Bring on the left-wing life-sized donkey puppets: The D.C. social justice and puppets collective Puppet Underground has two events this week.
On Thursday, at the Trinity AME Zion Church 3505 16th St NW, the group is hosting “The Flying Donkey Cabaret: An Evening of Impossible Cardboard and Brass Entertainments.” It’s a progressive puppet show featuring junky trombones and life-sized dancing donkeys. Among the performers are some alumni of the ur-radical puppet collective Bread & Puppets, which trained Puppet Underground’s four founders, Anna Duncan, Janelle Triebitz, Ximena Camou Guerrero, and Melissa Klein, as well. The evening also features a cheap art show. A $5-$15 donation is suggested.
And on Sunday, in the basement room of the Luther Place Memorial Church at 1226 Vermont Ave. NW, the Puppet Underground is hosting a free event—-a panel discussion on militarization and violence on the U.S./Mexico border, and a presentation about their own work with the Fandango Fronterizo Chihuahua, an anti-violence gathering on the border that took place on Dec. 11.
“We were teaching folks how to do puppetry and street theater as a way to convey the messages that they’re working on,” says Anna Duncan. “And then we did a performance on the actual border between Juarez and El Paso that involved music and puppetry. It was very powerful. It was inspiring to get to work with community groups who are living with a difficult situation and yet they’re still trying to promote cultural work and promote positive forms of creating social change.”
Puppet Underground has a Facebook page and a blog and an e-mail list that you can get yourself onto, if you send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. The collective, which started in 2008 and so really has no excuse, has no website yet, though. “We’re much more comfortable with papier mache than with websites,” says Duncan. “But we’re working on it.”