JL Melusine's BrightRoar

The Delights of Fan Art, Lifestyle and Culture

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I love braids.

(I even loved them in the years before they became popular and now I’m just enjoying the proliferation of braided hairdos, accessories and glamour. My personal style is one I call Modern Fantasy inspired by A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones, the Rennaisance Faire, Pre-Raphaelites with flourishes from high fashion, street fashion, drag, rockabilly, EGL and anything else I care to throw in. There’s going to be more about this.)

For now, fabulous hairdos! These are all braids I’ve gotten at Rennaisance Faires; my favorite braider is the amazing Brandy at the Maryland Rennaisance Faire –ask for her by name! I call them Lannister Prom Hair which was a term discussed for fancy braids at Chessiecon which I thought was the greatest thing ever and a true honorific. (Sadly, I do not know who said or originated this phrase–if you are, write me! I’ll have a small token of gratitude for you as well as my everlasting thanks.)

(These have also shown up on my personal Pinterest. As they do.)

Currently, the most spectacular Lannister Prom Hair ‘do’s I have ever had (the one on the right was for the Katy Perry concert in Philadelphia last year and done by E. at Pandora’s Locks at the PA RenFaire. Mwah! I added the huge flowers. Roar!)

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Faire Braids by Brandy:

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The one Brandy did for my brother’s wedding last week (I could not find red ribbon roses, which was as annoying as all hell.) Anyway.)


Quick Tips on Getting a Braided ‘Do at A RenFaire (or Pirate Festival or Faerie Festival):

1. If you even think you might want one, bring your own combs. I bring mine and I’ve seen others in line with them too. They are very clean and have barbicide and such for their tools , but it’s extra nice to have your own things for your hair. I’d suggest a thin comb (preferably rattail with the long end) and a wide toothed detangling comb. You can find these at the drugstore or beauty supply place and they can fit in even a tiny purse.

2. There’s a book with hair styles. Look at it and see what you want before you get up there and put your name on the list. There will also be prices. This is also the time to ask about any hair information like suggestions for particular styles, short hair, etc.

3. If you want something of your own (say, perhaps a Khaleesi braid ‘do) bring a picture and ask what they can do. Be gracious and polite as you would with any hairdresser. (If you want a braid you’ve seen on Game of Thrones, please, please bring a picture. No human can keep track of all the amazeballs braids on that show.)

4. TIP. Seriously. These stylists are working outside generally in very warm weather and tips make a huge difference. They’re hair stylists and have worked a lot at what they do. Be gracious. (This Lannister repays her debts, especially at the stylist. )

5. If you have any special needs hair (mine is very fine, for example) tell them about it.

6. To keep your braided ‘do for a couple days, sleep with pantyhose on your head. Tie the legs to make a cap, snip off the excess stocking and pop that over your pretty head. Give it a quick shot of spray and smoothing stuff the next day and you are set to go. If you want it to last for a while tell them and ask that it be braided tightly.

7. Have fun and enjoy your unique and fabulous hairdo!

Other things: Ask if the stylist would like to get a photo for their portfolio. Be gracious. Say thank you. Short hair doesn’t necessarily mean a braid is out–ask what they can do. If you like these, get a card and see if they’ll make some hair magic for you in the off season.

Hold your head up high. (Seriously. You will.)

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In the Vanishing of Care


In the music and the laughter,
In the vanishing of care,
And of all before and after

–Euripides, The Bacchae

There is an anarchic joy in fan culture. In context of honoring favorite stories, be they any type of media, they are turned upside down, smashed together, made manifest in costume and art and become something gloriously devotional in the process. There are always debates on canon, going too far, what’s acceptable behavior and what is not. (If you’d like an example of the latter, mention “furries” or “fanfic” and see what distaste appears–however, that’s about as much of the negative as will ever be present here.) There are endless, agonizing struggles over factions, what’s appropriate or correct to present, show, or write and there’s plenty to read on that, much of it on Tumblr.

In other contexts, this might be called “lowbrow art” with its own particular style and galleries, “outsider art”/ “art brut” as created by self-taught artists or even “mash-ups” which take established images or stories and transform them into something else worthy of appreciation by another audience. These forms of art are powerful in their own right, but fan culture, even in an era where the nerds have supposedly won the culture wars is looked on with a raised eyebrow at best, and a shudder at worst.

Even participation in fan culture–and I’ve caught myself doing this–can include a “but I don’t do that”. (“That” in various forms can include fanfic, cosplay, media fandom, inappropriate writings or art, smutty fanfic, fursuits, polyamory, monogamy and anything deemed gauche or inappropriate by the person or group in question. This is not only limited to the fan community)

I find this limiting. Groups define themselves too often by what they are not instead of what they are; this can include such examples of certain times certain GLBT events were “embarrassed” by the leather community and the drag community and the early women’s movement’s attempt to distance themselves from lesbian and transgender women’s communities. While fan culture is not the same as these struggles in scope or sociocultural and legal importance as these, there is too often a “what we are not.”

Here, you’ll find celebration. You’ll find fun. You’ll find all the ecstatic joy that playing in other worlds brings in fashion, art, handcrafted loveliness, the written word,fanfic, fanvids, food and more. You’ll also hear about Tiny Cersei, my own project and anything else that I deem of interest because it’s my space. There’s going to be a lot about “A Song of Ice and Fire” and “Game of Thrones” because that is a place near and dear to me.

This is a positive, happy place.

The piece above is written in praise of Dionysos from Euripides’ The Bacchae and describes where the divinity and power of the god is found–and it works just as well for a human perspective. In the joy and “vanishing of care” in fan culture lies its power and intoxicating delight–and as a beginning, it is a fine one. Go forth and let them hear you roar, darlings.

Note: This is as academic as I want to sound here, so we can all loosen up a bit, adjust our belts and corsets and let our fancy braids get just a bit mussed. Ahh.


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