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The Museum Proper is a puppetry performance directed by Dax Tran-Caffee (now encapsulated under the title Villainette)

Contrary to most museums, the Museum Proper is not a place to visit, nor is it a collection of objects that have cleverly outlasted their usefulness, but if a museum is in fact "incongruity born of the overzealous spirit in the face of unfathomable phenomena," then this is the Museum Proper. Clothed in puppetry, the Museum Proper forages the Uncanny Valley in search of Ryle's ghost in the machine.


"[...] there is no showmanship, legerdemain, pretense or fanfare in the presentation of this non-traditional puppetry [...] - meanwhile, glowing stars pop out of suitcases of their own accord, and apparitions rise out of heaps of cardboard and collapse just as quickly. Nothing is hidden in the straight-forward construction of the puppets and apparatuses, and yet each piece unfolds a moment of magic that is as moving as it was direct. These shows cleverly present the fascination that has been lost to us since childhood, though you wouldn't imagine how simply it was achieved."
Blair Thomas - Artistic Director of Blair Thomas & Co. Chamber Puppet Theater, founder of Redmoon Theater, Chicago, IL.

"[...] magic — not the Harry Potter kind, not the slick Las Vegas stuff, but the kind that, from simple parts or unextraordinary means, can kindle something truly haunting, funny, tender, frightening, mischievous or endearing into being[...]: potent magic whose humble elements belie its grace and supple power."
Sheila Newbery - I/Eye: On Photography

"[I've] always marveled at his skill as a visual artist, his presence as a musician and the ways he allows these two worlds to intersect on stage."
Jason Webley - accordionist and performance artist

Upcoming Presentations:

Dax is hard at work building new contraptions, but there are no scheduled performances or presentations as of August 2010.

Dax is performing regularly as Villainette and with Corpus Callosum. You can follow him on twitter: @villeinette.

Performance History:

poster

"the Museum Proper"
a street performance of puppetry

photo documentation
(flickr)

video footage
(vimeo)

Puppets from this show were put on display at the 2010
Maker Faire
at the San Mateo Fairgrounds on
May 22nd & 23rd

this show debuted at
San Jose's 3rd Annual
SubZERO Festival
Friday June 4th, 2010

 

 

Video Documentation of the June 4th 2010 debut performance at the SubZERO Festival in San Jose, CA:

(video also viewable on youtube)

The Jubjub Bird, in progress, demonstrated at the Museum Proper booth at Maker Faire 2010:


video: Spidere

For more images and video, the Museum Proper regularly updates these streams:

Physical Press: please contact dax@museumproper.com for high-resolution images.

The images below are licensed by Creative Commons (attribution / no derivatives




prototype

Artist Bios

Director:
Dax Tran-Caffee



"the Museum Proper"
(street puppet performance, June 2010)

Puppeteers:
Qarly Canant
Susie Danzig
Stephanie Bailey
Dax Tran-Caffee

Understudy:
Jesse Trepper

Musicians:
(Corpus Callosum)
Jason Samaha
Stevie Hryciw
Andrea Craver
Avery Burke
Stephanie Bailey
Qarly Canant
(DeatHat)
Kate Saturday

Erik Ostrom

Builder:
Dax Tran-Caffee

Workshop Assistants:
Stephanie Bailey
Allison Daniel

 
 
 

This is an entirely independent artistic project, and exists only through blood, sweat, tears - and your support. To raise money for our next project we are selling block prints of the Bandersnatch puppet, as well as a few small pieces of original art.

block print

The prints are hand-printed (without a press) linocuts by Dax Tran-Caffee, 6x9" on Rives BFK cotton paper, and are a limited edition of 135 signed/numbered prints.

You can purchase these prints through our etsy store for $15 each - we will also be selling these prints at Museum Proper events, while the supply lasts.

 

collage

These collages are composed of garbage collected from the workshop floor during the building of the Museum Proper: simple, non-archival materials, in the spirit of the heroic Bread & Puppet's "Cheap Art Manifesto."

A series of 30 of these pieces were made as rewards for the Kickstarter fundraiser in Feb 2010. A handful of these original works of art are still available at $25 each, only through our etsy store.

materialsWe also looking for donations of materials. In particular, our workshop needs:

  • aluminum crutches & ski poles
  • hardwood scraps
  • antique suitcases
  • a drill press
  • a bandsaw
    as well as any general hardware and used tools

To schedule a drop-off/pick-up of material donations, email dax@villainette.com.

donateMONETARY DONATIONS: We certainly don't mind straight donations. We have set up a paypal account (if you'd rather send a personal check, please send Dax an email) - no donation is too small, and we put every wooden nickel to use.

Thank you to everyone who was able to contribute to this project via Kickstarter! The Museum Proper was successfully funded as of February, and is currently being built.

 

All puppetry by Dax Tran-Caffee is now performed under the name Villainette.

Subscribing to the Villainette Email List is the best way to hear about upcoming events.

Peruse the Workshop Proper flickr set to see how the puppets were built.

there are now a handful of videos from the Workshop Proper up on youtube

Follow Dax's Twitter Stream for daily puppet TMI.

Like the Museum Proper facebook group.

And please help us spread the word by writing us up in your blog, linking your friends to our projects, and talking us up on the street!

 

You can contact us directly at:

dax@villainette.com