vinceconaway: (Default)
It's been awhile since I posted anything; I've been busy on other platforms. I get occasional ribbing for my loyalty to Livejournal, but I'm not a fan of WordPress and all my archives are here. I can see a time coming when I might port or mirror my blog on Tumblr, but I'm not quite there yet.

I feel besieged by politics, and living in Ohio doesn't help since blanket advertising is the norm, so surfing social media is off my radar tonight. I've puttered through the various books I'm reading (I'm typically switching between three books at any given time), but haven't been able to sink my teeth into any of them. Then it occurred to me that my new bluetooth keyboard just arrived and that I could write words instead of reading them.

So here I am.

I've been delightfully brainstorming lately. I'm planning two potential busking tours abroad for next year, learning music for my next album and plotting out the one to follow it, and bringing my Patreon campaign to life: I'm very pleased with how well it has been received, and I'm having a lot of fun doing the work involved. Plus, of course, living my life and sharing liberally of it on Facebook and Twitter.

I just spent ten days visiting friends in Canada, which was incredibly refreshing. I had two weekends free so I filled them with an SCA event and a Halloween party, with lots of visits in between, and in general had an amazingly-conversation-filled interlude. I seem to have nailed the balance between socializing and down time, and I'm feeling really well and happy, if somewhat full of Halloween treats.

I'm having a rather wonderful year, though I feel guilty as I watch so many of my friends struggling, and I'm superstitiously looking around to see when another shoe might drop. I'm repeating my mantra of "improvisation is my contingency" as I keep on keeping on, and thankfully my anxiety has been fairly calm since I'm spending so much time plotting interesting scenarios that I'm too busy to contemplate worst cases.

So far, so good, and here we go again!
vinceconaway: (Default)
It started with a simple question among friends: do you consider yourself a SCAdian?

For those who don't know, the term refers to a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, or SCA, and my answer was equivocal: "yes, but with an asterisk".

Identity is a very tricky beast for me, especially since I've woven my own from many disparate strands. There are very few identifiers that I ascribe myself unconditionally, while claiming each as a part of my whole self. Rennie? Asterisk. Busker? Asterisk. North American? Asterisk (growing up among certain Old World Italian rituals left me with a sense of otherness).

Musician?

Asterisk.

The one label to which I could wholeheartedly ascribe, through the course of the conversation, was artist. Part of that is the vagueness of the term itself, but more probably lies in my longstanding efforts to embrace the term. "Artist" is so culturally loaded that I spent years adapting and shaping my conception of the label until I could embrace it as my own.

Apparently those exertions worked, and I can't decide whether I need to expand my efforts to other characterizations or to accept that I'm neither fish nor fowl in the other dimensions.

I'm leaning toward acceptance.
vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)

I can't believe the St. Louis Renaissance Faire is already over, it has been a wonderful season! Even with some questionable weather we dodged a couple bullets, and my deepest sympathies go out to everyone affected by the tornadoes. Thankfully, my experience this time was limited to the evacuation of a movie theatre left without power, after huddling in the lobby until the sirens stopped.

As always, it was a wonderful opportunity to visit with old friends. This was my twelfth year at the festival and I've got a lot of connections among local cast members, patrons, and the traveling performers who make the show an annual stop. It's a wonderful way to leap back into my social life after my time spent alone abroad, and I'm looking to next year with high hopes!

vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)
I have more of a routine than most expect. Here in Washington, most weekdays, I catch a 7:20 bus to the ferry (or an 8:05 if I'm sleepy), walk to Pike Place Market and put my marker in line, perform two hour-long shows between 11 and 3, and get home around 4. 

In Europe I perform Thursday-Sunday roughly 10-noon and again 5-7pm, choosing either a morning or evening set on Tuesday and Wednesday. At renaissance festivals I push hard all weekend and never get out of bed on Monday, doing back-end support Tuesday-Thursday. 

Where I am determines what I'm doing, but it's not as unstructured a life as it might seem. 
vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)
Just the way I like it!

