If you are wondering what you could do this weekend that might bring a little more Wonderland into your life, permit us to offer the following suggestions:
If you live in New York, you could try to get last minute tickets to Then She Fell, a creepy trip down the rabbit hole staged in an abandoned hospital and described by the New York Post as “a fiendishly clever immersive theater piece.” If the show is all sold out, you could console yourself by booking tickets to AliceGraceAnon at the Irondale Center between October 21 and November 9. The play depicts an emotional collision between three girls: Carroll’s fictional Alice, the lead singer of Jefferson Airplane, and the anonymous narrator of Go Ask Alice, the diary of drug taking that caused sensation in 1971. Reviewers say it is seriously trippy…
If you live in Seattle, you could try and gate-crash the 110th Annual Conference of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association at Seattle University to see Amanda Lastoria of Simon Fraser University deliver a paper called “Selling Wonderland: How Lewis Carroll Built his Alice Empire.” In her paper Amanda will advance her thesis that Lewis Carroll was a publishing dynamo whose considerable business savvy has been little recognized.
If you live in Manchester, England, you could see Gaynor Arnold speaking at the Manchester Literary Festival about her new book After Such Kindness, a fictionalized account of the relationship between Lewis Carroll and Alice Liddell. The event will be held at the Portico Library on Saturday at 6.30 p.m.
And if you live anywhere else, well, isn’t it time you started planning your Alice-themed Halloween costume? A good source of ideas might be this this photo slide show of recent and not-so recent big-budget, Alice-themed events. The slide show reveals both what a strange assortment of organizations decide on an Alice in Wonderland theme for their event (OfficeMax is one) and that the Canadian Cancer Society knows how to throw a good party.
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.
I’m slightly daunted by the fact this Cheshire Cat pumpkin stencil is only rated “3/5 Intermediate” by Ultimate Pumpkin Stencils. Look at all those teeth! Upping the ante, the Queen of Hearts and the Mad Hatter stencils (fair likenesses of Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp respectively) are rated “4/5 Challenging.” (Advanced pumpkin carvers seeking the giddy heights of “5/5 Ultimate” may have to turn to either a stencil of Conan the Barbarian lunging with sword, or Mr T point straight at you, as if to say “I want you to pity the fool”.)
A single stencil can be downloaded for $4.95 or you can purchase the full Alice in Wonderland trio for $9.95.
I have a feeling that LCSNA members might not need inspiration either from Tim Burton or from pre-cut stencils in carving their Alice-themed jack-o’-lanterns. Please send us your pictures of any Carrollian cucurbita creations, and we will delight in honoring them on this blog. Tenniel jack-o’-lanterns will receive an automatic “5/5 Ultimate” rating. Any individual who attempts a Jan Svankmajer jack-o’-lantern will be crowned Jack the Pumpkin King without contest.
Hallowe’en is only three months away and scrapbook and paper crafting company Graphic 45 is ready with a new “Hallowe’en in Wonderland” paper collection. The illustrations are Tenniel “spookified” – Alice wear’s a witch’s hat, the Mad Hatter’s tie has pumpkins on it, and the Red Queen has a devil’s tail.
You seem to need a wholesale account to order from the site, but I am sure the paper can be requested from a crafting supply store near you.
(Click on either image to see larger versions on the Graphic 45 website.)
Online gift store The Afternoon carries the intriguing “Haunted Tea Party” tableware line: an appetizer/dessert plate that feature the Hatter, March Hare, and Alice in a witch’s hat at a midnight tea table set with pumpkin teapots; plates that say “Eat Me” and mugs that say “Drink Me” (of course); a punch bowl shaped like a giant tea cup (check out the ladle!); matching napkins; and a rather bizarre caterpillar bowl holder.
Even after much Googling, I can’t figure out what company has created this line, but no matter. What I did find is that another online retailer, Flag and Banner.com, has a matching banner! (Scroll about three-quarters of the way down the page.)