Pennsic 2016 Diary: Saturday, August 6

Morning – Marauders

Despite a mad rush that saw us prepping the set list right up until the last possible moment, the show actually went quite well. The show before us ran a little long, which gave us some much-needed breathing room to finish everything up and for the others to put on makeup. (I did not. I know ‘stage makeup’ is a thing, but I just couldn’t bring myself to put stuff on my face when it already felt disgusting.)

We went on stage around 9:30 and ran a smidge over two hours. My role was to do backups and two short intermission sets. I was really worried about that first part because I was on-stage with exceptional harmonizers (Lorelei, Emer, and Gwen), and all I can sing is the melody line. But Lorelei actually thanked me after because (she said) with someone holding down the melody, the rest of them were free to play around with the harmonies. So… yay, I think?

My two sets included “I Charged the Calontiri Army,” “Sixteen Shirts,” St. Julian, Mary wins a tournament, and “Serious Steel.” They all went over quite well – yay! The rest of the show was really good too, with a mix of classics (“Come and Be Welcome,” “Scarlet”), some lesser-known stuff, angry songs (“Macha,” “Collateral”), funny songs (“Leaving for Pennsic”), and many others. [Editor’s note: the link to “Come and Be Welcome” lists the author as Heather Dale, but this is incorrect. It is actually by Emer nic Aidan.] There was a moment of much wrongness where we broke out into two verses of “Lay of the Rowing Bench.” We had a special guest, Elizabeth, who did a follow-up piece to “Washer at the Ford” in the same tune that takes up the story of what happens to the old washer-woman after the young woman takes her place. Awesome! There was a lot of banter amongst ourselves, and quite a few moments where we cracked ourselves up.

The audience was mostly full, and Marian, Efenwealt, and Ainor were front and center. It was great to have them there – Marian always looks like she’s having such a fantastic time, and I always take it as an ego-boost when I can make Efenwealt genuinely laugh. There were a lot of others of my bardic friends and role-models in the audience: Morgana, Rosalind Jehanne, Cerian, Maraha, and others. Yay for friendly faces! Cerian was apparently recording the whole thing, and I really want a copy. Yes, I may cringe when I see myself on video, but I want it anyway. I don’t think I’ve seen any videos of myself performing except what I put up myself on YouTube.

Anyway, point being is that we had fun, the audience had fun, and the show was a rousing success!

Some people stayed and chatted after the show. I got a few compliments on my saint stories and was really happy I’d done them – it really is what I want to become known for, and moreover I want people to know that fun, funny, interesting saint stories are a thing that exists. It’ll happen, mark my words.

It was super-hot and super-humid backstage, to say nothing about being in front of the stage lights. I sweat so much. I couldn’t go to bed without at least rinsing off in the shower. So by the time I’d done schmoozing and showering, it was almost 1:00 am. Bhakail’s filk night might have still been going on, but I was tired and ready for bed. Ten years ago, I might have gone anyway, but I am now ten years older and consider 1:00 am to be a respectable bedtime, even at Pennsic.

Today I’ve got a morning of camp chores: breakfast dishes and cleaning the shower, specifically, and also some personal chores like changing my bedding and taking a proper shower. I’ve got a Troll shift from 2:00 to 4:00, but otherwise my day is flexible. There are some classes I may or may not take. There are four of them at 10:00 that looked interesting before War, but I doubt I’ll get to any of them. We’ll see. More importantly, I don’t know of anything happening tonight except opening ceremonies. I’ll have to fix that.


Somewhat later – My tent

Clean camp dishes, clean shower with new mat, clean sheets, clean clothes, and clean body. Yes, it might already be 11:00 am, but I think it’s been a productive morning. And now I’m done all my camp chores for War. One more breakfast dishes duty on Tuesday, but then I’ll be done my meal plan chores too. Final Troll shift today but I’ll see if I can sign up for something at EK Royal.

Time to get dressed before my tent bakes me out.


Noon – Downtown Pennsic

I just got to perform for Their Majesties Avacal! How cool!

