Posts Tagged ‘NYC Village Halloween Parade’

NYC Village Halloween Parade Names Zohra, The Giant Spider & Creator Master Puppeteer Basil Twist as Grand Marshal

October 11, 2019
NYC-VHalloweenP_103118_312e2(c) Karen Rubin-Zohra

This year, in celebration of 25 years with New York City’s Annual Village Halloween Parade, Zohra, The Giant Spider and its creator Master Puppeteer Basil Twist will serve as Grand Marshal © Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com

NEW YORK –This year, in celebration of 25 years with New York City’s Annual Village Halloween Parade, Zohra, The Giant Spider and its creator Master Puppeteer Basil Twist will serve as Grand Marshal. Twist will manipulate his striking Zohra, the giant spider, during the Parade from the iconic Italianate Gothic Clock tower of the Jefferson Market Library.

This year’s parade theme is “Wild Thing” and there is still time to sign up to volunteer and be in the parade and not just a spectator on the sidelines. You can volunteer to animate a Giant Puppet or help Marshall the Parade.

The legendary Village Halloween Parade has entertained the public on Halloween night for the past 45 years, on 6th Avenue North of Spring Street to 16th Street from 7:00pm – 10:30pm. The parade has been attracting millions of people from around the world. It will showcase hundreds of puppets including this year’s grand marshal Zohra, 53 bands spanning all genres of music, dancers, artists and thousands of New Yorkers showcasing their “Wild Thing” costumes of their own creation in the nation’s largest public participatory event in New York City.

Antlers, fur, and nails;
teeth, hooves, and tails.
A jangle of bells, a clattering of bones,
a shuffling of straw.
What separates human from beast?

“As long as civilization has defined what it is to be human, humans have harbored a longing for our wild past. In remote villages throughout Europe, the Wild Man persists, as Carnivalesque processions of Kukuri, Wildermann, Pelzmartel, and Schnappviecher to remind us that we can never quite shed our animal DNA. To prepare for battle, Norsemen once donned “the bear shirt” (literally the “ber-serk”) exchanging the mantle of civilization for the potency of their animal past. More often, though, the Wild Thing affirms life over death, celebrating rites of fertility, safeguarding the herds, or simply reminding us to love life’s most basic and visceral gifts. Like vines creeping from beneath the sidewalk cracks, the Wild Thing persists and pushes through our consciousness where and when he can. Fearsome, ribald, and capricious, the he/she/it rekindles for a moment the mixture of fear, awe, and desire that mirrors our complex relationship to nature itself.

“The VHP has always been a wild place, but this year we explore the wilder-ness and call on our revelers to put on their bear-shirts, don your horns and antlers, your cloaks of fur and straw.

“Official puppeteers will lead the way, summoning a bestiary of towering masked figures inspired by extant wildermann traditions ranging from Sardinia to Siberia. Scarecrow to Green Man to Mud Man!”

Dangling above all the excitement is Zohra, the giant spider.

Twist keeps alive one of the original traditions of the Parade; puppets manipulated from homes and buildings along the Parade route for the excitement of the crowd. Basil Twist began his collaboration with Artistic Director of the Parade, Jeanne Fleming in 1991 when he created a swarm of bats for the 26th Annual Parade. The iconic Zohra, the giant spider, was created by Twist in 1994 for the event and has become a tradition of the parade.

Every 31st of October, parade goers can witness Zohra’s annual appearance. Twist walks the dramatic arachnid, which spans ten feet, through the streets of the west village, up the 149 stairs of this New York landmark to its perch in the tower. She only comes out on Halloween night when she sees the Parade coming up 6th Avenue. This puppet is a visual treat for those participating in the Parade as well as those lined up near the Jefferson Market Library.

Zohra is an indirect Quranic name for girls that means radiant white color. There is also a fascinating historical reference to a woman name Zohra. She was a prisoner at the Jefferson Market which was originally a courthouse with a holding area for prisoners on their way to jail or trial.

Basil Twist, the creator of Zohar, is a New York City based puppeteer has gained an international reputation as an outstanding designer, director and performer. He creates iconic, visionary puppetry with a remarkable range of style and scope. He is best known for his underwater puppet show “Symphonie Fantastique” which focuses on the integration of puppetry with music. In 2010, he created puppetry for the Broadway productions of The Pee-Wee Herman show and the Adams Family. He has received national and regional recognition through numerous awards, including a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, an Obie Award, a Creative Capital Award in the discipline of Performing Arts and a Guggenheim Fellowship. Twist was named a MacArthur genius grant recipient in 2015.

“I am thrilled that after 20 years of Zohra’s participation in the parade, we have the distinguished honor of being named grand marshal” said Basil Twist about this opportunity. “I am proud to bring this art of the past to the present with Zohra at the forefront of the Halloween Day Parade.” (For more information on Master Puppeteer Basil Twist, visit https://www.basiltwist.com/)

For more information on the Parade, visit http://www.halloween-nyc.com. Follow on Facebook: halloweennyc, Twitter NYCHalloween and Instagram @nychalloween.

See photos from 2018 Village Halloween Parade.

 

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