Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Farewell, Phoole Wor(l)d - What Ho, Wordpress!

With hosting and heaps of help from MBTC, I have moved the Phoole Blague to

I have enjoyed Blogger -  we've had loads of fun together, and Blogger has seen me through some wild travels and trials!  Now I'm looking forward to new adventures in formatting at the new blague.  But I won't be updating this one, so you'll want to update your Most Favoritest Sites Evar to include the New Phoole Blague over on the Phoole domain.  I know all change is traumatic, even good change, but I think you'll like what you see!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Crowing Over Fools! A Fool Fabric Contest Winner

Frequenters of the excellent fabric-makery site Spoonflower voted Cynthia Frenette's Crows Clowning Around as their favorite Fools and Jesters Fabric! Congratulations, Cynthia!  Here are the other top ten vote-getters:

2. jesters_n_fools by janiris
3. jokers by kec19
4. Acrobatic Jesters & Fools by simboko
Acrobatic Jesters & Fools
5. Court Jester by jennartdesigns
Court Jester
6. Silly Wiggle Scribble by decobot
Silly Wiggle Scribble
7. Clowns&buttons! by bora
8. 23 jesters and 1 fool by betje
23 jesters and 1 fool
9. Lady Jokers by catru
Lady Jokers
10. Little Clown by newmom
Little Clown ( zoom as usual:)  

My own personal favorite, I think, has to be this one:  Medieval Jesters by rengal

But I'm going to be acquiring yards of PLENTY of the fabric designs submitted!  You can too - shop all of the submissions here!

Behold Optimist Prime!

This is Optimist Prime! I made him out of pictures I found on teh intarwebz, and maybe he will become the mascot of the Willness Program, which raises funds for Optimist Theatre!  They're the brilliant people who do Milwaukee's Free Shakespeare in the Park.  And here is a link to a page put up by beloved geniuses Stephen Geis and Sandy Wood, wherein their robot butler Fred performs as the voice of Optimist Prime.  EXCELLENT!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Foolish Fabric Contest!

Cheers to Spoonflower!  They're a delightful company who lets users upload images in order to create their own custom printed fabrics, and they have these brilliant contests all the time that result in dazzling arrays of excellent designs.  I wrote them a couple of weeks ago, suggesting they do a Jesters and Fools image contest, and they DID! This morning I received their newsletter, containing the following:

Our Most Foolish Fabric Contest
The Fabric Of the Week contest theme this week is jokers & fools, which has a long and illustrious tradition as an artistic subject. Believe it or not, the person who wrote to suggest that we make fools the subject of a fabric design contest is actually the official jester of the city of Milwaukee. Who knew that there were official fools! [Please commence sardonic commentary here.] Of course the real fools' contest this month will, arguably, be the Spoonflower staff design contest.

I'm blown away! It's a great day for Fool-dom.  Go ahead and vote! Meanwhile, I have some serious shopping to do - I need at least a yard of every single one of these!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Will-Ness Program: A Brave New World for A-E & Jane the Phoole!

“O wonder! How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world / That has such people in't!” – Wm. Shakespeare’s THE TEMPEST 5:1

Won’t you please consider sponsoring me for a new adventure?  A performing company I support is launching a special fundraising drive in the form of a new kind of marathon.

Milwaukee’s non-profit Optimist Theatre produces Free Shakespeare in the Park, bringing the greatest plays in the English language to an under-served public via Equity-level artists. I believe in them, I admire them, and I support their mission. Their inaugural production last year was THE TEMPEST, and it ruled.  It shook the entire community with its vibrant life, and it got capacity crowds and rave reviews.  They’re producing TWELFTH NIGHT this coming Spring, and to help them raise funds to make this and all of their endeavors the best they can be, I’m joining their Will-Ness Program.

From January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011, I am committing to losing at least 40 pounds and improving my physical fitness through regular exercise and improved nutrition.  My metabolism has always been my enemy, but my participation in the Will-Ness Program (hooray for groaner puns!) marks my first formal attack on purposefully improving my health.   I'm investing in a recumbent exercise bike -- for ease on my hurty knees -- and alternating weights workouts with cardio and yoga for daily invigoration, and, on the advice of my excellent physician, I'm using My Food Diary to monitor and improve what I eat.

