2019 Theme: Wild Thing!
“Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality.”
Antlers, fur, and nails;
teeth, hooves, and tails.
A jangle of bells, a clattering of bones, a shuffling of straw.
What separates human from beast?
As long as civilization has defined what it is to be human, humans have harbored a longing for our wild past. In remote villages throughout Europe, the Wild Man persists, as Carnivalesque processions of Kukuri, Wildermann, Pelzmartel, and Schnappviecher to remind us that we can never quite shed our animal DNA. To prepare for battle, Norsemen once donned “the bear shirt” (literally the “ber-serk”) exchanging the mantle of civilization for the potency of their animal past. More often, though, the Wild Thing affirms life over death, celebrating rites of fertility, safeguarding the herds, or simply reminding us to love life’s most basic and visceral gifts. Like vines creeping from beneath the sidewalk cracks, the Wild Thing persists and pushes through our consciousness where and when he can. Fearsome, ribald, and capricious, the he/she/it rekindles for a moment the mixture of fear, awe, and desire
that mirrors our complex relationship to nature itself.
The VHP has always been a wild place, but this year we explore the wilder-ness and call on our revelers to put on their bear-shirts, don your horns and antlers, your cloaks of fur and straw. Official puppeteers Superior Concept Monsters will lead the way, summoning a bestiary of towering masked figures inspired by extant wildermann traditions ranging from Sardinia to Siberia.
Scarecrow to Green Man to Mud Man!
Artistic and Producing Director
Alex Kahn & Sophia Michahelles
Linda Weinraub: Muse
Photo: Phyllis Galembo