Earlier this afternoon I attended In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre’s annual MayDay Parade in South Minneapolis. It's an event that I always find insightful, creative, and spiritually nurturing.
As in previous years, I arrived early and made my way to the parade's staging area. This is always a great place to get some really good "informal"-type photographs of the people and puppets as they prepare to carry the message of the parade’s theme to the tens of thousands of people waiting expectantly along Bloomington Ave. in South Minneapolis. The parade begins at 1:00 p.m., and travels from 26th to 34th on Bloomington to Powderhorn Park, where it culminates in an annual Tree of Life Ceremony.
The theme of this year’s 36th annual parade was “Uproar!: A Call to Be Fully Present to the Uncertainties of These Shifting Times.”
According to the parade guide:
In the year of the Tiger (according to the Buddhist, or Chinese, lunar calendar) we stop to inhale the immense beauty of the world we share. We exhale into a thunderous UPROAR! an embrace of multitudes joining together with collective strength for the present and future health of this world.
In a future post I'll share photos from the parade itself, and explain the symbolism of the tigers, owls, hares, elephants, roosters, and whales - along with the images of death and new life - that you see in the photographs in this post.
Also from this year's parade guide:
For 36 years In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre (HOBT) has been combining flour, newspaper, paint, imagination, and community input to tell stories that explore and celebrate the human experience and the wonders of the world's natural and cultural richness.
Puppetry's power lies in the act of transformation - of bringing something inanimate to life. This act in itself speaks to our lives, which rise and fall and rise again. As we share this act of building and performing, we find that art brings people together. It creates and expands community.
The work of HOBT is strongly grounded in the concerns of its home neighborhood as they connect to regional and global issues. Through its artistry, the theatre brings people together in the hands-on creation of and participation in community-wide puppet and mask events. In addition to the annual MayDay Parade and Festival, HOBT produces original plays for both family and adult audiences. The theatre also engages adults, youth, community groups, and even whole towns in a range of creative education programs and collaborative experiences across Minnesota.
NEXT: Part 2
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Getting Started - MayDay Parade 2009 (Part 1).
Celebrating Our Common Treasury - MayDay Parade 2009 (Part 2).
May Day and a "New Bridge" - MayDay Parade 2008.
"The Time is Now!" - MayDay Parade 2006.
Images: Michael J. Bayly.