LCSNA member C.M. Rubin interviewed producer/writer Gareth Jones about Wotcha! Gotcha! A Very British Pantomime that played last week to sellout crowds in Maplewood, NJ. Billed as “A Ridiculous Romp Through Victorian London,” the family-oriented show combined a host of favorite Victorian-era characters both real and fictional, served up in the tradition of classic (and highly interactive) British pantomime performances. Given the show’s popularity, perhaps they will bring it back again for next year’s holiday season!
To read the interview in the Huffington Post, click me.
Alice and Cheshire Cats by Isabelle Melançon
If you’re a fan of web comics and graphic novels, and you’re not already aware of the web comic Namesake, then this post is for you!
Created by Isabelle Melançon and Megan Lavey-Heaton, Namesake is a clever, serialized riff on popular tales including The Wizard of Oz, and the Alice books. We posted when the project went live back in October of 2010, but as Namesake has recently passed its third anniversary (congratulations!), it seemed like a good time to mention it again. The storytelling makes free with many characters you know and love, along with introducing a boatload of memorable original characters. I will note that there is occasionally some web comic violence, so it is not for the very young. (What happens to Edith Liddell is even more unpleasant than what happened to her in real life, as just one example.)
While elements of our favorite tales are everywhere, the storytelling and images are entirely new. Megan and Isabelle make a formidable (and entertaining) storytelling team. The first couple of years focused primarily on an Oz-themed storyline, with only the occasional teasing reference to the world of Lewis Carroll. But now we are seeing more of a certain Alice character, and starting to hear about her unique background in this alternate universe. And yes, there is more than one Cheshire Cat. To find out why, you’ll need to read Namesake.
Since the story is serialized and somewhat complex over time, I would strongly suggest that if you’re new to Namesake, you should follow the King of Hearts’ advice: Begin at the beginning. (You can also buy the first part of the story as a published book in their online store, if you prefer.)
To enter the world of Namesake, click me.
If you’re going to be in New York City between December 25th and January second, and you enjoy animated films with a Carrollian flavor, here’s a news item from one of our mimsy minions:
“An Animated World, a film festival in NYC this week, will be presenting the theatrical premier of Eleanor’s Secret, a 2009 French film that brings literary characters, including Alice, to life. It was released in English in 2011 on DVD in England (not playable on U.S. players), or you can see it on YouTube (in Spanish under the title Kerity, la casa de los cuentos), or read about it on IMDB or Wiki.”
To see the full list of films and times for the festival (running 12/20-1/2), including the NYC showings for Eleanor’s Secret, click me.
Here’s a special holiday treat from composer and Lewis Carroll fan Carson Braun, in Germany. He has set Carroll’s Christmas Greetings From a Fairy to a Child to music, and created a lovely video. Singer Bastian Korff has a beautiful pop voice, and Braun himself provides the instrumentation and backing vocals. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays! (If the video does not appear below, try reloading the page. Or, you can view it by clicking here. It is a large file, so it may take a few moments to load fully. It’s worth the wait.)
If you read German, you can learn more about these artists on their web sites:
We recently posted about Daniel Hales and the Frost Heaves, and their new Contrariwise album, which includes a musical setting of the poem “Jabberwocky.” We have just received a link to another musical setting of the famous poem, this time for piano and voice:
“Listen to JABBERWOCKY, a musical setting by New Mexico composer Joanne Forman, with bass-baritone Christopher Wyndham and pianist Martha Grossman.
For further information about the music of Joanne Forman, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
With special thanks to Cultural Energy, a non-profit organization in Taos, New Mexico, creating media voices, with over 3000 audio archives.”
To listen to Ms. Forman’s version of “Jabberwocky,” click me.
Here is another missive from one of our most active minions:
“Carroll’s Isa Bowman and ’60s icon Petula Clark? In the same movie!? Yep, Vote for Huggett (1949) featured Isa (then 75), her sisters Nellie and Empsie Bowman, and former child star Petula Clark (17, singing “In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree”). Also in the cast were David Tomlinson (George Banks in Mary Poppins), popular screen beauty Diana Dors (18), and Anthony Newley. Based on the radio series Meet the Huggets (1953–61), the movie is now available in a 4-DVD set called The Huggetts Collection, from ITV.”
Isa Bowman of course was one of Lewis Carroll’s closest child friends after Alice, and wrote a book about her visits with him, Lewis Carroll As I Knew Him (and later published under another title, as well). She had a small role in the first authorized stage production of Alice in London, and played the role of Alice in the revival a few years later.
You can also find the set available from various vendors via Amazon.com. To see a list, click me.
PLEASE NOTE: If you are considering buying these DVDs, they are encoded for Region 2, so they will not play on standard U.S. DVD players.
Blogger Kirsten Reach shares and comments on the with form letter that author Margaret Atwood uses to decline all requests for promotional “blurbs” for book dust jackets. While neither Lewis Carroll nor Robert Southey is credited for the inspiration, Ms. Atwood’s response is clearly a clever riff on “Father William.” And Carroll’s beloved “Father William” was of course itself a riff on Southey’s original, decidedly moralistic and non-comical effort, “The Old Man’s Comforts and How He Gained Them.”
To read the post and Ms. Atwood’s pithy and poetical blurb refusal letter, click me.
Attention, shoppers! Are you looking for some new Holiday “Carrolls” for yourself or someone else? Is there a Carrollian on your list who claims to have “everything” in the world of Alice music? Well, we’ve just received this note from Daniel Hales, of the indie alt/rock/folk band Daniel Hales, and the Frost Heaves:
“Our 3rd album: Contrariwise: Songs from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass is now available for purchase on CD Baby (either the entire, physical album, a download of the digital album, or selected tracks). For this album we adapted (almost) all of the poems in the two “Alice” books for music–and also wrote a few Alice-themed originals. These adaptations were originally composed and performed for a stage production of “Alice In Wonderland,” but can now provide the soundtrack for your own adventures in magical realms: http://cdbaby.com/cd/danielhalesandthefrosthe”
Daniel sent me a preview copy of the album, and while everyone’s tastes are of course different, I think the musical settings are quite fun. You can sample any or all of the tracks before buying, so check it out, and if you like what you hear, shop away!
To give you the flavor of their music, Daniel also shared this clever video they made for Jabberwocky, animating Tenniel’s original illustrations (if the video doesn’t load, try refreshing this page in your browser, or click me to view it on Vimeo):
If you would enjoy seeing an online collection of vintage book covers for Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland from all over the world, then you’ll enjoy this Pinterest page spotted by one of our mimsy minions. The page owner already has a nice start on an enjoyable collection of images.
To see the Wonderland book cover images on Pinterest, click me.
Here is another publishing item from one of our mimsy minions:
“Günther Flemming’s German translation of the Alice books (including Under Ground and the Nursery), the Snark, plus a plethora of prefaces, poems, riddles, biographical sketches, and the article “Alice on the Stage,” along with a “kaleidoscope” of annotations and commentary — a task begun in 1967 — has been published in three hardcover volumes. The total cost is €209 ($284) plus postage.
To buy, go to the print-on-demand site http://www.epubli.de and put “Günther Flemming” in the Search (Suchen) box, or buy it from Amazon.de: