Hey, and a Ho, and a nonny nonny no
Ol' Virginny! I write this missive on the eve of the last
weekend of the highly successful First Annual Virgina
Renaissance Faire, which lays on the outskirts of the
overtly historic hamlet of Fredericks-burg. This land
was first charted by Captain John Smith back when the
Elizabethan Renaissance was in full swing in jolly old
1608. The land the Faire is on be just a silver dollar
toss from where young G. Washington honestly chopped down
the family's pet cherry tree (easy to spot, just across
from that McDonalds(r) and those tasty cherry pies). And
this is all a simple cannon blast from where the Union
army laid down 8,000 lives on the muddy shores of the
Rappahannock back in 1862. And if that weren't enough,
these past six weeks Spiney, Figgy and I have been quite
busy eating up all these historic sites, one mouthful
at a time.
wonderful to be here, and certainly a thrill to introduce
our new Mid-Atlantic members to all our veteran SBASers.
(And it sure was sublime to see so many familiar faces
from our Maryland days out that first weekend...glad you
could make it.) As fanatical fledglings, you are undoubtedly
endeavoring to deduce what exactly it is you've stepped
in. Well you are not the ony ones quizzically scraping
your proverbial shoe. There are, in fact, a total of none
of us who have the blurriest idea as to what we are into,
and how deep we are in it. The one thing we fathom for
sure is: we are a bona fide bunch bonded by the majestic
machinations of the one and only original Mud Show(r).
The only council I can muster to fortify all you dear
devotees is our own personal credo in which I can trust
you will rock:
Cerebrum, Nullus Capitis Dolor."
as soon as I learn me some French, I will be happy to
let you know what that means.
Billy Billy vonBilly
On The Road Again...the First Tyme
Being the Tale of the First Touring Mud Show
by Grimey Fingers
the summer of '79, on the first weekend of King Richard's
Faire, Figgy Pudding's voice bellowed throughout the village
as he strode down the road, announcing, proclaiming, and
behaving like the Town Crier he was.
the balcony of a Cookie Shop, Grimey Fingers, as the Archbishop
of Bristol, peddled "Letters of Indulgence"
to attorneys and auto dealers, Forgiving All Sin.
By the last weekend of the Faire, Figgy's severe jock
itch and blown vocal cords had reduced the Town Crier's
routine to a series of long laps, talcum powder, and iced
tea... Grimey spent his breaks hoping that God really
did have a sense of humor, and that the dark clouds over
the cornfield didn't mean he would be struck by lightning
during his next shearing of the flock.
and hilarity: we watched the Sturdy Beggars create
the Mud Show(r). "All the world's a stage, just add
water." Figgy and I figured that was where it's at.
Winter of '80 - the "Dickens Faire" in Chicago
- Grimey is on the horn to Florida, pitching the act to
the entertainment director..."our entertainment budget
is already spent, but if you want to beg and pass the
hat, O.K.... what's the name of your troupe?" Grimey
and Figgy hadn't actually asked Ikey Noakes or Will'm
the Poorer or anybody else if they could fly the Sturdy
Beggar flag. Think fast, Grimey! "Those Sturdy Beggars,
that's our name." Ikey and Will'm graciously said,
"go forth and beg well." It was Largo, Florida
or bust. The Sturdy Beggars were on the road.
weekends were a beggar's dream; a full day of street begging
climaxed by the Mud Show(r). "The Beggar Who Would
Be King" was a presentation in which, while the story
remained shallow, the mud grew deeper and deeper. Shop
owners closed to catch the Mud Show, fans were hanging
from the trees, television crews maneuvered for the best
shots... it was beggar glory. The weekdays were a vicious
cycle of swimming in the Gulf, making sand castles with
the Wood Nymph, and sailing with the Barbarian.
it was over. With a bonus from the owner, we headed home
tanned, rested, and ready for more improvisational outrage.
Bay Area Renaissance Festival in Florida... the first
Sturdy Beggar Touring Show, and a glorious moment in the
The 1996 Sturdy Beggar Season
Hodie! Once again, we Merry Mudmen are slogging your way.
Hijinks ensue! Come out and see us at the Festival of
yer choice -- Proudly don your official Sturdy Beggar
T-shirt and wallow in that red carpet treatment! (Specific
rosters subject to change. Your mileage may vary)
Virginia Renaissance Faire (Fredericksburg) 1175 King's
Hwy/Fredericksburg, VA 22405
(540) 371-3999 5/4 - 6/16 (incl. Memorial Day) Spiney
Nodules, Figgy Pudding, Billy Billy vonBilly
Bristol Renaissance Faire (IL/WI border) 12420 128th St./Kenosha,
WI 53142 (708) 395-7773 or (414) 396-4320 6/29 - 8/25
Spiney Nodules, Figgy Pudding, Billy Billy vonBilly
Oz Fest (Chicago, IL) Located this year in Lincoln Park
/ (312) 929-TOTO 8/3 - 8/4 Lutilla Fair Dinkum, Helmut
Iowa Renaissance Festival (Des Moines) Located on the
Fair Grounds / (515) 357-5177 9/14 & 15, 9/21 &
22 Lutilla Fair Dinkum, Helmut von Mudt
Richard's New England Faire (Carver, MA) P.O. Box 419/Rt.
58/Carver, MA 02330 (508) 866-5391 8/31 - 10/20 (incl.
