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***A quick reminder that early bird reduced price tickets are only on sale until Monday July 8th!***


“So, just 20’s? No fairies, vampires, wizards? No supernatural elements?” In the development of Elysian Revel over the last couple years, I’ve often thought about or been asked ‘but what if with some magical elements?’. There is nothing wrong with bringing magical elements into a historical setting, but for the purposes of what this game is about, the idea has always made me feel a little sad.


The more research I’ve done on the era, the more I’ve read about incredible people doing incredible things, the more it’s left me convinced that bringing something supernatural into it could dilute the absolute vibrance and spirit of the real people of the era.


Did you know there was a movement of radical anarchists in education, based in Stelton NJ, which emphasized self-determination above all else? No tests, grades or mandatory classes; instead, they actually thought to ask children what they’d be interested in studying. It started in the 1910’s in St. Mark’s Place in New York, later moved to New Jersey, and existed into the mid-1950’s until it was eventually shut down.



Did you know there were fake opium dens in NYC’s Chinatown entirely set up to be tourist attractions? They created fake “dens of debauchery” for rich (mostly white) looky-loos to see after they had been written about in so many penny dreadfuls. “Slumming” tourists would be taken to these fake dens, often be shown a fake fight, and then be taken to a Chinese restaurant. While today one might be unsettled by such seedy representation, isn’t there something also brilliant and subversive in providing an experience for very prejudiced people, taking their money, while also, unbeknownst to them, introducing them to real Chinese culture through food?



Did you know that Drag Balls were a hugely popular social part of the Harlem Renaissance? The Hamilton Lodge Ball was an annual cross-dressing ball in Harlem that started all the way back in 1869 and saw the height of its popularity in the 1920’s. It was one of the few integrated spaces at the time, and while cross-dressing was officially illegal, the events, which drew over 8,000 people, even had security provided by the NYPD! It was only in the more repressive 30’s when they were finally shut down.



The way we are often taught about history is via the myth that people in the past were far more conservative, or didn’t have any of the same ideas and imaginations that we have today. The myth claims that they weren’t fighting against the same structures that we face today, when nothing could be further from the truth. The more I learn about what actually happened in the 1920’s, the more I’m fascinated by the resilience, the brilliance and ingenuity of the actual history.


When we represent historical eras in fiction, it’s very tempting to add a supernatural element for an escapist flair. But even when great artists use the magical realism of the supernatural, they do so to help us emotionally understand what a certain moment may have felt like. I worry that if we only engage with the past aesthetically and fill it with the supernatural, are we erasing the struggles and triumphs of real people who could show us true magic – their transformation of human culture and thought that we are still feeling 100 years later?

Written by Joseph Mastantuono Edited by Samara Metzler special thanks to Ericka Skripan.

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Hello Revelers!

We are announcing our new event dates (December 6-8th), and we wanted to announce the three biggest changes to Elysian Revel, and explain the thought process behind them.


First, you’ll notice that our Tickets are substantially cheaper! Early bird tickets will now be $145 with onsite stay, and only $100 with onsite stay. We are able to do this, because we are no longer going to be catering the event. We found that it was a large expense, and that many players actually wanted the opportunity to use making and sharing food as part of their experience. It also gets quite expensive to cater to all the dietary requirements that a large group has. A lot of players that we had spoken to, simply did not find a catered meal to be the draw of the event.


Second, you’ll notice that our new setting has a far more bohemian feel to it. We found that the previous felt a bit at odds with the intent of the game. We were always far more interested in the 1920’s of Jazz Clubs, Rent Parties, Speak-Easies and Avant-Garde salons than the imagined Gatsby-like parties of the upper class. We feel this new setting is far more welcoming to the 1920’s that we actually want to explore, and we hope you agree! You’re more than welcome to still play the high society type, or the glitzy movie star, but we felt it would be far more interesting if those folks didn’t start off with “Home field advantage” as it were.


Third, you'll notice that the event now officially starts Friday night with what we are calling “Savvy Workshops”. We realized that we wanted to have more opportunities for shared creation, and more opportunities to co-create with you. So, the event will now start on Friday night for everyone, and we’ve eliminated early arrival tickets. Your choice of which Savvy workshops you attend will help you flesh out your knowledge of certain aspects of the 1920’s that you’ll be able to use at the Revel. For example, at our “Cocktail Savvy” Workshop, you’ll learn about the history of cocktails and how speakeasies worked, how to make some very popular 1920’s cocktails, and you’ll also have the opportunity to create some character ties with folks you may have met!


We think that we have an even stronger and more interesting experience planned for you than what we had planned last year when we postponed, and we hope you’ll join us for the first Elysian Revel! -Joseph


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One of the reasons I love live-action roleplaying is because it’s the only kind of event where you get to take a vacation from yourself. You get to actually experience a point of view that isn’t your own, in a way that no other medium allows. You’re there. It’s happening to you. Even though it’s play, and you can step out at any time, there is no screen or proscenium separating you from the action. It’s why the dialogue or the costumes don’t have to be perfect. It’s in front of you, and it’s another human being reacting to you directly. I feel like this allows us to experience things in a way that no other art-form allows, and it’s what is so exciting to me about Live-Action Roleplaying.


I think a lot about how so many things in our world seem impossible to change, until they do. How does that happen? How do we change the rules of society? How do we change our feelings towards certain ideas? How do we free ourselves from the demands of society that are holding us back, when those demands are so ingrained in ourselves that they’ve become our own voice in our head? That’s the question I’m trying to ask with Elysian Revel.


I chose the 1920’s not only for the aesthetic, but because it is a fascinating moment in history. It was a moment of huge social change, it was the first time in American history that more people were living in cities than in rural areas. It was a time of intense patriarchal hierarchy, sexual repression and an incredibly oppressive society. The 19th century idea of class and social standing was still incredibly prevalent. And yet, against that backdrop you had a nation that imposed a ban on drinking, turning everyone who would have a drink into someone who was willing to go against the stated law in society. A nation of "Scoff-laws" as the Ken Burns documentary on prohibition put it.


I chose this backdrop because of its ability to heighten so many simple things. With much of 1920's society still stuck in a 19th century mindset, the simplest actions can start to feel like a joyous rebellion against an oppressive society. You're already breaking the law having a drink, why not dance with someone you aren't supposed to? Becoming friends with someone you weren’t supposed to becomes a radical act. "Bobbing" your hair becomes an act of defiance against the past. Hemming your dress above the knees becomes liberation. Finding common ground with someone when you thought you were alone becomes a joyous reunion with a family you never knew you had. Simply hearing a poem can become a revolution in your heart, from which you can never be the same afterwards.


I hope that you join us in creating moments of feeling of ‘anything is possible’, so that we can bring that very real sense memory of it back into our own lives. We take this night and pretend to be artists, dreamers, hustlers, and hedonists. And perhaps, we will be little bit more inspired to take new opportunities, have new experiences, find our muses, and share our dreams.


-Joseph

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