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Coney Island USA Performing Arts Puppetry Story Teller Vaudevisuals Interview Video Women

Vaudevisuals interview with Gretchen Van Lente

An assortment of puppeteers perform various scenes from the 358-year-old traditional English puppet show, Punch & Judy (n.b. for adults only)

“Kamikaze” is a term Drama of Works uses for its themed puppet slams, based around one story/event/play. A multitude of puppet artists are given sections of the story to reinterpret and create with wild abandon. Then it is presented in order. No one knows how it will come together until the night of the show. 

Puppets Come Home! is a series designed to celebrate Coney Island’s 150-year legacy of puppetry & provide a platform for contemporary cutting-edge puppeteers. Produced in collaboration with Coney Island USA.

Go here for the show on August 13th @8 pm!


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Clown Comedy Mask Performing Arts Photography Puppetry Story Teller Vaudevisuals Interview Writer

Vaudevisuals interview – Keith Shubert – Toybox Theatre

Keith Shubert is working on his puppets, toys, and other wonderful notions in North Carolina. He is an MC, producer, puppeteer, clown, and witch!

When I was in Asheville last year we attempted to meet for a person-to-person interview but I got sick. We postponed it and last week I got a chance to do the interview via Zoom.

For more information about Keith’s work you can visit his website his Facebook page.

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Coffeehouse Chronicles LaMaMa etc Performing Arts Puppetry Story Teller Video Women

REVISIT – LaMama Coffeehouse Chronicles #129 – Contemporary Puppet Theater

~ EDITOR’S COMMENTS ~

Five years ago LaMama theater presented this wonderful ‘Coffeehouse Chronicles’ examining the contemporary puppet theater from the 1970s to 2015. I thought it would bring some joy to those that missed this wonderful event and others to repost in these difficult times.


Contemporary Puppet Theater

Curator: Michal Gamily

Panelists: Ralph Lee, Roman Paska, Lake Simons and Amy Trompetter

Cheryl Henson introduces the evening’s agenda to the audience.


Federico Restrepo talks to the audience about his show “Undefined Fraction”. 

Lake Simons performs an excerpt from “Wind Set Up”.

Amy Trompetter talks to the audience about her history performing political theater with puppets.

Roman Paska talks about his work and the 1970’s and it’s influences

Coffeehouse Chronicles #129 participants: L to R – Amy Trompetter, Arthur Adair, Roman Paska, Lake Simons, Michal Gamily, Cheryl Henson, Jane Catherine Shaw, Ralph Lee.


Here are 2 videos that include much of the afternoon’s discussions.
Part 1 and Part 2

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Categories
Cafe Istanbul History Sideshow Southern Sideshow Hootenanny Story Teller Video

James Taylor – “Spiel on the Peale” – A Talk given at The Southern Sideshow Hootenanny

In March of 2020, I gave a presentation – “First in Half the World – A Spiel on the Peale” – as the opening event for the USofA’s oldest sideshow convention, the Southern Sideshow Hootenanny in New Orleans. And its pitch ran something like this:

“During the War of 1812, during the siege of Ft. McHenry, there was another notable event besides the dawning of the “Star-Spangled Banner”: Under construction – the siege visible from its scaffolding – was the oldest purpose-built museum in the Western Hemisphere. The Peale Museum was the outgrowth of the Peale family’s exhibition franchise that spread across the Mid-Atlantic and typified virtually all the glories – and contradictions & conflicts – of the museum business even today. “America’s sideshow historian,” James Taylor, talks on the Peale’s history and legacy, one that highlights institutions from the Smithsonian to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! to dime museums and carnival midway shows.”

But that’s not all you’ll see here. Really, what spiel consists of only what’s advertised?


NOTE:

You will be requested to enter your name and email address 3 minutes into the video. The email address will be added to the Southern Sideshow Hootenanny mailing list. It will not be sold or given to other entities!


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Bouffon Clown Comedy Commedia dell' Arte Mask Mime Performing Arts Physical Theater Story Teller Women Workshop

MTS – Summer Physical Theater Institute and New Online Classes!

