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Pez Puppet Theater

(Joe's Café, Kingsbury Avenue in Skinker-Debaliviere)


Some places should only be seen at night, when the dim candles timidly flickering through the smoky red of their dime-store holders only partially expose their surroundings and blanket everything in a warm veil. Here the poetic light flits off the diverse display of bric-a-brac that appears to support the architecture of the room: a huge, arching wooden shelf stuffed with (to name but a few things) birdhouses, carved masks, painted portraits, antique coffee and tobacco cans, old bottles. By day this clutter might seem nonsensical, but at night, bathed in this light, it's all elegance: a scene from Paris' Latin Quarter shot by Brassaï or Doisneau. At night, it's perfect.

Onstage, where only moments before the Landes-Martin Trio performed a coolly surreal jazz version of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower," the "folk artist" Steve White, positioned like a preacher at his pulpit, performs his puppet theater show. The characters, made out of Pez dispensers, include George W. Bush, ("Sinister") Condoleezza Rice, Jesus, Mexican wrestlers, cross-burning racists, irresponsible news reporters and Our Lady of Guadalupe.

While manipulating his puppets, White narrates: "As the sun went down, and the cross went up, it started burning. As they talked, an object floating downward appeared. ‘Hey, look! It's Jesus!'"

Laughter from the audience.

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