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HomeNewsArchivesSCENE & HERD DEC. 3, 1999

SCENE & HERD DEC. 3, 1999

For the next five weeks you'll have oodles of options in terms of artsy and entertaining things to do on St. John as well as St. Thomas. Reason? 'Tis the season. . .
Havensight lights: Friday, Dec. 3, brings the third Dockside Jamboree of the season — if the rains hold off (which, unfortunately, they didn't last time). Titled "An Old-Fashion Caribbean Christmas," it's to kick off between 6 and 7 p.m. with the lighting of the towering Christmas tree and the rest of the Havensight Mall holiday decorations by Santa "Brownie" Claus and his helpers.
Shops will stay open until 9 p.m., and there'll be music throughout the mall by Deep Unda Kuva, Imaginations Brass, Seabreeze, the Territorial Court Rising Stars Steel Orchestra and Janet Reiter & Friends. Arts and crafts exhibits and a raffle are other attractions. It's a presentation of the Havensight Mall Association, St. Thomas-St. John Hotel and Tourism Association, and Committee to Revive Our Culture.
Twelfth year of Christmas: It's showtime at Pink Papaya in Cruz Bay Friday evening, Dec. 3, as the gallery and gift shop celebrates both the holidays and its own 12th anniversary with a reception from 5 to 9 p.m. Featured in the gallery will be recent artwork by co-owner M. Lisa Etre and seven other artists — Susanne Ball, Darline DeStephen, Louie Gizyn, David Hill, Marcia Jameson, Nandy King and Diane Kwiecien. In the courtyard, there'll be music and merriment around the Christmas tree.
Way cool: The annual Christmas concert by the University of the Virgin Islands music area is Saturday, Dec. 4, at 8 p.m. in the Reichhold Center for the Arts. The usual suspects are in the line-up — but that's hardly anything to complain about, and they have a track record for coming up with innovative and impressive ways to celebrate the season, musically speaking.
Taking turns onstage will be the concert choir, the concert band, the jazz ensemble and the steel ensemble. They'll be joined at various times and in various combinations with a children's choir from Kerwin Terrace Elementary School and soloists Lorna Freeman, Lawrence Benjamin Sr., Marvin Gumbs, Lorna Young-Wright, Kan Constantine, Charlon Richardson and Vashti Hooker.
This year's presentation is called "The Ice Palace." (If you think that sounds familiar, Venzen notes that a holiday concert in the early '90s was called "The Kingdom of Ice.") The children's choir will "bring Frosty onto the stage and Santa down the aisle," he says, and along with the vocal and instrumental music, there will be a "Beauty and the Beast" dance presentation by Dominique Williams and Larry Benjamin.
Tickets are $10 for cushioned and covered seats and $5 for all the rest. They're being sold at Krystal & Gifts Galore, Education Station, the UVI bookstore and Humanities Office, and the Reichhold box office.
Way cool, too: The Reichhold Center's cinema offering for this Sunday, Dec. 5, is one that ought to fill the house — with laughter. It's "Cool Runnings," a 1993 Disney comedy about four Jamaicans who take up Olympic competition bobsledding without ever having seen snow before.
Some reviewers have lamented the liberties taken by the screenwriters in a film based on the real-life Jamaican bobsled team that defied the odds and competed in the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, Canada. Simply changing based on to inspired by would solve a big part of the problem. This movie isn't meant to be a documentary; it's an upfront slapstick spoof completely in keeping with the kinds of sight gags that an awful lot of people in the Caribbean consider to be funny.
And it's definitely family fare, with no sex, no nudity, nothing more violent than a bobsled crash and a fistfight between two teams in a bar, and what www.kids-in-mind.com calls "a smattering of scatological language." Running time is 1:37 and the rating is PG. Showtime at the Reichhold Center is 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for all. The gates open at 7 and you can get popcorn, candy and soft drinks inside to take to your seat.
P.S. — Last week's scheduled film, "The Red Violin," wasn't shown. The Reichhold folks are looking into options for rescheduling it later. After the Dec. 12 offering, "The Apple," there'll be a three-week hiatus for the University of the Virgin Islands holiday and between-semesters break.
Ready to roll: Few if the islands' perennial fund-raising projects qualify as institutions. One that does is set for Saturday, Dec. 4 — the V.I. Montessori School Las Vegas Night. This is the 30th anniversary appearance of the closest thing to casino gaming that the territory has seen so far, and it takes place in the ballroom at Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
This is fun and games for the grown-ups. There'll be blackjack, craps, poker, roulette and bingo — none of it gambling, of course, which is illegal. winners collect not cash but chips to use to bid on the booty from more than 400 donors that'll be auctioned throughout the night. The only cash to be collected will go to the winner of the $10,000 real-money raffle.
