PREPARE TO SQUEE for the cutest event of the summer: Tiny puppets will parade down North Mississippi this Friday to kick off Portland's first ever Tiny Puppet Theater Festival, held at good gallery through August. Katie McClenahan is the organizer, and she has big plans for teeny things.
MERCURY: You're with the puppet-based event company Beady Little Eyes?
KATIE McCLENAHAN: Yeah. What I typically do with Beady Little Eyes are puppet slams, which are short-form puppet cabaret shows for adults. That's usually in a theater space—Disjecta and Imago most recently. The mini puppet theater festival came from wanting to have a more intimate setting.
Can you talk about specific shows that'll be performed?
Jenelle Weidlich is doing something where a cyclist crosses through the desert, meets some ranchers, and a horse falls in love with her bicycle. It sounds sweet and adorable. Anna Cosper is doing these bike shows, called Bike Shorts. She took them on her bike and traveled up and down the West Coast [to] schools. It was her and two other musicians; it's about bike safety and bike awareness. Kyle Loven is going to open. He's a well-known Seattle performer. This is all I know: He is doing something with tinfoil. We're opening with a tiny puppet parade, which is going to start at Little Big Burger at 6:30 pm [on Friday, Aug 8]. Bring your own puppet. BYOP. Opening night is free, and then it'll be three Saturdays in a row. All the shows are 15 to 20 minutes apiece.
So it's not like you're STUCK there.
"Too short to suck," is the going phrase. I'm hoping there will be some fun barker types that'll say, "Come see a puppet show!" Scoop people up from the street—a weirdo Portland thing—like, "I was just walking down the street and someone scooped me in to see a puppet show for $5 and it was about tinfoil sandwiches." That's what I want. I want people to blog home about it.
The Tiny Puppet Theater Festival runs Aug 9, 16,& 23 at good: a gallery, 4325 N Mississippi; shows from 2-9 pm, every hour on the hour. $5 or festival passes are $15. For more of Katie McClenahan's puppet magic, see My, What a Busy Week!, pg.17.