Aunt Liz here, being reflective…
I try hard not to make my social media experiences about “look what I got!!” but as a toy collector and lover of all things creepy, Halloweeny and weird, sometimes I can’t help myself, especially after the thrill of the hunt. But this entry also marks an important era in my way of life and creativity, in an era I’m calling “Embracing the Crazies”.
As a puppeteer, I must often rely on what is the bane of some of our existences: birthday parties,kids entertainment, etc… as if puppetry is only to be appreciated by children, which is NOT the case. As a thousands of years old art form, it has only until recently been a form of expression for adults. But, sometimes we must go where the business is, and,like so much of children’s entertainment these days, everything must be watered-down, politically correct and make everyone feel good about themselves.
This does not mean I support being negative. But I felt myself more and more dipping, then sinking, into the dogma of modern kids’ entertainment–everyone is special, everyone wins all the time, everything is cute and fluffy with no sharp edges,and your self-esteem is paramount, whether you’ve earned it or not. I didn’t like this about myself. Yes,I worship Fred Rogers and his special brand of getting his point across as a gentle, kind figure who did want you to feel good about yourself, but that was because Mister Rogers taught you about being a good person, and your positive feelings about yourself flowed naturally from learning about the world and others and being a valuable citizen. But still, this sort of approach doesn’t sound genuine coming from me. I can’t compare to the simple majesty of someone like Mister R. I have to express myself a good deal more loudly, crazily, and usually with a few sharp teeth and a forked tail or two. I love building and performing cute animal characters, but where the real meat is for me is scary monsters and roaring dinosaurs,things that crash in the dark and possibly make you wet your pants–possibly from laughter, fear or maybe both.
So I decided to step back and cull down what I wanted to do to the characters and shows and presentations I had the most passion about, which almost exclusively dealt with all of the above. And Dragon Patch TV was born. While still in its fledgling state, it still represents a more focused means of expression and work for me, and I’m relieved that I finally let go and am bringing my true self into what I do.
A few changes happened around the house as a result. I’ll post my workshop pics later, but I decided to do something I’d always wanted to for the guest bathroom. This bath has been decorated with African elephants(which I love dearly) for 14 years, but I’ve always wanted to give it a nautical theme in a…monstrous way. Finally,with some Christmas money I had received, I did it, and Uncle Steve got me this on Amazon:
It’s amazing. I love it, love it, love it, and wish I had done it sooner. I had planned to have a plaque made of my 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea poster and hang it up in the bath as well, but it’s too large. Dang. It would have been a tentacled extravaganza in there. I’ve shown pictures of it to people who regularly stay here as guests just to warn them. But anyway, it’s a huge stamp of “If I want to do something weird or off the wall,I’m gonna do it!” mentality that I’ve finally embraced. I’ve been an oddball all my life, see, but never, ever, truly embraced it. I always let my parents or society in general keep me in check, and I don’t want to be in check anymore, dammitall!
While still working for Homestead Hospice, a job in which I take tremendous pride, I am ramping up my birthday party selections again. This time I’m focusing on my roots in puppetry and art again and going straight for the monsters and dinosaurs to populate these parties, and I feel that they’re going to be great. Look out, kids!
Here’s some ideas for puppets integrated into games for Monster Bash. Other ideas included an Eyeball Relay Race, and a “Monster-Do-This” sort of game, in which players take notes out of a bucket and follow the instructions to creep, crawl, roar, etc.