Flickr user avlxyz captured this nice photo of a bird puppet that looks and flaps it wings like a paper crane. It was appearing at Federation Square, Melbourne, during the Viva Victoria Festival 2012 in March, in celebration of cultural diversity. There’s a close up the birds head here.
This is the fabulous Phoebe Sparkles, a giant aerial puppet made for the show Highly Strung, which was performed from the silos at Natimuk over the weekend at the Nati Frinj (Natimuk Fringe Festival). I’ve been enjoying Dave Jones‘s blogging of the build over the last couple of months, so it’s great to see the puppet come to life. The daytime rehearsal photos give better perspective on her size and the task of puppeteering her. Phoebe was named by the kids at the local school, and the plan was to project talking animations drawn by the kids onto her face. I wonder if that was possible in the very windy conditions on the night.
Dave also makes lovely puppets from wire and other rusty farm-type bits and pieces of metal. These and the amazing bird below are characters in a long term work-in-progress stop motion film of his, The Rhyme of the Ancient Merino.
Someone asked me how the movement of the Ningyo-Joruri puppet head that I made during Nori Sawa’s masterclass a few years ago worked , so I’ve drawn a diagram on my iPad to illustrate the mechanism. It makes more sense if you look at in context with my photoset from the class, and perhaps with the original blog post.
Unima Australia is the Australian branch of Union Internationale de la Marionnette, an 80 year old international organisation bringing together people from around the world to contribute to the development of the art of puppetry, so kind of like the closest thing we puppet makers and puppeteers have to a union. For the last six years or so I’ve looked after the Unima Oz website, but last weekend I handed the job over to Naomi Guss. There are plans afoot to reinvent the site, which is a Good Thing, and I wish Naomi and Sean Manners, and the rest of the committee all the best with it.
Last week an American non-violent activist, Scott Parkin, was arrested and removed from Australia, after having his visa revoked. The Federal Attorney-General, Ruddock, said that the Minister for Immigration, Vanstone, revoked Parkin’s
visa based on an ASIO Security assessment. “I understand the decision was based upon a security assessment, and security assessments are notsomething about which I can comment in any detail.” SourceWatch has a detailed account.
According to a radio piece on the ABC’s The Deep End on Thursday 15th (which you can listen to) Parkin uses street theatre and puppetry. For instance, his groupdoes an act called Hallibacon, which features a large inflatable pig, and
protesters wearing snouts and pig masks being fed cash from a trough of public money by Cheney.
Such protests have for a long time been regarded as freedom of speech here. In the absence of other reasons, we have to be worried that is being curtailed. On the other hand, there is speculation that our government was doing someone else’s bidding. Crikey outlines the scenario. On the ABC’s The National Interest on Sept 18th, Terry Lane claims that Kellogg Brown Root, subsidiary of Halliburton, donated $50,000 to both major political parties here, suggesting both a question mark over the opposition’s acquiescence, and an alternative avenue for foreign corporations to exercise power. The Law Report, broadcast Tuesday 19th, will talk to Parkin’s lawyer about the case.
‘This exhibition explores the career of Norman Hetherington, the originator, creator and puppeteer of the popular children’s ABC program, ‘Mr Squiggle’. Norman Hetherington has lived in Mosman for over 40 years and made a significant contribution to Australian television history and culture. The exhibition presents a variety of original puppets, drawings, cartoons,
promotional material and memorabilia, and ABC television program segments.’
Associated with the exhibition there will also be performances at the gallery on Sunday 25 September, 11am & 2pm. These will be a short and rare performance by Norman with Mr Squiggle followed by A Package for Granny by Sydney Puppet Theatre and Puppetease by Ross Browning. Bookings: 02 9978 4178
Norman was recently interviewed on ABC Radio National’s The World Today. You can read the interview here, or listen to it by following whichever format you prefer linked at the top of that page. It’s refreshing to hear someone recommending fun so much! At the Puppetry Summit a few years ago Norman was kind enough to do an upside down squiggle (Mr Squiggle’s particular thing) for me and others. I come across it in my notebook every now and then and it makes me smile.