Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer meets The Police, with the snowman on guitar (banjo, whatever). Awesome.
Since I'm one of those irritating people who just doesn't feel it's a holiday until I've put a Santa hat on the dog... here's a little Christmas dog fun (thanks to Kylie B. the dogcatcher, who calls this an example of what you can do with positive dog training).
I'm guessing they didn't use real glass ornaments â€” those can be dangerous to dogs who chomp down thinking they are a nice safe ball.
This review will appear in the 12/10 Eugene Weekly print edition.
Marley (Paul von Rotz) and Scrooge (Jim Curtiss). Photo courtesy Cottage Theatre
A Dickens of a Musical
Marley & Scrooge tunes up a Christmas classic at the Cottage Theatre
by Rick Levin
At first glance, a musical based on Charles Dickensâ€™ A Christmas Carol makes just slightly more sense than, say, an opera of Joseph Conradâ€™s Heart of Darkness (Lead tenor: â€œExterminate the brutes!â€ Chorus: â€œOh, the horror, the horrorâ€). What makes Dickensâ€™ tale of Yuletide transformation such a perennial favorite is the subtle balance the author maintains between his trademark social-reformist concerns, and the abiding atmosphere of sentiment, nostalgia and general cheer required of holiday classics â€” something along the lines of what Frank Capra accomplished in Itâ€™s A Wonderful Life. Which is why the notion of turning the awakening of Ebenezer Scrooge into a piece of song and dance seems so inherently out of whack. It would appear inevitable that the results could go only one of two ways: ponderous and maudlin, like a tone-deaf Marxist singing the Communist Manifesto; or, at the opposite extreme, clumsy and pathetic, like watching a declawed cat climb a tree.
So kudos to Cottage Theatre â€” and particularly playwright/director Keith Kessler (writing as K.K. Mills) and composer Gene Slayter â€” for having not only the guts to give it a shot, but for pulling it off with an unexpected degree of success.
Read more after the jump!
Image courtesy The Shedd
The Sheddâ€™s White Christmas works its pearl-buttoned magic
by Anna Grace
Settling in to watch my second White Christmas production in as many weeks, I prepared for another few hours of Irving Berlin favorites and Magic 94.5-style entertainment. That crazy team of hoofers and crooners would follow a sister act up to Vermont all over again, dropping hit songs and one-liners as they went. I expected to be entertained, but not moved. I was surprised.
The Sheddâ€™s production of White Christmas is among most beautiful musicals Iâ€™ve seen in Eugene. The set is lovely, interesting while simple. Costumes are stunning. Music director and conductor Vicki Brahbahm masterfully handles the magical score; director and choreographer Richard Jessup delights with a string of song and dance numbers that made me want to jump up and yell â€œAgain! Do it again!â€
Read more after the jump!
I had a part in a summer production of Mame before I understood why homophobic parents would cut the "I"ll always be Alice Toklas if you'll be Gertrude Stein" line from "Bosom Buddies," and if there's one thing I never forgot, it's "We'll Need a Little Christmas."
Noodling around a tiny bit on YouTube today, I found this sound-challenged but still splendid gem:
It's just awesome.
Here's a photo of Lansbury as Mame.
For the heck of it, then, here's "Be Our Guest":
In honor of the upcoming holidays and Eugene's current inundation of snow:
And one of my other favorite holiday songs.
Anyone have a good solstice tune?
I thought if you got a lump of coal in your stocking, then it meant you'd been bad.
But go ahead, check it out. Put clothing on the lumps of coal, choose a cheerful Christmas background, then wait to hear the little floating lumps of coal sing holiday favorites like "Frosty the Coalman" and "Deck the Halls (with clean coal)."
They've pulled the plug on the singing lumps of coal, but you can still check out their bad songs at treehugger.com as well as some lyrical responses by the folks at treehugger and at itsgettinghotinhere.org
First, The NYT made me laugh as I read the one-sentence descriptions of books on the best-seller lists (I *know* there's an intern who will be Very Happy when she reads that yes, people read her sentences ... and find them amusing), my favorite being
DESTINY KILLS, by Keri Arthur. (Dell Spectra, $6.99). A woman and a man with superhuman powers flee dangerous killers from Scotland.
Och, aye, bairns! Gang aft agly! (Or something like that.)
OK, admittedly, Trainspotting's language is intimidating, but if one has superhuman powers, should one have to flee "dangerous killers from Scotland"?
That was from an old NYT Book Review, by the way. Today's top description, or rather top mass-market paperback, is "THE DARKEST EVENING OF THE YEAR, by Dean Koontz. (Bantam, $7.99.) A woman who rescues golden retrievers is shadowed by an evil stranger."
I bet the doggies do some doggie saving business, don't you?
The most noticeable phenomenon on the mass-market list comes in a whopping dose of vampire comedy/mysteries by Charlaine Harris, with six, count 'em, six books on the 20-book list. That's not even counting #19, Kerrelyn Sparks' All I Want for Christmas Is a Vampire, all of which leads me to kind of lose my faith in human intelligence. (Because the front page of the paper apparently isn't painful enough to cause that to happen.)
Anyway, the real reason I began this post was the Correction section of "Weddings/Celebrations," which, yes, I read because I want to see teh gays getting married, and by the way, could the august paper possibly feature some female same-sex couples sometime, please? Or do women just not get married?
ANYWAY anyway, here are the correx:
A report last Sunday about the marriage of Anne-Cecilie Engell and Rob Speyer misspelled one of two names she uses as her hyphenated middle name. She is Lisbet Bastrup-Birk Engell, not Bastrub-Birk.
The Vows column last Sunday, about the marriage of Gillian Laub and Tahl Raz, reversed a phrase that the couple borrowed from the 1998 film "Shakespeare in Love" and used in their vows. It should have read, "come ruin or rapture," not "come rapture or ruin."
Let me get the first one, er, straight: The woman's name is Anne-Cecilie Lisbet Bastrup-Birk Engell?
Or, delicious thought, did the paper screw up again, and will it have to issue a correction next week saying, "A correction last Sunday about the marriage of Anne-Cecilie Engell and Rob Speyer contained an incorrect first name for Ms. Engell. She is Anne-Cecilie Bastrup-Birk Engell, not Lisbet Bastrup-Birk Engell"?
And the second one, well. Hee. I guess it's more euphonious, or it sounds more luck-inducing, to end on the upward trend of rapture.
Snotty Newspaper Moment: Guess what? This kind of stuff is only possible with the print edition. Online, I would never have seen these things out of the corner of my eye (or in the center, as it so happens with the best-seller lists).
So off, amusedly, to sleep.