The above Clip features the band HuDost during a performance at the Bo Diddley Plaza in Gainesville, Florida some years back. Arturo Escamilla and I were doing live visuals that were projected on to a screen on the side of the stage. Here I’m using a Pelham marionette as a live interpretive dancer and in the background you can also note giant puppets which were being operated by my friend and mentor Gregg Jones and memebers of his theater class.
The marionette shown above, der Wooden Man or “Derwood Enman”, is a design that I made to refer back to when I’m working on these characters. I initially built them from looking at old Pelham puppets and later redesigned them to use mostly wooden parts, moving away from metal as much as possible. This is all still very much a work in progress.
Above, below, and to the left is “Josie” the very first attempt at building a marionette from scratch. She is definitely one of the Pelham influenced puppets. I made her for dancing in a show where I play drums and other instruments while operating the marionette at the same time. The whole thing is a juggling act and while it’s working can come off really wild. When it’s not, well that’s just more entertainment for you, the viewer, it’s not exactly by choice but I’ve learned to build failure into everything I do (you should be happy I’m an artist and not a pilot!) If you stick around for the ride you might be surprised when everything comes together.
photo below taken by Emma Green
JoMo the four faced dancing fool! Check out his sandals! Total Bonnaroovian!
It’s a blast going to these music festivals and tripping out the attendees with puppetry. I’ve been lucky enough to work at Bonnaroo, Hula, and more than a few local fests in my area of the Southeastern United States.
This one is named PHINEOUS (fin-E-us), he is an actual troll. This was taken at the Ween performance in 2016 at Bonnaroo. My wife, Marni, stitched together his clothes.
This is “Lefty the Clown” one of my first silk puppets influenced by the work of German puppet master Albrecht Roser. I named him Lefty because I think all clown puppets should have mobster names. As if they’re not scary enough!
First year at Bonnaroo. Man it’s hot in Tennessee!
Derwood getting ready for the silent disco at the Summer 72 festival in High Springs Florida out at Rum 138. Super good times!
Photo by Suzanna Mars
Jim in the Box. Another truly freaky creation of mine. The above picture was taken at the Hoggetowne Medieval Faire in Gainesville Florida. (I’ve learned to be real cautious when bringing Jim out because he’s almost given at least a few people cardiac arrest when they see this head talking to them from a tiny box! Usually they laugh like hell once they realize he’s not real. Everybody loves a scare!)
This a meme I created from another Pelham puppet that I’ve renamed JoBimboJo the clown. In the background you can see another head in the box character. His name is `Ed in the Box. There is definitely a theme going on here with heads in boxes and I intend to make more of these. The marionette on the right is another Pelham tribute named Lola, slightly patterned from a puppet they had named Lulu. She’s a belly dancer.
Here are some moments that resparked my interest in puppetry. Gregg Jones and myself pictured on the right in-between our performances as Punch and Judy at the Medieval Faire circa early and mid 2000’s. I owe much to Gregg for inspiring me and just about anyone who knows him to keep in touch with your inner child , sense of wonder, and play! There’s our guard Jared on the left and myself with Lisa Ogden who played Judy after the reigns of Punch were handed over to me.
After doing Punch and Judy for many years I had to eventually move on. Loved doing it but it was some back breaking work. Many people have played Punch and Judy over the years including my friends Bryce Belcher and Iver Thue. Fortunately the characters are still animated by my friends George Steven O’Brien and Griffin Wulf these days. I wanted to keep doing the Faire so I reinvented myself as Yoshi Hamaya the near great, master storyteller from the land of Dreams.There’s George and I on the bottom right at one of our local happenings. I’ve learned a lot from George and if your interested look him up sometime and you can too.
And so this is what I do with Puppetry. I find it to be an interesting and a fulfilling use of my time and skills. Get in touch with me if you’d like to have me at your event or just want to talk shop. Below is a picture of my wife and I. I have no idea why she chose to hang with me but none of this would be possible without her love and support. Cheers!