This unusually beautiful puppet installation at HERE is bound to create stimulating conversation.
From the humanoid octopus with fedora crooning away an unheard tune to a go-go boot sporting fly, which has a bald man's head that suggests the insect has been crossed with Patrick Stewart or Ian McKellen in a particularly malevolent mood, the puppets are marvels. With the exception of headdresses and footwear, none of the creations wear any real clothing, so phalluses, often bobbing rhythmically in tandem with other arm and leg movements, and a few breasts, most notably sagging off the feline lead singer of a four-member band, are on full display. Neither obscene nor whimsical, nor perverted nor fanciful, the anatomically correct mutations are intriguing and, given their tiny scale, strangely beautiful.
While the individual puppets, which also include a very cool man-scorpion, and two band displays fascinate, it's the mammoth installation of a bar and bordello in the back of the space that truly astounds; it's a three-story house that looks like it might be found somewhere in New Orleans' Latin Quarter or perhaps Paris' Left Bank. Downstairs, nude puppet patrons play cards and revel while upstairs, three other scenes unfold. In one room, a man and woman are engaged in sex, while just next door a man sits on his sofa in seeming sad loneliness. On the third floor, a woman sits on her bed playing a small guitar with a bow. The details -- from the collage of photos that wallpaper the third story room to the small items that adorn the back of the bar downstairs -- are immaculately rendered.