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Holiday Light Show Brings North Pole to South Slope

By Leslie Albrecht | December 21, 2012 7:37am

PARK SLOPE — Forget Rudolph's red nose — say hello to Blitzen dancing "Gangnam Style."

The reindeer's take on the K-Pop sensation is one of the highlights of the Holiday Light Spectacular, a front yard sound and light show that's bringing the North Pole to the South Slope this yuletide season.

The seven-and-a-half-minute show is a carefully choreographed sequence of recorded dialogue, songs and flashing displays in front of 310A 22nd St., between Sixth and Seventh avenues.

Now in its fifth year, this year's version is called "North Pole's Got Talent." It features Santa Claus, Frosty the Snowman, and the Grinch as a panel of judges who rate performances including Blitzen's PSY-inspired romp and a rendition of "The 12 Days of Christmas" that incorporates Toto's 1982 mega-hit, "Africa."

The show, first reported by South Slope News, was designed and built by Ryan Powers and Chris Schneider, business partners who both have backgrounds in theater. Schneider, a P.S. 10 dad and former prop supervisor, lives with his family at 310A 22nd St., and Powers, who's been a sound designer for Broadway shows, lives on 23rd Street.

The two started designing this year's show around Thanksgiving, then put in "long days" building the electronic displays and rigging them up to computers inside Schneider's house. Powers recorded all of the songs in his own voice.

"We just try to make people smile and laugh and have fun," Powers, 36, said. "We try to [have] something for everyone. There's usually something kids will really like, and references adults will like as well."

The Holiday Light Spectacular runs every 20 minutes from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. It will be on display until Jan. 5, 2013.

Though some New Yorkers are quick to grumble about extra light and noise in the city, neighbors on Schneider's sleepy South Slope block "love" the show, Powers said. The seasonal extravaganza has even inspired locals to spruce up their houses with more holiday spirit. One yard now sports a bicycle bedecked with Christmas lights and there's a King Kong-sized inflatable Santa Claus down the street. Schneider's next door neighbor even donated part of his front yard to the Holiday Light Spectacular.

"When Chris moved there six years ago, nobody decorated at all," Powers said. "It was a very dark block. As our show has grown, the block is brighter and brighter every year."