What Covid-19 Means for MTS This Summer!

2020 marks the ten year anniversary of Movement Theater Studio’s world-renowned month-long Summer Physical Theater Institute. Hosted by CUNY Brooklyn College’s Theater Department on the grounds of their beautiful campus deep in the heart of Brooklyn the four-week intensive and such one-week workshops as Clown, Character Mask, The Ensemble Director and of course Norman Taylor’s transformative master classes have attracted almost 3,000 students from across the globe during this last decade. We are very proud of that! And despite the setbacks of this year’s Covid-19 pandemic, MTS remains committed to providing the highest level of physical acting training to its students – both new and returning.

To that end, we have both pushed back our 2020 summer offerings and shortened the length of the full-time intensive. We’re lucky enough to have the same world-class faculty and with a lengthened teaching day we will be able to cover almost as much as before. SO! Below you will see a start date of July 20th (which we believe best positions us to ensure we will be free of social distancing rules and limits on public assembly) and we’ve significantly cut prices in acknowledgment of the particular hardship brought upon the artistic community. Of course, the city may still not be open-for-business and we may not be able to run these courses. But we are planning on it – and signing up those who might NEED a place to get creative at that point more than ever! Lastly, I would like to thank all of the many who have trained with us this past decade – who have brought their talent, dedication, and fun into the room. These are punishing times for the creative soul but I believe that like the Phoenix from the ashes the curiosity of the artist will prevail and thrive – no matter what the foe. See below and…..

COME JOIN US!

Richard Crawford, Director MTS


in association with
BROOKLYN COLLEGE

TWO-WEEK INTENSIVE
July 20th – July 31st, 9 am – 6 pm
The first comprehensive Lecoq based training program in New York.  Focusing on the Actor as Creator, the 2020 Summer Physical Theater Intensive at MTS is based on key elements of the Lecoq pedagogy, including Le jeu, Clown, Neutral Mask and Lecoq’s 20 Movements in approaching the creation of original and physically told narratives.  Faculty include Richard Crawford (Actor War Horse, Clown Director Cirque Du Soleil), Adrienne Kapstein (War Horse, Broadway), Yuval Boim (LISPA), and Virginia Scott (FizGig Studio).


ONE WEEK WORKSHOPS




RICHARD CRAWFORD
CHARACTER MASK
July 20th – 24th
A dynamic and playful weekend workshop exploring the fundamentals of mask play and the creation of mask theater; using full-faced Larval and Expressive masks with MTS founder/director Richard Crawford


VIRGINIA SCOTT

CLOWN 1
July 27th – 31st
It’s your big chance to seek the source of your comic nature, connect to your playful spirit, and discover your clown! Virginia Scott – Discovering the Clown


RICHARD CRAWFORD

LECOQ 101
AUG 3rd – 7th
A dynamic and playful weekend workshop exploring the fundamentals of mask play and the creation of mask theater; using full-faced Larval and Expressive masks with MTS founder/director Richard Crawford


VIRGINIA SCOTT
CLOWN 2
AUG 3rd – 7th
Pre-requisite: Clown 1.  Now let’s make some funny stuff to show the audience! The clowns develop material unique to them and each student walks away with 5 minutes of individual material!

NOTE: update on May 6th: if these summer classes can’t run because of extended gathering restrictions we will move everything online.

For additional information regarding the Summer Workshops Click Here!


ALSO – 6 dynamic online classes beginning May 18th.

Shadow Puppetry: Silhouettes in my Bedroom

Stories in Sound

Lecoq’s Twenty Movements: Adventures in (a tiny) Space

Mask Making/Play

The Ensemble Director

Physical Comedy

  Click Here for Information


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Categories
Coney Island USA Performing Arts Sideshow Story Teller Writer

Congress of Curious Peoples – Hall of Fame Inductee Ward Hall

Ward Hall was inducted into the Coney Island USA “Hall of Fame” last year at the Annual Conference of Curious Peoples.

“The Conference of Curious Peoples” was scheduled for this year but ‘Cancelled’ due to the Coronavirus Pandemic!


