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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The O'Neill National Puppetry Conference Day 3

I hit the ground running. In the last 24 hours or so, I have half-constructed a pair of articulated white pigeon wings with a total span of about 12 feet. The feathers are made of white duct tape and cable ties. It's taking shape nicely, but it's a long way from finished. Perhaps this was a little too ambitious a project for what is effectively my first puppet show. But it's not like I'm here to play it safe.

In good news, my soprano, the lovely musician/puppeteer Alissa Hunnicutt, thrilled me to bits by having the featured two movements of Tesla's Pigeon down pat at our first rehearsal, despite being horrendously busy herself. Everyone needs to hire her, like, immediately.

Last night I had about four hours' sleep after an exhausting day, and I thought I was doing so well coping with that deprivation until a presentation by Jane Henson, during which we had to sit in a darkened theater. Lights down, BOOM, sleep came roaring out of the jungle, chased me down, and began to eat me in front of everyone. I was mentally slapping myself and rocking back and forth trying to keep it at bay, because it's pretty damn cool to hear firsthand how Jim and Jane Henson got started. I only rested my eyes for a moment. A few times. It was rough.

Nothing a coffee afterwards couldn't fix, though.

A few moments ago, I took Paul McGinnis's Vegeminity, which is to say, I gave him his first taste of Vegemite, spread sparingly on a toasted bagel with a lot of butter, and he liked it. If more Americans had gentle first encounters with Vegemite, it probably wouldn't have such a bad rap here. Speaking of, there are no fewer than three Australians at the conference this year. One of them, Lana Schwarz, is fresh off the plane from Melbourne, and I'm collaborating with her, composing music for her (hilarious) project. Consequently, I can feel my full-strength accent returning. She pronounces the L in soldering! She says Texta! In the context of listening to me bitch about American vacation time, she uttered the sentence, "Don't they get long service leave?" I hadn't even heard the term "long service leave" in over eight years, and I'd completely forgotten about it. Suddenly I'm even more pissed off about American vacation time.
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