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Well Met: Renaissance Faires and the American Counterculture Hardcover – Nov 19 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 359 pages
  • Publisher: New York Univ Pr (Nov. 19 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814771386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814771389
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,636,260 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

"Rubin writes with deep insight and terrific humor; and as intelligent as the book is, it also embodies a joyful appreciation for the quirky inventiveness of its protagonists. I can't wait for the movie!"-Matthew Frye Jacobson, Yale University

"With historical verve and ethnographic clarity, Rachel Rubin takes us past the cliched images of bodices, turkey legs, and 'men in tights' to reveal a sustained subcultural answer to an ongoing American dilemma: how to let your freak flag fly in a conformist society. Flower power may be dry and pressed, but the Renaissance Faire stages a world where utopian visions of acceptance, non-normativity, and exuberant sexuality still hold sway." -Tavia Nyong'o, New York University

"In its first decade, the Renaissance Faire unleashed a multi-colored sub-culture in direct revolt against the monochrome of post-War America. It was a home-grown explosion of fancy dress, Shakespearian improv, hand-made objects both useful and ornamental and music ancient and obscure, much of it heard for the first time in the dusty lanes of the Faire. Rachel Rubin deftly reveals the impact the Faire has had on style, craft, performance and pop culture over the past fifty years in a one-of-a-kind study that begins in the left-wing lanes of Laurel Canyon, continues through backstage conflicts and couplings, and concludes with the corporatized, commercialized Festivals and geeky Ren-fandom of today. Well Met is a must-read to revel in the true roots of 'Sixties' culture. I know. I was there."-David Ossman, member of the Firesign Theatre

"Anti-modernism remains one of modernity's most significant and lasting inventions, and in Rachel Rubin's Well Met the theme finally gets its due. In the odd but telling subculture of the Renaissance Faire, Rubin finds anti-modernism intertwined with some of the most important strands of twentieth-century American culture--waning traces of vaudeville, the rise of the counterculture, shifting gender arrangements and sexual practices, a hunger for usable pasts, a rising politics of theatricality, and the culture's impressive penchant for commercialized anti-commercialism. Rubin writes with deep insight and terrific humor; and as intelligent as the book is, it also embodies a joyful appreciation for the quirky inventiveness of its protagonists. I can't wait for the movie!"-Matthew Frye Jacobson, Yale University

"Anti-modernism remains one of modernity's most significant and lasting inventions, and in Rachel Rubin's Well Met the theme finally gets its due. In the odd but telling subculture of the Renaissance Faire, Rubin finds anti-modernism intertwined with some of the most important strands of twentieth-century American culture--waning traces of vaudeville, the rise of the counterculture, shifting gender arrangements and sexual practices, a hunger for usable pasts, a rising politics of theatricality, and the culture's impressive penchant for commercialized anti-commercialism. Rubin writes with deep insight and terrific humor; and as intelligent as the book is, it also embodies a joyful appreciation for the quirky inventiveness of its protagonists. I can't wait for the movie!"-Matthew Frye Jacobson, Yale University

"In its first decade, the Renaissance Faire unleashed a multi-colored sub-culture in direct revolt against the monochrome of postwar America. It was a home-grown explosion of fancy dress, Shakespearian improv, hand-made objects both useful and ornamental, and music ancient and obscure, much of it heard for the first time in the dusty lanes of the Faire. Rachel Rubin deftly reveals the impact the Faire has had on style, craft, performance, and pop culture over the past fifty years in a one-of-a-kind study that begins in the left-wing lanes of Laurel Canyon, continues through backstage conflicts and couplings, and concludes with the corporatized, commercialized Festivals and geeky Ren-fandom of today. Well Met is a must-read to revel in the true roots of 'Sixties' culture. I know. I was there."-David Ossman, member of the Firesign Theatre

"From Laurel Canyon to a state fairground near you, the Renaissance Faire has been an enduring but oft-dismissed facet of American counter-culture. With historical verve and ethnographic clarity, Rachel Rubin takes us past the cliched images of bodices, turkey legs, and 'men in tights' to reveal a sustained subcultural answer to an ongoing American dilemma: how to let your freak flag fly in a conformist society. Flower power may be dry and pressed, but the Renaissance Faire stages a world where utopian visions of acceptance, non-normativity, and exuberant sexuality still hold sway." -Tavia Nyong'o, New York University

"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",

"Fascinating [and] forthcoming."-"San Francisco Bay Guardian",

"Rubin's book is a trailblazer."-"Colorado Springs Independent",

"[C]areful, informative, and thought-provoking...Well Met is packed with welcome detours into fascinating historical byways."-"Slate",

"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."-"Durrants",

"Fascinating account of the evolution of a US institution."-"Choice"

"[C]areful, informative, and thought-provoking...Well Met is packed with welcome detours into fascinating historical byways."-"Slate"

"Academic but pleasingly readable."-Ander Monson, "LA Review of Books"

"Rubin wins over readers...she argues compellingly."-"H-Net Reviews"

"Rubin's book is a trailblazer."-"Colorado Springs Independent"

"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"

"Fascinating [and] forthcoming."-"San Francisco Bay Guardian"

