Performance Artists

Amanda Palmer
Axis Dance Company

Aziz Abbatiello
BlacKMahal
Bronkar Lee
Bumpitythump
Capacitor
Copper Lantern Fire Theater
El Circo
The Embodiment Project
Flamenco Fury
FLO-ology
Fire Arts Collective
Loco Bloco
Lucero
Loyd Family Players
Nocturnal Sunshine
Frank Olivier
Poor Man’s Whiskey
Simon Chaban
Titanium Sporkestra
Vulcan Crew


The Rootabaga Opera Cast

 

 

Installation Artists

Rebecca Anders – Fishbug
Dave Andres
Michael Christian – Elevation
Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito
Department of Spontaneous Combustion
Matisse Enzer – Flamethrower Shooting Gallery
Exxothermia
False Profit Labs
Orion Fredericks
Charlie Gadeken
Gaspo
Ryon Gesink
Wally Glenn
Justin Gray
Kristin Hoard
Interpretive Arson
Jeremy Krentz
Lil’ Ju Ju Pinball
Catie Magee & Elizabeth Scott
Mark Perez – The Life-Size Mousetrap
Pyrokinetics
Christian Ristow – The Hand of Man
Alan Rorie – Neuron Chamber
Alexander Rose and Camron Assadi
Jon Sarriugarte
Jack Schroll – El Diablo
Patrick Scott
Nate Smith – Fire Vortex
Kal Spelletich
Earl Stirling
Mardi Storm
Michael Sturtz
Evan Tracy
Team Gnome
Maria Zhalnina

Performance Artists

Amanda Palmer

Amanda Palmer is a performer most noted for being the lead singer, pianist, and lyricist/composer of the “Brechtian punk cabaret” duo The Dresden Dolls.

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MySpace: www.myspace.com/whokilledamandapalmer

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axis dance company
Axis Dance Company

Prepare to leave all your preconceptions at the door…

AXIS Dance Company, one of the world’s most acclaimed and innovative ensembles of performers with and without disabilities, will change the way you think about dance and the possibilities of the human body forever. Founded in 1987, AXIS has become a jewel of contemporary dance and disability culture. AXIS has paved the way for a powerful contemporary dance form – physically integrated dance- performing in over sixty cities nationwide, as well as in Europe and Siberia.

Website: www.axisdance.org

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Aziz Abbatiello

Aziz Abbatiello

Aziz Abbatiello has combined the practices of the Mevlevi Order with fire arts, a process that has led him on a seven-year path of discovery and refinement, culminating in a synergy of the fire arts and the practice of the “whirling dervish.” He trains under Postneshin Jelaluddin Loras, Pir of the Mevlevi Order of America. He also studies with Sheikh Sherif Baba, head of the Rifai Marufi Order.

 

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BlackKMahal

BlacKMahal is a full band, complete with MCs and vocalists, that is based in San Francisco. Their immediate credibility is due in part to the lead vocalist and the ‘Godfather’ of the Dhol drum, Lal Singh Bhatti, an American and Indian music icon who lives in the Bay Area. The band formed serendipitously when Vijay Chattha, an active hip-hop DJ at the time, met Lal Singh at a wedding in the East Bay 5 years ago. The two began discussing music, and started toying with the idea of a project that spanned their respective tastes and experiences.

BlacKMahal was formed shortly after and, with the help of some friends, they began making music that reflects Punjabi tradition in the context of timeless funk and contemporary hip-hop. They have been performing ever since at major venues including The Great American Music Hall and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. The group’s popularity is spreading like wildfire, recently garnering international recognition and numerous spins on BBC Radio 1.

“BlacKMahal absolutely rocked the Great American Music Hall! Their mix of energy, rhythm and sounds got the crowd jumping. Everybody was asking about them after the show and we were honored to have them play Silicon Valley Rocks. I would strongly encourage any festival or venue booking agent to check out their myspace or videos to see the kind of energy they can bring to a place.” – Alison Murdock, Event Producer, Silicon Valley Rocks

“Make no mistake: BlacKMahal’s Punjabi-hip-hop-jazz-funk-experience is the new world order.” – Linda Lucero, Artistic Director, Yerba Buena Gardens Festival

“BlacKMahal brings life to any event. Their mixture of Hip-Hop, Funk, and Indian classics is a rarity, and it’s a joy to see them work a crowd so deftly. After the Jam Master Jay tribute they performed at, everyone was blown away!” – Darian Heyman, Executive Director of Craigslist Foundation

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MySpace: www.myspace.com/blackmahalsf

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bronker lee


Bronkar Lee – Emcee Friday & Saturday

Bronkar Lee’s performance is a combination of all the skills he had been developed over the years — vocal percussion (musical skills), non-verbal gestures (physical theater skills), and audience interaction (front man skills). By combining these elements he created a character known as “The Rhythmic Conductor”. After a year on the road — 51 cities and over 300 shows — he decided to make this his profession.

Since then Bronkar has been establishing his roots in the San Francisco Bay Area performing with groups such as Velocity Circus, Earth Circus and Circus Bella, as well as on his own as an actor, drummer and juggler in his show “Circus of Sound.” He’s performed at such venues as the Palace of Fine Arts, the De Young Museum, Pier 39, the San Francisco Playhouse, the Julia Morgan Theater, the Metreon, the Supper Club, and many more.

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Website: www.bronkarlee.com

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Bumpitythump

West Oakland kids drumming and dance group.

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Website: bumpitythump.com

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Capacitor

Capacitor, San Francisco’s interdisciplinary dance company, is renowned for conceptually- rich, bound-breaking performances. Capacitor artists collaborate with members of the scientific community to create mind-expanding, heart-gripping live performance.

Obsessed with the mechanics of the human body as well as machines that propel the body through space, Capacitor artists have become masters of rigging systems, coutures of wearable sculpture, and engineers of large-scale props designed to stretch the limits of physical poetry.

