Ramshackle Enterprises

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Current Projects, Shows and Upcoming Endeavors:

So Many Dynamos- a Calendar of Illustrated Palindromes
Check out sample pages of my first published work, made possible by the good folks at Bindlestiff Books.

Summer 2008
June 13-21
I'm excited to be heading down South to work with 150 kids from the Boys and Girls Club of Spartanberg, South Carolina. With a bunch of help from folks at Wofford College and other community members we'll be building a giant puppet parade, and marching downtown accompanied by the glorious noise of Cackalack Thunder!
June 22-28
I'm looking forward to being an artist-in-residence at Art City in Winnipeg, Canada for a week of dragon-style puppet building workshops.

"Mite We?"
I'm continuing to work on and off on the new, full-length, giant puppet show which I wrote, built, directed, and performed, with the massive help of many amazing humans, this fall and winter. "Mite We?" is about scale, skin, fear, flight and an inter-specie hunger for home with an incredible original musical score by Jack Ohly and The Microorganism Band. I'm in the process of re-working the show to hopefully tour it this summer and fall. The show currently stars dust mites, termites, elephants, grandparents, a genie, and a human named Bernice Nubson. Many talented folks and a grant from the Independence Foundation made the creation of this show possible. Jack and the band have recently finished recording an album of the show's soundtrack, keep your ears peeled for how to get a copy. More soon on when/what the next incarnation of this show will be...

