Downtown Arts Festival 2014

We’re always happy to be giant birds for a good cause. This year at the annual Gainesville Downtown Arts Festival, that cause was free family entertainment with Rainbow Tiger Circus. Bird puppet by Lynn Polke, manatee puppet by our own Dan Ballard, operated by local performer Rachel Ray.

Did you see us? Leave a comment below! We love to hear from festival-goers.

See a video of Rainbow Tiger Circus’ work on YouTube.

“Lessons Learned” and “Handmade Puppet Dreams” at the Hippodrome Cinema, with our 4th Annual Puppet Slam

lessons-learnedTonight was a magical night at the Cinema of the Hippodrome Theatre. DolphinWizard Co hosted a showing of Ibex Puppetry’s “Handmade Puppet Dreams” Volume VI, followed by an exclusive showing of Toby Froud‘s limited-release film “Lessons Learned.” The event was ushered by puppet street performers from the Santa Fe College Theatre Department, courtesy of Gainesville luminary Gregg Jones, and concluded with a puppet slam featuring “Let It Out” from “Fartzen” and Dan’s “Juggs the Juggler” routine.

From "Lessons Learned" (2014)

From “Lessons Learned” (2014)

“Lessons Learned” is the directorial debut of Toby Fraud, aka the baby in “Labyrinth” and the son of renowned character designer Brian Froud, of “The Dark Crystal,” “Labyrinth,” and “Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book.”

Handmade Puppet Dreams is a series of puppet films produced by Ibex Puppetry, the company of Heather Henson, daughter of Jim Henson. Ibex’s mission is to promote health & healing for the planet through the fine art of puppetry. In Handmade Puppet Dreams films, gifted puppeteers’ imaginings are made incarnate, with the help of talented performers such as Christopher Lloyd and Elijah Wood.

With this event, Gainesville is now the 3rd city in Florida to host a Handmade Puppet Dreams showing, and the first to show Volume VI!

Photo by Laura Gross.

Photo by Laura Gross.

We had 42 puppet fans in the house, who applauded after every film! Our mysterious ushers worked the streets of downtown Gainesville to bring people into the theatre. We were thrilled to see such a positive response to puppet films in our community, and celebrated our 4th puppet slam, an annual event which Dan Ballard has curated every year.

DolphinWizard Co Represented in Local Business Fest

Labor DazeWe were proud to be included in the Repurpose Project‘s booth at Labor Daze Fest, an annual festival celebrating local businesses and independent artists in downtown Gainesville, again in the beautiful Bo Diddley Community Plaza. Since we use many recycled and repurposed materials, we were pleased to represent the level of extraordinary artwork that can emerge from “trash.”

We delighted many children with our handmade leash puppets of dragons, gators, and dinosaurs, and connected with several folks about our upcoming shows. Stay tuned!

DolphinWizard Co in the Papers!

It’s been an exciting week at DolphinWizard Co. This week our DBA announcement ran, and we are also officially registered at as DolphinWizard Puppetry and Toys. Now we’ll be ready for the downtown farmer’s market (our cycle begins in two weeks), and our business arrangements with you will be streamlined.

Also, our puppetmaster Dan was featured in the Gainesville Sun! Thank you Alexa Volland for the amazing coverage!

For Ballard, an eccentric personality with a handlebar mustache, nothing is off limits when it comes to his puppets. His characters, often socially provocative and politically incorrect, range from sexually active hamburgers and adorable pandas that poop frosting to Nazi spies running meth labs.

Edited to add photo.

Wrapped Up Voyage Imaginaire

Although we hoped to be able to build more large puppets for Gregg Jones’ show at Santa Fe College, we still enjoyed building puppets, teaching puppeteers, and documenting the process for Voyage Imaginaire, a multimedia show about bullying and self-empowerment.

Dan built two hand puppets and a large monster suit (which unfortunately was not used), and taught the student puppeteers the basic physical and vocal techniques they needed. Incorporating his kung fu training and knowledge of kinesiology, Dan guided them to become better puppeteers; their characters, the frogs Omion and Deletra, were reportedly the most delightful characters in the show!

See the Gainesville Sun preview here.

Check out the mini documentary on Vimeo, or below on YouTube.