Thursday, August 29, 2013

I went to the animal fair*

By Gayle Carline
Mystery Gal (and so much more)

No, I'm not talking about writer's conferences today.

I'm talking about the Renaissance Fair. Or Faire. Whatever. I used to go to Ren Fairs, as we called them (apparently we could speak in proper Shakespearean English but were too lazy to say renaissance). The local one was held for a while in Agoura, then moved to the San Bernadino area and is now in Irwindale. These are all cities in southern California and all you need to know is that for each one, you drive two miles past Hell and turn left. The fair is held around May and is usually supercalifreakin-hot, especially to be wandering around in several long skirts and a corset.

This is a picture of my friends, DeAnna and Austin Cameron, who are big into playing dress-up and going to Ren Fairs and Steampunk shindigs, etc. I didn't think they'd mind if I used their picture, since DeAnna is an author (historical fiction - really good books). Check her out.

Anyway, I do have a point about murder and mystery here... somewhere... it may be at the bottom of my brain... ah, here it is.

I was recently wondering about what was so special about the Renaissance Period that makes people throw on massive amounts of unusual clothes and trot out words like "dost" and "speaketh". It can't just be for the giant turkey legs and the mead. And then I thought...

Why doesn't anyone have a Noir Fair? Okay, maybe it wouldn't be a fair, maybe it would be a Noir Night, but wouldn't you just love to dress up in 30s-40s attire and lurk around in shadows having cynical yet witty conversations?

I wouldn't want to meet this guy, of course.

And being a dame, I'd have to practice making these kinds of faces.

But all the guys would be in suits, with hats. Ties, too. A man without a tie is an absolute ruffian.

I'd get to wear a hat, too, and stockings with seams up the back,

and sparkling evening dresses with (faux) furs, 

and killer shoes and...

Sorry, I got a little distracted by the fashion.

We'd all talk like dames and joes and we'd banter. God, it's been forever since I've bantered.

Instead of being held in a park, it'd have to be an indoor event, where there'd be plenty of gin joints and dark alleys to cast the proper shadows. In this age of health-consciousness, we'd have to do something else for the cigarettes - maybe those fake cigarettes they advertise on late-night TV.

And there'd be so much booze, we'd need a taxi service to get us to and from the event. Food? What food? They never ate. Except for this.

But wouldn't it be worth it for this?

Would you be tempted to come out for a Noir Night? How would you imagine it?

*BTW, I went looking for a video of the song, "I Went to the Animal Fair." Would you believe all the versions out now have white-washed the lyrics? They no longer sing, "The monkey he got drunk/ And climbed up the elephant's trunk/ The elephant sneezed and fell to his knees/ And that was the end of the monk." The monkey no longer gets drunk, or flattened. Instead, he falls off his bunk and gets a boo-boo. The elephant is gone. The nerve.


  1. I'd definitely be tempted to join you for a Noir night, Gayle. Looks like it would be a lot of fun and I love a good opportunity to dress up

  2. I'll let you know when I hear about the next Noir at the Bar.

  3. What a great idea, Gayle! We need to start a Noir at the Bar in SoCal.


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