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Bears and Puppies

In Arts and Entertainment on June 26, 2010 at 11:36 pm

By Chris Robin

In Philadelphia, a small playground is home to three bears. I saw them the other day while playing with Mike and Stephanie’s three children, Lily, Lenny, and Louis. They kept my attention, and had a feeling I knew who made them. After sending this photograph with the query: “Are these by Heinz W.?” to my ever inquisitive and capable mother, I got a curious response:

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“No, but same period.

Paul Manship was the most famous of the many many
sculptors who made this kind of figure mostly in the 30s 40s and 50s.

I looked these up. They are 1966 by Sherl Joseph Winter who lived in Mt. Airy.

You may remember him.

He and his wife came over and bought a puppy from Loki’s first litter.”

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Loki was my first dog.

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Geese on the Gowanus

In Metro Desk on June 20, 2010 at 11:08 am

By Max Petro

Strolling across the Carroll St. bridge on the way home has become a regular, almost daily pleasure. Despite it’s less that sanitary history, crossing a body of water, a brief pause in the cement and structure of our surroundings is a rejuvenating experience. Over the years intrepid kayaks and canoes have skimmed the surface, and recently the intensity of the pollution seems to be waning. A recent project where a long tube with floating buoys trace the canal from start to finish is part of a more concerted effort to revive the life that once thrived in the waters.

A few days ago while crossing the bridge two proud geese were on the water, corralling their four little gosling and heading south. It was the first time I saw anything other that urban debris on the water, and it was a truly inspiring site. Perhaps the efforts of  traditionally shortsighted men are beginning to show results. The motivation to revive this gem in the heart of south Brooklyn is most likely to fill the pockets and ambitions of heartless prospectors and developers. While it is far from the most noble of causes, in this case, and for the time being I choose to appreciate the ends, and save my duress over the means for another day.

Warning: Unattended Toy Theatre on the F Train

In Arts and Entertainment on June 13, 2010 at 5:04 pm

By Philip Naudé

The Great Small Works’ 9th International Toy Theater Festival at St Ann’s Warehouse was it’s usual annual delight. I took part in the workshop where about two dozen people and teams got to build their own toy theatre with materials the festival provided, and create a short show. After some instruction and initial advice from members of the Great Small Works company we dove into the cardboard, wallpaper, ping-pong balls, magazines and hot melt glue coming up with stories, comic and tragic, epic and folk in a mad rush of creativity and curiosity. Card board boxes wrapped in images formed proscenium arches, tissue paper hung like grand drapery, and as the troupe running the workshop counted down to the presentation our  earnest but upstart attempts at a truly meticulous and gifted tradition. the familiar groans and resistence from the creative teams emerged.

As it is with theatre, both intimate and grandiose, the pieces fall together quite miraculously in time for curtain. The degree of artistry and playfulness in what people had made in such a short time was staggering. All ages presented their miniature theaters and performed their show. It was clear that the talent and genuine sense of invention in the room experienced a form of instant osmosis, and a miniature community built miniature theatres with big ideas and big hearts. Short plays, visual poems, historical melodramas were acted out with pleasure and often with the endearing visible nerve of a novice performer. My presentation was a trick theatre that folded back into looking like an ordinary brown box. My show, in a small gilded proscenium was an interpretive dance by a velociraptor in Monument Valley circa. 200 million BCE hoping to inspire greater awareness among fellow dinosaurs of an alledged impending global disaster. The GSW Band provided sublime accompanying music. It was a great way to spend part of a Saturday afternoon in early June.

Only two things marred the occasion:

First, I had to leave before all the performances were done, and missed what gems and intrigue the rest of the participants had to offer. I attempted to clean up my mess as much as possible without disturbing the shows, but I’m sure someone looked frowningly upon the remaining mess, condemning silently my thoughtlessness. I’ll get over it in the near future.

Second, and more tragically was that in my haste on public transportation, I left my toy theater on the F train. Since I had made it to look like an unassuming cardboard box, I fear that perhaps someone saw it unattended, and the set in motion any number of potentially escalating investigations that would have caused concern for the fearful, and delay in the plans of many. I’ll get over that in the near future too, and may eventually find the prospect of humor in that my little toy theatre may have found itself in a blast proof steel container being opened by a remote control robot.

It’s Show time!

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http://www.greatsmallworks.org

http://www.stannswarehouse.org