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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:This year I am happy to report our performance book is filled for Renaissance Faires. This is great. we are returning to several shows we have been at for awhile and are behelden to a contract by....problem is that , in competing with the recent boom in faires appearing everywhere, two that we have contracts with have become more strict in thier costume requirements.Because we are an independet act, we use our own costumes, no big deal. When doing the fire shows (which is at most faires now) I wear a loose leather bodice, leather pants of a "Hercules:Legendary Journeys" style and a 1/2 sleeved gauze/cotton peasant blouse under it all...and I have never had issues. This year however they are requiring us to wear more "authentic" costumes. This is no problem for Prom but for me...eek!
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This means, from bottom layer to top, stockings, bloomers (ankle length underwear), a cotton/gauze full sleeve shoulder to ankle length camise, an ankle length full circle skirt and a steel boned bodice which dips bwteen my hips in the front and to my waist in the back (done up tightly for that renaissance cleavage).Problems are...no rolling in skirts or that bodice, behind the back moves in that much clothes...no, You can't get a good full breath with the bodice done up, let alone bend or move properly for some of the moves, under the legs are out and between the laces on the sleeves and laces on the bodice there will be lace ends to serve as little wicks everywhere.We have tried to explain this to the management but they won't hear it. If we don't adhere to thier codes, we are in breach of contract and facing a lawsuit. We do adhere and either the show elements are cut down to sheer basics my son can do or I turn into a human pyre. We don't want to ruin the show by "dumbing it down" and we want to return to this faire, it's a really good paying one (at $700 per day).Prom's brother is a fireman so he is getting us fire resistant spray but that won't help the limitations on my mobility and flexibility.Please....****help****!!???
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Thanks in advance for any and all suggestions.------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...[This message has been edited by Pele (edited 06 February 2001).]


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Posted:So there are no other options for 'authentic period dress'?perhaps you could dress up as a man? (no joke).um...hmm...setting yourself on fire, and burning off various bits of your outer layer, such that your mobility is improved would be a show stopper and a half! (perhaps too dangerous?).if you made most of the costume out of lycra (I know - flamable) it would be much more flexible, and perhaps you could retain the 'look' without losing heaps of mobility?In the end - you have to put food on the table, if the management are too stupid to realise that for you they need to bend the rules, then perhaps they deserve a dumbed down show? As long as you deliver the best you can given the restraints, I think you can still hold your head high.If you post more detail about the actual restraints you are under, maybe we can come up with a stronger argument and / or a better solution.Heres hoping,Josh.

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Posted:hey pele,i'm assuming (sadly) that this costuming thing is covered in your contract? i'm thinking their must be some legal way out of it. do you have any lawyer friends? maybe you should talk to them about it.... i can't see how putting your personal safety in jeopardy isn't breeching contract on their end... but that might be my lame ignorant legelese.if it were my situation i'd fuck 'em. find a nice lawyer friend to slap them in the face with an impending law suit, if they don't agree to your terms, or agree that you can't reach a mutual contract under these new guidelines, then it's not worth either of your time. you can't put a price on personal safety, nor is that a basis for doing a show that you think will suck ass because the basis established for your show is unduly effected by their change in guidelines. no one is going to be awed if you feel like a dork ( it's that audience perception of passion deal again). :-(:-(what a sucky ass situation.:-(:-(

