16th century, Bella Donna, events

Carnevale Fantastico: New Italian Renaissance Faire in the SF Bay Area!

San Francisco Bay Area people: you should know about a NEW event coming up May 2-3 in Vallejo! Carnevale Fantastico is a brand new Renaissance faire, but it’s not just any Renaissance faire. It’s specifically an ITALIAN event, with performers, theater, food, and more that will be more than your usual “renfaire”! Bella Donna Historical Performers will be performing, and I’m really excited about it!


Bella Donna Historical Performers – (C) Laurie Tavan


So what’s so exciting?

1. It’s ITALIAN.

Okay, so yes, I’ve been performing Italian for a long time now. But this is a new event that will have a focused theme, so rare in faires these days. Much Ado About Sebastopol has become a really great event in part because of their specific focus on being an English faire with a focused theme. I’m really hopeful that Carnevale Fantastico will become the same thing for those of us who love Italy!

This faire is committed enough to the concept of Italy that they’re not just having everyone play “Italian.” They’re actually having different areas of the faire representing Venice, Florence, Rome, and the South.

2. Great Performers

Okay, so yes, obviously my own Bella Donna Historical Performers are fabulous! We’ll be there doing our show “The Final Rose” twice a day, filled with Italian Renaissance singing, dance, and comedy. Plus offstage we’ll be bringing the glamor and humor of Venetian courtesans.


What else is on offer?

Well, the originators of the Italian art of flag waving are flying over from Italy to perform! That’s right, Gruppo Sbandieratori Sansepolcro has been doing this since 1953, and they are coming all the way over to California to share their talents!

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Other exciting performers include Commedia Volante (who always make me laugh), Manly Men in Tights (comedic swordsmen who have been a Renaissance faire favorite since I started back in 1993), Serenata (Italian singers whose voices are truly stunning), and a whole lot more. You can check out all the details on the various shows on their website.

3. FOOD.

Even better than funnel cake, there’s going to be Real Italian Food and for foodies, you’d better be getting excited! Wood-fired pizza! Gelato! Stromboli! Cannoli! And a whole lot more. I know I’m excited!

Discount Tickets

If you’d like to join us (and we hope you do), you can buy discount tickets online NOW.

I hope to see you there!

Menacing Linda in the Great Hall
events, GBACG

Game of Thrones Costume/Event

Would you believe it, I sewed something! It was crazy around here! The Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild held a Game of Thrones event at Castello di Amorosa, a winery in the Napa valley. Now, I like Game of Thrones — I watch the show religiously, although I can tell that the books would drive me crazy. And I like the costumes, although I don’t love them. But when the event was announced and so many of my friends wanted to go, I decided to go too!

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18th century, interesting reading, research

18th Century Mexican Dress in Casta Paintings

Casta paintings are fascinating sources on multiple levels. “Casta” is a Spanish word meaning “race,” “kind,” or “lineage” (“Between ‘Casta’ and ‘Raza'”). It was a term used in 18th century Latin America to refer to a hierarchy of ethnicity, whereby people were categorized based on their ancestry. Different terms were defined not just for people of Native American, Spanish, and African heritage, but also for different mixtures (so, for example, a castizo was the child of one Spanish and one mestizo [one Spanish, one Native American parent] parent).

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16th century, 17th century, 18th century, 18th century court dress, 18th century wigs, 19th century

Speaking of Auctions – Some Nice Portraits

Speaking of auctions, as I did in my last post, reminded me that I occasionally like to troll through auction sites for images. It’s a great way to find new-to-you portraits and sculpture, and sometimes even extant clothing.

Here’s a few things that I’ve found lately that I liked — almost all 18th century, of course! Because that’s how I roll.

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A MATCHING stomacher under a Venetian ladder-laced gown! Attributed to Domenico Robusti, called Domenico Tintoretto | PORTRAIT OF A LADY, THREE-QUARTER-LENGTH SEATED, HOLDING A LUTE | Sotheby’s

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