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Richard Rasner (Unique Nudes™)
Here is the story from SLO Faire (San Luis Obisbo, aka the Central Coast Renaissance Fair 2013) of how a gig rarely goes as planned and how sometimes what you never thought may in fact come true. (Photos © 2013 Sean O'Connor)

This is the story of Yeoman Fuellon Flynn (a Welshman in Her Majesty's Royal Guard) and Mistress Elisabeth Lowell, a young lady in the Queen's Household, and how they came to be married and wealthy, all in the same day.

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Now, Yeoman Flynn has had pretty much two goals since coming to London:  Marry an English Woman and get knighted.  (The latter not for glory or title, but that so everyone would have to say "Sir Fuellon" rather than Yeoman Flynn.  The double-L in Welsh in the middle of a word is almost a "w" sound.)  Though he had known Mistress Elisabeth for a few years, she had not really caught his eye until her brother (Flynn's superior officer, Leftenant James Lowell) became a knight himself.  Elisabeth, for her part, has been trying to marry for years before she became a spinster.  Her brother (the oldest remaining male in the Lowell family) would not let her marry a Yeoman, nor was any other suitor right for her.  Though he married *twice* (AND took a mistress) he still refused to find her a suitable husband.  She found a kindred spirit in Flynn, and much to their surprise they fell in love.

The courtship began.  Flynn curried favor from the noble houses of Sir Christopher Hatton (the knight he was squired to) and, as Sir Kit was not on this leg of Progress, the Earl of Cumberland (who will later play an important role.)  The Captain of the Guard, Sir John Elsworth, was not happy as he had agreed to pay Elisabeth's dowry (the Lowell family had fallen on hard times) but was hoping for her to marry an Englishman.  He set about to test their love.

The Couple was lead to the Belladonna Inn, where the ladies (and men) of the Leaping House (a house of ill repute) were to try and distract to two lovers from each other.  (Here you see Flynn and some of the whores)
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Despite their best efforts the couple passed the test with flying colors (much to everyone's surprise, theirs included) and the captain reluctantly agreed he would give the bride away, but no dowry would be paid since he was not an Englishman.

On the following day Flynn looked for the perfect shady spot to propose.  As they reached a clearing they spotted the Leftenant and another knight (Sir Trystan Cabot) engaged in conversation.  Looking to scare off Flynn with his bravado Sir James started a fight with Sir Trystan.  While they were distracted, Yeoman Flynn got to one knee and proposed:
"We are no strangers to love,
Thou knowest the game, and so do I.
A full commitment is what I dream of,
And thou knowest no other Yeoman would do as such.
I just want to tell thee how I feel,
I must make thee understand:
That I shall never give thee up, nor let thee down;
Nor tell a lie and hurt thee.
I shalt never make you cry, nor say goodbye,
Nor run around and desert thee.
Would you make me the happiest man on earth
and marry me?"

A ring of two diamonds and a Yeoman-red ruby was produced forth from Flynn's cousin (and best man, Yeoman Rhys Cunningham) and placed upon her finger by Flynn.  As Sir James was right there and did not stop it, consent was assumed and flowers were thrown about the happy couple.  (I really, really wish there had been photos of this, but alas there is not).

By three of the clock the wedding was all planned to go ahead.  Flynn (in a cape borrowed from Sir Trystan and pearls won in a gambling game) stood before the Queen and professed his undying love for his betrothed.
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Father Clydesdale (a fellow Yeoman) started the ceremony.  When he asked if Flynn had the blessing of a noble house, not only did The Earl of Cumberland step up to verify, he paid the dowry with a huge purse of his own money, making Flynn a very rich man indeed all of a sudden.
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The bride was brought forth by Sir John, looking beautiful in her braided hair with white roses strewn in:
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At this point things went completely off-script.  In an attempt to disrupt the wedding, Flynn's long lost parents suddenly showed up.  And they turned out to be a Puritan and a Whore.  No, seriously:
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They remarked that, having just arrived to the shire how could they know the woman their son was about to marry was worthy?  She could be a Papist or Spaniard!  At this point, Sir James had to step in and defend his sister, thusly agreeing (by default) to the wedding!!
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(You can tell he still isn't happy about it.)  At this point the entire court was in an uproar over if the two should be married at all.  She is the sister of a knight, he the son of a Puritan.  The Queen, in all her wisdom (and again, all this was unscripted and caught me completely off-guard) decided that the best way to solve it was to knight Yeoman Flynn!!!9-1
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The ceremony was allowed to continue, and when the good Father reached the part about "Does anyone have any objections?"  All looked back expectantly to Leftenant James:
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Only to find that the Yeoman swarmed him at that point and placed a cloth of ether over his nose, causing him to take an unplanned nap.
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The ceremony (which had to be re-written on the fly as 'Yeoman Flynn, esquire' became 'Sir Fuellon Flynn') continued and the new couple of Sir Fuellon and Lady Flynn were announced:
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"You may now kiss the bride:"
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As the crowd cheered for true love the Queen was handed a missive requesting immeadiate assistance of her knights on what is surely to be a suicide misson to the Netherlands to fight the Spanish.  All the Knights of the Yeoman of the Guard (including Flynn and his new brother-in-law Lowell) were sent off to die.  Hopefully, Flynn was allowed to leave the following day, but we'll never know.

