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F (photo by Daniel Hawkins)

Before he passed away in 2014 at the age of 90, Bob Baker had dedicated nearly his entire life to the art of puppetry. Smitten with the dancing figures made of wood and string at the age of six, Baker was a tireless marionette evangelist, collaborating with industry giants like Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm as well as staging intimate performances in the Bob Baker Marionette Theater he opened in 1962 just west of Downtown — the nation’s oldest extant puppet theater. Although a forthcoming development on its current site had threatened the theater, accommodations were made for a completely new theater in the planned mixed-use building, ensuring Angelenos will be able to enjoy the whimsical and wholly inventive world of Bob Baker for many years to come.

The refined world of fine art may seem at odds with the folksy charm of puppetry, however artist Marnie Weber’s fantastical, dream-like films, sculptures, and photographs peopled with monsters and myths seem like the perfect fit for Baker’s wide-eyed wonder. This Saturday, her art rock band F, comprised of Weber, Doug Harvey, Daniel Hawkins, and Kane Lafia, will perform at the theater in an all-ages show that will begin with a visual art exhibition featuring marionette-inspired work by members of the band. Bob Baker’s puppets will then take over for a circus-themed number, followed by an improvisational noise performance from F, complete with costumes, projections, and puppet accompaniment. This is not only F’s first live performance of the year, but also may be one of the last chances to catch the magic of Bob Baker’s puppets before they close for construction.

When: Reception on Saturday, June 9, 7pm; performance at 8pm (Tickets $15)
Where: Bob Baker Marionette Theater (1345 W. 1st St, Echo Park, Los Angeles)

More info at Bob Baker Marionette Theater.

Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he is a frequent contributor to Daily Serving, and Glasstire.