Sponsors can watch my progress online, either through my own webpage or through Optimist Theatre's page (details to be determined), and Optimist Theatre will request sponsor donations every other month based on the amount of pounds lost per 2-month period.  For example, if you were to commit $3 per pound, and I lose my expected target of pounds (7 lbs), you’d get a request from Optimist Theatre for $21.  If I didn’t lose weight, or if I gained it back, you’d pay nothing.  

Optimist Theatre’s Free Shakespeare in the Park builds a bridge across the ages and brings universal human truths to audiences at no charge.  To help them, I would be thrilled and honored if you could sponsor me in this adventure.  Any level of sponsorship is welcome!  If you can sponsor $5 per pound, that’s fantastic; if you can only afford $.50 or $1 per pound, every little bit helps.  Just email me at and let me know what you’d plan on pledging, and I will then send you a simple pledge form to complete and return.  It's that easy!

Click here for much more information on the program.  I hope you'll consider sponsoring improved health for your friend and Phoole AND for the community at large!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Of Monkeys, Dogs, and Phooles

"The Vagabond," equivalent of "The Fool" card
from  Brian Williams' SHIP OF FOOLS Tarot.
A warning:  This essay is a bit serious-ish. And there is swearing in it. But if you can bear it, I hope you'll read it.

After my mother died over a decade ago, I went through an extremely miserable and difficult time, during which I hit absolute bottom -- my mother had been an alcoholic, and I had been a textbook example of a co-dependent enabler.  My mother had frequently told me that I was the reason she drank:  if I were present, she drank because she couldn't stand what a disappointment I was, and if I were absent, she drank because I had abandoned her. She once said to me, "Why would you want to be an actress?  You're fat and disgusting.  Why would you deliberately ask people to look at you?"  After she died, my subconscious continued to castigate me on her behalf: I loathed myself; I felt hideous and unloveable; I felt untalented and worthless; I felt like a gigantic fraud who'd be found out at any moment.  I'd always over-sought approval, and, according to much-missed friend, advisor and Adlerian therapist Sherwin Rubenstein (R.I.P), I probably always will, but at the time, my chorus of inner condemnations reverberated throughout every part of my life.  I welcomed and encouraged hateful exploitation and abuse from every quarter - relationships, dayjobs, shows, friendships. I lost all hope. So I began to shop for a therapist.

I eventually ended up with a fantastic counselor, but the first therapist I visited, after listening to me for an hour, said merely this:

"You know what the problem with YOU is?  You're too nice.  The world is full of assholes, and if you're going to survive, you have to become an asshole too."

Shocked, I fired him after that one session. I feebly shopped my desolation around until I happened on a wonderful counselor who, through simple grandmotherly truths, genuinely helped me rebound into the silly girl with whom you spend time nowadays.

But that awful statement smoldered, buried, in my brain ever since that day.  "You have to become an asshole too."  I just didn't want to believe it, regardless of the evidence.

I know I'm always going on about Machiavelli, but he and his work fascinate me.  Inextricably entangled in Renaissance politics, he resisted playing the game, and when the game finally brought him down, THE PRINCE was his warning to future players.  As enticing and exciting as the game of social dominance appears, I don't want to play it.  I played it briefly; it's a lot of work, and it yields no useful reward whatsoever.

So, swallowing my anxiety about that statement from my first therapist, I rebuilt my life. In play, I turned the corner and discovered the audience, and the bliss I found in connecting with patrons obliterated everything else. It drove me to maximize my game, push my research, develop my brand, get more gigs, and only take the gigs I really wanted to take.  Even if that first counselor were right - even if it were impossible to succeed by making people happy, if the only solution were to armor myself with cynicism and bitter distrust - I would try to prove the opposite.

I then directed the Street Theatre cast at the Bristol Renaissance Faire for ten years, and with them, I tried to share positivity, inclusion, and elevation. I worked to encourage characters who would esteem patrons at higher social status than themselves, include patrons in the fun, and make the characters' success contingent on patrons' involvement and enjoyment.  The brilliant Douglas Mumaw and David Woolley inspired me with the Swordsmen's tag line:  "Share the Niceness."   And so many other successful walkaround performers, whether they played heroes who already championed the audience or villains who included patrons in their evil empires, gave me hope that inclusion, elevation, esteem and invested excitement could prevail over bitterness, hierarchichal obsession, and cynicism.

