Tea Party Symposium at St. Peter's College, NJ

Cupcakes from the St. Peter's College Tea Party

LCSNA President Andrew Sellon gave an informal talk to an appreciative audience at St. Peter’s College in Jersey City, NJ on Wednesday, April 7th, about how he fell down the rabbit hole and ended up a Lewis Carroll fan for life. English Club President Jonathan Brantley (pictured to the left wearing March Hare ears) had contacted Andrew via Facebook to invite him to attend their informal “tea party symposium” as keynote speaker. Some attendees even dressed up for the occasion. After his talk, Andrew led a lively discussion about the recent Tim Burton film and other adaptations. Jonathan also presented an excellent paper giving an overview of the creation of the two Alice books and their continuing impact on our culture today. There was an ample buffet of Carrollian treats, and no one at the table was forced to “move down! move down!” All in all, a brillig event. (More photos can be seen on Facebook here.)

Andrew Sellon (center) at the Tea Party Symposium


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.

Special Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at the Dorchester this week

All week long, the Promenade at the Dorchester (in London’s Mayfair on Park Lane) has been transformed into the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, with help from the English National Ballet‘s young dancers. If you’re in old Lud’s town, there’s still time to catch it this weekend. Author Jenny Woolf says she “thinks the costumes probably come from the Frederick Ashton version of Alice in Wonderland.” It’s apparently an annual event. From the press release:

The Dorchester’s award-winning afternoon tea will be served with pirouettes, pliés and petit sautés as dancers from English National Ballet dressed as some of the favourite characters from Alice in Wonderland will be found among the specially created decorations and flower displays. Children can look out for favourite characters including the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the Dormouse and Alice herself.

Accompanying adults will be able to sink back and enjoy the entertainment with a glass of champagne, delicious savoury finger sandwiches, homemade scones and a selection of indulgent cakes and pastries.

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party will be served on The Promenade at The Dorchester from 26 October to 1 November 2009 at two sittings, 2.15pm and 4.45pm, and is priced at £47.50 per adult including a glass of Champagne and £30.00 per child. (Prices are inclusive of VAT and exclusive of service charge at 12.5%) For every Mad Hatter’s Tea that is ordered £1 will be donated to Cancer Research UK.


Fun Halloween Things

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.)


National Book Festival

I regret to inform you that Mr. Lewis Carroll will be unable to attend this year’s National Book Festival, which takes place on the National Mall in Washington D.C. on Saturday, September 26. However, the delightful poster for the event, illustrated by artist Charles Santore, most cleverly features Alice, the Hatter, the March Hare, the Dormouse, the Caterpillar, and the White Rabbit, front and center as they should be. (Click the image to enlarge.)


But not the very best butter knife

The Texas Radio Theatre Company performed this audio adaptation in November 2008 at the Dallas Public Library. On stage at the time, from left to right: Shannon Atkinson as Alice, David Grant as the DoorMouse [sic], Clark Hackney [who seems to be channeling Ed Wynn] as the Hatter and Reg Platt as the March Hare. Rich Frohlich is adding prerecorded sounds and Ken Raney is performing the live sounds, with the exception of David’s noise maker and Reg’s horn (or tea cup) .


Indigo Moon Alice

Yorkshire’s Indigo Moon Theatre is currently touring the U.K. with a shadow puppet performance of “Alice and the White Rabbit”: “Join Alice on her magical adventure as she chases the White rabbit back in time on a fantastic spiralling journey into Wonderland. Watch her change in size in this dream-like shadow adaption… On her journey she meets the Cheshire Cat, a two-legged dragon and the March Hare at the mediaeval Mad Hatter’s Tea party…’Alice and The White Rabbit’ celebrates different shadow techniques and is inspired by the gothic architecture and medieval times of the original white rabbit statue found in St. Mary’s Church, Beverley, East Yorkshire.”