Prepare ye now to be dazzl'd with various and sundry exciting things to explore! For herein, my dearests, thou shalt discover all the secrets and tales wrought from my more than 4800 years' worth of expertise in the field of Magecraft --- along with anecdotes, news, links, and so much more!
For ye who be newcomers to this website, methinks a proper introduction is in order. Know, then, that I am Blackwolf the Dragonmaster, Duke and First Marquess of Talisker --- Philosopher of the Internet; Mage of the Hard Drive; Champion and Conqueror of Thaumaturgic Technology --- and Unofficial Wizard and Sorcerer-in-Residence unto the Mortalfolk of the City, County and State of New York!
And what exactly do I do, you ask? Well, my job, basically, is to encourage my fellow New Yorkers to use their imaginations responsibly and meaningfully; and to tame the Good Dragons who populate the Multiverse. It's not always easy --- let's face it, it's not every day that a 4800-plus-year-old Wizard has to adjust to coping with life in ye Byg Appyl! But I do as I must because, quite simply, no one else will. My seven Wizardly superiors, the Grand High Istari, insisted that New York, being a tough town, was in need of a tough Wizard. Hence, their choice of me.
From the moment ol' Poopstar --- that would be Triumph the Insult Comic Dog --- first noticed me (and dearest Thor the Barbarian prior to even that), my adventures have seen me encountering some of the Cosmos' strangest beings! Why, only I would dare end up on a Grammy Award-losing comedy album, as well as have over 20 consecutive clips posted on YouTube .... and even match wits with Finland's incredibly fabulous Monstericans --- that would be Lordi, my Official Rock Band!
But all these tales shall reveal themselves within due course. For now, I bid ye welcome to Blackwolf the Dragonmaster's Dark Chambers ---- where, I hope, you will find things to be, among other things, delightfully entertaining, deliciously twisted, and incredbily informative! Please enter, and be welcom'd!
Brandon Stanton's Humans of New York is about to become a delicious coffee-table book from St. Martin's Press! Sir Aragorn and I were interviewed in May 2011 for HONY, which, needless to say, means that we have made the final list of the more than 400 New Yorkers whose tales Brandon tells is a rawther delicious manner --- in which case, a proper "Huzzah!" is very much in order. You can also hang out at http://www.facebook.com/humansofnewyork to learn how to pre-order the new book for yourselves!
Before we get on with things here in these Dark Chambers, congratulations to all who took part in a very special Opening Weekend at Sterling Forest:
The New York Renaissance Faire Sterling Forest devoted this year's interactive adventure to all those goodly gentles who work for the Lustgarten Foundation Against Pancreatic Cancer. Indeed, they called it simply .... The Quest for the Cure!
All weekend long, proceeds for many of the Faire's journeys benefitted the Lustgarten Foundation. Everyone was invited to participate; and the entire cast, from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I to even the lowly pickle-sellers, provided the patrons with important clues --- and, at day's end, those who successfully completed the Quest and solved the mystery were knighted by the Queen for their inspired efforts!
To date, the Lustgarten Foundation has donated over $65 million in their ongoing battle to find a cure for pancreatic cancer. Quoth Her Majesty: "A day at Faire hath long been known to heal all spirits. Now, it giveth Us much great joy to know that a day at Faire can also help to heal those most sorely afflict'd with the vile scourge of pancreatic cancer."
And all our Sterling Forest friends didst help the Quest along: Lord and Lady Loxley (Robin Hood and Maid Marian) and their Merry Men; the Sheriff of Nottingham and his bunch of nastie-wasties; Brother Donald; Cast in Bronze; Arsene Dupin; Dextre Tripp; the Crimson Pirates; Philip Hole, Bob Le Pri and Rosemary Birardi, a/k/a St. Mark's Consort; Larry Cole, Chrysta Patton and Peter Walker (Her Majesty's Pipers); Vinnie Conaway; the Washing Well Wenches; Wolgemut --- and even grumpy ol' Ded Bob was in on it, too.
