Weekend 1: Dickens Rehearsal

Kage Baker did historical re-creation events, as is well know.

That sounds – and is – so cold and flat, though. What she did was Living History, creating as much of a real world as we can short of a holo-deck and mental implants. We do it with our hands and our voices, with the fire of our imaginations and the skill of our hands.  Kage was very, very good at it.

She made places, in exquisite and fanatical detail; then the actors came in in and inhabited them. The customers found them to be portals to Faerie, where the local deizons would welcome them in, sit them on a period seat, offer them something improbably to eat and talk incomprehensibly to them. One of the reasons it worked was because Kage saw these places so clearly in her mind, and could conjure them, from willing hands and loaned power tools and furniture from our mother’s attics.

This weekend begins the 3-week period of frantic insanity called Rehearsals for The Great Dickens Christmas Fair. I am off to San Francisco, to assemble my mad and lovely minions and begin to construct Extreme Christmas yet again.

Kage did this last year in a wheelchair – and was a menace; she had too much fun in that wheelchair. She never made it to performance because she was too ill. I dropped out halfway through because she became too sick to leave alone. Five days after the Fair closed, the first tumor in her brain was found. Five weeks later, she was dead.

I am afraid. I’m afraid of people who want to talk to me about her, I’m afraid of the endless gaps and holes her lack has left, I’m afraid to doing this with half my brain gone. But Kage built this place, you see, and I mean to make it rise again.

So I’m off. I will tell you stories about it, Dear reader, as we go along. It’s a very nifty place, it really is.

Off to San Francisco –