A look back at the revolutionary history of Vermont’s Bread & Puppet Theatre

Originally published at: A look back at the revolutionary history of Vermont's Bread & Puppet Theatre | Boing Boing


A good number of years ago, I attended a wedding hosted on their commune. It was cool, and we all took 'shrooms at the reception. Good times.


Ah, know these guys from my days in New England, and then college, and protests. Solid crew. :slight_smile:


I haven’t seen this group at protests in a long time. They have good intentions and sincerity and their artistry is amazing. However, the corporate media constantly used footage of the giant puppets to downplay the seriousness of the 2003 anti-war demonstrations to a degree that I suspect that later, more sophisticated protest organisers have asked them – along with the anarkiddies and the “cosmic jester” hippie clowns – to “stop helping”.


Love Bread and Puppet-- a gem of the United States.

Internet Archive has a large archive of videos and writings: Bread and Puppet : Free Movies : Free Download, Borrow and Streaming : Internet Archive

A great documentary: Ah! The Hopeful Pageantry of Bread and Puppet : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

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Went to a Bread and Puppet festival on their home turf once. My enduring memory is seeing there, among the hippies and rolling hills awash in afternoon summer sunlight, the most out of place goth I have ever clapped eyes on.

…it’s funny, I have a mixed reaction to this. I would hate for someone to show up with a giant puppet to, for instance, a BLM protest and have that be seen as not taking the problem seriously - and I can see that as a reasonable interpretation regardless of intent. But man, I do bristle at the idea that there is only one proper way to protest, or that there should be gatekeeping.

I have no particular conclusion, though part of the struggle for me is the tension between a protest being strongest when it stays ‘on message’ and art being inherently subjective / open to interpretation. But art should be everywhere, so… hm.

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The fault was not with Bread and Puppets, but with the way the MSM constantly took advantage of their presence to disingenuously downplay the seriousness of the larger protest.

At some point (I date it to the immigrants’ rights protests of 2006) I think more sophisticated organisers who wanted more effective results said to themselves “we can’t prevent the corporate media from showing up, but we can tell B&P to stay home”. It sucks, but if you look at the purpose of a demo it makes sense (as did telling the Off-Topic usual suspects like the “Free Mumia” and “Hamas is awesome” groups not to show up).

In contrast, organisers telling the anarkiddies and black bloc arseholes that they’re not welcome is gatekeeping that makes sense and doesn’t suck.

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