This is the first year in many that we aren’t hosting our “Tropical Winter” shindig full of frothy fruity drinks and tacky holiday sweaters. Sparked by a colleague’s song, alluding to global warming (or Southern hemisphere surfin’ Santas), the event served as a ridiculous “adulthood” re-imagining of an alternate reality “holiday party”, no skimping on the sweets and treats. Alongside maraschino cherries and flamingo swizzle sticks in kitschy cups full of rum punch shimmering in pulsing party lights, Hummingbird Cupcakes, a pecan spice cake with pineapple and coconut frosting, and Frank’s Buffalo Chicken Dip were staples of our Southeastern nostalgic indulgence! Savoring Snickerdoodle space cakes and the sugar high of curated close-knit congregation sparked seasonal happiness and, truth be told, such simplicity would still stand as incredibly fulfilling and heartfelt during the usual Festive chaos of December.
This year we are just Two, plus fur-babies, and it is bittersweet to re-invent what Wintry togetherness means, but also a relief from the annual routine of hyper-social activity.
The obligation to entertain takes its own holiday in 2020. Giving oneself a break from expectation and presentation in order to attend to horrific changes in financial hardship, stability, safety in the social sphere, especially re: protesting and mutual aid. The internal toolbox continues to doctor depression and mortality in this moment in Time, as the Nov. 30th Full Moon AND Lunar Eclipse brought in the rough, ripe for shadow work… We tromp into Eclipse Season wild-eyed with what has surfaced thru more than this “pandemic”. Histories and trauma as isolation nudges us to explore addiction, patterns, family ties, systemic injustice… the list is winding and wounded.
There is a Duality to facing Emptiness. In “cuffing season”, the need to be with others during colder months, Quarantine corners us once again. We are faced with an opportunity to flip the Festive switch while still honoring our work, “treat” ourselves in new ways, embrace comfort and cheesiness (and cheese!). Rest is a welcome replacement for Santa, the Pro-Capitalist Papa of Christianity. This year, we may just be Two sipping hot cocoa while freezing outside, making merriment when there has been nothing but bad news for months on end, but we are still here, able to embrace space in order to move forward, no matter what the circumstances and obstacles may be.
It is possible to re-examine the ideologies of social constructs and still enjoy silliness. They are not contradictions. Make space for Joy.
If the Holidaze are bearable best with canna-cookies and fairy lights, pairing it with Tiki Kiki, a kitsch collection of “lounge music”, is the campy choice for deep disassociation into cheer. With nods to the original imaginations of Bossanova babes, French poppettes, Samba savantes and the bleep-boops of electric wizards like Bruce Haack, the smooth mood of Astrid Gilberto or Martin Denny is made for light-hearted lift. These tunes were superbly sampled in ‘90s electronic loops, perfected by former Deee-lite DJ, Towa Tei, a master of techno-lounge. He appropriately worked with João Gilberto’s daughter, Bebel, on “Technova”, a prime example of the genre-blend.
Subsets of 1950’s & ‘60s Jet Set sounds had a love affair with Space Age aesthetic, an instantly retrotastic note of corralling towards cosmic (and perhaps psychedelic) interests. Though the often offensive “jungle” record covers were abundant, interest in travel abroad popularized after the Depression. The closest environment akin to this campy energy “at home” were Tiki bars, noted as “emotional bomb shelters of the Atomic Age”, a nostalgia we find wildly welcome for quarantine Winter festivities. The tradition of lounge matched with experimental underground gave the genre a new life in the interpretations of artists like Hermine, Royksopp, Pizzicato Five and beyond. It is instant easy-listening and paired well with indoor activities to make time feel more fluid and light. We are decorating for our mental health and orbiting in a sonic Seasonal strangeness until further notice!