Tag Archives: Lost Marionettes

Sinema Obscura with TUGM and Vital Indie Media Tonight

by Legendary Lew

Tonight, Sinema Obscura kicks off its fall program of TV Party with a host of local talent. The Underground Multiplex will be there with Ty Pi presenting his short doc, “The Lost Marionettes of Ralph Kipniss.”

I will also be there with a live presentation episode of “Vital Indie Media,” the new webseries spotlighting indie cult movies, TV, records and other media from my collection and from other library sources. Tonight’s episode touches on one of the most outrageous ad campaigns ever and the legendary talents behind it.

Come on along and groove to great shorts by Ready Freddy Films, Soft Cage Films, Poolside Partyline, Candle Flame Films and many others!

Sinema Obscura’s TV Party
Thursday, Sept 28 at 7:30 pm
Que4 Radio
2643 West Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL

Here is the first episode of “Vital Indie Media”:

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Help The Underground Multiplex Create New Programming!

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This is the current production equipment for The Underground Multiplex

by Legendary Lew

The Underground Multiplex is currently running a GoFundMe campaign to raise funds for future programming.

We have a major need for a new laptop/PC; a 4T external hard drive (for achiving our videos and podcasts); and professional grade headphones for “Mediatrocities” podcasts.

All totaled, we came up with the modest sum of $820.00, an amount we hope to be able to receive by December 1st. The sooner we reach the goal, the sooner we can buy the equipment needed to continue our programming smoothly.

The picture you see above is my production equipment for The Underground Multiplex. No joke. I’ve been using a tablet with a broken interface for over a year now.

Any posts, podcasts, memes, etc. from The Underground Multiplex have come from this. In case you’re wondering, yes, I do use a magnifying glass to read my writing.

Over the last 6 years, we’ve been able to accomplish a great deal and to get some much needed attention for vital independent artists and venues. Here’s just a short list:

Plus, we’ve recorded numerous episodes of “Mediatrocities,” our own podcast covering directors and other prominent figures in the independent movie scene.

We’ve had award-winning short films and features, such as Scumbabies and Sci Fi Sol shown in multiple cities and festivals such as CIMMFest.

We believe we have great ideas for indie programming in the future, plus I have every intention of continuing “Mediatrocities,” as I am committed to having indie film artists share their works and get a voice heard. In the ocean of the Hollywood’s publicity efforts, our indie voices are vitally important.

AS A SPECIAL THANK YOU TO THOSE WHO DONATE, TUGM WILL PRODUCE A SPECIAL EDITION OF “VITAL MEDIA” AFTER THE CAMPAIGN, AVAILABLE IN PASSWORD-PROTECTED FORM . ONLY THOSE CONTRIBUTING TO THE CAMPAIGN WILL BE ABLE TO VIEW THIS SPECIAL THANK YOU EPISODE.

Thank you for your support! And keep tuning in!
GoFundMe link: click here.

 

 

Chicago’s Dave Hoekstra Nominated for Prestigious Journalism Award for Covering Story First Presented by TUGM

HoekstraThe Underground Multiplex congratulates Dave Hoekstra, formerly of The Chicago Sun-Times, for his nomination of the prestigious Lisagor Award for  “BEST ARTS REPORTING AND CRITICISM:Daily Newspaper, News Service or Bureau, circulation more than 250,000.”

The news feature was “Souls on a String,” which made the front page of Chicago Sun-Times Sunday edition back on October 27, 2013. It told the story of lifetime marionette creator/puppeteer Ralph Kipniss and what happened to a half-century of his creations. Hoekstra’s coverage was a result of my report originating here on this blog.

Read Dave Hoekstra’s excellent coverage here.

Read Legendary Lew’s original report on The Underground Multiplex here.

BTW, the search for a home for Kipniss’ marionettes continues. Anyone with any leads for a permanent home can contact us at theundergroundmultiplex@gmail.com.

Closing the Chapter on The Lost Marionettes

Poster BW FBAs 2013 closes, The Underground Multiplex closes a chapter with the Lost Marionettes. Through the Kickstarter campaign, we raised great awareness of the artwork of Ralph Kipniss with the hopes that the publicity will help him and Marilyn Giedraitis find further gigs. Although we did not reach the financial goals, we were able to raise money to help out Ralph in his time of need.

There are promising leads for 2014, and we will most certainly keep you updated on further developments. Our thanks to those who donated and for our readers for their support!

And our special thanks to Ralph Kipniss and Marilyn Giedraitis for their graciousness and generosity! We are confident the marionettes will find their way out to a permanent home for all of Chicago (and the world) to see.

And thanks to all of you out there across the globe for the support and love.  Can’t wait to share a new crop of exciting adventures with all of you in the year ahead! XOX

Producer’s Testimonial from Tyler Pistorius: Why He Supports Rescuing the Lost Marionettes of Ralph Kipniss

Update: Oops! Didn’t realize this was already posted. No matter. A repost is just as good.
Right now, the campaign to rescue the lost marionettes is less than 70 hours tylerPaway from the deadline. I suppose now’s as good a time as any to tell you why I took part in such an unusual endeavor in the first place.

