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LAist Recommends: LA's New Folklore at The Manual Archives

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There's a new performance space in Silver Lake hidden among a smog shop and an immigration service center on Sunset Blvd. Inside the 300 square ft. space, deemed a "micro theater," are a few rows of displaced church pews that seats 20 people total for each performance. Welcome to the Manual Archives, a space devoted to the newly invented folklore of Los Angeles.

Lead Feet And Nothing Upstairs: A History of the Lifelike is the premiere piece at the Manual Archives by owner and curator Susan Simpson. The experimental puppet piece follows a set of identical triplets, the Ditto Sisters, in Los Angeles, creating the myth and a critique of the city's sprawl, originality and replications therin (notice in the above picture, three Walt Disney Concert Halls, three City Halls and other triplets of LA residential architecture).

"It's a creation myth for the City of Los Angeles," Simpson says, "an investigation into the city and its many doubles. I'm interested in doing work with local resonance." In Lead Feet, it is the Ditto Sisters who become legendary myth that cause the city's replicating nature -- imagine our city with Walt Disney Concert Halls as common as tract housing and being used as karaoke bars to sing Britney Spears and Journey.

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The hour and a half puppet performance is a conversation and a must see for all of those who love to talk Los Angeles, its history and how it was, is and will be planned in the future.

Lead Feet runs through June 30th, Thursdays through Saturdays. A video trailer and more info can be found at their website.


A Note on the Music: In juxtaposition to the peaceful tone of the story is the music by Emily Lacy who sings old time banjo music with the audience during scene breaks (it's all quite charming). She deems herself as "your local song collector and youngster-balladeer" and proved that well when she sang "Worried Man Blues" and "I wish I was a mole in the ground."


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Photo by Susan Simpson.