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This Weekend: Harry Shearer And Judith Owen's Holiday Singalong

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Even if you don't actually believe in it, you really do owe it to yourself to sing Christmas songs in a room full of people at least once this year. And Hanukkah songs too, as well as non-denominational carols about snowmen and sleigh rides and lots of things that may or may not have any particular relevance to your life in Los Angeles. Come on, it's okay. The words are on the paper, everyone else is singing and no one else can stay in tune any better than you can. Lift up your voice. It feels good.

In that spirit, comedian, Bass God and national treasure Harry Shearer and his wife, singer/ songwriter Judith Owen, along with special guests that include Michael McKean and Julianna Ray, will present their annual Holiday Singalong this Friday and Saturday at the Steve Allen Theater. Special guests have been promised; we're hoping for a rousing Christmas With The Devil if the other guys from Spinal Tap are in town. Judith Owen was kind enough to shed some light on the plastic snow for LAist.

Do you have a favorite genre for holiday-themed songs?

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If Ella Fitzgerald sang it then it's alright by me!

There are many Christmas songs about missing people, which seems somehow cruel. Everybody misses somebody at Christmas, and being reminded of it can be really depressing, especially when everyone else is singing and drinking egg nog. Will you allow such material in your show?

This show is the antidote to that sense of isolation...we don't overly dwell on the emotions
we're all so obviously feeling. I think many people feel stressed and overwhelmed by Christmas, others lonely ... like they're the only one not invited to the party, so the whole point of this show is to feel joy and, corny as it sounds... a sense of community. The simplest way of doing this (that I know of), is to sing with others..there's nothing like it, it just makes you feel connected and rich inside. So I tell the audience right from the start how difficult I've always found the holiday season to be, having lost my mother when I was 15 at this time. I originally decided to throw this party in order to emotionally get through the month of December and these yearly shows seem to do the same for the audience... it's a shared experience at a lonely time.

If you had to choose a set of songs centered around one holiday topic - Jesus, Santa or Snow Itself - which would you choose and why?

Snow...all my favorite Xmas songs have snow somewhere in them...The Christmas Song, Winter Wonderland, Sleigh Bells, Let it Snow... the list just goes on and on and without the element of religion these songs speak of the human desire for escapism via a romantic's fantasy Xmas, whist being wrapped in the most beautiful melodies. Basically, they're marvellous to sing.

The ratio of Hanukkah classics to Christmas classics is pretty woefully tilted towards the Jesus crowd. Will you be making any attempt to correct the balance of power at this year's show?

Harry always performs Jill Sobule's Jesus Was A Dreidel Spinner. It's a crowd pleaser and helps to set the record straight re: Christ 'the Jew'. We always make it clear from the start that we're singing these songs because they're great songs, AND BECAUSE IT'S A XMAS SHOW...HELLO PEOPLE!!! I'm a tree hugging Welsh women myself verging on pagan, but I know a good melody when I hear it!

Peace on Earth in '09 - What are the odds?

I think they'll always be war somewhere on the planet, WE'RE HUMANS AFTER ALL, but I do think that we've entered a most exciting time with Obama. He has the hardest job of any president to date, dealing with the Bush legacy and we're going to be in crisis for a long time, but choosing the right man, voting for change, wanting a better way..it's very inspiring. Personally, though, I'd just like peace in my own mind for 09.

Harry Shearer and Judith Owens' Holiday Singalong
Friday December 5 and Saturday December 6 | 8:00 PM
The Steve Allen Theater at The Center For Inquiry
4773 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood
(323) 666-9797