Summer is the season for outdoor art festivals. One of the most popular in our area is the Blue Creek Arts Festival, which is usually held the first weekend in July. Artists apply from all across the US and are hand selected only to seat a mere 250 coveted spots. Each booth is a celebration of outstanding, unique creativity.
All mediums are represented. Photographers, painters, mixed media, metal, wood and stone with one sculptor using a towing service to carefully bring in and place an enormous, stunning piece at the entrance of this years’ outdoor exhibit.
Even with a popular penchant for street performers, the festival organizers hire only one street act. Only one performing artist or group of artists to roam the serpentine outdoor corridors.
This years’ choice was Handsome Little Devils. This company of artists is as exceptional as the art surrounding them. They are without doubt worthy of the prestigious honor. They brought a gothic flair for the bizarre along with comedy and just the right touch of vaudeville to this years’ festival.
The founders Mike and Dan Huling have a way of seeing the world that clearly translates into their act which has a presence that goes deeper than the visual. For this particular street roaming performance, they took their audience into lighthearted fun via dark and ominous passageways. At the Blue Creek Arts Festival, they roamed the streets in period piece costumes with gothic undertones. The fare for the day was striped socks, bowler hats, exaggerated shoes, stilt walking French aristocrats, a cartoon cannon filled with a potential human projectile, a sweet faced vampire atop an ornately ordained motorized carriage. The costumes are museum quality art pieces with countless details that you would have to see for yourself.
In 1999 Mike and Dan formed Handsome Little Devils and began touring the world. Both born with a flair for entertaining, they have traveled the world with as few as just the two of them to a company of eight. Their mission is to “re-define” the theatrical experience and build a new audience. They want to leave their viewers changed.
It is clear that Handsome Little Devils is well on its way since their style and presentation is like none other. Borrowing from the world of comedy, with a splash of old vaudeville, the Gothic arts, American storytelling and vintage art forms, they create a seamless montage of entertainment.
A portion of what makes this company tick is their mission to bring art to the underserved. Offering a one-of-a-kind event to those who either can’t afford a ticket price or who simply don’t know what they’re missing.
Since their 1999 debut they have grown their core staff to five. Cole S. Huling, Artistic Manager, Joseph WartnerChaney, Director/Producer Conjurer and Coy Middlebrook, Director are now all part of the inner staff. Each individual overflowing with creative talent which caters to Handsome Little Devils inimitable style.
If you have the opportunity to see these folks perform, by all means get yourself a front section seat. There are some things you simply shouldn’t miss – and these artists are in that shouldn’t miss category.
Have you had the matchless experience of seeing Handsome Little Devils perform? Leave a comment below and tell us when and where. What was your experience?