Capacitor encourages contact with scientific concepts in ways, which allow audiences of all ages to see patterns and relationships inherent in nature and the cosmos. Through performance, Capacitor personalizes large, abstract concepts and in doing so, transcends cultural barriers – widening the scope of basic human experience.

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Website: www.capacitor.org

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Copper Lantern Theatre

copper lantern theater

Copper Lantern Fire Theater

Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, the Copper Lantern Fire Theater has entertained audiences throughout North America and overseas with a stylized fusion of acrobatic fire performance, custom flame effects, and live chamber and electronic music. Founded in 2004, Copper Lantern is a 15-strong company of performers, musicians and crew who lovingly combine their diverse training in circus and movements arts to bring innovative productions to the stage.

Copper Lantern has performed at many prestigious venues, such as the Crucible’s Fire Arts Festival, GenArt’s multimedia arts festival, “Ignite!,” and numerous other incendiary events. Members of the company have appeared individually at venues such as Burning Man Decompression, The Fire Arts Expo, the Fire Garden, the Harbor Nights Festival in Hamilton, Bermuda; Huis Ten Bosch Amusement Park in Kyushu, Japan; and for diverse private and corporate events.

Website: www.copperlantern.org

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El Circo

El Circo

El Circo is a performance troupe and production company. Through the use of elaborate costuming, installations, and performance art; dreamtime imagery unfolds in the wake of futuristic sound, light and setting.

Nurtured in street theater, fashion shows, festivals, gallery openings, and nightclubs, our family encompasses a wide range of talent from dancers, designers, visual artists, performers, musicians and DJ’s to professional dome builders, stagehands, lighting/sound crews and more.

We endeavor to create a “circus of the senses” where the psyche emerges and the soul is given its body . . .

Website: www.elcirco.org

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The Embodiment Project

more info coming soon…

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Flamenco Fury

Flamenco Fury is newly founded by dancer Juan Del Valle whose career has brought him to China, Europe, Central and South America, and throughout the United States. He is joined by singer Roberto Zamora whose cante flamenco is renowned for its purity of style and guitarist Jorge Liceaga who is acclaimed for his innovative and original compositions. Fanny Ara is an exciting young dancer whose first production “A Traves de Sus Ojos” will premier at the Mountain View Center For The Performing Arts on July 26th. Talented new percussionist Ruben Vernier adds rhythmic complexity to the group.

Website: www.juandelvalle.com

 

Flamenco fury

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FLO-ology

FLO-ology is a freestyle dance collective that has been spreading house music culture in the west coast since 2000.

Website: mindbodyflo.com

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fire arts collective

Fire Arts Collective

A San Francisco Bay Area troupe of fire performers, dancers, and artists. We’re equally dedicated to providing you with an exciting performance, and a safe one. We perform with fire poi, double poi, staff, fingers, fans, batons, snakes, hula hoops, fire jump rope, fire breathing, LED lights, and stiltwalking.

Website: www.fireartscollective.com

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Loco Bloco

Loco Bloco is a youth development organization whose mission is to promote Bay Area youth’s healthy transition into adulthood by engaging them in the creation and performance of music, dance and theater traditions reflecting the cultural diversity of the Americas. Loco Bloco encourages its youth to use multicultural art forms as a tool for their own empowerment and as a catalyst to help them overcome discrimination and bring about change in their communities.

Loco Bloco’s performances are an explosion of rhythm, movement and color. Filling the air and space with funky booming beats, high-energy dancers in multi-colored costumes and towering stilters, Los Locos fill the streets and flood onto stages at festivals throughout the Bay Area, lifting everyone’s spirits.

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Website: locobloco.org

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Lucero

Lucero is a band that has been tagged as alt-country and punk country. They’re a band that has written plenty of songs about girls and guitars, and about life, love, drinking, and life, love, and drinking while on the road. They expanded their lyrical palette on 2005’s critically acclaimed Nobody’s Darlings and in 2006 they re-released the hard-to-find home-recorded gem, The Attic Tapes.

But on Rebels, Rogues & Sworn Brothers, Lucero prove themselves to be something much simpler than that: a tried n true American rock n roll band.

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Website: www.luceromusic.com

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Loyd Family Players

Combining elements of samba, hip-hop, funk, heavy metal, dancehall & reggae, this 8 to 14 piece non-traditional bateria has quickly earned a reputation as one of Oakland California’s most raucous and jubilant party bands.

“The Bay Area’s fiercest female percussion section,” says the SF Guardian.

There is no doubt about it, when the Loyd Family arrives, they lay down real groove with a thick mix of rhythms from all over the world that is also distinctly Oakland, CA. Using a subsonic fleet of surdos and machine gun snare drums, the Loyd Family Players draw from a vast history of rhythms and showcase them in a style that has come to be their very own. With influences ranging from Carlinhos Brown to Rage Against the Machine, the Loyds mix together a bevy of breaks and textures with great precision for a hot and furious dance party. Utilizing everything from sultry R&B covers to tongue-in-cheek punk rock sing-alongs, the Loyds will whip the dance floor into a frenzy and turn you into a dashboard drummer for days on end.

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Website: www.theloydfamilyplayers.com

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Nocturnal Sunshine

Nocturnal Sunshine is a visionary theatrics and dance troupe based in Santa Cruz, CA that has been performing for awe-struck audiences around the world since 2000. Blending spectacular fire art, stilt walking, aerial acrobatics, and glow tools with original theatrics, costume, and dance, Nocturnal Sunshine creates a unique performance style that is sure to entertain and inspire all ages.

Website: www.nocturnal-sunshine.com

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Frank Olivier – Emcee Wednesday & Thursday

FUNNY FRANK, a.k.a. Frank Olivier has been performing professionally for 20 years, and perfecting his craft since age 11. He has never known ‘normal’ work. Upon graduating from high school, Frank attended Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Clown College.

