2013: Our Year in an Arty Nutshell

Happy Sunday, everybody. Ryan here for Know No Stranger.
As this year draws to a close, I’d like to pluck the tongue from my cheek to reflect a little on the past twelve months: one of the reasons we love Indianapolis so much is the never-ending inspiration and opportunity it provides us to forge new and exciting creative endeavors. Looking back, 2013 was an artistic nirvana. I’m incredibly grateful for the challenges presented to us, the chances taken on us, and – on a personal note – the relationships that resulted, those between me and my KNS brothers and sisters and those between KNS and other organizations who continue to breathe creative life and awe into us.

Here’s but a taste of what we’ve been up to since the ball dropped on 2013:

Reconnecting to Our Waterways challenged us early on with a proposition: to tell the story of the five Indianapolis waterways while inviting the citizens of Indy to heed the call of conservation. The creative freedom those lovely folks allowed us resulted in one of my favorite KNS projects to date: the ROW Show, as we lovingly refer to it, includes a cast of anthropomorphized rivers – each with an original, rollicking song and dance number of their own. I don’t know that I’ll ever tire of Eagle Creek’s stirring, swelling solo.

We were invited to take part in TedX Youth’s Indianapolis installment, the theme of which was “Balance.” There was a bit of a misunderstanding but I think we nearly hit the nail on the head at any rate.

One of the most exciting opportunities we had this year was to create an original story and perform it at the 2013 Spotlight show at Clowe’s Hall. We came up with “Wildwood,” our approximation of an old-timey fable told with puppets being transported along a conveyor belt. Being lifted onto the stage via the orchestral platform was, personally, a highlight of my year. I’ve never felt so much like Beyonce.

Then there was May’s “The Hunt,” a regional, 24-hour scavenger hunt. Seeing teams come together to rise to the challenges we cooked up to be nigh-impossible was a total thrill. If we didn’t say it before, thanks, guys, for indulging us and rising to the occasion! Here’s Hunt winners Team Rhymes With Orange, flashing the Jerry MacGuire VHS’s that pushed them over the edge into the victors’ circle:
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In June we had the privilege to take the stage at WFYI’s Kids’ Day in the Park downtown, for which we dreamt up recurring character Tony Rex and his Rexercisers, Doc Sock (a mad scientist made of cotton), and a Franki Valli cover band of intergalactic travelers.
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Then there was October’s Optical Popsicle Hi-Five Live, our annual blow-out of fun, community, and general zaniness. Indianapolis graciously embraced us on October 18th: the audience that night were too wonderful for words. We were honored to share with the crowd at the Athenaeum that night our new friends: Jamie Snodgrass, a Class-C Mulberry Scout; the E.L. wire puppets taking their first steps in “Look Who’s Walking Too;” Jack, a heroic cop on a speeding bus who resembled that guy from The Matrix; celebrity hybrid ghost Whoopi Goldblum; and a marooned set of seafarers with a rumble in their tummies. All of this, plus the involvement of amazing guest performers like Kai, ArtSpark, and Sweet Poison Victim was set against the backdrop of a fancy-pants awards show in which we honored our hero, action star Lance Thunderson, with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Though, to be fair, our long-suffering stage manager Wallace Wimbley would be all too happy to point out that that didn’t go exactly as planned.
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I could go on. I could continue to gush about you guys, your humbling and incredible support, and how excited we are to have the chance to hang out with you and work with you to create interactive and engaging art. I’ll digress, however, and simply close out with one final remark:
We can’t wait for 2014.

– Ryan

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