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Squeaky Wheel's Irreverent Seasonal Celebration

Party like the Dickens

The name of this year’s edition of the Squeaky Wheel Dysfunctional Holiday Party is Holy Dickens, which signifies in two ways, a fun way and a serious way. Fun as always with this slightly rowdy, slightly raunchy, seasonal bash, and particularly in terms of the Dickens theme. That is to say, Charles Dickens. For example, this year featuring a burlesque troupe rendition of Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol. And performance photo booth on the topic of ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

But not neglecting Dickens’s serious side. Telling the story of the poor and powerless in society. Exposing the injustice of the income gap. Showing how economic system injustice translates to the legal justice system.

"These things are our mission, too,” Squeaky Wheel Executive Director Jax Deluca said. “Some of our core values. Empowering people who traditionally haven’t had power.” And she adds, “through digital media."

Among the entertainments at the party will be a short video from students in one of Squeaky Wheel’s media arts instructional programs for young people, in partnership with the Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology and conjunction with Tiny Circus animation collective. The video is about racial profiling in Buffalo, and is entitled This Needs to Change. A kind of tale of two cities in one city.

The party is scheduled for Saturday, December 13, starting at 8pm, at the Market Arcade complex, 617 Main Street, where CEPA is located, and Squeaky Wheel will soon be relocating its offices and facilities. The date is the last day of the CEPA Transformational Imagemaking show, if you haven’t (or have) previously seen it.

Jack Topht and John Toohill (aka the Reverend Johnny Drama) will be emcees. Toohill said in addition to their regular emcee duties, they have some special routines they are working on. One involving an alligator tied to a mistletoe-chomping gazelle.

Music through the evening will be at the hands of three different deejays (or in one case deejay team): DJ Dana Dancehammer (Dana McKnight, of the avant-gardiste new venue Dreamland); ABCDJ (video and sound artists Sherri Miller and Mario Fanone); and musician and deejay Chauncey Tails. So bring your dancing shoes.

Greg Hallock, who oversaw the burlesque revision of A Christmas Carol, said it is set in a brothel and the various characters are brothel denizens. He said one of the jokes is that Tiny Tim is actually not so tiny at all. He said as part of or along with the Christmas Carol take-off, there would be traditional burlesque performances between the acts, as well as performance by drag queen Carmella Monroe.

Brian Milbrand is in charge of the performance photo booth. He said he will portray the Ghost of Chrismas Past, Holly Johnson the Ghost of Christmas Present, and audience members the Ghost—or numerous Ghosts—of Christmas Future.

Other featured videos will be some video Christmas cards by video performance artist Laura Hyunjhee Kim, featuring the likes—occasionally, briefly—of Spiderman and Charlie Brown and Linus, amid wide variety of visual and verbal bizzarerie. But from the heart. As well as a video with a fresh take on who and what constitute Heroes, made by Julia Ziaja, a student in Squeaky Wheel’s Tech Arts for Girls program.

Also, a performance work by multi-artist Lesionread (Shawn Lewis). Something about you instruct the robot manikin what to do, via music on your iPod.

Tickets are $10, or $30 for a Megapass—which includes a raffle ticket on a Megabasket, a raffle ticket separately costs $25—and are available at Café Taza, Sweetness 7, Talking Leaves, and the Spot Coffee location on Elmwood, or online at, or at the door.

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