Alice Events at the British Library

Tickets for next Wednesday evening’s Alice celebrations at the British Library are now sold out. Congratulations to our London-dwelling friends who managed to secure one. They will be enjoying readings by members of Tim Burton’s cast, conversations with the producer and co-producer of the movie, “an appreciation of Alice” by Will Self, and a viewing of a Cecil Hepworth’s 1903 “Alice In Wonderland” with live piano accompaniment. I wonder if there are ever scalpers outside British Library events? Bonus points and a special mention on this blog to anyone who procures last minute admission through irregular means.

For those who fail to locate either a scalper or an untended fire escape, there is still the opportunity to view a special exhibition of “Alice’s Adventures Under Ground” and related pieces from the Library’s collection during regular library opening hours.

Furthermore, tickets are still available for an illustrated talk on March 6 entitled “Lewis Carroll and Photography: Exposing the Truth” in which Carroll scholar Edward Wakeling “examines the impressive reality of Carroll’s photography, including his studies of children, and tackles the myths surrounding his work.” Book now to avoid disappointment!

“Lewis Carroll and Photography: Exposing the Truth”
Saturday, March 6, 2010, 14:30 – 16:00
Conference Centre, The British Library
96 Euston Road, London, UK
£6 / £4 concessions

Exposure Time, a play about Dodgson the Photographer, at New Jersey Rep

Tonight is the world premier of Exposure Time by Kim Merrill at the New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch, New Jersey. Is this the first time a work of drama has centered on Charles Dodgson the photographer? Merrill’s play won the 2009 Edgerton Foundation New American Plays Award. Here is some of the blurb from the press release, “Alice Through the Camera Lens”:

While Johnny Depp portrays the Mad Hatter on movie screens around the world this winter, Lewis Carroll, the conflicted creator of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, will be on stage at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch, fighting passionately to be known not as a
children’s author but as Charles Dodgson, the greatest portrait photographer in the British Empire. Standing in his way is the larger-than-life and now tragically forgotten Julia Margaret Cameron, who was the Annie Leibovitz of her day and a constant thorn in Dodgson’s side. The real Alice will be there as well, trying to sort out her complex relationship with Dodgson, along with Alfred, Lord Tennyson, the Victorian Idol of a society that worshiped its poets like rock stars. The world premiere of Exposure Time runs from February 11 through March 21, with an Opening Night performance and High Tea on Saturday, February 13.

[...]

A magical journey into the literary heart of Victorian England, Exposure Time is a perfect play for young teens and above.  Schools are invited to contact NJ Rep to discuss booking special discounted matinee performances that include lesson plans and post-show discussions with the actors.

Discounted previews are Thursday and Friday, February 11 and 12 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Regular performances are Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 p.m., with selected Sundays performances at 7 p.m. as well as Thursday and Friday matinees by prior arrangement for students and other groups. Tickets are $40; $35 for previews; $60, opening night; $36 for seniors and students (except opening night); with discounts for groups of ten or more.

There is a review and interview with Ms. Merrill in the Red Bank Orbit here. Tickets can be purchased online here.

Steampunk Alice Collage by Ramona Szczerba on Etsy


Artist Ramona Szczerba is selling this stylish collage inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland on Etsy.com, the online store for handmade craft. This 1 of 1 is still available for $145.

Well, you didn’t think Alice WALKED all over Wonderland did you? That place is HUGE, and Alice is way too clever for that. Besides, those maryjanes pinch after a while.
No, Alice has wisely fashioned her favorite wicker chaise into a fabulous Wonderland Cruiser and can be seen motoring about, accompanied by the March Hare (who has also fashioned a means of transport), the White Rabbit, and the hookah-smoking caterpillar (she felt giving him a ride was the least she could do after pressing his mushroom into service as a parasol). With the Dormouse emerging (with a yawn) from her teapot and her small bottle of elixir following on an endtable sidecar, Alice is ready for whatever Wonderland might throw at her next.This 5″ x 7″ original collage features a vintage image of Alexandra “Xie” Kitchin (one of Lewis Carroll’s favorite child models) in true steampunk style and has been hand-printed, hand cut and hand assembled on a stretched hand painted gallery canvas. It features brown mulberry paper, German Dresden trim and is accented by antiqued pressed brass corners.

Ms. Szczerba and Mark Burstein were e-mailing back and forth this week about the photograph she used for the collage, which he wrote is “not the face of Alice Liddell; it is a photo of another of Carroll’s favorite young models, Alexandra ‘Xie’ Kitchin, taken 14 May 1873.” Ms. Szczerba also directed us to her Flikr site, starting here, where she has some more original illustrations for AAIW.

Swann Galleries to auction

On December 8th, Swann Galleries in New York will be auctioning Dodgson’s “Portrait of Emily Cecilia Harrison,” a 6.5 by 5 inch albumen print of Emily and her doll in a comfortable-looking chair. The sale is notable, first for its seriously fancy online “3D” catalogue, and secondly for a very exciting re-telling of Mr Dodgson’s biography:

Although best known for novels “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking-Glass,” he also invented croquet, billiards, various forms of chess, scrabble, ways to divide certain numbers and two different form of the Arabic zero.

The estimated sale price is $4,000 to $6,000. Perhaps it should be higher?

Castle in the Air in Berkeley: Two Carroll Photographs

After a journey lasting several more than a hundred years and considerably more than a hundred miles, two photographs taken by Mr Dodgson have found their way from the developing room on the roof of Christ Church to a small ink shop and gallery on the West Coast of America. Those wishing to visit these far flung fragments of Dodgson’s life may find them in Berkeley, California between now and November 18, 2009.

The pictures form part of a small exhibition of portraits of children from the early egg whites and silver days of photography. From Dodgson, there is a “Study of Xie Kitchin” (albumen print, not for sale), an impossibly stern-looking girl, who was also chosen to face the exhibition advertisements. According to Dodgson’s diary, the picture was taken in his rooms on June 12, 1873. Xie Kitchin is accompanied by three images of “Bertram and Leonard Rogers Looking at Book in Front of a Chest” (silver print c.1890s, $300 and twin-mounted albumen prints, 1866, Inquire).

Alongside these well-traveled children, hang more hundred-plus year old youths from the work of Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward S. Curtis, Edweard Muybridge and others. The entire exhibition is borrowed from the collection of Wolffe Nadoolman, a Berkeley pediatrician.

Picturing Childhood: Portraits from the Masters of Early Photography (1850-1930), runs from October 10 through November 18, 2009 at Castle in the Air, 1805 Fourth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710. (The Castle in the Air website is here, but it’s slightly tricky to navigate.)