Ward Hall was titled the King of the Sideshow for a good reason. He kept his show going for many years.

For more information on Ward Hall, you can read this great book by Tim O’Brien – “Ward Hall – King of the Sideshow”.

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Categories
Celebration Barn Clown Comedy Commedia dell' Arte Juggling Mask Mime Performing Arts Physical Theater Story Teller Women

Celebration Barn announces cancellation of 2020 season

The theater in Paris, Maine forced to close due to pandemic.

Amanda Huotari, executive artistic director at Celebration Barn Theater in Paris, poses outside of the theater Friday. The organization has canceled programming this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Photo ©2020 – Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Reposted from The Sun Journal

PARIS — Celebration Barn Theater has canceled its programming for this year because artists from around the world can’t travel here and audiences can’t be close to each other because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Amanda Huotari, executive artistic director, said most of the theater’s revenue comes from hosting artists from around the world for workshops, residencies and performances.

“Over the past four weeks — it feels like four years — we really took the journey of feeling the heartbreak of having to cancel … It just felt that there really was no way we could move forward with programming this season with any certainty,” she said.

The announcement was posted Thursday on Facebook.

“We don’t know when our audiences are going to feel comfortable gathering again in close proximity, we don’t know when travel bans will make it possible for artists to travel, and for artists that are traveling in to do workshops, we don’t know if their loss of work is going to impact their ability to travel in the country right now. We knew that it would not be in the barn’s best interest or the communities’ best interest if we went forward and had a season.”

In its 47 years, Celebration Barn has never faced the complete cancellation of the season, and the future is unclear, she said.

“Financially it’s a real heavy lift to see a path forward,” Huotari said.

At the beginning of last year, a new financial gift program laid a sold financial foundation for the coming season. However, major concerns remain.

“We have never faced something like this before,” Houtari said. “Right now, we’re 100 percent in the throes of upheaval. We applied for emergency funding. We don’t know if our application is in the works, but the payroll protections funds have just run out, waiting to see if more become available.

She said in the coming weeks, the theater on Stock Farm Road will have a better idea of what it can do during the canceled season; if live-streamed shows are still a possibility, or online workshops and learning opportunities. But the real focal point is the 2021 season, and if the appetite of audiences will be changed moving forward. – “ I think that we really will have an opportunity to respond to the way in which the world has shifted in response to this experience, and the way the needs of our artists and audiences have changed … people are going to be hungry for different things, and I think we really have an opportunity to respond to that,” she said.

Traditionally, performances happen in close proximity, as do workshops. But Huotari said avenues might open for more spaced-out, inventive performances.

“Our expertise is really in the area of getting people together for an immediate theater experience,” she said. “While our history with doing that generally in a room in close proximity to each other, we’ve also done theater safaris where the audience travels around our property to various experiences, where storytellers are in trees and dancers are in fields. … We’re also well equipped to think outside the box. We’ll be looking for ways to bring people together to feel the immediacy of that human connection but it may be in ways unlike anything we’ve seen before.”

Though many patrons and artists understood the need to shut down this season, some were apprehensive. Huotari said if COVID-19 and all the restrictions associated with it dissipate soon, the theater is in a position to act.

“We’re small and we’re nimble,” she said. “If things do change and we do see opportunity in the coming months, we’ll be able to respond to that really quickly. I’d love to think that there’s a chance we’ll be able to get audiences in the barn this year, but it’s going to take a rapidly improving global condition for that to be possible.”

Until the global situation reaches relative normalcy, the barn is going to need some help. After announcing the cancellation, Huotari said PayPal donations started coming in within minutes. “If any folks are in a position to make a contribution … we would be most grateful for gifts now, as they matter more than ever,” she said.

For now, though, the focus has to be on coming strong in 2021.“Our No. 1 priority is securing the future of the Celebration Barn. And all eyes are on 2021, and what we have to do to come back with a full season,” she said.

You can visit their website to make a Donation!