Still, that statement hung with me, crackling in the back of my mind. I've always been haunted by the fear that maybe he was right.  Maybe people are simply horrible, and it's not possible to survive without becoming horrible too.  I enjoy Dario Maestripieri's book MACACHIAVELLIAN INTELLIGENCE: HOW RHESUS MACACQUES AND HUMANS HAVE CONQUERED THE WORLD, because I think monkeys are hilarious, and I like watching them mirror human qualities -- but at the same time, the book fills me with dread, because Maestripieri posits that one chief factor in human and rhesus macacque world dominance is the fact that both species adhere to a strict social hierarchy, in which sycophants gain advantage by supplicating their betters, and in which niceness is a liability, not an asset.

I was horrified further to realize that this Machiavellian paradigm played out fully in so many spheres in my life. Creative, helpful people are constantly supplanted by scheming, talentless flatterers.  People who dedicate themselves fully to their work and to the betterment of organizations or communities are run over by servile supplicants kissing the backsides of the people in power.  Experience, discipline and brilliance are traded in for obsequiousness and compliance. Power wants nothing but more power, and nowhere in the Great Chain of Being does there appear to be room for someone who just wants to make people happy.

So: last night, I watched a NOVA program about dogs called DOGS DECODED.

Humans are genetically quite close to the monkeys and apes whose Machiavellian antics amuse (AND dismay) me so mightily. But the species who's responsible for human civilization?  It's dogs.  Puppehs. I learned immense, mind-blowing things about dogs and their relationships with people, and it shook my world. You have to see this program.  It's genuinely mind-blowing. You can read a transcript of the show here, and if you have Netflix, it's available for instant viewing, or you can buy a DVD of the show here. Dogs have been by our side for tens of thousands of years, and they helped humans grow from hunter-gatherers to civilized beings. Through domestication (domestic dogs are descended from wolves), dogs are adept at reading human emotion, and they're the only animal that does that without training. Dogs have developed barks that humans instinctively, correctly interpret for meaning. Dogs respond to human pointing gestures, regardless of whether or not they've been trained to do so.  Through the generations needed for full domestication of the canine species, humans originally selected "nice" dogs for breeding - and as dogs were bred for "niceness," all of the other variations (for which breeders currently select) emerged on their own.

And because humans have lived with dogs for so many tens of thousands of years, we've evolved a very special bond with one another, convergently.  When a dog interacts with the dog's owner, the interaction triggers the release of oxytocin in the hypothalamus. Oxytocin is a peptide hormone, and it's the same one that's released in the hypothalamus of mothers and babies while babies are nursing.  It's the chemical key to that primal bond.  It lowers the heart rate and blood pressure, and it reduces stress levels.  Experiencing frequent oxytocin triggering extends your life.

Playing with your dog - being happy - is good for you, in other words. It's very, very good for you.  Everyone I know who has dogs who's reading this right now is saying, "Duh."  But I don't have a dog (and I'll have to get a lot of allergy shots when I DO get a dog), so I didn't innately understand this. And this idea exploded my heart.

Because, after I'd watched the entire show, and processed and digested it, I thought:

"What if I'm actually helping people after all?"

When one plays as a walkaround character at Renaissance Faires, one frequently hears, "Oh, you're so good!  You should be in REAL theater."  It's a lot like this cartoon. 

So I'm constantly told that no matter how I strive to make my product awesome, chances are it's regarded as silly, amateurish and inconsequential on the List of Things That Actually Make a Difference in Life.  And throughout our culture, we are, all of us, continually reminded that individuals do not matter, that everyone is replaceable, and that real reward only comes if you are a sycophant or a cruel tyrant.  Add to that my own personal inner chorus of judges (thanks, Mom!), and every little day becomes a daunting prospect.

But this program, full of wagging tails and happy barks and oxytocin releases, made me think:

Am I less like a monkey, and more like a dog?

Is it possible that patrons derive a genuine benefit from spending time with me?  Are we doing something greater than merely wasting time together talking rubbish?  Is our shared play good for our health? Can our time spent enjoying each other actually be improving both of our lives?  Am I relieving people's stress so that they can, in turn, maybe help other people?

Is it okay to just make people happy?

Am I actually useful?

It shakes me to think that that might be true.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pow! Mayor and Phoole Collide With Your Face at High Speeds!