Frank has shared the stage with folks like a young Dana Carvey, Robin Williams, Whoopie Goldberg, Bob Goldthwait and others. After four years of streets and comedy clubs he took his first trip to New York. It was slated as a vacation, but after 4 days in the city, fate intervened. He fell into an audition and landed a role with Mickey Rooney & Ann Miller, in the Broadway hit ‘Sugar Babies’. For the next three years he traveled the country with them, earning rave reviews, and a nomination for a ‘Helen Hayes Award’ (best supporting actor in a touring production). Soon ‘The Tonight Show’ was banging on his door, and after the routine he did with Johnny Carson lots more television, live shows, corporate dates, plus European tours, and more. “I have the best job in the world! This is what I’d always hoped I would be!” Frank spends about half his time touring and performing and the rest at his home in Oakland CA.

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Website: www.funnyfrank.com

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poor man's whiskeyPoor Man’s Whiskey

Poor Man’s Whiskey plays “High Octane Hootenanny” music…Dance, laugh, sing.

Emerging from the San Francisco bay area music scene this quintet has developed a sound that is eclectic and engaging. PMW has been winning over national audiences with their upbeat performances, zany stage antics, and infectious songs. While seamlessly integrating acoustic and electric instruments the band weaves tales of everyday life, inviting the audience to become a part of each show.

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Website: www.poormanswhiskey.com

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Simon Chaban

simon chabanSimon Chaban is an elite level performance acrobat specializing in double-ended fire staff. His world class act takes the art of fire spinning to new heights, described as “primordially whiteknuckling” and “impressively fearless” by the SF Bay Times.

A naturally gifted athlete, Simon performed his first back flip at the age of six. Driven by an innate love for circus and live performance, he made the most of San Francisco’s diverse performing arts scene, training in martial arts, dance, juggling, weight lifting, stage combat, parkour, physical comedy, and magic. He has apprenticed with the Moscow Circus’ Sergey Zenov (Russian acrobatics), Grand Master Seichi Tanaka (taiko drumming), and Master Lu Yi (Chinese acrobatics). His primary art form, staff, is entirely self-taught, leading to a unique style combining all of Simon’s diverse skills. Simon has performed as a solo and ensemble artist with companies such as the New Pickle Family Circus, Switzerland’s Circus Monti, and Cirque Productions. Simon’s presentations are inspired by music, different movement styles and life experience. In addition to performance, Simon directs and produces circus acts for live events, specializing in complicated group acrobatic routines. He is also a proud coach and mentor of the next generation of young Bay Area circus artists.

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Website: simonfireact.com

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Titanium Sporkestra

We are Titanium Sporkestra. A renegade drumline based in Seattle. Right now we have gigs lined up (festivals, clubs, and parties) and are planning a tour the West Coast in the summer of 2009. This band features ex-members of the Infernal Noise Brigade(r.i.p.) and !TchKunG!.

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Website: www.myspace.com/titaniumsporkestra

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Vulcan Crew

Vulcan Crew is a six person fire troupe based in the San Francisco Bay Area. We combine dedication, technical skills and flow to create various solo, couple and group routines. We have performed at multiple venues, parties, and events that include the Supper Club, Latitude of Rohnert Park, 1015 Folsom, Whole Earth Festival, the Burning Man Fire Conclave, Mighty, Jellys, and San Francisco Decompression.

Website: www.vulcancrew.com

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Installation Artists

Rebecca Anders – Fishbug

Rebecca Anders is a San Francisco-based artist and performer, where she works as a mixed-media sculptor, metal artisan, and welding and sculpture instructor.

Rebecca received a BFA from Cornell University in 1995, and has since shown her sculpture and graphic work in galleries and events around the Bay Area and West Coast. A member of the Flaming Lotus Girls, she has participated in the design, construction and operation of large-scale fire sculptures.

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Dave Andres

I am above all else, an engineer: a maker who loves all materials and all forms of expression and sets as his life’s work the task of becoming a true craftsman.  That means exploring both form and function to limits of my ability and setting this goal above all others.

I make my living as a forensics engineer and machine designer, working for a local company: Berkeley Engineering and Research.  I also have my own studio in Richmond where I work with Kevin Guana and Jeremy Lutes in the best form of solo/collaborative studio partnership ever.  At work I explore the science and in my studio I explore the imagination.

Helios is basically third generation fire sculpture and represents a leap in both aesthetics and control.  He is inspired by George Lucas’ Star Wars droids, specifically the ‘viper’ class probe droid: Helios though is far more crystalline in appearance and designed for solar exploration rather than planetary exploration.  

From a systems standpoint Helios is also a leap forward. He is my first fully computer controlled piece and is one major step closer to my goal of creating fully autonomous and ‘self aware’ sculpture.  The software (Labview) allows me to create and control fire with unprecedented precision and allows for very complex and pseudo random fire effects.  He also has feedback systems that makes him aware of his one operational status and will, very shortly though not at the crucible event, be capable of recognizing human proximity and changing his behavior as a result.  Eventually, he’ll be permanently planted in a Fire Garden where he and his compatriots will react to each other and human interlopers, creating hopefully the illusion of a living fire garden.

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elevation

Michael Christian – Elevation

more info coming soon…

Website: www.michaelchristian.com

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Dan Das Mann and Karen Cusolito

Dan’s degree in landscape architecture from Rutgers University is the basis for his fascination with large-scale work. He has and is a self-taught jack-of-all-trades, and has created a large body of work including The One Tree, The Faces of the Man as well as a line of sculptures produced for the consumer market.

Karen studied at Rhode Island School of Design and Massachusetts College of Art and has produced several public art installations in and around the Boston area. She is passionate about the human form as a means of expression. Her work includes painting and mixed-media sculpture, as well as photography and literary “vignettes.”

Together their focus is on the spiritual aspects of humanity and the environment. The work they produce together harmoniously combines each of their unique skill sets, along with the energy, friction and inspiration two creative minds produce when working together.

