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Issue 108 – Jan 2017


Denise Goodson—Notorious Madam Red
Denise Goodson, a 52-year-old paralegal from Overland Park, Kansas, started performing at renaissance festivals when she was 17 years old. She immediately knew she was addicted to that quirky ambience that enables artists to … interact one-on-one with patrons. She became a ren performer after deciding to audition to be a street character at the Kansas City Renaissance Festival (KCRF) in 1981, and in 2015 completed her 35th season with that same show.

Diamonds Are Forever
Believed to possess magical powers, emissaries of good and bad fortune, used as pawns in intrigue, collateral in wars, gifts to sweeten proposed political marriages, and put to work industrially, they have come to surpass all precious stones in value. Yet for centuries, diamonds were scarce and less desirable to Western Europeans than more costly, accessible gems such as pearls.

Making Bulrush Chairs
Since the dawn of civilization, the very act of sitting in an elevated fashion off the ground raised us humans both physically and mentally from our brethren in the animal kingdom … Luckily for the work-worn majority whose weary bones demanded a modicum of comfort, Europe’s epic awakening from the Dark Ages ushered forth the Renaissance, and by the 15th century chairs with rush-woven seats were among countless other household objects that became more accessible to the common man.

Renaissance Faire Footwear
Finding footwear that looks renaissance-era appropriate while also offering the support and comfort of a modern-day shoe has always been a challenge for performers and patrons alike. Compared to the dresses, doublets, and capes on display at most faires and festivals, shoes tend to go unnoticed, which makes the task of finding the right shoe a somewhat ambiguous quest.

The Hard Life of a Strolling Player
The English word “stroll” came into use in the late 16th century. It comes from German “Strolchen,” “to roam as a vagrant”; and indeed the life of a traveling player was a stroll in name only. In 16th-century England actors were widely despised. Meeting one of his social “betters” along a narrow street, an actor was expected to step aside, fouling his shoes and hose in the gutter. A 1545 act of Parliament declared any unlicensed actor to be a vagabond, liable to be put in the stocks or even branded.

The Sin Eater: Pariah of the Middle Ages
Funeral rituals are as wide-ranging and complex throughout the world as the peoples performing them, and the Middle Ages had its own quirks when Death came knocking. In the old Celtic lands, especially Scotland, Wales and England, one of those rites performed in the country villages and more remote areas was the responsibility of the sin eater. The sin eater was called before burial of the deceased to absolve his sins so the dead might gain entrance into Heaven. The sin eater took the dead person’s lifetime of sins into himself, thus leaving the soul free of any stain.

We’re back!

Dear Friends of Renaissance Magazine,

For a few months it has been known that the magazine was looking for investors.  One was found! In fact, we have a new owner who is dedicated to continuing the great work that you have come to expect.  This is only the 3rd owner in 20 years. The management team who has been bringing you the magazine is still in place and are now joined by several new team members who are committed to bringing you the excellent product we’ve all come to know and love, with some fresh ideas added to the mix.

Issue 107 came out in February 2016. Issue 108 is printing now and will reach subscribers and newsstands in around the beginning of the new year. Issue 109 is being finalized now and Issue 110, our renaissance music issue, is already in the works!

Subscriptions purchased before the “pause” will be honored and you will receive the number of issues you previously paid for.  The 30% savings offer can be used to augment existing subscriptions or create a new one.  This is the perfect time to purchase Renaissance Magazine as a Yule gift for that history or renaissance faire buff in your life!

Going forward, your Renaissance Magazine will look and feel familiar. The primary content addition will be a stronger focus on the modern medieval and renaissance movements. For example, in 2017 you can expect in-depth coverage on the nation’s first medieval summer camp for kids, the renaissance music scene, the explosive growth of mead, as well as renewed focus on the handcrafted movement such as glass blowers and sword makers.

We are huge believers in the future of Renaissance Magazine and we hope you enjoy it as much or more so than you have in the past!

Yours truly,

The Renaissance Magazine Team