Two Fools
Amazing photo by Steven Townshend

Richard Weber, as Bristol's Lord Mayor Egads Newcastle, is one of the most amazing people ever.  This photo, much like this one, conveys what it's like to play in the street with him. ALSO: he is very beautiful, both from a distance AND up close - a difficult feat for most, but he makes it look easy!  I didn't actually chomp his face after this instant.  Not that I recall, anyway!  Cheers again to Steven Townshend for the fab snappery!

Monday, December 6, 2010


The Faso and the Fool
Massively brilliant photo snappery by Steven Townshend!

While I'm cataloguing and preparing delightful memories of this past weekend's super-fun times at Her Majesty's Winter Renaissance Faire, let's indulge in a Bristol Renaissance Faire reverie for a moment. This hilarious 2010 precious moment is brought to you by Steven Townshend, and it shows Fasso and Jane in a typical heartwarming embrace, which closely resembles a life-and-death battle for snorgling dominance.  WHO WILL WIN? It is an eternal struggle.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Her Majesty's Winter Renaissance Faire! Saturday ONLY, December 4, 10am-8pm!

Jane the Phoole at Her Majesty's Midwinter Faire 2009, with her brand-new BAD MONKEY! Photo by Dawn Krot

I'll see you tomorrow for frolicksome frivolity and festive folly at Her Majesty's Winter Renaissance Faire (lower your speaker volume before clicking!) in Madison, Wisconsin!  I've missed you since we goofed off at Stronghold Olde English Faire, and I'm sure we all of us have plenty of new adventures to recount and laughs in which to heartily indulge!

Where?  614 Westgate Mall, Madison, WI, 53711 - down on the right next to Woodcraft!

Where can I stay locally if I want to spend the weekend in town?  Rooms at the Madison Radisson are offered at a discounted rate of $79.00 for anyone who is attending Her Majesty's Winter Renaissance Faire and wants to stay tonight, December 3rd, or tomorrow night, December 4th.

When?  Saturday, December 4, 2010, 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.

How much?  "How little?" you mean! Tickets are available cheap-as-free at the door for a scant $7.00! Advance tickets are only $6.00 and can be procured at Ravenworks in person or by phone at 608-630-2348 (ask for Raven).  Children under 5 years of age are admitted to the Faire free of charge!

Who's joining Jane there?  Phoole Faves aplenty!  
  • Her Majesty and Her Majesty's Court, introducing the electric and scintillating Marybeth Townsend in the role of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, First Queen of England to rule by that name, Queen of England, Ireland, Wales, France & the Virginias etc.
  • The Guilde of St. Michael, Trayn'd Bandes, engaging you in Elizabethan military life, weapons training, barber surgery, and fun times galore
  • Brilliant craftspeople demonstrating their talents and selling their wares! From the event's own website (lower your speaker volume before clicking - there's surprisingly loud music!) here:  "Our vendors have Renaissance clothing, cloaks, capes, leather goods, swords, shields, jewelry of all sorts, handthrown pottery and Renaissance dinnerware, lampwork beads, and a host of other wonderful items. We also have tarot readers, astrologers, mystical magical items and more. Vendors include Hearthstone Arts, Relics, Ravenworks, Tyme Travel Photography, Sheldon's Pewter, Sir Rocky Rococco's, Ingrid the Crafty, Tom's Jewels, Ollin's Swords (A Phoole Fave),Grandma's Cookies and more...
  • Delightful musicians, jugglers and storytellers with fare for every age
  • You!
I always have hilarious adventures at this event.  It's low-key, cozy, and intimate, and I always have time for quality chit-chattery on many and divers subjects with everyone.  On the morrow, then, good cousins!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

Friday, November 19, 2010

Being Their Guest: Walt Disney World and Universal Studios' Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Part 1

So Much Magic! by Tom Charney

I went on an actual vacation last week! I traveled on an airplane without hauling my gigantic blue trunk of Jane the Phoole clothes along with me. And while that in itself was novel, the newness of being in places where Other People had to engage Me in environmental interactive entertainment was beyond delightful. I had a fantastic time visiting the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT and Disney's Hollywood Studios, and then cheating on Disney for a day with a side-trip to Universal Studios' The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

First View of the Magic by Tom Charney

I'd never been to Walt Disney World before this trip - I'd been to Disneyland in California (and you must ask me about that trip.  What a strange trip it was!  It included adventures with former Bristol Renaissance Faire Puritans Eric Forsberg and Maurice McNicholas.  If I haven't done so yet, make me tell you the story about the three of us on Space Mountain and Star Tours), but I hadn't really encountered any character interaction there, and I was much younger, less experienced, and less invested as a performer, so back then, I wasn't really switched-on for scrutinizing What Worked.