Labor Day & Columbus Day) Legs Akimbo (8/31-9/2, 10/5-6,
10/19-20), Halfwit Henry (9/7-9/15, 9/28-10/14), Hack
Ptui (9/21-29, 10/12-20), Billy Billy vonBilly (8/31-9/22)
Texas Renaissance Festival (Plantersville, TX) Rt. 2,
Box 650/Plantersville, TX 77363 (713) 356-2178 or 1-800-458-3435
10/5 - 11/17 Halfwit Henry, Spiney Nodules, Figgy Pudding,
Billy Billy vonBilly
included a survey of sorts in our last Groundhog Day issue
of the Rag, and our crack Distribution Services department
is still working overtime to tabulate and interpret the
faintly overwhelming response we received. At the end of
the quaint li'l questionnaire we asked, "is there any
burning question you would like to ask any or all of us
beggars, anything at all?" So we gots to reply. In
order not to lose any one member of our rank ranks to severe
brain cramps, we wrangled a panel of mudmen to handle the
heat. And our first caller is...
"Tara the Trojan" Sturn (Smithfield,
RI, age 54): "You never answer my questions: (1)
Why is it Beggars can't be choosers?"
Billy Billy vonBilly: Why is it beggars can't be
Hoosiers? 'Cause any state where the cream of the crop consists
of Dan Quale, well, let's just say our standards are a bit
Wakka Ding Hoy: "Choosers," not "Hoosiers"!
Because: It Is The Law.
Hack Ptui: And choosy beggars choose Jiff.
Billy: Choosy beggars choose choosy mothers.
Tara the Trojan (cont.) (2) "What the heck do
you do the rest of the year?"
Lutilla Fair Dinkum: My wife, kids, extended family
and concerned friends have wondered the same thing for years,
Wakka: Hey, is this Tara thing a 'Gone With the Wind'
riff, or is it the alliteration you dig?
"Dogcrap!" Obal (Des Plaines, IL, age
24): "What do you do in the winter when the mud
is frozen, to make money?"
Legs Akimbo: Flea Markets. Shrewd investments. Off-Track
Billy: Well, I skate with Peggy Phlegming in the
Wakka: In a larger sense, dude, the mud is never
frozen. Remember, the deeper the strata, the more voluminous
"Skanky Pants" Emery (Fall River, MA,
age 45): "What color is it when you blow your noses
after the show?"
Legs: I've always sworn that it's sort of an umber/ocher
with russet sorrel overtones, but if you forced me to narrow
it down, Skanky, I'd say we're talking a simple chestnut
brown (in wood stains there's a comparable hue found under
the name "Puritan Pine"...I shan't mention the
Wakka: A nice healthy brownish-yeller with a patina
Hack: All the colors of the wind.
Lutilla: I'd just like to say that the thought of
a 45-year-old woman called "Skanky Pants" is quite
"Predator" Sorenson (Kingwood, TX, age
12): "How did you guys get so smart?"
Billy: Uh, um, geez, that's a tough one. Hem, haw,
you gotta ask us an easier one than that.
Hack: Us am do thunk big smart stuff, huh.
Legs: Could you repeat the first part of the question
Lutilla: Quiet observation, reading, and a steady
diet of goat milk and beechnuts.
Wakka: Who you calling smart? What are you, a smart
"Forgotten" Jackson (Dale City, VA, age 33):
"Does your career enhance your date life?"
Billy: No, not really, but it does enhance our shelf
life. Must be some preservative in the mud.
Wakka: Hey, I was gonna say that.
Legs: Could you repeat the first part of the question
...And so it goes. Everyone shiney and enlightened? Super.
Thanks everso to everyone who's written us, and keep those
cards and letters coming, kids! See ya at the Pit!
Yee Haw Texans!
15 years we are finally getting a Pit facelift! We look
forward to seeing all yer shining faces 'neath the new SHADE
CANOPY. A beautiful new design by Shannon O'Hare will bring
a touch of Greco-Roman grandeur to lovely Plantersville.
down, take a deep breath, and brace yourselves...it's just
a simple fact that some beggars have gone off and multiplied.
of the Pit do exist. So here it is our immense pleasure
to feature the absolute first piece submitted by true blue
"A Tale of Two Kiddies"
Well, you knew it was bound to happen sometime. You've
heard from practically all of those dirty Sturdy Beggars,
but now you're in for a little treat. You're about to
hear from the children of one beggar in particular, Lutilla
Fair Dinkum (we promised Mom we wouldn't name names.)
of all, we'd like to say....It's not our fault!!!!! Don't
EVEN blame us!!!!!!!! Our poppy was doing belly-flops
in the pit before we even came into this world! Not to
say that we're ashamed or anything, no, we're quite proud
of our mud-eating dad. (Oh, and contrary to some beliefs,
we DO NOT eat mud and will not in the near future. Thank
you.) Also, we do live in a house (not a shack) and go
the the Faire quite often. We are fairly (get it, Faire-ly)
normal people (if running around screaming at the top
of our lungs 24 - 7 is considered "normal").
final note: We'd like to thank the public for helping
to put bread (not mud) on our table.
G. Ronimo (14 1/2) & Barnicle (12)
P.S.: Hey, if you want the REAL dirt on the Sturdy
Beggars, just give us a buzz sometime.
Editor's Note: I made no such promises. Mom is the lovely
Donna of the erstwhile Jongleurs madrigal group.