Thursday, May 9, 2013

David Valentine F#%s It Up!

Congrats to one of our very own,  the amazingly talented David Valentine!  David, a puppet designer, builder, artist, friend, colleague and favorite holiday,  has definitely not f#%ed up in the show F#%ing Up Everything!  Go see his puppets.  

F#%king Up Everything is a new rock musical comedy set in today's Brooklyn indie music scene.  It’s an old-fashioned boy-meets-girl love story for the 21st Century. When these hipsters aren't true to who they are, they screw up everything -- especially love. And no one screws up more than children's puppeteer Christian Mohammed Schwartzelberg when he meets singer-songwriter Juliana, the girl of his dreams.  It’s a fast-paced, hilarious new musical full of quirky characters, pop icon puppets and guitar-driven indie rock tunes. New York Times Critics' Pick!

For more information visit:

For Tickets Here's A Special Offer: $39 ticketsTo Redeem:
Online: Click Here and use code RRM39Phone: Call 212-352-3101 and mention code RRM39The Elektra Theatre669 8th Ave @ 42nd

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Old Hats

If you haven’t seen it already, run, don’t walk to the Signature Theater and see David Shiner and Bill Irwin in “Old Hats.” It's sort of a revival of their big hit from a decade or so ago "Fool Moon'' and its just as good, if not better. There’s all kinds of info available online, so I won’t bore you with a book report blog entry here.

However, a few months ago (how’s that for breaking news, folks?) Puppet Heap had the pleasure of consulting for and helping out with a puppet effect for one of David’s pieces, "The Hobo," a kind of Emmet Kelly inspired performance. It was a truly enlightening experience to spend a little time with such a master of his craft and get a glimpse of how these things come together. Of course, the comedy, the props and the shtick were all carefully worked over, but the most notable thing about watching David develop his performances is the emotional depths he's willing to plumb to find just the right note, the right moment to really grab the audience.

The great thing about this show is how it successfully melds good old fashioned vaudeville with thoroughly modern sensibilities and production values. Mel Brooks once said “funny is funny” no matter what, and that it’s all the same jokes dressed up in different clothes.  And I think that’s true as long as the clothes are in fashion.

Watching the show, I thought this is exactly what I want to be doing with my little puppets--not an original idea by any means. Heck, the Muppet Show was nothing if not a vaudeville variety show--a popular formula in 70s television. But it’s this sort of blending of the thoroughly modern with the evergreen classic that’s just such an easy joy when it works. And in this case, it really works!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ray Harryhausen died today at 92

I’m not really an animator or a special effects guy, but Mr. Harryhausen leaves behind a legacy that, for me, really serves as a kind of model or creative ideal to strive for.  I guess I admire that pioneering spirit of the auteur that he embodied so well, along with early filmmakers like Georges Méliès or Ladislas Starevich----creating the concept art, fabricating the puppets and shooting and animating the scenes himself.  A far cry from the scores of artists it takes animate your average cgi character today.

Certainly, from a technical point of view, his work was the cutting edge of visual effects at the time.  But more than a technician, he brought such vivid life and artistry to all of his characters and was a true visionary from script to screen, creating beautiful and amazing moments in time no one had ever seen before.

So, to the artist that was Ray Harryhausen, thank you for a lifetime of inspiration.