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Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show Comedy Dixon Place Music Performing Arts Photography Story Teller Variety Arts Video Women

March 2020 – Bindlestiff Open Stage @Dixon Place

So. for starters we are now in ‘Lockdown’ in New York City. The next Bindlestiff Open Stage Variety Show will be broadcast to you on the internet. I will try and take some screenshots for those folks who won’t be able to watch. Here is last month’s show in pictures!

Bindlestiff’s co-founder and host for the show Keith Nelson takes the first slot in the show for his ‘Chinese yoyo’ routine.

Maks and Chelsea perform their hysterical antics.

In the spirit of vaudeville Keith takes his time winding the string on his top.

Keith gives an example of how ‘folks’ use to have longer attention spans and looks at the top.

Mariko Iwasa invites an audience member to be part of her performance ‘tea’ ceremony.

The volunteer clad in a Japanese kimono and waiting to sample the tea that Mariko is pouring.

Delaney Bayes performed a beautifully lyrical juggling routine with grace and finesse.

Keith threw a potato into the air and caught on a fork. Nice move!

Ellia Klein was amazing in her contortion act.

Mark Gindick came on stage with a ‘singer’ persona but it changed when Michael Bongar intruded.

And then he recruited an audience member that was blown away by Michael Bongar leaf blower!

Molly Siksin performed on the trapeze with skill and abandonment.

Cassandra Nemser was very vocal (she sang Opera) while escaping from her straightjacket.

Miss 360 performed a deLIGHTful hula hoop routine.

Cleo Carol Knopf sang an original song about her ‘hero’ Bernie Sanders!

Jean-Taé S. Francis performed a charming ‘rola-bola’ act.

Surprising the audience with his Spider-Man costume was aerialist Shawn E. Shawn.

~On April 6th, 2020 The Bindlestiff Open Stage Show will be Broadcast on the internet~

I hope you enjoy this new VERSION of the show! Stay tuned for more information.

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Categories
Clown Comedy Performing Arts Story Teller Vaudevisuals Interview

Vaudevisuals interview with Joel Jeske

I sat down with Joel Jeske and ask questions about his life performing with a few different circus shows and now what he was doing on his own one-man show.

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“The Artist Will Be With You in A Moment”

a new immersive solo comedy experience from Parallel Exit

March 7- 29th, 2020 at Jeffrey and Paula Gural Theatre at the A.R.T. Theaters, 502 West 53rd St., NYC

Tickets on Sale at ParallelExit.com

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Categories
Comedy Coney Island USA Interview Performing Arts Photography Puppetry Story Teller

Vaudevisuals interview with Poncili Creacions – ‘Bending Endinning’

I had a great time interviewing Efrain del Hierro of Poncili Creacion from Puerto Rico. His wild object creations are so much fun and he enjoys the work as you can tell from the constant ‘glow’ on his face. Watch this great interview and then come see Efrain and brother Pablo put on a ‘spectacle’ like you probably have never seen before!

One of the Poncili Creacion objects.
A Poncili Creacion photographed on location in Puerto Rico.

From the Press Release:

In Bending Endinning… Poncili Ceación will humbly try by any means–with aggressive energy & unorthodox techniques–to remove from the human minds of the audience the belief that not everything is possible. Prepare yourself to be touched, challenged & surprised while they perform open-mind surgery on your preconditioned brain.

Using large-scale transformative sculpture, raw magic & visceral energy, Poncili Ceación plunges us into a whimsical nightmare to contemplate the beauty of nothingness all around & within us. This is one ride that you won’t escape unscathed.

This one-of-a-kind night of unconventional puppetry will also feature a cardboard invasion by Brooklyn’s own BOXCUTTER COLLECTIVE! Core members Sam Wilson, Jason Hicks, Tom Cunningham & Joe Therrien are part of an extended family that includes Puppeteers, Painters, Performers, Builders, Educators, Workers, Union Organizers, & Mischief Makers. They make cultural work for the revolution from garbage & bad jokes. Their aim is to take down the rotten empire one cardboard puppet show at a time.

For more information/tickets

Producer Brendan and Poncili’s own Efrain del Hierro at Vaudevisuals headquarters in Brooklyn, NY. after the interview.

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