Part puppet, part transportation, Baron von Jabba’s Miss Tickle roams the grounds of the Bay Area Maker Faire like a floating, fuzzy character from a Jim Henson movie that never happened.
Jabba classifies Miss Tickle and her brother Hawk as creature quads, a reference to both the unclassifiable creature (is it a dragon? a dog?) and the quadracycle supporting it.
A series of levers and pulleys arranged in the driver’s seat allow Jabba to animate an impressive range of Miss Tickle’s movements, including the mouth, eyes, neck, tail, and more.
I had the privilege of riding as a passenger as Miss Tickle approached a group of children who had just entered the Faire. From my vantage I could see the subtle magic of the whole contraption. Instead of the typical puppeteer’s curtain, the sheer size of Miss Tickle creates a kind of soft barrier between the animator and the action.
Which isn’t to say that the Baron shies away from interactions. After honoring the chorus of wee pleas to make Miss Tickle sneeze, Baron von Jabba was sure to point out the inner workings of his creation, using it to both entrance the children and demystify the mechanics that lay inside.
Baron was most excited talking about Genevieve, a new sibling he’ll be adding to his Creature Quad family. Genevieve will be the first amphibious Creature Quad. Instead of the fluffy exterior of Hawk and Miss Tickle, Genevieve will be covered in scales. And because the youngest sibling always gets spoiled, Genevieve will benefit from a few custom upgrades, including color-changing eyes and an internal bubble machine.