Musea Annual Christmas Stories
Musea has an annual tradition – a Christmas story for the December issue. Did you miss any of them?
There is a lot I like to put into each short story, and not much room to squeeze it into -only 8 pages per Musea issue, with the front page being a photo! That means everything has to happen in 7 pages.
I try to write, so that each story first HAS a story, a good plot. Then some interesting characters caught up in something challenging, some connection to Christmas, and finally a deeper meaning behind the top story. Maybe even a couple of layers of meaning. Hopefully the stories take you somewhere, that you feel better about visiting.
Here is a summary of the last 15 years worth. Enjoy. – Tom.
DOWNTOWN WITH THE BOOK OF RENOWN (novel) – Brad and Tom find a Treasure. 2014
HAUNTED WITH JOY – Kids follow a set of treasure maps to find …. 2013
STATIC – Antique radio leads to a murder scene.
LEO MARS, DETECTIVE – Leo Mars tries to solve a suicide case 2011
SENLIN – Story of the greatest dancer that ever lived.
CANDLE AND ICICLE – Children wish away a death in the family. 2009
CHESS SETS – A new idea for a toy
HOUSE KEY – A husband hides his wife’s gift in a …
BROTHER JOHN – A monk learns about giving and joy.
HEAD UP PENNY – A little ghost returns home
MR WEEBLERS ENCOUNTER – Santa, real or fake
ALIENS – Aliens land and enjoy Christmas on Earth
DOT’S PLAYHOUSE – A father builds the ultimate doll house.
MAGIC BAG – A bum finds a magic bag that’s filled with presents. 2001
ANN – Ann breaks her foot while trying to do good, at the worst time of the year. 2000
RANGER 330 SUB ATOMIC BLASTER; toy gun is so easy for father to steal !?! [etc.]
(all at musea.us)
ART REVOLUTION FESTIVAL.
Q. The biggest weakness in the Dallas art community is that people stay in their own artistic ghetto. – Tim Wood.
The first issue of Musea, a legal sized page of paper printed front and back, spelled out the state of the arts, and they were not good. They were in the doldrums. Musea’s byline read, Art News and Reviews for Those Who Oppose the Status Quos.
We accept absolutely, positively, no advertising. We will not ask for or accept government grants. We will not accept corporate sponsors.
That first issue did two things, it spelled out what was wrong in the arts, and what we thought could be done to fix it. But there was a third issue between the words. That was that we should think of all the arts together, not keep them apart. Musea was not a music zine, or painting zine, or writing zine, or film zine, it was all the above and more.
Within the first year, I heard from others that felt the same way. Among those were Tim Wood, editor of The Word, and a local arts activist, (see columnists,) and Greg Shanks, Bloom Music. Together the three of us cooked up the idea to set up an all day art festival that featured all the arts. There would be no limits to the type of art performed or displayed. We called it the Art Revolution Festival.
Together we found a place, Chumley’s Bar and the Stout McCourt Art Gallery next door. Then we booked the talent, gathered the art and zines for displays, and set it up for Sunday afternoon, November 6,1993. We decided to make it free. We set up a fish bowl at the front table for donations. That actually worked very well and got us much more than had we charged $5 or so.
We displayed photographs, paintings, sculptures, and an exhibit of zines and underground publications – and I am still shaking my fist at whoever stole my zines, Meat Scientist and Shockbox! They were a display not a giveaway! Besides the gallery, we had a stage for movies, videos, theater, poets, dancers, and musicians. Each group had about 15 minutes. Overall 26 artists performed or displayed their works. They ranged from Cathy Gould reading her poetry, to the rock band The End. Our largest audience came to see Polly Whiplash and All Her Cave Woman dressed in furry loincloths. They did a roast of Rush Limbaugh to a packed room.
Setting up the festival was an amazing amount of work. Tim and Greg wanted to do another. I loved the idea but bowed out. To their credit they did Art Revolution Festival II, III, and IV. Note the fourth one finally got belated Dallas media coverage. Along the way Tim and Greg, got other festival organizers to help, Cathy Gould, Michael McMurray, and Steve Baker. When Chumley’s closed, they moved the festival to Poor David’s Pub.
Musea #22 talked about my visit to the Arts Revolution Festival II, April 17, 1994.
Musea #24 talked about the lineup for Arts Revolution Festival III, August, 1994. Musea #29 talked about Arts Revolution Festival IV, January 29, 1995
Box Office Concerts (1996? – 2014).
My job at the theater was OK. It was busy before the shows started, then a long break, then we would let those first shows out and repeat the process, two or three times a shift. The in between slow times were boring, and there was nothing to do. Then I got an idea.
I asked my manager, David Kimball, if I could bring up my standard guitar and play in the box during the in between periods. The Inwood was known for being a fun place to go to, and an innovative place to work. David thought it was a great idea. Box Office Concerts were born.
I was scheduled the same two nights each week, Tuesday and Wednesday. I’d play from about 5:30-6:00 before the first rush started for the 7-8PM shows, and then play another half hour from about 8:00-8:30 before the last shows started.
Things evolved. First I just played my standard guitar. Pet Dog Guitar is a 60’s standard Silvertone bought at Sears for about $50. Then I brought an amp. I had a small practice amp, about the size of a shoe box, that fit the ticket window perfectly – pure luck. I would hook up my mike to that, put it on the mike stand, strap on my guitar, stand up, stand back, and play and sing into the single mike.
People liked it. I got lots of fun press for both me and the theater; and the pictures, a man playing guitar in a glassed in box office, looked offbeat and original. Even the three original owners of the entire theater chain praised my Box Office Concerts when they visited from California.
My favorite audiences were kids. For many of those years there was an ice cream shop or a frozen yogurt place next door, and many families would be walking by with their desserts. The young kids would hear the music and always react the same. They would see me playing, freeze with their mouths open and their eyes wide, check with their parents to see if I was dangerous, and then begin to dance to the beat! I often had two, three, or more kids running around and swinging to the music while their parents watched, or clapped.
There was one mom who often walked her daughter Phoebe in a baby carriage in the evenings. Phoebe seemed to love to hear me play. And because I did it for 15+ years, Phoebe actually grew up during that time. I saw her mother recently. She said Phoebe is now taller than her and in high school.
My favorite adult response was one I got many times and it was always the exact same wording. They would hear me first, then discover me playing, and say:
I thought you were a radio!
Photos by DAVID McGHEE