Saturday, October 22, 2016

Bob Baker’s puppets go looking for a bail out *


The Bob Baker Marionette Theater is threatened with imminent closure – again.

It’s been a decade since Los Angeles’ premier puppet master avoided the shut down of his namesake theater located in the shadow of the Beverly Boulevard bridge on the south edge of Echo Park. Now, a new threat has triggered a last minute plea for thousands of dollars in contributions to save the nearly 50-year-old puppet palace from closing in early December.

But what’s to prevent the theater from falling into trouble once more? Generations of Angelenos remember childhood visits to Baker’s theater for a show followed by ice cream. But nostalgia alone is apparently not enough to support this ancient form of entertainment in modern day L.A. It’s also not clear if there is a successor to Baker, 84, or an organization to keep this local institution alive. Someone will have to figure out a long-term solution to avoid a repeat of this sad story.

*The Valley Economic Development Center, which is described in one blog as working on a plan to improve the theater’s prospects, is still only in discussions with the Baker and his supporters. “We at VEDC are talking to them at the present, and that is all for right now,” said spokeswoman Kerry Aubry.

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