the pup­pets

Pasatiempo - - For the New Mexican - Michael Wade Simp­son For The New Mex­i­can

one of the founders of Wise Fool New Mex­ico, learned the power of pup­pets 21 years ago in San Fran­cisco. She and some ac­tivist friends were at an an­ar­chist café, com­plain­ing that their po­lit­i­cal protests at the Lawrence Livermore Na­tional Lab­o­ra­tory (a nu­clear-weapons re­search fa­cil­ity) were not at­tract­ing any at­ten­tion. As she re­called in a re­cent in­ter­view, “We de­cided to change our strat­egy and do ‘ art ac­tion,’ us­ing gi­ant pup­pets some­one had learned how to make in Minneapolis.” In a work­shop on the corner of Haight and Ash­bury streets, they set to work on their “pup­pet in­ter­ven­tion.” The day af­ter the pro­ces­sion was staged in down­town Livermore, the pup­pets made the front pages of Bay Area news­pa­pers.

On Satur­day, May 1, a new gen­er­a­tion of pup­pets hits the streets of Santa Fe in Ig­nite!: Rais­ing Truth in the Streets, a pro­ces­sion that cul­mi­nates with a “pageant” or pup­pet theater piece. The event com­mem­o­rates In­ter­na­tional Work­ers’ Day and the 10th an­niver­sary of Wise Fool New Mex­ico, and it is a cel­e­bra­tion of the group’s po­lit­i­cal roots. Known lo­cally for its an­nual Cir­cus Lu­mi­nous pro­duc­tions and pub­lic stilt-walk­ing as much as for its ac­tivism, Wise Fool runs dozens of work­shops across the state for chil­dren and adults (with an em­pha­sis on em­pow­er­ing girls) us­ing cir­cus arts, theater, and pup­petry.

One of the fig­ures be­ing cre­ated at a re­cent com­mu­nity “pup­pet build” at the Wise Fool stu­dios, a ware­house space off Agua Fría Street, was re­ferred to as “Cor­po­rate Greed.” It had a huge head with blood­shot eyes, bushy white eye­brows, and a move­able jaw with jagged teeth. The fin­ished pup­pet will be 20 feet tall, Chris­tian said, com­plete with long arms bear­ing la­bels like “ap­a­thy,” “de­nial,” and “war.” Ac­cord­ing to the sto­ry­board posted on the walls of the stu­dio, Cor­po­rate Greed “de­vours peo­ple and an­i­mals from the awe­some world, turns some peo­ple into hench­men who then im­prison and wall-off awe­some peo­ple from each other, give trash to kids ...”

Jolly Dalai Lama: one of the “pup­pet build” ses­sions at Wise Fool Stu­dios, in prepa­ra­tion for Ig­nite!: Rais­ing Truth in the Streets

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