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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » The spooky, the mysterious...the bizarre! » » Bizarre Christmas for Kids? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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ptbeast
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I have long advocated using bizarre/storytelling magic when performing for children. I have been asked to perform at a holiday charity function for disadvantaged youth (a party at which they receive a bicycle for Christmas). My challenge is to come up with a way to celebrate Christmas with the kids, keep them entertained, and stay true to my bizarre roots? Just brainstorming now (this came up yesterday). So, I am in search of inspiration. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance,

Dave
drwilson
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I have avoided the winter holiday as a theme for magic for some time, but if you want to see the depth of Tarbell, look around for his story of how he performed for a function where an important person in the organization had just died. Instead of cancelling the engagement, he opened by lighting a candle, telling of the Zoroastrians and their secrets, then slowly producing all of his props from the candle flame.

I like this as the framework for a winter show, because we (at least in the Northern hemisphere) are experiencing the death of the world, and part of the winter holiday is the celebration of the spirit of hope in the cold and the dark. Even Dickens taps this ghostly aspect of winter in A Christmas Carol. Read Shakespeare's Winter's Tale.

In my view, a winter show starts very small, very intimate, perhaps a bit melancholy, and slowly grows as your tale of hope and kindness to others grows. Notice that we aren't really talking about specific effects here, apart from the idea of productions. I am just trying to give you a mood, and an arc that the show would develop along.

Yours,

Paul
Leland Stone
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Paul:

Wow!

Leland.
ptbeast
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Thanks Paul. I am not really looking for effects. I am looking for moods, stories, themes, etc. You got us off to a great start. Thank you very much! Anyone else?

Dave
Mark Rough
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Dave,

I'm pretty sure Brother Shadow has printed some Christmas themed routines along the way. I remember one in MUM a few years back and there might be more in some of his books. Let me take a look when I get home tomorrow afternoon and I'll let you know what I find.

Mark
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Jaz
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There may be some ideas from stories here.

http://www.christmas-stories.com/
Mystician
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Dave, you might want to delve a bit into the history of St. Nicholas, the Bishop of Myra in the 4th century AD.
One of hundreds of available links:
http://www.santas.net/stnicholas.htm
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pkg
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How about tweaking one of borodin's stories, make it more suitable for children with a xmas feeling to it. and give ur d'lites some excercising!

or maybe the grinch , with some green d lites! multiplying sponges? santa lost his bag,but gifts started appearing in his chariot (?) out of nowhere?

just something quick, will think about some decent ones!
Double posters should be shot!

No really!!
Spellbinder
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When I was much younger Bizartist, I had a gig playing Krampus to accompany Saint Nicholas according to the Austrian Christmas traditions. You haven't heard about Krampus, have you? The goody-goody Christmas sites all talk about the kindly old Saint Nicholas, but the Germans and Austrians had a much darker tradition.

Quoted from Wikipedia: "But for many children, Nikolaus also elicited fear, as he was often accompanied by Knecht Ruprecht, who would threaten to beat, or sometimes actually eat the children for misbehaviour. In Switzerland, he would threaten to put bad children in a sack and take them back to the Black Forest. In other accounts he would throw the sack into the river, drowning the naughty children within. These traditions were implemented more rigidly in Catholic countries such as Austria. In highly Catholic regions, the local priest was informed by the parents about their children's behaviour and would then personally visit the homes in the traditional Christian garment and threaten them with rod-beatings. In parts of Austria, Krampusse, whom local tradition says are Nikolaus's helpers (in reality, typically children of poor families), roamed the streets during the festival. They wore masks and dragged chains behind them, even occasionally hurling them towards children in their way. These Krampusläufe (Krampus runs) still exist, although perhaps less violent than in the past. In the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Mikulᚠis often also accompanied by an angel who acts as a counterbalance to the ominous Knecht Ruprecht."

As Krampus, my role was to accompany St. Nicholas and perform firey magic, but always under the control of Nicholas. The father of the family would also act as protector of his children when I appeared. I would hide behind Nicholas and peek out at them and pretend I wanted to grab them, but he always kept me in control, so I would set off some flash paper and gnash my teeth and look frustrated. Boy, did I have a blast when I entered a home that had a real fireplace! I sometimes hid beneath Nicholas' robes until he stood with his back to the fireplace, then I would throw some flash and smoke powder encased in a flash paper packet into the fire and appear as if I had just crawled out of the fireplace... a real living room illusion!

