2016 – You Were Once Wild Here

The 23rd Annual BareBones Halloween Outdoor Puppet Extravaganza
Directed by Melissa Birch
Musical Direction by Venus DeMars

October 22, 23, 28, 30, 31 · 2016

Tall grasses envelop the human scale as tree spirits plant seeds. Mud trolls are foiled by domesticated dogs. A deer family senses danger. Water snakes overspill the riverbanks, the water is colonized by oil. Ancient crones bring wisdom, fire and interconnectedness. Dancers weave fiery webs whose embers turn to stars. The universe resonates; we are stardust.

Music warms us. Spirit ghosts are pulled to the field. Are they lost? Are we?

We Remember. Tall horses parade by as if in a dream.

A nightmare recurs. Insatiable consumption vomits oil in human scale. Bodies tumble and dart as fires whip to warn us: void space will be colonized, autonomy will be colonized. A glowing skeleton becomes a dinosaur reaching for the sky. Buffalo stampede and cicadas transmute. The grasses recede from where they came.

In deep gratitude,
Melissa Birch

Artist Notes

By Tara Fahey

In reflecting on the themes that have come forward in this year’s show , issues around water- a basic human right- and the Dakota Access Pipeline, institutionalized racism and the resulting continued violence toward people of color, atrocities of war that we- as a nation-currently support, our dwindling democracy, continued global warming resulting in global environmental disasters and species die-offs, and our growing awareness as humans that We, as a First World consumer nation, are that driving force ....it seems we are at a real crossroads.

In laying out this story we focus on roots...ancestors, through the desecration of ancestors most currently at Standing Rock and misuse of oil---a biological ancestor..and honoring of the weavers of the web of life and the spirit that is undying. Ancestor energy comes forward through my grandparents who echoed this wonder of the prairie and spiritual connection with the wild in my childhood.

These powerful memories form our beings. Milkweed is symbolic of that connection...blooming with hypnotic fragrance, growing into pods with dedication of the elements and bees, ending with gracefully determined order and beauty forming seeds-silky soft, carried by the wind---cracked open and beginning the cycle anew.

The natural world-this wild- unfolds in crisis the first half of the show. Our wrestling with oil and water are brought to the space. Magical beings abound with mud trolls and tree spirits, shape-shifting creatures. Destruction builds up in our insatiable need to consume as well as forces of resistance...a scene of dualities witnessed as the veil is peeled back with crones wielding their energy to hold a balance. The buffalo and grasses are the wild that has been tromped down-mowed-decimated-and still comes back. They are healing forces, as is fire.

Destruction and renewal are this dance. Ancestors also come through in the celestial realm, as planets and stars orbit and beings who have passed are present in the ALL. The cicadas show the patient transformation, living underground for 13 years in the roots of trees...crawling out to climb up toward the sky. At the pinnacle of their journey, hatching forth into winged beings to dance and die.

We are here to reflect on the All of this thing called life.

Barebones Halloween 2016 poster
2016 Poster Art by Amy Taylor · Design: Jared Maire

Video Interviews by Daniel Polsfuss

Melissa Birch · Director
Venus de Mars · Music Director
Theresa Linnihan · Artist
Mark Safford · Artist
Angie Sez: Ride Your Bike

Photos by Chris Juhn

Thank You Volunteers!

It takes more volunteers than bones in the human body to produce the Annual BareBones Halloween Puppet Extravaganza.