Website: www.headlesspoint.com

dan das man

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dsc

Department of Spontaneous Combustion

Five friends, eight fire cannons, 20 million BTU’s of burners, half-ton human powered machines, and a gaggle of propane tanks. Art that glows, fire plumes that light up city blocks, explosions you can feel in your chest. Fire effects and art intertwining to invoke primal reactions in our viewers. Go ahead, press that button. I’m going to stand back a little.

The Department of Spontaneous Combustion is a West-Oakland based fire art collective, specializing in metal sculpting, propane effects, odd hand-built peddle-powered devices, and the delicate balance between real and perceived danger. Actively involved in the local Bay Area and Arcata artist communities, DSC is excited to be participating in their fourth Crucible FAF. Individual artists include: Don Cain, Bohdi Baber, Scott Cocking, Scott Simpson, and Graham Linn.

Website: www.spontaneousfire.com

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Matisse Enzer – Flamethrower Shooting Gallery

Matisse Enzer loves the whole process of designing and building things. Matisse has been a game designer, political organizer, union carpenter, architectural student and apprentice, building contractor, software engineer and consultant, and long time member of the Art Police. Matisse lives in San Francisco, California and Black Rock City, Nevada.

Modeled after “County Fair” style shooting galleries the Flamethrower Shooting Gallery provides a new twist on a long-standing American tradition and pokes gentle fun at the American fascination with firearms and personal power, along with the Burning Man fascination with fire and “radical self expression” by allowing and encouraging participants to literally play with fire and shoot things.

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Website: www.matisse.net/flamethrower

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Exxothermia

The video below shows a live performance of Vance Cearley’s Fire Sculpture “Exxothermia”. Most recently seen during the Fire Arts Festival at the Crucible in Oakland. Fabricated metal “seeds”, travel through a block of solid ice. Controlled gusts of fire shoot through a hole in the ice and heat up the seeds, which then slowly melt through the ice. Great performance piece.

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exxotherma

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False Profit Labs

False Profit Labs produces science-inspired art. This type of artwork exploits scientific concepts to build dynamic, interactive and often fire-producing art pieces. We turn the sciences of physics, chemistry, biology, electronics into art. We are art engineers, who fabricate, machine, weld, and construct sculptural, larger-than-life art installations designed to create impactful experiences for spectators and participants. We share this artwork with our community, our city, and travel with it to events around the world.

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Website: labs.false-profit.com/blog

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Orion Fredericks

“I am manifesting physical space that supports the experience of relearning language. Whether it be a way of seeing or associating, I want to provide you with the opportunity of returning to a point in life where you do not remember the effects of our culture in the shaping of how we “normally see.” For me, this point is primordial and timeless – a place of metaphysical observance and clarity of our own cosmological birth.”

– Orion Fredericks

Website: www.orionfredericks.net

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Charlie Gadeken

more info coming soon…

Website: www.burningart.com

Gaspo

Scott Gasparian is an Artist, Teacher, and Inventor. He is the creator of such devices as The ChakraTron, the HypKnowTrons, the Phoenix Chainsaw Chopper, and other works made from mostly RePurposed materials. His experience teaching includes high school level science, electronics, computers, machine shop, physics, video production, and K-5 machine sewing. Previous employment includes positions at the Supercomputer Computations Research Institute, ETH Zurich, and Lick-Wilmerding H.S. He is also a USHGA certified Tandem Paragliding Instructor and has served on the USHGA Board of Directors.

Website: 1sky.com

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Ryon Gesink

“I’ve many things built as a metal artist and professional welder and fabricator over the years. The link below will take you to see mainly the larger sculptural artwork I’ve done, but I’ve most certainly built an endless variety of more conventional functional and structural items such as ornamental security fences and window grates, stainless steel hand rails, gates, medieval style doors, artistic tables, a lumber rack for my work truck, signs for restaurants and design firms, and even detail work on a massive 1920 steam tractor.” – Ryon Gesink

Website: www.ryongesink.com

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Wally Glenn

The Flaming Zen Garden uses fire to foster contemplation and creation. It is a fire artwork that draws one into its center and allows one to change its shape by changing its surface. However the patterns are made, the Garden has an interesting effect on those who gather round; it tends to foster a relatively subdued atmosphere as people contemplate the flaming sands.

The Propane Fountain combines water and fire to form an ever-changing fire sculpture.

Website: pyroboy.com

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Justin Gray

Justin Gray has over nine years of experience in metal fabrication and has run a successful fabrication business for the last four years. He has worked with many mediums and fabrication in commissioned sculpture, furniture and home installations all of which contribute to his more recent explorations in the world of fire sculpture. His sculptures attempt to merge the realm of functionality with his unique artistic sensibilities to create bold pieces, which range from being the centerpiece of their environments to more subtle accents of industrial beauty.

Website: www.graywrxfabblog.blogspot.com

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Kristin Hoard

Kristen Hoard’s journey with metal sculpture began in 1999 when a friend suggested that she take metal art classes. Having always loved metal art, she enrolled in her first class at The Crucible in Oakland, and has been hooked ever since. Kristen quickly discovered that using a forty foot extension cord to work on the patio of her Bay Area condo was not the most ideal metal arts studio setup; she soon migrated 120 miles northeast to Midtown Sacramento where she could afford a house with a two and a half car garage for her studio space.

Working in Sacramento for over seven years, Kristen has been building her talent and skill with metal sculpture. She regularly participates in art festivals throughout Northern California, including the Palo Alto Fine Art Festival and the Crocker Art Museum Holiday show. Kristen’s work is often featured at local galleries like The Phoenix Gallery, The Artisan Gallery, Uptown Studios, and Exploding Head. Recently inspired by her trips to Burning Man, Kristen has begun to explore sculptures that incorporate fire, flames or neon lighting. She has also completed several large corporate logo sculpture pieces in metal that can be seen in office lobbies around the Bay Area.

Website: www.metalphoria.com

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Interpretive Arson

From flaming food, to propane-fueled performance, to fireproof dancing madness, Interpretive Arson has spent the last four years finding innovative ways to bring fire and you together.

