If you couldn't figure out by the first song - a corny calypso rendition of "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!" - that the Gay Men's Chorus of Houston's A Twisted Holiday
was going to be delightfully tongue-in-cheek, you probably had no business being there.
One of the oldest Gay Men's Choruses in the country (though you don't have to be gay to join) performed their annual holiday mashup Tuesday night, led by new Bayou City Performing Arts artistic director Linus Lerner in his first performance at Jones Hall. Ticket sales from the concert benefitted AIDS Foundation Houston
The chorus performed traditional holiday songs, both religious and secular, then twisted them around into slightly more absurd versions. That's how "(There's No PLace Like) Home For the Holidays" becomes "Homo for the Holidays" and how "Winter Wonderland" becomes "Walkin' Round in Women's Underwear." And it was funny. Really funny.
As the chorus was singing "O Tannenbaum," formerly one of Aftermath's favorite holiday songs, we started to think to ourselves, Man, I've never really paid attention to the lyrics of this song before. What a
. And then, the GMCH launched into "O Christmas Tree," featuring one of the tallest members of the chorus wrapped in garland and stars. The lyrics? An incredulous "I'm singing to a pine tree?"
Lest you think the show is all snark, one of the best performances of the night was "Ave Maria," which built to a crescendo as a handful of chorus members sang from the Jones Hall balcony. This was followed, of course, with a parody of 15th century monks discussing the devil's interval
. The other hit was a barbershop quartet version of "White Christmas."
Lerner peppered the performance with witty conversation, calling on members of the audience, if they hadn't already, to come out for Christmas. "It's the time of the year, everyone is so forgiving - we have a gay choir, a gay mayor - if you haven't come out of the closet, do it now!" And someone in the audience actually stood up and raised their hand, which drew cheers from the crowd.
Towards the end of the show the men were joined on stage by the other members of BCPA, the Women's Chorus, for a few more traditional songs. The only bad thing about A Twisted Holiday
is that it was one night only. And fans of the chorus will have to wait until March for their next performance.