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Jesse


member
Location: Pittsburgh, PA/ USA

Total posts: 118
Posted:Just a couple of suggestions here... I'm not exactly sure what your contract stipulations are, so these may or may not be helpful...1. Plastic boning. I have two kinds of bodices. Steel boned for when I want to look really, really good, and plastic boned for when I know I'm going to be a perpetual motion machine. The plastic boning allows for a lot more mobility, but when you're standing still, it offers (not nearly as harsh, unfortunately) some of the look of steel. (Do you make your own costumes?)2. Do you think you could perform in the bodice and the bloomers and stockings? I know danskin makes a line of solid cotton tights, so you'd be okay there... You could work it into your "competition style" show so that Promethius starts getting worried about winning and pulls your skirt down/off as a "distraction" conveniently leaving you to wow the audience with trickier moves and comic relief at the same time... It may not be what management had in mind, but its what they're demanding... I've found that if you pretend to bend over backwards to do what management asks, and make them look ridiculous in the process... The suddenly become more... flexible. I have to play with new management all the time in my line of work, and I've found that "agreeing" with them, and being willing to make myself and them look extremely silly in the process, often times gets more results than even the most temporate and reasonable of arguements...<hugs>Jesse

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Jesse


member
Location: Pittsburgh, PA/ USA

Total posts: 118
Posted:Oooh! I'd almost forgotten this trick! I used to have this one particularly poorly made (It was one of my first attempts) where the boning kept sliding out of the sleeves that they were sewn into... You could put velcro tabs on the bottoms of all the boning sleves, and slide all the boning out of your bodice right before performances, and then when you're done, slide it all right back in. I thought about using that technique for all my steel boned bodices so that I could throw them in the wash - but then I changed personas and never got around to it...

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adamrice


adamrice

poo-bah
Location: Austin TX USA

Total posts: 1015
Posted:The position the management is taking is unconscionable. This is a serious safety issue, not to mention one that impinges your ability to perform. These two factors should give you a plausible out (perhaps *they* are violating some term they agreed to), and at least provide some negotiating leverage. Although it would require another, different costume, perhaps you can work up an act where you are Barbarian Girl, brought back from Parts Unknown with Skills Arcane & Wondrous. Then you could get away with just about any kind of primitive-looking leather costume.There's a belly dancer in Austin I've met who grazed a candle in her flowing costume, and wound up with severe burns over most of her body. She's doing surprisingly well now, but when I hear of someone insisting Pele place herself at similar (greater, really) risk, I am appalled. I am also a bit bemused that, while insisting on costuming appropriate to the period, they aren't insisting on a historically-accurate performance (what would that be, anyhow?).------------------Adam Rice :: www.fire-gear.com[This message has been edited by adamrice (edited 07 February 2001).]

Laugh while you can, monkey-boy

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Simos


enthusiast
Location: London, UK

Total posts: 382
Posted:hey Pele...gee that sucks!!! i can't help much apart from building on what flavio correctly pointed out... i am no lawyer (and don't know about US law) myself but have some intuition for law matters so this is my thoughts:1) Contracts in general are not always valid - most of them are poorly laid out from people that have no understanding of the law; the fact that you have signed does not mean anything if the contract is not a valid one; on top of that it certainly is not valid if it involves you getting in that kind of risk...2) The contract you have signed seems to me as a very general one; i am sure you must be able to get away with it by wearing other clothes or do as Jesse said and find a way to get rid of them 5 minutes after the beginning of the show!3) It seems to me that your bigger problem is not the lawsuit at the moment but the fact that you do want to return to this faire (although if i were you i might have reconsidered with this kind of management!) - the money does sound really good so i reckon it's worth it...by going against the management you are obviously not achieving much in terms of returning to the fair next year (assuming it's gonna be the same management) - so however stupid my advise sounds i think that you should go back to them and talk it over again... go in good spirit and try and work something out in terms of the clothing - something more 'authentic' but not the whole human-wick-that-cannot-breathe-properly outfit they are suggesting; if that fails just tell them it's up to them, you either wear the whole thing and do a very basic and dull performance (which i don't think they'll like, especially since they will then have to pay you $700 for just standing there) or wearing something more appropriate and giving them a great performance; at the end of the day if they prefer you in full costume and don't mind at all about how basic your performance is i would say go for it - cartainly don't risk your safety just go there and take it easy, Prom can do a bit more and you can do safer moves - i know it sucks not being able to perform as well as you can but at the end of the day the main reason you want to come back to this faire is the good money and by doing what i said before you will probably won't have a problem coming to the faire next year...anyway that's just my thoughts on a first glance, i hope it helps a bit and you sort it out soon
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,Simos


