Myra Klarman Photography families / seniors / headshots

FestiFools April 1st Parade

 
FestiFools April 1st Parade | Last touches before the parade.
Last touches before the parade.

FestiFools 2008 is scheduled for Sunday, April 6, at 4pm (Fools at Four!). For updates and information about how you can be involved in the process to create the magnificent street creatures, visit the Street Theater Art website.

Backstory

Being a Burns Park Player means having the pleasure of working with very creative, ambitious, and sometimes crazy people. Set designer and UM lecturer Mark Tucker is certainly one of the most creative, ambitious, and crazy in the bunch, and I know he’ll take that as the compliment it’s meant to be. Especially the crazy part. Because to do something completely new and different in Ann Arbor requires craziness!

When Mark first approached me about photographing FestiFools, I couldn’t get my head around the project at all. A parade of giant papier mache puppets on April Fool’s Day. Why that was so hard for me to imagine, I haven’t a clue (especially in retrospect). However, since Mark was the driving force behind the project, I knew it would be a high-quality event, and I agreed to participate.

Puppet Making

A month before the parade date, I began photographing the puppet making process at the studio on Felch Street. The puppet makers (UM undergraduates enrolled in Mark’s “Art in Public Spaces” course and community volunteers ) sculpted the puppet forms from clay, casted plaster molds, and finally used papier mâché to construct the final puppet pieces. The pieces were primed, painted, and assembled (often with cloth and other materials) into characters and scenes larger than life!

Before the parade weekend, the weather reports forecast windy, stormy weather for the parade. And on Sunday, the forecast for 4pm, the parade starting time, showed the highest chance of storms. As dramatic clouds gathered and, dare I say, paraded about, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who worried if those very clouds would mock the hell out of everyone’s hard work.

FestiFools April 1st Parade | The START studio is located at the JC Beal construction complex on Felch St., one of the only workspaces near downtown large enough to house the puppets.
The START studio is located at the JC Beal construction complex on Felch St., one of the only workspaces near downtown large enough to house the puppets.
FestiFools April 1st Parade | Hundreds of hours were spent in the papier mâché process.
Hundreds of hours were spent in the papier mâché process.
FestiFools April 1st Parade | Elvis is primed, and ready for paint!
Elvis is primed, and ready for paint!
FestiFools April 1st Parade | U-M Scenic Painter Toni Auletti (right) works with U-M Freshman Rachel Orloff to paint one of the puppet heads.
U-M Scenic Painter Toni Auletti (right) works with U-M Freshman Rachel Orloff to paint one of the puppet heads.
FestiFools April 1st Parade | U-M Senior Sung Hei Yau paints a puppet head.
U-M Senior Sung Hei Yau paints a puppet head.

The Parade

(Let me just put an end to the cliffhanger in the last paragraph, and assure you that the weather was sublime for the parade.)

I rented a 12-24mm Nikkor Zoom lens f/4.0 for parade day. I generally kept low to the ground and shot upwards. The clouds proved to be a glorious backdrop for the puppets.

Mark’s students began their march from Felch Street to Kerrytown, where we met up with the UM School of Art + Design group. At Main Street, other groups (including the talented UM percussion group Groove) waited for our arrival. Various “freelance” clowns and performers joined in. The event was enormously energized. A total thrill that had to be experienced to be believed. Mark said the parade even surpassed his expectations. The crowds of spectators in attendance certainly caught FestiFools fever. I only wish more could have seen it!

A selection of my shots was displayed at Sweetwaters (who sponsored my participation, along with the Alice Lloyd Scholars Program) during the month of April. On flickr, I saw the hundreds of shots of the event taken by other photographers — everyone had their own way of seeing and capturing the event. One photographer, Amy Palomar, agreed to let me include some of her images in the show. Next year, I’d love the show to include images from a large group of photographers.

flickr slideshow of my pre-production and parade images from Festifools 2007.

FestiFools April 1st Parade
FestiFools April 1st Parade | Elvis has left the building.
Elvis has left the building.
FestiFools April 1st Parade
FestiFools April 1st Parade
FestiFools April 1st Parade
FestiFools April 1st Parade
FestiFools April 1st Parade

See also:

 

Comments

FestiFools 2009 is coming up! Save the date, Sunday April 5, 2009, 4-5pm.

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About Myra Klarman

I’m a professional photographer specializing in studio and lifestyle portraits of children, families, high school seniors, and performing artists. I live in Ann Arbor with my husband, Rich, and our 11-year-old son, Max. Learn more about my portrait and headshot services at Myra Klarman Photography.

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