April 05, 2011
In the middle of FestiFools 2011, this cephalopod played Twister (the game, not the weather phenomenon).
If you’ll endulge me, I’d like to open my remarks today by quoting the ever-eloquent FestiFools Q. Public (on Twitter):
A2 Fools are BEST! Mother Nature threw us a curve ball today, but we (to mix a metaphor) made lemonade out of it. Bravo!
Yes, the weather was a major factor in FestiFools this year: 37°F temperatures coupled with rain is never pleasant (it was actively raining during the hour leading up to FestFools and during the first 20-or-so minutes into the event itself). Fortunately, Main St. was fairly well sheltered against the 20+ mph winds whipping across town (when I first read the weather forecasts, I had imagined papier-mâché puppets getting lifted into low-earth orbit). Not to sound overly superstitious, but the U-M College of Literature, Science, and the Arts may be partly to blame — it selected water for its theme semester for Winter 2011 (you can file that under “tempting fate”). As a public service, I am hereby recommending that LS&A avoid the following themes in the future: space debris, killer bees, flesh-eating bacteria, etc.
But the inclement weather didn’t keep Ann Arbor’s hardcore Fools from observing this sacred annual rite! True, attendance was off compared to last year’s (sunny, blue skies) record turnout. But, given how really nasty and unpleasant it was out there, the fact that so many folks came out was extremely heartening. Go Fools!
I dedicate this blog entry to photographer Jeff Lamb, who was totally in love with FestiFools and who passed away on March 22, 2011. I first met Jeff on Main St. photographing the 2nd FestiFools street party, back in 2008. And I got to know him a bit better during the 3rd and 4th FestiFools events. I was really looking forward to seeing him out there with his camera and huge grin again this year. His FestiFools photos can be found on Flickr: 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010. Thanks Ed, for aggregating Jeff’s obituary and related links.
Now for a deluge of photos…
Puppets, their wranglers, and performers begin to line up in the alleys behind Main Street. Professor Nick Tobier
(shown here modeling a très-sophisticated, bright-red suit, tastefully accessorized with an understated, 5-gallon plastic bucket) serves on the FestiFools steering committee
; for the past several years, he’s had his U-M School of Art & Design students create puppets and bring them to FestiFools as part of their coursework. | Plastic bags and cardboard boxes afford some protection from the driving rain.
Miss Metamorphosis and her entourage pose “backstage.”
I’m guessing he’s wishing he were a bit warmer and drier. | Plastic-bag couture comes to FestiFools. “Nobody puts Baby in the corner!”
I couldn’t quite tell if this HazMat team was trying to protect themselves, their puppet, or the crowd, but I enjoyed their theatrics all the same.
A large collections of drums, pots, and pans were made available to anyone who wanted to bang out some grooves with Groove. Thanks to Lori Fithian of Drummunity
for facilitating this!
leads the puppets onto a rainy Main St.
FestiFools makes me feel like a kid in a candy store. | Speaking of which, Max found temporary refuge under the awning at Kilwin’s.
Elementary school children from several area schools participated. Hey, I know you! And I know you, too!
and the Ann Arbor District Library
once again teamed up to help scores of children get robotized. Apparently, quite a few of these robots are audiophile hipsters — note the prevalence of vinyl LPs!
J’aime bien mes Fous!
Rain and cold temps didn’t deter these hardy Fools.
Their spirits were not dampened, but it’s very possible their socks were. I [heart] those red skis!
These two fully embraced the water theme: while snorkling on Main St., Eric Cooper hooks a lovely mermade (Trudi Cooper). | I loved the jumping octopus wranglers.
A mad scientist-artist perhaps? Its lightbulb-ous head sprung up and down as though it were on a pogo stick! | This puppet is holding a “compact mirror” showing a much more flattering “reflection.”
Here we have “Butt” — I honestly don’t know the significance of that — making friends with Fredda Clisham (of Burns Park Players
fame) and her granddaughter.
This particularly vociferous section of the crowd had matching headgear.
Hey KoolAid! Given the weather, I would have loved to see my old alpine friend Swiss Miss. | Max and Rico pose with FestiFools creative director Mark Tucker and steering committee member Jeri Rosenberg.