HOLIGAYS ON ICE

Remembering-Christmas-scan

Remembering Christmas by Tom Medicino, Frank Anthony Polito and Michael Salvatore (Kensington, 2011). $15, 250 pp.

It happens every year. First you start seeing Christmas decorations. Then you notice yourself mouthing the words to carols while shopping. You start to get nostalgic, missing family and remembering this gift and that holiday dinner through rose-colored glasses. It’s ho-ho-horrible, a homesickness for something you never really had — who ever had a perfect holiday, anyhow?

In Remembering Christmas, three authors use three gay-themed novellas to show the only things perfect are the ghosts of Christmases past.

It’s funny how we remember special things we got for Christmas at the same time we remember things we didn’t get. In “Away, in a Manger” by Tom Medicino, middle-aged James is empty-handed and empty-hearted. Life as a gay man in New York was good once. There was always another party, another summer on Fire Island, another trip with Ernst, James’ lover and mentor.

But Ernst is now an old man with fusty habits, the summer house is a tired tradition that needs to be retired and James wants … something. Then, while on his way to spend Christmas with his family, car trouble strands him in a tiny town where his future is hiding, covered in snow.

Remember wishing for that one special thing to show up beneath the tree? No matter how old you are, it’s hard not to have a specific gift in mind when you see piles of gifts, and in “A Christmas to Remember” by Frank Anthony Polito, all Jack Paterno wants is a boyfriend — specifically, Kirk, his pal from high school. There’s much history between them, many mutual friends and boyhood memories in common, but even though Jack is pretty sure Kirk’s gay, Kirk isn’t so sure himself.

Sometimes, lost love feels keener at Christmastime. When Neil broke up with Theo just before the holidays, Theo decided that he might as well do what he said he’d never do, and go home for Christmas. But in “Missed Connections” by Michael Salvatore, a chance encounter with an old love becomes an odd gift.

Though my mother told me not to judge a book by its cover, I have to admit that I did. This book looked like it was going to be a fun read.
I should’ve listened to mom.

Remembering Christmas is fatally dark-mooded. It pouts and mutters, feels sorry for itself, gets morosely introspective and wallows in pity page after page after page. There are occasional bursts of good tidings of great joy, but the melancholy and angst overpowers them. I think I could have handled that in one story, but the similar theme of all three tales made me want to drown my sorrows in spiked egg nog.

If you’re single, hating it and want some paper commiseration, then this book will be good company this season. But if you’re looking for a holiday book that makes you feel all Christmas-y, this one is a perfect disaster.

— Terri Schlichenmeyer

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 9, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Query • 12.24.10

Have you done any special giving project for the holidays?

Ivana Tramp Gomez — “Following a tradition my late uncle started in the 1980s, I try as often as I can to drive around downtown Dallas handing out jackets that I have collected from family and friends to homeless people.”

Cindy Noble Cole — “Gathered coats for the 24 Hour Club, a wonderful rehab/home for alcoholics and drug addicts. Also my daughter’s job sponsored a military family this Christmas — a single father with a 13-year-old son.”

Ty Larson — “Every year, my family goes to all of our friends and collects clothing, toys and food for families in need in Grand Prairie, where my mother works as a kindergarten teacher.”

Jason A Walker  — “The husband of a teacher at the school where I work is dying of lung cancer. They had no Christmas decorations up and she didn’t have time or energy to put them out. I got a group of students together and we went to their home and put their decorations out for them.”

Have a suggestion for a question you’d like us to ask?
E-mail it to nash@dallasvoice.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 24, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Turtle Creek Chorale helps Adolphus Hotel make First Baptist Church’s ‘Nice List’

The Turtle Creek Chorale will perform from noon to 1 p.m. today at the Adolphus Hotel to kick off WRR 101.1 FM’s weeklong Caroling at the Adolphus series, a live program of seasonal choral music. You can watch the TCC’s performance in person while enjoying complimentary coffee, cider and cookies, but you may want to head out soon because seating is limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis. And of course if you can’t make it just tune in to WRR in about 40 minutes.

It’s great to see TCC as part of Caroling at the Adolphus this year, especially since the series has helped land the hotel on First Baptist’s Church’s “Nice List.” Given that our submissions to the list for the Round-Up’s Christmas decorations have been rejected, this may be the closest we come to beating the system. Unfortunately Caroling at the Adolphus will become slightly less gay-affirming on Tuesday when the Highland Park Presbyterian Church Chorale performs.

—  John Wright