Family Sweet: Skirball Puppet Festival

A "teeny tiny puppet show inside a matchbox" is one whimsical highlight of this annual family must-do.

Making the milk jug or a piece of pita bread or a sock talk in a comical fashion?

It's an almost unnoticed wisp o' whimsy that occurs daily in homes with kids eager to be surprised and spontaneously entertained. (And, yes, homes with just adults, too, or anyone who never outgrew the love of surprise and spontaneous puppet shows.)

But puppets go far beyond our footwear and lunch sacks, of course, and fabulously, fantastically so. A fine example of the height of this creative calling happens each springtime at the Skirball Cultural Center, when a host of puppeteers and storytellers visit for a day devoted to enchantment and thrilling yarns and colorful characters and a love of this ancient art.

It's "A Celebration for All" that will take place on Sunday, April 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 in the afternoon. The cost is $12 for a general ticket, and arriving early, the better to see everything, or most things, is a really capital idea.

Laura Heit's "teeny tiny puppet show inside a matchbox" is one merry highlight, while "large pageant puppets will roam the campus," including Robin Walsh's horses. And that local treasure, the Bob Baker Marionette Theater, will also stop by with some of the beautiful, on-a-string wonders associated with the historical venue.

The LA Guild of Puppetry, Animal Cracker Conspiracy, and several other artists, both musical and puppet-oriented, will present charming performances throughout the day.

Will you soon go beyond the sock and the brown paper bag, as far as your at-home puppet skills go? A day at the Skirball Puppet Festival may be just the sprightly encouragement you didn't know you needed.

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