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World Sword Swallower’s Day

world sword swallower's dayFebruary 27, 2016, marks the ninth annual World Sword Swallower’s Day, observed on the last Saturday of the month with performances at Ripley’s Believe it or Not locations across the U.S., Australia, Denmark, England and Malaysia.

Sword Swallowers Association International (SSAI) president Dan Meyer explains the genesis of World Sword Swallowers Day:

“I established World Sword Swallower’s Day in 2007 to promote this ancient art, still carried on by a few dozen surviving performers, to celebrate the courageous and daring performers who risk their lives to entertain audiences, to honor veteran performers, to raise awareness of the medical contributions sword swallowers have made in the fields of medicine and science, and to raise funds for esophageal cancer research and the Injured Sword Swallowers’ Relief Fund. “

Meyer is a 39-time world record holding sword swallower and motivational speaker who has given TEDx Talks around the globe, performed and lectured at events in 35 countries. He is available for corporate team building retreats, medical conferences and high school assemblies through his company, Cutting Edge Innertainment. While you’re there, check out this disturbing gallery of X-ray fluoroscopes tracking the sword or swords as they enter and leave his esophagus.

SSAI is a non-profit organization accepting donations to enable website maintenance, historical research and bookings. It also supports charities that study esophageal cancer, dysphagia, and other swallowing disorders. SSAI explains the need for its Injured Sword Swallowers’ Relief Fund:

There are on average from 4 to 6 serious sword swallowing injuries per year that require hospitalization, with costs of treatment running from $50,000 to $75,000 USD per injury. Any donations submitted will be sent directly to SSAI members who are struggling to pay off staggering medical bills that are the result of sword swallowing injuries.

If you’re near any of these Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditoriums at 1:45 pm (local time), prepare to be amazed as sword swallowers demonstrate their craft. The free show will culminate in the simultaneous “Big Swallow” at 2:27:16 pm on 2/27/16. We guarantee that the next time you get a tickle in your throat, it won’t seem so bad. Funny thing, perspective.

Happy World Sword Swallower’s Day!

 

Copyright 2016 Worldwide Weird Holidays

January 1 is First Day of Shakespeare400

shakespeare400Shakespeare400 is an umbrella term for dozens of events in the United Kingdom scheduled throughout 2016 to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and his (mostly) posthumous effect on world culture.

The year’s activities will highlight the many art forms the Bard has influenced by sponsoring theatre, music, opera, dance and educational programs to reach new audiences outside the limiting “heritage industry framework” organizers say is too often imposed on Shakespeare.

It would seem to us that Shakespeare might find the derogatory talk of “heritage industry” to be a fusty nut with no kernel. He is arguably the most famous playwright in the world. His work has entertained us for more than 400 years. There would be no quaternary honor of William Shakespeare if he needed the marketing efforts of the organizers to “get his name out.”

May we suggest to the organizers–in their zeal to reach new audiences–something that young and old alike will enjoy? Why not have the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) mount a production of the Klingon translation of Hamlet? The Klingon Shakespeare Restoration Project (KSRP) was created in 1995 by the nonprofit Klingon Language Institute (KLI).

KSRP took its inspiratioshakespeare400n from two Klingon characters in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. General Chang barks, “To be or not to be?” (taH pagh taHbe’). Chancellor Gorkon says, “You haven’t experienced Shakespeare until you’ve read it in the original Klingon.”

The “restored” texts of  Hamlet (Hamlet) and Much Ado about Nothing (paghmo’ tIn mIS–lit. the confusion is great because of nothing) have been published. Midsummer Night’s Dream (bov tuj botlh naj) has been completed but not yet released.

So what do you say, Shakespeare400 organizers? According to the Oxford Companion to Shakespeare, there are more than 80 spellings of his name. There is no evidence he ever spelled it “Shakespeare.” Why not add one more to the mix: Wil’yam Sheq’spir?