Arts

The ‘Tru’ Spirit of Christmas

Capote Holiday Classic To Be Performed This Weekend
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Raymond Thompson, Dale Raoul and Michael Kearns (left to right) will be performing Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory” on Sunday at the Pasadena Highlands senior living facility — an event open to the public. Photo courtesy of Housing Works

The late Truman Capote is best known as author of the novel “In Cold Blood” and the novella “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” which was the basis of the classic 1961 Audrey Hepburn movie of the same name.

But Capote was also author of a classic holiday short story, “A Christmas Memory” — and that work will be the subject of a dramatic reading this weekend in Pasadena.

On Sunday, Dec. 8, Housing Works — a nonprofit that provides assistance to the homeless — will host its annual “Home for the Holidays” event, this year at the Pasadena Highlands senior living facility.

It marks the 10th straight year that “A Christmas Memory” will be read at the event, but it’s the first time it will be hosted at the senior facility.

The story — first published in Mademoiselle magazine in December 1963 — will be performed by actress Dale Raoul from the hit show True Blood; Raoul’s husband Raymond Thompson, who is the lighting director for soap opera The Young & The Restless; and veteran actor Michael Kearns, who also runs a weekly writing workshop at Housing Works with participants and community members.

The event is free and open to the public, although donations are welcomed.

The tale, set in the 1930s, is a largely autobiographical story concerning its 7-year-old narrator and an old woman who is the boy’s best friend. Its themes touch on Christmas giving as well as loneliness and loss.

“For the past 10 years, Dale, Raymond and Michael have shown up faithfully in support of Housing Works because they believe in our mission,” said Erica Arthur, who works in administration for Housing Works. “They have devoted time and energy every year since in making this effort a success.

“The story captures the true essence of what we think the holiday should be all about: life, love, community, friendship and traditions. It’s a perfect time of year for all to be reminded of the different ways we can show up for one another.”

Author Truman Capote in 1966 as he recorded the narration for the television adaptation of “A Christmas Memory” that appeared on the weekly series “ABC Stage 67.” Photo: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, NYWT&S Collection

Since 2008, Housing Works has housed nearly 600 people. The nonprofit’s mission is to get people off the streets and into housing — one life, one person, and one relationship at a time.

“By providing a diverse array of supportive services to those experiencing homelessness, Housing Works remains present for the long haul with a goal of providing supportive services unique to the individual needs of those being served,” said Arthur. “Contributions made to Housing Works empower the agency to find creative and innovative solutions to keeping people housed so as to end the revolving door of homelessness.”

Additional festivities will include a reception with refreshments, a visit from Santa Claus and picture ops, and a musical performance by the St. Teresa of Avila Children’s Choir, which has performed at the event for the past five years.

“We are looking forward to sharing this wonderful, emotion-provoking story with those who have never heard it before and for those who want to enjoy it again,” said Arthur. “Housing Works looks forward to spreading the word to new folks in the community who have an interest in learning about the ways they can help be part of the solution to getting people off the streets and into housing.”

The event will take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Pasadena Highlands, 1575 East Washington Blvd, Pasadena, 91104. For more information, call (914) 629-8792 or visit housingworksca.org.

Kamala Kirk

Kamala Kirk is a contributing writer for the South Pasadena Review, San Marino Tribune and The Quarterly Magazine. Kamala formerly served as Managing Editor of Beauty Launchpad Magazine, West Coast Editor of American Salon Magazine, and Digital Editor for E! Online. A native of Hermosa Beach, California, she is a proud USC Trojan and pug mom to Wrigley the Pug (@pugofpasadena).

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