Christmas

James Goulden

An Austin-based choral group is planning their San Antonio Christmas performance.  The group is Conspirare, and their Art Director, Craig Hella Johnson, describes the group this way:

"A musical family of singers who come from all over the country. From New York and Minneapolis and Seattle and some small places in between, and certainly we have some in Austin also."

So, it's that time again. For the next month, we're all in for a whole mess of holiday-themed music and movies.

This wouldn't be a bad thing if it weren't so deeply joined with the endless commercialism that now defines the season.

You know it from the first few notes of Thurl Ravenscroft's barrel-chested performance — singing "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch" with the same flair he brought to playing Tony the Tiger in Kellogg's cereal commercials — Dr. Seuss' How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a holiday classic.

The animated film turns 50 this year, airing on NBC about three weeks before its actual birthday. And it is, admittedly, a little weird to call a 26-minute cartoon about a green guy who learns not to steal Christmas presents an enduring masterpiece.

Say what you will of Christmas songs, but there are some that have found the formula to worldwide appeal. The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers has a list of the top 25 most played and recorded holiday songs.

And as Joy Diaz, of Here & Now contributor KUT, reports, there’s only one bilingual song on the list: “Feliz Navidad.” José Feliciano, the musician behind it, is more than a singer – he’s a political figure.

His resume is unimpeachable and he has great approval ratings. Santa Claus sounds like the perfect candidate — so what if he ran for president? That's the central question in this work of audio fiction by the podcast The Truth

The story begins at the North Pole, where two mysterious strangers have just arrived by sled to Santa's office.

Pages