Cautionary Tales in Oral Traditions Presentation
The Book Fiends Festival was a celebration of local writers and readers of Steampunk, Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror novels put on by the Silk City Steampunk group. The event was held at the Bristol Carousel Museum in mid August and it not only had vendors, snacks, and entertainment, but it also had plenty of hands on workshops and panels to attend. The organizer of this event had asked me months ago to create a panel about Oral Traditions because they saw I had degree in it. (Yes fun fact, I have a Masters in Oral Traditions from The Graduate Institute. If you thought I was just naturally good at storytelling, be amazed that I have a Masters degree in it!!)
It took me seemingly forever to narrow down the topic. Oral Traditions are considered a highly dynamic and highly diverse oral-aural medium for evolving, storing and transmitting knowledge, art and ideas. I tried to think of what Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Horror, and Steampunk stories might have as a common theme. It occurred to me one day (while in a half meditative state) that it might be the idea of the Cautionary Tale. Cautionary Tales are a type of tale built on a prohibition or act that is said to be dangerous with someone performing the forbidden act and coming to an unpleasant fate in grisly detail. For my presentation I went through famous examples for adults (of political and moral nature) that are meant to be performed (like a fable, speech, prose, ballad, poetry and lyrics) in chronological order.
Now one of the most famous Cautionary Tales out there is that of Little Red Riding Hood. I did not highlight this one in my presentation as it is most often introduced to us as children. We all know the story of the young girl going to grandma's house innocently enough and speaking to a wolf (an unsavory character) on the road about her adventure. The wolf runs over to her grandmother's house, eats her up, and poses as the would be grandmother. In most versions, Little Red Riding Hood doesn't make it out alive, either.
However, once I finished the research and power point of the presentation the Alice Girl Gothic Lolita "The Hunter" Jumper Dress Set became available to purchase in my size. I thought, how meta would it be if I was delivering a presentation about Cautionary Tales dressed as an assassin version of Red Riding Hood? In this version of Red Riding Hood, I am a wise adult cautioning you by having you reflect on The Second Coming in the lyrical poetry of W.B. Yeats and the moral implications and consequences of Dr. Frankenstein's actions in Mary Shelley's classic prose.
This set came with the jsk (which is more like a bodice with shoulder straps and a very short flared skirt), matching bloomers, and a hooded bolero. What was extra nice about this set is that it is nearly 100% cotton. Middle of August in Connecticut is not for the faint of heart. It gets very humid and sticky during the day, and this was the perfect coordinate not only in theme, but material. I comfortably wore it all day inside and out.
I paired it with knee high socks that have the matching wine red ribbon sewn to the top of them that you can tie in a bow. These are great because they give the visual affect of a crossed ribbon without the ribbon repeatedly falling down all day like a pair of espadrilles. Lastly, I wore my Modo platform shoes that also have crossing straps. It was my first time wearing these shoes and they were very comfortable all day (even in the humidity).
As I understand it, my panel was one of the most well-attended with 7 or 8 attendees, including my long time friends Melissa and Barbara as well as Pahl. I also made a handful of new friends at this Festival, took a hand sewing class, and picked up my first set of steampunk themed novels from local author Jessica Lucci. I don't know if this particular event will happen again, but it was fun to "use my degree", still dress up in elegant lolita fashion, and get in for free as a Presenter.
Afternoon Tea and Local History Presentation
Eleanor and I at our afternoon tea service at Gallery 53
I've certainly tried a lot of afternoon teas this year. If you recall, I started off the year at the Friends of Long Hill Tea at the Wadsworth Mansion in Middletown. It was a large extravagant fundraiser at $45 a ticket, and there was very limited open table seating (8 seats in total in fact. Our group managed to get 6 of those seats!). Later we went for afternoon tea service at Tea with Tracy in Oxford, which is a combined tea place and restaurant in the middle of a mixed use residental/medical/retail space that used to be a quarry. Tea With Tracy afternoon tea service is only served on a tiered platter if two people order it at $28.00 a person. But if you like learning about local history, being in a local artist gallery/workspace, and being offered copious amounts of homemade tea sandwiches and desserts, then do experience a "Gilded Tea" at Gallery 53 for $30 a ticket.
Not only do you get a pretty filling afternoon tea service, but you also get a wonderful presentation put on by Christine Volpe, curator of the Barnes Museum. In this particular presentation she highlights the Afternoon Tea social ritual (popularized in the Gilded Age 1870-1910) by upper class ladies to avoid feeling faint before dinner and to dress up in their latest tea gowns and gossip. She also talks extensively about the Bradley/Barnes Family and their local contributions to the city of Southington and Meriden. What makes Gallery 53 special as a venue is that there is a gift shop on the lower level filled with jewelry and art made by local artisans. So if you attend this particular event, it's got tea, food, history, and shopping! There is a huge parking garage across the street from Gallery 53 that is free on weekends and it is also right next to the Meriden train station (which services the Hartford Line rail that connects from New Haven, CT to Springfield, MA).