But on this trip, I was overwhelmed with glee from the first moment I walked through the gates. Yikes, it's powerfully detailed there.  No holes. Everything is designed, and I really dug it.  We visited the Magic Kingdom the day we landed, and we stayed until midnight, getting our minds blown by fantastic live music all over the place, parades, fireworks of unbelievably high quality and astronomical expense, and bizarre, unexplainable, possibly-supernatural experiences on three rides which you'll have to ask me about in person next time we congregate.

I know I'm extremely late to the party on this, but there is good customer service at these parks.  Everyone was cheerful, slightly crazy in the way that we like, and solicitous.  Even the ducks on the super-manicured lawnlets seemed helpful:

Solicitous Duck by Tom Charney

Cartoony Hodge-Podgery of Fantasyland by Tom Charney

Many years ago I visited Rothenburg ob der Tauber, and I found a house there that was yellow and tall and crooked (this link goes to a page that has a picture of it) which I'd decided needed to be replicated for Jane the Phoole's house, just plonked down on the grounds of Hampton Court Palace somewhere.  When I arrived in Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom, so much of it reminded me of Rothenburg, except with wider, flatter streets, but still very silly and charming.  We rode Peter Pan's Flight, which I recommend, and in Adventureland, we rode Pirates of the Caribbean two and a half times -- and I'll have to tell you about the half next time we meet!

Ridiculously Perfect Castle Shot by Tom Charney

We stayed for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party, which was exactly as described:  Merry, Christmas, and Party.  Hot chocolate, SNOW, special parades with fabulous holiday costumes, and extra mind-blowing fireworks.  We dug everyone in the parades, especially all of the female performers who danced the entire paved parade route in 2 1/2" heels, showing what looked like genuine smiles of joy the entire time, and the Toy Soldiers, who marched and actually played practical instruments really very well while wearing the equivalent of full suits of armor:

Photo by Tom Charney

Caboosing the parade was the Santaman himself, who greeted a small girl seated near us during the parade, called her BY NAME, and wished her a Happy Birthday.  The look on her face was too magical.  We thought it might seem skeevy to take a pic of her, though, so here is a shot of the Man With the Bag instead:

Photo by Tom Charney

We stayed in the Magic Kingdom until midnight, looking at everything, enjoying so many families having so much fun everywhere, absorbing the details, from the second-story shop windows, to the gradation of forestry and gardens from land to land, to the intense theming of every little thing, to the attention given to each guest by each character in every encounter.  Characters there manage to make every encounter feel like it's their first and most exciting of the day, even through extended hours.

The next day we devoured Epcot's World Showcase, where naturally I went crazy over the United Kingdom Pavilion and its charming Arthurian-Legends street show:

Photo by Tom Charney

And of course we let a couple of hours slip away from us as we dallied in Italy:

Photo by Tom Charney

Photo by Tom Charney

We had an excellent pranzo at Tutto Italia Ristorante, watching le sorelle Ziti play with the crowd, doing the fake Italian stuff which we all love so well in the world of the Renaissance Faire.

Photo by Tom Charney

I dug how they amassed a crowd immediately, simply by appearing on the sidewalk outside the pavilion, drew their crowd along with them, and instantly integrated them into the act. Disney audiences seem to arrive ready to play, and they require no warm-up at all -- you can just leap directly into involving them in the action, without needing to go to any lengths to play low-dominance or exposition.  Young or old, they're all just ready to be a part of the game.  It was invigorating to be a part of that kind of crowd.  And all of the players we encountered pushed guests just a little bit, whether through danger games or just a little gentle mockery, all to delighted audience response.

