Paul can't conceal his obvious delight at one of Mr. Huber's most charming puppets, Taffy the dog. Mr. Huber was extremely generous with his audience after the performance, bringing out several sensational puppets and describing their construction in detail.
Paul, being a great husband, (selflessly*) selected a life-enrichment adventure gift last Sunday for us. There was a very small puppetry festival in Santa Monica last week that ended with a live performance by renown marionette puppeteer, Philip Huber. (*Not entirely, Paul LOVES fine puppet work too! and as you can see he was delighted by the show!)
Paul had the master puppeteer on his radar since he'd first seen his incredible work in the film Being John Malkovich:
The audience of about 50 people gathered in a well kept theater in a park by the beach. We all sat enraptured by Mr. Huber's mind-bending skill as a puppeteer. My jaw was open the whole time. He brought so much animation to his self-made characters it was astounding. He designs and makes all his own puppets (Celastic heads), including the highly creative and detailed costuming.
There were about 20 puppet acts in an original caberet musical, Suspended Animation, that day, some were a bit, shall we say, gay? Said as a short-hand way to describe a certain typically associated aesthetic that favors glitz, torch song chantueses, Liza with a "Z", Bette, ice skating, sequins, loads of sequins, that sort of flavor of the business that is show. It all was in there. There were definitely shades of Liberace mixed with cirque du soleil. However--even if that's not your taste, if for some reason, Mr. Huber should be performing near you--I can't recommend going highly enough.
Behind the glare of ritzy spotlights, there was the rare pleasure of an artist, devoted to his art, so completely mastered, watching him share his talents transcends the matter style entirely. For an impromptu demonstration and discussion with Mr.Huber aprés show, we learned he was given a hand puppet as a small child of three, given a marionette bought with green stamps at age 8, making his own and performing with them by 10, and announced it would be his life by 13.
As with Stop Motion animation, there is an entire universe of people deeply involved in marionette puppetry. There's a bit of cross over between the two arts. I defy any stop mo head to not be excited by this little 8 minute mini doc of a John Roberts' marionette carving workshop given last year at the Little Angel Puppet Theatre in Islington, London.