Over-the-Top Puppetry, With Raymond Carr
Weekly Inspiration: Black Panther
This week’s inspiration is brought to The Cultured Podcast by our episode guest, Raymond Carr. He highlights the stirring power of Marvel’s latest blockbuster, Black Panther. This revolutionary film celebrates the majesty of Africa, escaping the predictable European viewpoint and tired tribal tropes. Black Panther champions an authentic and refreshing narrative created by black artists. The first blockbuster Afrofuturist film is shattering the issue of flawed representation in major media, and offering abundant personal inspiration to Raymond. As the first Marvel film with a predominantly black cast, the biggest debut by an African-American director, and one of the third-fastest grossing film of all time, Black Panther represents an inclusive future to which we can all look forward.
Unearthing the nuances of puppetry with Raymond Carr
It’s hard to imagine anything more surreal than the stories Jim Henson Company-trained puppeteer Raymond Carr brings to this episode of The Cultured Podcast. Raised by Christian clowns, Raymond spent his childhood touring the country in a pink 18-foot trailer with his family. They performed vaudevillian puppetry over 200 per year with performances lasting upwards of four hours!
Raymond shares how his nontraditional upbringing inspired his career in puppetry, which has since led him to perform everywhere from Madison Square Garden to Iceland.
Raymond and Michelle survey the technical side of puppetry, the unique wonder each style evokes, and how Raymond’s imagination is able to run wild through this fantastical artform. Growing up as a young black man in Inglewood in the 1990s, Raymond explains how his parents and mentors were a crucial support system for his artistically alternative dreams. He encourages young creatives to embrace their weirdness in order to fulfill their artistic potential.
About Raymond Carr, Puppeteer filmmaker, theatrical director, and designer
Raymond Carr has been a Puppeteer filmmaker, theatrical director, and designer for more than 15 years. He has traveled to every major city in North America and parts of Europe working on multi-million dollar productions. He is skilled in state of the art animatronics, Muppet-style puppetry, motion capture digital puppetry, and traditional theatrical puppetry. Raymond is one of the main characters for the Jim Henson Company’s new show, Splash and Bubbles on PBS Kids. Some of Raymond’s other credits include: Nick Jr’s Lazytown, Walking with Dinosaurs The Arena Spectacular Tour, various projects for Cartoon Network & Adult Swim, The Center for Puppetry Art, The National Black Arts Festival, Ibex Puppetry run by Heather Henson, numerous commercials for companies like DropBox, Scoutmob, and Aaron’s Furniture. He also performs improv with The Jim Henson Company’s live show Puppet Up Uncensored. His award-winning films have been accepted into Oscar-qualifying film festivals all over the world. He currently resides in Atlanta where he runs his company Ninja Puppet Productions.