WONDERLAND’S CUTEST COUPLE: Alice and The Hatter: 2 Weird + 2 Be = 4Real
Observatory (543 Union St., Brooklyn)
So this owl-ly Oxford don piles a gang of pre-teens into a rowboat and goes splashing up the Thames where he puts on a second persona—Lewis Carroll—and storytimes the kids, Alice in particular (his fave), into a hole in the ground where he allows an incredible cast of fairytale cranks to verbally abuse them/her.
In particular, this old dude in a topper—this HATTER character… Is he:
A) The author’s stand-in? B) Victorian whipping boy? C) Pervy little creep? D) Inverted father-figure? E) Would-be January/May boyfriend?
Alongside him, the fave tween chick in the smock. Is she:
A) The author’s stand-in? B) Agent provocateur? C) Rationality’s mouthpiece? D) Generic child-victim? E) Proto-feminist?
Wonderland is a uniformly scary, confusing, and intimidating vacation destination. But then those of us who’ve been children recognize the territory. The fictitious Alice deals: She threatens, subverts, and ultimately dismisses this subterranean Victorian world’s hypocrisy, irrationality, and rigid inexplicable ritual.
Rituals like, in particular, the tea party. The MAD TEA PARTY. Which is arguably the repository and firing range for all of Dodgson/Carroll’s particular obsessions at the time—logic, game theory, time, linguistics, mathematics, politics, and other very-personal “tics.” (Excepting his [to us] sensational cosplay photographs of little girlies.)
After tripping (!) euphorically though 150-plus years of Wonderlandia, kidsbook artist Ted Enik will attempt to explain why we—readers, children, scholars who disembowel, artists who reinvent—have gradually aged Alice, youthened the Hatter, and basically recast them as potential sweethearts.
It’ll be Observatory’s/the Hollow Earth Society’s very own TEA PARTY! We’ll naturally be serving tea—both proper English and medicinally more potent. So bring your own China cups; fancy or flea market, pinky-up or chipped down-and-dirty. And don’t be shy, come in costume. There’ll be Chinese lanterns, an Alice soundtrack, and “EatMe” mini-cupcakes. It’ll be MAD.