Wednesday, Dec. 21 – Santa Claus
Jolly old Saint Nick is a figurehead best examined from a distance. Not only is the modern-day concept of Santa Claus a relatively new one – most of what we know of the guy came from L. Frank Baum, defunct retail store Montgomery Ward and Coca-Cola in the last century – but his origin story through the years has tended to get, well, weird. In European countries, he was usually interpreted as some kind of devil; in some Nordic countries, Santa rode on a “yule goat.” That’s why it’s not completely out of left field that 1959’s Mexican fairy tale, Santa Claus (“Better than a visit from Saint Nick himself!” it proclaimed), involves outer space, a devil and the wizard Merlin – not to mention a gaggle of creepy “It’s a Small World” slave children compelled to sing forever at Santa’s workshop. This Santa Claus film came well before those kindly cartoons of the ’60s, after all. Starring the great Mexican actor José Elías Moreno, who played Pancho Villa many times in his storied career, this holiday tale is a freaky one, sure, but it totally works. – Justin Strout (7 p.m. at Little Fish Huge Pond, 309 E. First St., Sanford; free; 407-221-1499; littlefish-hugepond.com)
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