Please consider donating to the slam. Money goes directly to the performers and towards putting on the next Puppet Meltdown Puppet Slam!
Caitlin Whelan is a folklorist, puppeteer and performer who hails from the island of Newfoundland, Canada. Her love of legends, lore and the sea have always driven her to explore storytelling in its various forms. Recently she has been trying her hand at building, with the hopes that she can figure out how to bring life to the fantastical worlds in her head. Caitlin has been trained in both traditional folk and operatic techniques, and is well known for her low-fi vocal experimentations. This is Caitlin's inaugural puppet slam, and she is so thrilled to be participating!
QateBean and Rachel Wansker
Arms & Legs are a couple of puppet-clown besties, QateBean and Rachel Wansker, doing their best to keep it sexy in Atlanta. As a duo they’ve been shaking their burlesque puppet goods for local audiences at The Puckin’ Fuppets Show and The Late Night Puppet Slam at DragonCon. Individually, @qatebean and @wanskermonster have puppeteered nationally and clowned around internationally. They are thrilled to have “Sugar Me” as part of such a stellar lineup for this Puppet Meltdown with Sea Beast Puppet Company!
I Often Wonder
Jean Marie Keevins
Jean Marie Keevins is a professional coach, puppet artist and producer whose puppetry work spans from film ("The Muppets") and television (“Helpsters”) to the stage (“Zwerge, “The Flatiron Hex”) and building. Her company, Little Shadow Productions is in preparing for a summer 2023 of “Aanika’s Elephant’s” by Annie Evans. Little Shadow is known for its excellent productions, as well as its academy and Lil’ Talks series. https://littleshadowproductions.com
Kevin Hogan is a Chicago based digital producer, but in his spare time he is a puppeteer and comedian. As an improviser Kevin has trained at the IO Chicago, The Second City Chicago, and The Magnet Theater in NYC. He has performed at the Annoyance Chicago, Annoyance NYC, IO Chicago, and Second City Chicago. For more than 10 years Kevin was a stand-up comedian who has performed on some of the best stages in St. Louis, Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Seattle. He is the creator of ‘Puppets on Tour’ a short web series about puppets and their tour guide discovering hidden gems around the Chicago area. In 2017, he produced and directed the super-villain puppet musical ‘With This I Will Takeover the World!’ to rave reviews at the Annoyance Theater Chicago. Most recently, he has performed as Drag-on with ‘Pocket Guide to Hell’ players in their celebration of Burr Tillstrom and the ‘Kukla, Fran, and Ollie Show’.He is thrilled to be a part of this fantastic show and work with SeaBeast again.
Lady Mai JT
Sarah Frechette splits her time between Vermont, Europe and Portland, OR as a touring puppeteer, teaching artist, and stop-motion animation fabricator. She mentored with Master Puppeteer Albrecht Roser, absorbing his theories on zen and the art of puppetry from 2002-2009. Sarah has performed with her Roser-style marionettes across the U.S., Germany, France and China. Video footage shot by: Oliver Lukacs at the magical Brookledge Follies in LA. Photo of marionette Lady Maiikawa is attached & labelled with photo credit: Ingrid Höfer
Dr Rita's (Re)Productive Trivia Time
Dana Kogan (she/her) is an improviser and puppeteer. Trained in traditional and musical improv through The University of Chicago’s improv team Off-Off Campus, The Magnet Theater in NYC, and The Annoyance Theater, Chicago. Dana loves to create sweet and comical characters who share her love for science and health communication.