What was I going to wear this time? It was super humid, and I still couldn't wear proper shoes yet for my outfits because of the broken toe situation that affected me for the entirety of July. I decided to try out this wonderful dress from Chinese Indie brand Soufflesong, the "Neverland-Wishing Stars" Hot Stamping Chiffon JSK. With elegant lolita fashion, you can get away with not wearing a blouse if you have a shawl. And I did have this very nice cotton shawl, which I had ordered from 42 lolita from the brand Miss Point. The ivory colored shawl is the most versatile in my opinon, and it actually matched the ribbon on the central part of the bodice quite well. I tied on a pearl and lace choker that came with a sweet outfit I purchased last year, white and gold (with pearl accent) wrist cuffs, white sandals with gold and silver accents on them, (my toe nails were painted navy blue with gold glitter like my dress), and I decided to once again ((like seriously this is the third time in a month)) wear my smoky quartz crown as my head piece. I wore a very lightweight petticoat that didn't do a whole lot shape wise, but I had to make choices for my health and safety even while participating in a fun fashion hobby. Oh and because I didn't do half of what I'd normally do for a coordinate, I spent a little more time on my makeup using the ABH Cosmos Eyeshadow Palette for that ultra dreamy starry look.
All in all it was a wonderful time I would recommend to anyone who likes afternoon tea, socializing, shopping, and history.
When Inclement Weather Changes Your Plans
Now we all know that winter weather is the most likely culprit to cause meetup plans to change. Driving in snow or sleet is not safe. Wearing your nice costume shoes in the dirty snow---no thank you. What about summer weather? What could possibly screw up a picnic and trolley ride in the middle of July?
I had planned this meeting since the beginning of the year and I thought July was somehow the perfect time (because I didn't realize that the museum was actually open all year round). I had visions of us riding the trolley and having a picnic in the trolley yard in perfect summer coordinates...and then we had TORRENTIAL rain in the forecast. You can still ride the trolley in the rain...right?! Well yes...but...I mean I'm talking the flooding was so bad that the Connecticut River was overflowing so anyone to the east could literally not drive across the river and anyone who lived in the north not only had flooding but also a possible tornado. I wouldn't let my spirits be entirely doused. I said heck we're still having the picnic, but it's at my house! Anyone who can make it can come. Bring a food item to share. And wear whatever you want. No theme.
So I got to spend time with Ave and Caroline and I made a new friend, Cordelia. One thing that is cool about having an open theme, is that you'll probably get at least one of each type of EGL enthusiast at your event.
Cordelia's dress is somewhere between sweet and classic lolita. The length of the piece is more stereotypically sweet lolita, but the theme of the print had multiple layers. You can see roses and something like a light colored plaid border, but I do recall there was an imprint design in a blue satin that looked like fairytale characters. It was something that I could only discern in certain lighting.
Ave and I took the picnic theme literally with the designs on our dresses.
This coordinate is considered Sweet Lolita hands down. You can see in this up close shot of Ave's dress that there are cute animals having a picnic and specifically eating pancakes together. She's wearing lollipop earrings to also match the lollipop design on the dress. Short socks paired with pastel pink shoes and head bow tie this look together. The long bear bag is also ultra cute. A functional and fun piece!
This dress is also sweet, but in a subtle way. The imagery isn't stereotypically sweet (like cute animals in a pastel color way), so it's tricky. I thought it was a classic style when I first saw it because brown/cream/ivory/gold color ways are more often found in Classic styles, but the length of the dress is so short, it is definitely reading more sweet. I am wearing my Musee du Chocolat dress from Angelic Pretty which features imagery of cakes and frosting and crowns with the matching head bow. I wore a short sleeve cotton stand collar blouse because despite the rain, it was still very humid and anything else would have been too hot to wear. I classed it up with wristcuffs that are white and feature gold and pearl accents. I was also still recovering from breaking my toe a few weeks back, so I had to wear sandals instead of the cute brown platform shoes and patterned over the knee socks I have that match in color. To seal the Chocolate theme home, I have a cross body bag in the shape of a chocolate bar.
Caroline's look reads pretty goth, especially with the black lace dress, choker, hat, and shoes. They tie in red to the coordinate with a red waist sash, a military like blazer, and the diamond designs on the over the knee socks. Also featuring Sesame, which is one of my Meowchi plush that lives on my couch.
I love planning events because secretly I love to design the themes around what is in MY CLOSET. However, I did enjoy the creativity brought on by having no theme what so ever other than what is physically comfortable on a rainy humid day.
I love EGL and alternative fashion and modeling. I am taking two of my favorite hobbies and making them into a story for you to read about.