I drove from Colorado to New York, with visits in St Louis, Ohio, and Pennsic interspersed. I then performed a fantastic weekend at the New York Renaissance Faire, finishing at 7pm on Sunday and immediately driving back to Pennsic. I arrived at 2am, buzzed around site a bit, and then spent a full day recovering on Monday. It seems that, while I'm still young enough to do such stupid and foolish things, I'm not so young to pull them off with the grace I once mustered.

Pennsic was splendid, but oddly truncated; I usually spend 8-12 days there and this year's 5 was a bit odd. I missed a lot (and I mean a *lot*) of people I normally get a chance to see, which was a shame. But I did have a lovely time, and the brief bit of busking I did went delightfully. Or maybe blissfully, to maintain the alliteration.

From Pennsic I decamped to Brooklyn (yes, that Brooklyn) to meet up with my good friends Jamie and Katie Haeuser, who were visiting The City in order to get Katie ensconced in an apartment. We hit Manhattan for an amazing dinner, finishing off with cocktails (I switched to non-alcoholic after my dinner drink, being a good boy and a driver).

I then had a second wonderful weekend at the NY Faire, despite a rainy Sunday. That rain made life interesting when I drove into Newark to meet my friend Truly for dinner, since the city was flooding and water was pouring up out of the storm drains. It was a great visit regardless, and despite the continuing uncooperative weather I had an uneventful drive back to Ohio. I'm now visiting my parents for a few days, having seen them for about 48 hours total since January, before heading to the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival next weekend.

The next few weeks will include more visits to Ohio, both northern and southern, as well as some time in Toronto. The saga continues!
vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)
It's a busy week!

I'm pulling out on Sunday night immediately after the show closes, so I've a lot of chores to do. While I've done a good job of keeping my living area neat (a benefit to living out of suitcases), I need to clean before I hand back the keys on Sunday. I'm doing a grocery dance of buying enough food to live without having leftovers to leave. And I'm socializing.

Any festival involves weeks of saying "we should hang out!" followed by a lull which becomes a mad dash to make it happen. This is the dash. I have a lot of friends here, some of whom are going off the road and others whom I see very rarely, so I have some surprisingly full evenings ahead.

And then the real dash begins.

I'll sleep Sunday night in western Kansas, have a brief visit in St Louis, spend a night at my parents' in Cleveland, visit Pennsic, perform a weekend at the New York Renaissance Faire, and go back to Pennsic.

Coffee is my friend.
vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)
I have to remind myself that, while this forum is ideal for expressing deep thoughts and profound ideas, not every post needs to be thus. I'm in Colorado, south of Denver, and about to play my sixth weekend at the Colorado Renaissance Festival. It's a gorgeous show, and it's been a great pleasure to spend time with old friends. Of course, part of that means lying quietly while I nurse a slight hangover this morning, but a small price to pay for a delightful evening of conviviality.

My fall schedule is coming into focus, though October is still a little hazy. After Colorado ends on 31 July I'll hightail it to the outskirts of NYC for the New York Renaissance Faire in Tuxedo Park. I performed as a guest there last year, and I'm delighted to be coming back for two weekends.

Between those two weekends, though, I'll be at Pennsic. My tenth time, and the fortieth held, it's always a pleasure. While I normally get to spend 10-12 days, I'm thankful to be able to make it for the five I'll have this year. After Pennsic I'll be making my debut at the Pittsburgh Renaissance Festival, and while I'm not quite solid on October I'm quite set to end the season at the Louisiana Renaissance Festival in November and December.

I'm hoping my finances will allow me to take a short trip before Christmas, to be determined by how those finances work out. I've got two huge vacation ideas and a bunch of small ones, and I'll see what I can afford as the time approaches. After Christmas I'll record my next CD, which will launch me into a new year!
vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)
Wow, I've just over one week left in New England before heading south to Louisiana. The changing leaves are gorgeous, and the weather is still warm enough to comfortably take my evening walks. Indian Summer is in full bloom (though I don't know if we've technically had a frost yet), and I'm really enjoying being here.

It's always funny the way that time passes for me, especially since I tend to do a lot of traveling even between my major migrations across the country. It's been a peculiar fall, in particular, because I was in one house for three weeks before moving into the place where I'm living now; I'm more used to staying put for the duration of a festival and the division was a little disorienting.

Disoriented by moving, I must be getting old.

