Blood from a Turnip 4/14/06, Providence (curatorial)

On Friday, April 14th, 2006, I curated and hosted a special puppet film edition of Blood from a Turnip – Rhode Island’s only late night puppetry salon with Vanessa Gilbert at Perishable Theater in downtown Providence.

There were two screenings which included puppet films by Paul Zaloom, Janie Geiser, Jonny Clockworks, Karen Leo, Jeff Sias, Laura Heit, Steve Johnson, Tony Giordano, Seamus Walsh and Mark Caballero, Jo Dery, Maria Dyer, and Christina Spangler.

From the press release:

Providence, RI – Sources from both the Marsian and Vanessa Gilbert camps are confirming that Rhode Island’s Only Late Night Puppetry Salon will host 2 screenings of “Blood from a Turnip Goes To The Movies” Friday, April 14th – 7:30PM & 10PM at Perishable Theatre. The annual event takes a break from live performances to present the latest in puppet film, video, animation, podcasts and more!

“This years line up is is Whitney-F**king-Biennial material, I tell you!” exclaimed festival co-curator, Marsian. “. . And its happening right here in our backyard”, gushed Perishable’s new Artistic Director, Vanessa Gilbert.

Headlining the evening, are puppet legends Paul Zaloom and Janie Geiser with Johnny Clockworks, Karen Leo, Jeff Sias, selections from Heather Henson’s Handmade Puppet Dreams – Laura Heit, Steve Johnson, Tony Giordano, Seamus Walsh and Mark Caballero. Local artists include Jo Dery, Maria Dyer and Christina Spangler. Sam Bello adds pizzazz to the evening with his dark cowboy songs from another dimension.

Blood from a Turnip Goes To The Movies
Friday April 14th – 7:30 PM & 10PM screenings
95 Empire Street
Downtown Providence ALL SEATS $5

About Films & Filmmakers:

Paul Zaloom will be showing an excerpt from his latest film, Dante’s Inferno. Performed in epic toy theater style, using paper puppets & sets, Dante’s Inferno is a comic update of the classic tour of Hell, here set in the familiar venues of modern “civilization”: mini malls, airports, gated communities, used car lots, and the U.S. Senate. Much like an animated graphic novel, the film follows the hapless slacker Dante as he accompanies Virgil into the depths of the Inferno, encountering various popes, princes, presidents,  and pimps along the way.

Janie Geiser’s Lost Motion uses small cast metal figures, toy trains, decayed skyscrapers and other found objects to follow a man’s search for a mysterious woman. From an illegible note found on a dollhouse bed, through impossible landscapes, the man waits for her train which never arrives. His wanderings lead him to the other side of the tracks, a forgotten landscape of derelict erector-set buildings populated by lost souls. Dream merges with nightmare in this post-industrial land of vivid night. (Music by Tom Recchion)

Johnny Clockworks presents his latest podcast – out-takes from the screen test of Baby June, the worlds oldest baby doll star.

Karen Leo presents selected short works. In 2005, the sweaty palms and smelly fingers of Kleo Productions introduced us to Tyree and Hern-Hern. We follow these friends, made from cast-offs of the “sweet science”, through a series of short films as they create a legacy of puppet shows, sing-a-longs, blogs, graphic novels, and offspring. To date Tyree & Hern-Hern have costarred in the Kleo productions Smells, Wishin, Oasis & Puppet Show, all completed in 2005 and 2006.

Jeff Sias’s Lost and Found, uses found object constructions as props and characters. The film follows a timid boy as he is tempted with the loss of innocence and is drawn into a small, but symbolic journey where he faces fear for the first time. Sias works in film, puppetry and sculpture – combining and exploring through the process of construction and experimentation. He is one of the founding members of the Handcranked Film Collaborative and is working on several independent films including the experimental feature documentary: American Ruins, and his personal, vignette-style super-8 film series entitled Findings. Sias is also a freelance Director/Animator and teaches animation part time at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Heather Henson’s Handmade Puppet Dreams is a selection of short puppet films by independent artists exploring their handmade craft specifically for the camera. The goal is to showcase a new generation of puppeteers who will embrace film as a medium for their individual expressions.

Steve Johnson’s Everloving was shot in reverse at double speed, the characters were puppeteered from upside-down. The entire piece was filmed underwater, then the physical puppets were composed into the environment. This piece was inspired by the paintings of Beksinski and the music of Moby. Steve Johnson founded Edge FX. Inc. in 1986, Bringing it to the forefront of the prosthetic & animatronic effects industry. Johnson’s effects can be seen in The Cat in the Hat, Scooby 2 and Spiderman 2.

Laura Heit presents  The Amazing, Mysterious and True Story of Mary Anning and Her Monsters, a toy theater show based on the life of Mary Anning (1799-1847) from Lyme Regis, England. When most children were afraid of monsters, Mary sought them out. She had an eye for the unexplainable and in the end, her discoveries would change more than she bargained for. Heit received her MA from Royal College of Art in London where she made the puppet film Mary Anning and Her Monsters. Her work has been screened on Channel 4 Television London and has been seen at Redmoon Theater (Chicago), En Fuego (Chicago) and numerous puppetry venues.

In Tony Giordano’s Harker, evil rules the night. It spreads its black hand across the land. No one is safe from its wrath and sooner or later it will devour everyone. One man has made it his purpose to journey into the heart of hell and face the devil himself to take back what is rightfully his. This is the story of Jonathan Harker. Puppets are created with an exceptional visual style, much like the German Expressionists films The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Nosferatu.

Samus Walsh & Mark Caballero present Graveyard Jamoboree with Mysterious Mose, which was inspired by an old record by Harry Reser and his radio all-star novelty orchestra. Three techniques were used in this film, including live action puppetry, silhouette animation and stop motion animation. Seamus Walsh and Mark Caballero have been working together since 1995 with Chris Finnegan, they formed the company, Screen Novelties. Their unique approach combines the whimsy of classic cartoons with the texture and dimensionality of puppet animation, creating a colorful mixed-media aesthetic.

If Only is a stop-motion animation made by Maria Dyer and is about melodies between a monkey and an organ grinder. Dyer is finishing a degree in art:semiotics at Brown University and is interested in experimental animation & filmmaking.

Jo Dery presents Munk and Monster, a little adventure of a chipmunk making tea and the monster that wants some too (with music by Lazy Magnet).

In Christina Spangler’s stop-motion animation, Unearthed, a potato gains the sense of sight by accident and suddenly becomes self aware. “Although this uprooted tuber must struggle with death and uncertainty, Unearthed is ultimately a story about the continuation of life and its power to persist in ways that are beyond the realm of human sight.” Spangler is a graduate of RISD in Film/Animation/Video.