It happened again last week! The yearly 24-hour Letters to Santa benefit at Second City, featuring all manner of great musicians, wacky comedy, dance routines, field trips, interviews, and - this year - a little wrestling. Here's an incomplete photo retrospective:
6:30 p.m.: The 24 hours didn't officially begin until 7:00 p.m., but we got a bonus this year. These guys came out to play a selection of heartfelt tunes they "wrote" ... which turned out to be four songs by Train. A painfully hilarious start to the evening.
10:00-ish: I didn't take any pictures during Jeff Tweedy's annual set, but this is his guitar, Bob.
11:01 p.m.: Steve Albini interviews Andrew Mason, CEO of Groupon. Later Andrew played piano for a rollicking set of Billy Joel covers.
12:00 a.m.: J.C. Brooks and the Uptown Sound take the stage and inspire a room full of comedians and comedy fans to shake their groove things.
2:17 a.m.: Joan of Arc plays, loudly
2:42 a.m.: Human caterpillar!
5:03 a.m.: Jeff Parker treats us to some dreamy guitar
5:38 a.m.: TJ tells the instant classic "101 chairs walk into a bar" joke. For about twenty minutes.
7:07 a.m.: The babies and children come out to don various hats, eat muffins, and charm us all
7:36 a.m.: Jon Langford and Sally Timms drop by to sing some songs and shake a little maraca
9:25 a.m.: Actors are challenged to consume various food items, including a cup of scrambled eggs and a huge muffin, during a scene
1:00 p.m.: Former WWE wrestler Colt Cabana performs his finishing move on one of the actors, not to be let up until he names every U.S. president in order ... and predicts the next six
1:14 p.m.: Robbie Fulks and Gerald Dowd play a poignant "Dancing Queen"
2:59 p.m.: Bill Callahan nearly lulls me to sleep, through no fault of his own
4:44 p.m.: Improv!
5:04 p.m.: Our table. Clockwise: Starbucks peppermint mocha, napkin, Second City menus, Bible, Boston Market fountain drink, trail mix, brownie wrapper, gum wrapper, broken hair clip
5:18 p.m.: The Blisters rock us for the eighth straight year
And that's the last picture I took. Things finished up at 7:00 p.m. with the annual game of audience-participation freeze tag and an onstage reprisal of our second choreographed dance routine, "Magpie." The event raised nearly $100,000 for charity.
Viva la benefit!
Letters to Santa 2009