The kid magicians in the Little Darlings section would have a fit with this, I'm sure, but this was back in the fifties when the world was a simpler place.
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Bill Ligon
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Very interesting, Spellbinder!
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drwilson
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In Holland, Santa's dark helper is Black Peter. This is one aspect of the Christmas tradition that has just not caught on in America. As a compensatory response, Halloween has blossomed. The psyche must be fed!

Yours,

Paul
kaytracy
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I recall during some of my early years, we were stationed in Puerto Rico.
While my parents allowed me to have Christmas- as it was the only winter holiday I knew at the time, we also participated in the local custom of Three Kings Day. Celebrated a bit later, the idea as I recall, was to place shoeboxes filled with "food" (usually hay or fodder gathered up, or even cut grass clippings) for the camels of the wise men on their journey upon the eaves of the roof. (Camels were taller than I was). The boxes would be filled with "Thank you gifts" from the wise men in the morning.
At least that is my recollection of it, I am sure there are actually many tales and hours in church that are supposed to go with this event!
Kay
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drwilson
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In Holland, St. Nicholas Day is in early December, separate from Christmas. Kids leave out wooden shoes with hay in them for St. Nick's horse, and get presents if they are good, coal if they are bad, and carted off in Black Peter's sack if they are very bad.

It's interesting that the idea of a gift exchange between the kids and the agents of the winter holiday is common, whether it's hay for St. Nick's horse, cookies for Santa, or grass for the Three Kings' camels. There are seeds of a magical routine here: something of value (at least to the visitors) for something of value from the visitors. There are also gifts left for the fairies or the wee folk in various folk tales.

Yours,

Paul
Mystician
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Quote:
On 2005-11-09 06:48, drwilson wrote:
In Holland, Santa's dark helper is Black Peter. This is one aspect of the Christmas tradition that has just not caught on in America. As a compensatory response, Halloween has blossomed. The psyche must be fed!

Yours,
Paul


Very interesting observation, Paul ! Hmm...
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Autumn Morning Star
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Quote:
On 2005-11-09 06:48, drwilson wrote:
In Holland, Santa's dark helper is Black Peter. This is one aspect of the Christmas tradition that has just not caught on in America. As a compensatory response, Halloween has blossomed. The psyche must be fed!

Yours,

Paul

Nice Paul! I love your posts! I also love the idea of presenting different historical/cultural backgrounds for the deep winter season. (This is the classic storytelling time, anyway!) It is good for children and adults to experience events outside their usual sphere of knowledge. Feed that Psyche!
Wonder is very necessary in life. When we're little kids, we're filled with wonder for the world - it's fascinating and miraculous. A lot of people lose that. They become cynical and jaded, especially in modern day society. Magic renews that wonder.
Doug Henning
Clifford the Red
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Of course you must lead the kiddies in some appropriate solstice tunes....

http://www.cthulhulives.org/Solstice/index.html

It's fun to have playing in the background, because it sounds like holiday music, but something isn't quite right about it Smile
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
ptbeast
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Thank you everyone. Paul, I think you may be onto something.
I still have no idea what I am going to do but, as always, you
are all stimulating my thinking. Keep it coming.

Thanks,

Dave
Bill Ligon
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Clifford, those songs kind of grow on you. Aiiiieeeee! Get it off! Get it off!

Seriously, the whole site is great.
Author of THE HOLY ART: Bizarre Magick From Naljorpa's Cave. NOW IN HARDCOVER! VIEW: <BR>www.lulu.com/content/1399405 ORDER: http://stores.lulu.com/naljorpa
<BR>A TASSEL ON THE LUNATIC FRINGE
Clifford the Red
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Yeah they are fun and they really sound like holiday songs. I play them in the background, kind of a subconscious thing. People will hear them in the background and assume they are the holiday songs they know, but it will gnaw at them because the words don't sound right. And if they do finally listen to the words....then they are MINE.

Shoggoth on the Roof on the site is hilarious too. It might be fun to do a double feature of Hilford's Mountatins of Madness/Shoggoth on the Roof. It is scary how well the whole theme fit the muscial and imagery layout of Fiddler!
"The universe is full of magical things, waiting for our wits to grow sharper." Eden Philpotts
Dave_J
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I'm surprised no one mentioned anything about "The Little Match Girl." Hans Christian Andersen's wonderful melancholy story. Great story and ample opportunity for self expression. Not something to base an entire rountine on, but something on which to illustrate another aspect of the Winter Season.
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