s Masquerade Ball last night was stunning. The downstairs ballroom was being used for the first time,and from the pictures on the walls to the ethereal lighting the setting was absolutely perfect. Us London Team girls are definitely telepathic, though - most of us turned up in similar coloured white dresses and wearing light blue masks. We hadnt been conferring. It was the same last week when we all turned up in red. Maybe we are all just so close-knit that we think alike at all times!
Everybody who came to the event looked stunning, though – even the guys. DJ JB Goode played a lovely selection of tunes, many of which were Christmas classics. I had never heard the song “Reggae, Reggae Christmas” before (yeah, I know, where have I been!), so now that
s my new favourite song this year. Although, the song Im singing constantly is “The Christmas Song” – chestnuts roasting on an open fire etc , and there
s a lot to be said for "Santa Baby"- especially Eartha Kitts version. Oh and “Fairytale of New York” is the perfect one to get you cynics through the season!
m digressing. The Manager of Moments Jayde Enoch hosted last nights event and she looked gorgeous in a sparkling gold gown. Sim Owner and Manager Debs Regent was also there – looking equally beautiful as the lady in red. There was originally a thousand Lindens on the board, but that was increased, as promised, when lots of extra guests arrived, and the final pot was two thousand!
t panic, though, if you missed the event, Moments are going to do it all over again next week (28th Dec at Midday SLT) to help you get in the mood for all the New Year Parties. Now, dont get me started on New Year in the London Sims. That`s for another blog.
So, I hear you cry(?), what about the history of the Masquerade Ball. Well, again Google and Wikipedia are my new best friends, and here`s some information I learned today about the traditional event.
The word “Masquerade” comes from the French word masque – and guess what it means blog readers- yes, mask. Hands out prizes all round. Wikipedia tells us that the events were ” a feature of the Carnival season in the 15th century, and involved increasingly celebrate allegorical Royal Entries, pageants and triumphal processions celebrating marriages and other dynastic events of late medieval court life. The “Bal des Ardents” (“Burning Men’s Ball”) was held by Charles VI of France, and intended as a Bal des sauvages (“Wild Men’s Ball”), a form of costumed ball (morisco). It took place in celebration of the marriage of a lady-in-waiting of Charles VI of France‘s queen in Paris on January 28, 1393. The King and five courtiers dressed as wildmen of the woods (woodwoses), with costumes of flax and pitch. When they came too close to a torch, the dancers caught fire.” Ooh- sounds a bit dangerous!
The website www.venicemaskedball.co.uk points out ” the secrecy that the masks provided also led to an inevitable increase in crime and a general decline in morals.In the fourteenth century” they say,” it became necessary to introduce decrees forbidding the everyday wearing of masks, and masquerading was restricted to special carnivals and festivals.”
Goolgle`s “History of the Masquerade Ball says that “by the 15th and 16th centuries Carnival had become a rowdy tradition featuring boisterous games and masquerades adopted from a variety of late winter and early spring festive practices with pre-Christian roots. This was a time for ritual and play. By engaging in irony, disguise, laughter, and revelry, people sought renewal and growth for themselves and their communities.”
Wikipedia goes on to say that the tradition “developed in an ancient part of France in the late middle ages, .. was made most popular during the 16th and 17th centuries in England.” Just known as a “masque” in those days, they write, it ” was a festive entertainment existing mostly in the rich aristocratic courts, though there was a public version (called a pageant). There was music and dancing, singing and acting, and stages were elaborate and over-done. Usually professionals were used, wearing masks, and the whole thing was a great amusement to all, often containing social and/or political undertones to the acts and allegories, creating much drama.” They add “Elizabeth 1, Shakespeare, Anne of Denmark, Henry VIII, and Charles 1 are among some of the famous names who enjoyed masques–Shakespeare often writing them into his plays.” Remember Romeo met Juliet at a masked ball. You never know who you might be destined to meet at the London Sims one next week!
Speaking about London, Wikipedia mentions the city next as it states “John James Heidegger, a Swiss count who arrived in Italy in 1708, is credited with having introduced the Venetian fashion of a semi-public masquerade ball, to which one might subscribe, to London in the early eighteenth century, with the first being held at Haymarket Opera House. London’s public gardens, like Vauxhall Gardens, refurbished in 1732, and Ranelagh Gardens, provided optimal outdoor settings, where characters masked and in fancy dress mingled with the crowds. The reputation for unseemly behavior, unescorted women and assignations motivated a change of name, to the Venetian ridotto but as “The Man of Taste” observed in 1733.”
However, the events didn`t go down so well the other side of the pond, despite being liked by many, Wikipedia writes that “throughout the century masquerade dances became popular in Colonial America.” But,they add “its prominence did not go unchallenged; a significant anti-masquerade movement grew alongside the balls themselves. The anti-masquerade writers (among them such notables as Samuel Richardson) held that the events encouraged immorality and “foreign influence”.” Hmm- not very PC in those days then!
As for the mask design itself, Google
s "History of the Masked Ball " has an interesting fact about that, too. They write aboutt suppose I`ve come down with the plague yet- though I certainly felt like it when I had flu earlier this week!
<div><i><span style="font-family: Georgia; font-size: medium;">"traditional Venetian masks such as the white Volto half-mask with its nose cover and its variant, the Plague Doctor's mask with its phallic beak"</span></i></div>
<div>and say that</div>
<div><i><span style="font-family: Georgia; font-size: medium;">" According to tradition, the beak was intended to protect the wearer from being infected by the plague." </span></i></div>
<div>Ewww - I wore one of those last night. Still I don
The original characters in the early events are interesting, too. The site www.venicemaskedball.co.uk explains that “the three main characters were ‘El Captiano’, ’Pantalone’ and ‘El Dottore’ who displayed arrogance, stupidity, and greed. The servants who were smart and devious or sometimes rather stupid were always looking to get one up on their masters.
’Arlecchino’, the devious Joker, was believed to be one of the first characters created who developed into the character of ‘Harlequin’. The term ‘slapstick’ came from the wooden stick he wore, designed to produce maximum noise when engaging with other characters in mock fights.”
So, now you know all about it, and I`ll leave you with a final word from www.venicemaskedball.co,uk
“The practice of wearing masks for disguise reached its peak in the 18th century when different social classes in Venice used Carnival as an excuse to mingle and, in some case, to make sexual favours without being recognised.”
That was just something for you to think about before next week`s Moments Masquerade Ball in Kensington!
And,yes, I did notice the disappearance of some of you during the ball last night. I`m not naming names, but you know who you are. No-one escapes this blogger`s attention!
For all pics of the event please click here – http://www.flickr.com/photos/107369297@N08/sets/72157638908112865/
PS: Don`t forget our Christmas Carol Event at St Mary`s Church in Kensington tonight-22nd December at 10am Second LifeTime.