I don’t think I have shared my non-secret with you… I LOVE puppets! Maybe it’s because I grew up in the golden age of puppetry with Fraggle Rock, Muppets, Mr Dressup, Mrs Rogers Neighbourhood, Sesame Street, and local favourite Today’s Special and Romper Room.
Over the years I have created with puppets as a way to get around production hurdles, mainly no one at my museums wanted to be on camera – yet I was tasked in creating content. Video has been the king of content for a while now, so I always tried to think outside the box when trying to make something on a shoestring budget of a few hours, an iphone, and a museum at my disposal.
Enter Little Red: a campaign for summer camp at Gibson House Museum. She was “mini-me” and a camp counselor helping people get excited for camps at the museum by having little adventures in the museum that were topical to the weekly theme of the camp:
And so Harry the Haggis episodes were born to explore the tradition of Hogmanay at Gibson House! Soon my museum workers were seeing the fun of content creation and I expanded my cast from fuzzy creatures and finger puppets.
It’s been a while since I created with puppets but just recently I had a resurgence of love for them with my new Fraggle, named Pebbles, commissioned by The Puppet Forge and designed by Jay P Fosgitt. I put it up on my personal page and its been viewed 700 times and people were so lovely with their comments that I was taken aback at my return to puppeting! It was a little rusty – and filming and puppeting all by oneself is HARD so it’s not the polished piece I would like it to be. But sometimes you just have to puppet dance, so that’s what I did:
I was back in love with creating with puppets! And so I brought my Eldritch Theatre monster puppet created by Eric Woolfe to one of my museums to do a silly idea…
It has about 700 views on Facebook, 11 shares, and such wonderful comments like these:
It sounds like Philbert Gilbert Dilbert needs to go on a museum adventure around our city! I’m currently researching what grants if any would support a web-series about a puppet interning at museums in the name of supernatural and history. Got any leads? I’m happy to hear them!
Some of you may know I am a suicide loss survivor, and some of you even know I am a safeTALK trainer. It would be amazing to have you at my first public workshop this November 19th for Suicide Loss Survivors Day at Red Sandcastle Theatre in Toronto.
I will be leading the workshop, and Jason Martorino, a teacher and Distress Centre volunteer with his ASIST, will be on hand to help those who may feel triggered or need a moment with someone who has crisis intervention training.
This workshop is for those who want to help those around them by being alert to signs of suicidal ideation, and want to learn how best to help those who need resources to help them stay alive. I like to think of it as suicide prevention first aid: you are the first responder, and you will help keep them alive until you can connect them to a resource that will help keep them alive.
My talented friend Ryan Fisher of Rainyfresh Photography let me check a bucket list item off my list: being a historic cowgirl. I have always loved Calamity Jane (from Deadwood was an amazing interpretation!) and Back to the Future 3 – heck I live my life in the times of the Gold Rush, but I’m stuck in Toronto 1850s not the Klondike! My costume in this photo-shoot was inspired by Calamity’s classic look from her 1880’s portrait, too. I have been training to be her with stage combat, whip work, gun work, and of course horseback riding.
My friend Phil from Stageworthy Podcast wrote this when he saw the Rainyfresh edit of the photos:
“Red Anna. Some’ll tell you that her hair wasn’t always red. That it turned blood red from the entrails of the men she killed. Others say that it’s red because it was touched by the flames of hell. Still others say that its the dark mark upon her, placed there for some sin too dark to mention. What the truth is, none can say. But she’s earned each and every tale that’s told about her, and more.”
So here is Calamity Jane’s 1880 portrait I used to inspire my costume that I put together myself:
I can’t help but gush about this great moment in my geeky life: I am now a Fraggle at Fraggle Rock and part of the Jim Henson universe!!
Did you watch this amazing (Canadian?!) muppet puppet show?! It was one of my very favouritest as a child and it fills me with great joy to be a part of this universe as Pebbles Fraggle:
My nickname is Pebbles, as in Flintstone since birth from my Dad, in fact my little brother Luke didn’t know my real name was Adrianna until he was about 6 years old as he always just called me Pebs. They still do today ❤ so when Jay Fosgitt who is SUPER AMAZING and asked if he could make me into a Fraggle in his Fraggle Rock Comic book debut I was over the moon! Of course she would have big red hair but… Red is already a beloved Fraggle so the name was taken. Enter my nickname: meet my Fraggle doppelgänger Pebbles from Fraggle Rock! I am so excited to have my copy and one day I will have her as a real muppet puppet too.
Thank you Jay for making this little redhead’s dream come true!
It’s no secret I’m a huge geek. Nerd? There are times when I am both! Like in my latest photoshoot with Photos by Jo (and make-up by Coral who wanted me to really dive into my geek branding as I’m now hosting Geektropolis and of course I said “Affirmative. Engage.” and quickly had a panic attack about which shirt to wear – I have SO MANY geeky t-shirts!
Here’s my Brady Bunch set:
And the best Captain America I can do without fully cosplaying it in camos:
For one thing, I didn’t know it was going to be so gosh darn gorgeous. I mean look at those photos! I was compelled to stay outside and if you know me that is NOT my factory settings! I hide in the shade or stay inside, but that weekend I was constantly trying to stay outside and soak up the sunshine and the beautiful relaxing landscape. But wait, isn’t the Toronto Islands a tourist destination? How can that be relaxing? Well, the organizer (and friend) Phil Rickaby planned our weekend retreat on Mother’s Day weekend + the weekend was cold and calling for rain so not many people were there except the usual suspects (aka the people who live there).
I was there with 5 other writers, only two are pictured above as I didn’t want this to be a “vacation” where I photograph everything (though I couldn’t help the pictures above because AGAIN it was so damn gorgeous!) – all of which had a project they were working on. I was working on the 2 Weeks to Paradise webseries script! We shared our pieces together and gave feedback on what we heard.
We had our own desks in our rooms and came together at meals and hung out (Phil and I went to the farm on the island and got kissed by Prince the llama(!), and heard about each other’s projects. It was really inspiring!
Here is a sample of what I wrote while I was there; it’s shifting the focus on Claire, the principal character’s intern. I want each of them to have a full story of their own as “supporting” characters…
CLAIRE You know what I mean. You’re dedicated. You’re an artist.
JENNY Graphic artists don’t get to be “artistes”.
CLAIRE Ya you do, it’s in your job title.
JENNY Ya but, I don’t use a brush I use a keyboard and I don’t think a museum wants my digital creations any time soon. Hell, I just want my Etsy to blow up – pay my rent, hell buy me groceries…
CLAIRE Do you need money?
JENNY No no no. I just, ah, I just am feeling like a faker. No one wants my shit.
CLAIRE It’s not shit.
JENNY Says the dutiful sister.
CLAIRE Says the sister who is always right.
JENNY I love you “sister who is always right”.
CLAIRE I love you too. Now (waves her fork like a wand) it is time for another glass of wine! Why? Oh, because I’m always right!
Here’s hoping the next round of grants will let me finish this and produce it up for you to see! In the meantime, if you can BOOK SOME TIME at Artscape, I’m already planning on going again later this year. It was exactly what the writer doctor ordered 🙂
*Special thanks to Phil Rickaby for putting that weekend together and all the participants who were just an amazing talent and energy to be around.