Website: www.interpretivearson.com

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Jeremy Krentz

more info coming soon…

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Lil’ Ju Ju Pinball

The Lil’ Ju Ju Mobile Pinball Museum put smiles on many faces at last year’s Fire Arts Festival. “All the machines are free and this is the only piece at the FAF where you don’t get burned!” one passerby was heard to exclaim. Many people are totally blown away when they step into our modified 1947 Spartan Manor travel trailer and experience the magic that is the heartbeat of Lucky Ju Ju.

Website: www.ujuju.com

 

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Elizabeth Scott & Catie Magee – Harmoni

Elizabeth Scott (Badkitty) has actively participated in the artistic contribution and physical execution of Spike’s Vampire Bar, for Burning Man from 2004-2008. She has also volunteered with Burning Man Org for Playa Info and the DMV. Recently, she has contributed to on-site art work for fund raising campaigns at NIMBY. Elizabeth also coordinated the only known and permitted indoor fire performance at the Supper Club for a Spike’s Inferno fund raiser. At Burning Man 2007, she was the lead coordinator of Spike’s Inferno, a separate theme camp entirely for fire performance, organizing several troupes, the Fire Opera, and individual performances over the duration of the event.

Catie Magee has worked with a number of collaborative art projects including the Time Chime, a Burning Man honorarium recipient for 1999, and The Temple of Community at Burning Man 2008 (www.templeofcommunity.com). Most recently, she has been working with the Flaming Lotus Girls on their 2009 project, Soma, as a caster and welder.

Harmoni is a vision of the fiery spirit of Korea – the poetry and beauty of the lotus and the fierce passion and power of the dragon translated into metal and flame. Standing firmly planted on the ground with a reach into the air, Harmoni – grandmother in Hangul – gathers her strength from the earth and thrusts it towards the heavens. She is wise and wistful, powerful and incendiary, passionate and dangerous. Both Elizabeth and Catie lived together in South Korea teaching English in 2007 and 2008. This collaboration is a result of that experience and the sculpture, homage to the adventure.

Website: www.harmonifire.weebly.com

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Mark Perez – The Life-Size Mousetrap

The Life-Size Mousetrap, created by fungineer Mark Perez is a fantastically hand crafted, 18 piece 50,000-lb. interactive kinetic sculpture set atop a 6,500-square-foot, 2,000-lb game board.

This giant Rube Goldberg style contraption comes complete with a vaudevillian style show, original musical score by one woman band Esmerelda Strange, Sexy Mice can-can dancers, Clown workers, acrobatic hi-jenks, and other spectacular scenes dedicated to the pursuit of spectacle laden fun!

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Website: www.lifesizemousetrap.org

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Pyrokinetics

more info coming soon…

Website: www.pyrokinetics.com

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Christian Ristow – The Hand of Man

Christian Ristow is a Los Angeles-based artist whose kinetic sculpture and robot performances feature a provocative mix of post-apocalyptic mayhem and playful iconoclasm. His commercial robotic work has been featured in Stephen Spielberg’s “A.I.” and “Bicentennial Man” and can be seen in the 2004 release, “The Amazing Spider-Man,” among other feature films and television commercials.

Ristow’s The Hand of Man is a large hydraulically-actuated human hand and forearm controllable by anyone through an ergonomically accurate “glove”. The large machine Hand will accurately and quickly reproduce any motion produced by the user with the glove from the elbow forward.

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Website: www.christianristow.com

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Alan Rorie – Neuron Chamber

The Neuron Chamber is an interactive, electro-kinetic sculpture that intuitively communicates the form and function of brain cells called neurons. When active, neurons create our rich mental world by generating electrical impulses, called action potentials, which travel their length. The Neuron Chamber is a mysterious observation tank that invites participants to activate three organic neuron sculptures, each responding with visible, 9,000-volt electrical arcs that travel its length. In doing so, participants develop an intuition about how neurons work.

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Website: www.neuronchamber.com

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Alexander Rose and Camron Assadi

more info coming soon…

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Jon Sarriugarte

Born and raised in Boise, Idaho, Jon made the trip out to California to create the metal furniture company Form & Reform in 1987. He has studied and worked as a blacksmith/ fabricator for over 25 years; pouring his creativity into both work and the local community where he is a civic leader and board member of the West Oakland Commerce Association (WOCA). He co-owns the Kraftworks building in West Oakland that houses over 20 industrial craftsmen and performance artists.

Jon and his wife Kyrsten Mate founded the Boiler Bar Theater. This Oilpunk group built an entire bar from a turn of the century oil town and along with a bevy of stage talent, has taken the show on the road as far away as Texas. The Golden Mean is the newest addition mixing Jules Verne and Dr Doolittle in a hot rod car from the past.

Website: www.formandreform.com

golden mean

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Jack Schroll – El Diablo

El Diablo, by Jack Schroll, is a flame effects device that uses a jet engine from a military aircraft to produce colored flames that illuminate the night sky.

Website: el-diablo.org

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Patrick Scott

Patrick Scott is a man with a fairly large nose. He is married to a woman with a perfect sized nose. Her name is Irene. Irene and Patrick live in Sonoma County which is in Northern California, USA. The region is mostly known for its fine wines.

Patrick is a compulsive creator. He loves a project but he tends towards innovation over repetition. The sculptures are all one of a kind.

In recent years, Patrick has been grappling with a sense of conflict between humanity and Nature. Human endeavors tend to run rampant over the delicately balanced systems of our planet. He senses a human world out of balance, Hellbent on self-destruction, with Nature being the ultimate victor.

Through his sculptures, he hopes to encourage reflection upon our lives and our relationship to the planet. The formal elements of the work are meant as abstract representations of our relationship with Nature. Sometimes in harmony. Sometimes with overpowering disregard. Sometimes with reverence.