I'm looking at the things I brought with me and noticing that I drastically over-packed, and since I stay on the move so often I think that will result in a trip to Goodwill next week to trim down a bit. Minimizing possessions makes it a lot easier to tell when something is out of place; if I don't love it I shouldn't own it. Not to mention the books I bought at the library sale that were deliberately short-term purchases.

The festival is going nicely, though I need to spend more time in my off-hours rehearsing. I'm gearing up to record this winter, and I've got a lot of music written that I'm not very good at playing yet. It seems strange, but original music is much harder for me to learn than that written by others.

It's been a somewhat disjointed post; I feel I should be posting more but didn't have any particular overriding theme for this one. I'll work on that for next time, cheers!
vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)

One of the things I love about Boston audiences is that so many people speak Italian. Oddly, so far this year I've spoken more Spanish, German, Greek, and even Serbian. On the upside, I've kind of impressed myself in being able to recall as much of these as I have.

The weekend was fantastic, with picture perfect weather. People were having fun and in the mood to play on Saturday, and a bit calmer and more inclined towards mellow soothing music on Sunday. One of the hallmarks of an experienced performer, and one I took years to learn, is the ability to recognize when I can use my energy to spike a crowd's and when it's best to go with the groove they're already in. Sunday was along those lines, and once I was clear on that was a lot of fun as well.

Now for some relaxation!

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)

Last weekend I performed a guest weekend at NYRF, to excellent effect. I had a fantastic time and felt warmly appreciated by audience and participants alike. Most surprisingly, a number of people recognized me from the Stockwood Renaissance Faire, nearby but almost ten years gone. Considering I was younger, heavier, and with flowing hair down my back the last time I was performing in the area I'm doubly impressed. And to think I'd been nervous about cutting my hair because of marketing interests.

Lars Lunde was a particularly fond surprise, considering he saw me in glasses as he was driving past and still recognized me. Lars was the promoter, director, heart, and soul behind Stockwood, and one if those folks you meet who are, quite simply, Good People. Losing the opportunity to work with him was one of my greatest regrets from the closing of the Stockwood show, and it was a pleasure to be able to spend a little time catching up.

My good friend Stacy Sioux was also a highlight visit, a flash from the old Ontario Renaissance Festival and also Good People. Besides these were numerous others, from many festivals across the country and the past fifteen years. One of the joys of the circuit is that I could walk onto a faire site for the first time and still be surrounded by friends.

I also felt a pull of memory playing the old stamping grounds of Ken Paulson, who passes away in 2001. A brilliant dulcimer player and fellow Stockwood performer, he gave me advice after my first six months of playing that took me to a whole new level. "That was very good, now try *this*". I still think of him when I play certain tunes.

I'm now back in Onset, Massachusetts for King Richard's Faire, and while a number of close friends are no longer performing here I'm making new ones and treasuring those I have left. The forecast for the weekend is encouraging, and I'm eager to get back at it!

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

Reunions

Jun. 28th, 2010 04:17 pm
vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)

What an amazing weekend it's been! I spent two days with my very close friend Tiffany, whom (as she reminded me) I hadn't seen for longer than a lunch since her wedding five years ago. She has since then had two amazing little boys who it was also a pleasure to meet, not to mention her husband Scott. On Saturday I got to meet another neat little boy as I spent the evening with my friend Amy, whom I hadn't seen in over a decade.

The prompt for these reunions was a guest weekend at the Kentucky Highland Renaissance Festival. It was close to both (at least by my standards), and itself the site of numerous reunions. The manager, Ed, is a friend I met years ago at the Ravenhearst Medieval Faire, the entertainment director Jeff is an old musician buddy from the Ohio Festival, and between those two events I knew quite a few patrons and participants.

One of the most fulfilling faire reunions was with Chris Noon and Tisa McGraw, who were in bands with me in the late 90's. Tisa covered for my incompetence at my first performances on dulcimer, and I came up with my arrangement of "Flowers of Edinburgh" in her living room during my divorce. Chris was one of my greatest musical influences in my early days, and it was incredibly rewarding to play with and for them now that I suck a lot less.

It was a really great weekend, and I'm hoping to be back, and for longer, next year!

