December 5, 2011

A Wicked Solstice Season in Salem

 She was resisting.

It snowed in time for Halloween this year, but December has been nice and mild so far - which is great considering how much there is to do.

Sure, I could keep busy online by joining the War on Christmas, I considered writing an article on the topic, maybe covering the holiday's pagan origins or just documenting conservative hubris, but so many others have already done so so eloquently. Also, I've been fairly busy getting into the holiday spirit - Salem Witch style.

Happy Horrordays!

This year's Krampus art show and holiday-ish party at the Fool's Mansion was pretty awesome. If you have never heard of the amazingly horrible and wonderfully terrifying myths surrounding Krampus consider the following excerpt from Wiki:

"  Krampus is a mythical creature recognized in Alpine countries.[1] According to legend, Krampus accompanies St. Nicholas during the Christmas season, warning and punishing bad children, in contrast to St. Nicholas, who gives gifts to good children. When the Krampus finds a particularly naughty child, it stuffs the child in its sack and carries the frightened thing away to its lair, presumably to devour for its Christmas dinner.
In the Alpine regions, Krampus is represented by a beast like creature, generally demonic in appearance. Traditionally young men dress up as the Krampus in Austria, southern Bavaria and South Tyrol during the first week of December, particularly on the evening of 5 December, and roam the streets frightening children with rusty chains and bells.  "

The event was basically a goth Christmas/Solstice party art show with Dj Zombi starting off the night playing ambient tracks and spooky winter orchestral stuff before leading into the more dancable music. The art itself varied greatly. Some of the more expensive art was also available in card form. This is the card my mother will be receiving this year:

Basically Krampus is the bad to Santa's good cop.

We also visited Ye Old Pepper Candy Co., the oldest candy company in America, for their open house where they had the back open so you could watch how they make their candy.This place earns my respect by using a lot of the same old-fashioned gadgets that have been used to make candy for hundreds of years. I had no idea how complicated the device to make ribbon candy was. I found a video of another old fashioned candy company using the same equipment here. The good part starts at :45. Some people think it's kind of boring, but I always loved when Mr. Roger's brought us to the crayon factory growing up. Guess it's a geek thing.

I also tried to class it up a bit by bringing my wife to the Christmas event tours at The House of Seven Gables. Instead of their usual tours they have one which leads you through the different rooms in the house which are made into living stages with actors that do excerpts from famous holiday literature. Besides the fake British accents making me want to strangle myself with tinsel, it was pretty cool. Among others, they had scenes from Little Women, an excerpt from the Diary of Ann Frank (which was totally bittersweet), a dude desperately trying to do a Welsh accent for A Child's Christmas in Wales, as well as the standards like a scene from A Christmas Carol and the standard recitation of Twas the Night Before Christmas.

No, not NightMARE, that came later...

That's right, this weekend at Cinema Salem they had late night showings of The Nightmare Before Christmas complete with a shadow cast provided by the Teseracte Players of Boston. Saying there is room for improvement is by no means a criticism. These guys did a fantastic job, I just know they know they could do so much more. Jack Skelington moved his arms around a lot like he was in RUN D.M.C. or something and it was totally distracting, but decent. The cyclops mummy and The Clown with the Tear-away Face were crowd favorites when it came to costumes. The little girl playing Zero was adorable, and the dude playing the mayor had the jerky robotic movements down and the most hilarious look on his face for the duration of the performance, it was perfect. 

... So that's it. Things die down after October's Haunted Happenings, but after December's Holiday Happenings  are over the city becomes very very boring. Let's hope something interesting happens before spring!