Website: patrickscottart.com

 

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Nate Smith – Fire Vortex

Nate Smith has used fire as an art medium for over a decade in performances and in his photography. He is the creator of the captivating Fire Vortex and the massive 2BLEVE and Crude Awakening Fireballs at the Burning Man Festival in 2006 and 2007.

Website: www.fire-arts.com

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Kal Spelletich

Kal Spelletich’s walking, crawling, scuttling and shuffling robots will invade the Fire Arts Festival where interactive life-sized creatures will be roused to life through audience operation.

The artist relates “I, of course, do not remember learning to crawl or walk. I wish I could. But these most basic locomotive system operations have always intrigued me. From the first sea creatures crawling out of the water to a child’s first tenuous steps…

Movements, be it a gait, a hop, a dance, a slither or a swagger always seem to give some enlightening insight into the mover. I hope these robots honor all creatures that have evolved towards slithering, hopping and walking as well as insights into the audience members who choose to operate them.”

Kal Spelletich, the seventh of nine children, was born in an elevator and raised in Davenport, Iowa, recently named “America’s Worst Place to Live.” Shortly after being given a chemistry set at the set age of nine, he started constructing tree houses, boats, blowing up aerosol cans, experimenting with with electricity, fire and fireworks. He now lives on the waterfront of San Francisco in an industrial district where he scours junkyards and dumpsters for industrial items whose technology can be reapplied. Kal sometimes teaches at SF State University, lectures and presents workshops at schools and Universities around the US and exhibits internationally. His latest work involves experimenting with bio-morphic inputs that trigger machines and robots to provide viewers with a direct, real-life experience.

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Earl Stirling

more info coming soon…

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Mardi Storm

Mardi fashions her designs in the fascinating space between the domains of light and shadow, death and life, mystery and known. Her work originates from the interplay of transformation between these contrasting yet interwoven opposites. Based on the realm of inner imagination, these creations are a powerful reminder of the existence of wild, engaging archetypes and their presence amidst everyday life. Out of this recognition, Mardi finds herself drawn to create large sculptures, which reflect a deep relationship with mythology, universal symbolic forces and fairytales. These installations bridge the gap between the spirit/imaginal world and the physical world by giving these dream-like beings a form of expression in material shapes to hold the memory of something we all knew and interacted with when we were children, but may have lost touch with as adults.

Holding a strong interest in public art, Mardi crafts works that are felt and interacted with and which create a stirring response in the viewer. Having been primarily a painter in the past, she now finds joy in creating large pieces that arouse a sense of wonderment, inviting the viewer to pause and awaken to the strength and potency of the mythic realm. These pieces complete themselves within the field of human interaction and emotion, best elicited “in the wilds” of public space and in unexpected or surprising environments.

Some of her better known works, ‘Hippocampus’ and ‘Twilight Anima Rising’ have appeared worldwide in print, web, and film, and the former currently resides in Google Headquarters, Mountain View, CA.

Website: www.mardistorm.com

Michael Sturtz

Michael Sturtz, The Crucible’s Executive Director and Founder, has been a Bay Area sculptor, teacher and facilitator of artists for many years. He forges relationships with the community and related industry for their participation and investment in the arts. Michael’s sculptural works are exhibited extensively and are in collections in California, Chicago, Vermont, New York, Texas, Italy and England.

His pieces address both concept and form through the creation of intriguing kinetic machines and strong material contrasts that often include creative mixtures of stone, cast and fabricated metals, glass, kinetics, light, fire, liquid and video. He received his BFA from Alfred University, and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Additionally, he studied stone carving at Studio de Sem Ghelardini, Pietrasanta, Italy.

Website: www.michaelsturtz.com

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Evan Tracy

more info coming soon…

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Team Gnome

more info coming soon…

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Maria Zhalnina

more info coming soon…

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The Rootabaga Opera by Dan Cantrell

 

Cast List

Original Music By: Dan Cantrell
Text adapted from Carl Sandburg’s Rootabaga Stories

Co-directed by Larry Reed & Christine Marie of ShadowLight Productions
Metal Shadow Puppets by Mark Bulwinkle

Dance Choreographer: Elizabeth Castaneda
Costumes: Melissa Castaneda & Risa Dye
Goat and Goose Puppet Design: Emily Butterfly & Jessie Rose Vala

 

Band

Accordion/Keyboards/Voice: Dan Cantrell
Clarinet/Saxophone: Jason Ditzian
Guitars/Banjo: Ryan Francesconi
Drums/Percussion: Patrick Kaliski
Bass: Eric Perney
Trumpet/Narration/Voice: Freddi Price
Violin/Theremin: Meredith Yayanos

 

Choir

Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble
Featuring:
Caitlin Austin
Leslie Bonnett
Briget Boyle
Shira Cion
Janet Kutula
Elizabeth Setzer

Dance Ensemble

Elizabeth Castaneda
Melissa Castaneda
Risa Dye
Julianna Seligman
Andy Start
Ben Turner

Bellydance

Angela Mae Thomson

Fire Performance

Elizabeth Castaneda
Hunter

Puppetry

Emily Butterfly
Jessie Rose Vala

Shadow Puppetry

Ariele Halpern
Caryl Kientz
Christine Marie
Nicole Mills Novoa
Larry Reed

Dan Cantrell (Composer)

Dan Cantrell began composing at age 11. Since that time he has continued performing and writing music of all kinds featuring his main instruments, accordion, piano and musical saw. Dan received a rigorous training in Classical, Jazz, and improvisational performance styles as well as extensive formal composition training from an early age. He attended the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), and the Idyllwild School of Music and the Arts studying piano performance and musical composition. Drawing from his rich musical experience, he strives to bring exciting new sounds to the world in collaboration and composition for interdisciplinary art. In recent years his attention has been focused on the study and performance of Eastern European folk music as well as compositions for film, dance, and theatre.

