Alice in Wonderland (1947) by Ayres Houghtelling, egg tempera and gouache on board
Ayres Houghtelling’s groovy painting of Alice in Wonderland, intricately imagined with egg tempura and gouache on a surprisingly small board, will go up for auction at Sotheby’s on April 5th with an estimated price of $10k-$15k. It was described by blogger Kathy Hernandez thusly: “No picture has ever drawn me in like ‘Alice in Wonderland’ by Ayres Houghtelling (b. 1912). Alice is pictured at least 24 times in this [22" by 28"] print as she makes her way through all the major events of the book.” An LCSNA member tipped us off with this nice note: “Hello, I have a print of this original, it is a favorite and I just found out the original will be up for auction this week. A beautiful work from an artist (1940′s) who loved fantasy and Alice. Ayres was also famous for many things, one being the drawing out of the NYC subway plans.” Houghtelling died six years ago in 2006.
Full details for this year’s LCSNA Spring Meeting are now available online. Join us in Cambridge, Massachuettes for a weekend of Carrollian scholarship, conviviality, and a little magic.
The main meeting will be on Saturday, April 28 at Harvard University’s Houghton Library. Speakers include Selwyn Goodacre on the 150th anniversary of the boat ride during which Lewis Carroll told the Adventures to Alice Liddell and her sisters, with a review of the various editions of Alice’s Adventures under Ground. Following on this theme, Matt Demakos will discuss the evolution from Underground to the Wonderland. Mark Richards will enlighten us on the finer points of Carroll’s mathematically poetic work A Tangled Tale, and Alan Tannenbaum will tell us about A. B. Frost, the illustrator of A Tangled Tale and Rhyme? and Reason?. Linda Cassady will then talk about the exciting Wonderland Award at the University of Southern California, and show examples of the brilliant art it has inspired. Finally, Chris Morgan will demonstrate some of the magic practiced by Lewis Carroll. Other events include Friday’s Maxine Schaefer Reading for Children and a visit on Sunday to the Tannenbaum collection in nearby Chelmsford.
Download this pdf for the full program and for information on how to book meals and accommodation.
A science writer, a mathematician, and a professor of English walk into a library… no, it’s not an unpromising joke, it’s a very promising-sounding multidisciplinary event taking place in Los Angeles on February 22.
As part of Visions and Voices: the University of Southern California Arts and Humanities Initiative, three very different intellects will be discussing Wonderland and the Mathematical Imaginary. The trio consists of Australian science writer Margaret Wertheim, who you may have seen crocheting a coral reef during a TED lecture; Francis Bonahon, a professor of mathematics at the USC Dornsife College and a specialist in hyperbolic geometry and quantum topology; and Jim Kincaid, Aerol Arnold Chair in English at the USC Dornsife College and specialist in Victorian literature, culture, criminality, lunacy, and perversion.
The discussion will be held at the historic Edward L. Doheny Jr. Memorial Library and will be followed by an “experimental play/workshop” where, it is promised, “participants can make and play with absurd mathematical objects.” The event will run from 11am – 1pm and admission is free and open to the public.
The organizers are the same folks who run the Wonderland Award, an annual competition that encourages new scholarship and creative work related to Lewis Carroll. The deadline for entries this year is April 2 — we’ll be sure to remind you again closer to the time.
The Omaha World-Herald has reported some great news from Iowa where the national Poetry Out Loud competition at the Iowa School for the Deaf was won with a performance of Jabberwocky. First-time contestant Gabby Humlicek wowed the judges with her choice. “It was a really challenging poem to turn into American Sign Language,” Humlicek said. In rendering Carroll’s nonsense words Humlicek said it helped that “I’m a gregarious signer, and I practiced.” The newspaper reports that Gabby will go on to the state competition in De Moines this March – success there could lead to Washington D.C. and a bid for the national title. We wish her luck!
I couldn’t find an online video of Gabby’s performance, but for the curious I did manage to find another anonymous performance on YouTube. It’s fascinating to try and follow along with the poem. I am not sure what is happening 40 seconds in but I think it might be the frumious bandersnatch and, if so, it is pretty scary. It would be great if any readers of this blog who know ASL could offer us a commentary.
“A picnic” on legendary Totten Inlet at low tide in the dark and cold in the middle of the winter, and, if you are lucky, an icy gust of wind off the bay to season the experience — more than a little crazy, yes?
Crazy? Yes, but with impeccable literary credentials. Jon Rowley of Taylor Shellfish Farms in Shelton, WA, is taking reservations for his annual nighttime oyster picnic, inspired by the Walrus and the Carpenter.
Beneath a sulkily shining moon, adventurous diners march up and down the oyster beds before eating each and every bivalve they fancy. Or as Rowley describes it, “Lantern light, freezing weather, plump, sweet oysters just rousted from their beds and opened on the spot, award-winning “oyster wines” drunk out of Reidel stemware, a bonfire — just the right mix of magic and madness.”
These pleasant walks will take place on December 21, January 7, and February 6. Reservations can be made online at Brown Paper Tickets.