THE END.
 
 
Richard Rasner (Unique Nudes™)
16 April 2013 @ 12:46 pm
(The name of this entry should totally be the name of a band.)

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So the handsome fellow in the above portrait (photo by Joanne Wilborn) is me, as Troilo Orsini, a 16th century Italian noble who worked for the famed Medici family as an ambassador, soldier, and all-round kind of awesome guy.  I've gotten some slack for the color of my outfit from a few people, many of which are simply uneducated.  Seriously.  Besides my outfit having been made by a historical costume designer (Pickles Morgan of PickleThis! Designs, who holds degrees in both fashion and historical clothing) even a cursory search on the internet can prove the point rather dramatically.
Abb4

Take this case in point:  The portrait above is of Troilo Orsini with Catherine d'Medici and Karl IX of France (the guy with the stick).  Note that pretty much everyone is wearing blue and gold, as these were the French heraldic colors at the time.  The saddles, the courtiers, and front and center, Troilo.  As he was acting on an ambassadorial mission he is dressed in French armor and colors.  His gold sash and tights are where we got the colors for my cape lining and slops pane reverse.  (NOTE:  This is actually the outfit I wanted to make, and if my guildmaster will let me do it I'm totally wearing armor all next year.)

Anyhow, take a look at how VIVID the blue is.  This painting (by Anastasio Fontebuoni [1571-1626]) is at least 350 years old.  It's probably faded by now.  Actually, one of my biggest pet peeves at renaissance faires is how often nobles dress in drab colors, as they are basing their outfits on terribly faded portraits.  If they would read, they would note that almost all descriptions of noble outfits in the Elizabethan Age almost always mention gay, bright colors, and when someone didn't dress brightly is was usually because they were mourning.

Lastly, below is a painting from the same time period, of Franz I of France meeting with Medici Pope Leo X.  Again, VIVID electric blue velvet.  Also, this totally explains why everyone keeps asking me if I'm the King of France.  The reason my character should never adopt Florentine style is that instead of Roman crosses he would be wearing fleur-de-lis and that would really confuse people.
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One more portrait, of me, because I'm sexy and I know it (*laughs*) in a full length so you can see the cape and slops.  I've already tried to find gold tights that match, but both pairs I ordered online haven't been right.  Some day.

(Photo by Ken Leonard)
 
 
Richard Rasner (Unique Nudes™)
01 April 2013 @ 10:03 pm
Of Mustaches and Men (Intro)
Of Mustaches and Men (Month 1 - 1.5 - 1.75)
Of Mustaches and Men (Month 2)
Of Mustaches and Men (Month 3)
Of Mustaches and Men (Month 4)

Despite this being April Fool's Day, this blog is simply my monthly update, so no trickery, I promise. Not much to report on the 'stache front this month - as I mentioned last month I trimmed my upper lip a bit, and this month I clipped the right side so it was an even length with the left. I'll be wearing it a little differently for the next two months at the Southern California Renaissance Faire (where I'm playing an Italian noble), with a straighter out from my face style (less old west curl) and possibly a split in my beard to look more like this portrait:




So far training the beard has been harder than the mustache (it really wants to curl at the end) so as of right now I haven't been doing it. Here is the month pic (not the best quality; I did this one with my phone.)




You can see it's really quite long now, and I'll post photos of me in my ren-fair costume with the (hopefully) more period-correct style for next month's pic.

Until then!
 
 
Richard Rasner (Unique Nudes™)
01 March 2013 @ 10:49 am
Of Mustaches and Men (Intro)
Of Mustaches and Men (Month 1 - 1.5 - 1.75)
Of Mustaches and Men (Month 2)
Of Mustaches and Men (Month 3)

In the middle of last month I attended the old west event that I had hoped to grow the handlebar out for. And until the vent I had vowed not to even trim the 'stache so it was nice and bushy. The event itself (Kernville's "Whiskey Flat Days") was a roaring success, and my mustache was a big hit:



In fact, I get complements on my handlebar pretty much every day now. Random strangers on the street, fast food and retail clerks, and almost every model that walks through my studio door has something positive to say about my epically manly 'stache. However, shortly after Whiskey Flat Days I was really getting tired of how bushy the damn thing was, and how the center bits really liked to drop down over my lip. So I spent a few minutes with my mustache scissors that I got for Christmas and trimmed up the middle and generally thinned it out, while leaving the length and style the same.

