The Gallery at Avalon Island hosted an opening reception for No Strings Attached. This show which kicks off the 2009 Orlando Puppet Festival, features work from puppetry artists from around the nation. I particularly like the work of Tamara Marke - Lares. Her work used found objects which were elegantly incorporated into puppets. For instance a crab claw suddenly became a puppets head. Bones, wood, wire and a wide assortment of materials became a character walking across dead leaves. Expect the whimsical and unexpected when you go to see this show. Many of the works have a European maturity about them. These are not the generic puppets I grew up watching.
As I stood in the corner of the gallery sketching, a group of school children gathered at the store front window I was standing near. They were hopping up and down trying to see what I was working on. They started tapping on the glass and I decided to show then the unfinished sketch. Jeff Wirth walked up to me and before I recognized him he said, "I am sorry sir, we are going to have to ask you to leave, there is no sketching in this gallery." My stomach tightened before I realized it was Jeff and then I started to laugh. Later as I was finishing the sketch I bumped into costume designer Kelly - Ann Salazar who told me I had to check out the puppet show going on upstairs. I am glad she did because the shadow puppet show was delightful to watch and I got to sit right next to the puppeteers as they worked. I had to run off to another event so unfortunately I didn't get a sketch, but I might return.
With my sketchbooks tucked away, I finally decided to get some cheese and crackers which was to be my dinner for the night. Here I ran into Heather Henson who had just returned from months of wandering the country going from one puppet festival to another. She told me about the Burning Man event held in the Black Rock Desert 120 miles north of Reno Nevada. It is hard to describe burning man but it is the ultimate in large scale creative expression. Going to this event is one of the things on my list of places I must go to before I die.
The Avalon Gallery hours are Tuesday through Thursday 11AM to 4PM. There are also some very cool shows coming up like Macabre Vignettes and "The Bride of Wildenstein" the musical on October 29th-31st ,10:30pm at the Cameo Theater, 1013 East Colonial Drive. Tickets are $10.