Lemurian City of Ladies

A Lemurian City Built in Memory of Christine de Pizan

Archive for the ‘Il Taverna di Muse’ Category

The Raven Stomp

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RavenStomp

You do the hokey pokey and you turn yourself about
that’s what it’s all about
You do the hokey pokey and you turn your self about
That’s what
The Raven Stomp
Is ALL About

Heather Blakey June 2008 in The Taverna di Muse

Written by Heather Blakey

June 27, 2008 at 12:31 pm

Rehearsing for Taverna di Muse

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08EnchanteurDance

Enchanteur has been rehearsing for the evening at the Taverna di Muse. She is choreographing some dance steps for the ‘Dance of the Ravens’.

Heather Blakey June 25th 2008

Written by Heather Blakey

June 25, 2008 at 12:02 pm

A Chance Meeting at the Apothecary Shop

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It was “Mojito Week” at Il Taverna di Muse, and the Proprietress sent me to the Apothecary Shop to purchase bundles of fresh mint leaves, an essential ingredient for the drink. I was excited to make my first visit to the Shop as I had heard it was an extraordinary sensory experience.

The moment the door chimes announced my entrance into the Shop I was assaulted by the pungent scent of spices, the earthy smell of fresh clipped herbs, bundled and hanging from the rafters, and the warm, inviting aromas of tea and fresh baked pastries.

Besides providing apothecary services to the neighborhood, the Shop was also a place for writers and craftspeople to gather who preferred a quieter, less frenetic environment. There were some tables and chairs near the pastry section and in the back was the Stitching Room were some textile artists were piecing together a quilt.

After I made my purchase and was heading toward the door with the wrapped bundle of mint under my arm, I noticed a middle-aged woman in a Victorian-style dress, black silk with starched white lace around the collar. Her hair was pulled high and she balanced a pair of wire glasses on her nose. She was busy reading a book. I stopped and stared for a moment. She was so familiar. Then I knew—it was her!

The woman became aware of me and looked up. “May I be of assistance?” she said with a prim clip.

“Oh, excuse me, I didn’t mean to stare… you look just like…. I mean…. Oh what am I trying to say….Maam, are you Miss Alcott? Louisa May Alcott?”

“I am she.”

“Oh, this is such an honor, Miss Alcott! I’ve enjoyed your work so much.”

“Thank you, my dear. I am gratified that my little women mean so much to you.”

“Maam, I wasn’t referring to Little Women—I mean, don’t misunderstand me, Little Women was wonderful, but I was referring to your…your…..”

“Potboilers? Blood and Thunder stories?”

“Well, yeah.” I sheepishly smiled.

“Please, have a seat, my dear.” She smiled. “Most of my readers don’t know about those stories.”

“And it’s a shame—Pauline’s Passion and Punishment, A Long, Fatal Love Chase, and my favorite, A Modern Mephistopheles—they were innovative, way ahead of their time.”

“Their time?”

“Oh, yes, well, you see, I’m from your future. It’s a little strange, I know.”

“Strange? My dear, this is Lemuria. Everything is strange in Lemuria.”

“Yes, maam.”

“So you read my potboilers?”

“Yes, maam, as part of a research project.”

“My works will be researched? “

“Yes, indeed. You were, er, ARE, one of the first feminists. Your women’s suffrage work is well documented and your literary works reflect this as well.”

“Feminist?”

“Yes, a person who supports women’s rights and strives for justice and social equality.”

“I see. And you see this in my writings?”

“Yes. Your female characters are fiery, independent women, most particularly in your potboilers, but even in Little Women—Jo for example.”

Miss Alcott chuckled. “May I share a secret with you, uh…..”

“Lori.”

“Lori, the fact of the matter is….” She leaned forward and lowered her voice. “I wasn’t very eager to write Little Women.

I suppressed a smile. I already knew that her publisher pushed her to write this simple moral tale for children. “Really!” I said.

“No, I didn’t really want to write it. Very dull and ordinary.” Her voice lowered to a whisper. “I very much enjoyed writing my potboilers. They are so …lurid.” I believe Miss Alcott was beginning to blush. She continued, “The women in those stories were far more interesting and….and….” She struggled for a word.

“…More real?” I said.

“Yes, indeed. More real.”

I glanced at the clock on the wall. “Is that the time?! Miss Alcott, I don’t want to be rude but I really need to get back to the Tavern.”