A roar of “Thank you, all!” to the following known volunteers, staff, collaborators, and supporters of all kind, plus all those unnamed excellent others who helped to create the 23rd Annual BareBones Halloween Puppet Extravaganza. Akiko, Alan, Alex Eninsche, Alex Petersen, Alissa Davis, Allison Osberg, Alyssa Hill, Amber Moore, Amber, Amy Taylor, Ana, Andrew Neef, Andy Kedl, Angela Barr, Angelina Roslik, Angie Courchaine, Anna Johnson, Anna Ruhland, Anne Sambas, Anne, Aria, Arwen Wilder, Ashely Belgarde, Aurelia Wills, Autumn, Barbara Peterson, Bjorn Selander, Bob DeBoar, Brandon Sisner, Brent Harring, Bria Abeles-Allison, Brian Brevalon, Brian Brugioni, Brian, Bryan Keen, Caitlin Dippo, Calder Alspach, Caleb M., Cathy McMahon, Cedar Keen, Charlie McDowell, Charlie Mikey, Chris Juhn, Christian, Clare Odegard, Colin Sullivan, Colin Trunley, Cooper Alspach, Cooper VanBuren, Cory Cochrane, Cyrus Aide, Dakota LaPlante, Dan Polnau, Dan Polsfuss, Daniel Bomberg, Danielle, DeAnne Parks, Devonte, Doe, Donna Oblongata, Duane Tougas, Ea Eckwall, Elana Centor, Elena Corts, Elijah Keen, Elle Thoni, Ellen Leier, Emily Fen, Eric Hofstad, Erin Belfry, Erin Radtke, Eva Adderley, Eva Matson, Ewart Martens, Fay, Finley Anderson, Fiona Ubbelohde, Flora G.G., Grace Filek, Greg Leierwood, Greta Gaard, Gunnar Maya, Gustavo Boada, Hannah Longley, Hannah Mississippi, Hannah, Haris Arsham, Harris Kuftinec, Hayden Lintner, Heather Hinrichsen, Henry Johnson, Huk, Ian Molloy Busse, Jacob Carrigan, Jacob Miller, Jacque Sundquist, Jake Polsfuss, Jan Elftmann, Janet Groenert, Janis Otis, Jared Maire, Jason Garcia, Jay, Jeanne Fahlstrom, Jeff Adams, Jeff, Jen Wood, Jennie Kim, Jesse Pollock-Foote, Jessica Hanson, Jessica Cram, Jim Parker, Jimi, Joel Swearingen, John Alspach, John Heine, John Seng, Johnny Fen, Jonathan Townsend, Jonny, Josie Beck Wilder, Journey Gosselin, Judd Rappe, Julie Mike, Kanjit Menon, Kari Rightfoot, Kari Setterholm, Kat Corrigan, Kat Moon, Katherine Miller, Kathy, Katie Burgess, Katie Capistrant, Katie Jerome, KC, Kelly Gr, Kes Fen, Kim Keen, Kurt Hinrichsen, Kurt Seaburg, Lacey Prpic Hedtke, Laura Korynta, Laura Levinson, Laurel Chapman, Lauren Patridge, Lauren, Laurie Helling, Leah Fargo, Leah Peitso, Linda Hayen, Lisa Carlson, Liz, Lroy, Luis Lopez, Luke, Madeline Antrim, Madeline Austin, Madeline Helling, Malia Burkhart, Margaret Merrill, Maria Brothers, Mark Safford, Mary Fulton, Mary Kjella, Mary Plaster, Mary Jane LaVigne, Maryanna Harstad, Matt Carlyle, Matt Gogola, Matthew Harris, Matthew Sanborn, Mavis Parker, Melissa Birch, Michael Hulbert, Mina Leierwood, Mollie Krumholz, Molly O’Connor, Monarda Thrasher, Munir Kahar, Nancy Sampson, Nate Giles, Nathan Berry, Nell Nere, Nickey Robare, Nicole Kissambou, Noah Tea, Nolan Parks, Nolan, Nor Hall, Nora Rickey, Olaf Mekitt, Orren Fen, Pablo, Pablo Alejandro Cortes, Pasha Milbrath, Patti J. Paulsen, Patty Gille, Penelope, Pete Harstad, Peter Schulze, Poppy Jones, Poppy, Rachel Wandrei, Rah Diavola, Rane, Reggie Neal, Rick Miller, Rio Mississippi, Riva Irene, Rob (Tumbleweed) Czernick, Sam Van Tassel, Samantha Herrera, Samir, Sandra Elftmann, Sandy Spieler, Sara Shaylie, Sarah Engen, Sasha Polar, Sawyer Matson, scottie hall, Scout Fleckenstein, Seth Eberle, Shane Orthman, Sharon Meister, Shawn Furst, Song, Sonja Kuftinec, Soozin Hirschmugl, Stacey Bulera, Stacey Mekitt, Starri Hedges, Stephen Sokolouski, Steven, Syrus Aide, Tanah Mekitt, Tara Fahey, Theresa Linnihan, Tobias Ochtrup-Polnau, Tom Carlson, Tom Greiling, Toni Warner, Ulli Eckwall, Venus de Mars, Vidya Neni, Waffle, Walken Schweigert, Wayne Sayers, West Alspach, Willa Fen, Wyatt Werner, Yoloa, & Zephyr Mekitt.

Special Thanks to the following collaborating, cooperating, and supporting organizations and key individuals who helped make the 23rd Annual BareBones Halloween Puppet Extravaganza possible:
  • Acroyoga
  • Andrew Bendzick and the Fire Safety Crew
  • Angelina Roslik for her ASL Intrepretations
  • Avalon Healing Farm
  • Bedlam Theatre for a romping good time
  • Brass & Body Works
  • Brass Messengers
  • Bread and Puppet for being our fairy godparents
  • Bucky Johnson for being a BareBones rockstar
  • Budget Truck Rental for keeping us moving
  • Center for Moving Cultures
  • Chicks on Sticks for providing a birds eye view
  • Chuck Dollar
  • City of St. Paul for allowing our continued use of this beautiful park
  • Conflict Resolution Center
  • Cycles for Change for keeping us mobile
  • Elana Centor for her Audio Descriptions
  • Free Wheel Bike
  • Green Barn Garden Center for our “theatre seating”
  • Hiawatha Reddy Rents for keeping us moving
  • In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre for providing ample room to grow
  • Infiammati Fire Circus for being hot
  • Jack Brass Band
  • Jazzland Wonderband
  • Maedya Kojis
  • Merchandise Tent for keeping our community decked out in swag
  • Minnesota Conway Fire & Safety for keeping us safe
  • Mixed Precipitation for the generous use of their jeep and continued support
  • Mu Performing Arts for mad props
  • New French Bakery for all the tasty bread
  • Nice Ride MN for keeping our wits in us
  • North Star Media for being hot off the press
  • On Site Sanitation for... you know...
  • Palmers Bar
  • Peace Coffee for keeping us caffeinated and covered in burlap
  • PolsFussian Pictures
  • Purimetrics, Inc.
  • Quality Propane for keeping us (em)powered
  • Sam Ferlo
  • Savers for dressing us in awesome threads
  • Seward Redesign for providing a home for our puppet builds
  • Sgt. Pamela Barragan for being a BareBones rockstar
  • Sisters’ Camelot for free, hot, organic food for the masses
  • Smart Set, Inc. for all our printing needs
  • Southside Family School for bringing up the next generation of puppeteers with awareness of social justice
  • Stacy Gillings for being a BareBones rockstar
  • The Big Blue Box for keeping our puppets out of the storm
  • The Fire Lotus LLC
  • The Medical Professionals at the First-Aid Tent for being on call for all puppet related injuries
  • Tony Biele
  • Vern’s Dumpster Rental Inc. for taking out the trash
  • Welna Ace Hardware for the best damn deal in town

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