The first Bob Baker show I saw with Vincent Zalkind was the Hallowe'en Spooktacular and I'm so delighted that this year he and I were blessed to be married on its very set.
It's not surprising that Vince and I fell in love with each other and with the Theater. He's a library worker who is known to adopt the well-worn childrens' books that are retired from rotation. I moved to Los Angeles to work in television, fueled by a love that started with Fraggle Rock, Free to Be... You and Me, and Shelley Duvall's Fairy Tale Theatre. From the very first number of the very first show, we knew that Bob Baker Marionette Theater was for us. I believe it was after that show that we said (maybe for the first time in our relationship) "We should get married... here!"
We couldn't stop coming back and bringing friends. Seeing first timers experience the magic and craftsmanship on display at the theater is so satisfying. It reminds you that there's still a part in all of us that's uncynical, sincere, and joyful. We became adoptive parents to Handstand Poodle (who you may know from The Circus). We began to attend Member's Night events and talk more to the people behind the scenes of the theater. We celebrated my birthday with a dozen of our best friends during Enchanted Toyshop. The Bob Baker Marionette Theater was our very favorite place to be.
The day after Bob Baker Day, we ran into puppeteer Molly Fite at brunch (I believe I was wearing my Hallowe'en Spooktacular shirt and trying not to be a little bashful about it). "Hey listen... do people ever get married at the theater?" She lit up, and Vince and I started to talk more and more about our dream as a reality.
In early September, we were in a devastating car accident that we were lucky to walk away from. Our dream of a cotton candy, carousel, and calliope wedding was quickly replaced with a vision of a practical elopement. Life is short and we wanted to spend ours together. It just wasn't in the cards.
Shortly after the accident I was looking up my dream wedding gown (thinking "is it too much for the courthouse?"), when I received a message from Molly. Alex had given her permission to tell us that the theater would be moving in the next few months. Maybe we could do this after all?! Vince and I looked at each other, sent an email, and by the end of the week we had the date set and invites sent. We had three weeks to plan a semi-lopement, as my mother-in-law likes to call it.
Alex, Molly, Missy, Jared and the rest of the folks at the theater were so supportive and excited about our nuptials. They were more than happy to let Dracula walk me down the aisle, for Handstand Poodle to perform for our family, and to release the ribbons as we kissed. We toasted with pink lemonade in the party room and took pictures with the beloved courtyard clown. It might have only been an hour, but it was the most special hour of our lives. We promised to love each other with the kind of love that is let loose when watching Bob Baker's puppets perform.
We also made a commitment to the theater, and that commitment doesn't end with the current location. As we cut the cake, Vince and I talked about having our one-year anniversary party at the new space. In the time since our wedding, I've already brought another crowd of first-timers to the Spooktacular and just this past weekend brought my dad to see two shows.
In other words: Wherever Handstand Poodle goes, we will follow (he really is the cutest).