Sunday, May 18, 2008

Cognitive Dissonance

The Fife & Drum Corps, which I've mentioned before, are a crack group of high schoolers who march in the style of eighteenth century groups, whilst playing the fifes and drums. They are elite. They are band snobs to the nth power.

I love them.

There's something appealing about them marching down the street, perfectly in step, as sharp and rehearsed on a hot Sunday afternoon as they were three weeks before. Little kids go crazy for them, adults pause with cameras halfway to their eyes.

This weekend they hosted a "Fife and Drum Call" which meant that in addition to the CW group, there were several other groups here to march and play. Last night they had a parade down DOG St. Each group was accompanied by an interpreter with a flaming torch, the orange fires providing most of the light. What was weird about the parade was that each group had its own uniform--I'm so used to seeing eighteenth century clothes by now that to see a uniform from ca. 1810 go by was a little odd. Then I started looking around and I realised that the people marching weren't the only ones in period clothes--many of the groups had their families and fans with them, so there were clusters of people in dress from the 1760s all the way up to the 1860s--including a group of Civil War reenactors. As odd as it is to see a person in modern dress discorsing with someone in a weskit and breeches, it is even odder to see someone in a Civil War uniform talking to someone in a Napoleonic uniform. Earlier in the day, as I made my way through the modern Merchant's Square, I had seen a group of redcoats on manuvers--only later did I realise they were a group of reenactors from elsewhere, and not attached to CW.

I have only scratched the surfance of "re-enacting," but I'd like to run into it a lot more. That's not something you can just show up and do, however, there is a lot of research and preparation that goes into being from another time period. And being without car makes it hard to attend events, of course. But the CW employees have told me that in June the British are going to "take over" Williamsburg, just as they did in 1781 and THAT will be a huge deal--a British encampment, skirmishes, a fair, people coming from all over the world, so I hope to get a chance to pick some brains about the best way to get involved in reenacting. The problem is, of course, is that there is not exactly a place for an independent woman of the new millenium in the eighteenth century, so if I want to wear the petticoats, I'm going to have to accept a certain level of "helplessness."

3 comments:

Samantha said...

But you've been to renn faires right? Those fanatics span anywhere from 1300 to 1660 for their costumes and characters!

And the British encampment in Williamsburg sounds much more appealing than any turkey leg wielding, fantasy drenched renn faire I've ever attended. Wish I could fly back for it!

Laura said...

I was going to say something like Sam that you should throw a wrench into all this Revolution through Civil War costumes by showing up dressed as something medieveal. At first I was going to suggest a queen with one of those crazy spiky headresses, but it would be even cooler if you came dressed as a dragon.

Nicki said...

Yes, but Renn Faire is more, uh "1300" and "1660" except for a few super-authentic diehards. Here's 99% authentic, 1% Renn-fairey.