Great Expectations of Indulgence

Many are having a rough go of it this year — foreclosed upon, unemployed, tear-gassed. We recommend a hot meat pie, plum pudding if you must, followed by a stroll through a perfectly romanticized Victorian London, free of all the excrement mounds, putrefaction, and murderous orphans of the original. Romanticized, yes, but not wholly sanitized: There's enough lesion-free Victorian skin to satisfy a syphilitic rake at the Saucy French Postcard Tableaux Revue, which is the premiere risqué attraction of the Great Dickens Christmas Fair and Victorian Holiday Party. Afterward, repair to one of five pubs in the three-acre fair, quaff dark ales with middle-aged couples from Burlingame draped in period costume, and dare them to break character. They won't: The Great Dickens Fair is like Burning Man for gentle-men and -women of a certain temperament, stay-near-home reasonableness, and devilish thirst (recall the five pubs). They dress up, don accents, watch entertainments, linger or malinger depending on character, shop for baubles, and spoon puddings, ennobled by the 700-plus costumed players (including Jules Verne, Ebenezer Scrooge, and Sherlock Holmes) parading the grounds. It's been going on for more than 30 years, and it works. Apprentice yourself to a guild devoted to the art of drinkery, and 'tis another good day done.
Nov. 25-27; Saturdays, Sundays. Starts: Nov. 25. Continues through Dec. 18, 2011

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