But I had to ask our server, Eduardo from Napoli (with whom I'd enjoyed using almost all of the Italian I remember in chiacchierare), whether he thought it was strange that the park didn't hire an actual native Italian street act for the pavilion, and that led to a sweet discussion of the real beautiful things about actual Italian culture and living.  Eduardo asked, "When you were in Italy, what did you love most about the country?" I replied that on all of my visits, especially on our honeymoon, I appreciated above all the rhythm of life there -- the slow, casual, calm, human pace of enjoying life.  "Ah, you make me cry!" exclaimed Eduardo; "The rhythm of life, that's it.  I miss it so much. Ah!"

Photo by Tom Charney

In the Germany pavilion, we liked this statue of St. George, and we enjoyed the silly automaton clock too:

Photo by Tom Charney

We didn't spend much time in FutureWorld, apart from an awesome freaky voyage to Mars on Mission:Space.  And we laughed our faces completely off during Turtle Talk With Crush, which is a must-experience if you go.  It's hilarious.  Can't figure out how it's done, but Crush interacts with the crowd, and it is hysterically funny.  On my next trip I'll definitely try Test Track, which we just didn't get to for whatever reason.

I'm out of writing time now, but as soon as I can, I have many, many more Orlando adventures to share.  The  next day of our trip was spent in the village of Hogsmeade -- and butterbeer, I'm here to tell you, is very, very yummmz.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Phoole Fave: Omega Restaurant

Not many things in Milwaukee are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.  Fortunately, one of my favorite restaurants is open forever and always!  Break your fast, lunch, dine, sup or get your midnight munch on at Omega for their encyclopedic menu, tasty food, hasty service, irresistible bakery, and fantastic staff.

At the end of a Hallowe'ekend of total chaos and madness, we (MBTC, Jiggins and I) collapsed into a booth at Omega, delighted to find many of the staff costumed for the occasion.  Here are some blurry picutres I took with my PhoolePhone:

In addition to these characters, there was also a cheerful slow-moving fireman who remembered me from the Bristol Renaissance Faire (even though I was dressed in what passes for Normal Human Clothes except for a ridiculous hat) and a couple of other charming costumes too.

Chomp there today, and you can tell them Jane the Phoole sent you, but that might not mean anything until lots of you tell them that, and even then, it might just be confusing!  But it will be strangely satisfying at the same time.  Enjoy!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Jane the Phoole Gives a Terribly Impressive Talk: American Association of University Women, Milwaukee, Nov. 6, 2010!

Come hear Jane the Phoole discourse on her most favorite subject in the world besides bad monkeys - Jane the Phoole - at the November meeting of the American Association of University Women's Milwaukee Branch!

When?  Saturday, November 6, 2010.  My talk begins at 1:00 p.m., and it will be followed by Questions and Answers!
  • If you like the really inspiring things the AAUW does and are considering joining the organization (visit their website here for more information), contact the branch's Secretary, Kathe Bogdan (click here to email her, or call 414-276-6820) to inquire about attending the pre-talk social from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
  • If you'd like to join Jane the Phoole and the Milwaukee branch of the AAUW for a luncheon before the talk, contact Kathe (see the previous paragraph) to make a luncheon reservation.  Luncheon is from 12:15 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., and the cost is $15.00 per person, which will be collected at the door.
Where?  The Astor Hotel, 924 East Juneau Avenue, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202.  The luncheon and the talk will be held in one of the two large banquet rooms on the main floor; on the day of the event, signs will guide you to the room.

How Much?  The luncheon is $15 - reservations are required (see above).  There is no admission charge for the talk!

Wherever Shall I Park? Use the parking for the Astor Hotel.  It's gated; you push the button and say, "I'm with AAUW, Apt. 202," and they let you in.  There's no fee for parking.

I owe many thanks to Phoole Friend Julie Ferris for arranging this magnificent display of effusion -- she's the chapter's Foundations Chair VP of Programming and President Elect, among the many amazing things she does.  Cheers, Julie!

I'm looking forward to this immensely - it'll be a treat to talk about Jane the Phoole in a slightly-less-distracting environment, and I'll be discussing facets of being a female Elizabethan royal fool that are extremely interesting to me and, I hope, highly amusing to you!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Phoole-o-ween Fun Times Galore!

Halloween Smile, Custom, Semmerling & Schaefer Mask Studios 2009
Halloween Smile Mask by Jeff Semmerling of Semmerling and Schaefer Studios. Order yours today, and tell 'em Jane the Phoole says they're brilliant!

