Sunday, August 31, 2008

No really, vote over there...with the poll.

The day after I wrote the last post, the director at the theater where I work called and asked me if I want to go full-time with them as a puppeteer.

Sadly, one of our puppeteers is leaving us, but the good news is that he gets to support his wife and see her during her last semester of her Master's program. Hopefully they'll come back when she's finished and life will return to normal.

In the meantime, the theater is in need of a puppeteer for their touring shows in schools. I've been asked to alleviate the burden of the school-year shows while they either find a replacement (they really need a male puppeteer) or our puppeteer comes back to us. Honestly, his return would be ideal. He's a very good puppeteer & he brings a bit of silly sanity along with him.

So, that leaves me learning one of the most difficult shows the theater does. I was told this was one of the most difficult shows right off the bat. Thankfully I had almost a full 2 weeks to learn it. I'm down to having a week exactly.

It's about water conservation. I'm getting the part with the rapping cactus (yes) down pretty okay--which is really not my strong suit. I'm the clumsiest, whitest, most awkward rapper that ever fell over her own two feet. No really, I'm friggin' white. I have barely any rhythm at all. And this is just how bad it is...I can do the rap kind-of okay..I mean..I'm getting it---but then you put a beat behind me and I'm incredibly lost and have no idea what syllable to put emphasis on. I can hardly clap to when you're happy and you know it let alone rap. And as much as I'm stumbling in my attempt at showing you how inept I am at rapping--imagine my rapping--it's worse.

So now that I've convinced you that I'm not qualified, you will fully understand my fears for memorizing this show (and the rap plus 2 songs) that this show entails.

This job also is going to require that we become a 2-car family--which will be nice, since currently I drive 3 hours every day in a 10 mile radius of my home. I did also request that instead of doing 40 hours, that I only do 32 per week. That will give me one day out of the week to still (hopefully) create.

Anyone have any advice on shopping for hatchbacks/wagons/minivans?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Two days in a row? I'm craaazy.

No really, I'm crazy. I've been people.

I wanted to share some of the puppets that I made recently. Hooray! I'm really excited to love finger puppets again. For awhile I was feeling as though that was a sub-par type of puppet to make. Now, honestly, I think--for me--it's better. I'm a tiny girl and I like tiny things. I'm embracing just how awesome something little and made of felt can be. I think I struggle with believing this is a skill anyone can do (which I still mostly believe) and they can make it look the same if not better than what I do. And I see tons of handmade artful finger puppets that go beyond the flat"oh look I'm a monster with one eye, Whooohoo!" that I see a lot of. (No offense if you make those--the world needs that kind of puppet as well.) So maybe not everyone can make anthropomorphic garbage cans and dapper mustachioed bacon. Maybe it takes my odd little brain to come up with a happy little piece of feminine hygiene, emo pancakes, or conjoined bunnies. And don't worry, I know, the over-use of bacon is waning on all of us, however I've been doing bacon for years now and I'm not about to give it up because its gone all mainstream. I commit to making my bacon weirder and googley-eyed-er than any other bacon out there. I pledge this to you, America. (Sorry, Canada.)
Anyway, enough with the talking words.

Ok so because blogger seems to lack the wonderful formatting previewerage that would be so helpful in times like this...I'll say what the puppet is, and you can guess which title goes with which puppet. It will be a great challenge. Alright here we go.
*Mustachioed Rain Cloud....see, I didn't realize the felt was green until I got it into better lighting....when it was finished. Ah well, acid rain it is.
*Mustachioed bacon. I actually made this puppet on the plane going into Missouri. I just haven't photographed it until now. I really like it. A lot. I think this is one that will stay in my own personal collection.
*Rabbit of Makershed fame. Yet another bunny that I made back in May at the Maker Faire in San Fran (I can call it San Fran because I'm native to California and it makes me sound cool). I'll remind you now that the kits are available at the makershed online. I hand wound each spool of thread that's in those kits (No really, I did). Indie kit all the way, baby! Support the indie artist! Or don't, it's cool. (I can say indie because I'm on the tail end of gen-x and it makes me sound cool.)
*Googly Eyed Strawberry. I was at my friend's house while she was making dough on Saturday and she gave me a pile of felt, a needle, thread and scissors. Also she gave me a straw for my drink. Wendy's failed. This (and the acid rain) came out of the felt. With my help.

