Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of seeing my very first Puppet Slam. I had heard about these pseudo-underground events from several sources and was continuously encouraged to attend. They were started by Heather Henson a few years back and happen across the country. Puppet Playlist is a very popular puppet slam event in New York. Each month, the Playlist highlights a different band/musician and encourages local puppeteers to develop new works around their music.
When I saw that January's featured band was The Beach Boys, I impulsively started putting a scene together but then began to hesitate. I knew nothing about these slams. I wanted to know what I was getting myself into first and move forward from there.
I eagerly attended on Tuesday night and was so happy to see a friend perform an interesting interpretation of the song I Know There's An Answer. I have to note that the entire vibe of the venue was light and supportive, something unique to small, New York theater. I was pleased as punch when local bands performed Beach Boys' covers in between each scene. My favorite was a very Portland, folksie version of Be True To Your School. If only my life could be set to modern Beach Boys' covers...sigh.
So how can we kids' media people learn from this? The Puppet Slam Network has it right. They provide a safe, fun environment for creatives to explore work within set limitations (theme and time). What if we start doing this? What if we have monthly screenings of kid shorts or pilots developed under financial, time, and maybe even talent limitations. Maybe it would force us to think outside of the box a bit more.
I'm hoping to put myself out there and submit a scene idea or song cover for the next Puppet Playlist. I hope to see you there.