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Posted:Oh, sister, that's so hard. If you've exhausted all your options, I suppose siking the lawyers on them is a last ditch. The unfortunate thing is you can bring in the sharks and win and you'll still have to work with organizers and they will probably be less willing to work with you cooperatively. Jesse's work-arounds sound great. I like Adam's "Arcane and Wondrous" idea, too. Maybe there's still some way to work within the limitations they're setting out. I'm sorry this is such a butt-pain. <safety rant>Remember folx, not all fabrics are created equal. Adam's friend was probably wearing rayon. It goes up like tissue paper in a flame. I'm so sorry for her injury. I never want anyone to suffer like that. Remember, fire retardant is just that. I know someone who got very serious burns even though his costume was treated with flame retardant. All petrol-based fabrics (polyester, rayon, lycra) tend to melt and bond to skin when burned. Wear natural fibers (cotton, wool, leather) to avoid quick burning and melting fabrics. </safety rant>Diana

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:My heartfelt thanks to all for the loads of supportive replies and suggestions.Flavio, and those others who inquired,I went back through our contract, and found the clause which states "Management reserves to rights to require said acts to alter their appearance and/or show content to adhere to the guidelines and requirements of the establishment. The guidelines are subject to change at any time, said acts are expected to comply with any management decisions regarding these issues, accepting that it is for the greater good of the audience and performance venue."Essentially this is common in faire contracts because some faires allow much more inuendo and sexual content than others. This clause usually is meant to cover when the faires go from bawdy to not bawdy over a year. This is the first time it has applied to costumes, though I knew it could but usually for those costumes which are wholly inappropriate. I took contract law and know this is actually a pretty good contract, and very standard, which if we had a standard show that would be wonderful. As Diana said, even if I bring in lawyers I still have to deal with the management to fulfill our contractual obligations and so don't want to have to go there. While the money is good there is so much more to it than that. I love performing more than I can express within the limits of the boards. I love the Ren faire audience who are amazingly receptive and fun to be with, to play off of and interact with. I can not put a price on safety but I also don't want to ruin my reputation and professionalism either. I give my all to every show I do. I take the stage with absolute conviction and love. I follow through on my end of every contract I sign, and give it my all for my own peace of mind and for the audience, idiot management be damned. I think that is what is most destressing over this is that I am facing comprimising my professional ethics and beliefs, yes for the great cause of safety, but it is still a comprimise I am hoping to get out of. Josh,my costume was actually a more feminine version of Proms, as I had described before and so was entirely period, though not true to female clothing. I just couldn't bring myself to wear anything other than natural fibers. I am too afraid of the human melting torch act to take that chance!Jesse, thank you for the costume suggestions. I usually have someone make my bodice and camise, while I make the skirts and bloomers. I move alot in my other shows and would be afraid of the velcro either coming loose or getting stuck on some of my props, though the plastic boning is a wonderful sounding option I am going to explore.I have brought the faires costumers into this. They are going to take an appeal on my behalf to management and if that doesn't work they are going to brain storm as well.I love the idea of the bodice and bloomers and stockings...and Prom yanking on the skirt. That is ***so*** funny. I think that performing it depends on the bawdiness of the shows (since that is concidered risque for the period) and how true to social form the faire is going to be (my guess is very). Worth a shot in presenting it to the costumers to see if they think management would go for it.To Simos and all who suggested that I "dumb down" the show, I fear that is actually my last ditch course of action. I, however, am not asking Prom to do any more than his part. I don't want him to work harder to have to carry me in the show, this situation is as unfair to him as it is to me. My hope is, if it comes down to it is this, that the audience will notice a change not only in my costume (which if I have to wear it I came up with a story that my clothes were stolen and these were on loan to me) but in our usual performance standards and complain about it to management. At which point in time I will have a proof posistive supporting arguement that they can not deny. At least that is my hope.Adam, the Arcane and Wonderous is amazing, and would work at Medieval faires but not in Ren faires, unfortunately. If I had more confidence in the shape of my body I would actually try it but I don't so there I fear is my downfall. Maybe someday I'll have that confidence and try it out...a whole amazonian kind of thing. Thanks I love the idea!In talking earlier with Simos I realized I have a photo of the costume I am discussing on my web site....so if you want to see it and then maybe make some possible advice to changes that might be done....www.freespeech.org/spiderbladeclick on performances and then on Birdie. It should be the first photo.Thanks again to all for your advice and concern. It really has meant alot to me and I will keep you updated as to my success (or not) in the situation.
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------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...


Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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Posted:how about some kind of nun / habit thing? there were plenty of nuns during the renaissance.you could then maybe get away without a corset/bodice, there would definatley be no lacey stuff and you might even be able to get what you normally wear underneath it.good luck with what ever you end up with

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Chris @ Fireworks


member
Location: Melbourne Victoria Australia

Total posts: 4
Posted:Hey Pele,there is one more option. That is to pull the job. Cancelling a job on the basis of personal and third party injury is not something that should be taken lightly and may show your intent clearly on this matter. If your insured as i am, then they would probably like to know that if anything did happen, the insurance company will refuses to pick up the tab (which they probably will).I know the moneys good but the damage to yourself and your professional reputation is worth far more than what their paying. I, on behalf of Fireworks, have occasionally pulled a job sighting safety and if they didn't like it, I really couldn't give a shit. Clients and venue operators do it my way or hit the highway. Simple as that. Just remember Pele, you live in litigation central and you dont want to make a mistake that you'll being paying for, for the rest of your days. Other than that you could play Lady Gadiva (I think thats how you spell it!)and ride naked on horse back, but you'll have trouble finding a horse that plays with fire me thinks.Hope you can work it all out.C'ya, Chris @ Fireworks.

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Posted:Yeah, Chris, that's a really good point. They should know if your insurance won't cover an incident created by your performance under these circumstances. This could also make a strong bargaining point if you choose to continue to negotiate. I'm sure Ren Faire doesn't want someone suing them for negligence. Good for you, Chris, for being so strong on your principals. Which bring up another subject I'll post as a new topic. Diana

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Chris @ Fireworks


member
Location: Melbourne Victoria Australia

Total posts: 4
Posted:Ta Di,not enough is spoken about liability and the necessary insurance. I have a beef with some pyros who put themselves out there and are either too tight or too stupid to go out and get some cover. Especially if its a new experience and their not totally with it. The bain of my life is half cocked people who on a whim, do fire, f#*k up and dont have any cover. They not only put themselves at great personal risk, but make it doubely as hard for other pro pyros to get in the door in the future. Common sense is highly under rated and can make all the difference in the end.Safe twirling, Chris @ Fireworks.

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Posted:Thank you Chris! I'm such an advocate of responsibility to your fellow pyros. And granted we all start someone. We all at one point knew nothing about fire performance, much less fire safety, insurance, etc. I'd encourage everyone to think about your impact on your community at large. If I put on a fire show and it rocks out, the next time the organizers put on a show, they'll say "let's get a fire dancer again". It may not be me, but someone in the community will be supported by my good efforts. If I put on a mediocre show, they'll say "let's get a DJ" and the community suffers. One a more serious scale, it only takes one serious fire due to fire performance errors to shut down a pro fire scene anywhere. So, yeah, if you're doing pro gigs, act like one. Create a rockin' show, get your safety regime together, work with your Fire Marshall, and get insured. Diana