I initially said yes to helping my friends, Joseph Lewis and Lew Ojeda because I saw this as an opportunity to take part in a documentary film production. Needless to say, the documentary is still in production, but there were many events that have transpired since the beginning that had me in a constant state of surprise. I didn’t expect that I would be moved to tears upon seeing a video of Ralph giving life to a little marionette on his porch. I didn’t expect how tragic Ralph’s circumstances were. Losing a friend and partner, having a puppet parlor go up in flames, not being able to see 60 years of a life’s work because it’s locked up in a vacant apartment in Chicago, and despite being an absolute pro at marionette performance, receiving little to no help. I didn’t expect that I would think about my grandparents every time I saw Ralph, who can’t see any of this because they’re not here anymore. The day I went into the building to film the lost marionettes, I didn’t expect that there would be so many (anywhere between 1,000-3,000). I didn’t expect that my footage of the lost marionettes would be shown on CNBC. I didn’t expect that our story about Ralph Kipniss would receive coverage from the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Reader, and various news outlets across the country. I most certainly didn’t expect that someone like Neil Gaiman would take time out of his life to watch some 4-minute long video I made, let alone pledge and endorse this campaign. (I still find that to be completely surreal.) But most of all, I didn’t expect what this could do if the campaign is successful.

I, along with Joe, Lew, Demetra and a band of like-minded individuals have put in a lot of work and made several videos. This campaign means more to me than any project I’ve ever done, and that’s saying a lot. At this point, I’ve done all that I can do.

This campaign still has a chance. Donations are at $10,000 and climbing! That said, it has a long way to go ($25,000), and it will take a miracle. If this neil-gaiman XOXcampaign fails, whoever pledges get to keep their money. If it succeeds, here’s what could happen. This campaign is not just about some guy’s doll collection. This goes beyond Ralph Kipniss. There could be a story in Chicago news that isn’t about murder, rape, schools closing, privatizing education, or Ventra. It would be about a community of people coming together, in a time of economic peril, to do something good. It would keep an incredible amount of hand-crafted, hand-painted wooden works of art from going in the garbage. It would help preserve Chicago’s heritage. It would preserve Ralph’s legacy that can be passed down to others. It would preserve an art form for future generations. An art form that has been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years, by different cultures for different means.

If this succeeds, this could be world headline news. One thing is for certain. Anybody who donates will be a hero. Is all of that not worth $1?

Contribute to the Kickstarter campaign by clicking here.

Dear Chicago: Would You Like to Make World Headlines for Something Other Than Murders and School Closings? Here’s How

by Legendary Lew Ojeda

There are 4 people out there with $3900 who could help us right now to make world headlines for Chicago. I’m not kidding.

The Ralph Kipniss marionettes are believed to be the world’s largest collection of marionettes privately-made by a single artist. 

As you know by now, The Underground Multiplex has been running a

Ralph Kipniss with Wizard of Oz marionettes in the 1960s

Ralph Kipniss with Wizard of Oz marionettes in the 1960s

Kickstarter campaign to the save the life work of master marionette puppeteer Ralph Kipniss. As of this writing, we are just short of $16,000 of our goal, which is due at 9:49AM Central Standard Time November 13.

The story has been covered widely by Dave Hoekstra of The Chicago Sun-Times; by Gwynedd Stuart of The Chicago Reader; by Dominick Suzanne-Mayer of Heave Media; soon by Kwame Shorter of CHIRP Radio; and by LeeAnn Trotter of NBC 5 Chicago. Boing Boing has now posted about this campaign as well.   If you haven’t read about the incredible story of Ralph Kipniss and his marionettes, please do so. Here’s a video of Trotter’s NBC 5 news report:

The Associated Press has picked up the story and distributed it to the following news outlets

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Stamford Advocate
Dallas-Fort Worth Star Telegram
Danbury News Times
Wichita Eagle
Miami Herald
Quad Cities Times
Kansas City Star
Arlington Star-Telegram
San Francisco Gate
Modesto Bee
Austin 360
Charlotte Observer
Houston Chronicle
and many others!

Our campaign has also been “faved” or shared by Neil Gaiman, William Gibson, Rabbit Room Productions, La Mama Theater and more!

This story has national attention. It also has the very strong possibility of going viral, so please share this on Twitter (we are @TheUGMultiplex), on Facebook and click the up arrow on this post at Reddit (it’s a quick register).

If our campaign is successful, Chicago will gain world attention for saving the largest collection of privately made marionettes known in the country and perhaps the world.

As of this writing, FOUR PERSONS WITH $3900 EACH COULD PUT US OVER THE TOP RIGHT NOW AND JOIN 278 OTHER HEROES IN MAKING ART HISTORY.

Chicago, you have your chance at history. Right now.

We have until Wednesday, Nov. 13 at 9:49AM. Click here to help.

Thank you!

Personal Testimonial from TUGM Producer Tyler Pistorius


Words from Tyler Pistorius:

“I took part in this campaign because I found the story of Ralph Kipniss and the discovery of the lost marionettes to be remarkable.  I saw this as a chance to not only grow and develop as a filmmaker under the tutelage of incredibly talented individuals, but also to take part in a film production.  As the project grew, it dawned on me how important it is to

(l-r) Tyler Pistorius, Maxwell Mattison, Ralph Kipniss

(l-r) Tyler Pistorius, Maxwell Mattison, Ralph Kipniss.
Ralph was talking about working with Burgess Meredith. He described how kind and sweet natured he was, yet I was constantly picturing Mickey from Rocky. Janis Joplin was playing on a jukebox from the 90s.

save and restore these marionettes.  It has been a challenging, profound, and rewarding experience on so many levels.

Mr. Kipniss’ private collection of handcrafted, hand-painted wooden marionettes is the largest of its kind in North America.  It ranges anywhere from 1,000-3,000 and they are in danger of extinction.  At this point in the campaign, we’ve produced several videos, received a $1,000 donation from a contributor, and gained press coverage from various news outlets, including making the front page of Chicago Sun-Times and a spot NBC Chicago.  The campaign is a week away from the deadline.  Everyone who has donated so far will be a part of history.  To quote my friend, Lew, ‘Marionette puppetry is the first form of animation used by different cultures for different means throughout all of civilization.  It is still a living and influential art form.’  Lending a hand to this campaign can save this one of a kind art discovery.”