen-aged goths, frivolous teen-aged pseudo-faeries, strolling jugglers, relentless tchotchke hawkers, and so forth – only a half-dozen miles south of Culture Industry home base. Noted:
•Most of the guys playing what look like "lutes" have them tuned to regular 6-course guitar tuning. The bouzouki players favor the easier G-D-A-E tuning over G-D-A-D (& so do I...).
•These sort of events really are the last refuges of what they call the "variety arts": where else can you see an act that involves trained dogs jumping thru hoops and a husband and wife juggling machetés on balance boards while playing a harmonica duet of "When the Saints Go Marching In"?
•If you wear a Guinness t-shirt, you don't actually have to say anything when you go to order beer, but can just point.
•One doesn't go to the RenFest to get back to the 16th century; one goes in order to enjoy the spectacle of a bunch of people playing a really dizzying range of dress-up – goths in high-techno black kilts, serious reenactors in big bucks Elizabeth farthingales and pearl-studded head-dresses, fools and jesters, Samurai, faeries in green paint, horns, wings, and little raccoon tails, even one or two Wild West gunmen this time around. A hell of a lot more postmodern than Fight Club (which I finally watched last night, for the first time, & found wanting).
The knowledgeable Keith Tuma pointed out to me that I'd misremembered the author of Oh as Norma Cole in my last post, when I should have written Cole Swensen. My bad, but don't bother checking, as I've changed it. Norma Cole is someone whose work I admire rather much, tho I haven't read all her books; Cole Swensen is someone I'd like to read soon. The whole business reminds me of "My Three Songs," a little game show the "alternative" radio station in DC used to run every afternoon: they'd play three songs by different artists, and the winner was the listener who could figure out (and explain) the thread of continuity among them. A memorable example:
•Depeche Mode, "Route 66"
•U2, "Night and Day"
•Lloyd Cole and the Commotions, "Perfect Skin"