Crankies Take New York!

FRI, JUN 2, 2023
8:00 PM

In-Person Tickets: $15 General Admission / $10 Members, Seniors, & Students w/ID 

Flushing Town Hall no longer requires visitors or performers to show proof of vaccination against COVID-19; wearing a mask is optional but recommended. For more details, please visit 
Can't make it in person? Watch this show from anywhere in the world! Get virtual access with a Culture Stream subscription ($5/month - cancel anytime) to get LIVE and ON-DEMAND access to watch whenever you want! 

On Friday, June 2nd, Flushing Town Hall will turn into a time machine. But not just any old run-of-the-mill time machine. It is one of those new-fangled machines that seems to set you down in the past, present, and future all at once. And how exactly will this happen, you might be asking yourself? Why, with the glowing magic of a crankie!
Okay, okay, you might now be asking yourself, “self, what is a crankie?” Well, a crankie is a hand scrolled panorama. Often backlit, with cut paper imagery, the crankie is a mere tool, but one with great magic. A bit of fireside wonder that aids in the telling of the greatest stories to be scrolled, the crankie has its roots in vaudeville, but in the hands of puppeteers and other artists, the crankie has been elevated to a new form of entertainment. It harkens back to the past but is deeply entrenched in the now and forever.
On June 2nd, Crankies Take New York will be produced by Flushing Town Hall. With 6 different crankies, plus musical guests and all sorts of surprises, it will feel a bit like an old school variety show, anchored by the first ever convening of crankie performances in New York City. If you love puppetry, story telling, visual art, things that are awesome, you will love this show.

Want to see a Crankie? Take a gander at “Francis Whitmore's Wife,” by artist Katherine Fahey.

The Crankie Festival has sold out all performances in Baltimore. Now it's taking over New York City this summer!

About the Artists:

Emily Schubert
Location: Pittsburgh

Crankie Fest Curator Emily Schubert is an interdisciplinary artist working mainly in the worlds of puppetry, performance, sculpture and collage. She hails from the borderlands between Cincinnati, Ohio and Northern Kentucky. She earned a degree in fiber and textile art from the Maryland Institute College of Art. She has worked on costumes for traveling Broadway shows, participated in puppet theater festivals and workshops in Europe, Indonesia, and the United States. She is inspired by the fantastical and the everyday and how these shape peoples’ perception of the world. Drawing from mythology, folktales, memories, and personal experience she creates narratives and characters that aim to make some sense of our existence by giving form to our collective anxieties and desires. Her piece No One Knows was created as part of a residency at Bunnell Street Arts Center in Homer, Alaska early in 2021.

Marty Allen & Leigh Walter
Location: New York
Music by: Uncle Monsterface

Marty Allen is a multi-disciplinary artist, writer, performer, musician, teacher, and creative producer living in Brooklyn, New York. He is perhaps best known for making up The Sock Puppet Portraits (as Sock Puppet City), writing the related book, Sock Puppet Madness, and for performing with rock band/multimedia art collective/giant monster/sock puppet, Uncle Monsterface, though he does lots of other things including walking his dog and making occasionally great sandwiches. His most recent works include co-creating Adventure Pizza for The Object Movement Festival and La Mama Puppet Slam and writing and co-creating A Perfect Party for Trees for Trusty Sidekick Theater Company, as well as the publication of his sixth book, 50 Knots for Every Adventure (Simon & Schuster/Dog ’N Bone Books, 2023) In addition to working as a practicing artist, Marty also works as a teaching artist specializing in early childhood development, with a deep interest in neurodiverse and underserved communities. Devoted to creating experiences that are accessible and inclusive, Marty's work is committed above all else to chasing a sense of wonder and moments of real and honest connection. Wonderful connection. To you!

Leigh Walter is a director, producer and manager based in NYC.  She is proud to be the Executive Creative Producer of Trusty Sidekick Theater Company, a TYA organization dedicated to creating bold and original theater for young people and their families.  With Trusty Sidekick, she most recently directed A Perfect Party for Trees, an outdoor promenade puppet performance made for and with neurodiverse audiences, featured in the NYTimes: “But perhaps the greatest gift this new play offers its audience is intangible: the freedom to be themselves.”  She has worked at Lincoln Center, Park Avenue Armory, The Public, Ars Nova, New York Theatre Workshop, St. Ann’s Warehouse and HERE Arts Center among a myriad of other theaters, warehouses, bars, museums, streets and parks.  This work has been focused on developing new theatre, with a verve for immersive/non-traditional productions and puppetry.  This work has also included Off-Broadway musicals, performance art, dance, opera and everything in-between. To learn more about Leigh, visit her website or better yet, find her after the show and introduce yourself.

