In a foggy corner of Franklin Canyon Park, across the parking lot from Teamsters in lawn chairs waiting out a movie shoot, a clutch of giddy girls in tutus gathered on a recent Saturday morning to step into fairyland. They had come to join A Faery Hunt, a 45-minute walk where fairies, trolls and pixies pop out of the trees of Beverly Hills and give life lessons to the magically inclined.The creation of voice-over actress and longtime fantasy freak Debbie Rothstein, the weekly fairy adventures are a homey alternative to the big-business birthday-party circuit. No laser tag, screaming video machines or movie tie-ins here. Just a few eccentric actors in homemade costumes working out their own personal stuff while giving the kids a good time. After we paid our money, the girls sprinkled themselves with fairy dust. Then Rothstein and another actress, both dressed in safari wear, announced in screechy English accents that they were fairy experts Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths. We saw fairies a long time ago and ever since weve directed ourselves to finding them again. But we need your help. Can you help us? The kids cheered and started up the hill, followed by their mothers pushing strollers and a few dads shuffling in the back, whispering into cell phones. But some adults came alone. One 50-ish woman told Rothstein that she collects fairies and mermaids. I have costumes you wouldnt believe, she said. My 15-year-old daughter told me to stop the madness, but I dont care. Id love to be a fairy here. Rothstein understood and gave her an application. I have an adult following that comes back four, five, six times, she confided. Soon into the adventure, a series of dryads, pookas and other characters started leaping onto the path and announcing their personal quests. The overall story, something about helping the fairy queen regain her stolen light, didnt make much sense, but that wasnt the point. Each episode highlighted what Rothstein called simple little messages: You are beautiful from the inside, kindness tames the savage beast and so on. In our world, everything is beautiful, she added. There are no evil people in my fairy realm. But when Brigit the Battle Queen strode out of the brush, asking, Are ye friend or foe?, the line between good and evil looked like it was starting to blur. Everyone went silent as this leathery, Xena-looking woman in a breastplate, shoulder gauntlet and patterned-thong leotard waved her wand around. The kids fear subsided once Brigit told them she would cure all of their boo-boos. But we grownups were still a little rattled by Brigits muscles and getup. I got the costume when I played a mean alien biker in a video game called Maximum Surge, Brigit (played by Spice Williams-Crosby) said later. Ive been an actress and stunt woman for 30 years. I play a lot of witches, bitches, whores, alien creatures and biker broads. She is also a black belt in karate, a kick boxer, and the first vegan bodybuilder in the world. I could bench 235 and squat 315. Williams-Crosbys Brigit role helps her get beyond being stereotyped as an actress with muscles, she said. Debbie and I both train at the same dojo. One day, Im working out on the heavy bag, punching and kicking it, when she walked in and told me about her new fairy play. I said Im in. When she gave me a list of characters I could play, I chose Brigit. The character gives me a chance to heal rather than destroy. Most of this was lost on the 5-year-olds in the fairy hunt, but they liked Brigit anyway. She took the group past a storm drain and on to a grove of huge oak trees, where the final scenes in the adventure took place. It may not be long before Faery Hunts wonderfully rough edges are smoothed out. Rothstein will soon be starting up new companies in Orange County and Las Vegas. She is also looking at a possible live-action television show and a merchandising deal. But for the moment, the hunts go on in relative obscurity, which leaves a lot to chance. After Saturdays adventures were over and the kids went home, Rothstein said, One of the Teamsters came up to me and said he was an actor and wanted to be one of the characters in the show. I was thrilled.
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