If you’re a fan of Lewis Carroll, Alice, the Snark, and you’re anywhere near the NYC area, you should check out the Eventspage of the LCSNA’s web site to see the full agenda for our fall meeting, to be held in Manhattan on Saturday, November 6th. The impressive roster of speakers includes noted author and critic Adam Gopnik, who will be discussing whether recent adaptations do or do not honor Lewis Carroll’s original works, as well as Carroll biographer Jenny Woolf, who is traveling over from England specifically for this event. Many of the speakers will be signing copies of their latest book(s), available in limited quantity at the meeting for a special 20% discount. There will be a three-course dinner at Josephina’s after the meeting, for the Carrollian cost of $42 per person.
In addition to the wonderful agenda posted on our site, we’ve just learned that member Mahendra Singh will also be on hand to sell and sign copies of his new edition of The Hunting of the Snark. This is a don’t miss meeting. It occurs on the weekend of the NY Marathan, however, so if you need accommodations, you should check with hotels (or local friends!) right away.
Please remember to let Secretary Clare Imholtz know if you plan to attend so that we can keep track of the headcount, as we expect a big turnout and seating is limited. You don’t need to be a member to attend our free meetings. We hope to see you there!
Isabelle Melançon, creator of the new web comic Namesake, which has just launched, promises that Lewis Carroll, Alice, and many familiar fairy tale characters figure prominently in the story. From the web site:
“Namesake is the story of Emma Crewe, a woman who discovers she can visit other worlds. She finds out that these are places she already knows – fantasy and fairy lands made famous through the spoken word, literature and cinema. Her power as a Namesake forces her to act as a protagonist in these familiar stories as she figures out how to get home. But as she travels, she discovers that those controlling her story have their own selfish goals in mind – and her fate is the key to everyone’s happy ending. Join Emma, her sister Elaine and their friends as they tumble down the rabbit hole. If you like, adventure, humor, stories of friendship, fairy tales and fantasy, this is the webcomic for you.”
Click the image on this post to visit the site. Since the comic will have new content three times a week, if you like what you see, you might want to subscribe to the site’s RSS feed to make sure you see the prologue and all subsequent pages.
Andrew Sellon, President of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America, has partnered with Oxford-based Storypods Audiobooks to provide free audio downloads of the two poems that won Storypod’s 2010 Nonsense competition. Storypods launched the contest as a tribute to Lewis Carroll, and received many entertaining submisssions. To listen to the winners and download the audio files, click the image on the right. Enjoy!
For all you Carrollian blog-happy readers, we’ve added a new page to the LCSNA site that brings together blog links listed in various other places of the site. This way, if you’re a fan of following blogs (in addition to this one, of course!), you now have one stop shopping. As always, please keep in mind that listing a site doesn’t necessarily mean we endorse its contents; we merely provide the links for your convenience and enjoyment. You can access the new “Carrollian Blogs” page from the Lewis Carroll menu of our site, or by clicking here.
If you know of more Carroll or Alice-themed blogs, please send us the link(s)!
Liz and Francis of Oxford Storypods, the talented folks who put out a very nice audio version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland paired with a great selection of poems and letters, have just announced a contest for nonsense writing in a Carrollian vein. You can read the details by clicking here. It’s a particularly challenging contest, since your submission must be very brief (max 200 words) as well as good! Two winners will be selected and awarded the aforementioned Storypods audio book, which is well worth a little nonsensical effort. The winning entries may also be professionally recorded.
7/20 PLEASE NOTE: The contest deadline has been extended to August 15th, 2010, to allow you nonsensical writers more time to flex your imaginations. Storypods has asked that you keep your submissions to the 200 word limit. The two winners will be announced on or about August 25th.
With great sadness we note the passing of Martin Gardner this past Saturday, May 22, 2010, in Norman, Oklahoma at the age of 95. Martin Gardner was not only a founding member of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America but also, it is surely safe to say, the founder of serious Carroll studies through the publication of his book The Annotated Alice. That work, which went through three editions (The Annotated Alice, 1960; More Annotated Alice, 1990, and The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Edition, 2000) introduced countless numbers of people to Lewis Carroll’s Alice, thereby bringing Carroll’s works to the popular mind as never before. His Annotated Alice also set the standard, one seldom equalled, for a numerous succession of annotated works by other authors. In 1962 he published his Annotated Hunting of the Snark, reprinted in 2006 in an expanded, definitive edition with a brilliant introduction and appreciation by Adam Gopnik.
Like Lewis Carroll, Martin Gardner had a deep appreciation for serious and recreational mathematics [he wrote the famous “Mathematical Games” column in Scientific American for 25 years with more than a few touching on Carroll], a love of language and paradox, and a profound interest in religion. Like Houdini, he was keen on magic tricks and equally intolerant of paranormalists and other charlatans.
Martin was always willing to help those who corresponded with him and, although some of us never had the privilege of meeting him, we all knew him and counted him both a learned guide and an always generous friend.
Alice fans and collectors tend to like real books – crisp, dusty, or yellowing, and preferably with pictures and conversations. Whilst reports of the death of print media have been greatly exaggerated, the iPad is the next big test of whether tablet technology can thrive in the mainstream, resurrect the glossy magazines, bring down the price and weight of textbooks, and broaden everyone’s access to rare books.
