Paul Klee Puppets

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To mark his son Felix’s ninth birthday, Klee fashioned eight hand puppets based on stock characters from Kasperl and Gretl — Germany’s answer to Punch and Judy. The boy took to them so enthusiastically that his dad kept going, creating something in the neighborhood of fifty puppets between 1916 and 1925.

The cast soon expanded to include cartoonish political figures, a self-portrait, and less recognizable characters with a decidedly Dada-ist bent. Klee also fixed Felix up with a flea market frame that served as the proscenium for the shows he put on in a doorway of the family’s tiny apartment.

Wonderful

Contour Makup

Behind Tolmin

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The Road to Tadam

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Here are some photos of Justin, Alenka and Anja’s show, The Road to Tadam. I saw it last year and then again this week, and it’s even more beautiful and funny and sweet than I remember.

X Marks the Spot

Three explorers follow their map to Tadam but it’s not an easy trip. The road takes them up mountians, over rivers, underwater, off a cliff, to a volcano, and more and more. All the time they’re lugging around a mysterious transforming wooden something…

More photos of these three looking great are here on their new website: Globus Hystericus.

The Grand Union Flag

In 1776 Washington crossed the icy Delaware river on Christmas day for a surprise attack on Trenton, New Jersey. Looking at the painting made in 1851 you may ask yourself, what kind of jerk would stand up in a boat crossing a choppy, icy river?

A brave one, that’s who!

As soon as you looked at the painting you probably also noticed a glaring inaccuracy flapping in the wind. That’s right. The American flag flying behind Washington is all wrong. Before the violent uprising against the English, we the people flew a different, much more Englishy looking flag, with an Englishy name: THE GRAND UNION.

It’s the grand looking one on the left under the bird.

Flags!

But if that’s the flag we flew on Christmas day, when Washington attacked an army base in Trenton, New Jersey, why isn’t it in the painting?

Well, Washington was very picky about his flags. Here is my evidence. See how cranky he looks in this painting!? He would have flown the stars and bars over the Delaware if he was satisfied with it at the time of the painting. But it still needed more work. As soon as he was made president he worked tirelessly to get the flag just right.

When he was finally satisfied with the flag he ordered the painter to photoshop the Grand Union out of the painting and replace it with the starry design we know and salute today.

Washington, second from left with his eyes closed, "It just feels wrong."

Washington, second from left with his eyes closed, “It just feels wrong.”

Washington Crossing

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Osebno, Prosim!!

Anja and I adapted a mask scene we made in school into a street performance. We always called it The Box or Identity Card. But now that we’re playing it in Slovenia we’re calling it Osebno, Prosim!!  (Papers, Please!!)

We’ve changed it in a few other ways to get it right for the street and it’s been an interesting and challenging project. Here are a few photos from the very beginning of our first show in Maribor, Slovenia. I’m checking IDs and Anja, “Rosie,” is slowly approaching the stage, where things are about to go not very well for her.
Identity Cards please!?Rosie the Visitor

This was my first time performing on the street. And it taught me something about performing in a theater. Someone once said that a building is a kind of machine, but I never understood that until now. Now I see a theater as an attention machine.

A Theater is an Attention Machine

The box office part of an attention machine selects just the audience who know that they want to see the play. The usher part is to organize people further: audience who want to see the play the most get to sit closest. The seats face the stage and are bolted to the ground in long rows to make it inconvenient to get out again, no matter the reason. (Boredom, pee pee, fire.)

Then there is the stage!  When the auditorium goes dark, the stage is the only thing you can see. All the lights are pointing right there. And in case you miss it, there is a big frame around it.  Everything within the frame is a part of the performance and everything outside the frame (usher’s flash light, the M&Ms being munched, cellphones, etc.) are to be ignored.

You can’t take an attention focusing machine like this with you to a street performance. It’s against the rules.

Instead the performers have to do the work of grabbing an audience, lining them up, focusing their attention, and framing the performance themselves. And to do it all without a pretty red curtain or blackouts? It’s pretty exposed out there!

So far so good.

Anja and I are lucky because we’re playing in a festival where people seek out out our show. The audience grabbing part is done for us already. But focusing that attention and framing the performance is up to us. So we’ve tweaked the show here and there, making improvements all the time. Today we’ll play our peice here in Ljublana, so wish us luck.

Bonus!

We got some publicity from our first show in Maribor. Check it out by skipping right to 14:45 on this video.

 

Living in a Bubble

A Dandelion

No Swett?

For about the price of a fine house you can buy a WHOLE TOWN in South Dakota. That’s right, for the low low price of 400,000 dollars you can the the mayor of you own town.

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UNINCORPORATED HAMLET FOR SALE

That price includes a house and a workshop, three, that’s right THREE trailers, plus, your very own bar and 6.16 acres of prime prairie real estate. All that and it’s only 2 hours away from Rapid City? If that sounds good to you the town of Swett could be yours.

But act fast, this offer won’t last forever! The owner says if he can’t sell in a year he’ll just keep it.

Read more about this bargain bin town here: