Alice Joins the Dance in Ballets Across America

The National Ballet of Canada

Aleksandar Antonijevic of the National Ballet of Canada

The National Ballet of Canada is on the move and they are taking Alice with them. Last weekend the company appeared at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles to perform Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon and scored by Joby Talbot. Ecstatic reviews suggest that the production was every bit as successful as the much-lauded North American premiere in Toronto in 2011 and it’s world premier in London earlier in the same year. North Americans will have another chance to see the ballet when it moves to the Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. for performances from January 18 – 27, 2013.

Three thousand miles to the north west, the Connecticut Ballet recently performed an Alice in Wonderland aimed more squarely at children. The show, which included spoken narration by artistic director Brett Raphael, was performed once in Stamford and once in Harvard. The Harvard production, held at  the Aetna Theater, part of the Wadsworth Atheneum, was just one in a series of ballets for families; Barbar the Elephant & Jungle Tales and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer will follow early next year.

Septime Webre's ALICE

The Cincinnati Ballet present Septime Webre’s ALICE

Meanwhile the Cincinnati Ballet has had the great good fortune to present the regional premiere of Septime Webre’s ALICE (in wonderland) from October 26 to 28. Matthew Pierce’s score was performed by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. After a quick trip to the dry-cleaners, Liz Vandal’s outrageous costumes should now be on a plane heading south as Webre’s creation will next be performed by Ballet Hawaii in August 2013.

If you feel your day would benefit from a touch of ballet this very minute, check out the video below – it is an excerpt from the London premiere of Christopher Wheeldon’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, performed at Covent Garden. You know you are in Wonderland when a ballerina gets to eat jam tarts on stage.



New L.A.-themed Retelling of Alice Serialized Online

Coming up from the “performance art subculture burgeoning in Downtown LA,” Jenka Gurfinkel is releasing a new Alice-inspired “fiction project” (formerly known as a ‘novel’) in serialized installments online, at The first two chapters of “MirrorLAnd” have been posted, with aspirations of one day becoming a full graphic novel – which I believe involves collaborating with other underground artists to further illustrate it:

The story is a new form of interactive storytelling, incorporating real art and artists in such a way that the reader will be able to viscerally experience Alice’s adventures, taking them along with her down a rabbit hole of L.A. fashion, music, and culture. Featured artists for Chapters 1 and 2 are apocalyptic couture house, SkinGraft Designs; vaudeville revivalist music act, Beats Antique; electronic producer Eskmo, and Sheila B. Jewelry.

Indeed, what is the use of a fiction project without pictures or visceral experiences? The website also mentions a “White Rabbit Remix Contest.” Warning, this is not for young readers; there’s plenty of obscenity and adult situations from the opening scene.

A page from MirrorLAnd: A Fiction Project by Jenka Gurfinkel


“Curiouser and Curiouser” at the Nucleus Gallery, Alhambra CA

Nucleus Gallery, Alhambra CA

Next Saturday will be the opening night of “Curiouser and Curiouser: Inspired by ‘Alice in Wonderland,'” an exhibition of new artwork at the Nucleus Gallery in downtown Alhambra CA.

In addition to work from a remarkably long list of exhibiting artists, opening night will feature a number of artifacts and stills from the impending Disney movie.

… Opening Night only, glimpse into the creative brilliance of Disney Studios as exclusive concept art, production, and film stills will be shown from the upcoming Alice In Wonderland!

Exhibition Features:

  • Never-before seen concept art, production and film stills for Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ courtesy of Disney Studios.
  • Maquettes for ‘Alice in Wonderland’ on exhibit courtesy of Gentle Giant Studios.
  • Dress up in your best ‘Alice’ inspired attire for a chance to win prizes.
  • Cha for Tea serving up tasty teas.
  • Music by DJ Ronicus.
February 27 until March 29, 2010
Opening Reception February 27, 7pm – 11pm
Nucleus Gallery, 210 East Main Street, Alhambra CA 91801
Phone: 626-458-7482

Camille Rose Garcia’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Camille Rose Garcia, an artist from L.A.’s lowbrow art movement, has illustrated Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Surely one of the most punk Alices to go underground, it was released on Groundhog Day, 2010. Below is a sketch posted on the blog Arrested Motion, but we look forward to seeing the finished product in beautiful hardcover, from Collins Design (list price $16).


