September Grab Bag

A round up of links, videos and articles we highlighted on Twitter this month: 

See #1. Photo from The Independent.

See #1. Photo from The Independent.

  1. A huge animatronic bear appeared on the streets of London this summer to protest drilling in the Arctic.
  2. The living doll artist in this article loves it when people ask “Is he real or unreal?”
  3. The otherworldly sculpture of our favorite artist Shaun Tan will seen be on view in this new book. If only we were going to Australia sometime soon!
  4. In a perfect world, we would collaborate with artist Jonathan Latiano to make some puppet dolphins, along the same line as this exhibit.
  5. Fair warning, this video short from France about shadow puppet artist and animation pioneer Lotte Reiniger is profoundly moving and may make you cry. You can read more about Reiniger’s life and work on our blog.

February Grab Bag

A roundup of links, articles and generally cool stuff we highlighted on Twitter in February. 

See #4

See item #4

1. Here’s a super cool stop-motion video with cardboard puppets.

2. This exhibit at the Hirshhorn museum includes a piece involving light and cast shadows.

3. The official trailer for Song of the Sea, an animated film based on the selkie legend which we incorporated into Malevolent Creatures. 

4. The picture book The Rabbits, written by John Marsden and illustrated by our favorite Shuan Tan has been turned into an opera.   

5. This show came to the Artisphere in Arlington and we were sad to miss it! Hopefully we can see this company another time.

January Grab Bag

A round-up of videos, links and articles that we highlighted on Twitter this month. 

# 2 Why don't I live in Chicago?

# 2 Why don’t I live in Chicago?

1. These gorgeous shadow puppet photos, based on various mythologies that explain the Northern Lights, were created for Kinfolk magazine.

2. We have fantastic museums here in DC, but I’ve been wishing I could get to Chicago to see this exhibit of puppets at the Art Institute of Chicago.

3. Puppets can illustrate real world issues as well as ancient mythologies. One of our Twitter followers called our attention to this article about Ebola, illustrated with two-dimensional puppets.

4. The creator of the puppets for that article is Jons Mellgren, a director, illustrator and writer from Sweden. Here are photos of one of his stop-motion puppet films, called ‘Paperworld.’

5. Sometimes I think that I must have read every single article and interview with illustrator Shaun Tan. I don’t think I’ve shared this one though, which is a conversation with Neil Gaiman, one of my other favorite writers. It is quite delightful and I hope you enjoy it!

August Grab Bag

#5 The website Bookriot has excited muppet arms for both books and Muppets!

#5 The website Bookriot has excited muppet arms for both books and Muppets!

A roundup of articles, links and videos that we highlighted on Twitter this month. 

1. The first book on puppetry I ever bought was by John Wright of The Little Angel Theatre in Islington, London. His wife Lyndie still carves puppets for them and this article about her is just lovely. If you go to London, try to see a show there.

2. As we continue to work on Malevolent Creatures, this website looks intriguing and will hopefully help out our research.

3. At the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this year, the show The Pure, the Dead and the Brilliant took a look at the upcoming Scottish independence referendum through the eyes of four Scottish fairies, including Selkie. Read a review here.

4. Yet another amazing interview with one of the giants of contemporary illustration and a special hero of ours, Shaun Tan.

5. And because really, most things should end with the Muppets, here is Bookriot with a roundup of literary-related Muppet antics. Enjoy!

April Grab Bag

A round-up of articles and events we’ve highlighted on Twitter this month. 

Sleeping Beauty in performance. Photo by Gene Carl Feldman.

Sleeping Beauty in performance. Photo by Gene Carl Feldman.

1. Pointless Theatre’s production of Sleeping Beauty: a puppet ballet has only one more weekend to run! You’ll be sorry if you miss it.

2. Elizabeth Hyde Stevens wrote this article for Salon about the Muppets and how they created Generation X.

3. A group of Argentine puppeteers is seeking participants for a convention of women puppeteers from around the world, to be held in Argentina this coming November. Stated goals for the convention include discussion about the messages of shows, the space we occupy, who we reach with our art and how we can help each other. If you are interested in participating or simply learning more, you can email convenciondetitiriteras@gmail.com

4. Poncili Creacion was in town for one night this month. Find out more about the work of this Puerto Rican theater company that creates surreal puppetry on their tumblr.

5. We were fortunate enough to see Ronnie Burkett’s amazing marionette show Penny Plain at the Kennedy Center (more of our thoughts here). For those interested in learning more about Burkett’s work, here’s an old interview from The Guardian.

6. Our favorite illustrator and key inspiration Shaun Tan has a new book out! It’s called Rules of Summer, read more about it on his website here.

October Grab Bag

Tan's sculpture for 'Hansel and Gretel' retold by Philip Pullman.

Tan’s sculpture for ‘Hansel and Gretel’ retold by Philip Pullman.

Because our show Cabinets of Kismet was inspired by him, I’m going to bring in the artist Shaun Tan as the subject of this month’s grab bag. A few beautiful, thought-provoking and wise items to view or listen to:

1. Shaun Tan theater! Featherwight Theatre is  a company of dancers and theater makers from England who presented The Red Tree  at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe this year. It was a beautiful adaptation, with many innovative and surprising ways of bringing Tan’s images and words to life. You can see a video and hear some of the original music on their website.

2. More Shaun Tan theater! Clearly there is consensus that Tan’s stories are compelling on the page and even more compelling when brought to life by actors, dancers and puppets. Spare Parts Puppet Theatre, from Fremantle Australia, recently performed an adaptation of Tales from Outer Suburbia, a collection of Tan’s short stories.

3. A new book! Tan’s latest picture book, Rules of Summer was just published in Australia. A story of two brothers and the rules they learn, the book pairs simple phrases (‘Never leave a red sock on a clothesline’) with surreal oil paintings that provoke questions and ideas.

4. An interview about Rules of Summer is available to see here. Tan talks about his inspiration, and process in creating the book, as well as principles of storytelling and bookmaking in general.

5. Tan’s other new book is actually in German. Philip Pullman, the celebrated fantasy author, published a collection last year of his favorite fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm. His version of the stories has now been translated into German, illustrated with amazing sculptures by Tan. You can see photos of some of them and learn a little more about why he chose to create sculptures rather than paintings, here.

March Grab Bag

See item #3.

See item #2.

This month’s grab bag has a decidedly paperish theme, perhaps because we spent so much time building paper puppets at the beginning of the month. Here are some videos, artists and events that caught my eye:

1. Artist Irving Harper is profiled on the website Etsy; take a look at his amazing paper creations!

2. The animated short Paperman by Disney won an Academy Award, proving that paper airplanes are the route you should take to find love! This is the same award won by Shaun Tan in 2010 for his short based on the picture book The Lost Thing. See the trailer for Paperman here.

3. Another spectacular combination of paper and video is the music video of this song by Josh Ritter. 12,000 pieces of construction paper were used!

4. Richard Sweeney is an artist from the UK whose paper sculptures have greatly influenced our designs for the environment and creatures for Paper World. You can take a look at his amazing creations on his Flickr page.

5. We were excited to see the dates announced for Figment DC 2013! After our fantastic experience last year, which you can read about in this blog post, we are starting to think about what we can offer audiences at this year’s event. Maybe it will involve paper! Who knows?