As part of my daily newspaper gig, I often scan Facebook posts for news fit to print, or at least put online.
Falling into that latter category is the upcoming visit here of the the RPM (Revolutions Per Minute) Puppet Conspiracy, "an insurrectionist punk puppet troupe that writes, builds and performs original shows intended to squeeze into any and every coffee shop, street corner, living room, Dumpster, and theater with the goal of turning angst into a riot."
They will perform three times this weekend in Urbana — where else?
The first show will be during Paul Kotheimer’s CD release party, from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday at the Red Herring. Kotheimer studied English at the University of Chicago, so his lyrics are interesting and intelligent. He’s a good instrumentalist as well.
On Saturday, RPM will deliver a morning show at the Market at the Square farmers’ market in Urbana. The troupe website does not give a time for that.
Then, from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday, the troupe will perform at La Casa Grande Colectiva, a long-time cooperative residence at 906 S. Maple St., U. That show will be part of the first Urbana Sci-Fi Puppetry Festival. Local puppeteers will perform as well.
The RPM troupe of David Bailey and Angela DiVeglia will likely present "Standard Model," their sci-fi tabletop show that features a cast of 10 or so papier-mache puppets.
"It’s billed as a ‘moving exploration of friendship, intergalactic warfare and the incredible longevity of shelf-stable baked goods,’" Portland (Maine) Press Herald reporter Avery Yale Kamila wrote in a preview of an RPM show in that city.
"The main character wants to save the universe in the face of annihilation," DiVeglia told Kamila.
Bailey told the Herald the show also highlights "the power of knowledge and what we can do with it, both good and evil."
The RPM Puppet Conspiracy gives this history on its Facebook page: The troupe started in Chicago in 1999, when Bailey was working with various puppeteers and building puppets for the then active Art & Revolution. RPM quickly became a roving, touring, trouble-making puppet company when Dave joined with Jason and toured heavily from 2000 on, performing original feature-length puppet shows on topics such as the Free Trade Area of the Americas, composting human feces, Dominion Theology, and how to rid oneself of Oppressors and prepare them for..."
The company’s previous show explored the similarities between corporate America and zombies.
Kamila reported that Bailey and DiVeglia create their sets and puppets from discarded materials, and at their shows sell small, inexpensive artworks they make.
BTW, the two write their puppet shows with adults in mind.
"It’s not inappropriate for kids, but some of it may be over their heads," Bailey told Kamila.
The Sci-Fi Puppetry Festival at La Casa is free and open to all, though donations will be appreciated by the touring performers. Anyone with questions about the festival may email Austin McCann at email@example.com.
This past Sunday in the print publication of The News-Gazette I profiled Champaign puppeteer Elizabeth Goldsmith-Conley. She and Champaign puppeteer Ginger Lozar recently reactivated the Central Illinois Puppetry Guild, which now has eight or so members, including younger puppeteers.
The photo in this blog was taken by me, of Champaign puppeteer Elizabeth Goldsmith-Conley and a hand-and-rod puppet she made.