We tried something different this year for the Asheville Holiday Parade and it was a hit! In fact, we won the BEST COMMUNITY entry!
Woody Timberheart, our glowing Grinch in drag, had a vision of Whoville in Asheville – celebrating Asheville’s unique characters in a Seussian style. The critters responded with an explosion of red and green, polka dots, sparkly bits and weird noses!
We learned a song, choreographed dance moves, sewed adorable elf shoes. There were wigs and gloves and a fantabulous thromnibulating instrument that has yet to be named. There were late nights at the Clubhouse (thank you thank you thank you Jubilee, and sorry about the glitter). Several new Street Creatures came on board during the process too – Welcome welcome fahoo ramus!
Back in the day, before Street Creature started, some of Asheville’s freaky folk were involved in a project called the Surreal Sirkus. They recently decided to do a 25th anniversary celebration and revive the group. The goal – to #makeashevillemagicagain! We were invited to help by making one of our plastic bag dragon bodies. Rees Perry made the beautiful and very large head of the dragon, all white with huge eyes and a mouth that opens.
While preparing for LEAF we started tying the bags together but there was a long way to go. Luckily, the UNC Apples, a service learning volunteer group from Chapel Hill, visits us annually. They arrived at the right time to tie a lot of plastic bags! The final “weaving” is 20′ long by 9′ wide, made mostly of Hopey Co bags and accented sparkly gold and silver ribbon.
On the day of the Sirkus, Erika Charbeneau was lead puppeteer and gathered a team all in white. They lit up the body and rehearsed the lifting and air catching movement. Just as the main performance started, the dragon made a spectacular entrance by the stage in Pack Square! His large quiet floating dance cast a spell. See a video here.
A couple of weeks later he made another appearance downtown, on Halloween night. Leaflin, Marston and friends created an impromtu parade dubbed Samhain Splendor. The dragon, now named Mintaka, made his sinewy way down brick sidewalks, around tourists, accompanied by bells, drums, sage, chanting. I hear tell he’s going to crash the Holiday Parade too!
The October 2021 LEAF fest was beautiful, exhausting, magical, and bonding, (as usual). We had 12+ Street critters on site, bringing big puppets and lantern fun to the land that we love. We got to stay in a cabin again, with our own mini theme camp nearby, anchored by Michael’s puppet storage trailer which enabled us to scoff at the predicted wet weather (only a few sprinkles). Banana boats were made and enjoyed.
We did another lantern workshop on Friday and ran out of lanterns pretty fast (a lot more kids this time), so we made a bunch from scratch on the fly!
The lantern parade was Saturday night and the cold trickster wind kept us on our toes. The sky was brilliantly clear with a huge yellow moon. Despite the battering that the lanterns got it was a magical trek around the grounds.
Sunday we brought out the Tree Hugger and he was a big hit! Many many photo opps, high fives, acorn wishes, and hugs were given.
This fest seemed about half the size of the pre-pandemic LEAFs but after the last 3 little ones it felt BIG. Supposedly the next one in May will be full size again. We will be there with a NEW SHOW!
We were invited to be part of a wonderful event on the Hominy Creek Greenway and decided to finish our Tree Hugger in time for this.
Hominy Rising was an exhibit of temporary art installations. We were part of the Family Day event on Oct. 3, along with a puppet show, school play, kid presentations and a sound walk.
We discovered that the little kids were afraid of the big tree but when he sat down, they came up to it. Offering high fives first seemed less intimidating. We came up with a few other ideas for how to improve it that we will add in before the LEAF festival next week.
A lantern parade in the daytime? Yeah, not so good. But it did finally get dark and we DID get to march behind the fabulous Zabumba Samba drummers, so all in all, a good time! Starry Night had it’s premiere – another brilliant concept by our beloved Bam Booey. And the big moon! This is going to be amazing on a dark night.
Saturday’s walkabout looked great too! Hello green dragon!
We’ve been talking about it for years but it always conflicted with other events. Finally last week we were part of the Marshall Mermaid Parade! What a blast. It was the first time we got to decorate a golf cart! And we had our our resident magical mermaid in the pool of honor – Alena Applerose.
We won’t be missing this one again. Old fashioned fun! The rain even held off till it was over!
Whew! The cracks were showing but we did it, together. The Road to Shamballa is Street Creature’s first film! We were part of the 48 hour Film Project, an annual endeavor that people from all over the world participate in: “The 48 Hour Film Project is a wild and sleepless weekend in which you and a team make a movie – write, shoot, and edit – in just 48 hours. On Friday night, teams draw a genre from a hat. They are then given a character, prop and line to include in their films. On Sunday night, in a wild dash to the drop off event, the film is turned in – and teams celebrate. The film is then screened at a local theater in front of an audience of filmmakers, friends and families.”
We created a part live action, part shadow puppet story about a frustrated artist who journeyed to a strange land where he learned an important lesson about creative expression. Digital technology is not our strong point!
Big thanks to Matt Pospishil who instigated this crazy endeavor, Greg Terkelsen who provided his original music, and the rest of the beautiful team of critters who worked hard and learned a lot along the way Geneva Bierce-Wilson, Melanie Brethauer, Meka Bunch, Lauren Calvert, Max Curtis, Michael Elmore, Thomas Humphrey, Kaylen Marks, Christine Merrick, Jennifer Murphy, Gail Snowdon, Sheila Thibodeaux, Julie Van Ridge
We found a new studio at last! It was a last minute miracle, care of the Jubilee Community. We are now in the lower level of the church, right in the heart of downtown. We can parade right out the door into Pritchard Park.
The move was stressful but team work makes the dreamwork, as usual with the Street Creatures. Many people and vehicles of different sizes showed up on Memorial Day. We got most of it done in 3 hours! Parking is tricky at the new place but we took turns loading in, got the shelving rebuilt and cleaned up at Trinity. Hooray!
Last night we made a summer/fall calendar and a list of new projects. SOOOOO glad to be thinking about art again instead of about moving!
We’re back to creating things we wish existed – like a galaxy of starry night lanterns, Monarch butterfly stories, and a glowing mycellium cape!
We brought some magic to the LEAF mini festival last weekend at Lake Eden. We did a lantern workshop on Friday, a lantern parade on Saturday and a finale parade with Save Our Brass at the last show on Sunday. We stayed in our favorite cabin 36, ate banana boats and danced a lot. So grateful that LEAF found a way to keep going through this strange time. The small size made it extra sweet.
Ancestor Forest is an eco-fable from the mind of Mica Sun, put on by Appalachian Season, with incredible music by Josh Fox and friends.
Wow! I am awestruck by the beauty and power of a group of artists coming together. This ambitious show was created in a short time with a LOT of heart. It had only one full performance due to rain but there was a huge audience and much acclaim. No one wanted to leave at the end.
Street Creature was all over this production. We made the primeval back drops, the cycad trees, the giant dragonfly. Our Natural History Parade had a new life, with extinct creatures like the eocene whale and the carolina parakeets emerging from the yoni portal. We puppeted the crows and many other beings. Woody was the creative director. It was a true coming together of Asheville’s fairies, puppet folks, and other freaky folk.
It was a heck of a lot of work, especially while we are still desperately seeking a new studio to move into by the end of this month! But “Oh what a joy” as the best song ever states (The Earth is Alive by Josh Fox).