Monica Lerch is a puppet artist, director, performer, and model from Chicago now based in Brooklyn. Recent projects include internationally touring “Unfolding” by Margarita Blush at the Pesta Boneka Festival in Indonesia, and puppeteering the head of a 17 foot reindeer named “Tiptoe” in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Her puppetry work has received support from The Jim Henson Foundation and has been presented at the Lincoln Center, La MaMa ETC, St. Ann's Warehouse, Dixon Place, The Tank, HERE Arts and on the show “Random Acts of Flyness” on HBO. More of her work can be found at monicalerch.me or on ig @monica_lark
Charlie and the Princess
Rachel Jackson (she/her) is super happy to be returning to Puppet Meltdown after being part of the AWESOME 2021 “Game Over” Aliens edition. The mind behind the hit puppet musical "MANOS - The Hands of Felt,” Rachel is a Seattle-based puppeteer, vocalist, and writer. Follow all her puppet adventures at voxfabuli.com
Kat Pleviak (Sea Beast Puppet Company)
Last call is an original shadow piece that examines the surface image often seen of women contrasted with the reality that exists underneath. Kat has been a professional puppeteer and designer for over 20 years with an adoration for shadow puppetry. "Last Call" began as a commission for the Leather and Sins conference and Kat is looking forward to developing it into a larger piece. See more of Kats work at www.seabeastpuppetry.com
Intimacy and Sex coach for Marvelous Sensuality Coaching LLC
Special Guest- Wanda Maeso
Wanda is a native of Puerto Rico and has lived in Southeast Wisconsin for the last 26 years. She has been active in the BDSM Lifestyle for 18 years and a Body Positive Kink presenter for 12 years. She is a Certified Professional Life, Intimacy and Sex Coach, BDSM Consultant for behavioral health providers, and is Kink Informed and Sensate Focus Certified. She will soon be launching her own Intimacy and Sex Coaching practice Marvelous Sensuality Coaching LLC. Contact Wanda at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kat Pleviak is the Artistic Director and founder of Sea Beast Puppet Company in Glen Ellyn, IL. She has an BFA in Directing from the University of Illinois (2002) and an MFA in Youth Theatre and Puppetry from the University of Hawaii Manoa (2009).
Under Kat's direction Sea Beast has initiated a number of exciting puppetry projects including a series of original projects and productions including the Puppet Meltdown Puppet Slam, “The Shadow Puppet Conspiracy”, “The History of Light” and “Méfiez-Vous de la Vache-Garou”, which won best in show at the Chicago Fringe 2013.
She currently serves the Membership Officer for the Puppeteers of America and was a featured artist in Puppetry International’s issue of “40 under 40.
Jill Frederickson is sometimes a Seabeast. Masks and puppets have been her passion for more than 2 decades. You can see more of her at Little Puppet Company. www.littlepuppetco.com
Mary Kate Jenkins
Mary Kate Jenkins is a Chicago area freelance puppet builder and puppeteer with a BFA in Drama from New York University's Experimental Theatre Wing. She has worked with several New York area production companies such as Basil Twist and Encyclopedia Pictura, where she worked on Bjork's music video for "Wanderlust." Props Design credits include “Buddy Holly” at Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace, “Sylvia” at the Metropolis Performing Arts Center, and “Iolanthe” at Light Opera Works. Her television puppetry credits include puppeteering for the children's eco-based television pilot "Mr. Furry Fur Fur and His Friendly Earth Friends." She was a founding member of Sea Beast Puppet Company from 2009-2021 but is currently working towards her Waldorf Handwork Teacher certification and caring for her son.
We asked the performers and production team to share businesses, individuals, and organization's who they feel support, celebrate, and embody female autonomy. Here is what they shared.
Enjoy this list and please donate to the organization(s) of your choice if you feel so inclined through their respective websites.
Crisis Intervention Services (CIS)
A compassionate network of advocates, CIS offers critical services to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. What these traumatic events attempt to take away, they work to rebuild and restore.
Deborah’s Place opens doors of opportunity for women who are homeless in Chicago. Supportive housing and services offer women their key to healing, achieving their goals and moving on from the experience of homelessness. With two program locations and more than 200 units of housing across the city,Deborah’s Place is now the largest provider of permanent supportive housing in Chicago exclusively for unaccompanied women. We serve more than 500 women a year with the goal that once a woman comes to Deborah’s Place, she will never be homeless again.
Janice M. Del Negro, PhD
“I am a storyteller who excavates and decorates the bones of traditional folk and fairy tales as an invitation to others to do the same.”
Janice M. Del Negro, PhD, is a professor at the School of Information Studies at Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. Educator, author, and coach, she has been a featured storyteller and presenter at the National Storytelling Conference, the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the Northlands Storytelling Conference, the Mariposa Storytelling Festival, the National Storytelling Festival, the Moonshell Storytelling Festival, the Rocky Mountain Storytelling Conference, the Tejas Storytelling Festival, and many other celebratory events.
Early to Bed
At Early to Bed we are committed to helping people of all genders and orientations explore their sexuality to the fullest. In our comfortable and safe environment, we provide quality sex toys and accessories as well as access to the most current information about sex and sexuality. It is our mission to spread the good word about positive sexuality to as many people as we can through our shop, website, and various outreach events.
