Ziggy ‘Starr’ dust as Bushwick theater stages Bowie puppet show

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Talk about modern love.

A Bushwick theater is dedicating its stage to one of the most innovative musicians of the last 40 years — David Bowie.

In “Band of Puppets,” running Nov. 11-14 at the Bushwick Starr, theater troupes and performance artists are looking to the Thin White Duke for inspiration, pulling from his diverse catalogue to create live music videos in the style of the golden age of MTV rock epics like “Thriller” — all using puppetry theater.

“The art form of puppetry has become more and more interested in the use of video, media and dance,” said Sue Kessler, artistic director of the Bushwick Starr, who curated the show with Amanda Maddock. “We thought, why don’t we embrace that puppetry revolution and really theme the show after it?”

Bowie was a natural choice, thanks to his visually inspiring, iconic imagery. And the result are pieces that incorporate marionettes, large-form puppets and shadow puppetry, in addition to video projections and dancers, set to songs ranging from “Underground” to “Fame.”

“We really love the way ‘Fame’ sounds, and we love dancing,” said Eliza Laytner, who’s creating a piece with Tanner Slick based on the hit song, incorporating masks, puppets, dancers and video projection. “Movement is the most important element in puppetry. We picked the song since the beat is so strong and fun to move to.”

Other songs getting their own puppet redux include “Diamond Dogs,” “Modern Love,” “Scary Monsters” and the minor 1980s hit “Cat People,” which No. 11 Theater turned to for inspiration.

“There’s something so overblown and ridiculous about the song,” said Julie Congress, who’s collaborating with Ryan Emmons on their piece. “We knew that we wanted to blend different genres and art forms — make it puppets meets movement theater meets mask work — so we wanted a song that didn’t take itself too seriously.”

Bowie would be proud.

Band of Puppets at the Bushwick Starr (207 Starr St. between Wyckoff and Irving avenues in Bushwick, no phone), Nov. 11 and 12 at 8 pm, Nov. 13 and 14 at 4 pm and 8 pm. Tickets $12, free or children under 18 for the weekend matinees. For info, visit

Updated 5:21 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

K. from ArKady says:
For the kids...with Klaus Nomi.
Nov. 5, 2010, 12:17 pm
rob from herrrmann says:
"bowie would be proud" - maybe he is - he isn't dead
Nov. 5, 2010, 12:34 pm
K. from ArKady says:
Indeed; I'm pretty sure he's still living in the city with Iman. You might want to give him a jingle if you're using his songs in a commercial production. For my money, I'd want to see a puppet representation of "Quicksand" at least, if not his cover of Jacque Brells "My Death".
Nov. 5, 2010, 3:20 pm

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