Tickets are $30 in advance (at Camille Pissarro Gallery, Custom Canvas, East End Secretarial Service, Glenn's Gifts & Bags, Grateful Deli, Phil's Paradise, Silk Greenery, Vegi- Table and Wavelengths) and $35 at the door, and if you're not 18 or older, don't bother trying to get in. The school phone was ringing off the hook Thursday, and the number of tickets available is limited, so if you really want to be there, don't take a chance on getting yours at the door.
How bazaar: The annual Antilles School holiday bazaar is Sunday, Dec. 5, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Frenchman's Bay school grounds. This annual event offers the school's various classes and clubs an opportunity to do some fund raising while meeting a market need.
Items being sold include fresh evergreen wreaths and Christmas trees, plants, holiday handicrafts, homemade baked goods, once-read books, pre-viewed videos and, of course, toys and games. There'll be live music, food and drink throughout the day, too, plus a flea market full of hand-me-downs and other great deals.
Blues notes: Two mainland blues groups are dropping in on our islands for the weekend. At the Green House, it's a "San Francisco Blues Revue" Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 4 and 5, featuring the 707 Band — Evan Morgan (from the New Riders of the Purple Sage) on guitar, Sandy Nelson on keyboard and vocals, Roger Vance (bassist for John Lee Hooker) on bass, and Tom Bischoff on drums. The music starts at 10 p.m. and there's a $5 cover both nights.
Meantime, the Danny Morris Band, a Washington-based group promo-ing a new CD called "Storm Surge" (talk about timing!) will play at Pusser's on the beach in Cruz Bay on Sunday, Dec. 5, at 2 p.m. joined by the St. John group Hatch. St. Croix blues promoter Charlie Campbell, who's behind the band's visit, says Morris and company will play inside at Pusser's Tuesday night, Dec. 7, then return Wednesday night, Dec. 8, to Iggie's at Bolongo Bay on St. Thomas, where their tour began Dec. 2.
Book note: St. Thomas children's book author Phillis Gershator is in print again — this time with an imaginative West Indian island story that surreptitiously sneaks in teaching points valid for kids anywhere in the world. "Tiny and Bigman," the tome's title, refers, in order, to the main character, a tall, strong, deep-voiced, assertive yet feminine female, and to the diminutive, downright scrawny and half-deaf man who comes into her life.
An island-style Paulette Bunyan, Miss Tiny works in construction and single-handedly holds off a hurricane. Mr. Bigman keeps a Caribbean gourmet kitchen and manages Tiny's financial portfolio (pieces of eight from her dive to build a deep-
water port for the island). Gender and disability stereotyping have no place here.
Gershator, a onetime librarian, has about a dozen children's books in print now, by several national publishing houses. A variety of artists' images have illustrated the works, typically with no say as to selection by the author, so her books have quite different looks. "Tiny and Bigman" is a happy marriage of the writer's well-told tale and Lynne Cravath's cheerful, matter-of-fact interpretations of the far-from-typical goings-on. If it isn't in your favorite bookstore yet, it will be soon.
Old news: The Hebrew Congregation of St. Thomas is breaking new ground to raise funds for the preservation of its historic house of worship, holding a public auction of oldies but goodies that is being taken very seriously by collectors particularly of West Indian antiques. Some pieces for the Antiques, Art and Collectibles Auction have been donated; others have been consigned (at a 70/30 split for the owner), and a representative of Tepper Galleries in New York is coming in to do the auctioneering.
Many of the furniture items and accessories have never been on the market before. Also to go on the block are contemporary works of art — an acrylic sculpture created especially for the auction by internationally known artist Yankel Ginzberg, who once lived on St. Thomas, and paintings by local artists including Shansi Miller, Eunice Summer, Leo Carty and Donald Laurent Dahlke.
The auction takes place on Sunday, Dec. 12, at the Old Stone Farmhouse restaurant at Mahogany Run. Pre-viewing is from 10:30 a.m. and the bidding begins at 1 p.m. Admission of $10 includes the catalog of works to be sold. (No matter what you may have read elsewhere, they're not looking for any more auction items; the cut-off date for donations was in early November, when the catalog went to the printer.)
Happy holidaze: Here's a quick look at some of the other holiday stuff coming up:
Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 9-11, and Friday-Sunday, Dec. 17-19, 8 p.m. — "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever," Pistarckle Theater's holiday production, a play about a small community group putting on a traditional Christmas play in an untraditional way. Performances are in the Coral World amphitheater. Tickets are $22 general admission, $12 for children 12 and under; they're available at Bumpa's, East End Secretarial Service, Marina Market and West Indies Coffee Shop; or call 775-7877 for charge-card purchases. The first night is "pay-as-you-can," with families especially invited.