“Of course, dear. It was a pleasure making your acquaintance.”

“Likewise, Miss Alcott.” I headed towards the door.

“Miss Lori.”

“Yes, maam?”

“Did women ever get the right to vote, in the future, I mean?”

“Yes, maam, we did.”

Miss Alcott picked up her book and resumed her reading.

“Outstanding” she muttered with a smile.

Lori Gloyd © 2006

Written by Pelican1

August 21, 2006 at 1:36 am

Mira Bai

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My evenings working in the Taverna were filled with fun and laughter. The Proprietress and some of the patrons quickly brought me up to speed on how to mix their favorite drinks. I did not make too many mistakes, but once I did spill a glass of beer on the gentleman who always sits in the corner. I learned a new word that night: “vexsom.”

I was tending bar last night when the tribal dancer Mira Bai made her weekly performance. When she finished her act, she glided to a table of patrons who were applauding her with enthusiasm. She greeted them all with laughter, hugs, and kisses. She glanced towards me and motioned.

The Proprietress nudged me. “A round of sherry—the good Jerez for the Professor and her friends.”

“Professor?”

“Yes. Dr. Millicent Fairbanks, Professor of Ethnomusicology at the Mouseion. Her specialty is tribal fusion dance. Has a standing act every Thursday night. Mira Bai is just her stage name.”

“Really!”

“Yes. Interesting character that Millicent. She’s the daughter of a wealthy silk merchant from the Mulberry Highlands. Life of total privilege and luxury. Chucked it all to study dance at the Mouseion. That’s why she chose the name ‘Mira Bai.’”.

“I don’t understand. Who was Mira Bai?”

“No time to explain. They’re waiting for their drinks. Go!”

We were so busy that evening that I never got a chance to ask again about Mira Bai. I had planned to go to the Mouseion the next day to do some research on Lemurian butterflies for a poem I was writing, so I took the opportunity while there to ask the Librarian for some material on Mira Bai. While she went off to look for the material, I made myself comfortable in a study carrel. A few minutes passed when someone approached me.

“Well, my dear, the Librarian told me you were asking about Mira Bai. I thought I’d say hello.”

With a start, I looked up from my texts to see Dr. Fairbanks standing over me. She looked utterly different in ordinary clothes. Instead of a sultry, exotic dancer, here was a stern-looking academic.

“Uh, yes. ….Dr. Fairbanks…… What an honor…. Yes, I was curious about your stage name. It’s a very pretty name,” I stammered.

“Indeed.”

“The Proprietress said something that made me curious about the name.”

“She did now” Dr. Fairbanks chuckled and softened a bit. She pulled up a chair and sat next to me. “Let me tell you a little bit about Mira Bai.”

“Centuries ago in the land of India in what you call ‘The Real World’ a child was born to a noble family. Her parents named her Mira Bai. The child lacked nothing and in her world of gilded tile and marbled halls, she was raised with the singular purpose of doing her ‘duty’ to her family and her people. But Mira Bai was different—she did not play like other children; rather she spent her days in the temple of her god, dancing, singing, and composing poems of worship.

“It wasn’t that she didn’t want to do her duty—in fact, when she was of age, she was married to the Ruler of Chittor as had been arranged years earlier by their families. And as duty dictated, she went with her husband to his palace and lived with her in-laws. To the dismay of her in-laws, however, she did not attend to her duties as required by her rank and station. Again she went off to the temple to worship in song and ecstatic dance. Her family thought she was mad. And, to the horror of her in-laws, she even consorted with people in the temple who were outside her caste—down to the lowest of the Untouchables.

“Then, one day, her husband died and according to the custom of the people, Mira Bai’s duty was to allow herself to be set afire and burned along with her husband’s body.

“Mira Bai refused.

“Her in-laws were furious and drove her from the palace. Her own family barred her return to her childhood home. So Mira Bai spent the rest of her life wandering from temple to temple, singing her poetry and dancing before the god she adored.”

“That’s so sad,” I said.

“Sad? No, my dear. She was victorious! She led her own life, the life she wanted.”

I hesitated, then said “Is that the life YOU wanted?” I immediately cringed from my own brazenness.

Dr. Fairbanks laughed. “Yes, to a certain extent, but it was mostly to honor this amazing woman.”

