There has been a major surge in the number of groups added to the Groups Billboard in January, I added at least half a dozen new entries. This also comes with the addition of an interactive map, pinning a location for each group so you can search the page by type of group, but you can also search the map for groups which are near to you! I have also added an events calendar page, which is a tool we can use to keep in touch with public demos, timeline events, immersion events, and other demonstrations or insular activities which we can attend with each other. Of course, this page is meant to be a receiving space for all the new events happening after we get on top of the pandemic, so it is a bit empty right now. But as events start scheduling again, it will fill up (just make sure you keep sending me those entries.)
The monthly link check is complete. One of the repairs was a typo on my part, and easily corrected. One of the dead links was for the International Reenactor’s Day Facebook page, which doesn’t seem to exist anymore. So much for that being an annual thing. Otherwise the site is in working order, everything you click should go to something as designed. No dead links!
Just a few days ago I published a new page: the “Medieval Reenactment and Living History Events Calendar” which, despite being both wordy and a terrible acronym (say MRaLHEC ten times fast without choking) is something the community sorely needs (even if it doesn’t realize it needs it.) The new page, shared across a few pages in Facebook, lead to some insightful conversations, one of which inspired the almost immediate update and refurbishment of the project. It became apparent a single calendar is restrictive, as there are four distinct types of events which need to be represented, and not everyone is looking for all four types. I needed to be able to accommodate both private and public events, and those which are open or closed to registrants.
Events which are Public (Open)
These are events which are designed to be attended by the public and the presence of the reenactor is to teach and inform. They are also open to registration by outside individuals and groups. The entrance requirements, authenticity standards, conduct, and presentation style of each event may differ, but they all share these the two primary features above; they’re open to the public and you can sign up to participate. Timeline events, such as Days of Knights in Ohio or Military Through the Ages on the East Coast are prime examples of this type of event. This would also include large scale battle reenactments with strict scenarios, as they are also attended by the public whether or not the encampments of the reenactors are open to the public.
Events which are Public (Closed)
These are events which are public events, but they do not have an open registration for multiple reenactors or outside groups to come and participate. The prime example of this is when a group is scheduled to present a demo at their local ren faire. And while you may be able to, if you have a rapport with the group doing the demo, be able to participate with them there is no expectation the general reenactment community can apply to participate or register to be at the event. Including these types of events in a calendar is important to me, as it allows the community at large to see what type of activities their contemporary groups are up to and means the traveling reenactor can find, view, and meet other reenactment groups when they’re attending mutual events (and may have never known they were there if they weren’t lucky enough to stumble across the right stage at the right time.) However, there are many who may not be interested in these events, which is why it is valuable to be able to toggle this calendar off and cut down on clutter when viewing the calendar.
Events which are Private (Open)
Private events are not open to the public, but open private events are open to other individual reenactors or living history groups. The cost of entry, time period, authenticity standards, accommodations, activities, etc. vary from group to group and event to event. A prime example of this style event is the Swordsman Guild of Kansas City’s annual Deed of Arms event.
Events which are Private (Closed)
Closed private events are internal company musters, group business meetings, and training sessions. While they may be open to outsiders in a general sense, especially when it comes to interested prospective members, they’re not designed for registration and attendance by people outside the group hosting the event. I mention these groups for the sake of completeness. They don’t have a calendar of their own.
I hope this has provided you a bit more context for how the calendar works, what it is intended to show, and the best way to use it. Want more people, especially other reenactors, to know about your event? Head over to the MRaLHEC (I’m working on it) and submit your event! If you like all these resources I am continually building and maintaining for you, consider supporting the projects and the hours of time it takes to keep it all going. And if I’m not inspired by yet another wild hare in the next few days, I’ll see you all again at the end of the month in the newsletter.
In about a month I will be participating in the online Art of the Sword Conference which has gotten my mind swirling with thoughts about swords, where the adoration for them stems from, how they have managed to remain such a pervasive symbol in human culture and why we love them. In this video I distill my thoughts on the subject.
I have not done as much upkeep as I would have liked this month. I did clean out the morgues. The blame for most of it is on a heavy workload at the day job and the holidays. I just spent less time fiddling online. However, I have not neglected my commitment to good links, and the entire site has been run through and checked for dead or broken links. Everything is up to date and functioning. Though I have some not-computer-based personal projects for winter, hopefully, I can use some of that overwintering time to get some of the projects here complete. For instance, yesterday I noticed the Groups Billboard is one of the most popular and frequently navigated parts of the website, followed by the tutorials page. Both of those pages are incomplete in some way based on standards I have set for myself. The tutorials deserve more elaboration on what you can expect to find at each link, in the way I have a synopsis listed for each of the books I recommend or an indication of the inventory for each entry in my merchant and artisan rolls. Likewise, not all the groups included on the billboard have pictures and details as they should. You deserve it, and I will continue to work on it.
2020. What a year. For many it’s one of the worst years of their lives… the year they lost their homes, or their business, or their family. For many students going into and out of school it was a year of lost opportunity and the loss of traditions afforded to everyone else in their community before them such as proms and graduations and varsity sports championships. People’s weddings were postponed or cancelled. Vacations people had been planning for months or years or a lifetime were waylaid. The world was turned on its ear. I was once told, and it has always resonated with me, enjoying life is about appreciating contrast. Not in a philosophical sense wherein bad must exist to for there to be good or for people to appreciate good, but in an entirely pragmatic sense: good and bad experiences exist and in this context it doesn’t matter so much why. Sometimes we’re out in the daylight, it’s clear and sunny and pleasant. But night always falls (and the night always ends with the rise of the sun.) But even at night stars shine in the sky, the moon reflects our absent sunlight as a reminder of the coming dawn. It is in this mindset we focus today on the stars and the moon and the bright highlights of all the good things which happened around Neep Manor during the long, bitter night of 2020.
So I thought I’d look at the last year in the form of some top lists.
It is my pleasure to present to you a conversation with Callie from Not Another Costuming Blog. As a student of, among other things, fiber conservation and a talented costumer, we discuss all things sheep, wool, fiber, and fabric both as a historical curiosity, and how it applies to living history.
First, to sign up, there is a google form where you send your name and address. Sign up will be open all weekend, until 23:59 on Sunday the 13th. Monday morning I will handle matching participants and send you your special someone. Then you have all next week to find a medieval themed gift! Lets keep gifts in the $20 – $30 range for fairness’s sake.
So about those deals: each participating business is offering the cost of shipping (up to $15) as store credit for future purchases. Opportunities are limited and are first come, first serve. Members of the household who support on Patreon receive priority in choosing coupons. Send me a PM to receive coupon codes and instructions for the business you want to use.