Jesus, these are cool!
We asked local artists and writers to improve upon the standard December drivel. Behold what they have created! Unconventional ornaments, never-before-heard songs and even a few new holidays altogether.
Tue Dec 16 2008
Photo: Christian Hartman
Says Denise Carbonell, artist and owner of Red Hook boutique Metal and Thread (metalandthread.blogspot.com): “I made my wire ornaments from discarded bell wire I found on the streets. While the work involved in making these orbs is painstaking and laborious, the beauty of making pieces so amazing from other people’s trash is a continually inspirational process for me. The reinventing part comes into play because I am reusing something already on the planet, as opposed to buying something new—which in my mind supports overconsumerism. But maybe that sounds too strident? Perhaps a better way to say it is that it’s simply more fun to make something with your own two hands, and then each year when you pull it out to hang on the tree, you remember that fact—and smile.”
“Pronounced 'nud-i-day,’ this naturist holiday may appeal most to those having grown up at the beach or to those with a nostalgic fondness for the Jaybird magazine era. During Northeast winters, I feel like a scummy coat check and long to shed several layers. On Nudeday, you can forget that it’s cold and gloomy outside and bask stark naked in various heated venues. Throwing logs onto fires, cranking ovens to bake stuff, dialing up hot tubs, celebrators of Nudeday may burn major fuel, but you know what? Freezing one’s ass off is not sexy—hot butt cheeks are.” —Trinie Dalton, author of Wide Eyed and the just-released Mythtym, a compilation of work from her previous zines
“A day where everyone has to call it like they see it. A day of total honesty. People will have to carry around little yellow flags and throw them at people who screw up during the day. They will then also need to announce to everyone what the infraction was, who committed it and what the penalty will be.” —Rob Riggle, correspondent on The Daily Show
Be as Unproductive as Aziz Ansari by Looking at the Same Five Websites Over and Over Day
“This is a great way for New Yorkers to take a day off and waste their lives away just like me. Simply log on to the Internet and visit Facebook, Ain’t It Cool News, Google News, Digg and Kanye West’s blog over and over again in an endless loop. Then, do nothing else!
“Important project that needs to get done? Who cares? You’ve got new friend requests to approve! Need to write a paper? Why bother? You can look at a crazy coffee table on Kanye’s blog instead! Want to take things up a notch? Not a problem. Log on to AOL Instant Messenger and chat with people you have absolutely no reason to stay in touch with. Hungry? Put a bowl of Starbursts by your computer. You’ll be buried in colorful wads of paper and have a stomachache in no time.
“I promise you’ll get nothing done and feel like a total piece of shit for wasting hours of your life. Enjoy your new holiday, New York!” —Aziz Ansari, who performs stand-up Jan 9 and 10 at Comix. For info, go to azizisbored.com.
“You can kiss your money goodbye under this mistletoe,” Adam Eckstrom and Lauren Was tell us, about their ornament (adameckstrom.com). “Our sculptures are based on the American Dream and the quest for big, easy money through the lottery system. As people scratch, choose numbers and place bets, we think about what they would do with all that cash. Our collaborative project is titled Ghost of a Dream; we build the pieces with the spent dreams of losing tickets. We collect scratchers from gas stations, grocery stores, bars and streets across America. The scratch tickets represent real dreams that most times disappear just as quickly as they came. Along with discarded lottery tickets, we use pull tabs and other gambling ephemera.”
“I rarely get to stay in the city over the holidays,” says women's clothing designer Miranda Bennett (mirandabennettdesign.com), “so getting a tree usually seems pointless. I love the feeling of having one, though, so this year I decided to make living ornaments to hang in my apartment. This one is part of a birch tree that I found in the woods on the north shore of Lake Superior, where I spent Thanksgiving. The bark is covered in forest moss and lichen that is still living, so I’ve been spraying it with water to keep it green.”
NEW HOLIDAY SONGS
“Maybe This Christmas” by Graham Smith
“This is a sequel of sorts to an old song of mine entitled 'Maybe Next Christmas,’ which contained the line 'but maybe next Christmas you’ll know.’ I wrote it, like, 12 years ago, so I don’t remember what I was talking about, if anything. So this song can be thought of as a modernized updatement of that abstraction, which casts Christmas into an acute cauldron of awkwardly humorous depression—which cauldron I have seasoned over the years with tears and laughter grease.” Smith performs at Pianos Jan 7.
“Keep Repeating Those Words” by Corey Dargel
“When I was 19, I met this boy who stood outside the grocery store and rang the collection bell for the Salvation Army. He wouldn’t give me his phone number, but he gave me his elf hat and a balloon. I never saw him again, but I still have the hat. I often wear it during the holidays when I’m feeling depressed. It cheers me up. Holiday songs are usually about the things that make people feel good, but what makes me feel good is feeling bad.” Dargel’s Other People’s Love Songs is out now. Removable Parts, Dargel’s music-theater piece about voluntary amputation, is at HERE Arts Center Jan 7--11.
“Christmas (It’s the End of the Year)” by Benji Cossa
“I’m a big fan of Christmas. I feel like Christmas is to the year what the weekend is to the week. My wife thinks the song is funny because all of it is actually true.” Cossa has a residency at Pianos Thursdays in January, and plays the Serious Business Records holiday party Sat 20 at the Studio @ Webster Hall.
“The New Yorker’s Lament” by Gabriel Kahane
“On the Monday before Thanksgiving, I was in a cab, and the driver had his radio tuned to a station that was playing nonstop Christmas music. I thought to myself, It’s really time for some new Christmas songs, no? Two hours later, I was sitting at the terminal and got an e-mail from TONY about writing a holiday ditty. Serendipity? Or did you guys pay off that cab driver to prime me for the job?” Kahane’s self-titled album is out now.
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