Marionette Milestone: Happy 90th, Bob Baker

Mark the beloved puppeteer's next decade with an old-school bash featuring Charles Phoenix.

Let's just make a new rule that your birthday is actually your birthweek, or even your birthmonth, and all celebrating that happens during that time falls under the auspices of spotlighting you and your presence here on this planet.

That said, there's a wee bit of magic when your actual birthday party is scheduled for the actual date you were born on. There's also a wee bit of magic when it is a "decade" birthday, ending in a zero, and there's a whole bucket of magic if the party happens to take place at a theater brimming with puppets.

Oh darn, we just tipped our hand there. Mr. Bob Baker, called in many quarters "the world's most famous puppeteer," is turning 90 on Sunday, Feb. 9, at his famous marionette theater near downtown. And, yes, magic magic, Feb. 9 just happens to be Mr. Baker's actual birthday.

If the marionettes came to actual life on that day, we truly wouldn't be surprised. Fingers crossed? We mean strings. Strings crossed.

And we aren't surprised to see that Charles Phoenix, that local-loving, story-telling master of ceremonies, will be at the helm of the birthday celebrations. "Festive attire is highly encouraged!!" says Mr. Phoenix's site, and trust: The gentleman will be most colorfully attired. You, dear puppet party fans, should bring it in the dressing up department, if you want to be as cool as Charles Phoenix.

And you totally do.

A ticket to the party is $49, and, you bet, there is a puppet show included, plus "cake and ice cream in the party room." If you've never been in the party room of the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre, we're pretty sure it is not constructed out of bricks and plaster but rather solid whimsy and nostalgia.

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They don't sell those two building materials down at the home fix-it store, either. They have to be gathered over time, and Mr. Baker has done that over his 55-year run at his famous downtown-adjacent puppet palace.

Happy 90th, Bob Baker! May your marionette merriment dance on and on.

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