So many Halloween Hijinks abound this month!  Come dress up and Phoole around with me at a couple of brilliantly fun Halloween events coming up:

Halloween Bash With the Outta State Plates - Jane the Phoole's In the House!

Come dance with me at the Outta State Plates' Halloween Bash on Friday, October 29th!

What:  Halloween Dance Party With the Outta State Plates and Jane the Phoole!  My hurrrrsband, Tom, a/k/a Fasso Latido or MBTC, plays guitar and sings vintage dance rock 'n' roll with them, and they're fantastic.  Admission includes delicious hors d'oeuvres, snacks, beer and soda.  And of course there'll be a costume contest with prizes!

Where:  Knights of Columbus Hall, 3200 S. 103rd Street, Greenfield, WI 53227 (just south of Oklahoma Avenue)  Click here for directions.

When:  Friday, October 29th, 2010, 8:00 p.m. until Midnight!

Whom:  Everyone!  I'll be there debuting a brand-new Halloween-themed motley! Alas, it won't be done in time. But it'll be that much more exciting next Halloween, when I actually finish building it!  I'll wear my new pastoral blue motley instead.

How Much:  $20, or 2 for $35!  Admission includes delicious hors d'oeuvres, snacks, beer and soda.

Tales of the Macabre / Halloween Party at Milwaukee Gay Arts Center - Jane the Phoole Hob-Nobs With You!

Goats and Monkeys, an ensemble risen from the ashes of the late great Milwaukee Shakespeare, present an evening of readings of spooky Halloween tales while the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center throws a fabulous Halloween bash!  Dress up, come out, and play with me there!  Phoole Friends Marcella Kearns and Bill Jackson perform with Nick Harazin and Courtney Jones.

Where:  703 South 2nd Street, Milwaukee, WI 53204  Click here for directions.

When:  Friday, October 30th, 2010, doors open at 7:00 p.m.  I won't be able to be there all night, as I've got Phoole's Errands to make, but I should be there until at least 9pm!  Stay on top of my Tweets to be in the know!

How Much:  Donation suggested -- if there is a minimum suggested donation, watch this space for updates!

Secret Historian: Author Justin Spring Speaks!

Also of note at the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center, coming up sooner, on October 14, 2010:


The Life and Times of Samuel Steward

by Justin Spring
Reading & Author’s Reception 
October 14th, 2010
6:00 PM
FREE admission, refreshments served
Books available for purchase on-site through Outwords Books
Justin Spring is a writer specializing in twentieth-century American art and culture, and the author of many monographs, catalogs, museum publications, and books, including Fairfield Porter: A Life in Art and Paul Cadmus: The Male Nude.
“[An] absorbing act of biographical excavation . . . The probity and expansive vision of Spring’s work is a reminder that a great, outspread terrain of gay history remains to be mapped . . . One suspects there are many more stories of that time worth telling, and too few treasure-packed attics.”                                                                 
—Mark Harris, The New York Times Book Review
I won't be able to make this one, unfortunately, as I'm already booked that evening!  Boo.  But please attend and then tell me all about it!  It's noteworthy that the Milwaukee Gay Arts Center has been able to provide the venue for this excellent writer's reading and reception.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Stronghold Olde English Faire! Oct. 2 & 3 2010, Oregon, Illinois

Join me, Jane the Phoole, at the Stronghold Olde English Faire this coming weekend!  Click here for every li'l detail about this delightful event at the scenic Stronghold Castle.  Phoole Friend Odorferious Thunderbottom will be there selling ThunderPickles (he's a Privy-Keeper, and here's his eye-searing Privy Council site), and there will be droves of other fun frolickers besides, including Phoole Faves the Guild of St. George and the deranged Anne Sommerset, Lady Percy, the Countess of Northumberland in her first visit to the Burleigh household -- brawling imminent!  On the subject of brawling, Phoole Skoolmaster Bob Charron of St. Martin's Academy of Medieval Arms will may possibly join Phoole Faves the Guild of St. Michael for demonstrations of the principles of Fior dei Liberi's Il Fior di Battaglia, and in any case, the Trayn'd Bands always deliver action-packed fun!  Phoole Faves the Ogham Duo are among the many excellent music acts.  And there are many more treats besides.  It's one weekend only, so hie thee thither with all speed!