So, I have yet to report on the Bazaar Bizarre itself (great!, but you probably want more detail), but in those weeks leading up to it, while I was printing late into the night in preparation, I listened to a lot of This American Life. If you were looking for a little something to get yourself in the mood this Christmas Eve, you could do worse than listen to this broadcast from ’03, where Truman Capote reads a Christmas story (well, it was recorded well before ’03 as you might expect). Last year’s was also something, but there’s more smirking, less tear-jerking.
There are those of you who live in the Boston area that I don’t know in “real” life, so I may not have told you that this Saturday, December 16, 2006, Terri and I will be at the Boston Bazaar Bizarre selling goods as the Rainy Planet Press. It’s from 1pm – 7pm. Come say hi.
Admission is only $1, you can get lots of cool holiday shopping done, and while I don’t know much of the rest of the entertainment line-up, I have seen Hilken Mancini, and she alone is worth at least 10x the price of admission.
- Since we hooked up the new TiVo on December 16, we have not plugged our DVD player back in. I will eventually do this, at least so I can watch seasons one and two of the Mary Tyler Moore Show which Santa brought for me.
- Among the lots of way cool stuff we got from Ms. Trix & Mr. Villain at our Christmas-on-New-Year’s exchange the other night, we got this totally clever hand-knitted Helium. High-larious!
- We saw the ART production of Chekov’s Three Sisters last week. As you’d expect from the ART, it was avant-garded-up. Not your great-grand-uncle’s Chekov. Most in the forefront for me? The pace. Very. Slow. Long. Uncomfortable pauses. Every sentence. Hanging. Disjointed. And yet it didn’t feel like one of those “let’s see how wacky we can be with a classic” kind of things. It felt like it was just bringing out absurd touches and explorations of irrationality that were already there, and all the empty space brought out the frustration and boredom of a leisure class falling on hard times. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any performance of any kind that was so content to take its own time. And which left time to really think about it as it was going on.
In case you can’t afford to rent Terri to sit in your passenger seat and read A Christmas Carol to you during long drives home for the holidays, The Penguin Podcast is offering mp3 downloads of A Christmas Carol, for a limited time.
By the way, what softened my hard line against Dickens (developed during Great Expectations in 9th grade) was reading Straight Man by Richard Russo (coincidentally, also read aloud by Terri in the car during a long trip). We wear the chains we forge in life….
And this will be the last post on A Christmas Carol, I promise.
Modern readers, who may associate Christmas with adherence to long-established, commercialised rituals, may find this emphasis on adventure and caprice a bit overdone. But we need to understand that at the time when A Christmas Carol was published, Christmas had not yet succumbed to the formulas that rule it today. Presents were often home-made, decorations were improvised. Shop-bought Christmas cards had only just been invented and would not become common until the 1880s. Queen Victoria’s husband Albert tried to introduce the Christmas tree (“that pretty German toy”, as Dickens calls it in an 1850 essay), but the idea was slow to catch on. A strange new American import – the turkey – was muscling in on the traditional goose. Santa Claus did not yet exist (he has a complicated derivation, in part from A Christmas Carol’s Ghost of Christmas Present). Basically, the early Victorians were unsure how a rural festival like Yuletide could be celebrated by busy city-folk in the industrial age – and Dickens took it upon himself to tell them.
Well, good evening. It’s been a long day, but I just thought I’d wish all my few regular readers a Merry Christmas.
I’ve been up since seven or so, when Kim poked her head into “our” room here at the Wise residence (Terri’s old room) to let us know that it was Christmas. I’m all for waking up early on Christmas, but by the luck of the ol’ REM cycles, I was in a state where I was not quite awake yet not quite able to go back to sleep. So I spent most of the gift-opening ritual in kind of a funk, but I made out like a Yuletide bandit, and got to spend lots of quality time cuddling with new niece #1, Kim and Glenn’s baby, Hope. Almost all of my presents for Terri this year were off the official list, so I was happy to see that they all seemed to go over well (the big ones included a Crumpler photography bag, and a Holga “toy” medium format camera). My take for the day included lots of cool gadgets for the new powerbook (remote control, iskin, and keyboard), lots of new reading listening and viewing material, a network adapter gizmo for the new tivo, lots of coffee gear (including a Kingdom of Loathing coffee pixie mug which I asked for in honor of my familiar, Yrgacheffe), tickets to three upcoming A.R.T. shows (cool!), and much much more!
This was also Terri’s mom’s year to host Christmas Day festivities for her side of the family, so all her aunts and uncles and cousins came over for dinner and further gift exchange, and it was great to catch up with everybody. The “meaty” empanaditas I made from a recipe in one of Terri’s Vegetarian Times magazines were a hit, sneaking some Boca ground on some [fellow] carnivores. I got to spend some time talking shop with Uncle Larry who used to run a printing business; he did mostly offset and not letterpress, but he apparently did have a linotype, which is a really cool beast of a machine which had sort of a typewriter keyboard, but instead of typing letters onto paper, it actually cast type from molten lead, to be fed into a letterpress.