At Jasper, we're always talking about how much talent is in this town and how diverse and specific that talent sometimes is. Certainly one of the most unique and talented people in Columbia is Kimi Maeda -- puppeteer, set designer, artist, visionary.
We had the opportunity last week to sit down with Kimi and talk about both the upcoming Spork In Hand Puppet Slam, as well as some other projects she'd like to take on and some of her goals/plans/visions for puppetry in Columbia. After just a few minutes of chatting, it became obvious that Jasper needed to do a full profile on Kimi, which we've scheduled for Spring 2013. In the meantime, we'd like to help Kimi -- and Lyon Hill, her partner in crime and the 5000 year old art of puppetry -- promote another one of the coolest events we've experienced in town -- the Spork In Hand Puppet Slam, coming up this weekend at Trustus Theatre.
Last spring, we had the opportunity to attend our first ever puppet slam, presented by Kimi & Lyon's company, Belle et Bette, as part of Indie Grits. We had seen some cool puppetry before -- at Spoleto and, if I'm not mistaken, at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival one August -- but I can't remember ever being moved in the strange, warm, and somewhat unsettling way that some of the puppetry last spring moved me. I can still remember that sensation -- and it freaks me out a little that I absolutely crave to be freaked out like that again. It's something about the emotiveness (it's a word!) of the inanimate objects becoming animated right in front of you. Intellectually, you know the puppets aren't real -- but emotionally, you're responding to them as if they are. It's surprising how human objects and shadows and unrecognizable creatures can seem.
Very creepily cool.
Lots of folks, when they hear the words puppet or puppetry, assume that the performative qualities of the show would be more suited to children. Wrong! in the same way that there are films for kids and films for adults, there is puppetry for kids and puppetry for adults. Kimi tells me that there is nothing child-like about the Spork In Hand Puppet Slam -- unless, I have to add, it's the heady sensation of possibility you get from watching it, and the feeling of having been taken on a very trippy trip for the time during which the puppets perform. I mean, the time during which the puppeteers perform. Puppets can't perform!
Or can they?
Decide for yourself -- here's the lowdown:
COLUMBIA - Organized by Belle et Bête, also known as Lyon Hill and Kimi Maeda, Spork in Hand Puppet Slam is a celebration of Southern puppetry that is off-the-beaten-path. They amaze, entertain, and inspire the people of Columbia with gloriously gritty evenings of experimental short puppetry and object theatre performances.
It's a whole new show with performances by: Happiness Bomb, Lyon Forrest Hill, Paul Kaufmann, Kimi Maeda, Tarish Pipkins, Greggplant and Bean, Jenny Mae Hill, Jason Von Hinezmeyer and Rob Padley. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.
Click here to purchase your tickets right this second. It's like magic.