And needless to say, your humble Dragonmaster likewise played a role in the day's pursuits! Sir Aragorn and I --- who, as usual, were there at Sterling for but the one day --- provided directions to those who asked us, posed for photos, and otherwise gave our all for Her Majesty! Do visit www.lustgarten.org for additional information.
We recently marked the 15th Anniversary of the original U.K. publication of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone --- or, as the Bloomsbury fans know it, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. In Florida, the goodlies of Universal Orlando are already working on the expansion of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which will include new areas inspired by key sequences in the film saga set in the beloved Diagon Alley and in London.
These new areas, set to open next year, will be built on the former site of Jaws: The Ride, directly next to Islands of Adventure, where the Wizarding World itself is located. "For Harry Potter fans, this is a perfect opportunity to go to multiple places that are iconic places within the story," explains Mark Woodbury, President of Creative, Universal Parks & Resorts. "And people who were not really big fans of the franchise came to check out The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and were immersed in the environments, and really thought that it was marvelous. We have the same expectation to take them on additional journeys." In addition, Universal Parks and Resorts planners are working on sister Wizarding Worlds for Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Japan.
As has been previously the case, Universal Orlando execs continue to work with producers David Heyman and David Barron, movie series production designer Stuart Craig and other key Potter personnel to develop, among other things, new shops, a new restaurant, and even a Gringotts-inspired Wizard Bank.
"I'm so pleased that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has proven to be so popular to date, and I'm sure that the attention to detail in developing the new Diagon Alley area will make this an even better experience," The Lady Rowling said in a brief statement.
Scholastic Publishing, Harry's longtime U.S. home, joined the celebration with the release of new cover illustrations by Tokyo-based graphic artist Kazu Kibuishi. On the concluding Wednesday, at New York's Scholastic Store in Soho, Kazu's cover for Deathly Hallows was revealed as part of a day-long free festival!
This from the Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press:
Legendary special visual effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen, whose awesome stop-motion animated sequences were among the earliest hallmarks of modern sci-fi cinema, has died in London, where he had been living in self-imposed retirement for several years. Harryhausen was 92.
In the era far long before the days of computer-generated imagery, Harryhausen was one of the first major champions of the painstakingly difficult stop-motion animation process, wherein the slightest adjustments were made to a series of custom-designed, three-dimensional, ball-and-socket full-scale models. These were then photographed frame-by-frame to create the illusion of movement.
Working first as an apprentice to King Kong co-creator and effects maestro Willis O'Brien, and then, for the next three decades in partnership with producer Charles H. Schneer, Harryhausen opened up the eyes of thousands of dreamers of all ages through his stop-motion adventures: The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms; Jason and the Argonauts; The Three Worlds of Gulliver; The Mysterious Island, three legendary Voyages of Sinbad --- and of course, his last, and most ambitious innovation, the original Clash of the Titans.
Ray Harryhausen leaves behind his wife of over 50 years, Diana, and their daughter Vanessa. Please join your Dragonmaster in offering condolences to the both of them.
For most of this current Faire season, your humble Dragonmaster has been updating certain segments hither within these Dark Chambers, the better to reflect upon various upcoming New York City events. First and foremost among these: the just-concluded Make Music New York; whilst your dear Dragonmaster has remained a faithful supporter of that all-day/all-evening music rainbow, I still have not yet physically attended a Make Music New York event, though I do hope to do so in the future.
In any case, there will be certain times whereby this foolish, ancient old Mage will start forgetting stuff; any time that happens, you're always welcome to contact me, be it in person or through me usual contact info. Be a dear, as ever, and stay ye tun'd!
Well, as usual, your humble Dragonmaster doth find himself having to surrender to that auld adage, "If you want something done, do it your own bloomin' self!" Herewith, then, is Blackwolf the Dragonmaster's Countdown of the Longest-Reigning Renaissance Faire Kings and Queens in America! Lovely, isn't it?