To support women and gender minorities in Kenya, please consider supporting Engenderhealth. EngenderHealth is a leading global health organization committed to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights and gender equality.
Goat on a Boat in Sag Harbor, NY
Liz Joyce founder, director, puppeteer and now driver of the new Goat on a Boat Puppet Truck & Mobile Stage which takes… outreach efforts to the next level by transforming Goat on a Boat into a mobile, outdoor, traveling theater. Inspired by the Bookmobile, the Puppet Truck has the flexibility to visit under-served communities in a wide range of locations to create an uplifting and educational, theatrical experience for children and their families. We are excited about this new direction, as we view it as the beginning of a far greater opportunity to serve and collaborate with a socioeconomically and geographically diverse audience. IG @goat_on_a_boat_puppet_theatre
"Suzanne Moulton is a multi-media textile artist who devotes her personal work to wildlife advocacy. She runs a small home studio, producing puppet films, video tutorials, and making specialty items for independent puppet and stop-motion animated films. She has a BFA in Illustration & Design from Kansas City Art Institute where she developed her skills in photography, sculpture, fiber arts, and puppetry. She has worked as a department lead on the feature films Coraline, Frankenweenie and ParaNorman, and on projects for Disney, Adult Swim, Google and in the UK with Mckinnon & Saunders. Technologies she brought to the industry are still used as the fundamentals for stop-motion animated hair/fur today. Her experience of a wide range of production styles on different scales has given her insight into how to make quality stop-motion production more accessible and sustainable. Suzanne advocates for health and safety in artist practices, encouraging a shift to using less or non-toxic materials, recyclable supplies and repurposed common items. She has spearheaded Project Nowhere Wolf, a self-produced, short stop-motion film and art making tutorials showcasing the use of these more sustainable practices that put artist health first.YouTube Channel: Suzie's Workshop IG @suzannemoulton"
The Mudlark Public Theatre in New Orleans, LA
Pandora Andrea Gastelum is a puppeteer, designer, writer, and performer. She owns and operates The Mudlark Public Theatre in New Orleans' 9th ward and is the Artistic Director of that space's resident theatre company, The Mudlark Puppeteers.
As a company, the Mudlark Puppeteers specialize in puppet theatre that is innovative and unconventional, presenting original and little-told stories of heroic misfits and wayward love. The Mudlarks have a developing repertory of object-based works in a variety of scales. Our work explores history and human experience through a lens of fable, waging a playful but determined battle for alternative modes of being. We are devoted residents of the Gulf Coast and feel connected to our community through our common experience of constant reinvention. Displaced from our preexistent positions within "city," "home," and "family" our questions of self-identification are fundamental: What is it that we were and what will we become? We are exploring, through puppetcraft and performance, the creative capacity of dispossession- the way that radical shifts in belonging reinvent being. Our methods of storytelling reflect this experimental position. Responding to personal and historical narratives of displacement- the results of bereavement, physical and social dissolution- we imagine hope in the form of new stories- the dispossessed as emerging heroes.
Online Abortion Resource Squad
OARS is an online collective that combats abortion-related misinformation and connects people with practical, medical, financial, and legal resources on various subreddits.
At Planned Parenthood our mission is to ensure all people have access to the care and resources they need to make informed decisions about their bodies, their lives, and their futures. Founded in 1916, Planned Parenthood is a trusted health care provider, educator, and passionate advocate here in the U.S. as well as a strong partner to health and rights organizations around the world. Each year, Planned Parenthood delivers vital sexual and reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of people.
Amy Sedaris is a comedian, actress, author, and voiceover superstar. Her television show "At Home with Amy Sedaris" and books "I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence" and "Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People" take a comical look at traditional women’s architypes though a modern point of view. Plus, she makes us laugh all day long and twice on Sundays.
The Tool Shed
The Tool Shed, located in Milwaukee, WI since 2004, is a mission-driven, education-based sex toy store. More than your typical adult store, we provide quality, non-toxic and body-safe products that enhance the sexual lives and relationships of our customers, all in a comfortable, compassionate, and welcoming atmosphere.
The Tool Shed is a place where people of all genders and sexual orientations can explore their sexuality in a positive environment and be treated with respect by a friendly and knowledgeable staff. Our team knows a lot about the toys and equipment we sell, and we frequently offer workshops and other events where our customers can learn more about a variety of sexuality and relationship topics.