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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Puppets, masks to remember dead”

    If you’ve ever ambled onto Fourth Avenue on the Sunday after Halloween, you may have beheld an astonishing spectacle: elaborate floats, musicians in ghoulish masks and stilted fire-throwers slowly making their way through the heart of Downtown Tucson.

    This is the All Souls Procession, an annual parade created to honor the dead and celebrate the living, and the arts community is busy preparing for the Nov. 4 event.

    Tucson Puppet Works, 520 N. Ninth Ave., is offering free workshops to build any of a number of projects: sugar skulls, lanterns, masks, paper flowers, prayer flags or even an elaborate life-size puppet.

    Don’t wait until the last minute; to construct a large puppet of wire and paper maché generally takes about five sessions – “”four, if you’re really prolific,”” said Charles Swanson, who has worked with Tucson Puppet Works for 12 years.

    After attending last year’s procession and “”almost crying by the end,”” Tucson resident Jenn Berry knew she had to be a part of All Souls. When her cat, Arbus, died of cancer in April, she decided to commemorate her with a giant sculpture.

    “”I thought, what better way to honor her than to parade her through town on a pedestal,”” Berry said.

    The sculpture’s legs are supported by two PVC pipes. Everything else has been shaped with chicken wire, and wings will be added to signify transcendence. On Nov. 4, Berry will wear a cat mask while pulling a 3-foot Arbus along on a wooden cart.

    She said building her project has been an important step in the grieving process, allowing her to share her story while working alongside other creative individuals – most of whom are “”doing it for the same reason.””

    “”I’m a total introvert,”” she said. “”But a more welcoming group of people you couldn’t meet.””

    Puppet Works co-director Matt Cotten describes the workshop atmosphere as casual and comfortable.

    “”We’re here to facilitate a very accessible art form to people who have never considered themselves artists,”” he said.

    Many Mouths One Stomach, the nonprofit artist collective behind the All Souls Procession, is a “”vehicle”” for the community’s creative expressions, which come from all people, families and cultures, said Daniel Meyers, weekend event coordinator and board director for Many Mouths.

    “”We want the entire community to start owning the All Souls Procession, and really start participating,”” he said.

    Other ways to participate in the event include constructing a personal altar at the Joel D. Valdez Main Library, helping build the procession urn and submitting photos to be featured.

    “”Every person on the planet deals with the phenomenon of death,”” Meyers said. “”It’s touched by everybody.””

    For more information on how to get involved, visit www.allsouls procession.org.

    Wednesday is the last day to begin a large project at Tucson Puppet Works.

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