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Rattle and Humbug
Mark Poutenis

Rattle and Humbug

For the past 16 years, artists have been getting together to discuss the capitalist feeding frenzy that happens every December, and wondering aloud about the meaning of it all. Behold The 17th Annual Bad X-mas Pageant, an event that is becoming a downtown tradition.

Jeff Falk, one of the founders of the pageant, says the event will feature a number of different takes on Christmas, including "trashing of Christmas products like those dog bones that are red and green for the holiday — and dogs are colorblind, so who's eating those bones?"

Besides the product bashing, you'll see some interesting propaganda films from the '50s and '60s, such as Signal 30 (the gruesome driving school video you've spent years trying to forget), and Policeman Is Your Friend (picture a policeman in white gloves helping old ladies cross the street). The program also includes a real crowd-pleaser called Rudolph the Tourette Syndrome Reindeer. This film, the brain child of Steve Gompf, is an edited version of the traditional Rudolph Claymation — but you've never seen Rudolph quite like this before.


The 17th Annual Bad X-mas Pageant

Paper Heart Gallery and Studio, 222 North Fifth Avenue

Takes place at 8 p.m. Saturday, December 7. Admission is $5 and proceeds benefit the Andre House, an organization that serves the homeless. For more information, call 602-262-2020 or visit

The artist lineup this year includes performance artists Annie Lopez, JRC, Trish (jusTrish), Barbara Geis, and Everett Forest. Spoken-word performers Jack Evans, The Klute, Stephen G. Roy, and Molly McCloy will be sharing their words with the audience as well as performing Lawrence Ferlinghetti's holiday poem "Christ Climbed Down." Gompf, Lew Alquist and Mike Muskowski will entertain the crowd with their short films and videos while Falk emcees the pageant in a bear suit and Greg Roberts handles percussion.

The event is designed for adult viewers, and the organizers suggest that children spend the night at home dreaming of dancing sugarplums instead of watching Rudolph put most sailors to shame.


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