‘Santaland’ raises funds for Artspace

Published 1:24 pm Thursday, December 15, 2011

Chris Tinkler performed “Santaland Diaries at a sold-out event in Tryon last week. (photo submitted)

Chris Tinkler delivered a holiday treat for a sold-out crowd in Tryon last week, in a one-night-only performance of author David Sedaris’ “Santaland Diaries.” Tinkler had the audience of 100-plus in stitches as Crumpet, a disenchanted and surly Macy’s department store elf. The one-man play was the main attraction in the Upstairs Artspace’s holiday fundraiser, “A Very Sedaris Christmas,” held at the old Sunnydale restaurant next to IGA in Tryon. Guests also enjoyed a smorgasbord of dishes prepared by Tryon caterer Pat Strother, inspired by recipes from “I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence,” a new cookbook by David Sedaris’ sister, Amy Sedaris. “Santaland Diaries” has been an NPR Christmastime favorite for years, but it was Tinkler who introduced it to the stage in Tryon, with two sold-out performances for the Upstairs in 2004. He said he brought the show back to help the Upstairs’ new board of directors hit the ground running. Crumpet recounts his experience as one of Santa’s helpers, from learning lines in elf school “It makes one’s mouth hurt to speak with such merriment,” he said to the trauma of getting kids to pose with Santa “Once a child starts crying it’s all over.” The stage lights went out mid-performance when high winds knocked out power to much of Tryon, but Tinkler didn’t miss a beat, hopping off the stage to complete the play by the light of Sunnydale’s emergency lamps. When he bounded off the stage after the last act, the audience rose in applause. “Tryon is so lucky to have such a huge talent right here in town,” said Asheville artist Taiyo La Paix, whose paintings were part of the recent Upstairs show. “Lines and Lives of the Face. I was doubled over.” Nearly all of the money raised from ticket sales will help the Upstairs pursue its mission of bringing cutting-edge art into the community, thanks to contributions from Bob Lane, Pat Strother, Chris Tinkler, Cindy and John Boyle, Cafe at My Place, Elmo’s, New Method Laundry and Cleaners of Spartanburg, Thompson’s Landscaping, Tryon House, Doug Arbogast and several other contributors who wish to remain anonymous. “The Upstairs is so grateful to everyone who made this possible,” said Karen Jones, the president of the gallery’s board, “and for all those who came out to make the evening such a delight and success.” The Upstairs Artspace, located at 49 South Trade Street in Tryon, continues its holiday activities with Presents of Art through Dec. 24. – article submitted by Harold Maass

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