Dude, where’s my Christ?

The Red Museum puts on a Christmas show with noise rock and an original play

The cast of <i>How the Grinch Stole Christ</i>.

The cast of How the Grinch Stole Christ.

Photo by Ashley Hayes-Stone

Check out A Very Red Christmas 8pm Friday, December 21. Tickets are $10. 212 15th Street. For show info, visit the Facebook event page.

Why does the Grinch scorn Christmas? The origin story may have involved a bitter custody battle for baby Jesus—with Santa Claus the presiding judge, and God the key witness. But you won’t find the truth in court filings. You’ll have to settle for three acts of How the Grinch Stole Christ instead.

At least that’s the title Anthony Siino and Devon McMindes landed on for their production at the Red Museum.

“Is that not just our working title?” Siino asks McMindes in the evening cold, as cast members file into the 15th Street warehouse for the first rehearsal on December 14. “Do you want to change it now?”

“No. How the Grinch Stole Christ is fine,” McMindes submits. They are co-writers and directors of the short comedy. (Full disclosure: Siino used to work at SN&R, and McMindes illustrates the Goatkidd comic).

The cast includes a chain-smoking Mary, a Randy-Savage-like Herod the Great and the wacky green demon in this theatrical orgy marrying the Nativity with the Dr. Seuss story. In it are biblical characters played by Sacramento personalities, including musician Tre Burt as the narrator and Capital Public Radio host Nick Brunner as one of the three wise men.

It performs for one night only at A Very Red Christmas, the Red Museum’s December 21 holiday show. The hilarious middle-school style play encapsulates the entire mixed-art night well: subversive to the holidays, not too planned, and chock-full of Sacramento arts.

“Even if people don’t define Christmas in a traditional way anymore, there’s still something about the gathering part of that holiday that I think is the necessary part, almost like one big family,” says Jennifer Jackson, the Red Museum’s co-founder and the event organizer.

Here’s a slice of what to expect: music from the noise rock group Drug Apts., funk-soul troupe LaTour and heavy metal band Tentacult; holiday caroling led by Damien Verrett of the one-man pop band So Much Light; a twisted take on The Night Before Christmas told by local historian William Burg; tables set for local musicians to freely sell merch; visual art by Kyle Mitzel, Natalie Armstrong, David Stone and others; a living Santa Claus and Jesus Christ; and food from Pizza Supreme Being.

Jackson says the idea for an arts marathon came after a well-attended Red Museum party held over the summer, which showcased a medley of local performances, different from the typical three-band bill.

“We just really liked the idea of doing something collaborative, [where] different types of performers and artists and just characters in our community can all come together,” she said.

It’s the sort of event that can easily happen in spaces like the Red Museum, which primarily acts as a rehearsal space where 12 dues-paying members create art and hold band practices. The venue was temporarily shut down last year over building and code violations, but the city and the IBEW Local 340 electrician’s union helped bring the warehouse’s infrastructure and permits up-to-date, and then it reopened for rehearsals and shows.

The Red Museum family wants to show Sacramento a good time this holiday season—even if the blocking is loose, and the lines aren’t quite memorized yet.

“The entire thing is that we love Sacramento arts,” Siino says. “We want to cross-polinate as much as we can, so if you come out here and you see something that intrigues you, there’s an entire mine of that stuff out there.”