Recent Projects

Spring 2008
I was hired by Wild Goose Garden to draw some pictures of geese gardening to advertise their biodynamic farm. The farmers painted one of my drawings on the side of their farm truck. I had a good time teaching a hand-puppet building workshop at their "truck warming" party for an all ages crew.
Feb 2&3, 2008
At The Rotunda- 4014 Walnut St. in West Philadelphia
Ramshackle Enterprises debuted "Mite We?" for 2 sold out shows and was met with rave reviews and constructive criticism.
Dec 7&8, 2007
The 8th Annual Puppet UpRising Year-End Cabaret and Cheap Art Bazaar! I presented a gesture toward a pre-view of my upcoming big show with help from many audience members
August 6-16, 2007
I enjoyed returning to the Community Art Center in Wallingford, PA to teach a summer puppet building session for kids on the theme of conflict resolution. The campers, ranging in age from 4-12 years old, created 8 short but powerful puppet shows which they performed for each other, parents, and friends.
July 24th, 2007
I had a great time hosting en evening of story-telling as part of this First Person Arts event on the theme of "Mis-Education" at L'Etage in Philly.
June 10-16, 2007
I had the great pleasure of facilitating the creation of a puppet pageant with a group of adults engaged in mental heath and addiction recovery programs at Fellowship Place in New Haven, CT. The artists performed their pageant, starring the Shark of Fear and Ignorance, The Beast of Stigma, The Pheonix of Recovery, and many other awesome creations, at The Festival of Ideas on The New Haven Green on Sat. the 16th of June.
April 14-May 20, 2007
I was an artist-in-residence at Morrison Elementary School in the far North West corner of Montana. I worked with 230 kids, plus parents, grandparents, high school art students, and local musicians to write, build, and perform an original puppet show about their town and the local ecology. This is the same community (Troy and Yaak) that I worked with 5 years ago to build a time-line pageant about the past, present, and future of their area. It was fascinating to return to this beautiful spot, and I'm grateful for funding from The Montana State Council on the Arts, the Troy Fine Arts Council, and all the teachers, community members, and kids who were part of making this project happen.
Feb. 28-April 12, 2007
Friend and artist, Mariel Waloff, and I had the honor of working with an amazing group of senior citizens from The South West Community Enrichment Center and a terrific group of 4th graders from Wilson Elementary School. It was an important opportunity to hear the seniors' memories of the past and kids' visions of the future as we worked together to create a puppet show about this vibrant area of West Philly. The 4th graders and some of the seniors performed the show on April 12th in The Wilson School Auditorium for the rest of the school, some parents, and the senior participants, including Ruby Knight, who graduated from Wilson School in 1937!
April 7, 2007
I performed a very short suitcase puppet show at the Rotunda in West Philly as part of a benefit for the Clark Park Best Fest. A magician, with one trick up her sleeve.
Jan. 20-March 25 2007
A giant paper mache tree and ladder that I built were part of an installation here in Philly at The Institute of Contemporary Art. As part of this exhibit I also taught a beast building workshop to a large group of grown-ups, most of whom had never before known the possibilities contained in cardboard.
March 10+11, 2007
Morgan Andrews and I once again had the wonderful opportunity to be Masters of Ceremony for the Puppet UpRising Cabaret. It was an honor and a delight to be the strange padding between each act.
Dec. 2006
I created 'So Many Dynamos' a calendar of illustrated palindromes for 2007 (though I really should have made it in 2002 or waited until 2112.) I still have copies of the calendar for sale ($10 ish). Just call or email me.
Nov. 2006-Jan. 2007
I spent part of the winter working in partnership with story-teller Linda Goss, the Rosenbach Museum and Library and 4th Graders from Greenfield Elementary, to build a hand puppet show of Linda's folk tale, "The Frog Who Wanted To Be A Singer."
Oct. 2-21, 2006
As the Black Sheep Puppet Festival artist-in-residence at the Brew House Gallery in Pittsburgh I built a giant cardboard magical land. Over 50 local volunteers helped me paper mache the skins on top of the trees and beasts that occupied this mammoth sculptural installation. I then had the opportunity to direct a group of kids, friends, and musicians in a brief indoor pageant that interacted with the exhibit, which performed at the opening. The hundreds of audience members that came to see the The Black Sheep Puppet Festival entered the show through the magical land. As part of my 6th year participating in this fantastic festival, I performed "Is Enough Enough?" solo and "Awaken The Mud" with Morgan.
Sept. 30th, 2006
The Rotunda
I debuted my new solo clown act/puppet show, "Is Enough Enough?" and performed a revised version of "Awaken The Mud" with the swashbuckling Morgan Andrews. A brilliant evening with music by Fan of Friends, Joy, harp-playing, juggling, and lots of great visual art.
Aug. 30-Sept. 3, 2006
Radicackalacky Puppetry Convergence
I had an amazing experience performing, cavorting and conversing with this incredible crew of friends and cohorts, as we descended on Chapel Hill, North Carolina and were hosted by our gentle, mind-blowing friends PaperHand Puppet Intervention and wowed by their pageant.
Aug. 15-26, 2006
Peer Leader Puppet Parade and Pageant
I spent an intense and awesome two weeks in Portland, Maine working with about 60 kids and adults from The People's Regional Opportunity Program, Peer Leader project to design and build a giant puppet pageant. With a lot of hard work and some help from local volunteers (including an incredible band of musicians assembled just to provide the soundtrack for our parade and pageant) this group pulled together an amazing theater piece that used giant puppets to express some of the challenges their communities had met upon coming to The United States (many of the kids were from The Sudan, Somalia and Cambodia) and the tools that their communities and their allies could use to defeat the beasts, robots and evil clowns and transform this place in to a world of dancing fish, flapping butterflies, and powerful animals uniting.
Aug. 11-12, 2006
Wakefield Fruit and Vegetable Parade
I returned to my hometown in Rhode Island for a whirlwind weekend of puppet building workshops in which I lead about 70 kids and adults in the creation of large-scale parade puppets, which strutted their stuff at the town block party accompanied by the kick-ass marching band sounds of the What Cheer? Brigade.
At several points throughout the summer of 2006
I had the honor of performing my illustrated sloth song as an opening act for the miraculous Stick and Rag Village Orchestra as we crossed paths while they were touring New England on bicycle.
June 17th, 2006
Puppet comrade Morgan Andrews and I debuted my new show, "Awaken The Mud" which is sort of about the secret potential of ATM machines, identity theft, wooly mammoths, manatee breeding, etc. at Best Fest in Clark Park, West Philly and later that night at a puppet cabaret in Baltimore at Black Cherry Puppet Theater.
Spring 2006
I finished up teaching the after school art program at The Salvation Army Homeless Shelter in North Philly which culminated in the unveiling of our beautiful mural. The 4th graders I'd been working with at the Rosenbach/Greenfield Elementary presented their 5 original, brilliant puppet shows to a packed house of friends and family. And the South Philly High School students that I'd been working with after school completed a dozen impressive pole puppets which took the stage at the Safe Nights Philadelphia anti-violence event.
April 2nd, 2006
The Rotunda, 40th and Walnut, Philadelphia
I illustrated a 40-foot long scroll, mounted on a smooth rolling cranky device, that was part of Pig Iron Theater's amazing Hollow Earth Cabaret.
Occasional performances November—May, 2006
Philadelphia to Somerville, MA to Maine to Pittsburgh, PA and back
I performed this solo suitcase show about on old woman's cornbread smelling past and her new-found mammalian enormousness at The Nexus Art Gallery, The Quiet Storm Coffee Shop, The Space Gallery and several other venues. It starred NoHoldsBarbara, the clear dog, the disaster factory, the meanwhile closet, the non-profit industrial complex, and important platypus factoids.
January 6-31, 2006
Space Gallery Portland, ME
I participated in an incredible collaborative art exhibit at The Space Gallery for which I built an interactive installation of 6 pinatas, 2 of which we performatively bashed at the First Friday opening on January 6. Along with the incredible Sara Crall (one of the other 5 artists in the show) on Jan 11th I gave a talk on my work and my process and answered questions from the crowd. Three of the pinatas were then displayed in the front window of The Other Green Line Coffee Shop in West Philly for February and March.
Also as part of WORKNOT: Face on Fire Revisted
Thursday Jan 12, 2005 The Space Gallery
I again had the pleasure of collaborating with uncommon clown Kelly Nesbitt for this jam-packed evening of madness. Kelly and I performed the clown act we developed on tour in Europe last year, followed by each of us performing a solo piece, and then, aided by the hilarious stage-management/bar-tending of clown Dylan Blanchard, we performed a sequel to the first show, in which Gladys and Barbara are re-united, visited by several encouraging strangers and called to triumph over their ailments and insecurities and reinvigorate their clumsey yet powerful heroism. The event was made a thousand times more soothing and delightful by musical guests Joshua Marcus, Josh Newman, and Nik Fox.
Winter Solstice Show
December 17, 2005
Avant Gentlemen's Lodge Philadelphia, PA
I teamed up with the other members of the "Sweetles Chum The Waters Rebirth Theater Canal" to create and perform this melodius and improvisatory frosty spectacula.
The Rotunda
Oct 25, 2005 Philadelphia, PA
The Coalition of Humans Invested In The Future heard testimony from the last panel of experts before an enthusiastic home-town crowd.
Blacksheep Puppet Festival
Oct 21–22, Pittsburgh, PA
This was my 5th year performing at Blacksheep, it always makes me want to move to Pittsburgh.
Sacred and Profane
Oct 15, 2005 Peaks Island, Maine
This was my 3rd year participating in this crazy and amazing performing arts festival that takes place in a WWII artillery bunker.
Oct 1, 2005, Philly, PA
I directed the giant puppet pageant in Clark Park and facilitated the narrative creation and puppet construction.
Workshop on improvisational theater
Aug 7–13, 2005
I participated in an amazing workshop on improvisational theater and the imagination at The Celebration Barn in South Paris, Maine led by Keith Johnstone, author of the book IMPRO.
What The Experts Say (Haphazard version)
July 9, 2005
I performed a haphazard version of "What The Experts Say," minus my cohort Morgan Andrews, and plus the warm and wonderful songs of the Philadelphia-based band "Fan of Friends," at The Green Bean Coffee Shop in Greensboro, NC as part of The Fire Flies: Art of the Possible Festival.
What the Experts Say
June 11–25, 2005
Morgan Andrews and I created a new toy theater and hand puppet show that we took on a whirlwind tour of New England. The show was entitled "What the Experts Say" and starred a Cyclops, some wise flounder, a Unitarian ant and anteater, several dogs, a cockroach, a rat, a pigeon, a cow, the camel who knows, and a few other characters who all offered their perspectives on pressing questions of our time, before The Coalition of Humans Invested in the Future. We kicked off at tour with two nights at The Great Small Works 7th International Toy Theater Festival in NYC where I accidentally set my suitcase on fire. We then cruised through Boston, Pawtucket, by the Dirt Palace in Providence, to Strange Maine in Portland, Falmouth, by Bread and Puppet in Glover, back through Amherst via Food For Thought Books, and then home to Philadelphia.
The Andorra International Festival of Women Clowns
March–May, 2005
I worked with Kelly Nesbitt to create a clown act which we performed at various venues in Paris, Rome, Barcelona, Segovia, Andorra, Philadelphia, and Portland, ME. The highlight of our tour was attending The Andorra International Festival of Women Clowns in The Pyrénées Mountains. We participated in a week of intensive clowning workshops led by an incredible Swiss clown named Gardi Hutter, attended lectures and shows, and performed as part of the late night cabaret.