Originally a touring multimedia rock and puppet band, Uncle Monsterface has evolved into an ever-changing creative collective known as Monsterface Industries. What was once a highly theatrical and puppet-y band that often appeared in bars has finally transitioned into a highly rock and roll-y creative org that often appears in theaters. But you never know where you’ll find them. 

Myra Su
Location: Chicago

Myra Su is a storyteller, puppeteer, and puppet maker. Based in Chicago, Myra has been an active member in the puppetry community since 2013. Her primary medium is shadow puppetry but her work also includes experimentations with bunraku, crankies, video, and taxidermy. Her work has also expanded to collaborations outside of theater, with indie bands and musicians. She is currently a touring performer with Manual Cinema, with performances worldwide. She is also a co-curator for a quarterly puppet slam in Chicago, Nasty, Brutish & Short. In the past, she has done work for other puppetry/spectacle companies such as Redmoon and Blair Thomas & Co. Growing up in-between the United States, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, she is interested in using puppetry to convey stories that are culturally mobile and emotionally universal. Her work is usually driven by a simple concept or motif, which is then explored through a self-reflexive application of puppetry.

String Theory Theater
Location: Baltimore

String Theory Theater is a Baltimore based puppet troupe consisting of artists Dirk Joseph and his children Koi and Azaria. String Theory Theater has performed on the stages of many Baltimore venues, as well as schools, community centers, libraries, and homes. STT has also created large scale parade style puppets for festivals such as Artscape and the Cherry Hill Waterfront Art and Music Festival performing and/or building puppets in collaboration with the community.

Tine Kindermann with Josh Kohn, Ira Khonen Temple
Location: New York & Baltimore

Tine Kindermann is a visual artist and musician from Berlin, Germany, who has been living and working in New York City since 1993. A figurative artist working in various media, her work, which includes painting, miniature tableaux and dioramas, video and sculpture, has been shown at Stephen Romano Gallery, the Governors Island Art Fair, RePop, Mark Miller Gallery and other galleries in New York City, as well as Neurotitan Gallery and Gallery Kurt im Hirsch in Berlin. 

Ira Khonen Temple is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and embedded cultural organizer. Recent credits include accordionist for Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish, and music director of Indecent at the Weston Playhouse, Great Small Works’ Muntergang and Other Cheerful Downfalls, the Aftselakhis Spectacle Committe Purimshpil, and Zoe Beloff’s Days of the Commune. Ira is a founder of the radical-traditional Yiddish music group Tsibele.

Clarinetist Michael Winograd lives in Brooklyn.  He is a performer and composer of Klezmer, Eastern European Jewish wedding and celebration music. He performs internationally with his band the Honorable Mentshn, and plays regularly with today's premier klezmer musicians.  Michael has shared the stage with Itzhak Perlman, the Klezmer Conservatory Band, Frank London, Budowitz and countless others.  He is a member of Pneuma Quartet, and co-founded Sandaraa along with Pakistani super star Zeb Bangash.  In 2016 Michael recorded the opening track for Vulfpeck's LP "The Beautiful Game," and has since been a regular guest with them in concert, including a sold out show and live recording at Madison Square Garden in 2019.  Michael is a founder of the Yiddish New York festival, now embarking on it's 6th edition.  He served as Artistic Director of KlezKanada from 2016-2021.

Josh Kohn
Josh Kohn is the Associate Director at the Center for Cultural Vibrancy. He will be on hand to perform the Crankie Naftule with Tine, Michael and Ira. He first heard of the wild story of Naftule Brandweinfrom Michael Winograd several years ago and not a day went by where he didn’t dream longingly of seeing that story as a crankie. He worked on this script with the help of Tine, Michael, his wife Marianne, and his now four-year-old daughter Golda who, despite the provenance of her name, is not a fan of Naftule Brandwein (yet).

About the Curators:
Crankies take New York is curated by Josh Kohn and Emily Schubert. Josh is the Associate Director of the Center for Cultural Vibrancy. Emily is an interdisciplinary artist working mainly in the worlds of puppetry, performance, sculpture and collage. Together, the two have curated the Baltimore Crankie Festival for the last 6 years and are excited to bring the fire-side wonder of crankies to Flushing Town Hall.