It’s not easy finding holiday entertainment that both kids and adults can agree on. But here’s an idea: a bizarre puppet show featuring an ice-skating dinosaur, telenovelas, a disco dreidel, and the L.A. River. It’s Sparkleblob, the brain child of Julianna Parr, who also runs a weekly craft night at Akbar, a popular Silver Lake bar. That’s how several of the regular puppeteers and producers of Sparkleblob came together. There are fourteen people in all.
“I sort of feel like we’re a puppet Voltron,” Parr says.
This is the show’s fifth year. The location has changed every year. This season it’s at Automata Arts, an experimental puppetry and film space in Chinatown. And it follows in the traditions of PeeWee’s Playhouse and HR Pufnstuf. It even has a pair of talking Christmas stockings.
As in previous years, the play carries some social and political satire, delivered with heaping spoonfuls of sugar. Last year played up the Occupy movement, and this year pokes fun at the artisan food and craft craze. The show also stars a family that’s not exactly Ward and June Cleaver material. But underneath all the silliness are themes that hint at something more serious – a message about family and community. KCRW hung out at one of the rehearsals. Photos below.
Photos by Rosalind Helfand