For those of you not in Atlantia, KASF stands for Kingdom Arts and Sciences Festival. It is basically Oscar night for artisans and performers, and it is loads of fun. The main event is the Pentathlon in Persona, which is a very good exercise in persona development. Each competitor must display five items in at least three categories.
Since there were 11 competitors this year in the adult category alone (including Yours Truly), that means 55 items to judge, and three judges per item. You can imagine the magnitude of the event. That is not counting the performing competition or the Young People's Persona Thriatlon. Needless to say, it was loads of fun.
I will begin with the performer's competition. Our Barony of Ponte Alto had a blast. We competed as a group and individually. As a group, with performances featuring Alle Psallite as well as the The Ravenstreet Singers. In the category of juggling, Cassie juggled while singing a little filk "Juggle Like an Egyptian." Mel and I did the chorus line behind her and engaged into all sorts of silliness.
Individual performances were made by Mel, Celia, Talitha and myself. The ladies rocked and, although I don't believe that this was my best performance ever, at least I managed not to murder (much) Mudarra's "Triste Estava el Rey David." This is the first time that I perform a Mudarra piece, and it has neither the structure nor the style I am accustomed to. However, it was a nice little exercise in getting out of my comfort zone so I will not complain too much.
We also got to perform as a combined group with the Lochmere Music Guild, both as a pre-competition show and as the pre-Court show. It was great to have all those voices and it did make a difference.
In the end, Talitha won the individual competition (she brought the house down!) and got a Silver Nautilus for it. The Ravenstreet Singers won the group competition (and also Silver Nautilus), and Cassie the juggling competition.
Go Ponte Alto!
In regards to the A&S, I am happy to report that the displays and the entries to the Persona Pentathlon were just amazing. I was also quite surprised when they announced in Court that I had won the competition!
It is not that I didn't think that my work wasn't good enough. God knows that I am too conceited for that. But I know that when you have a good number of extremely good quality entries, the difference between first and second place can be a point or less and the entries to the Pentathlon were simply fantastic.
To tell you the truth, I was just thrilled that I had gotten to geek about my items in display with everyone who wanted to listen, and that I had gotten tokens from HRH Valharic and Master Robear for my cooking entry. Being as it is that they are Laurels in cooking, and that this was only my second entry in cookery ever and the first in three years, I would have gone home happy just with that.
Needless to say that I feel very encouraged about my work, my persona development and my cooking. I may do more of the latter in the future.
I cannot finish this entry without mentioning that I was also very happy with the way this event was conducted. Particularly, the manner in which the fighting classes took place and the respect that was paid to the A&S theme of the event. The fighting was not disruptive in any manner and, if Court was late, it was because the judging of the A&S took longer than anticipated due to the high number of entries, and not because the fighting took longer than anticipated as the fighting ended right on time.
For the record, I am not opposed to fighting practices taking place in an event such as KASF, as long as it doesn't disrupt the A&S activities. This was a shining example on how to conduct something like this, and I do hope that if it happens in the future, this will be done in the same manner. Congratulations to all who did such a wonderful job!
Plus, if anyone tells me that fighters as a general rule are not interested in A&S, I will have to remind them that we have some very fine examples of artists and performers who are also fighters. Sir Alfred and Sir Brice are both Laurels in music, and they served as judges in the Performer's competition. Duke Cuan is known as "The King Who Can Sing." Duke Janos periodically runs woodworking workshops at his place. Sir Roland is a kickass armorer. HRH, Valharic, is a Laurel and a Master cook, and served as a judge this weekend as well.
And those are only a few examples of the Chivalry and armored fighters. We can find some fine artisans amongst the ranks of the White Scarves and rapier fighters in general: attack_laurel, for example, is a member of the Order of the White Scarf, a Laurel and an accomplished costumer, singer, calligrapher and just about everything else. Her husband, Robert, another WS, is also an excellent singer and a kickass costumer. Then we have Master Geoffrey Gamble, another Laurel, and elizabethnmafia who is an excellent costumer and a member of the Order of the Pearl, both of them WS.
I could go on and on mentioning example after example of fighters -- both armored and rapier -- who not only take an interst on the arts and sciences, but also support them. And while we are at it, I must congratulate the Company of St. Aidan for sponsoring a display of the arts and science projects produced by their fighters. It was a very classy and appropriate thing to do.
I think that the crux of the matter is not whether A&S and martial arts should be at odds. The problem is that when people start getting upset, they stop listening to what the other part has to say and things get very polarized. The resulting conversation ends up sounding to each other as follows:
"You crashed my party!"
"Your party? I didn't know I needed an invitation! We are family!"
"Well, we may be family, but I heard that last party you attended, you ended up dancing on top of a table!"
"Damn skippy! And a nice dance it was"
"While playing a kazoo!!!"
"Well, a kazoo is a very manly instrument. The ladies love it!"
"But you were wearing armor!"
"Of course I was! It's manly! See above!"
"And the table broke"
"You need to get better tables!"
"It was my favorite table!"
"So? Everyone had fun!"
"No, you suck!"
"No, you suck!"
And that's when the rest of the world ends up hitting the *delete* key.
But I am still thrilled that everything came out great, and hopefully this will be the standard for future events of this kind. :-)
And that's it, I am going to bed.
PS. I got a couple of requests on pointers on how to participate in the Persona Pentathlon. I will be having a separate post for this.