The mad, mathematical, musical, magical, and thoroughly Carrollian Raymond Smullyan died on February 6th at the age of 97. Renowned for his logic puzzles, lightning wit, many books, magic tricks, and brilliant improvisations at the piano, Smullyan will be particularly remembered by Carrollians for his 1982 book Alice in Puzzle-Land: A Carrollian Tale for Children Under Eighty and his droll lecture on Carrollian Logic at our fall 2012 gathering in New York, not to mention his magic tricks at dinner that night. As we prepare an appropriate “In Memoriam” column for the Knight Letter, you can read more about this most remarkable individual in Wikipedia or his obituary in The New York Times. Or see the 2001 documentary This Film Needs No Title: A Portrait of Raymond Smullyan .
“Why should I worry about dying? It’s not going to happen in my lifetime!” – R. Smullyan
The Main Library (Civic Center) of the San Francisco Public Library celebrates Alice this month. It begins with an exhibit at the sixth-floor Skylight Gallery, The Illustrated Alice: The Imagining of Wonderland, which runs Tuesday, January 10 through Saturday, April 1. Its Annual Holiday Lecture takes place on Thursday, January 26, at 6 p.m. in the Koret Auditorium, to wit, Mark Burstein’s “What IS It about Alice?” illustrated talk. All is tied to the Spring meeting of our fine Society, which also takes place at the Koret, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 1. All events are free and open to the public.
Illustration by Adriana Peliano.
David Elliot has done it again! The multi-award-winning New Zealand writer and illustrator who produced an amazing version of The Snark in 2006 has written and lavishly illustrated Snark: Being a true history of the expedition that discovered the Snark and the Jabberwock … and its tragic aftermath, published by Otago University Press. Based around the discovery and purchase of an old box that contained an expedition diary kept by the Boots, it describes the events of the voyage, including the surprising discovery of the Jabberwock! Both poems are fully illustrated herein as well. A most handsome production, a fine tale, and a delight for all Carrollians! Jacketed hardback, full color, 250 x 285 mm (9.8 x 11.2 inches), 208 pages, ISBN 978 1 877578 94 6. Highly recommended! Order directly from the distributors here (same price as Amazon).
Gerald Barry’s Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, a co-commission with the Royal Opera, where the piece was presented on November 28 at the Barbican with much the same cast, had its premiere on November 22 at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, under the baton of Thomas Adès. Described as “completely bonkers” by The Daily Telegraph and “the craziest opera yet” in a review in the L. A. Times, the 50-minute piece by a composer referred to by the staid New Yorker as “an exuberant anarchist who traffics in polystylistic delirium,” the piece seems to have captured the mad spirit of the original, and garnered wildly positive reviews. Here’s hoping it makes it to CD, DVD, or, better, other performances. The LA Phil had this to say about it. You can hear an interview and excerpts here.
Was Lewis Carroll’s hand-drawn manuscript of Through the Looking-Glass destroyed, or did it just go underground for almost 150 years? Looking-Glass House: The Lost Manuscript of Through the Looking-Glass imagines the rough draft of Carroll’s 1871 sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in Carroll’s own meticulous handwriting and features more than thirty pen-and-ink illustrations that look astonishingly similar to Carroll’s own charming drawings from Alice’s Adventures under Ground. See how Carroll might have imagined the chess kings and queens, the Jabberwock, and the Tweedle twins before Tenniel drew them!
Lovingly “re-“created by Daniel Rover Singer, illustrated by Jonathan David Dixon, designed by Andrew Ogus, with editorial oversight by Mark Burstein, this is a must-have! Order from Amazon here.
We are very sad to learn that the extraordinary artist David Delamare passed away peacefully of natural causes on September 19th at the age of 64. His magical vision of Wonderland is preserved in a spectacular edition published by his wife, Wendy Ice, which will be available next month. Please read her lovely tribute to him on Kickstarter.
(LCSNA members receive a permanent 10% discount on gifts, books, and prints on his site by using customer code LCSNA.)
Torrid, the “plus-size” offshoot of teen-fashion merchandizer Hot Topic, has a fragrance called “Curiouser and Curiouser” (“with notes of rose, amber, pink peony, cedarwood, and honey”). You can get it in a bottle or spray. It seems to be related to Hot Topic’s line of similarly named goods: locket, t-shirts, throw, bag, and hairbrush.
Okay, it came out in 2014, but we just found out about it (thanks, Adriana!): Marks & Spencer’s Christmas ad that’s a mashup of Oz and Wonderland, not to mention Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, and a magic carpet ride. Warning: a pretty girl (Rosie Huntington-Whitely) is occasionally seen in lingerie, and Helena Bonham-Carter has a cameo. This almost makes up for the cat video posted yesterday.
I didn’t think it was possible to sink lower than Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass, but apparently it is. The Disney IRL folks have re-created the tea-party scene from that abhorrent film … using cats. For you who like that sort of thing, click here. For the rest of us, kill me now.
The Madison Theatre Guild will be presenting an original dark, musical take on Alice by Dan Myers and Meghan Rose on October 27 – November 5th. An article about its genesis can be found here.