photo credit for all photos: Jen VarniThe artist herself played an (amplified) violin-like instrument at the center of it all
A couple of weeks before I'd run into a friend on Via Garibaldi who'd asked if I'd be willing to dress as a Renaissance lord and participate in this. I said, yes (as I'd also agreed a couple of years back to a similar request from the same person) for precisely the reason that this was something that for most of my life I would never ever have done. And besides, what happens in Venice stays in Venice. Or perhaps that's the motto of some other place?
I wrote quite enough about my experience in costume the first time I did this kind of thing (http://veneziablog.blogspot.it/2011/06/on-making-spectacle-of-myself-at-regata.html), so I'll only say here that on a larger barrel-chested man (or even beer-bellied man), my outfit might have bestowed a grand Henry VIII kind of majesty. On me I believe it gave the impression that I was being assailed by--and vanquished by--some of the vast rich velvet draperies with which Richard Wagner liked to decorate his lodgings. But everyone else, as you can see in the photos, looked marvelous.
We weren't expected to dance for the video, though everyone else in costume was part of a historical dance troupe. We only had to link hands with about two dozen volunteers of all ages who stepped forward to help out from the many people milling around the entrance to the Biennale on that event's opening day and follow, at a pretty brisk walking pace, the serpentine meanderings of our "lord" at the head of the line. The video artist herself, dressed as lady and playing amplified violin upon a pedestal in the center of a circular flower bed, set the pace.
Everyone had a great time. One guy had a bit too much of a good time: letting go of the hand of the person in front of him--though we'd all been directed NOT to do that--to caper around on his own. This, I believe, ruined a bit of the second take, but not so much as to be a problem We also did a third take, during which rain--as it often does these days here--started to fall.
For the second time in as many days I was struck by how much our culture, advanced as we pride ourselves on being, has forgotten. Contrary to the disastrous assertion made by Margaret Thatcher and her ilk for the past 40 years that there is only the individual, a simple procession or a simple bit of serpentining with strangers acts as a concrete reminder of what joy people derive from being social, from participating in communal activity, of quite literally moving with others. You'd think it would be obvious, as it once used to be obvious in Western societies, but it was nothing I was raised with--and nothing one can experience via Facebook or other "social networks".
|The head of the line waits to be given the signal to start|
|There were at least three cameras; one stationary, at right, the others roving|
|Being a part of this line was much more fun than being a part of those at the ticket windows for the Biennale|
|Children made up the line's tail|
|Lords, ladies, photographers|
|Serpentining does wonders for one's mood|
NOTE: I wanted to let readers know that the excellent Baroque trio Bel Ayre will soon be performing in Ca' Corner della Regina in Venice, on June 15, 2013.
I wrote a post (with photos) about the first time I saw this group perform, at Palazzo Da Mosto, which you can see here: http://veneziablog.blogspot.it/2012/07/baroque-music-in-palazzo-da-mosto-and.html
They're also just finishing a CD, which should be released in September. If you'll be in Venice soon they are really worth seeing in person. If not, there's the CD to look forward to.