Friday, Dec. 10, 7 p.m. — the annual Downstreet People Christmas concert, at the Palms Court Harborview Hotel, featuring the Pandemonium Steel Orchestra and the Evelyn Marcelli School choir. Tickets are $10 general admission, $5 for children 12 and under; they're available at the clubhouse next to the Holiday Inn Windward Passage Hotel; call 777-1685.
Saturday, Dec. 11, 8 p.m. — "In Search of Christmas Spirit," an evening of music, dance, gymnastics and tai chi, presented by the V.I. Institute of Performing Arts in the Reichhold Center. The musical, written, choreographed and directed by Malayisha Rabsatt, blends elements of ballet from "The Nutcracker," songs from Broadway, vocal medleys and lots of dance. Tickets in the covered section are $20; those in the open air are $15 and $7 for adults and $5 for kids; they're available at both Modern Music shops, Silk Greenery, the VIIPA center and the Reichhold box office; call 777-9110.
Sunday, Dec. 11, 8 p.m. — the Caribbean Chorale's annual Christmas concert, this year under the stars in the Fort Christian Museum courtyard with a special appearance by the Chorale Children's Choir. Tickets are $10 and are available from members; call 776-4566.
Sunday, Dec. 12, 4 p.m. — the Eudora Kean High School Music Department's annual holiday concert showcasing the concert band, concert choir, steelband, chorus and choraliers in "A Christmas Fantasia." Tickets, $5 for all ages, are available in advance at the Education Station and the high school or may be purchased at the door; call 775-6360.
Monday, Dec. 13, 7 p.m. — We From Upstreet's annual Roosevelt Park holiday lighting ceremony, with music by Deep Unda Kova and school and community bands and choirs. The park's artistic adornment in all-white lights in recent years has produced a picture-pretty winter wonderland with irresistible appeal to after-hours strollers even if it is "in town."
Thursday, Dec. 16, 5:30-8:30 p.m. — reception opening "Colors That Sing," an exhibition of new watercolors by Corinne Van Rensselaer, with holiday mood music by Sally Smith on keyboard and vocals at Color of Joy in American Yacht Harbor. Admission's free; call 775-4020.
Thursday, Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m. — St. John Singers Cruz Bay Christmas concert at Nazareth Lutheran Church with guest accompanist Albert Lynch on piano and keyboards and traditional guest flute soloist Nancy Ruffer. Tickets are $10 for all ages; they're available from choir members and will be sold at the door; call 776-6691.
Friday, Dec. 17, 5-9 p.m. — the St. Thomas-St. John Chamber of Commerce Destination Downtown Committee's annual "Miracle on Main Street" after-hours celebration on the streets and in the stores of downtown Charlotte Amalie, with bands, choirs, dancers, mocko jumbies, arts and crafts, food and drink, abundant shopping options and all the holiday trimmings; call 776-0100.
Saturday, Dec. 18, 7 p.m. — the Territorial Court Rising Stars Steel Orchestra annual Christmas concert, a audio and visual phenomenon like no other as more than a hundred young pannists and drummers flood the full-to-overflowing Reichhold amphitheater with reverberating holiday sounds. Tickets are $10 covered, $5 open-air; call 693-1559.
Saturday, Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m. — the Love City Pan Dragons and Baby Pan Dragons youth steel orchestras, in a performance of Christmas music on the lawn of The Battery in Cruz Bay. Tickets are $5 in advance (at Our Market/Hospitality Car Rental and Courtesy Car Rental, or from conductor Samuel Lawrence and parent coordinator Elaine Penn), $7 at the gate; call 693- 8807.
Monday, Dec. 20, 7:30 p.m. — St. John Singers Coral Bay Christmas concert at Emmaus Moravian Church. See Dec. 16 listing for details.
Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 25 and 26, 8 p.m. — the Reichhold's own second annual in-house production of the home-grown holiday musical "A Caribbean Christmas," with performances by (among others) the 50-voice Caribbean Flayva choir, the Lansiquot Sisters gospel trio from St. Croix, the Friends gospel group, Simon Sez as backing band, soloists Lorna Freeman and Ron Nimmo; and Josephine Thomas-Lewis back as musical director. Tickets are $15, $12 and $8 both nights; call 693-1559.
Wednesday, Dec. 29, 8 p.m. — classical and flamenco solo guitarist Dennis Koster, in a Classics in the Garden concert at Tillett Gardens; tickets are $25 with optional pre-performance dinner in Tillett Gardens with concert seating for $30 additional; call 775-1929.
Wednesday, Dec. 29, 8 p.m. — 21st Century, a Caribbean-inspired jazz ensemble formed by two now New York-based Virgin Islanders, saxophonist Ron Blake and drummer Dion Parson, in the Reichhold Center. They'll be joined for the evening by fellow St. Thomian Reuben Rogers on bass; special guests will be singer Cynthia Saunders and the Caribbean Chorale Youth Choir. Tickets are $25 for covered seats, $18 for all others; call 693-1559 for outlets.

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