I’ve been a baaaaaad blogger, I know. It has been nearly a month since my last post, which is inexcusable on my part, but I’ll try my hardest to give one anyway! It was the whole holiday season thing, really – the month of December just kind of passed me by it feels like. It was a very busy month and while it was all fun and good, I’m kind of glad the holidays are over and things are somewhat back to normal.
A few things I have wanted to mention: went to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra again. Nearly the same show as last year, but highly entertaining. It has become a sort of holiday tradition for my family.
Holiday traditions have been on my mind a lot this year – this being the first year with a serious girlfriend, it is amazing how important otherwise silly little things can become to people. Specific holiday shows and movies; specific things that we bake and cook; and how we spend time with loved ones. This year Meghan brought her tradition of doing gingerbread houses to the holidays. My family did our usual Christmas Eve celebration of Chinese food and old Christmas TV specials with her.
Speaking of holiday traditions, I got to experience two new ones this year. Adding to my list of firsts this year, I went to see the Nutcracker, my first ballet. Many people assumed that I was getting dragged to the performance, since apparently it is virtually a law that no straight man can enjoy ballet. While I could have done without the dudes who were wearing tights that were… well, so tight that you could see more on him than I really ever want to see, I have always been a fan of the music of The Nutcracker and Tchaikovsky. I treated it as an excellent concert with visual accompaniment.
The next day we went to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular, which is a real throwback to the musical productions of yesteryear. It reminded me of the type of shows that were being put on in the movie "White Christmas" which is a type of show you just don’t see any more – dancing, singing, stylized sets… not a feature performer or central plot line – just a collection of entertaining performances loosely strung together. It was so different to be entertained by just that, and not sheer star power or story lines or over the top production.
The show ended with "The Living Nativity" and the story of the birth of Jesus – a.k.a. the real meaning of Christmas. Now, I’m not the most religious of people but I appreciate the origin of Christmas and find the over-commercialization of it as gratuitous as many others. I also think that the spirit of Christmas (giving, loving, generosity, reflection, time with friends and family) can be kept intact without offending anyone. However, showing the origins of Christmas at a Christmas show that everyone has paid to see shouldn’t be a problem. The production of this segment was gorgeous, complete with live animals and performers coming down the aisles.
The monologue that was being played and shown during the segment kept to the Nativity story for the most part. There was one part which caught my attention: it said that all the kings, rulers, presidents and leaders of the world combined have not had as much of an impact as Jesus Christ. The more cynical in the audience probably were raising an eyebrow at the particular wording of that, since if you want to start talking about that, then you could also start talking about things like the Inquisition, wars fought over religion, scandal cover-ups, etc. A cynical view for sure, but a realistic one as well – one wonders if they have considered changing that wording over the years.
But I digress – my point is that at the end of the show, I heard people several rows behind me say "that was great, except for that last part – could have done with out that." I kinda hate the whole "politically correct" thing, but I also have a good amount of tolerance for it as well, as I understand we live in a world with diverse cultures. However, I went to a CHRISTMAS SPECTACULAR and while it was strange to see a production involving the Nativity, it was only strange because it isn’t that much of a part of Christmas in popular culture, not because I found it offensive. I came to a Christmas show and they talked about the origins of Christmas. What do people want? A story about the Easter Bunny? You can take political correctness only so far, especially when you’ve paid to go to see a show about Christmas. Take it or leave it, it was a gorgeous production and is a great story that deserves to be told during the season.