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

St Louis

Jun. 6th, 2010 10:38 pm
vinceconaway: (Holland Head Shot)

Today was closing day, and what a fantastic season it has been. It's always a joy to spend so much time among friends and faire family, and I'm always thrilled to return (it takes a lot of attachment to drag me back from Europe every May). I told dirty jokes on stage, wore pink panties on my head (I'm waiting for the facebook photos to start cropping up), and played music for a lot of wonderful people. It's been a blast!

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

Recap

Oct. 27th, 2009 12:33 am
vinceconaway: (Default)
It's been a wonderful two months; here are some of the memories I'm taking away.

Long, rambling, philosophical conversations over wine with close friends.

Turning Facebook into a drinking game.

My New York City performing debut at Marrus' book release party.

Flirting shamelessly with beautiful and intelligent people.

Richard and M.A. visiting for a weekend to reform the Diva Squad from this summer's European adventures.

Poker games with Paul, Jimmy, and Bartlett.

Jamming with Misfits of Avalon at the festival and having Liam, a ten year old drummer, keep up with my warp speed.

Experiencing Montreal for the first time, complete with my first visits to the states of Vermont and New Hampshire (I'll pick up Maine next year).

Paul and I dubbing our house the "Toolshed" and having it live up to the title.


Tomorrow morning I head off into new adventures, but it has been a grand time and I'm happy to be coming back again next fall.
vinceconaway: (Default)
We’re heading into closing weekend here at King Richard’s Faire and I’ve posted almost nothing since arriving here. It’s been an interesting season, to say the least. The weather has been against us a lot this fall, but right now it’s a stunning New England Indian summer so I can hardly complain.

I’ve had adventures in Montreal, Boston, and Manhattan so I haven’t been exactly idle, just not nearly as productive as I would like. Last fall I accomplished a lot because I was prepping and rehearsing to record Dul Siar, but with no new album in the pipeline at the moment my motivation has been lacking. I have, however, written almost an album’s worth of original music in the past year, which is surprising and humbling. It looks like I might have some hard choices to make about what makes it onto the next disc, which is a wonderful conundrum to have.

I’ve done a lot of thinking and realized a lot about myself while walking the beaches of Onset in the past six weeks. I’ve got a few philosophical posts half-written (see productivity, above), and I’ve been thrilled to have had some really amazing conversations with very close, extremely intelligent, and shockingly deep friends (I’m looking forward to more of those as I head south to Louisiana and the salon at the Haeuser Hotel). It’s been a good year, and if not for the weather and recession it would have been a great one. But in that, too, are lessons that I am glad to be learning.
vinceconaway: (Default)
My mother is always mortally offended whenever I use the word "home" to describe anyplace other than her house, so let me just say that it's extremely comfortable to be back on Cape Cod. I'm living with Paolo Garbanzo again in the House of a Thousand Lighthouses (though, when we counted last year, I think we only found 543 or some such), and it is a joy to return. With the ending of vacation season on Labor Day weekend, beach house rentals get really cheap and renaissance faire participants pretty much take over the town of Onset for the rest of the fall.

We had a spectacular opening weekend. The weather was perfect, sunny with highs in the low 70s, and everyone's spirits were high. The mood was a little quieter on Labor Day Monday, but I had a lovely time adjusting my music to the mood and was rewarded with a great response from the audience. All in all it was a fantastic start to the fall festival season. Better still, I got the chance to reunite with some old friends and I'm hoping to see more of them while we're all in the area. I'm excited to be here, and my nightly walks along the beach (startling the jellyfish lurking just offshore into glowing their alarm signals) are again a highlight of my days.
vinceconaway: (Default)
Written last night:

It’s been a fairly rough day of traveling. I performed Sunday for the closing day of the Greater St Louis Renaissance Faire, hopped in my car and drove to northern Ohio. It took a few hours longer than I’d anticipated, so I got about two hours of sleep before getting up to pack and prepare for the summer abroad. As dizzy, nauseous, and disoriented as this made me, I’m hoping that it helps me avoid jetlag (complete with its own set of dizziness, nausea, and disorientation) by screwing up my sleep schedule ahead of time and allowing me to sleep soundly on the transatlantic flight.

