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Travel back to the 16th century through drama, song, food, and magic

The sound of merriment once again returns the 27-acre village of Revel Grove in celebration of the 2017 Maryland Renaissance Festival. A crown-jewel of Maryland, the festival begins on August 26th and runs Saturdays and Sundays (and Labor Day Monday) through October 22nd.

Are you looking for something new and different to do with yourself, something both physically and mentally challenging, that gets you out of the house and up on your feet, involves connecting with other people, allows you to be yourself and provides a lot of fun and joy? Then make plans to come to Chesapeake Squares’ Open House Party on Tuesday night, August 29th. Come try your hand– or more likely, your feet– at Modern Western Square Dancing. It’s not the square dancing of your parents or grandparents, with bolo ties and crinolines (unless you want to wear them!) but a come-as-you-are / be-who-you-want activity that’s danced to a variety of popular music from yesterday and today.

It’s rare to find royalty in Maryland today, however the incomparable Fred Nelson of the Maryland Renaissance Festival bedazzles patrons in his royal regalia this month as King Henry VIII. “I’ve been playing King Henry VIII every summer and fall for the past 16 years,” Nelson explains. It’s a curious job for a military brat who grew up in Spain, Korea, Guantanamo Bay (Cuba), and Guam – everywhere but England. “I didn’t have a lot to draw from when I started,” Nelson notes. As a more contemporary head of state might say, he adds, “I had to learn a lot on the job.”

Friday, August 18, 2017

Soundtrack for Nostalgia

Most LGBT folks are probably more familiar with Rufus Wainwright (or his sister Martha or his late mother Kate McGarrigle) than they are with his father Loudon Wainwright III. But that doesn’t mean that Loudon doesn’t deserve his due. As a singer and songwriter, Wainwright excelled at both. The 24-track compilation The Atlantic Years (Real Gone Music), which combines Wainwright’s first and second albums – the 1970 eponymous debut and the 1971 follow-up Album II – and adds a previously unreleased bonus track (“Drinking Song”), is proof positive. Wainwright’s trademark humor (see his 1972 hit single “Dead Skunk”) is also in evidence, along with his serious side, on songs such as the breathtaking “Old Friend,” as well as “School Days,” “Nice Jewish Girls,” “Movies Are a Mother to Me,” “Be Careful There’s a Baby in the House,” and “Glad to See You Got Religion.”

Friday, August 18, 2017

Delivering the Scares

Annabelle: Creation shows dolls aren’t always child's play

It’s been three years since we first saw the cursed Annabelle doll in her own movie (don’t forget she was actually introduced in the original The Conjuring), in what was a 1970s set “origin story.” But with the film’s success, it was inevitable that there would be a sequel and, surprise, we get a prequel instead!

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