Arts and Ideas

I am hysterically passionate about the New Haven International Festival of Arts and Ideas. I've been crazy about it for 12 years. It's just so good. Circuses, European street performance, African opera, people in giant skirts swaying on flexible poles 50 feet in the air, belligerent brass marching bands who steal children and bicycles. It's just got to be experiened.

This year they asked me to do a reading on the New Haven Green as part of it. I was out of my head with excitement, and nervous. I fretted over the preparation for weeks. I wanted it to be a real performance, not just a reading. Karl built a set, we rehearsed and rehearsed. And on the day it happened, last Saturday, it rained, pretty hard.

This was good and bad. Bad in that the turnout was low, but good in that after my puppets, my markers, my books, my assistants, my audience, all got rained on, I figured anything I could pull off at that point would be great. My house of 14 crowded onto the 12 x 8 foot tented stage, my soggy puppets set around their feet, and did the One Grain of Sand routine, where I draw and dance the book while someone (Karl this time) sings along. It turned out to be my best performance yet. Largely because so many great friends turned out despite the misery: The Osbourne family, Bob Bresnick, Margaret Carl, ElizaB, and two lovely CWOS ladies whose names I'm sorry I didn't write down. It was intimate and even a little magical with Karl's soft singing and the rain pouring down all around our tiny tent.

I gave out fish puppets, and a couple of the kids took to them like... fish to water.

It was too wet for any camera to take pictures, but later Tony Baloney captured my name in VINYL on the official Arts and Ideas banner. It was kind of a dream come true, actually.