nature

Mr. Ooba’s TEAM! (Together, Everyone Achieves More!) by Jordan Schwartz

Jordan Schwartz is one heck of an achiever. At 10 in 2003, she founded The Children’s Bilingual Theater. Jordan started with raising $3,000 in donations and encouraging schools to host the shows. CBT not only brought students together, but brought community volunteers to help make the shows a reality. Jordan’s project explores Hispanic language, culture and history and engages the diversity of our community. She has produced 4 bilingual musicals and 4 storytelling and literacy events leading 200 volunteers.

At age 11, Jordan became a disability rights advocate. In 2008 in an unprecedented move in selecting a 14 year old, the Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities Organizing Institute chose Jordan as one of 5 participants trained in organizing skills to return to their communities to promote systems change around issues that affect people with disabilities. Jordan wrote a bilingual play.

Mr. Ooba’s TEAM is an anti-bullying puppet show produced by Puppatoons & The Childern’s Bilingual Theater . The show was written by Jordan Schwartz. This production addresses the issues of bullying of developmentally disabled & medically fragile children & diversity in the classroom. Mr. Ooba is an owl, presiding over a class of forest animal children.  When one of the kids gets out of hand bullying some of the others about having  a disability or nonconformity due to illness, Mr. Ooba steps in to warn the children of the harm of “just making fun”, and to help the kids understand the value of working together.
CBT is a 501c(3) non-profit corp. Sponsorships are available & are tax deductible. For information contact: 678-485-1986

Tales from DirtLand!

I’ve had to very quickly put together a show for the Southeastern Flower Show this year, and this year my production is called Tales from DirtLand. It stars a diminutive garden witch called The Great Gazinga, and she essentially “shrinks” all you folks out in the audience down to bug size and brings out bugs to talk to you.

Care to meet and talk to an earthworm? Well, we have Irma Worm for that.

Irma is six feet long and has a pair of glasses where her eyes should be.

Here she is with the stage backdrop.

 

Unfortunately, due to the death of my grandmother (to whom I will dedicate an entry later) I was not able to finish this whole play in time, so I will be only performing an excerpt. Still, I think we’ll have a good time.

 

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.

Puppet-Costume Chick Rearing

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Whooping Crane puppet from Erica L.

California Condor at the Santa Barbara Zoo

Maui Parrotbill at the San Diego Zoo

Peregrine Falcon

I’ve always loved and been fascinated with birds, and I think it’s brilliant that endangered species of birds have been raised in captivity utilizing puppet heads that keep the babies from imprinting on humans. The chicks of California Condors, Peregrine Falcons, Maui Parrotbills and Whooping Cranes have been raised in this manner. The chicks are fed, cleaned,and attended by puppet heads that mimic their species, and never see human faces. In this way, the babies are taught to act like birds and not depend on humans.

My friend Erica has had the fascinating privilege  to assist in rearing endangered Whooping Crane chicks. I asked her to describe the experience,because if there ever had to be a convincing performance in puppetry, this is it.

As told by Erica L:

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