Back in June, I worked with puppeteers Kate Saturday and Olli Johnson, as well as musicians Erik Ostrom and Brian Rowe to perform a Puppet Show about the Mississippi river onboard a Paddleboat for a live audience. The show went pretty darn well, so we decided to do an encore presentation.
Because Olli was busy this summer working on a puppet show at the Minnesota Zoo (which I eventually got to see with my friend Michael - a post on this zoo trip is coming soon), we recruited my friend Spencer Riedel (who is a musician, puppeteer and all-around awesome and friendly guy what can also entertain you), to fill in for her.
We practiced together a bunch more and then on August 7th, took Always Bringing, Always Taking Away (or ABATA as we call it) to a performing arts space in Minneapolis called Paper Moose Jumpsuit and Co.
Paper Moose is a very weird place, in a good way. It is located inside an old paper factory. The front door is always locked so audiences must enter through the fire escape (!!!). Walking through the building begins as a tour of a decrepit factory and suddenly transforms into a cozy and intimate arts space. With a sitting room, a stage, and a little bar.
This time, unlike the performance on the boat, the performance was less river-centric, and more like a get-together of friends and associates to focus on each other and art.
The event was broken down into many acts
First, at 8:30, Spencer played a number of songs on the guitar to warm us all up. (his personality tends to do that)
At 9:00, we did our performance of Always Bringing, Always Taking Away
(I apologize in advance because this video was taken from a very low angle, so most of the puppet action is unseen)
At roughly 9:15, Unseen Ghost Brigade, a group featuring Olli Johnson, performed some fun folk music.
Afterwards they screened the trailer for a documentary that they shot while on a trip down the Mississippi river.
At 10:15, Kate and Erik set up for their band, DeatHat. DeatHat's music is really, really cool. A mixture of marimba, bass, wicked vocal harmonies and exciting rythms.
At 11:15, the last act of the night was Calamaty and the Owl a sort of folk-duo made of these two fine young men. They capped off the night in good spirits.
The general experience led me to do a lot of thinking about the importance of context, community, workspace and friendship that has had a profound effect on my ideas for upcoming projects, and my overall contentedness with life.