Selected past shows

Sloth Teeth
The Cardboard Radio Players present the story of struggling "community artist," Bernice Nubson, as she learns to stop grinding her teeth to a pulp, and listen to the wisdom of Gladys, a Bradypus Tridactalus (3-toed sloth.)
(45 minutes, masks, contestoria, object theater, hand puppets)
Two And A Half Thoughts on Pelicans
Drowning in a sea of information, a woman is lifted aloft in the pouch of a giant pelican and given a birds'-eye view of our planet and all its fishy details.
(15 minutes, puppets and cantastoria)
Amoral Aroma
Meet the Gambler Who Won A Pig, the Woman With No House, the Brother That Can Hear and the Drycleaner Who Doesn't Care in the giant waiting room of Dr. Awkward and his palindromatic prescriptions.
(25 minutes, large cardboard puppets and masks)
Flossing Between Miracles
A dental hygienist looks to the baleen whale for insight into how to avoid drowning in a sea of information. She finds the truth that nourishes her, and the courage to play the trombone in a sequined leotard, amid the tartar and rot.
(15 minutes, puppets, object theater)
The Possible Beast
An outdoor pageant with live band, in which a Cyclops journeys in search of his other eye amidst the quiet battle of Hope and Fear. The audience is led from the forest to the beach in a performative procession, where they witness the Possible Beast (built onto a canoe) round the corner of the rocky coast, consume a 12-foot-long carrot, and paddle off into the sunset.
(1 hour, giant puppets, zip lines)

Selected Past Venues

I have performed my work at:

and many other festivals, theaters, coffee shops, book stores, living rooms, and street corners. I have been a part of many artistic endeavors at political demonstrations and participated in the first Puppetual Motion Cycle Circus in which 21 artist/activists toured Vermont by bicycle, performing at farms, colleges and events, like the Tour For Cure AIDS Ride.

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