I’d just started my wander and stepped into Oakwood Hall to see Erwillian conversing with some royals in utterly stupendous crowns. Over the course of the conversation it turned out that they were the new royals of Avacal, having stepped up just five weeks ago. They seem like great people, and they’re really trying to build the culture of the kingdom. (Avacal has only been a kingdom for about a year.)

I asked if I could perform a song or story for them, and they agreed. I looked at my sheet and realized I had the perfect piece, given that their Crown Tournament is next weekend: King Conrad tries to thwart prophecy. It’s the first time I’ve performed it for an audience but I think it went well, and Their Majesties gave me a small chainmail string as a token. Nifty!

So… yay Pennsic moment. And if you’re reading, Your Majesties, good luck at your Crown Tournament!


Mid-afternoon – Marauders

I bought a shiny. It’s a book with 32 illuminations from the Belles Heures de Duc de Berry. I got it in the hopes of finding some new saint lives that I didn’t know yet, but it turns out most of them actually rely on the Golden Legend. So, no new stories, but at least some very beautiful illuminations of stories I already know.

Had just enough time to eat lunch at EK Royal and then do my Troll shift. I was coming on just as Marian was coming off, so I had just long enough to say hi. Troll was fairly busy but it came in fits and starts. Checked in a bunch of people, some adorable babies, and Garraed, who is day-tripping. Yay fun people to run into!

Got back to camp just in time for the performance of “The Farce of the Fart”, which it turns out Anton did not write but rather is a documentable fifteenth-century play. He modified it somewhat but it is documentably period. The play was fun for what it was. One hopes that this will stop the butt jokes in camp as it has for the last few days, so if nothing else it has done that.


The Farce of the Fart

Still don’t know what I’m doing tonight. I may or may not go to opening ceremonies and I have no idea about later. Enchanted Ground only opens tomorrow and I don’t know of any other circles tonight. So… wandering? Visiting? Something else? I guess I’ll find out.


After dinner – Performing Arts Tent backstage

A fun albeit unexpected afternoon and evening. After I wrote last, I meandered over to Crook’d Cat to get some of their fresh bread, which had just come out of the oven. In exchange I gave them the story of St. Julian and then, for the kids, “If I was a Viking.” I got piping-hot fresh bread with butter. I win.

Came back to camp just in time to find Lorelei gathering people to head over to the Performing Arts Tent to sing some kingdom anthems. See, opening ceremonies had moved from the Great Hall to the battlefield at the last minute and a bunch of people couldn’t or wouldn’t walk that far, and since the Performing Arts Tent was free anyway (so as not to conflict with mustering and marching armies), we decided to take it over and show our patriotism. We were there for about an hour and a half, starting with about four people and ending with about a dozen, and it was surprisingly fun! We went through a whole bunch of anthems from a whole bunch of kingdoms, and a great time was had by all. Highlight of the show was John Inchingham doing “Golden Round” and the battlefield cannon went off exactly on the downbeat of his chorus. It was awesome!

Came back to camp in time for chicken dinner, and as that was wrapping up I mentioned to John that I hadn’t really had any of the chocolate yet. So we brought out the chocolate library, all 10 boxes of it, including the special reserve. I got to sample a whole bunch and feel much better now.

Sara made a request as she was leaving camp that I wrote a song about us being a “full-service camp,” a reference to Master Francis getting his hair and nails done earlier in the week. I called Marc as that started percolating and was just hitting my stride and ready to ask my campmates for brainstorming ideas when Lorelei grabbed me and said, “i Verdi Confusi is down two intermezzi! Can you do the song you did the other day with the hat?” (“Small Miracles”) I asked when she needed me, and it was apparently in 15 minutes. So I grabbed my shoes and headed backstage, and that’s where I am now. This is the sort of thing that happens when you’re a bard who camps across the street from the Performing Arts Tent and is friends with the Dean.

Just waiting for them to call me onstage. Should be any minute now. After that I’ll go back to camp and keep working on my new song. I wish I were more appropriately dressed for a stage performance, but there’s nothing for it. What I have will have to do. Time to drink some water and wait to be shoved onstage.

Back to Friday, August 5
Forward to Sunday, August 7

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