In recent years, Dan has composed the soundtrack to the television series Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, currently on the Cartoon Network. Dan received an Emmy award for his soundtrack to KQED documentary Home Front, as well two Golden Gate awards from the San Francisco International Film Festival for his work on local films As a performer, Dan recently had the honor of recording with legendary songwriter Tom Waits. He has also recently toured and recorded with emerging and internationally celebrated independent artist Joanna Newsom.

Website: www.bellowhead.com

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Carl Sandburg (Author)

Carl Sandburg was born in Galesburg, Illinois to Swedish ancestry. At the age of thirteen he left school and began driving a milk wagon. He subsequently became a bricklayer and a farm laborer on the wheat plains of Kansas.[1] After an interval spent at Lombard College in Galesburg,[2] he became a hotel servant in Denver, then a coal-heaver in Omaha. He began his writing career as a journalist for the Chicago Daily News. Later he wrote poetry, history, biographies, novels, children’s literature, and film reviews. Sandburg also collected and edited books of ballads and folklore. He spent most of his life in the Midwest before moving to North Carolina.

Much of Carl Sandburg’s poetry, such as “Chicago”, focused on Chicago, Illinois, where he spent time as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and the Day Book. His most famous description of the city is as “Hog Butcher for the World/Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat/Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler,/Stormy, Husky, Brawling, City of the Big Shoulders.”

Sandburg is also remembered by generations of children for his Rootabaga Stories and Rootabaga Pigeons, a series of whimsical, sometimes melancholy stories he originally created for his own daughters. The Rootabaga Stories were born of Sandburg’s desire for “American fairy tales” to match American childhood. He felt that the European stories involving royalty and knights were inappropriate, and so populated his stories with skyscrapers, trains, corn fairies and the “Five Marrvelous Pretzels”.

Sandburg earned one Pulitzer Prize for his collection The Complete Poems of Carl Sandburg, and another for his biography of Abraham Lincoln (Abraham Lincoln: The War Years). He was awarded a Grammy Award in 1959 for Best Performance – Documentary Or Spoken Word (Other Than Comedy) for his recording of Aaron Copland’s Lincoln Portrait with the New York Philharmonic.

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Larry Reed (Co-director)

Larry Reed is a nationally and internationally acclaimed theatre artist, and is a trailblazer in the contemporary shadow theatre field. In 1972, he founded ShadowLight Productions to nurture indigenous shadow theater traditions, and to explore and expand the possibilities of the shadow theatre medium. He is one of the first Westerners to have trained in the traditional Balinese shadow theatre (wayang kulit) and is a “dalang,” or “shadow master,” who manipulates over 20 carved leather shadow puppets while simultaneously serving as the conductor of the accompanying gamelan orchestra, the director, and the stage manager. Over the years, he has performed over 250 shows in this tradition around the world. In the early 1990’s, Reed entered a new phase of his career by inventing an ingenious shadow casting method, integrating traditional shadow theater techniques with film, modern theatre and dance styles. His major works include In Xanadu, The Wild Party, Coyote’s Journey, A (Balinese) Tempest and Monkey King at Spider Cave. These and other original works have been seen at festivals and venues such as Henson International Festival of Puppet Theater, Britt Festival, the Spoleto Festival USA, World Puppetry Festival, Huddersfield Festival in England, Walter Spies Festival in Bali, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Puppetry Conference, Fort Mason Center, Theatre Artaud, San Francisco Insitute for the Arts, and University of Hawaii-Manoa. Reed has collaborated with numerous artists and organizations from various disciplines and cultural background including: American Conservatory Theatre (The Tempest); Santa Fe and LA Operas (Orfeo); Minneapolis Children’s Theater (Whale); Mabou Mines (Mahabharanta); Mark Taper Forum (Freedom Song); Smuin Ballet (Ain’t Necessarily So); Lee Breuer (Peter and Wendy); Octavio Solis (7 Visions); Puppet & Its Double of Taiwan (Monkey King at Spider Cave); Taiyuan Puppet Theatre Company and Cengiz Ozek (Silk Road) among others. Truly a multidisciplinary artist, Reed has also written, directed and produced films in the US and Mexico. Shadow Master (1979), his unique “dramatic documentary” on the family of a Balinese shadow artist, has been shown on PBS and Discovery Channel. He also served as Assistant Director of National Theater of Costa Rica, and performed and choreographed with Anna Halprin and her SF Dancers’ Workshop in the 60’s. Fluent in five languages, his articles and translation have been published in Asian Theatre Journal and Shattentheater (Germany) among others. Reed has garnered numerous awards and honors, and was named one of Top 50 artists in the SF Bay Area by Metropolitan Magazine in 1995 and 1996. He is currently working two new shadow theatre works: Ghosts of the River, his second collaboration with the playwright Octavio Solis on the contentious US/Mexico border issues, to be premiered at Brava Theater Center in San Francisco October 2009.

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Christine Marie (co/director)

Christine Marie is a director and designer specializing in immersive theater and spectacle. Her original work, “Ground To Cloud,” recently appeared at the REDCAT theater in Los Angeles and theatrical design for “Shipwrecked!,” at the Geffen Playhouse and South Coast Repertory Theater. She has worked with ShadowLight for over a decade and is a founding member of The Big Ta Doo Puppet Crew. She holds a Master of Fine Art degree in Theater and Integrated Media from the California Institute of the Arts. Christine Marie also works as a video editor and live design artist. She is most excited by her latest installation, “Shadows in Stereo,” and play, “Peter’s Shadow,” which incorporate live actors, music and giant 3D shadows!

Website: www.cimimarie.com

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Mark Bulwinkle (Metal Shadow Puppets)

I was born in 1946 in a very small New England town, Waltham, Mass., the second son of George and Ruth Bulwinkle. The same doctor, Doctor Morrison, who delivered and circumcised my father, practiced his delicate craft on me when my time came to enter this world.

