Tag Video

Running Toward the Camera

Far From The Tree

I wasn’t able to see it when it was performed a few weeks ago, but Retta sent me a video of her Puppet  Lab performance at St. Ann’s Warehouse in New York. Check it out in the video below.

Retta says of the Puppet Lab workshops, “It was incredible to spend nine months working on the development of an idea, with no pressure and all sorts of feedback and encouragement and amazing mentors.”

Previously she’s studied with Dan Hurlin, one of the artists who sat on the excellent panel I saw last January where he warned against people building puppets and “wiggling them around.”

When I mentioned that to Retta she said, “That’s funny. The other puppet builders we talk to all say “everyone does it their own way—just build a mock up and start playing, learn what it can do, and then adjust it.”

Climbing in Mali

My uncle Dan sent me a link to this terrific video of French freestyle rock climber Catherine Destivelle filmed in 1987 in Bandiagara, Mali.

It is very much worth the whole ten minutes of viewing time. Sure there are some stomach churning hangs and other examples of what looks to be fine climbing. But just wait for the appearance of a trumpet playing Dogon “witch doctor”, a pygmy cliff dwelling, a cave full of skeletons, an idiot in jean shorts shooting a gun and the masked dancing stilt-walkers. Thanks Dan!

Science Fair

Watch Elise’s science fair project video.

Via Samimi Extremie

Phantom Limb’s 69˚S

These evocative marionettes were made for a new production called “69˚S.” by a New York puppet company called The Phantom Limb. This project has been in the works for a few years now and just a few days ago they got their last bit of funding.

I was excited to see this new work from them after hearing about this project from the artists who sat on a Henson Foundation panel I got to see in New York City last year. On the same trip I saw the Phantom Limb productionThe Devil You Know directed by Ping Cong.

I especially like the texture and detail in the costumes, it’s extraordinarily tricky to make fabric look like clothing at such a small scale. I love the sober expressions on the plainly formed heads. My first impression was that they were cut from blocks of gray styrofoam, then I thought maybe they were cast concrete. Now I’m convinced I have no idea what their made of, but I love their black eyes.

During the panel talk Jessica Grindstaff talked about the history of the company and how this project represented a lot of what they had learned from past productions. They got their start with some spectacular shows involving massive . She made special mention of the icebergs, and the creative thinking involved in creating the illusion of mass on stage.

Phantom Limb (Jessica Grindstaff & Erik Sanko, Co-Artistic Directors) is joined by an extraordinary team of multi-disciplinary collaborators. Synthesizing theater, dance, puppetry, photography, film, original contemporary music and an unconventional acoustic palette creating a stunning and evocative series of tableaux vivants that follows a group of gentlemen frozen (literally) in crisis.

Watch the video and you’ll see she solved the problem beautifully using fabric suspended from the fly. Stilt walking puppeteers are a bonus! Thanks to Taylor from the clown class for the link.