"And all the Victoria Sponge that comes with it!"
November 17, 2017 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Black Girl in a Big Dress is an online comedy series "about an African American Anglophile cosplayer in love with the Victorian Era who's trying to bring a fantasy courtship from her re-enactment events into the real world."
posted by jedicus (38 comments total) 68 users marked this as a favorite
 
...about an African American Anglophile cosplayer in love with the Victorian Era who's trying to bring a fantasy courtship from her re-enactment events into the real world."

Everything about this sentence is amazing.
posted by Fizz at 10:06 AM on November 17 [15 favorites]


I was just about to say, Fizz, that sentence kept unfolding and unfolding for me, like a precision clockwork.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:33 AM on November 17 [8 favorites]


Our corporate network has that link classified as pornography, so I guess I'm on a list now? :(
posted by Slothrup at 10:39 AM on November 17


Our corporate network has that link classified as pornography, so I guess I'm on a list now? :(

Ouch. Sorry. There's nothing visually risqué about the series, and the language is very mild.

You can try a direct YouTube link.
posted by jedicus at 10:46 AM on November 17 [1 favorite]


I watched all the videos (they're about 4 minutes each) and really loved it. It's tough when you're not the perceived audience of a certain subculture.
posted by mlo at 10:47 AM on November 17 [1 favorite]


ONE OF THEM WAS A GAVOTTE!

Words cannot express how happy this series makes me.
posted by the return of the thin white sock at 11:02 AM on November 17 [4 favorites]


A friend of mine shared this series earlier this week and I fell in love with it. There's so much that works in each 4 minute episode and the overall story arc is really great.

Though I think my favorite bit was the hoop skirt vs. car segment at the end of the first episode. I have driven in a hoop skirt and it is indeed that awkward.

Slightly embarrassed to ask related question -- is historical comedy of manners cosplay a thing? I've heard of war reenactment, but nothing like this.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 11:05 AM on November 17 [6 favorites]


“I’m not trollop shaming!”

These are so good!
posted by faineg at 11:38 AM on November 17 [3 favorites]


There's nothing visually risqué about the series, and the language is very mild.

Are you kidding? We see her ankles in the opening shots!
posted by adamrice at 11:41 AM on November 17 [22 favorites]


Watched the first episode and I am delight! Having previously attempted to navigate a large hat and hoop skirt into a compact car myself, I can verify that this gal knows her stuff. Looking forward to watching all the episodes!
posted by merriment at 11:46 AM on November 17 [2 favorites]


There's nothing visually risqué about the series, and the language is very mild.

Are you kidding? We see her ankles in the opening shots!


I've been in a lot of plays with period dress. Your comment made me wish I had a dollar for every time I've been in a row of pretty, pretty princesses collapsed backstage in non-air-conditioned, poorly-ventilated theaters or outdoor stages in July, satin underskirts, brocade overskirts, and synthetic taffeta and net petticoats pulled up to the waist, knee-highs down to the ankles, looking like a little girl’s pile of discarded dolls.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 12:35 PM on November 17 [21 favorites]


There's nothing visually risqué about the series, and the language is very mild.


Though as soon as the poster image came up on my screen I gasped! And said "God damn!"
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:13 PM on November 17 [1 favorite]


I also gasped at "It will be our little secret!" This is a joy.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:19 PM on November 17


This is delightful.
posted by Faintdreams at 1:39 PM on November 17


is historical comedy of manners cosplay a thing?

Yes, but not explicitly? That is, the intermission show at PEERS dances is *usually* h.c.m.c., and it's participatory entertainment and you have to follow some etiquette rules for dancing so you might as well be as courtly or coquettish or dashing as you can pull off. Dickens Fair too, though the audience may be less participatory and the actors more scripted.

synthetic taffeta and net petticoats pulled up to the waist, knee-highs down to the ankles

LINEN UNDERS WICK LIKE MAGIC

I realize theater budgets probably don't run to linen throughout, but in hot weather, make shift.
posted by clew at 2:08 PM on November 17 [8 favorites]


I realize theater budgets probably don't run to linen throughout, but in hot weather, make shift.

Hehe, I see what you did there.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 3:34 PM on November 17 [3 favorites]


UT grad, this brilliant woman; thank you very much.
posted by lometogo at 4:02 PM on November 17


is historical comedy of manners cosplay a thing?

Well, I know of the New England Vintage Arts Society, who host regular costumed events, mostly dances, at which the evening rolls out according to a timeline based on historical entertainments. People learn dances, dance, have dance cards, eat the collation, and sometimes there's a scripted component performed for the gathering. I've only been to one of their events, and it was fun, but I have a couple of friends who do all their Regency themed nights.
posted by Miko at 4:17 PM on November 17 [1 favorite]


looking like a little girl’s pile of discarded dolls.

Theatre yes, and for an additional data point, debutantes as well. I thought Margaret Mitchell was being provocative in GWTW when she described the belles flopping down on beds for a disheveled nap after the barbecue. But no. Ball gowns are gorgeous but somehow absolutely exhausting. Retiring rooms are a real and necessary thing, even if the only place to sack out is the floor.
posted by notquitemaryann at 5:20 PM on November 17 [3 favorites]


5 episodes in, and it is very charming.

