books

Doogie on Joey

Neil Patrick Harris, at the 2011 Tony Awards, rode in on Joey from War Horse  when beginning a segment of the show. Let the  video get to about 4 minutes in to see this extraordinary work of art in motion. I love Hugh Jackman’s face, out in the audience.:D

 

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Spookygirl, by Jill Baguchinsky!

Friend and fan of Puppatoons Jill Baguchinsky did something incredible and special–she WON the Young Adult Fiction contest for Amazon!!! She won, she won, she won and now she’s gonna be PUBLISHED! I am so proud of my dear friend.

Her winning entry novel, Spookygirl, is available for pre-order at Amazon!

Here’s the scoop: Violet Addison can chat with the dead, but what really frightens her is starting her sophomore year at a new school. Still reeling from the loss of her mother, Violet is about find herself in the company of ghosts . . . both playful and deadly evil. Standing at the threshold to an unseen world with newfound friends at her side, only Violet can uncover the truth behind her mother’s death and save the family business–paranormal investigation.

Trust me folks; if you like a ghost story with dashes of humor and wit and a good helping of mystery, this is the tale for you. I know I’ll be ordering it.

Plastic Canvas Puppets!

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This was something I had wondered about anyway, utilizing plastic canvas somehow in puppet making, and lo and behold, I found a book on ebay on the exact subject.

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The designs are well-done and obviously meticulously constructed.I have a few issues with the anatomy–the wide, gaping mouth on the giraffe and zebra,for instance—but I’m sure the children don’t care. These do look like fun puppets to play with.

I especially like the toucan; that’s a great example of getting a bird with a hard, rigid beak. I would just cover the rest of it in plush.

Anyway, it was a good buy and I’m glad to have it–quite interesting.

WAR HORSE

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War Horse is an adaptation by Nick Stafford of a book of the same name by acclaimed children’s writer, Michael Morpurgo, and is one of those productions that make me proud to be a puppeteer. I am envious of those privileged and skilled enough to work on such a show. The life-size horses made of cane, metal and fabric  that house the puppeteers look inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s sketches of horse movement. Made by the Handspring Puppet Company, each adult horse has two puppeteers inside, working the body, while a third, outside, controls the head. In the short trailers I have seen, I see these creations exhibit realistic horse movements, behaviors and emotions; the puppets and their handlers are truly extraordinary. I think it is the true life force of these puppets that drives home the tragedy of  horses who have suffered and died through the wars of mankind.

The plot is thus:during World War I, Joey, a young man named Albert’s beloved horse, is sold to the cavalry. But Albert, still not old enough to enlist, embarks on a dangerous mission to find Joey and bring him home.

The trailer(I can’t watch the darned thing without tearing up):

Cast and audience reactions:

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE!

I probably would have gotten around to blogging about this book anyway–how could someone who loves monsters as much as I do resist?

Anyway, Spike Jonze will direct this realization of a classic, scheduled to release in October. What really has me excited is that, at long last, puppetry will prevail over CGI. Yes, those are large full body puppets in that video.

If you’ve ever wondered about the “inside scoop”on the individual Wild Things,here you go.The Wild Things (except “Goat Boy”) were named after (and are presumably caricatures of) author Maurice Sendak’s aunts and uncles:

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This illustration shows (L–R) Bernard, Tzippy,Moishe and Aaron.

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Action figures of Max, the little boy in the story, and Goat Boy.

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Action figure of my favorite, Emil. These action figures were made by McFarlane Toys in 2000.

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The characters were also made into puppets by a company called Crocodile Creek Co.!

I found some great images of WTWTA as a stage production:

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The Alabama Ballet,

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The New York City Opera,

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and the American Repertory Ballet.

Then I explored WTWTA costumes–Halloween and such:

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I thought these were pretty good for low-budget homemade. Awesome work, guys!

Can’t wait for this movie.