Monday, June 28, 2010

Mood Killers and Mariachi

Ask a reenactor about her favorite sites for events, and she's liable to mention ones that are removed from modern distractions. Of course, this isn't possible for many of our sites, but it's a great bonus when there are no streets, no modern houses, no streetlamps nearby. We go to a lot of effort to set up period-correct camps, research the heck out of our clothing, try to present as authentic an image as possible--so it's nice for the public, and nice for us, too, when things work out so that there aren't any modern interuptions.

Which brings me to my point for the day. Our weekend was spent at a very small event. The site wasn't perfect--it was actually an RV park, and there's nothing like a streetlamp, an electrical hookup, and a bright yellow picnic table in camp to really bring out that Revolutionary War campaign feel. But you know, we could get over that, especially because the hosts were so accomodating, and there were flush toilets (bonus! after getting used to port-o-lets).

We couldn't get over the fact that the site had been double-booked with a Mexican wedding. A very large wedding that employed the talents of a mariachi band from 2 p.m. until midnight. I overstate--they did switch to dance music and techno (and, strangely enough, something that sounded like a Spanish-language cover of Flogging Molly for awhile, which we kind of enjoyed). But it was very loud. And very modern. And a total mood killer.

We made the best of it--our artillery crew demonstrated range charts by aiming for the bride's big white dress (using blank charges, obviously...though by about 10 p.m. we were contemplating the effects of a live round on the speaker system). After hours, we got the Electric Slide going in camp when they played it down the way. Eventually, we decided that the only way we were going to enjoy ourselves was if we could get louder than they were. So we started in on the Irish drinking songs and sea shanties, creating an eighteenth-century buffer between the rest of camp and the resounding joviality of the mariachi band.

And after they left? Recon mission for leftover cake. There wasn't any leftover cake...but we did bring bouquets of discarded roses and calla lilies back to camp.

**I do want to clarify--not trying to make any comment about the culture of the happy couple and their guests. This would have been just as annoying with any other kind of music from any other American subculture, from country-western to polka. But mariachi was just so incongruous with what we were doing that I couldn't help but laugh. **


Anonymous said...

I wonder how they felt about all the gunfire? :D

I want to be a reenactor!! (For the American Civil War.)

One day... I have no idea if anyone's looking, or how I'd pay for a costume.

Sounds really fun though!

- Corra

The Victorian Heroine

Rowenna said...

We wondered, too--we don't know if they were aware that the site had been double booked or not. We did send a "peacekeeping mission" down to offer our apologies for our noise during the day and offer an honor salute if they wanted it--they politely declined but didn't seem too upset with us.

You should look around your area and see if there's a Civil War organization! I know we're always thrilled to have new people on board. Clothing can be kind of expensive, but most groups have loaner clothes for newbies and are pretty understanding that building your kit takes time. And if you're in the Midwest and would be interested in trying Rev War sometime, shoot me an email! hyalineblue079 at yahoo dot com.

Anonymous said...

Money is an issue! I need to decide if I have time alongside everything else I'm doing, but I really want to! It'd be smart to wait for autumn, so I don't burn up in the heavy clothes. :-D

Thanks Rowenna! I might email you if I don't find a good one for the Civil War (my first love.) :-)

(Can't believe they declined the honor salute!)

Arabella said...

Where I live, we have a Civil War reenactment every year. The gun fire is a little extreme, but, heck, you're just as likely to hear mariachi here! Mariachi as we know it is a little bit later development in the history of Mexico--definitely 19th C when the brass section was added (strict mariachi is actually just Spanish guitar playing, which is ancient). You could have pretended the Spanish gypsies had invaded your camp.:)

Rowenna said...

Arabella, if it had been just Spanish guitar music, I could have gotten into that! But several hours into the brass, I thought I was going to go batty!

Ax said...

It still sounds like fun. Getting to go play being in the past? Maybe mariachi would have scared off the British.

Kat Zhang said...

That's too bad about the modern mood killers :( It must be really frustrating after putting so much effort into being authentic. But I'm sure the people who came to see you that day had quite an experience and won't be forgetting it any time soon!