Arts Listings

Revels Mark Holiday Season

By Ken Bullock, Special to the Planet
Tuesday December 05, 2006

Once again, California Revels celebrates the Winter Solstice holidays with the 21st Christmas Revels: music and song, Morris and step dance, pomp and proclamations, choruses and soloists—as well as the popular participatory sing-along and the line-dance that runs through the entire audience, now a tradition—amid a sumptuous spectacle of holiday customs from other times, other places, all to unfold over the next two weekends at the Oakland Scottish Rite Theater, by Lake Merritt. 

This year the dance, drama, storytelling and “kitchen music” of 19th century Quebec will be celebrated, with guest performers Pierre Chartrand of Montreal, master dancer, dance caller and choreographer, cofounder of Danse Cadence; musician David Cahn of Seattle; and featured dancers Kalia Kliban of Sebastopol and Sarah Brug of Menlo Park (originally Montreal). 

The pageantry will be set in Trois Rivieres, now the province’s second or third largest city, but once a tiny village in the snow-covered forests of the 19th century. “Much of the show is based on a popular folktale, ‘The Flying Canoe,’ or ‘La Chasse galerie,’” said Dirk Burns, California Revels executive director. “There are many versions, but they all entail trappers or lumberjacks far from home, making a deal with the devil to fly their canoe back home in time for the holidays. In our version, there will be a dance-off with the devil to decide the fate of the voyageurs!”  

So join in with the other revelers when the Master of the Revels proclaims that the festivities have begun. 



The California Revels, Dec. 8-10 and 15-17, Fri., 7:30 p.m. and Sat-Sun., 1 and 5 p.m. at the Oakland Scottish Rite Theater, by Lake Merritt, 1547 Lakeside Drive. Tickets: $15-42. 452-3800 or