File puptcrit/puptcrit.0811, message 106


Date: Mon, 10 Nov 2008 05:31:46 -0800
To: puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Bread & Puppet controversy


In 1744, in Lippe, Germany, the vicar criticized from the pulpit a local
councilor, Detering, who had given permission for a puppet team to perform
in the town.

Which provoked a "short response provoked by the question; whether the
Christian higher authority can allow in good faith the presentation and
viewing of the puppet show?" The response was in favor of the puppet show.
This was an actual referendum.

But in this case of B and P I don't know if the audience overwhelmingly
accepted the performance. It sounds like it didn't matter too much one way
or another. No outrage from the audience of children when the performance
was abruptly stopped. That is what is troubling in this account to me. So I
can't defend B and P.

I certainly think this is a situation that should and could have been
avoided given that this was booked as a Puppet Show for Children. I have my
views that even material that could be viewed as "inappropriate" for one
group or another can, with much thought and skill, be slipped into show. It
is the open provokation that may present in this story. The B and P blew
their Trust factor that is for sure, and that is too bad.

-Steven Ritz-Barr



On Sun, Nov 9, 2008 at 8:06 PM, Bell, John <john.bell-AT-uconn.edu> wrote:

> Among other things, I am struck by the comment of Thalian Hall Executive
> Director Tony Rivenbark: "We bought a product, we weren't satisfied with it
> and we returned it. [...] I don't consider that censorship. We paid them
> off, and we were very gracious as far as I'm concerned."
>
> This is an interesting part of the problem, because Rivenbark reflects a
> very common United States attitude: that culture is nothing more than a
> consumer product.
>
> "WE PAID THEM OFF AND WE WERE VERY GRACIOUS." BUT OH WHAT GRACE THEY MISSED
> AT THALIAN HALL: THE GRACE OF THE GESTURE OF THE PUPPET; THE SIMPLE AND YET
> BEAUTIFUL POSSIBILITIES OF PETER SCHUMANN'S WORK, THE AMAZING CAPABILITIES
> OF THE BREAD AND PUPPET COMPANY, WHICH AT THIS MOMENT IN THE FALL OF 2008 IS
> COMPRISED OF SOME OF THE MOST TALENTED YOUNG PERFORMING ARTISTS OPERATING IN
> THE UNITED STATES TODAY.  "WE PAID THEM OFF AND WE WERE VERY GRACIOUS."  AND
> YET, THOSE CHILDREN IN THALIAN HALL MISSED A ONCE IN A LIFETIME CHANCE TO
> SEE, LIVE, IN FRONT OF THEIR OWN EYES, A REALIZATION OF THE UNCANNY
> MYSTERIES OF PUPPETS. "WE PAID THEM OFF AND WE WERE VERY GRACIOUS."
>
> Of course, what is eternally fascinating about puppetry and all art for
> that matter is that, at its essence, it is not a product to be consumed, but
> instead an experience to be shared in the continual creation of community
> culture.  The United States over the past two hundred years has perfected
> its ideology of culture-as-product, and tried to sell that idea to the
> world, but the world has not been convinced.  Art (and puppet theater) have
> more important things to do than to simply satisfy customers in the ways
> that Rivenbark imagines.
>
> The attempt to limit puppetry to the role of "product" is a futile effort
> to stifle its always resistant impulses.  Our roles as puppeteers have
> always included the job of political commentary, community celebration, and
> deep intellectual and spiritual thought, and Bread and Puppet has simply
> accepted, learned from, and enjoyed those scintillating tasks.
>
> It's good at this moment in United States history, when there is
> considerable euphoria about the election of Barack Obama, to remember the
> challenges that face us as American artists.
>
> jbell
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: puptcrit-bounces-AT-puptcrit.org on behalf of Randy Ross
> Sent: Sun 11/9/2008 8:01 PM
> To: puptcrit-AT-puptcrit.org
> Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] Bread & Puppet controversy
>
> i love you matieu, i love almost all puppeteers....
> what you raise about the cheap art manifesto, is precisely part of
> its brilliance,
> it is the conversation that begins,
> because we do live in capitalism,
>
> hey this lady really blew my mind let me share . her...document seh
> prensente dher in vanc. to a bunch of artist...(for social change)
>
> res[ect/
> r.
>
> [ Attachment:
>
> http://lists.puptcrit.org/pipermail/puptcritattach/attachments/20081109/69801f79/attachment.pdf
> ]
>
>
>
> On Sun, Nov 9, 2008 at 12:30 PM, Mathieu René
> <<mailto:creaturiste-AT-primus.ca>creaturiste-AT-primus.ca> wrote:
>
> >>i work and live by the cheap art manifesto .written by bread & Puppets.
> >
> >   peace.
> >   r.
>
>
> I have the cheap art manifesto printed and displayed in my studio.
> It contains a lot of inspirational concepts. Some are idealistic.
> I don't see how someone can take it all litterally and apply it as-is,
> without compromise.
> If you really do, can you tell us how you manage?
>
> For instance, the manifesto seems to say that Art should be cheap and
> accessible, which I have nothing against. But should all art be made cheap
> or free? What does that tell to the artists who want to make a living at
> what they do best, and work hard at it? What does that say to the world,
> who
> obviously already thinks that Art is less valuable than other careers?
> It's wrong to think that way, as anyone with eyes can see that artists make
> the world interesting, they create variety, wonderful pleasing forms where
> function alone would not do.
> While artists may not save lives as immediately and as obviously as doctors
> or firefighters, they really do save lives everyday, with the inspiration
> and motivation and education Art can bring.
>
> My application of what I get from the manifesto is that there are many
> levels, types and applications of Art.
> Some of it can be given for free, some of it should be paid fairly. All of
> its teachings should be made available to those who need and want it.
>
> In an ideal world where people would be fair-minded and un-jealous, all
> careers would earn the same keep, and all would benefit from everyone's
> full
> involvement. Full blooming of everyone's potential and interests.
>
> We don't live in an ideal world.
> So we can work toward it, while still needing to adjust to the current
> reality.
>
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-- 
FAUST PuppenFilm by Steven Ritz-Barr
"This is a fascinating piece which uses the visual-music aspect of puppetry
to make images as puppet theatre can at it's best."
-Dr. Kathie Folie, Univ. of Cal, Santa Cruz Theatre Chair and Professor

Classics in Miniature, LLC
Metropolitan Puppet Authority, Non-profit
www.lapuppet.com
www.classicsinminiature.com
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