Recent Comments

Re: “Criss Angel ruins the illusion on Believe

I spent 8 days in Las Vegas to attend Cirque Week. I got to Mystere, now in its 20th year, and to the new tribute to Michael Jackson. Also, every day of the week, there were special afternoon events, each day, a visit to a different Cirque stage, just for us Cirque Week attendees. Among them was a group photo at Mr Angel.s BeLIEve stage, followed by a single file trip to his dressing room, where I got to pet one of his little dogs. So I have seen this magician at his most charming. Many in the group did not want any magic trick explained, but personally I enjoyed being let in on a few secrets because it is a reminder that there are often multiple ways of seeing or understanding things.

16 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Alan Cook on 11/23/2013 at 9:44 PM

Re: “The great puppet caper

The to-do regarding Ralph Kipniss marionettes would never have happened if Joseph Lewis had done basic research. Chicago has a proud, strong puppet history. I live in California, but I am impressed by puppetry from Chicago, and even have some examples in my collection of over 5,000 examples. Ralph Kipniss is not up to the quality of any of the many truly talented puppeteers I have known. It is sad to have to bluntly say that second-rate puppets do not warrant saving. Joseph Lewis contacted me and other people in the puppetry field. We did not instigate the conversation. When other puppeteers suggested caution, we were all accused of being "mean spirited". No, we were being honest. There are many deserving puppeteers in Chicago, past and present, whose work is worthy of being preserved and protected. Burr Tillstrom, Jay Marshall (one of his puppets is in the Smithsonian collection, and I delivered it), Ruth Hill, Kungsholm miniature opera (which I saw), the Cole and the Coleman marionettes, and today, Red Moon and Blair Thomas, and younger folks (some are today, doing inventive shadow puppetry)....... The list goes on.

Puppetry is a small field, and most of us know one another---it is like a family in many ways. I received help from 40 puppetry folks some years ago which is why I am still alive. As groups go, puppetry is one of the most supportive of one another that I know of.

I also have to question the claim of one comment that bad vaudeville acts need to be preserved. Obviously they do not. Good vaudeville acts, including puppet acts like the Jewell Manikins and Mantell Manikins, Deaves Marionettes, etc. DO warrant preservation.

I am sorry that the Chicago Reader and the Sun Times got conned. I hope it won't prevent future articles on puppeteers who REALLY deserve support of the media.

12 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Alan Cook on 11/10/2013 at 11:58 PM

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