Get Inside the Head of a New York City Christmas Tree: A Gonzo Short Film from Artist Nina Katchadourian

For every year this Christ­mas tree

Brings to us such joy and glee

O Christ­mas tree, O Christ­mas tree

Such plea­sure do you bring me…

All over New York City, tree stands are spring­ing up like mush­rooms.

Unlike the fan­ci­ful win­dows lin­ing 5th avenue, the Union Square hol­i­day mar­ket, or Rock­e­feller Center’s tree and skat­ing rink, this sea­son­al plea­sure requires no spe­cial trip, no threat of crowds.

You could bat­tle traf­fic, and lose half a day, drag­ging the kids to a cut-your-own farm on Long Island or in New Jer­sey, but why, when the side­walk stands are so fes­tive, so con­ve­nient, so quin­tes­sen­tial­ly New York?

The ven­dors hail from as far away as Ver­mont and Cana­da, shiv­er­ing in lawn chairs and mobile homes 24–7.

What befalls the unsold trees on Christ­mas Eve?

No one knows. They van­ish along with the ven­dors by Christ­mas morn­ing.

The spon­ta­neous coop­er­a­tion of two such ven­dors was crit­i­cal to artist Nina Katchadourian’s “Tree Shove,” above.

Katchadouri­an, who may look famil­iar to you from Lava­to­ry Self-Por­traits in the Flem­ish Style, recalls:

My friend Andrew had been hear­ing me say for years that I want­ed to be shoved through one of those things and he found two friend­ly Cana­di­ans sell­ing Christ­mas trees in a Brook­lyn super­mar­ket park­ing lot and worked it out with them.

The result is high­ly acces­si­ble, gonzo per­for­mance art from an artist who always lets the pub­lic in on the joke.

Add it to your annu­al hol­i­day spe­cial playlist.

Relat­ed Con­tent: 

Artist Nina Katchadouri­an Cre­ates Flem­ish Style Self-Por­traits in Air­plane Lava­to­ry

Watch The Insects’ Christ­mas from 1913: A Stop Motion Film Star­ring a Cast of Dead Bugs

When Sal­vador Dalí Cre­at­ed Christ­mas Cards That Were Too Avant Garde for Hall­mark (1960)

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine.  Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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