CHARMING!!!!
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:49 PM on November 17 [1 favorite]


At this one War of 1812 reenactment we went to at Old Fort Niagara when I was a kid, they staged this little series of moments while everyone was getting ready and the spectators were assembling. The premise was that this one girl had given love tokens to several different officers, and was trying to get most of them back before they found out about each other and started challenging each other to duels. Sometimes they would involve the spectators, asking, if they had seen so-and-so go by, etc. It was awesome.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:10 PM on November 17 [2 favorites]


Love this so much. More to say when im sober
posted by supermedusa at 6:45 PM on November 17 [4 favorites]


This is a delight.

"You want to hear of struggle? Let me tell you about riding side saddle, or waiting for the right to vote."
posted by minervous at 7:50 PM on November 17 [3 favorites]


satin underskirts, brocade overskirts, and synthetic taffeta and net petticoats pulled up to the waist, knee-highs down to the ankles, looking like a little girl’s pile of discarded dolls.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:35 PM on November 17 [12 favorites +] [!]


Almost eponysterical?
posted by Foosnark at 5:34 AM on November 18 [3 favorites]


We were all generally wearing shorts underneath all the skirt layers, but it still counts. ;)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:39 AM on November 18 [1 favorite]


ugh Lord Fitzhugh why

I never trusted his hair
posted by notquitemaryann at 10:06 AM on November 18 [7 favorites]


I, too, am deeply deeply disappointed in Lord Fitzhugh. He is a cad of the first water.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:31 PM on November 18 [2 favorites]


OMG I LOVE THIS
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:00 PM on November 18


I watched all seven of these last night on the videos page and went to bed with a heavy heart, thinking of our heroine's woes... then the next morning, I looked at the Twitter feed and was rewarded by a link to Episode 8, the season finale! Posting so no one makes the same mistake I did.
posted by shirobara at 6:20 PM on November 18 [5 favorites]


Well, that was quite charming! And I adored her accent; we love our American cousins but their speech patterns can be hard to follow. Also, I enquired, and Solange is a singer, not (as I thought) an ornamental shrub with thorny stems.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:04 AM on November 19 [2 favorites]


I love this, its entertaining, funny, a great portrait of geekdom in action. but the more I watched the more thought it provoked. it really got me thinking.

I am a historian by training (Medieval) and I really get that a person can be so impassioned by a period of time/place that they want to LIVE IT. they want to be utterly in it. and I dont think we should exclude any person from enjoying their passion as they see fit. the idea that some history only "belongs" to some people (as if there weren't black women in Victorian England who dressed and spoke as she does is ridiculous and wrong) is ridiculous and wrong!

there is a lot of talk about cultural appropriation right now, which is really good! cultural appropriation is cherry picking a few choice items from another (often oppressed) culture with no regard for understanding or respecting its context. this is not what is happening here. its the exact opposite really. she knows the context and respects- reveres it! the "humor" is in those around unable to see or hear that and only see a silly black girl in a big dress.
posted by supermedusa at 9:04 AM on November 22 [3 favorites]


I had a whole rambly thing in my mind but it really boiled down to this: Why does historical cos-play feel like such the domain of white people?
posted by amanda at 10:28 AM on November 22 [1 favorite]


Well, with medieval recreation it's because nobody wants to be a peasant; everyone wants to be a knight. If you're White you can just play at being someone who win the historical lottery, but if you're black you're cosplaying Sir Palomides. If you're Jewish you're basically out of luck, I guess. It's psychologically burdensome to have to keep on justifying your presence.

In this case I think she's cosplaying someone in Victorian England? Someone cosplaying a Black lady in the US South of the same period would be constantly reminded that her social status would have largely been defined by her skin colour.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:34 PM on November 22


amanda that is what I was trying to get at. history belongs to all of us and we should not let our external or specific characteristics limit our enjoyment of it. I've never been a cos-player but it seems like one of those spaces that, once coded as white, have done nothing to create a more inclusive or welcoming atmosphere for other people. like gaming (with women, POC etc) or camping FFS where black people have been made to feel unwelcome IN NATURE which surely must belong to us all????
posted by supermedusa at 12:41 PM on November 22 [2 favorites]


One of my colleagues - a really important leader in history and humanities - is black, and talks about how important it was to her to take a family Laura Ingalls roadtrip and to get and wear a blue prairie sunbonnet. It was part of her lifelong passion for American history and her ability to identify with many individual life experiences, not just those of people whO looked like her. American history belongs to all Americans. If historical cosplay has been a largely white enterprise, it’s not for lack of interest and participation by nonwhite people - more a fault of representation and inclusion by white- managed organizations and outlets.
posted by Miko at 8:16 PM on November 22 [6 favorites]


That was really fun!
And while on her Twitter, somehow I also stumbled across this amazing project;

Afro-Art Series: "We hope that viewers will see the beauty and versatility of afro hair and we hope that girls around the world will be inspired to love their unique differences and beauty within."
posted by like_neon at 10:37 AM on November 27


Thanks to Shirobara for pointing out Episode 8!!! One dreads to see one's new acquaintance left in such unhappy circumstance with no visible remedy.
posted by Nancy_LockIsLit_Palmer at 1:15 PM on November 29 [2 favorites]


It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a dramatic series possessed of charm and an elegant aspiration must be in want of a happy resolution.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:10 PM on November 29 [2 favorites]


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