Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Bay Area English Regency Society

Via Austen Blog:

The Bay Area English Regency Society is hosting a “Sensible Prejudices” ball on Saturday, April 28, 2007, from 8:30 to 11 p.m., at the San Mateo Masonic Lodge. Tickets are $20 at the door, $15 in advance, with a $2 discount for JASNA members. You can even match your dress to the decorations! La!
Alas, why a Masonic lodge?

From the BAERS website:
The Bay Area English Regency Society (BAERS) celebrates the spirit of the early nineteenth century. The English Regency, familiar to us from the works not only of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer but C. S. Forester, Patrick O'Brian, and Tim Powers, was a spirited time bubbling over with creative energy in the arts and sciences, and yet a time when wit and grace were highly valued.

Our dances come from English Country tradition, from Regency-era dance manuals such as Thomas Wilson, and from occasional modern Choreography done in the manner of the time. They are set to music by classical composers such as Mozart, Schubert, and Beethoven, or to traditional country dance tunes. Dances and music are varied for each ball, according to its theme, which may range from the elegant to the rowdy. We offer second-Friday dance parties in Palo Alto, and three or four fancy-dress balls throughout the year.

Newcomers are always welcome at our balls, picnics, and readings -- period costume is admired but by no means mandatory. We explore all aspects of life among the different social classes in Regency England, and occasionally venture into the American Federalist era. The Regency is a lens through which one can examine the history of the world, and we invite you to gaze along with us.
A slideshow of one of the second Friday dances. Perhaps someone will record the dances and post them up at Youtube. pparently there will be an ECD session at BayCon at the end of May.

See the costume and fiction links.

Even though I might be persuaded to attend and participate in an ECD event, the artificiality is something that bothers me. Sure, the people there are a "community" in so far as they are united by their common interest in ECD, but they are no different from sci-fan convention goers and cosplayers (who were having some event in Boston this weekend--I suppose that is a more innocuous diversion for teenagers, better than drinking and sex, but what does it say about maturity? Then again, are not those who wear Regency clothing engaging in their own version of cosplay, as are people doing historical recreation of other periods and places? Especially those who pretend to be British army or navy officers...).

Perhaps homeschoolers could be at the vanguard of restoring parish life, especially if their children learn how to play instruments. (Heh, the Fedorykas would be an example.) Then the parishes could have something for teens and for adults (and children)--it wouldn't necessarily have to be ECD, but something with decent live music and dance surely would be appealing. But can parishioniers be persuaded to leave their suburban American ways?

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