Sunday, December 23, 2007

Saturday with Santa, Solstice and Star Wars

My family -- we get around the Fort. We didn't get to Brave Combo on Friday as we originally planned -- thanks to an incredibly late night with the Chesapeake Ad Decoder, who I am pleased to report is safe, happy and living in a base camp safely ensconced underneath millions of gallons of Rahr Stormcloud IPA.

However, we did make up for it with a long, quite festive Saturday night, starting in Arlington Heights with a holiday party invitation to join our friends Jurgen and Barbara for their annual holiday open house, where the only rule is you must show up or we will talk about you. With that in mind, how can you not show up?

But that wasn't the only reason. It was a great opportunity to get to meet the parents of my daughter's friends outside of a PTA or Auction committee meeting for a change. And for the kids to have flashlight wars. And to eat tamales.

One nice bit of serendipity was running into my old friend June Naylor again. You probably know her from her excellent food reportage for the Star-Telegram. I hadn't seen her in a few years, so it was nice to get a chance to chat again.

Of course, the evening was just getting started. We left about 9 to meet Kevin from FortWorthology at Don Young's Winter Solstice celebration in East Fort Worth.

The Solstice celebration is kind of an annual thing for Don, but this is first one I have attended. This year, Fort Worth sculptor Deran Wright crafted a dragon from vegetables and straw to preside over the heart of the campfire. That's my daughter -- who I adopted from the planet Vulcan -- with her new, soon-to-be-immolated friend.

It's traditional that everyone bring something to burn in the fire. This can be firewood, an old chair, a discarded cello or a scrap of paper engraved with a secret wish for the new year. I scribbled a wish from a page in my notebook and tucked it safely in the straw before the blaze.

There is something primal and transfixing about a bonfire. The warmth against the chill of the evening is part of it, but there is also something kind of peaceful and unifying about it. For more photos, a full photo essay is available at West and Clear.

I also had a chance to meet Herb Levy and have a long talk with him about music and the future of Fort Worth. He is a very interesting guy and I plan to offer an interview with him in the near future.

Of course, the evening was not over yet. Kevin offered to screen the legendary Star Wars Holiday Special and we just could not say no. I don't know what the opposite of a holiday classic is, but the Star Wars Holiday Special is definitely that. It is an indescribable horror that I am still traumatized by. To call it bad would be an insult to bad things everywhere. It is two hours of indescribable awfulness.

Carrie Fisher is coked out of her mind, Mark Hamill is wearing enough makeup to make him look like Jessica Simpson, Bea Arthur sings and Art Carney walks around with his shirt unbuttoned to his navel.

The only thing that made it watchable was the Rifftrax commentary by former MST3K hosts Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy. Without this, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone. Even with it, watching it is a dicey proposition.

Thanks to everyone who made it such a joyful Saturday night. Merry Christmas and Happy Solsticing!


TXsharon said...

Hey, I was a Don Young's party but I didn't get to meet you. =(

Steve-O said...

Waa! I was hoping to see you there, but in true Steve fashion, I can late and left early. Maybe at Don's next party?

LPJ said...

Glad you could catch the Star Wars Holiday Special, but sad to hear that it didn't create magic in your heart ... were you totally unmoved by the delightful Carrie Fisher song at the end? You, my friend, need a little more of that Life Day spirit!

Maybe the most soul-crushing thing about the Holiday Special is the realization that Art Carney must have owed the mob some serious money in 1978. Did the producers ever explain to him what the fur suits were all about, or did he just wave them off and mutter to himself about professionalism on the way to craft services?

This was about as embarrassing as seeing Gene Kelly in Xanadu. For those of you who haven't seen this masterpiece, here's the breakdown ... Roller disco + Greek mythology + ELO soundtrack = years of expensive therapy. I think this is the best Gene Kelly segment. Mannequins come to life and make faces like the Blue Man Group while poor Gene is subjected to a wardrobe montage. He settles on a white zoot suit with heavy fringe. Yes, you read that last sentence correctly.