A what-to-get list for arts lovers

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  • Arthur Wontner
    British actor (1875-1960)

Dec. 3—What once seemed so far away isn't. So as wish lists and to-do lists start piling up, Pasatiempo thought we'd give you a hand with the arts lovers in your life.

The Sherlock Holmes Vault Collection

—If you're sleuthing for something to appeal to the mystery lover in your life, consider The Film Detective's The Sherlock Holmes Vault Collection. This set includes four restored films featuring the world's most famous fictional detective: The Fatal Hour (1931), The Triumph of Sherlock Holmes (1935), and Silver Blaze (1937), starring Arthur Wontner, and A Study in Scarlet (1933), starring Reginald Owen. Wontner recently took the number three spot on CrimeReads "100 Best, Worst, and Strangest Sherlock Holmes Portrayals of All Time, Ranked." The author, Olivia Rutigliano, writes that adaptations that stray from Holmes literary identity must invent qualities that are just as compelling. Wontner's portrayal has all the complexity and depth of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's invention, but he makes it his own. "Wontner's capturing these elements of the literary persona (even despite these films' setting in the 20s-30s!) gives his performance a kind of wholeness and realness that isn't often seen," she writes. The handsome boxed set, available on Blu-ray ($36.49) or DVD ($25.49), comes with a veritable treasure trove of bonus material, including the short films Slick Sleuths (1926) and Sherlock Holmes Baffled (1900), as well as the Ballyhoo Motion Pictures' documentary Elementary Cinema: The First Cinematic Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. The Blu-ray and DVD sets will be released on Dec. 21. Visit thefilmdetective.com/sherlock for the link to preorder on Amazon. — Michael Abatemarco

Luminary Lanterns

—Set the mood in any space with these art-inspired, water-activated lanterns. Made of durable plastic, each set includes four luminaries (luminarias for those of us in the Southwest) and four floating LED candles (batteries included). The sets, produced by Modgy, come in a variety of designs, including one with a Louis C. Tiffany magnolia landscape pattern, the holiday-themed "Coni" design, which features a festive Christmas tree pattern, and one inspired by the colorful patterns of male peacock feathers. They're suitable for indoor/outdoor use and make a great centerpiece for a dinner party, a wedding, or for more informal occasions. The Modgy Luminary Lanterns are available at the New Mexico Museum of Art Shop (107 W. Palace Ave., 505-982-1131) or online (shopmuseum.org) for $14. "They're New Mexico inspired and just pretty darn cute," says shop manager Liz Rannefeld. — M.A.

Writing workshops

—Knowing the story that you want to tell and being able to get it down on paper are very different concepts. How do you keep track of a sprawling novel without getting lost? Or, what is the structure of a screenplay? Where do you start the action? Perhaps you wonder how to break free of clichés in poetry to find your true voice. Writing workshops offer the guidance of an experienced writer and teacher, as well as the encouragement and feedback of people in the same boat. Gotham Writers' Workshop was founded in New York City in 1993, and it became known for its stacks of course catalogs made available in yellow boxes on street corners. Lawyers, doctors, stockbrokers, and grocers who harbored a secret yen to write enrolled in classes held at schools and community centers around Manhattan. You don't have to be in New York to take advantage of Gotham's classes and enthusiastic faculty of working writers. Gotham offers online workshops and one-on-one instruction in a huge number of writing genres, including blog writing, creative non-fiction, essay and opinion writing, food writing, humor writing, novel writing, mystery writing, video-game writing, and more. They offer weekend seminars as well as 6-week and 10-week workshops. Costs range from $175-$419. writingclasses.com — Jennifer Levin

Theater and improv classes

—There's nothing quite like the feeling of being in your first play, when you get to know a stage by standing on it rather than facing it. When the dressing room, the lighting booth, or the scene shop suddenly becomes a special second home and you're invited into a whole new world of creative people. But it can be intimidating to consider auditioning for a play or getting involved backstage if you've never done it before. You can dip your toes in the water by taking theater and improvisational comedy classes, which are great gifts for children and adults of every skill level — whether they've been acting for years or are completely new to the very idea of theater. Classes can boost confidence in public speaking, help build teamwork skills, and, obviously, lead to deeper knowledge of and connection to theater arts. Several Santa Fe-based theater groups offer series classes and weekend workshops this spring, including Santa Fe Improv (santafeimprov.com), Santa Fe Playhouse (santafeplayhouse .org), and Stage Santa Fe (stagesantafe.com). Options include classes in scene work, character development, movement, and beginning, advanced, and professional-level acting, as well as intensive workshops with master teachers. In February, Santa Fe Improv offers Kid-Prov, a 10-week series for kids 11 and up that culminates in a public performance. Classes and workshops usually cost between $150 — $250. Most classes planned for 2022 are currently scheduled to be held in person, but some online options are available. All the theaters listed here require proof of COVID vaccination, and everyone is required to wear masks in class. — J.L.

Citizen Kane restored

—Who wouldn't want a shiny new sled for the holidays? And maybe a nice snow globe, too, as a stocking stuffer? Those and much more can be part of your gift when you give the just-restored version of Orson Welles' Citizen Kane from the Criterion Collection. Often considered the greatest American film, Citizen Kane gets the deluxe treatment in this new release which includes a wealth of bonus material. The film itself received a 4K digital restoration with an uncompressed soundtrack, which is important because Welles' use of sound was almost as revolutionary as his visual invention. The bonus items include interviews with cast members Joseph Cotten, William Alland, and Ruth Warrick, as well as the film's editor Robert Wise and optical-effects designer Linwood Dunn; a rarely seen feature-length documentary from the BBC titled The Complete Citizen Kane; television appearances by Welles and his Mercury Theater colleague John Houseman (a contributing writer and editorial supervisor on Welles' film); and a new feature on the film's special effects. Citizen Kane is available as a three Blu-ray disc release or in a turbocharged option that adds a 4K UHD/Dolby Vision disc of the film to the package. List price for the former is $49.95, the latter is $59.95. criterion.com — Mark Tiarks

Feel like a modern-day Medici

—Your lucky gift recipient will feel like a magnificent Renaissance prince and patron of the arts with a subscription to medici.tv, "The closest thing to a classical Netflix," according to The New York Times. It offers about 150 live performances per year, from partners including the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Bolshoi Theater, La Scala, and the Salzburg Festival. There's also an on-demand video library of about 2,000 events, with more than 1,200 concerts and recitals, 260 opera productions, and 135 ballet performances to choose from. Medici.tv sends a personalized email to the recipient on the date of your choice. The list price for an annual subscription is $129.00 at medici.tv. — M.T.

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