Another awesome puppet adventure! On a perfect September day we brought our ten 10 foot tall Trailblazer puppets to the streets of Asheville as part of the biggest Blue Ridge Pride fest yet. The puppets are figures representing 10 local leaders going back 50 years. We celebrated their diverse work in making the community stronger with a rainbow of fabric, bling and a lot of love.
Meka Bunch was our fearless and creative leader of this project. We got wonderful support from Amanda Wray of the UNCA LGBTQ+ Oral History Archive, and from Tina White and the staff at Blue Ridge Pride. #lovewins
In the last month we had a marionette performance at Folkmoot, shot a video about how to grow a pollinator friendly garden, started making a new batch of puppets for the Blue Ridge Pride Festival, and brought watery creatures to the LEAF Down by River event. But the biggest news is this –
It’s been a great run at Jubilee but they have just put the building on the market and we are searching for our next place to land. Sad face!
Third time in 2 years. This gets old. Time for a new approach. We are going to try to gather our forces and our friends and buy something. It’s a daunting task but we are stepping on the path. Meanwhile, do you know of something semi temporary? See here for the specs
We had a wonderful performance of The Earth is Alive! on Saturday! Thank you to all the folks, young and old who came to watch at Jubilee. It was a full house and the audience laughed, cried, sang along and danced. Oh what a joy it was!
If you’ve got Josh’s songs stuck in your head, like we all do, you can listen and purchase his album here.
As we head into fall, we will be taking a little break from this show, but hope to remount it in the spring. Some photos by Turtle Dove below.
This Saturday at Jubilee, please come see our puppet musical about Appalachian plants! The songs are written and performed by Josh Fox and friends. The puppetry and script was created by Street Creature. It’s a family show with interactive bits, dancing, and a joyful message.
Wow! What a night! We were invited to bring our lanterns to a Rising Appalachia show at Salvage Station, after Chloe and Leah saw us at LEAF. We pulled out all the stops and it was grand: bringing the white dragon Minetaka (thank you Surreal Sirkus), Bam’s Chrysalis and Starbrella, renewed jellies, an updated arctic fox, the moon (repaired from his wet adventures at Toe Down), Stella the owl (now able to swoop), ghost moths, 70+ giveaway lanterns AND the star of the show, the new Blue Heron! We came out from backstage about 9:30, parting the huge crowd which showered us with love, while the band played their song “Make Magic”. Indeed. We wound our way through and danced until the last encore. I’m still high from it.
The heron was started by Meka, Christine, and Melanie at a workshop in Cary by Gowri Savoor last winter. Last week (because without a deadline we would be nowhere) Meka and Christine, with help from Julie and Lisa finished her up. This tall beauty brings a new level of design to the Street Creature menagerie. It’s lightweight, comfortable, with great articulation in the head, neck and legs. Yes! More of that please. Check out our instagram highlights for some great videos.
June is flying by! Two weeks ago we did a double parade day – bringing our Tree Hugger and friends first to the Nature Center BioBlitz, a hands-on learning opportunity collecting tiny creatures from the Swannanoa, photgraphing and releasing them. Then we packed up and drove to Mills River for the Firefly Gathering parade. Firefly is an earthskills community gathering. They had their first parade and the Critters made it extra fun. We’ve already been invited back for next year!
Then last weekend we headed up to northwest of Burnsville, to the lovely Green Mountain, where the Toe Down music festival is held. It’s a small fest in beautiful rolling pastures by the Toe River. We did a lantern making workshop and lantern parade, bringing starry magic to the event.
Now we are preparing for even bigger stuff in July! Stay tuned.
We decorated Meka’s truck with the old mermaid on top (given a spinal adjustment c/o a trash can and a lot of tape!), flower streamers, rainbow ribbons, an “Everyone Welcome” sign, and of course a kiddie pool with our own mermaid. This year it was Julie! We had a variety of water creatures – an eel, a turtle, jellyfish, pirates galore, along with blue sparkly gowns and mumus. And of course water guns of all sizes! Plus we had the luck of parading with the fab Brass Your Heart Band! They kept everyone dancing!
Thank you city of Marshall for your welcoming chaos and colorful enthusiasm!
Along with The Earth is Alive! we created a lantern parade and a Water is Life parade at LEAF.
The lantern parade was the soggiest one so far. The skies were clear as we transported our wagon full of paper globes, moths and celestial elements to the launch site by the Barn. Within 20 minutes however a cold wind kicked up and gray clouds began dumping on us! We hurriedly dragged the gear under an awning and watch it pour. Luckily we were near the lounge and so enjoyed some beverages and waited it out. Many kids and their grownups happily bounced around, waiting with us. It cleared in about a half hour so we set off down the road singing “This Little Light of Mine!” Over the last 3 weeks we had made about 50 lanterns to give away. They all were gone before we even made it to the Meadow Stage! We loaned a few of the big lanterns out too, including the jellies. One of them got a new name in the process, Allen, in honor of the spirit of a beloved uncle who was an ocean activist nicknamed Jellyfish. Lantern parade magic.
Lots of happy folks joined us as we wended our way to Brookside Gym. Unfortunately the rain came back with a blast about 10 minutes before we reached our destination. So the lanterns got a good soak.
Luckily the next day was sunny and warm and they mostly dried out. Saturday was the Earth is Alive! (see previous post). Sunday was the water parade and it was gloriously sunny and hot. We had stiltwalking faeriekin, a great blue heron, trout, jelly fish, lots of blue sparkle and joy. We hooked up with Zabumba, a super fun samba band, at the Meadow Stage and paraded down to the lake side field. There was a lot of LEAF love mutually exchanged along the way!
Whew! Our first production of The Earth is Alive! was a success! Thanks to LEAF Global Arts for hosting it last weekend.
Much gratitude to all who created it – a labor of love! Set to the beautiful songs of Josh Fox and friends, it was a journey through the plant kingdom of southern Appalachian and the cycle of the seasons.
Save the date of July 23rd for the next show (at Jubilee).
Puppetry credits: Sunny – Meka Bunch Nana – Geneva Bierce Wilson Flowers – Julie Vann, Sabra Stein Hammond, Christine Merrick Kudzu Queen – Melanie Brethauer Kudzu Attendant – Michael Elmore Queen Bee – Johanna Schneider Reishi King – Chris Bam Eizember Crow – Christine Merrick Stagehand, sun, writer, director – Jen Murphy Costumes – Gail Snowden Painters – Jen Murphy, Sabra Stein Hammond Super Assistants – Turtle Dove and Brooklyn, Lisa Kung, Ryan and Greg Terkelsen, Jordan Diamond, Matt Pospishil, Mica Sun
Extra kudos to the Faeriekin for costuming support and love.
We are fast heading toward LEAF (May 13-15) and things are busy! We are doing 3 different things there – a lantern parade, our new show The Earth is Alive! and a Sunday morning walkabout with a water theme.
The show is coming along but we need more rehearsal! The costumes and puppets look great! Team work really makes the dream work at the Puppet Clubhouse.