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Puppet Parade

Artist Lily Lamberta brings her work to the streets.  By KAReN NeWTON dio from Plant Zero to the third floor of her new home in Westover Hills. The house is next to that of another artist and sits on an acre and a half, creating “sort of an artists’ compound with chickens,” according to Lily. Plans are in the works to build a backyard theater to hold the spaghetti dinners to help keep costs down. a night Owl pushes further with her art.

Halloween parade, leading a group of volunteers, musicians and cyclists through Oregon Hill. Last year she made puppets for the city’s first May Day parade to support workers’ rights, marching through Jackson Ward during the First Fridays Art Walk. All the Saints Theater Company holds spaghetti dinners as a means of building community, raising money and sharing talent both local and regional, with Lily the ringleader in her colorful outfits and cowboy boots.

Because Lily began as a performer, her art making is a more recent development. “I found puppet making through performance,” she says. “That’s a new part of me that has erupted.” She says that these days she works when “Oakley lets me work.” She’s had two sculpture shows of her large-format animal heads in the past two years, at Metro Space Gallery and 821 Café. She’s discovered the challenges of balancing the organization and puppet making required for two parades with time to do her own work. She can also be found in Carytown on the weekends, selling some of her creations such as hobby horses, hand puppets and tin-can art, as well as those of other artists. She laughingly calls it “an excuse to play my accordion on the street.”

hOw mOtherhOOd and art can peacefully cO-exist. Lily has nothing but raves about the

what’s cOming up fOr all the saints theater cOmpany. Lily will take All the Saints

On taking actiOn with parades, pasta and puppets. In 2006 Lily organized Richmond’s first

changes brought about by Oakley’s birth in January. “I was thrown through the roof with love,” she exults. “It is difficult finding time to make things now, but I’m excited about this new chapter of my life.” Part of the change involves moving her stu-

Theater Company on a Southern tour including New Orleans in January and February. A recent grant from Heather Henson, daughter of Muppets creator Jim Henson, has briefly helped ease the constraints of a street-level arts organization.

This fall, she plans to recruit marching-band participants to lead every parade. “The reality is I’m just one person working on this,” Lily says. “But my goal is to have a real company sharing the recognition of All the Saints. I can’t wait till it’s easier for arts groups to get local funding.” tO be a part Of the actiOn. To experience the talent and passion of All the Saints Theater Company, check out its spaghetti dinner Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. On the menu will be pasta, sautéed spinach, bread and aioli, all for a sliding-scale fee of $8-$15. Music will be performed during dinner, followed by Punk Sinatra, live puppet shows, a magician, music and Bread and Puppet performances. The event will be held at 1012 W. 49th St. The theme for the Halloween Parade is Funeral March for the Dead, featuring puppets of landmark revolutionaries. Workshops will be held leading up to the parade for those interested in learning large-scale puppet making. For the less artistically inclined, it’s as easy as showing up in Monroe Park on Halloween around 6:30 p.m. and choosing a puppet, sign or mask to carry while following the No BS Brass band and Lily through Oregon Hill. The fifth year for the parade, it’s a major event in the neighborhood with people having porch parties and lining the streets to witness Lily’s first creation. “If I ever get called away by the wind, I’ll always come back and do the Halloween parade,” she says.

Information at allthesaintstheaterco.com.

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photo by ash daniel

L

ily Lamberta is the first to acknowledge that she’s a performer at heart. She came to puppet making and sculpture through her love of being onstage. That love began at Bread and Puppet, a Vermont collective that espouses cheap art and political theater. What started as a summer internship blossomed into full inspiration for large-scale puppet theater in Richmond. All the Saints Theater Company was born six years ago and her first child, Oakley, nine months ago.

Profile for Style Weekly

Belle September 2010  

Style Weekly's Magazine for Richmond Women

Belle September 2010  

Style Weekly's Magazine for Richmond Women

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