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Fierce Anticipation: Dec. 12-14


A blogumn by Ryan Dixon


The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spiri
t by Les Standiford

We’ve seen Shakespeare in Love, now get ready for Dickens In Debt. That’s the starting point in this fascinating non-fiction work that chronicles how, after being the most popular writer in England, 31 year-old Charles Dickens suddenly found himself a broke and nearly destitute man stuck with five kids and a wife (like a Victorian Eddie Fisher, our dear Charles would eventually leave Mrs. Dickens #1 for a much younger woman). It is at this low point that he becomes inspired to write a little story about a man named Scrooge and publishes it with his last bit of money, which leads to very happy endings for both Dickens and the story. Standiford’s great triumph in the book is illuminating how A Christmas Carol ended up having a bigger influence on our Yuletide rituals than any other event in human history, including that supposed barnyard birth some 2000 years ago. “Bah, humbug!” indeed.
In Bookstores Now.


Shrek: The Musical

Will Green once again equal green on the Great White Way? DreamWorks Theatricals is betting many millions that Shrek will defy box office gravity and follow his hue-sharing neighbor Elphaba in doing the Blockbuster Grapevine. Recently, critics have taken calling Broadway Las Vegas light. However, now that 42nd Street is populated with mermaids, monsters, ogres, disfigured opera ghosts, witches, anthropomorphic lions, the occasional appearance of flopping Vampires (talk about being in the red) and a soon to be singing Spider-Man, maybe it’s time to rename it Fantasy Island?
Now in Previews. Opens December 14th.


Christmas Cat Shows:
Catxmas on the Beach / Katnappers Christmas Show

Since seemingly every other post on FaN revolves around cats, I have finally decided to capitulate to the will of the masses. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t exactly “hate” cats. I may be allergic to them, but a tear graces the eye any time my iPod shuffles to the opening lines of Grizabella’s lyrical lament (Memory, turn your face to the moonlight…), and even I will occasionally fawn over their cute and wily ways (of course, any public display of fawnage is always followed by self-hating flagellation once I arrive home). And based on personal interaction, I’ve found that cat people, as these sort of groups go, are on the whole a much better breed of Homo sapiens then those who spend their days drooling over members of that subspecies of four-legged Steinbeckian Lennie’s otherwise known as dogs.

But while the degree of my allergy to cats is perhaps debatable — Is it such a crime to stretch the truth of my allergy when visiting any member of my cat obsessed family so as to sleep in a freshly cleansed cat-free private bedroom as opposed to lying scrunched on a furball addled couch?– the truth remains; I duly despise cat hair with every black fabric in my wardrobe. Whenever I take a seat in any feline infested house, I get the creeping feeling that shedded cat hair is crawling up my rear side like some sort of cotton sucking leech army. Suffice it to say the idea of attending a Christmas-themed cat show where fake-antlered tabby cats meow the opening chords of Handel’s “Hallelujah” chorus while feline dander wafts through the air like the diaphanous gelatinous spores in 1978’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers is not my idea of a good time. 
Catxmas on the Beach: Dec. 12-14, Corpus Christi, TX
Katnappers Christmas Show: Dec. 13-14, Arcadia, CA


Photo Credit: Julie Vazquez