Even if digital readers sound horrible to you, it’s difficult to deny that this new Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland digital pop-up book for the iPad is fascinating. It looks like it successfully balances a functional reading experience with eye-popping fun. Is it any surprise the revolutionary app designers at Atomic Antelope chose Carroll’s story? (Look, their websitehas Tenniel illustations in its masthead!) This year has also seen the classic Alice tale tapped for the new 3D movie technology, but this is the actual Carroll text and Tenniel being used to demonstrate what a 21st Century digital interactive children’s book might start to look like.
I keep twisting and turning my iPad with childlike wonder while reading the familiar tale of the adventures of a girl named Alice. For the first time in my life, I’m blown away by an interactive book design.
Alice for the iPad is a cute app which contains a slightly interactive version of a beloved story. It’s not interactive to the point of annoyance and tackiness, but instead full of clever little touches like mushrooms that you can toss around a room with a twist of your iPad or an Alice who grows and shrinks as you move your gadget around.
[...]And while it doesn’t seem to be intended for adults, I couldn’t be more fascinated by it. It’s quite possible the cleverest book I’ve seen so far and exactly how I dreamed books would look one day.
Alice in Slasherland, photograph by Jim Baldassare in the New York Times
TheVampire Cowboys Theater Companyout of Brooklyn is just finishing up a run of a play called Alice in Slasherland by Qui Nguyen at the Here Arts Center (145 Avenue of the Americas, NYC). The main characters journeying thru Horror movie parodies are named Lewis and Alice, but it’s not clear how much deeper than that the Carroll framework goes. The director Robert Ross Parker summed it up best in theNew York Times review: “‘It’s like the story Alice in Wonderland,’ he says, before backtracking absurdly. ‘Which this situation actually doesn’t resemble at all. Like in any way. Not even in theme. Huh. Well, I guess that was a pretty useless observation.’”
Danny Elfman’s soundtrack to Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland will be released on CD (an ancient kind of optical disc used to store digital audio) next Tuesday, March 2nd, and there’s some short clips at the Amazon store if you desire a teaser. I couldn’t help noticing the opening song – with children’s voices singing “Oh, Alice, dear where have you been?” – and I found the complete lyrics at a blog called cinemusic.net. I’ll include them with that website’s charming introduction:
Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, starring Johnny Depp as Elijah Wood The Mad Hatter begins pissing off prickly Lewis Carroll purists on March 5, 2010 in theaters everywhere in eye-popping 3D. Lending musical support is Burton’s constant composer Danny Elfman, AKA film music’s most awesome red head.
Threaded throughout the score is an original song penned by Elfman, called “Alice’s Theme”, and it opens up the Disney Records score album due in stores on March 2 (obligatory Amazon link). Here’s a sneak peek at the song’s lyrics (thanks to the supremely talented LD for these)…
Music and Lyrics by Danny Elfman
Oh, Alice, dear where have you been?
So near, so far or in between?
What have you heard what have you seen?
Alice, Alice, please, Alice!
Oh, tell us are you big or small
To try this one or try them all
It’s such a long, long way to fall
Alice, Alice, oh, Alice
How can you know this way not that?
You choose the door you choose the path
Perhaps you should be coming back
Another day, another day
And nothing is quite what is seems
You’re dreaming are you dreaming, oh, Alice?
(Oh, how will you find your way? Oh, how will you find your way?)
(There’s not time for tears today. There’s no time for tears today.)
So many doors – how did you choose
So much to gain so much to lose
So many things got in your way
No time today, no time today
Be careful not to lose your head
Just think of what the doormouse [sic] said…Alice!
Did someone pull you by the hand?
How many miles to Wonderland?
Please tell us so we’ll understand
(Oh how will you find you way? … Oh, how will you find you way?)
I’ve never met a prickly Lewis Carroll purist, let alone a pissed-off one, but I would presume they’re easily decapitated with a vorpal sword. Or defenestrated with a defibrillator.
Anyway, if you are not familiar with Mr. Elfman, he is the film composer and long-time collaborator with Mr. Burton, the man wrote the iconic music for Batman, The Simpsons theme, and those wonderful songs for The Nightmare Before Christmas. He has done less-than-stellar work for some of Mr. Burton’s more recent mediocrities. Elfman is often mocked in the classical world for basically having a team of composers do his work for him, although I sometimes feel this criticism is harsh. (After all, Renaissance painters employed whole crews of apprentices, Dale Chihuly has a studio to manifest his glass-art masterpieces, and George Gershwin didn’t do the orchestrations for Rhapsody in Blue (free round of drinks if you can name the composer who did!) Art is not always the product of an agonized solo genius, sometimes she can be more of an architectural designer, et cetera, especially in the film music world. Thus ends this parenthetical rant.)
As dear to my adolescent heart as Elfman’s music for The Nightmare Before Christmas is, there’s many cringeworthy lyrics (e.g., “I wish my cohorts weren’t so dumb / I’m not the dumb one / You’re no fun / Shut up! / Make me!”) I would pay a large sum of money to hire William Shatner to read the lyrics to “Alice’s Theme” as a beat poem accompanied by bongos and upright bass (as he did for Sarah Palin’s verbiage). In conclusion, Mr. Elfman should hire a real librettist.