The 2013 PARADE THEME IS: Rewind!
Did you see that?
For 40 years New York’s Village Halloween Parade has provided a layered archeology of New York’s soul and spirit. To rewind the tape and play back each year’s theme performance reveals a timeline, marking the dreams, anxieties, enigmas and the everyday vernacular of an ever-changing city.
Last year’s unexpected hiatus due to Hurricane Sandy – unprecedented in VHP history – gave us pause to reflect on this legacy. And it took us back to that moment when we were all poised to make the best parade ever.
Ironically, our planned performance of Tick Tock – manifested in a clockwork calliope of white rabbits and flying alarm clocks – was to be a meditation on time itself. As key staff gathered on October 31, disoriented, dislocated, and worried for friends, we resolved to rewind – not only the clockwork automata of the parade that wasn’t – but beyond 2012, through the lineage of perennial puppets—
a 40-year chronology in reverse.
For Rewind, we celebrate our 40th year by retracing the Parade’s history as a living timeline, excerpting, restoring and re-animating figures from Halloweens past – from Ralph Lee’s Snakes, to Basil Twist’s beloved bats; Debby Lee Cohen’s sea creatures; Gigi Alvare, Ania Aldrich and Jeanne Fleming’s Dragons and Ladies and the Luna Moths and Dancing Chessmen of Alex Kahn and Sophia Michahelles. Puppetworks will be recreated, some returning for the first time in decades.
As images and puppets emerge from the archives, the resulting “parade-within-a-parade” will be more than mere retrospective, but rather a commentary on how we construct memory itself, how a single image can trigger a chain of associations and transport us to another time, how a past that might otherwise slip away can suddenly be found again through the agency of potent objects.
We are also going to look back specifically to 2012 and present a special float honoring the Spirit of Volunteerism— on it will be folks who stepped in after Hurricane Sandy and helped NYC get back on its feet; the Transplant Team from NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center and longtime Parade volunteer Jeff Bratcher who stepped in a donated a kidney to my son and representatives of the countless volunteers who have marshaled and animated puppets in the Parade over the years and kept this humble arts organization going!
Come meet these heroes! Rewind them forever!
Jeanne Fleming, Artistic and Producing Director
with Alex Kahn & Sophia Michahelles,