Chaos Attraction

Dickens Fair

2014-12-14, 8:35 p.m.

We're going to take a break from talking about my car problems for a day in order to talk about Dickens Fair. Let's just leave the beginning of Saturday as "I drove to Mom's and she had me take it to her guy at Goodyear and the car stayed overnight, meanwhile I tried to forget about all that shiz and go to Dickens Fair."

So what is Dickens Fair? To quote the website, "The Great Dickens Christmas Fair is a one-of-a-kind holiday adventure into Victorian London - an elaborate party with hundreds of costumed players performing and interacting with patrons in over 120,000 square feet of theatrically-lit music halls, pubs, dance floors, and Christmas shops. It's a twilight evening in Charles Dickens' London Town - a city of winding lanes filled with colorful characters from both literature and history."

Another way I might describe it is, "Kinda like Renaissance Faire, except indoors and a few hundred years later." Yes, it's put on by folks who originally did Renaissance Faires. I totally approve. Amusingly, Mom thought this was better than Ren Faire--not sure why, exactly. But it's kinda similar in that they both build an entire town, have great costuming and performers, and have a queen (and king, in this case) wandering about holding court, stuff like that. Except this is a bit more Dickens-themed and has some characters roaming around (I saw Fagin and Nancy) as well as Dickens himself, giving readings. And the various room/street areas are named after the books. It's cool beans.

No, seriously, it's cool beans. Here's a photo album I actually got updated quickly. And here's some photo commentary:

(No, I'm not going to get the pics to actually show up in this entry, because that will take me forever and a fucking day to resize them to do that. Bugger it.)

Number of Doctors seen: three. Tenth (unphotographed decently, sorry), Fourth, and Fifth. You don't see him too often around geeky events. But hey, it's always appropriate to dress as a Doctor, you never know when he'll show up.

The steam man.

I love this guy's hat.
Actual quote from the lady in the middle of this picture about her stunning silver hairband: "I was watching Ellen. I had a glue gun. And this happened."

The blank man: just stands around like that.

The Victorian pimp. "Oh, you should photograph him, I'm sure he likes that," a lady from my town working a booth said. He was hard to catch, though.

Here come the royal guards and Victoria and Albert. They held court in the Adventurers Club. Unlike RenFaires, they were cordoned off and we had to look in through windows like Dickensian orphans.

Mom in jail.

Her wings are a backpack!

There was, no joke, a tree costume.

The tree plays a violin.

The tree dances!

My favorite story is the girl with the SF bling sweater. We brought Angelica to this event as well--she's unphotographed but was wearing a Santa hat with the 49ers and holly on it. Anyway, she disappeared at one point to go get bread pudding and I was wandering around looking for her and found this girl instead. I should probably clarify that I was dressed like this and she walked right up and hugged me for getting into the spirit. She told me she'd added the bling to the sweater herself during the season. She was adorable. One of those "Oh, I wish I could become friends with you, except this is a one time moment" times. I showed her photos of the goat sweater and got Mom to see her outfit. Never did have her and Angelica in the same area together, but Angelica said (after I showed her the pic) she had seen it from a distance but hadn't figured out it was 49ers themed.

They have some interesting actors around there. Mom actually physically grabbed my arm and inched me away from behind to get me away from a chimney sweep. Oh, for that to be a thing that can work with real life crazies.

We didn't get to that many shows this time--the "All's Well That Ends Badly" Shakespeare show that was ah, somewhat reminding me of Abridged Shakespeare, except with more actors having rivalries with each other and fighting and punching and doing all the parts themselves. Their "all plays in 30 seconds" bit was particularly great, mostly demonstrating the various deaths and "exit, pursued by a bear." Stuffed bear. We wanted to see the bandit queen show, but ended up wandering to the other side of the Cow Palace and forgetting to get back over there in time.

Mom did, however, go to the wrong theater (she was hanging out in Fezziwig's dance parlor rather than the Victoria and Albert) and made friends with a lady who had gotten 12 tickets for the Saucy French Postcards Tableaux Revue and then all of her friends bailed, so she was offering tickets. That is a tickets only, limited seating, 21 and over event. You know what that means: BOOBIES. I'm not entirely sure Mom figured that out before accepting the tickets.... But it was certainly something different, all right. The framing show is a husband and wife talking about the ah, interesting Bible lectures she's been hearing about lately with the dirtier parts of the Bible. Then there's a window pane that, when they put the lights on it, goes sheer and you can see the tableaus of "interesting" Bible scenes behind them. Naked boobies all over the place (especially Solomon and all of his wives) and a few scenes "for the ladies" such as Jacob wrestling the angel and David and Jonathan being REAL good friends. Very entertaining in its own special little way. Oh, you Victorians!

The program is also a hoot. Let me recap some jokes from it:

"WANTED! A Great Number of Obedient and Small Children, of Ten Years of Age and Under, for CLEANING CHIMNEYS. Advancement Opportunity."

"NOTICE. Gentlemen are particularly requested not to Spit on the Floor or Kamptulican, but to use the Spittoon."

"From the Seven Seas: Giant Banana Slug of Madagascar!!! Man-Aroo...Half Man, Half-Kangaroo!"

"Advice from London's leading Doctor-Brain in a Jar."

"Ladies are Advised to Beware the Exploding Sailor!!"
(What kind of explosion, huh huh huh.)

While there was much in the way of quality work to buy, I at this point can't buy shit. Happily, I didn't spot anything I would have normally bought under normal circumstances. Mostly this show has more...stuff you could have bought in the 1800's, I suppose. I happily resisted temptation, as it were. So good for me there.

Other things to see:

In the event of a workshop explosion, kindly blow this horn.

Keep out! Trespassers will be experimented upon!

Bad Little Boy In The Bag. Great sign, but the actual business was personalized Christmas ornaments...not too naughty.

Cigarettes are totally great for asthma.

Ambition suppressant.. My favorite sign of all.

The day finished out by watching the dancers at Fezziwig's--some folks got quite crazy, plus there were two Doctors and a dancing, violin-playing tree-- and then the closing number is to sing the Hallelujah chorus.

Yup, gotta find the time to go back again. That was awesome.

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