around the world

Long leave of absence hopefully over!

Dear friends, thank you for tuning in to this blog when you do. I have not only been busy these past few months, but I have been afflicted with an illness called Graves’ Disease. Essentially it is something going on in my body,possibly my thyroid, that is making my eyes cross, causing terrible double vision and a very wacked-out physical appearance, to be honest. And you know, working close up on things with sewing, and drawing, and especially typing long things to read, got, well, difficult. I hope you understand. But thanks to some strong medications I seemto be getting better ad I feel like writing again.

Since we are approaching Christmas, I thought I would share with you a terrific yet haunting video of a parade of Krampuses. Magnificent costumes on these guys..just look at the variety! My only lament is the use of so much real animal material.

I  wish my Halloween employer, Netherworld, could host some sort of mini-festival of this sort, given that we have several fine Krampuses in our stable of costumed characters. 🙂

 

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Giant Spider Visits Liverpool!

Anyone who knows me knows I love The Beatles. I love them so much, in fact, I’ve visited Liverpool, their  city of origin. I had a great time and would love to go back again.

In 2009 another visitor was in Liverpool who had probably never heard of The Beatles, but its visit was certainly spectacular. It was an enormous robotic spider, and it looks as if it spent at least a full day creeping along the city streets, much to the awe of the Liverpudlians.

I can only imagine the exhaustion of the puppeteers after a long day astride the spider, but surely watching the faces of the thrilled viewers was a fine reward.

Happy New Year!

I LOVE lion dances! The athletic ability of the dancers is just…astounding. Yes, keep in mind every time a lion stands on its hind legs, that’s the guy in the back holding the head guy up on his shoulders.

And they are sill fine puppeteers through it all. he heads move and blink and twitch their ears,giving you the illusion that the lions are completely real….you believe!

Recorded on January 27, 2009,this was the lion dance performance at the Shatin Racegrounds prior to the opening day of races for 2009 – Year of the Ox.

Senor Wences.

A Spanish ventriloquist with lightning speed and flawless comedic timing, often having two or even three characters present in his act at once, was born Wenceslao Moreno in 1896 (he died just one day before his 103rd birthday in 1999).

He most famous puppets were Johnny Martin, who was a little puppet body with a derived from Wences’ own bare hand; a comical face was drawn onto the hand with marker and lipstick; and Pedro, a head in a box who came to be as a result of Wences being forced to suddenly invent the character when his regular, full-sized dummy was destroyed during a train accident en route to a performance.

Wences was famous internationally for many years, but truly gained a following in America when he appeared on variety shows such as The Ed Sullivan Show and a memorable appearance on The Muppet Show.

He often built to a big finish in his act with juggling and plate spinning while his characters heckled him from their boxes and cases or from under a table. Wences was able to throw his voice with such speed and agility it was hard to believe he was the only being actually occupying the stage.

Here is one of those Ed Sullivan performances:

Ibibio Puppets.

These African puppets, carved of wood, have limited range of movements, usually the limbs or the lower jaw. The concepts of “speaking” masks and statues have evolved into complex drama traditions among the Bamana people of Mali and the Ibibio of Nigeria. Tribal history, customs and morals are taught through the puppets.

Bamana Mask Photograph © Tim Hamill

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Giant Mechanical Onyudo Doll

I can’t remember where I found this. If it is from your blog, let me know and I’ll credit. But it must be seen!!

Each August in the city of Yokkaichi in Mie prefecture, a giant mechanical effigy of Onyudo, a legendary Japanese monster, is paraded through the streets during the Grand Yokkaichi Festival. The mechanized puppet, said to be the largest karakuri ningyo in Japan, stands between 6.3 and 9 meters (20 to 30 feet) tall depending on how far its neck is extended. The giant Onyudo wows spectators by swinging its arms, bobbing its head around on its long neck, moving its eyes and mouth, and sticking out its tongue as it is wheeled through the streets to the accompaniment of taiko drums.

Onyudo, whose name literally means “large monk,” appears in a number of folk tales across Japan. While his physical appearance and characteristics vary from story to story, he is always large, ranging anywhere from 2 meters (6 ft. 6 in.) tall to as large as a mountain. Onyudo usually appears as a giant person or an indistinct shadow, though he is known to have the ability to shape-shift.

In most cases, Onyudo is a malevolent figure that can cause people to fall ill simply by looking at them. Some stories identify him as being a fox or tanuki (raccoon dog) that has shape-shifted (a common ability for these animals in Japanese folklore), but in most stories, his true identity remains a mystery.

Onyudo --