So This Is Christmas
Can’t stop won’t stop
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
I know I’ve been talking a lot of turkey about my abundance of Christmas spirit, but as is so often the case, my reality doesn’t exactly match my mouth. We are closing in on the holiday and yet the number of Christmas presents I have procured still sits at a hard zero. I have decked no halls, trimmed no trees, stuffed no stockings and hung no mistletoe. I have worn no tacky Christmas sweaters (and believe me, I have a few) and have sat on the laps of no Santas. Reindeer games played: none. Number of eggnog cocktails swilled—that’s a trick question. Eggnog is disgusting. I never touch the stuff.
Pretty much the only holiday prep I have done is to swap my regular coffee mug for one that says “Noel” on the side.
However, I have listened to a whole lot of Christmas music. That part is stone cold truth. In fact, I’m listening to it right now. When it comes to carols, hymns and the other sounds of the season, my personal policy can be summed up as, “can’t stop won’t stop.” Luckily, there are still plenty of high-quality local holiday happenings during the run-up to the big day, and it is my duty to tell you about at least some of them.
As with so many things around these parts, we have created and embraced our own particular traditions. One of those is A Very Subdued Christmas, which is an annual holiday concert performed by and presided over by Robt Sarazin Blake, the artist formerly known as Robert Sarazin Blake. But don’t expect this to be your standard-issue sing-along seasonal fare. For the purposes of his show, Blake views Christmas as more of a concept than a hard-and-fast holiday. As such, what he promises for his Sun., Dec. 23 concert is a set list comprised of songs that have “something to do with the holiday season,” as well as a recitation of Dylan Thomas’ “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.” Much like last year, Blake will be joined onstage at the Sylvia Center by middle-schooler Grace Gouran—and while Blake may be a seasoned traveling troubadour with many hundreds of shows to his credit, Gouran is an accomplished singer in her own right. This show sells out every year, and tickets are going fast. If you’ve always wanted to spend Christmas Eve eve with Blake, here’s your chance. Where: 205 Prospect St. Info: http://www.sylviacenterforthearts.org
For some people, it would not be Christmas without some or all of the traditions I mentioned above (presents, trees, decorations, presents, Santa, tacky sweaters, presents, mistletoe, presents). In Bellingham, however, it’s not Christmas without Clambake. I’m not sure just how long Clambake has been throwing their raucous and rockin’ Very Clambake Christmas bash, but it’s possible they’ve been at it since before I was born and they show no signs of stopping anytime soon. They’ve enlisted Sir Reginold Cosgrove & His Nitetime Singers to join them in this year’s festivities, which take place Sat., Dec. 22 at the Shakedown. The night also marks the return of the Fabulous Bakettes, campy go-go dancers that really enhance the Clambake experience. At one point, I harbored dreams of becoming a Bakette, but after trying their workout video (because, yes, they had one), I realized I couldn’t hack that much cardio. Clambake didn’t play their traditional Halloween show this year (despite my efforts to try and convince them to stage a rogue concert in Boulevard Park), and opportunities to see this band get rarer all the time, so don your go-go boots and ugly sweater (and pants, if you must) and hie thyself to the Shakedown. Where: 1212 N. State St. Info: http://www.shakedownbellingham.com
A couple of weeks ago, when I first began writing about this seemingly never-ending Christmas season, I mentioned my love of Elvis’ Christmas Album, which contains the modern classic carol, “Blue Christmas.” Since then, several of you have made fun of me because you are obviously envious of my impeccable taste in holiday music. You know who would never mock me for my loyalty to the Elvis Christmas canon? Jeffrey Elvis. Of course, the fact that Jeffrey makes his living as an Elvis tribute artist might have something to do with that, but no matter. His current show is Jeffrey Elvis Blue Christmas and he’s bringing it to the Firehouse Arts & Events Center on Fri., Dec. 21. He’ll cruise through a collection of the King’s Christmas carols as well as non-seasonal songs from “Heartbreak Hotel” to “Suspicious Minds.” Elvis may not be Santa, but his suit is way better and he’s not likely to stage a home invasion via your chimney anytime soon. Where: 1314 Harris Ave. Info: http://www.Elvis.media
Two Nights at the Lincoln
Of fishin’ and family drama
Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote a story about a Rufus Wainwright concert at the Lincoln Theatre in which I detailed the long, fraught history of the Wainwright clan. In summary, Rufus is the son of musicians Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle, and brother to Martha Wainwright,…
Portland Cello Project
To boldly go
I remember the exact moment I discovered that I have a thing for the cello.
It didn’t happen at a classical music concert the way a proper romance with a dignified stringed instrument should. Nor did was I seduced by Yo-Yo Ma, whose cello mastery has launched more than a few love affairs…
Got my stunna shades on
When the likes of Grandmaster Flash, DJ Kool Herc, the Sugarhill Gang, and others were pioneering hip-hop in the 1970s, it was very much an underground genre, passed from one person to the next like a secret. The music was gritty, exciting and entirely of the moment—the poetry of the…