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ykaterina
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

member
Location: east randolph, VT USA

Total posts: 107
Posted:hey, pele -

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ykaterina
BRONZE Member since Jan 2001

member
Location: east randolph, VT USA

Total posts: 107
Posted:hey, pele -there's a lot of good suggestions, but there's one that i think hasn't been explored yet. so, in addition to the fire thing, i'm big active in the SCA and historically accurate ren faires - and there's two big important points you could argue here: a woman dressed as you've described would NEVER twirl fire, and for that matter, women weren't allowed to perform. their request is completely out of character. fire twirling IS actually period (historically accurate), so what you need to do is a little research or just creative thinking about what a woman at that time would really have done. well, for starters, women who wanted to perform publicly had to pose as men, as women were forbidden from performing. so there's very strong case for you to just dress as a man with your hair back. sure, the crowd will know/suspect you're a woman, but those sorts of scandals happened back then too, and perhaps you could work that into the show. if they don't buy that and make you be a girl, then you can still press the point that a woman wouldn't have been dressed that way to do this work - think about blacksmiths or artisans or anything else: it all has its special attire. a woman who really gained community acceptance to do this sort of thing still wouldn't have the money to endanger her "good clothes"...she'd definitely wear a different outfit. (she'd also probably be more or less an outcast, and at the very least ill-respected) it may have a bodice and some kind of skirt, but it'd be pared down, and lack the boning all together. anyway, use your imagination, but if this guy was SCA and you made this point, you'd get it through. good luck! if you want any help with the costume design, i'm happy to help!

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Pele
BRONZE Member since Dec 2000

Pele

the henna lady
Location: WNY, USA

Total posts: 6193
Posted:Thanks yKaterina. I, myself, used to be a Sca-dian. I have actually done tonnes of research into the medieval and Renn era's, and indeed know how to make my own costumes, just can't find the time to indulge in it.The thing with many faires (this one especially) is that they are finicky over accuracy. They say we must have a certain level of accuracy, yet fire performing while largely in asian/polynesian cultures wasn't in England (I have researched) in the 14-1500's. Women, I agree weren't allowed to perform, but if there were no women on stage now many spectators would be lost (male of course) and there would definatley be lawsuits for descrimination. In those respects, the rules are bent. In fact, the faire I am talking about has the joust proudly sponsored by "Lord Pepsi" and "Sir Bud-Light". There are liberties taken for entertainment purposes but in order to suspend the audiences disbelief, there are others that are not allowed. The big difference between faires and SCA is that faires are for the entertainment of the masses, and the usually historically ignorant or naieve. SCA is primarily for themselves, and while not fully accurate either, they go to greater lengths to acheive this. The era's in discussion were plagued, filthy and impoverished by all but an overall few, even during their "heydays". No one wants to accurately protray that for we don't want to dwell on the bad. But I digress off topic. The costumers plead my case to which this agreement has been reached: The first weekend I do one day their way (but dumbed down of course) and one day my way. There will be a management rep at the shows who will watch the audience response on each day and then report which costume worked for the most entertainment of the audience. We all know my way will work but they need to learn the hard way. This, I feel, is a good comprimise though I do have to now wear a more bodice looking piece overall anyway, less vestlike, which is where the non or plastic boning is going to come into play (thank you ladies).As for insurance. As long as I pay, the insurance company is happy. We have the same insurance company as several circus acts and such (from Universal Studios Florida) and so they are used to dealing with acts a bit more dangerous than ours.I also want to thank Diana, Chris and Flavio for their insights on personal safety and insurances and such as I feel they were 100% correct on all points made, and when our contract is up for resigning, it is being changed!!!!Also, I loved the Thermogenesis policy listed on the technicalities thread. Very complete, simple and nicely done.Thanks to all and I will let you know how it goes. Your insights and support have been helpful and amazing! (I directed the costumers to the site before they spoke to managemtent to read what everyone had written. Even they hadn't realised the extent of the issue until reading all your posts!!!) ------------------Pele Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir...

Pele
Higher, higher burning fire...making music like a choir
"Oooh look! A pub!" -exclaimed after recovering from a stupid fall
"And for the decadence of art, nothing beats a roaring fire." -TMK

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