Monday, September 24, 2007

Puppet Up! Sat., Sep 29, 8:00, Avalon

puppet up poster

The Jim Henson Company's Puppet Up! Uncensored returns to Avalon in Hollywood this Saturday. Doors open at 7:00 pm and the show begins at 8:00 pm. If you haven't seen this show you really must check it out. Click here for tickets.

The Ogre


This Ogre hand puppet is from Puss in Boots, by Snapdragon Puppet Productions. The head is covered with antron fleece (also know as Muppet fleece), and airbrushed to give it definition. Puss and Boots debuted in the summer of 2006. It was the last puppet show that Roger Mara created.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Mosquito Rod Puppet


This mosquito puppet is from The Tall Tales of Paul Bunyan by Snapdragon Puppet Productions. The wings are attached by a small spring and controlled by black thread. This simple but inventive puppet is a great example of Roger Mara's cleverness as a puppet builder.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Babe the Blue Ox

Blue Ox

Babe the Blue Ox from The Tall Tales of Paul Bunyan by Snapdragon Puppet Productions. This yonger version of Babe is a rod puppet, as he grows during the puppet show, he becomes a larger hand puppet. Babe's head is snipped from a block of foam, and a string is attached to his bottom jaw to open and close the mouth.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Friday, September 14, 2007

Puppets After Hours

The Mantis Sisters

Puppets After Hours, Saturday, September 15 @ 7:30 pm, Free-of-Charge. 1745 N. Spring Street #4, Los Angeles, CA 90012. This is an outdoor venue, so please dress comfortably. Light refreshments available.

Farmlab presents Puppets After Hours as part of the Accidentally on Purpose Series. A fully immersive evening of adult-themed puppet theater, interactive performance art, and live music featuring some of L.A.'s best best puppeteers. Puppets sing, dance, perform sketch comedy, and engage in avant-garde art installations. The audience is invited to walk among giant fish in our puppet aquarium. Pick up a drum and jam with the percussion performance art group GLANK. Join in three-part harmony with our Praying Mantis doo-wop girl group. After the show all are welcome to mix and mingle with the cast.

Created, Produced, and Directed by Frank Langley IV, Donna Kimball, and Jordan M. Albert, in association with the Chiodo Brothers Productions, PUPPETS AFTER HOURS boasts these talented performers:

Contributing artists include: Tim Blaney, Alison Mork, Scott Land, Kristin Charney, Victor Yerrid, Peggy Etra, Donna Kimball, Michael Oostrom, Kevin Carlson, Brian Clark, Eli Presser, Robyn Simms Johnson, Sean Johnson, Patrick Johnson, and more!

Puppets After Hours is not suitable for children.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Roger Mara's Workshop


During our trip to Seattle we had hoped to visit with Roger Mara, a puppeteer friend of ours that had been diagnosed with cancer. Sadly he passed away before we arrived. Roger was an amazing and talented puppeteer and puppet builder. His early death was a great loss to the puppetry community. When Patrick and I were just starting out, we often looked to Roger for help and advice. Drawing on his years of experience, he taught us how to run a successful and professional puppet company. While up in Seattle, Elizabeth Luce, his long time friend and collaborator kindly let us tour his workshop, so that we could see some of the new puppets he created since relocating to the Pacific Northwest. Over the coming days I'll be sharing some of Roger's puppets with you. I hope his work inspires you as much as it inspires me.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Archie McPhee 2

Archie McPhee

Archie McPhee in Seattle is a great place to find unusual puppet building materials, puppet show props and inspiration. Check out these cases: plastic coins, tiny pigs, miniature rubber chickens, 8 ball beads... and more. If you are not in the Seattle area check out their online store.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Hobey Ford is Coming to L.A.

Hobey Ford's Golden Rod Puppets, Turtle Island Tales

Friday, September 14 - 7:00 pm

Scherr Forum Theatre, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza, Coumtrywide Performing Arts Center, 2100 E. Thousand Oaks, Blvd., Thousand Oaks CA.

Tickets: $16 kids, $22 adults. Purchase tickets by phone with VISA/Master Card, Call (805) 646-8907

Turtle Island Tales is a performance of songs and stories of Native Americans, told through shadow puppetry and a life-sized realistic Native American singer puppet who narrates the show. Winner of puppetry's highest honor, the UNIMA Citation of Excellence, and recipient of three Jim Henson Foundation grants, Hobey Ford is known for excellence in puppetry performance and craft.

Hoby is an amazing puppeteer and a very talented puppet builder. I saw him perform a couple of years ago, and the show was great.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Swazzle Workshop Episode 7

Tiger, Mayor Mole, and Mousedeer

Episode 7 of the Swazzle Workshop is now online. In this episode Mayor Mole stops by to show Tiger and Mousedeer how to make a Garbage Monster puppet. Please enjoy and pass it on to your friends.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Video Puppetry Workshop in L.A.

I just got word that puppeteer Michael Earl will be offering some video puppetry workshops in the Los Angles Area. As a past student of his, I would highly recommend this workshop to any puppeteer interested in video puppetry. Working with Michael eventually led to my involvement with Jim Henson's Puppet Up!, and greatly improved my video puppetry skills. Many of today's top film and video puppeteers have studied with Michael. Anytime I perform a puppet in front of a camera, I am using the techniques I learned from his classes.

Michael Earl has performed in many Muppet and non-Muppet productions, most notably as the original Mr. Snuffleupagus on Sesame Street. He joined the Muppets in 1978 at the age of 19. After three years under contract, he freelanced with the Muppets for the next twelve years on several projects. After leaving the Muppets, he went on to become a four-time Emmy Award-winning puppeteer and writer/lyricist.

For more information about his classes visit his web site and click on contact.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Archie McPhee

Archie McPhee 1

Located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, Archie McPhee is a must visit store full to the brim of oddities and bazar collectable junk. It's like shopping in Pee Wee's Playhouse!

The founder of Archie McPhee started in Los Angles by selling rubber lizards, rubber chickens, punching nuns and other crazy items out of his home. He discovered that there was a market for that stuff and in 1983 he moved his entire inventory to Seattle and set up shop. His first store was located in Fremont, an arts neighborhood in Seattle, and it stayed in that location for fourteen years. The shop was moved to its current location in Ballard in 1999. Archie McPhee's is a must see tourist destination and an outrageous shopping experience.

For the puppet builders out there you will find plastic bins full of taxidermy eyes, a wall of wigs, spools of wacky ribbons, colored wire, rubber tubing, industrial odds and ends and more.

Archie McPhee's also sells it's own line of toys through their toy label Accoutrements. Some of their most popular items include Devil Duckies, the Crazy Cat Lady Action Figure, and Bacon Bandages.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

The New


The Jim Henson Company has just updated their web site. The new site is bright and colorful, and features photos of their puppets. The home page has a flash slide show that has information about Puppet Up Uncensored!, The Skrumps, Tinseltown, The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth DVDs and more. Also on the home page there is a link for a new Kids' Zone (Coming Soon) - that should be fun. You can also ask the company a question, and it might be answered in an upcoming episode of the podcast.

Frog Dissection


I occasionally get e-mail from readers of my blog. Most people ask about specific puppet building questions. Some people send me photos of their puppets, or works in progress. The other day I received this photo from a sender that asked to remain anonymous. Yes, they have actually deconstructed the Kermit the Frog photo puppet from Master Replicas.