screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Category: Puppets

Introducing… Yuliya Tsukerman, Man, Woman, Friend, Computer (and some insane handmade marionettes)


Amazing things can happen when you combine quiet, haunting music with remarkably soulful marionnettes. This stunning film by Yuliya Tsukerman is set against the evocative and otherworldly music of Man, Woman, Friend, Computer. This is not actually a quartet, but rather the musical project (and astonishingly, the debut) of composer, lecturer and classical guitarist Thomas Echols, who has recorded and toured with Grammy-nominated DeVotchKa and Grammy-winning choral group Conspirare. What results from this curious union is a symbiotic match made in heaven.

Tsukerman sets her marionettes into scenes no larger than a tabletop that seem to be entire unfamiliar worlds that seem both intensely personal and alien. The expressiveness of the puppets draw the viewer immediately into the story. In “Exordium/Outgrown,” a spaceman deals with his own loss and isolation as he lovingly cares for an injured creature on an alien planet. She combines traditional Czech marionette techniques that are centuries old with materials of today plus found objects. She creates, in her words, “an analog reimagining of the space age that points to the the loneliness of the digital world, and to the new distances we create as we try to conquer the old.” The music is taken from the first and final tracks of the Man, Woman, Friend, Computer debut album, with a newly-composed interlude that connects the songs, musically and narratively, into a cohesive piece that beautifully complements the film. Music and visuals elicit feelings of sadness, alienation, loss, and oddly, tremendous compassion.


The film was handmade using “tabletop interstellar landscapes with marionettes made from paperclay, cast resin, ribbon, hot glue, latex, felt, and pieces of space blanket.”

Currently, Tsukerman is an artist-in-residence at Mana Contemporary. Visit her vimeo page for more jaw-dropping puppet adventures and her other projects.

yuliya tsukerman: web | vimeo
thomas echols / man, woman, friend, computer: web | bandcamp | soundcloud

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Arcade Fire at Xfinity Center, Mansfield MA 8/19/14

To commemorate Arcade Fire’s amazing performance at the Xfinity Center (formerly Great Woods), I offer a few brief thoughts and a scrapbook worth of photos. This was my first time seeing them, definitely a band that had been on my “bucket list.” I knew it would be something grand and theatrical, but what I experienced went far beyond my expectations. The intensity of their music in that acoustically ideal amphitheater and the awe-inspiring stage show combined to create a breathtaking evening.

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Outside The Box in Boston! (starts Saturday 6/13 – 9 days of FREE performances)

I wanted to commemorate a beautiful event that’s happening here in Boston starting on Saturday. Called Outside The Box, it’s a 9-day performing arts festival that will feature over 200 events throughout Boston Common and City Hall Plaza (and other places). Designed to bring together various neighborhoods, residents and artistic communities from the Boston area, this amazing festival is completely FREE. With theater, dance, performance art, puppets and music performances of all shapes and colors, there will be absolutely something for everybody. Here’s a few of the notable musical happenings that caught my eye. We’ll start with the first 3 days, and stay tuned for more.

Saturday July 13

Alejandro Escovedo ~ 1-1:45pm ~ Boston Common: The Beacon
His new album Big Station (Fantasy/Concord) is out now.

web | facebook | twitter

Tallahassee ~ 7-8pm ~ Boston Common: The Commonwealth Stage
Their newest album is Old Ways
web | facebook | twitter

Sunday July 14

Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band ~ 4:30-6pm ~ Boston Common: The Commonwealth Stage
Boston’s favorite HONK!ers.
web | facebook | twitter

Monday July 15

Air Traffic Controller ~ 2-3pm ~ Boston Common: The Beacon
web | facebook | twitter

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Outside The Box: web | facebook | twitter

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Liars & Believers present… Lunar Labyrinth

Lunar Labyrinth
presented by Liars & Believers
based on a story by Neil Gaiman
at Cafe Oberon, 2 Arrow Street
Harvard Square, Cambridge
February 13, 2013 at 8pm
online tickets SOLD OUT;
limited number of tickets available at the door only – $23/$28

::: facebook event ::: | Liars & Believers

This coming Wednesday at Oberon, there’s going to be a multimedia theatrical extravanza, based on a new unpublished short story by author Neil Gaiman. The evening will feature music, poetry, storytelling, puppetry, dance, aerial performance and more, from the region’s most experimental and visionary artists. It’s directed by Steven Bogart and will include performances by Mali Sastri, Phillip Berman, Mary Bichner, Brett Cramp, Claire Davies, Jennifer Hicks, John J. King, Eileen Little, Corianna Moffatt, Masha Obolensky, April Ranger, and Karin Webb.

::: Learn about the performers :::

(from the press release): “Come see what lies at the top of the hill, where the Lunar Labyrinth once stood, in this theatrical adaptation of an unpublished new short story by author Neil Gaiman. For one night only, join us for a feast of music, storytelling, puppetry, poetry, dance, aerial performance, and more. Will you be healed by the bright of the moon? Or blighted by the monsters hiding in her shadow?).”

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Strike up the band, The Bread & Puppet Theater are back in town!

photo by Mark Dannenhauer

photo by Mark Dannenhauer

The Bread & Puppet Theater: The Circus of the Possibilitarians
Cambridge Common, Cambridge MA (Mass. Ave & Garden St., near Harvard Square)
Sunday, September 2nd, 3pm – FREE! (rain or shine)
to kick off Harvard Square’s annual “Revival Month”

Sponsored by the Cambridge Arts Council and the Harvard Square Business Association

What better way to celebrate (and ridicule) the Ridiculous Neverending Circus of this political campaign year with that esteemed bastion of progressive thought, The Bread and Puppet Theater!

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