For two nights, August 4 and 5, the National Puppet Slam 2012 is held at the Center for Puppetry Arts.

What is this you might ask? I did not know and according to someone in the know, it is an organic way puppet shows evolved. Cities throughout the country hold puppet slams, sort of like open mic with puppets, where puppeteers are invited to perform a bit.  A curator or moderator either oversees the show or it is a free for all. Over sixty of these have been held all over the country in a puppet slam network.

The ten shorts performed that night were an assortment of the best of the best. National Puppet Slam Curator Beau Brown in a formal tuxedo served as host.

This sold out show is a window to an underground world filled with creativity and innovation mixing a good story with puppets. From rod, shadow, and strings . . . nothing was held back.

The start that evening was the Enchanted Vanity Set where the tail of a fair princess taken hostage only to use a vanity set to plan her fateful escape.  A crawling supermarket Lobster was in the mix in the The Great Clawdini who could win the hearts of all with his death-defying techniques.

The most touching was Remembrances where Leila Ghaznavi from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania produced a shadow puppet performance unlike any other. In “Sweet Dreams” by Honey Goodenough, she used what appeared to be a small cloth attached to strings and a small rocking chair and brought to life a story of innocence.  “Supine” by Lyon Hill from Columbia, SC was conceived from the creator’s wife’s dreams and is a bizarre tale of a far away world down deep in the heart of the city. A video camera was focused on a small series of drawings, shadow puppets, and paper puppets which created a cool three-dimensional effect.

The crowd was lively and it was one of the best programs held at the Center for Puppetry Arts, a true gem in the city in the heart of midtown.

Don’t miss a chance to be a part of something grand and check out The National Puppet Slam 2012 at the Center for Puppetry Arts & Puppet Slam Network.

For more information on the puppeteers, visit:

Opening up next on the stage is The Tortoise, The Hare, and other Aesop’s Fables through September 9.

For show info visit


Dr. Wilson Trivino is a speaker and writer for ABC Vision.