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This years holiday show was another runaway smash.  Attendance wise, sure, the tickets are as precious as gold, frankincense and myrrh, but also artistically the show reached new heights with stunning high concept visuals, star turns and wide-eyed surpises.

Let one moment serve as an example: Mike Doughty singing Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire," behind him a fifty foot tall projection of Mary and Joseph in homesteading attire, their faces lit by the baby Jesus floating over a haystack while the three wisemen, re-thought as cowboys, genuflect awestruck.  On stage a feast of cowboy dancers leap to the skies as the music suddenly turns Copland-esque "Rodeo" and then the dancers canter offstage, "Gangnam Style."  Here's a little smidge of the show that our friend Steven Cohen put up on Youtube.  Thanks Steven for making such an excellent document of the show each year!

'Nuff said...

OK, not quite enough.  Let's talk about that Western Nativity concept and the projections.

Taking the stage the stage, the entire band, sometimes numbering as many as 20 members at one time, were all fitted out in beautiful Western wear (The New Standards themselves got costume design help from super hip dress designer Joy Noelle).  The show was illuminated by towering color-soaked photos (by Travis Andersen, with brilliant photo composite and manipulation by Pixel Farm's Tony Mills based on The New Standards concept) that told the tale of The Nativity as played out in the Old West.  The songs of the first act were chosen to cast a light on the emotional world of the characters Mary and Joseph, with Chan, John and Steve revealed as the Three Wise Dudes who journey across the prairie  and finally finding  the blessed baby out back of a saloon.  The overall effect was a mind-boggling blend of sentiment and the kind of high culture kitsch of Jeff Koons or Cindy Sherman, but the one that worked on a variety of levels.

Besides Doughty and dancing cowboys, imagine the haunting beautiful tenor of Jeremy Messersmith singing "Ghost Riders In The Sky"

...the evocative soulful voice of Aby Wolf on a minor-key brood through "Silent Night," a honey tongued Chris Koza singing a David Lynch meets Ennio Morriconne version of "Walking In The Air" Matt Wilson stunning the audience as he hit the high highs of Roy Orbison's "Crying" and Lucy Michell presenting a song from her upcoming solo record (produced by John and Chan), "Can I Confide."  The first set wrapped up with the soulful Chastity Brown bringing it all back home with a rollicking version of her radio hit "After You."

And that was just the first set.  Here's just a "minimalist" taste of where we went in the second act.


Here Comes The NEW VIDEO!  

Yes, we've talked about it.  And talked about it.  And now it's here.  Our new record comes out next week (in fact I've heard that there may be a few copies down at The Fetus in Minneapolis even now).  To herald the imminent release we would like to share this video for the delightful song by Robyn, Call Your Girlfriend (resexed by us to be "Call Your Boyfriend").  Andrea Swensson from The Current gives you a little context in her blog.  If you want to add excitement post a comment on Andrea's blog saying... whatever!  Or just give the video a lookity.


The Holiday Show Plans: Prepare for the show with these tips from the band!

Just a quick heads up people: we are going to Lutsen for our annual post Thanksgiving party Friday!  That is THIS FRIDAY.  This is a free wheeling version of our holiday show with a generous dollop of whatever else is on our mind.  There are ski runs open, there is time for frolicking in the chalet and sing alongs with the assembled musical stars who will travel up with us.  All in all: good fun.  Papa Charlies at Lutsen.  Make your plans NOW!

We're getting all set for the big Holiday Show at The Fitzgerald December 7--9.  How are we doing it?  With a training regimen involving early egg nog imbibing, toddy tippling and wassail quaffing.  It's heavy work, but at the end of the night it will be WE who are the last ones standing.

For those of you who didn't already nab your tickets, well, there are still a few left for Friday and Saturday, a very precious few, and considerably more at last report remaining for Sunday's matinee.  Don't delay, though.  The shows will sell out.

Now then, to enhance your experience at The Fitzgerald we have a few simple ideas:

1) Watch this movie we made with the incredibly talented animator and director Bret Farley.

2) Watch this incredibly awesome version of Snow Days on the first day it snows, shot and edited by the prodigiously talented film maker to the stars, Dan Huiting.

3) Listen to the alternately mystical and silly strains of our last year's Christmas CD and buy one or several for your family stockings.

4) Use this time to dance about your living your living room while this is playing at top volume in your house.  Let the neighbors know how you like to shake it. It's our wholly original Christmas SMASH! 

5) Finally, begin a pre-party routine yourself, so at the end of the night when all the glitter has fallen and the fake snow has been combed from Munson's moustache you can march steadily to your taxi cab and zoom off into the night, fully prepared for the Holiday Season!   This is a reliably awesome way to slip into the mood.

Thank you!