“Yes, she is such an inspiration. We should all follow her example,” I gushed.

Dr. Fairbanks became serious again. “Are you sure about that? As writers, artists, dancers, musicians, we are often not understood, not even by our own families. Losing them….. that is a very high price to pay.”

She rose from her chair. “Is that a price YOU are willing to pay?” Then she turned and walked away.

I was left with an unsettled feeling that followed me all the way home that night.

————————

A poem by Mira Bai:

Drink The Nectar
Drink the nectar of the Divine Name,
O human! Drink the nectar of the Divine Name!
Leave the bad company,
always sit among righteous company.
Hearken to the mention of God (for your own sake).
Concupiscence, anger, pride, greed, attachment:
wash these out of your consciousness.
Mira’s Lord is the Mountain-Holder,
the suave lover.
Soak yourself in the dye of His colour.

Text: Lori Gloyd © 2006

Written by Pelican1

August 13, 2006 at 11:27 pm

Troubadours Perform for the Ladies

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Eleanor of Aquitaine was one of the most significant historical figures of the middle ages. In 1137, at the age of fifteen, she inherited the duchy of Aquitaine, which comprised nearly one-third of France; this ensured her a unique existence as a politically powerful woman of the middle ages. By the time of her death in 1204, she was a former queen of France functioning as regent queen of England, and had firmly established the blood line of the future English monarchy through her children. This historical importance is profound; yet, underlying her vast political influence was a social one of innumerable value to Western Art. Her lifelong patronage of the troubadour music of her home region directly resulted in the introduction of this oldest known genre of medieval secular music throughout France, and to a lesser extent, the Norman court of England. In addition, she indirectly influenced the formation of the next influentional secular genre, the music of the trouveres.

These trouveres are playing the love song Flow My Tears

Written by Heather Blakey

August 12, 2006 at 7:03 am

The Loft

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Per our agreement, the Proprietess rented to me a tiny loft on the top floor of the Taverna overlooking the Piazza.  A number of artists, writers, and performers lived there as well, and I was very grateful to secure this space among them.  I was equally glad that my loft was ABOVE the flamenco dancer’s studio and not under it.

My space had a skylight and many windows, and sunlight flooded the space.  Though small, the space served my purposes– I needed only a place to read, write and sleep.  I could eat and entertain downstairs in the Taverna, and with the entire city of Cyberia waiting to be explored, I knew I often would not be home.

I could not bear to keep Syren locked up in a livery all day so I arranged for a local horse farm to keep her for a small fee.  She was close enough for me to visit regularly and I planned to go exploring with her on my days off.

Cyberia!   I took a big breath of fresh air as I stepped onto my balcony.  I felt aloft upon a breeze of hope and opportunity.

Lori Gloyd (c) 2006

Written by Pelican1

August 11, 2006 at 10:56 pm

Tavern Recital – Round Dance – Red Book of Montserrat

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This piece, found in the library was written for festivities in early Medieval Spain.  The whole town would involve themselves in these events, which would usually last for days at a time.  The text dates from around 1100, so is interesting to relate to as a part of history, and it made me think of ancient cities and who must have lived there.

Red Book of Montserrat – Round Dance

Resplendent star on the mountain, like a sunbeam miraculously glowing, hear the people.

All joyous people come together: rich and poor, young and old,
climb the mountain to see with their own eyes, and return from it filled with grace.

Rulers and magnates of royal stripes, the mighty of the world, possessing grace,
proclaim their sins, beating their breast, and call on bended knee: Ave Maria.

Prelates and barons with their noble suite, all monks and also priests,
soldiers, merchands, citizens, sailors, townspeople and fishermen are praising here.

Peasants, ploughmen and also scribes, advocates, stone-masons and all carpenters,
tailors and shoemakers and also weavers, all craftsmen thank here.

Queens, countesses, illustrious ladies of power and maidens, young girls,
virgins and old women and widows, climb the mountain, and also nuns.

The community is gathered here to make a vow, to give thanks and to fulfil the vow for the glory of this place,
so that all may see and return in joy, partaking of salvation.

We shall all – of both sexes – pray, and full of humility confess our sins to the glorious virgin,
mother of clemency, so that in heaven we may be with the merciful.

(Full lyrics are available through a Google search.)

Written by imogen88

August 11, 2006 at 3:09 pm