Every two months Arlington Council on Arts and Culture highlights an artist who’s actively contributing to the Arlington arts scene. In December and January, I’m the featured artist on the Arts Arlington site sponsored by ACAC.
The artist statement was fun to write because it gave room to think about why I perform and what the work is like. Here’s the part that gets to the heart of working on a new show:
My newest show is “Taking Turns,” which features pigs, dogs and bunnies. Sandra and I used needle-felting techniques to make animal puppets. We took big balls of wool and punched them with needles to create little pigs and dogs. I find that their fuzzy surfaces appeal to young children more than the painted faces of our Sculpey puppets.
Although the show opened in August I am still spending many hours each week refining the way I portray the characters. The hardest thing is to slow down, let a puppet “breath” between steps, and wait for the character to form its thoughts before I speak for it. Often, I ask friends to watch and advise. Jacek Zuzanski of Dream Tale Puppets and retired “puppet diva” Suzanne Pemsler have been terrific coaches.
Read the whole statement here:
This month I am a “Top Performer” on GigSalad.com! Part of the rating is that my shows have gotten 5-star reviews from parents and preschool directors on GigSalad. I hope you’ll take a minute to read their comments:
Most of my reviews are about birthday parties, which are a lot of fun. Usually I perform a 30-minute show and lead puppet making. My favorite supplies are toilet paper rolls, construction paper and yarn in all colors. Here are some photos of toilet roll puppets on the move, and a sock puppet who feel asleep guarding her pizza.
Please join me for a preview show of Taking Turns:
Saturday, September 21 at 10:30 am at Arlington Center for the Arts, 20 Academy Street. Enter on Maple Street
Come for the show, stay to give advice, play with puppets and have a coffee. Best for ages 4 and up, no admission charge, all welcome.
The ten days before opening a new puppet show feels like:
a) preparing for final exams;
b) getting ready to serve a 6-course dinner;
c) taking care of a very small puppy
If you chose a, b, or c, way to go! Ask the nearest puppet to pat you on the back. Today I opened “Taking Turns,” starring Mathilda and Doggie at Primrose School in Burlington. The show was two years in the making and it was exciting to bring it to an audience of enthusiastic four year-olds. The bouncy house was very popular. And so was the vibrant music composed and played by Paul Watkins. Here’s a prelude:
Truth be told, I have never cooked a 6-course dinner. But I should, as a thank you to all the people who helped me with these puppets and the show. Thanks to Sandra Pastrana (she made the original Mathilda and Doggie!), and Katherine Eberle for help with puppets and sets. I got good advice from folks at the Puppet Showplace Hatchery, and from the friendly, talented staff at Playtime in Arlington. Kak Madden, Maggie Whalen, Afaf, Bashir, Franny and Charles, thanks for watching the show in its painful beginning.
Why is creating a new show like taking care of a puppy? At the end of every day you have a big mess — and sometimes cute things, too.
In workshops with children at the Foxborough Universalist Church, we made puppets that connected to two UU principles: the worth of the individual, and how we accept and learn from each other.
In four Sundays at Foxborough, I met puppets with fierce powers, puppets with fiercer powers, cats, happy and sad puppets.
I visited the puppets in their lairs. Unicorns live in the clouds, but near their pizza.
Penguins are happy in icy waters.
And pigs love snacks.
Should you ask a monkey to take care of your heavenly peach garden? The Monkey King is thrilled to have a job in the heavens, but doesn’t play by the rules. Please join me for a tale of monkey trouble, performed with the Bu Dai Xi puppets and choreography I studied with Taiwan’s wonderful I Wan Traditional Puppet Troupe.
I’ll perform “Monkey Makes Mischief in Heaven” at the Puppet Showplace Theater in Brookline, Massachusetts from Thursday to Sunday, November 15 to 18. Best for ages four and up.
More information: puppetshowplace.org
I hope you’ll join me and musicians Ann Wynne and Peter Lehman for Badger Meets the Fairies at Fairyland Pond in Concord. We’ll perform at the opening of this year’s Art Ramble, The Umbrella’s art exhibit in the woods. Meet the fairies, sing with them, make a playground structure from twigs and leaves. . . and see a forest full of nature-inspired art. All ages are welcome and admission to the Ramble is free.
Sunday, September 16, 2:30 at the benches near Fairyland Pond, Hapgood-Wright Town Forest, intersection of Walden & Thoreau Streets, Concord. Followed by a reception for the Ramble.
Meet the musicians:
Ann Wynne sings with the Mystic Chorale and with her class of 5- year-olds at Great Expectations in Arlington. She also draws, paints and builds with students in her home studio, A Room for Art.
Peter Lehman plays plucked string instruments, including lute, mandolin and sometimes guitar. He also sings high and lonesome. Peter directs an unusual fusion band — the Foggy Mountain Consort, dedicated to performing musical genres from the Renaissance to blue grass.
Patriots’ Day Parade, Sunday, April 15, 2 p.m. — 4 p.m.
Put on a hard hat and join other ACA
artists, students and supporters marching in the 2018 Arlington Patriots Day Parade! We’ll carry giant cardboard tools and wear elegant/whimsical/brilliant hard hats to let everyone know we’re building a new ACA. All ages are welcome! Feel free to bring a stroller or wagon.
Marchers will meet near Brattle Street and Massachusetts Avenue at 1:00 and start marching at 2 p.m. By 4 p.m. the parade ends up at Adams St. and Massachusetts Avenue, near the East Arlington Walgreen’s.
Shuttle buses are available to the parade start from the Walgreen’s parking lot at 324 Massachusetts Avenue between 12:15 and 1:30. After the parade, buses run from Walgreen’s back to near Brattle Street between 4 and 4:30. BUT don’t park in the Walgreen’s lot — find an on-street spot.
Would you like to help make signs and giant tools? Great! We’ll meet Saturday, April 14 at 1 p.m. at Margaret Moody’s house, 78 Varnum. All welcome. Please email Margaret or Judi to let us know you’re coming.
“Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won’t you be my neighbor? ”
(lyrics from the Mr. Rogers Neighborhood theme song)
What kind of neighborhood would make magical creatures know they’re welcome? We’ve been talking about that in the Youth Arts Arise teen program at Arts at the Armory. My sample storefront of the #1 Troll Florist got students started. Now they’re creating a spa for dragons, a snack store for pixies and more. Next week we’ll put the neighborhood together.
I’m trying out some ideas for a Youth Arts Arise class at Arts in the Armory in Somerville. We’ll make heads with small styrofoam balls, then style hair, clothes and jewelry for the outfit that makes the puppet. The schedule will be posted soon at artsatthearmory.org/