Side story: our children (age 4--but collective age of 8, so they should have known better!) were hanging out in her backyard unsupervised, because really, what harm can two four-year-olds do to a backyard with a playhouse and a swing-set? Let me answer: They threw rocks over my friend's fence, apparently hitting her car, putting dings in the paint as well as breaking the windshield. That's right, my son is a vandal. Hooligan. (I feel terrible about that, by the way.) When asked if there were things on the other side of the fence that could get broken, his response was, "No. We couldn't see what was on the other side of the fence."
So you know how when you go out of a baby's line of vision, they freak out because to them you don't exist anymore? Apparently fences have the same effect on four-year-olds.

Ok, finally I have to tell you about an artist whom I stumbled across today on Etsy. His name is Dean Kendrick and he does amazing shadow boxes and has some beautiful hand-drawn and stop-motion animation on his website. I dig.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

dude, don't forget to vote.

I went to New York for 5 days and this is the only proof that I have that I was ever there. It's me and Mr. Craig Hunter from Cubistliterature. We were in Red Hook, Brooklyn, which is really pretty darn awesome. Anytime I visit Brooklyn, it makes me wish I lived there. Granted, it's pretty darn smelly...I couldn't quite get over that part. And there are many other reasons I'm glad I live where I live, but for the social aspect I wish I lived there. Craig and I went out to lunch & it was lovely.

I stayed with Jen from Sweetestpea and Goobeetsa from Goobeetsa while I was out there. They were such kind hosts! Their apartment, the largest in Brooklyn, is adorable! They're also both really great artists.

The improv festival prior to my goings-outs-to-lunch went pretty well. Our show was okay, but eh, it's improv--at a marathon-style festival, sometimes you're not going to have your best show. I totally missed Josh and Tamra's improvised puppet show! I caught bits and pieces of another improvised puppet show out there that was done with Sunny puppets...The humor was there, but the puppetry made my tummy feel icky. Like..ugh. eating words, no focus (really how much can you get out of a Sunny puppet anyway?). standing there looking at the ceiling, as talking heads and biting words. It was not done by puppeteers...

Am I being harsh? Of course I am! If an improviser watches non-improvisers do improv--and do it badly-- they cringe and ask why in the world would someone just pick-up and try to do an art-form without any training? You're telling people that that's what improv is? You're lying to people and they're just believing you. You're hurting the artform! You must hate your audience and improv! Go take a workshop, foo'! (Which I hear a lot from improvisers) So yeah, I don't feel bad calling improvisers out on botching another performance art. Yah--eat it. With a spoon.

I really really want to get this longform puppetry troupe up and running. I want it to be GOOD improvised puppetry! Not the stacey-drunk-em-ups style, but involve thoughtfully good scenes. It will happen. I hope.

All summer my creating of things has been down a lot. I'm driving 2.5 hours every day, which eats into creating...a lot. I listed a puppet on Etsy that I made in June..which weirdly helps put the creative bug back into me. I finished two finger puppets this morning. My son is helping me price things. "$1,000 for a raincloud." DEAL. "$20 for a raincloud getting a strawberry fresh. $13 for a raincloud lifting a car up." I think I need a better agent. Prices are only going down at this point. Hopefully I'll take pictures of the $.02 puppets today and get them posted to flickr so your magical eyes can see my magical puppets. Magical.

A 2nd bird today has just hit my dining-room window.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Del Close Marathon

If you plan to stalk me, go to New York this weekend. I'll be performing with Apollo 12 at the Del Close Marathon (Improv festival) on Saturday at 4pm at the Hudson Guild Theater. This will be my 2nd trip to New York. It will be amazing.

If you do stalk me, please tackle me after the show. (I want to be tackled to the ground. Do it, I'll give you a nickel.) I would be very sad to find out that someone I know came and they didn't tackle me afterwards.

I'm hoping to get over to the marionette theater to see--marionettes. If I do, I'll have hit the two oldest puppet theaters on both coasts in one summer. Is it a little bit sad that I even know that? Or is it more sad that I feel as though it's an accomplishment. *Pushes up nerd-glasses*

We had our Puppet Slam this last weekend & my cohort finished the script for me. He did a great job, too. So our Friday show had a great crowd as usual, and the Saturday show had a larger, but quieter crowd, as usual. Saturday crowds are weird.

Before the show I was able to fix Little Red Riding Hood's arms up in a really cool way Nick Barone taught at the workshop. It emphasized how different her arms are in proportion, but it makes it so they're not all floppy-floppy at the side. (Note the before shot to the right & after below.) Here, when I've been thinking almost every arm like this has some sort of armature in it, all it took was some soft-sculpture techniques. Yay that!

Goal: This time next year I will have a set of human puppets for shows that I will have spent a goodly amount of time constructing. (Meaning not 4 puppets in 5 days as per the usual)

Hold me to it, blog-world.