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Well Met: Renaissance Faires and the American Counterculture [Hardcover]

Rachel Rubin

Price: CDN$ 71.32 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

Nov. 19 2012
The Renaissance Faire - a 50 year-long party, communal ritual, political challenge and cultural wellspring - receives its first sustained historical attention with Well Met. Beginning with the chaotic communal moment of its founding and early development in the 1960s through its incorporation as a major "family friendly" leisure site in the 2000s, Well Met tells the story of the thinkers, artists, clowns, mimes, and others performers who make the Faire. Well Met approaches the Faire from the perspective of labour, education, aesthetics, business, the opposition it faced, and the key figures involved. Drawing upon vibrant interview material and deep archival research, Rachel Lee Rubin reveals the way the faires established themselves as a pioneering and highly visible counter cultural referendum on how we live now - our family and sexual arrangements, our relationship to consumer goods, and our corporate entertainments. In order to understand the meaning of the faire to its devoted participants, both workers and visitors, Rubin has compiled a dazzling array of testimony, from extensive conversations with Faire founder Phyllis Patterson to interviews regarding the contemporary scene with performers, crafters, booth workers and "playtrons." Well Met pays equal attention what came out of the faire - the transforming gifts bestowed by the faire's innovations and experiments upon the broader American culture: the underground press of the 1960sand 1970s, experimentation with "ethnic" musical instruments and styles in popular music, the craft revival, and various forms of immersive theatre are all connected back to their roots in the faire. Original, intrepid, and richly illustrated, Well Met puts the Renaissance Faire back at the historical centre of the American counterculture.

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Review

"Rubin (American studies, Univ. of Massachusetts, Boston; Immigration and Popular Culture) focuses on the faire as phenomenon, and while the book presents an in-depth look at its 50-year existence, it's with an eye toward exploring its continued place in the counterculture and its significant effects on subcultural movements in music, crafts, and theater... The results are a must read for anyone interested in a nonstereotypical view of the faire, its adherents, and why it retains its appeal decades after its inception." Library Journal, October 2012 "The fascinating, forthcoming Well-Met: Renaissance Faires and the American Counterculture (NYU Press, release date November 19), a study of the phenomenon and its political and cultural echoes by Rubin -- a professor of American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston -- just might temper any Renaissance indigestion. Its deep and compelling tale of the Faire's reach, much of it emanating from a specifically Californian aesthetic of soft-golden attitudes and ecstatic liberal expression, certainly had me revisiting some of my own preconceptions, even yearning to be part of the revelry. Somebody polish me a codpiece!" San Fransisco Bay Guardian, October 2012 "[C]areful, informative, and thought-provoking...Well Met is packed with welcome detours into fascinating historical byways." - Slate.com "Rachel Lee Rubin is good on the analogies, and overlaps, between 'rennies' and other communities, from science fiction fans to sexual fetishists...Rubin's survey of fairs in popular culture is for the most part exhaustive... Ultimately - and the strength of Rachel Lee Rubin's book is that she understands and celebrates this - the point of Renaissance fairs is that a lot of people find pleasure in them." - Roz Kaveney, Times Literary Supplement, 22nd March 2013 "Readers who had always intuited a connection between the sixties counterculture and the faire, but who lacked the details, will find their curiosity sated. Those hoping for a holistic appraisal of a faire network that remains rambunctiously alive will be even more pleased." - Terry Wagner (Louisiana State University), H-1960s

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  13 reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Renaissance Revealed! Jan. 27 2013
By Douglas S. Kondziolka - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the stories of the Renaissance Festival subculture that the book had to offer. As a member of an act which has been performing at Festivals for over 30 years I found most of the information to be accurate and I enjoyed the mini-interviews with various participants. It obviously originates from an "academic" POV and maintains much of this flavor in the book. I do wish it had been written better; at times the writing is difficult to follow....
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent history of "the Faire" Dec 20 2012
By Freddy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is a very nice piece of scholarship by Ms. Rubin. Each page is dense with Faire history, context and socio-political analysis of the milieu from which the Faire has evolved. The people and theatrical productions and techniques that have shaped the Faire are discussed and explained with a thoroughness that will help those who enjoy the Faire to understand why the Faire has become important to them. There is also an interesting chapter on those folks who dislike the Faire and an examination of why this is the case. This book, at times, is a somewhat intellectual analysis, but none-the-less somehow manages to not get dull. I found it to be a very enjoyable read that moved along at a brisk pace.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a wonderful and personal journey May 26 2013
By john - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was very much involved with this original Renaissance Faire. The Faire, and so many people mentioned in this book who made it happen, brought a lot of magic to my life that I will never forget. Reading the book takes me back. A real joy to read.

John Reed
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended! Aug. 4 2014
By d. hostetler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As an artist/shopkeeper at the MN Renaissance Festival I've been a Fest participant for almost 30 years. Over the course of that time I've noticed that people everywhere seem to be of two minds about it: they either love Fest and absolutely everything about it, or they hate it completely (even if they've never set foot there....). I loved it from the moment I visited for the first time in the 70s, and becoming a part of it a decade later felt like Coming Home to my Clan. But many of my family members, co-workers, neighbors, friends, etc. had (and still have) no idea what to make of it, and so to avoid their negative opinions I've learned to keep Fest close to my heart unless asked about it. I've often wondered over the years if the judgmental reactions I've gotten haven't made me feel a bit ashamed.... Finding this book has turned everything around for me. Half a chapter into it and I was already urging my guy to purchase a copy so we could read it together. It's taught us both something new and given us TONS to talk about. Thank you, Rachel Lee Rubin. Your book has renewed my pride in being a part of such a fascinating (and often misunderstood) subculture.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Renaissance Faire - Counterculture People & Lifestyle May 13 2013
By Adlai Climan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A great history of the Faire as the seeds were planted, grew, blossomed, matured. For those who have ever worked a faire, a must-read. For those who ever visited a faire, particularly in California, tis will tell you how it all started and show you the "man behind the curtain" as they say in Oz. Lots of quotes from people I know, but if these are just names on paper, they won't have as much meaing for the casual reader. Could use LOTS more photos.

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