Who’s performing at Puppet Slam this year?

Katy Warner/ December 22, 2020/ Uncategorized

“The Stolen Salmon” is a shadow-play based on a traditional Wiyot tale and was created by Dell’Arte resident artists Zuzka Sabata and James Hildebrandt together with the children at the Wiyot Tribe afterschool program Tsek Houdaqh in the spring of 2016. It was the first project in a multi-year collaboration between the Wiyot Tribe and Dell’Arte International, made possible with the support of Tribal Chair Ted Hernandez and the California Arts Council. Currently Dell’Arte and the Wiyot Tribe are partnering on The Bartow Project, about artist Rick Bartow. We are seeking local Native artists to participate. If interested, please see www.thebartowproject.com

Isaac Bluefoot will present Artemus Kneehigh (guess what he’s made out of), who will host an art show. Artemus’ famous brother, Bartleby, will sing a song in special dedication.

Animator Violet Crabtree’s Wisteria lives in a house that is herself. “Cleaning her house is self improvement, but nobody’s perfect. Maybe personal imperfection is something to embrace, and even celebrate.”

From Violet; “I’ve been doing claymation and video work for the last 5 years, starting with some short films based on the comic book stories that I drew and performed with The Comix Trip, my performance art group. Since 2017, I’ve been making claymation music videos professionally for bands locally and outside the area, using puppets and sets that I make by hand. My specialty is making clay puppets that resemble the musicians in the bands who hire me. 2017 was the first year I had a claymation video in the Puppet Slam and I’ve been showing movies and performing in the Slam every year since then.”

Puppeteer Oscar Nava brings us a short featuring some new friends created in quarantine, Roco Cocodrilo and Ma Trihorn. Poor Roco is so sad because he has been put on Santa’s Naughty list. What will he do?

From Oscar: “I’m a multidisciplinary artist who took quarantine time to build a handful of puppets! I’m very interested in the relationship, and resulting animation, between an object and performer. So each puppetry style that I dabble in comes from that point of curiosity, which has led me in experimenting with building and puppeting some marionettes, hand puppets, shadow puppets, and hand-and rod puppets.

This is a very DIY approach to puppetry, since it’s just me and my puppet pals at the moment. This has allowed me to really start to create a weird and quirky world where these interesting creatures just exist, with original characters like Roco Cocodrilo and Ma Tirhorn becoming part of something magical. My work has recently been featured as part of online puppet slams with Vancouver International Puppet Fest and Calgary Animated Objects Society up in Canada!”

The Cowtown Serenaders, Tayloranne Finch and Daniel Nickerson will be offering a few excerpts from the video adaptation of their multimedia performance piece “A Trip to Cowtown.” Using marionettes, textile art, physical theater, shadow puppets, and original music, “A Trip to Cowtown” tells the story of Peggy Pilgrim, Toe-Tappin’ Tommy, and their trip to visit the Weaver who resides on the other side of Blueberry Hill.

This piece was presented live at the Eureka Fringe Festival in 2019, and in February 2020 at venues in San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Oakland, and Arcata. Additionally, they will be contributing a performance piece created collaboratively with fellow students during the Fall semester of School For Designing a Society, exploring Zoom as a medium for puppetry and utopian thought games.

Sean Powers has lived in Arcata for 32 years and has been performing shadow puppets for 25 years. This story is one of the first Sean told to children as a storyteller. Made into a film in 2018, the Cat Drum is a story from the West Indies that results in much fun and a lesson about friendship. Sean can be contacted at seansshadows.com

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