I grew up just down the road, in Weston, Mass., where I attended public school and graduated from Weston High School in 1964. When I was eight years old I began my working life by picking weeds from ninety-two year old Mrs. Brooks’s Rose Beds. She was the neighborhood matriarch who lived in a large white house down the street. Mrs. Brooks would sit in a wooden chair in her rose garden and strike my hands with the rubber tip of her cane when I missed a weed or failed to retrieve it’s roots entirely. She was a merciless task master and Yankee to the marrow of her bones. She paid me thirty-five cents an hour plus all the home made donut holes I could eat. Ever since, I have been working at all kinds of jobs, including being an artist, a job that I still keep busy practicing and find just a bit easier than picking weeds. But, I miss the donut holes. It was in Weston when, as a very young man, I first fell in love and learned what and where my heart was, along with a couple of other troublous organs.

I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1968, with a BFA, and later earned an MFA in printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1974.

After attending John O’Connell trade school in 1975 in San Francisco, where I studied and practiced welding, I took a job with Bethlehem Ship Yard as a production welder and spent the next twelve years of my life building and repairing ocean going vessels in the San Francisco Bay Area for that company and many others. Production ship yard workers used to have a saying that when they died God would never send them to Hell because they had already been there.

In 1987 I quit working as an industrial welder and became a full time artist. During my work in ship yards I transferred the graphic art technique of cutting out paper stencils (which I had been doing previously as a printmaker) to cutting out steel with an oxyacetylene torch , which had never before been done so elaborately, skillfully, and graphically. My steel work became extraordinarily well known in a very short time in the late eighties and early nineties, when I was showing in eight different galleries nationally. Today, I doubt it is possible to travel anywhere in the world without seeing the ubiquitous imitations of my work. My art is in the collections of many private collectors (locally and nationally) as well as in many art museums.

I have spent the rest of my life up until now being an artist. I still work as a graphic artist and sculptor at my studio/yard in Oakland, California, where I live with my cat.

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Elizabeth Castaneda (Choreographer)

Elizabeth Castaneda started her training at the age of 4 in Seattle with ballet and creative movement. Continued studying ballet, modern, and Pointe intensively through grade school and high school. Began choreographing at the age of 10 and has always had a passion for creating dance. Attended Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle for Dance where she was able to explore many forms of dance and choreography. Inspired by the summer program she attended at LINES Ballet in the summer of 2003 she moved to San Francisco in 2005 to attend LINES Ballet Pre Professional program where she initiated choreography in the curriculum and facilitated the choreography process amongst the student body. Since LINES she has choreographed and performed with companies around the bay area including Carpetbag Brigade, Fou Fou Ha, Gamelan X, and Brass Menagerie amongst others. She is also an alumni of the PILOT Program at ODC, having created two works for two separate PILOT’s in the past year. Elizabeth has recently opened her own dance/community space in the mission called TWINSPACE Continuum where she teaches and plans to start more intensive work with her group of dancers. For more information on TWINSPACE please go to twindancespace.blogspot.com.

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Melissa Castaneda (Costume Design)

Melissa has been designing and sewing costumes for over ten years. Her focus in costume design is to work with individual bodies to create costumes that make each performer feel comfortable and beautiful on stage. From being a dancer she has learned that costumes are an integral part of any performance. Melissa has been studying ballet and modern dance for over twenty years and performs regularly in the city. She has also recently started two clothing companies. If you want to learn more about Melissa’s passion for knitting, her recycled clothing or how she can make you costumes you can visit her websites: Knitbyheart.com and Re-Tee Future Garments on Myspace.

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Risa Dye (Costume Designer)

From the land of dancing teapots and techni-colored monsters, comes Risa Lenore Anderson Dye, a self taught seamstress extraordinaire. A graduate of Jacques Lecoq’s professional theatre course and experimental set design program, Risa is well versed in the language of theatre and movement. Her studies commenced at Beloit College where she created costumes and choreography for several original dance pieces. Among other things, Risa is greatly inspired by Erte, children, insects and the never ending bounty of her imagination. Risa is thrilled to be working on the Rootbega Opera as Carl Sandburg is one of her favorites. With her designs, Risa hopes to inspire people to adorn themselves in beautiful exquisiteness everyday.

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Emily Butterfly (Puppet Designer)

Emily is a Puppeteer, Illustrator, Story Teller, Songstress and Cartoon Voice Over actor. She performs regularly in the Bay Area of California in Elementary Schools, Theaters, Clubs, Café’s, Women’s Prisons, Children’s Hospitals, Festivals, Community Centers and Birthday Parties. Her skills include: puppet fabrication, story, script and song writing, illustration, sculpting, singing, puppeteering, acting, and voice over.

Website: www.emilybutterfly.com

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Jessie Rose Vala (Puppet Designer)

Jessie Rose Vala (B. 1977, Madison, Wisconsin) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Vala is an installation artist, working in drawing, painting, ceramic, paper sculpture, video, and environmental design.

Website: www.jessierosevala.com

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Kitka (Women’s Vocal Ensmble)

Kitka, meaning “bouquet” in Bulgarian and Macedonian, began in 1979 as a grassroots group of singers from diverse ethnic and musical backgrounds who shared a passion for the stunning dissonances, asymmetric rhythms, intricate ornamentation, lush harmonies, and resonant strength of Eastern European women’s vocal traditions. Since its informal beginnings, the group has evolved into a professional touring ensemble that has earned international recognition for its artistry, versatility, and fresh approach to folk music. Through a busy itinerary of live and broadcast performances, recordings, educational programs, master artist residencies, commissioning programs, and adventuresome collaborations, Kitka has exposed millions to the haunting beauty of their unique body of repertoire. Kitka has released eight recordings on their own Diaphonica record label, most recently Sanctuary: A Cathedral Concert. A CD and songbook featuring lullabies from this concert program are slated for release in Summer 2009.

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“KITKA’s songs are hauntingly beautiful, simple, yet otherworldly. The rich sound these women produce resonates as if energized by the universe itself, as if it were calling all live beings and still matter into togetherness and unity.” — Ching Chang, San Francisco Bay Times

Website: www.kitka.org

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