File puptcrit/puptcrit.0509, message 224

Date: Wed, 21 Sep 2005 02:01:23 EDT
Subject: [Puptcrit] Re: cancellation of Thai puppets' & visas.

Dear Alan, et al,
   I was fortunate to visit the Joe Lewis Theater in Bangkok....nice show, 
very nice theater.. Tammy Hunt told me about it.   
     It is a shame the State Dept denies visas from time to time. At the 
Western Arts Alliance Conference, the subject of visas for foreign performing 
artists is frequently discussed.   This problem is not solely aimed at puppeteers, 
sometimes even well-known artists are denied visas.   
    I had to jump through hoops to get visas for Belarus and Russia two weeks 
ago...ultimately resorted to a 3rd party to get them for me...Belarus visa 
cost me about $150 plus Fed Ex charges, but Russian Federation cost me about 
$400 plus.   Part of the cost was that the respective embassy wanted (lots) of 
time and I was traveling and needed my passports for Korea and Italy trips with 
only three days between.   Same day service, "official" invitations from 
travel agents (as opposed to official invitations from the sponsoring festivals) 
Fed Ex charges, etc....mount up considerably.
    I'm just back from outstanding Obraztsov Festival in Moscow and 
Belaja-Vezha 2005 Festival in Brest, Belarus....will write a report soon.   Sincerely,  
 Jim Gamble
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