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Puppetmania

New Kiva Motions Puppet Theatre at 3645 N. Los Altos Ave. Red Barn at 948 N. Main Ave. Tucson Puppet Works at 111 E. Congress St.

STAFF PICK: Suddenly, puppets are big news here in Tucson and we think the public needs to be warned. Be sure to be on the lookout for puppet artiste Gwen Ray's hilarious Punch and Judy storytime performances at libraries around town. Or there's the good, clean comedy fun of the New Kiva Motions Puppet Theatre. The show we saw was a lap show (no, not like at TD's) and featured classic kiddie songs with Chaco the clown and the homicidal antics of Little Bunny Foo Foo. Entertaining kids for 20 years, formerly out of the Historical Society, they also offered a chance to hug and hang with the Foofster after the gig and even make your own insane puppet posse.

LOOSE CHANGE: For a more sophisticated variety you might enjoy the Tucson Puppet Works, actually the merger of Big Head Puppet Company and Band of Poppets. This versatile, five-person troupe does all sorts of events and kids parties and has been known to incorporate everything from hand puppets to black-light puppets, as well as Indonesian style shadow puppets and masks. There is also the titular Big Head Puppets, giant mascot heads, 20 feet high, which attach to a frame backpack and are manipulated from within. You may have seen them at the Club Congress or during one of the last three years 'All Souls' Procession. Join them for their Sunday afternoon Puppet Church, featuring folk stories and morality tales from around the world. Even the Tucson Pima Public Library has gotten into the act, and for the last several years they've done gay-themed puppet shows as part of the Reid Park OutOberFest celebration. The Stonewall riots and the Harvey Milk assassination have both been fodder along with the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy, all available on videotape for checkout at the library. And don't miss this year's gay Star Trek, going where no sock has gone before!

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