So here is the pic for month 4, taken yesterday (Feb 28) when I got my new glasses to go with my new facial hair style.



Not bad for having been completely clean-shaven on Halloween. 120 days to a manlier you. :)
 
 
Richard Rasner (Unique Nudes™)
18 February 2013 @ 10:23 pm
I just got back from the urgent care of my local hospital for something (I thought was) un-related when I found out that I (like my mother and brother) have Type II diabetes. (Or as I have referred to it for years "fat bastard diabetes".) My blood sugar was almost literally off the charts, yet I had/have 0 symptoms such as nausea, chills, ect. Actually, I feel fine. But I now need to prick my fingers twice daily and become a regular pill popper. Suck-tastic, but option B is going blind which doesn't bode well for my photography career.

Anyhow, now you know too. Just needed to get this off my chest.

 
 
 
Richard Rasner (Unique Nudes™)
02 February 2013 @ 11:27 am
Of Mustaches and Men (Intro)
Of Mustaches and Men (Month 1 - 1.5 - 1.75)
Of Mustaches and Men (Month 2)

We are now on to Month 3 of growing out the 'stache, and just 2 weeks before the event I was hoping it would at least look "decent" for. As it turns out, results are WAY better than I expected. I didn't snap a photo yesterday (the 1st) as I knew I was headed to the Dickens Festival today and would have to style it up pretty anyhow. So this shot is from Feb 2nd:


Pretty amazing, right? The ends do a full curl, the beard part is full and neat, and the center of the 'stache is just bushy enough to look manly but not quite on to walrus yet. In fact, after my event this month I think I'm going to go back on my no-trimming-at-all pledge and start grooming not only the strays with my scissors, but also undercutting to keep the bushiness down.

I have been using the argan oil mostly on the beard these days, as the mustache has finally 'learned' where to part and even without wax the ends do their best to curl up. I'll post a pic of my in my western gear in action at month 3.5 so you can see how I met my goal when I get back from my event, and then go back to my once-a-month posts until the end of the year.

Best Regards,
-- Richard
 
 
Richard Rasner (Unique Nudes™)
01 January 2013 @ 05:42 pm
Of Mustaches and Men (Intro)
Of Mustaches and Men (Month 1)
Of Mustaches and Men (Month 1.5)
Of Mustaches and Men (Month 1.75)

I have been growing my epic handlebar 'stache for exactly 2 months now. And I'm excited, because it *looks* like a handlebar now, albeit a small one. Before we get to the pic, though, I'm going to answer some questions people have been asking:

Q: Do you have a picture of you clean-shaven just before you started all this?
A: Sadly no, as I mentioned in my intro on November 19th I has decided to do this mid-month after not shaving. Here's the best I can do - The first pic is showing off my Halloween costume (though not taken on Halloween I was equally clean-shaven that night as well since I wore the same costume) and one taken Nov 3rd where you can see I have just a few days growth and I had not at all decided to do the handlebar thing yet:





Q: What was that conditioner you mentioned that you used to soften your 'stache?
A: Argan oil. I took a pic of that (and my neat trimming kit I got for X-mas) because secretly I knew someone was going to ask. The tub of cream I put on and let sit for 10 minutes before rinsing, the tall tube is a leave-in conditioner. I put in in on days I don't plan on waxing/styling. This particular brand I purchased at my local Sally's Beauty Supply, the same place I get my mustache wax.





Q: Does your mustache annoy you or get in your way?
A: YES. At least, when I don't take the time to groom it up and out of the way off my upper lip, I look like a walrus, or Jamie from Mythbusters, and it gets in my food, drink, etc. As a warning to anyone who wants to grow an epic 'stache like me, please note that it is VERY high maintenance. This is a pic taken yesterday of me with my mustache shampooed and conditioned, but not shaped.



And now without further ado is my mustache as of Dec 31st, just 60 short days after I stopped shaving. I went from clean-shaven to this, and as you can also see I decided on a beard style, for now:



I am super-happy with how this looks. The ends don't just stick out now, they curl up. I'm hoping by President's Day weekend it will be even more epic, and since that is still 45 days away I feel pretty good about it. (That's the weekend I'm doing my old west event that I decided I should grow this out for.) I'll post another progress pic on Feb 1st, and continue to post one once a month throughout 2013.

