TOM BOY TOM CAT

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issuu.com/tomboytomcat

A fashion, art, music, and lifestyle magazine that examines digital culture as both avant-garde and popular culture. Tom Boy Tom Cat critically explores the liminality of the digital age while also contributing to it. Branded as a “digital culture magazine”, the magazine could come off as a magazine revolving around just about anything since we already live in the “digital age.” But this digital culture refers to little reminders that we already live in the utopian/dystopian future. Supported in part by an Idea Lab Mini Grant.

Puppety SLAMateur hour brings the medium back

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April 30, 2015
Athens Banner Herald
link to original article

Puppety SLAMateur hour brings the medium back
By Kai Riedl

Despite a technologically engulfed world dead-set on consuming the latest frontiers, around every turn is a resurgence in earlier classics.

Depeche Mode blasts over speakers around town, women’s fashion draws every era before 1990 and handlebar mustaches are back. This collective gesture toward earlier forms isn’t lost on one Athenian group — the puppeteers.

Today the Athens Puppetry Group (yes, there is one of those) hosts the Puppetry SLAMateur hour. This rare event offers a wide variety of short performances (less than 30 minutes each) covering a range of subject matters specifically directed at adult audiences. This is not for the kiddies, as themes harken back to earlier times when puppeteers had few boundaries.

But unlike their historical counterparts, the SLAM also offers the chance to experience new technological twists on the medium, such as digital projections and robotic puppets.

The main fuel behind the SLAM is local artist Emily Silva who took a moment to shed light on how puppetry fits into 2015 and what can be expected at Thursday’s performance.

Volume: I love the idea of this whole endeavor, but why puppets and why now?

Emily Silva: I think it’s a partially generational trend. There’s a lot of nostalgia for puppet television and movies we watched as kids and, for me at least, there’s also a backlash against the ever-slicker CGI and visual effects that movie budgets are now poured into. Add to that the relative scarcity of any kind of live theatre in most people’s day to day, and it makes sense that puppets are getting more attention. They are tactile, often handmade and imperfect, and they’re kind of right in your face. People get confused and a little nervous, and very excited when someone approaches them talking through a bug-eyed creature apparently made of old socks. That kind of interaction has a lot of possibilities not just for entertainment, but for education, and social activism.

V: So, our technologically based world has circled back to puppets. For many, I’m sure this is refreshing and I’m curious if there is a tech element to the performance.

ES: We do have some techno-magic planned for the show, specifically in the form of a interactive digital puppet projection named Demetrio created by Caity Johnson. What falls under the definition of puppetry is constantly changing. It will always include the traditional felt and foam standards, but robotic puppetry and interactive programming are just as entitled to their place in that definition. For kids like me who grew up on a steady diet of Dark Crystal and Jurassic park animatronics, there is no question that puppets, robots and computers can and should live in harmony.

V: The description of the performance eludes to adult themes in the SLAM. What are we looking at here, and what kind of themes are we in store for?

ES: One of the interesting things about working in puppetry is challenging the assumption that it is a entertainment medium intended only for kids. On the contrary, lewd humor, sexuality, horror, etc have always been a part of puppetry and continue to be some of it’s most fascinating subjects. We’ll be featuring some puppet-burlesque fusion, a raunchy witch, a new take of Shelly’s Frankenstein, and some sort of dramatic birthing process. Hence, the parental advisory.

V: When you say SLAM, does this imply that Thursday’s performance includes a competition of sorts?

ES: Not exactly, although in many cities where they have monthly puppetry slams, there will be a prize for the audience’s favorite. Having events that regularly would be a great goal for the group moving forward. In this case, though, we use slam just to specify the format of the show. That is to say that it’s made up of multiple short pieces by different artists rather than one longer cohesive narrative, which is what many people expect when they hear simply “Puppet Show.” Also it sounds way more badass.

V: This project has a relationship with Ideas for Creative Exploration at UGA. How did the project get involved with ICE?

ES: This project grew out an event I helped put together in the summer of 2014 and morphed into an identity design project for my senior thesis exhibit. Everyone in the ICE office was extremely enthusiastic when I approached them about the project, and encouraged me to apply for their IdeaLab mini grant, which funds interdisciplinary arts/research projects up to $500 to produce an event, publication or other creative undertaking. It’s been an excellent partnership so far, both in terms of having the funding to attempt larger scale ideas and having some logistical support in the nitty gritty of event planning.

The Last Five Years

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The Last Five Years
Friday, April 24 and Saturday, April 25 at 8 PM
Sunday, April 26 at 2 PM
Athens Community Theatre, 115 Grady Ave

www.townandgownplayers.org/index.php/calendar/event/the-last-five-years

The Town and Gown Players present “The Last Five Years,” an emotionally powerful and intimate musical about two New Yorkers in their twenties who fall in and out of love over the course of five years. The show’s unconventional structure consists of Cathy, the woman, telling her story backwards while Jamie, the man, tells his story chronologically; the two characters only meet once, at their wedding in the middle of the show. This production was made possible by an Idea Lab mini grant and the Second Stage Series at the Town and Gown Playhouse, and features UGA students Stephanie Bacastow and Christopher Sapp. Tickets are $8.

ICE-Vision: Slacker (4/23)

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ICE-Vision: Slacker (Linklater,1991)
Thursday, April 23 at 6 PM
Lamar Dodd School of Art Room S150

www.facebook.com/groups/120740834290/

Austin, Texas, is an Eden for the young and unambitious, from the enthusiastically eccentric to the dangerously apathetic. Here, the nobly lazy can eschew responsibility in favor of nursing their esoteric obsessions. The locals include a backseat philosopher (Richard Linklater) who passionately expounds on his dream theories to a seemingly comatose cabbie (Rudy Basquez), a young woman who tries to hawk Madonna’s Pap test to anyone who will listen and a kindly old anarchist looking for recruits.

Athens Puppetry

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Athens Puppetry SLAMateur Hour
Thursday, April 30 at 6 PM
ATHICA

www.facebook.com/AthensPuppetry

The Athens Puppetry SLAMateur Hour is a new project from the Athens Puppetry Group. A puppetry slam, similar to a poetry slam, is an evening of curated works by different artists in a variety of styles and subjects linked by the shared medium of puppetry or object theatre. These performances are generally short form (under thirty minutes) and are directed specifically at adult audiences. Working within this format allows the audience to experience pieces which vary widely in both subject matter and mode of execution. Supported in part by an Idea Lab Mini-Grant and ATHICA: Athens Institute for Contemporary Art.

Idea Lab Open House (4/17)

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Idea Lab Open House
Friday, April 17 from 6 – 8 PM
ICE Office, Lamar Dodd School of Art Room S160

idealabuga.tumblr.com

Stop by to learn about recent Mini-Grant projects and how to get involved in UGA’s student organization for interdisciplinary art.