Christmas in July – Tonight!

Wild Bill revs his ‘Honky-Tonk Holidaze’ at Antone’s

Santa Claus with his main squeeze
Santa Claus with his main squeeze (by Shelley Hiam)

Less recounted than the tale about how Santa Claus comes screaming down your chimney every December is the one about his hard-drinking ways and dire problems at home. That’s the Christmas story left-of-center local Wild Bill likes to tell, and tonight’s Christmas in July.

You may remember Wild Bill from last December’s “Playback.” The facial hair Fu Manchu of madness and mayhem was gearing up for a three-show run of his newly minted Christmas musical, Honky-Tonk Holidaze, a deranged take on the holiday spirit that finds Santa Claus – played by Bill – cast out of his home after Mrs. Claus tires of his addiction to “magic dust.”

Downtrodden and dejected, Santa hightails it to Texas with his best elf Swervin Irven, but he finds trouble when he gets mixed up with the wrong folks.

“There’s divorce, drugs, and drinking in the first scene, and it doesn’t get much better from there,” Bill summarized. Backed by the Whiskey Shivers, Ghosts Along the Brazos’ Jacob Jaeger, and a slew of other local talents, the show proved a real hit. I stood in attendance for the Dec. 8 premiere at the White Horse, then went over to Antone’s while it was still on Fifth Street for round three.

Tonight’s performance doubles as some Christmas in July miracle, because Bill’s promised a digital download of Honky-Tonk Holidaze to everyone in attendance. He recorded the album at East Austin’s Baby Blue Studio with the Whiskey Shivers and cast after his camera, containing footage of the December performances, got stolen.

“I hope to put it out on vinyl for the holidays,” he says. “Other than that, we might be a little tighter, or looser, or drunker, if possible. The big deal is that the Shivers are in it. It could be the last time we get to do this together, and they’ve been like brothers to me. I’m happy any time we can perform together.”

Bill also relayed that 2020 Memory Production’s Sean Lane will be on hand to film and produce a video from tonight’s performance.

“Show up,” urges Bill. “We just might make you famous!”

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Wild Bill, Santa Claus, Christmas in July, Whiskey Shivers, Ghosts Along the Brazos, Jacob Jaeger, Baby Blue Studio, 2020 Memory Production, Sean Lane

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