Until then!
-- Richard
 
 
Richard Rasner (Unique Nudes™)
29 December 2012 @ 03:41 pm
Since I'm unlikely to shoot anything in the next two days, here is my annual recap:
I ended up with 64 shoots this past year, which was more than I was aiming for but about par for the last few years. (My goal is back to 1 a week after 3 years of world traveling and shooting 3+ times *daily* in some cases).
Unless otherwise noted, the following shoots were done in or right near my "home" studio in Riverside, CA.


January
Let Me Call You Sweetheart
Year of the Dragon
Jungle Heart


February
For the Boys
Railyard (Ridgerest, CA)
The Abandoned Bar (Trona, CA)
Black & White
Beauty of Ink 22


March
All the World's a Stage...
Splash (Laguna Beach, CA)
Traditional Failure
Springtime
Nature's Dream
Splatter


April
Liquid Space
Gwragedd Annwn
Dryad III
Static


May
Sea Creature

June
Unexplored
Underwater Burlesque
Lounge
Capture
Puppies & Sunshine
Private Island (Lake Isabella, CA)
I'm On A Boat (Lake Isabella, CA)
Concrete Jungle (Lake Isabella, CA)
The Split Tree (Lake Isabella, CA)
Misconceptions IV
Underwater Yoga Part 1
Sea of Madness
Pure Energy
Underwater 5
Beauty of Ink 23


July
Under the Black Flag
High Above (Big Bear, CA)
The End of it All (Camarillo, CA)
Flowers
Ripples
Into the Woods II (San Luis Obisbo, CA)
Moro Bay (Moro Bay, CA)
High Key IV
Fire
Spikes & Curves
Shadow Wrap
Beauty in Black & White


August
Return to Eden
Mara
Magic in the Dark
Underwater 6
The Beauty of Ink 26


September
Masked
Fluidity
Web II


October
Timber (Big Bear, CA)
Cool Mountain Breeze (Big Bear, CA)
The Pin-up Forest


November
Lace
Wax Poetic
*unpublished pin-up shoot*
Fire Part II
Cars
Lovers


December
Nymph (Escondido, CA)


The model that posed for me the most was (not surprisingly) Pickles Morgan, who I became engaged to in April, with a total of 7 shoots. A close second was Vix (6), Joy (5), and Jay Taylor & Ryanne Elizabeth tying at 4 each.
Did you see all 64 shoots? What was your favorite shoot? Favorite image? Let me know in the comments!
 
 
Richard Rasner (Unique Nudes™)
26 December 2012 @ 04:55 pm
Of Mustaches and Men (Intro)
Of Mustaches and Men (Month 1)
Of Mustaches and Men (Month 1.5)

As I mentioned in my mid-month post I promised I would post if I got anything for Christmas, and any other updates. So here is the Boxing Day report:

I picked up some argan oil hair treatment and begin using it on my 'stache about a week ago. The result is that it is much easier to tame and part now, as it has softened considerably. The points on my epic handlebar are starting to curl up on the ends now, rather than stick straight out, and I have gotten a ton of complements, mostly from the over-75 crowd. :) At all the holiday functions I have attended I have made sure to wax and curl it, and people are really taking notice. It *looks* like a handlebar now, albeit a small one. I'm excited to post a progress pic on the 1st so you guys an see how it has been coming along.

My only holiday gift that was 'stache related (besides a novelty-shaped tin of mints) was a small mustache-shaped leather grooming kit with a small pair of scissors and a sturdier mustache comb than the one that comes with my wax. I can stick it in my pocket when I head out the door and keep my face tamed throughout the day.

Expect an update late on the 1st or the 2nd of Jan (I'm hosting an epic NYE party so I'm not sure if I'll be coherent enough to post in the morning, but I'll make sure to snap a pic of the 'stache at the party) so you can see the results so far.

Cheers!
-- Richard
 
 
Richard Rasner (Unique Nudes™)
13 December 2012 @ 12:01 am
Of Mustaches and Men (Intro)
Of Mustaches and Men (Month 1)

I'm about 40-some-odd days into growing my epic 'stache and I had a minor breakthrough this week: for the first time I can style (using the Clubman Wax) a part in the middle and tiny tips sticking out from my face! It's not a lot, but it's something and I like the way it looks. Here's a pic from my gig as a pub quiz host:



I'll post a progress pic again near the 1st of the month (probably not New Year's Day, but close to it) and I'll also post if I get any cool styling items (mustache combs, etc) for Christmas.

Until then!