Anti-modernism remains one of modernity's most significant and lasting inventions, and in Rachel Rubin's Well Met the theme finally gets its due. In the odd but telling subculture of the Renaissance Faire, Rubin finds anti-modernism intertwined with some of the most important strands of twentieth-century American culture waning traces of vaudeville, the rise of the counterculture, shifting gender arrangements and sexual practices, a hunger for usable pasts, a rising politics of theatricality, and the culture's impressive penchant for commercialized anti-commercialism. Rubin writes with deep insight and terrific humor; and as intelligent as the book is, it also embodies a joyful appreciation for the quirky inventiveness of its protagonists. I can't wait for the movie! -Matthew Frye Jacobson, Yale University"

In its first decade, the Renaissance Faire unleashed a multi-colored sub-culture in direct revolt against the monochrome of postwar America. It was a home-grown explosion of fancy dress, Shakespearian improv, hand-made objects both useful and ornamental, and music ancient and obscure, much of it heard for the first time in the dusty lanes of the Faire. Rachel Rubin deftly reveals the impact the Faire has had on style, craft, performance, and pop culture over the past fifty years in a one-of-a-kind study that begins in the left-wing lanes of Laurel Canyon, continues through backstage conflicts and couplings, and concludes with the corporatized, commercialized Festivals and geeky Ren-fandom of today. Well Met is a must-read to revel in the true roots of Sixties culture. I know. I was there. -David Ossman, member of the Firesign Theatre"

Academic but pleasingly readable. -Ander Monson, "LA Review of Books""

"[C]areful, informative, and thought-provoking . . .Well Met is packed with welcome detours into fascinating historical byways."-"Slate""

"Rubin wins over readers . . . she argues compellingly."-"H-Net Reviews"

"Rubin effectively probes how the [Renaissance] fairs exemplify familiar aspects of the American counterculture. She also seeks to illuminate how they are important not only as a forgotten aspect of a completed history but also as vibrant contemporary affairs . . . . They are, for Rubin, spaces of continued counter-cultural activity that, through constant renegotiations of the past, invoke visions of future potential renaissances for a United States stuck in the dark ages."-Michael J. Kramer, "Journal of American History"

"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."-"Durrants""

[T]he depth of her research, particularly from ahistorical perspective, is impressive, and the work will be a valuable resource for anyone doing research on Renaissance faires. Non-scholar fans of Renaissance faires will probably find it interesting as well, and appreciate finding a scholarly work that is not overly critical. -"Journal of Folklore Research ""

About the Author

Rachel Lee Rubin is Professor of American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is author of Immigration and American Popular Culture (with Jeffrey Melnick, NYU Press) and Jewish Gangsters of Modern Literature, and co-editor of American Popular Music: New Approaches to the Twentieth Century and Radicalism in the South since Reconstruction.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa15ab27c) out of 5 stars 17 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa15bef9c) 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.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa15c1204) 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....
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa15c11c8) 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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa15c14bc) 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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa15c151c) out of 5 stars Impact of the Faire June 10 2014
By S. Cranow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Once could say that the whole concept of the Renaissance Faire, which has become so popular, started out as a dream Ron and Phyllis Patterson. Phyllis had been involved in education and the arts back east working with Middle School and adolescent kids. When they moved out here to California they moved to the Laurel Canyon area. The concept started out as kids getting dressed up in costume and performing. They would go about on a wagon loaned from one of the many entertainment figures living there. She worked at children’s center in the area. From there the idea sort of took off.

The first faire which happened in Southern California was done in connection with KPFK and Pacifica Radio. The first faire was a fund raiser. Now back in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s the entertainment figures and residents of Laurel Canyon were involved with liberal causes and were often under scrutiny from the conservative establishment. KPFK was a liberal radio station oft times being accused of being communist. The first faire was a resounding success. The faire also attracted hippies and would be an influence on society at large.

The second faire was held in Ventura County. The first weekend went off well but the establishment was doing it’s best to thwart it. First the sheriff’s office was requiring al the vendors to get fingerprinted. Then the Ventura county zoing board managed to get the faire banned on the second weekend. This caused the vendors to lose lots of money.

After that the faire got it’s own place in Agoura Hills. The cultural watershed was both an influence and influenced by the pervading hippie culture. The fare helped inaugurate an interest in hand crafted goods as opposed to the mass produced plastic goods. Glasss blowers off made a show of what they did. The Pattersons would also travel to communes and communities where hand crafts were made. They would serve as a market for these goods and help boost their popularity. In this sense the faire served as a bastion or refuge away from the captitistic society that was all encompassing.

The spirit of free love and relaxed boundaries in the realm of relationships found a home in the faire where people could live out this lifestyle or different lifestyles as the faire community was tolerant and accepting of both. Such an attitude was maintained and preserved even up to the present day. Music was also changed. It became more ethnic and eventually more historical incorporating more element of Celtic and Middle Eastern. Had it not been for the faire one could wonder if we would have such a wide variety of interest in international music.

The faire has it’s own community of vendors who travel from faire to faire living in their own moving neighborhoods and culture. These vendors travel in small mobile homes living out of the vans they house their good. Cadres of children grow up together and are homeschooled.

The faire has been about for some time going through many changes. Atfirst being a refuge and countercultural activity. To becoming an activity more obsessed with historical accuracy. Now it has become corporatized yet element of the past still remain.


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