Secret supper clubs are all the rage, so we’ve heard (we’ve never found one). Right now, somewhere in Vancouver, the Swallow Tail Supper Club is entertaining diners with fine food, cocktails, and live entertainment on a Wonderland theme. Local blogger Ariane Colenbrander seems to be in on the secret:
The evening starts at the outskirts of a moonlit forest, where guests are greeted by a frantic White Rabbit, who ushers them down the rabbit hole, to a nostalgic world of childhood fairytale characters. The Mad Hatter pours tea and soup is served in a “Drink Me” bottle labeled either “Big” or “Small”. The bottle guests drink from will determine their next course. More...
According to the same blog, celebrity chef and Food Network star Bob Blumer may also be involved, though it is not clear how. The supper club will be operating for only a few more days—they don’t seem to be sold out yet. Tickets cost $129 a head.
Alice and Steampunk both seem good ingredients to make a perfect Halloween haunted house. If you’re in New York City this week, there’s a spooky new Steampunk Haunted House at Abron’s Art Center on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, created by Third Rail Projects.
Following up on last year’s “Waking Nightmare,” this year, the critically acclaimed Third Rail Projects behind Steampunk borrows from author Lewis Carroll’s dark side for a show called “Through the Looking Glass.” But make no mistake; it’s not for children, and no one under 8 is admitted. The disclaimer warns that it’s “a frightening, immersive experience that winds through the theater and catacombs of the Abrons Playhouse … There will be fog effects, intense flashes of light, loud noises, lots of dust, soot, dripping pipes, churning gears, rusty metal, and other things that will hurt you if you touch them.”
The show starts on Saturday; tickets, which are available online, are $10 for students and $20 to $25 for adults, depending on the day of the week. There’s also a special Halloween party fundraiser for Third Rail on Oct. 26 that includes a cocktail reception and behind-the-scenes look at the project; those tickets are $50.
Speakers include Morton Cohen on Carroll’s epiphanies; Adriana Peliano, founder of the Lewis Carroll Society of Brazil, on the metamorphosis of Alice in illustrations and art; Alison Gopnik on her discovery of the Iffley Yew and how Dodgson’s real life affected his works; Emily R. Aguilo-Perez on film adaptations; Jeff Menges, editor of Alice Illustrated (coming from Dover in October), on illustrators; and James Fotopoulos, an artist and film-maker who made an avant-garde film called Alice in Wonderland and will also display related art.
October 6th – It’s Hatter Day, here in the US anyway. In the UK, much like Mother’s Day and Independence Day, they celebrate on a different day (the 10th of June).
First appearance of Jervis Tetch/Mad Hatter in Batman (1948)
In Hatter news, the mad one is to join the roster of villains out to kill Batman in the video game Arkham City. Josh Harmon discusses the addition on the gamer site Gameranxwhere there is also a trailer for the updated game.
Hatter entered Batman’s universe sixty-three years ago this month in 1948. Originally, he was a batty ever-so-slightly megalomaniacal baddie, real name Jervis Tetch. Over the years he’s gained a touch of 21st century evil, as the screenshot from Arkham City below suggests. The updated game will be released on October 18.
Can you change “100″ to “CAT” by moving just two of these toothpicks?
The above puzzle is probably familiar to many lovers of logic games, but new to the multitude who have not yet made the connection between mathematical problems, visual conundrums, and, of all things, fun.
One man who spent a lifetime reaching out to both the initiates and the multitude was Martin Gardner, philosopher, mathematician, magician, and for 25 years the author of the “Mathematical Games” column in the Scientific American. He was also a founding member of the LCSNA and the creator of the irreplaceable Annotated Alice books.
When Martin died last year the foundation Gathering for Gardner vowed to “celebrate Martin’s life and work, and continue his pursuit of a playful and fun approach to Mathematics, Science, Art, Magic, Puzzles and all of his other interests and writings.” One of these celebrations is fast upon us – the second annual Celebration of Mind events to be held worldwide on or around what would have been Martin’s 97th birthday – October 21, 2011.
Last year, people gathered to share magic tricks, puzzles, recreational mathematics problems and stories about Martin at 66 locations from Tokyo to Tehran to Buenos Aires to Boulder, Colorado. This year, 30 hosts have signed up already and the organizers expect many more – if you can’t make the gathering at the McMurdo Station in Antarctica, how about attending one of the 15 already listed in North America? Events held by LCSNA members will undoubtedly have an Alice flavor – if you are hosting one, be sure to get in touch and we will advertise it on the blog.
I wonder how many events this year will feature readings from A Bouquet for the Gardener, the beautiful collection of tributes and reminiscences published by the LCSNA in July? (Available at Amazon.com.)
For a map of planned events, and for guidelines for hosting your own event, go to the Gathering for Gardner website. There you can also find photos and descriptions of previous events along with downloadable visual treats and puzzles to whet your appetite. You can also follow event updates on Twitter account @G4G_CoM.
And finally, if you haven’t figured out the toothpick teaser above, I’m not going to tell you. What are Sunday afternoons for?