The reason for the blossoming of this Countdown is simple and to the point: despite my repeated requests that they do so, Guinness World Records and GuinnessWorldRecords.com have not recognized Richard Patterson and Shannon Hopps --- King Henry VIII and Queen Anne Boleyn from the Scarborough Renaissance Festival --- as the longest-reigning RenFaire Royals in America. And needless to say, the ten that I've chosen --- regardless of whether they've ruled Faire as a duo or singly --- represent a great lot of these Kings and Queens. You may or may not agree with my selections, but I'm sure you'll not forget who these good and lovely Royal People are, and that you'll pay them proper homage shouldst thou attend Faire.
So enough nonsense now, and let the countdown begin!
1. RICHARD PATTERSON & SHANNON HOPPS, Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, Scarborough Renaissance Festival. Why? As I said, there is no Scarborough Renaissance Festival without them --- especially now, as this season, Richard has completed his 25th season of portraying His Royal Majesty, Henry VIII. Who knows how many children and grandchildren have long flocked to their Thrones and come away feeling gloriously enchanted? Huzzah!
2. JANNA CASSTEVENS-ZEPP, Queen Margaret of Scotland and the Isles, Scarborough Renaissance Festival. Why? Because, thanks to her, your Dragonmaster is also His Lordship, the Duke of Talisker --- and that's an honor I will always hold sacred, no matter what!
3. FRED NELSON, Henry VIII, Maryland Renaissance Festival. Why? Because he's had almost 15 seasons with the goodly gentles in Crownsville, and he has done a masterful job filling the shoes of beloved and glorious Bill Huttel. I hope, doubtless, that his next decade shall find Fred enchanting yet another generation of loyal subjects!
4. KIMBERLY STOCKTON, Elizabeth I, Louisiana Renaissance Festival. Why? Because she has a great photogenic appeal, as every great Elizabetha Regina should.
5. ANN ALFORD, Elizabeth I, New York Renaissance Faire Sterling Forest. Why? Because, after a quarter-century at Sterling Forest, she's made Tuxedo Park, New York, Zip Code Ten Nine Eight Seven her own fantastic Realm; because, as writer-director, she finds new and weird ways to get Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham to battle one another --- and because that pesky Lord Burghley keeps taking her away from everyone, including me, just as we're all beginning to get enchanted by her! (Drat!)
6. GREG TAYLOR & ROSELLA GONZALEZ, King and Queen of the Texas Renaissance Festival, Plantersville. Why? Because, as Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, they had a great formula together --- one that always had a delicious knack of keeping the fans coming back for more. Founder/Owner/Mayor George Coulam saw this, no doubt, and accordingly gave them their new Royal ranks! Huzzah!
7. JOHN AULD, Henry VIII, The Castle of Muskogee, Oklahoma's Renaissance Festival. Why? Because he's gotta be the most huggable Henry VIII I've seen in lo, many years!
8. JESSICA EPPLER, Elizabeth I, Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire. Why? Because she's a veteran of Mount Hope's beloved Faire, and (one may assume) has frequently enchanted the "nipperkins" on various occasions.
9. MARY ANN JUNG, Elizabeth I, History Alive, Baltimore, Maryland. Why? Because she adds a touch of laughter to her entertaining adventures in the role of Good Queen Bess --- which, I think, is just what Royal fans deserve.
10. DIERDRE SARGENT, Elizabeth I, Northern California Renaissance Faire. Why? Because I would go so far as to call her the most elegantly Elizabethan of California's Elizabeth I re-enactors. Besides, if you manage to have her smile at you, you'll leave NorCal Faire with a warmth and a magic that's unique!
Well, Mortals, there they are --- my Top 10 Faire Royals! I hope all of them will see what I've written hither, and be delighted by these humble remarks --- because, frankly, I knew you were all too busy to do interviews anyway! (Whew!)