Funded! This project was successfully funded on March 1, 2010.

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Spectacle Puppetry: a 12-foot tall monster will confront the net of a naturalist in the midst of the crowd of San Jose's summer arts festival.

"The Museum Proper" is the first project of a new performance company founded by puppeteer Dax Tran-Caffee. We have our sights on San Jose's 3rd annual SubZERO Festival for our debut ensemble work.

For this show, we will be constructing 4 puppets, one of which will be 12-feet tall and have three operators. These puppets will be performed on the street, amid the crowd, by a team of 4 puppeteers. The performance is free to the public, as any good puppet show should be: anyone can attend the festival and see the show, without having to purchase a ticket. We, however, are not funded by any other organization - we have no city arts funding and no sponsorships. The production will be possible only through the countless hours volunteered by the artists of the company, and by the interest of our supporters.



San Jose's Corpus Callosum (with whom Dax plays accordion) will be volunteering their time to write a score for the puppet show, and to perform this score live, in the street, alongside the puppets. Corpus Callosum is a 7-piece band that has been working with performance art, stilt walking, and puppetry since 2002, and recently received the unsolicited Collaborative Grant from the Belle Foundation for Cultural Development.

The SubZERO Festival, which takes place this year on June 4th, is Silicon Valley's avant-garde art festival, "a diy, artistically bent, hi/lo-techno-mashup where street meets geek." With 10,000 people in attendance last year, this is an ideal setting to debut our first show - and, as of yet, San Jose does not have anything in the way of a resident spectacle puppet troupe, so we're sure to make an impression. If all goes well, we will be taking Museum Proper on tour, and, of course, this show promises to only be the first in a magnificent list of performances still to come, each more incredible than the last. If we can debut a big enough show this Summer, we'll be able to raise support for future shows and tours, and to continue to improve our company.



We have a stream of sketches, puppet diagrams, storyboards and concept illustrations up on Flickr, if you would like to take a deeper look at how we're going to go about building these puppets.



We've calculated a material budget for the construction of the 4 puppets and the cart at $1300, which is where we've listed the project's goal. If that much money is raised, the show will be built, and we'll see you out there in June (hooray!). There's quite a lot more that goes into making a puppet show in addition to raw materials, of course, and if you can help us raise more than the $1300, this is what the money will do:

at $1600: We will be afforded a few mistakes in the designing of the puppets. Because every puppet is essentially a unique custom-made machine, everything doesn't always work on the first try and we're almost guaranteed to have to rebuild each puppet at least once - which means more materials.

at $2500: We'll be able to give a small stipend to each of the puppeteers and the musicians for their rehearsal and performance time, as well as to put a little money toward getting the puppeteers some uniformly black clothes.

at $5000: Dax, the puppet-builder, gets paid to build. This basically means that he'll spend all his time making exceptional puppets instead of looking for extra freelance illustration work - or, alternatively, that we can bring in Allison Daniel of OneFleaCircus to help build. We're estimating 250-350 hours of labor to get everything prototyped, built, and field-tested.


Thank you so much! And please spread the word around about this show.

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  • Pledge $10 or more
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    22 backers

    MUSEUM DONOR: Your name will be listed on the back of the Museum Proper cart, which is wheeled around the festival grounds by the protagonist for the entire length of the performance - this will be a permanent addition to the prop, and so your name will be presented as such in future performances.

  • Pledge $30 or more
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    19 backers Limited (1 left of 20)

    HONORED DONOR: Your name will be listed on the back of the Museum Proper cart. Dax will also collect some choice scraps of leftover puppet material from the workshop floor (cardboard with drops of paint on it, torn cloth, bent wire, stripped screws), and make a one-of-a-kind commemorative 6x9 collage, mailed to you, signed by the artist, and labeled "from the Museum Proper." (International donors, consider donating with shipping costs in mind).

  • Pledge $70 or more
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    5 backers Limited (15 left of 20)

    MUSEUM BENEFACTOR: Your name will be listed on the back of the Museum Proper cart. We will also tear a page from the Museum Proper pre-production sketchbook (concept doodles, prototype sketches, mechanism diagrams), and mail this one-of-a-kind piece of puppetry history directly to you (note: there will be a drawing on both sides of the paper!). Drawings by Dax.

  • Pledge $150 or more
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    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    MUSEUM SPONSOR: Your name will be listed on the back of the Museum Proper cart, in large type. We will also send you one of the original inked panels from the Museum Proper storyboards (not pictured on Kickstarter), signed by Dax.

  • Pledge $500 or more
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    1 backer Limited (2 left of 3)

    DIRECTOR'S CIRCLE: Your name will be listed on the back of the Museum Proper cart, in especially large type. We will also mail you one of the ORIGINAL full-page Museum Proper watercolored concept illustrations (the Bandersnatch, the Creatures, or the Festival Scene). Paintings by Dax.

  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (2 left of 2)

    PATRON: Your name will be listed on the back of the Museum Proper cart. Dax will provide you with your choice of one ORIGINAL watercolor painting from his most recent series - see examples at http://dax.imagekind.com/paintings (the artist retains the right to run open-ended editions of giclée prints of the image).

Funding period

- (22 days)