William Morris Society Calls for Papers

William Morris was a contemporary of Charles Dodgson, and a colleague in his fascination with medieval aesthetics in literature, art and design.

The William Morris Society has recently issued two calls for papers, which Carrollians may find of interest:

Useful & Beautiful: The Transatlantic Arts of William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites
Conference at the Univesity of Delaware, Winterthur Museum and Delaware Art Museum
7–9 October 2010

“This conference will focus on the multitude of transatlantic exchanges that involved Morris, the Pre-Raphaelites, and the Arts and Crafts and Aesthetic movements of the late nineteenth century. We will invite papers that explore relationships and influences—whether personal, intellectual, political, or aesthetic—that connect William Morris, his friends, associates, and followers in Britain and Europe with their contemporaries and successors in the Americas…”

Call for Papers (PDF)
Proposals due 15 March 2010

“Morris and the Arts” and “Pre-Raphaleite Use of History”

William Morris Society sessions at the 2011 Modern Language Annual Convention, Los Angeles
5–9 January 2011

On the “Pre-Raphaleite Use of History”: “This proposed collaborative session will examine aspects of Victorian historicism, especially neo-medievalism in painting, book design, poetry, romance narrative, translation and other genres. Papers might consider ways in which the Pre-Raphaelites and their associates and successors reshaped the works of Dante, Chaucer, Boccaccio, Froissart, the Icelandic sagas, Malory and other Arthurian sources for a middle-class Victorian audience…

Call for Papers (website)
Proposals due 20 March 2010

Submission requirements for both events can be found on the William Morris Society website.


Lou Bunin’s 1949 animated Alice in Wonderland showing in L.A. on Saturday

Cinefamily, a “movie lover” organization in L.A., will be showing Lou Bunin’s Alice in Wonderland at the Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90036. Two shows on Saturday, November 28th, at 5:00 & 7:30pm, for $12. Here’s the description & musical clip from their listing:

Alice In Wonderland (1949)
This ambitious, highly faithful late-’40s Alice adaptation took years to complete, and features an abundance of impressive, meticulous and labor-intensive stop-motion work from pioneer puppeteer Lou Bunin. After a live-action prologue showing the historical inspirations for the major characters, Alice (a decidedly adult Carol Marsh) is quickly launched into surreal realms of design and color. Remarkably, the film stays true to the original novel’s anarchic construction, and the inspiration of Victorian illustrator John Tenniel’s Alice imaginings. Bunin’s handiwork is at its peak during the musical numbers, which dunk you head-first into the film’s opium-riddled dreamworld–and in addition, live-action director Dallas Bower comes up with clever, simple solutions to the FX limitations of the day. Originally suppressed by Disney for fear of its potential upstaging of their own animated Alice, Bunin’s work comes to you here at the Cinefamily in a rare screening of a beautiful MOMA-restored 35mm print!
Dirs. Dallas Bower & Lou Bunin, 1949, 35mm, 76 min.


In Focus: Making a Scene

In Focus: Making a Scene presents more than thirty tableaux, or staged photographs, from the J. Paul Getty Museum’s world-renowned photography collection, on view at the Getty Center (Los Angeles) from June 30–October 18, 2009. …Among the nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century selections are tableaux vivants, or living pictures, such as… Lewis Carroll’s Saint George and the Dragon, inspired by the popular Victorian pastime of dressing up and posing to resemble famous works of art or literary scenes.”


A Doll’s Tea Party

Sponsored by Los Angeles doll shop The Valley of the Dolls, the Mad Tea Party takes place at Royal/T Cafe this Saturday, March 21. Click on the invitation above for further details.

More Toy Theatre

The Music Center of Los Angeles County presents the admission-free (but tickets still required) 2008 Toy Theatre Festival on June 14 and 15, 2008 at Walt Disney Concert Hall, with Alison Heimstead and Sibyl O’Malley’s Alice in Wonderland being performed eight times over the two days.