Which it certainly did! I was almost regretful that the full stable of good movies (The Wrestler, Milk, Slumdog Millionaire) that I’d wanted to see for awhile went utterly ignored as I crashed. Hard. I even felt refreshed and normal upon arriving at the Paris airport.

Unfortunately that arrival came forty minutes later than scheduled, which was just close enough to my connection that I got my hopes up about making my flight to Belgrade before having them dashed. Still, I met a lovely family who was in the same predicament (a Serbian couple now settled in Nebraska), which was actually a lot of fun. I got put on a flight to Zurich, which then connected me to another flight to Belgrade, coming complete with a pair of naps to match the flights. I am now safely arrived in Belgrade feeling really good about everything except that the airline has no idea where my checked bag might have wound up during all of this.

I’m hopeful, however, that things will work themselves out. I’m really enjoying Belgrade so far, and wishing my dulcimer stand had been packed carry-on so I could try out the busking here. There are a lot of places to play, and a guitarist I spoke to said the cops pretty thoroughly ignore street performers. As things stand I’m going to book at least one more night here since my hotel is comfortable, clean, and cheap, and its address is written on several luggage tags as well as having been left with the airline. Despite a pretty brutal day I feel like I’m off to a good start!

June 10 Update: My suitcase is on its way from Paris as I type this, and should be in my hands by this evening. Things are looking good!
vinceconaway: (Default)
It's been a few weeks since I've posted anything, and they've been going very quickly. The St Louis Renaissance Faire has been treating me very well, and it's a great pleasure to be back among so many friends. It's an atmosphere that I always find rejuvenating; after a few months of performing six days a week the more relaxed pace of a festival is always welcome, and this one in particular reminds me of why I so love performing.

Still, I'm getting very excited to head back to Europe a week from next Monday. I'll be in areas I've never been, as well as a return to Austria for the first time since 2006. It should be a grand adventure, and one that is almost surprising in how quickly it's approaching!
vinceconaway: (Default)
I had a very good day busking in Seattle, and being recognized from the Maryland Renaissance Festival by some tourists was a pretty cool moment of Pebble Stardom (all rights reserved marrusart.com).  I also got new business cards, but otherwise there's little to report.  I do, however, have pictures from the ferry ride to share!



vinceconaway: (Default)
Wow, faire season is almost over.  It’s been an impressive year, with some pretty crazy events in the world outside and a few hurricanes to keep things interesting, and overall I’m pleased with how it’s gone.  This time of year always makes me a bit thoughtful, as I reflect on how life has changed (and how it has remained the same) over time.

I learned a lot this year.  I performed in southern Italy for the first time, made my debut at the legendary Sterling Renaissance Faire, and moved my fall show from the Maryland Renaissance Festival to King Richard’s Faire near Boston.  Now, at the end of the season, I’ve been reconnecting with my audience in a way I seem to have lost track of as the years have passed, which has been an appreciated injection of passion into my performance.

It has been an absolute pleasure to stay with the Haeuser family here in Louisiana again, surrounded by very close friends and conviviality.  There isn’t much time left, but we’re enjoying what we have.  Soon I’ll be making my way back north for the holidays with family, and then the new year will see me jetting off to Seattle for a month (thanks Tim and Truly!).  While I’m a little wistful to see the season come to a close, I’m really eager to dive into the things that lie ahead!

Good Day

Nov. 15th, 2008 05:55 pm
vinceconaway: (Default)
I had a really good day at faire today and I felt really connected with the audience.  It feels weird, therefore, to really not be here right now; I'm too busy plotting my next tour schedule of Italy.

Last night before bed I got a wild hair and decided to pull out some guidebooks and see how various ideas stacked up.  My basic plan is that I want to spend some quality time in the province of Puglia (where I had a delightful two weeks this year), I want to try some new places in Tuscany (where I've yet to find a good legal pitch), and I want to spend two weeks in Genoa (because it's the coolest city on Earth and golly I deserve it).  So now I'm sketching itineraries out for myself and I'm so totally wrapped up in it that all afternoon I kept having flashbacks of performing in various Italian piazze.  It seems that I can relate to people while still being totally adrift geographically.

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