Sept. 21, 2017
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Courtesy Radical Abacus

Stayin’ Alive

The art and majesty of zombie puppet musicals

September 6, 2017, 12:00 am

Devon Hawkes Ludlow fell in love with puppets some years back, but it wasn’t until a trip to Eastern Europe that he truly fathomed their possibilities as an art form. “Puppeteers are number one on the cultural landscape there,” he says. To be fair, an exhibit on the practical effects of director Julie Taymor (Titus) helped as well, as did Peter Jackson’s Meet the Feebles—but Ludlow’s own creation, The Love that Would Not Die, may just out-weird them all.

The musical tale of an apocalypse survivor, his zombie girlfriend and a kid with a powerful secret, Love has won fans and creeped people the eff out since its first 30-minute film/pilot episode debuted last year. Ludlow writes and records all the stories and songs himself, sometimes with guest vocalists like local Andy Kirkpatrick. Having served as managing director of local circus troupe Wise Fool in 2007, Ludlow was already familiar with weirdo arts. He also created a massive albino cave bat with local students for Meow Wolf.

But still, he says, puppets are a fairly rare commodity in American arts. “One of the attractions of puppetry in this country is that it’s an unknown for most people,” Ludlow explains. “It’s sometimes oh-so-frustrating but, most of the time, it’s a great way to be a Trojan horse and people aren’t prepared for whatever you give them.” He builds his own puppets and sets, mostly out of recycled or found materials, alongside Flying Wall Studios’ Sabrina and Damon Griffith, who are celebrated puppet builders in their own rights. They say they learned a lot on the first film with Ludlow and are excited to jump into the new project.

“There has been more room for collaboration,” Sabrina says. “It’s been very open.” Damon agrees, saying, “The last [film] was more of a commission than a collaboration, now it’s more collaboration.”

You can see the creations for The Love that Would Not Die on weekends over the next month at DIY art space Radical Abacus, a venue that will host an exhibit by day and serve as the filming location by night. “There’s room to do a lot new,” Ludlow concludes, “but to keep it unexplained as an authentic, physical experience.” (Alex De Vore)

The Love That Would Not Die: A Puppet Exhibition Opening
6 pm Friday Sept. 8. Free.
Radical Abacus,
1226 Calle de Comercio

Coyotes in Office

Bill Lewis

“Dirty tricks are as American as apple pie,” says retired university professor Ken Simonsen. “Shenanigans … are part of a very old American tradition, going back to Native Americans.” Simonsen aims to illustrate his point in “The Trickster in American Literature and Politics,” a lecture in which he discusses the shrewd, manipulative character of the Trickster as it has existed from Winnebago tribal traditions to the Navajo Coyote to Huckleberry Finn to modern day—and that, in his estimation, the archetypical Coyote “could go to Washington and survive and get away with it.” In the lecture, presented by the Renesan Institute, Simonsen would even posit that, in America, “the only fair, straightforward election was when George Washington ran against himself.” (Charlotte Jusinski)

The Trickster in American Literature and Politics:
1 pm Thursday Sept. 7. $10.
St. John’s United Methodist Church,
1200 Old Pecos Trail,


Stanley Kramer Productions
One of the most tragic, yet fascinating, chapters in American history has to be the Hollywood Blacklist, an era when film workers of all points above and below the line succumbed to the pressures of McCarthyism, turned on one another and began ruining lives. Meanwhile, the iconic 1952 Western High Noon was being filmed in all of its Gary Cooper/Grace Kelly glory. Journalist Glenn Frankel explores the parallels in his book, High Noon: The Hollywood Blacklist and the Making of an American Classic. Frankel discusses and signs copies at Gerald Peters Gallery on Saturday afternoon, then introduces a gorgeous new restoration of the film later the same day. (ADV)

Book Signing and Lecture:
1 pm Saturday Sept. 9. Free.
Gerald Peters Gallery,
1011 Paseo de Peralta,

High Noon Screening:
4 pm Saturday Sept. 9. $8-$9.
Jean Cocteau Cinema,
418 Montezuma Ave.,

Back to School

Courtesy Turquoise Trail Charter School
You’ve probably thought, “I want to support arts in schools, but only if I can do so in concert form.” And your very specific ship has come in! Join local musicsmiths like OG Willikers, Joe West, The Banded Geckos and many more as they get down for a good cause—Turquoise Trail Charter School’s music, drama and cooking programs, among others. Also performing is the TTCS Jazz Band, an amalgam of young musicians who may just be learning the ropes, but have talent to spare. And since the whole thing goes down at The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing Co., you can probably sneak in a beer or two while you’re out there changing lives without having to radically alter your own. So, like, swish—help kids, see music, sneak beers—it’s a winning combo. (ADV)

A Day of Music for the Arts:
2-8 pm Sunday Sept. 10. $5-$20.
The Bridge at Santa Fe Brewing Co.,
37 Fire Place,


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