Contraptor, metalworker, global activist, steampunk... specializing in pedal-power.

Using steel, wheels, and sewing, I rend Victorian æsthetics into a Mad-Max setting with a rigorous use of found and recycled materials.

Pedal-powered Crane

This pedal-powered crane was built for Redmoon's Summer 2006 spectacle Twilight Orchard. A simple rule for a crane is that the weight on the end times the ratio of the boom to the counterweight's length equals the weight of the counterweight. The original design called for an 800 lb. counterweight which would support 50 lbs at the end of a 16 foot boom. Consequently this vehicle was extremely overbuilt, with ATV wheels, a differential, and a gear ratio that would allow a single person to move that kind of weight.

I had to fabricate my own axle stub brackets.

The vehicle was dressed by other designers and audio techs, and Laura Annis built the boom. The crane was equipped with a speaker on the end for a private party and then used to hang a disco ball for Twilight Orchard- in typical Redmoon style this allows the techs to be seen by the audience and perform their job with whimsical gadgetry. Here's a picture of it loading a mouse into a giant mouse wheel during Looptopia 2007:

This project represents a particular combination of form and function that I always strive for and am quite proud of in this creation.

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Loves Me, Loves Me Not

Redmoon Theater's 2005 summer spectacle was exemplary of their style: Sweeping stage, daring location, involved in the neighborhood, and hauntingly magical. It set out to be a sort of post-apocalyptic comedy, set in a flooded town, about materialism. The show opened on September 15, and three weeks before opening night Hurricane Katrina forced it to undergo a considerable re-write. You can read a New York Times article about the show's transformation.

Originally I designed a series of bicycle-cars representing various forms of modern-day consumerist vice, such as a grill-mobile with endless attachments and implements. As the location was chosen, we began to come to terms with the challenges of putting on a theatrical production over water. Each character needs a boat for every movement, each dropped tool or prop is gone forever, and the wind can considerably affect the timing of the show.

We set up an above-ground pool in our shop, for testing. My vehicles became boats, and with the set crew I created a floating house and gas station, as well as a mobile floating band platform. The house transformed with a fold-down kitchen floor, a grill in the chimney, and a nursery that spun upside-down to appear as part of the roof.

The two boats I built for this show were The Quadropus and a pedal-powered jet ski. During the show itself, as usual, I worked on the pryo crew executing a floating net-of-candles effect.

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Pedal-powered Jet Ski

This pedal-powered jet ski was made for Loves Me, Loves Me Not. I stripped the interior of all engine components and sealed up the resulting holes. Then I built the paddle-wheel mechanism (the bike frame was left whole to make it clear that it was made from salvaged goods, the play taking place in a kind of post-apocalyptic world), added a miniature railing around the deck to make it look like a ship, and put two deck chairs in place of the original seat. The barrels were added because a jet ski is a vehicle on which the rider expects to get wet (it rolls), and the actors couldn't have contact with the highly bacterial Jackson Park lagoon.

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This boat was made for Loves Me, Loves Me Not. The Quadropus' shape was created by running four pipes through an English wheel twice at 90 degree angles. The recliner's lever was the throttle, and a lamp was moved to steer the boat. The TV was lit from inside so that it glowed on the performer's face.

The boat is pictured in its original decoration; when the show was changed to a tragedy it was treated with burlap and vines to appear more disheveled.

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From Nothing

"From Nothing" was Redmoon Theater's Winter 2005 spectacle. We created a "dreamscape, a place of awe and wonder, of play" out of the converted printing warehouse and built an interactive environment for participants to discover.

Redmoon's designers might be asked to do almost anything. Some of the things I was asked to do for this show were to build a life-size luon jet flying through the space, weld a giant gazebo-like bed, rig a battery mount onto a rolling four-poster bed, and dress a floating jazz-band platform like a cloud.

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Human Television Network

In 2004, Mark Messing obtained a grant to build a fleet of television-carrying bikes to take to the protests surrounding the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City. The bikes were built by Cynthia Main and Erik Newman.

The Human Television Network provides in-the-park movie showings, mobile anti-war DVD showings, and downtown-news-studio-camera hijacking. In addition to performing with the group, I've maintained the fleet of bikes since the group's inception.

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Fire Bike With Me

Inspired by other mobile grills I'd seen, I decided to make a grillbike. However, it was important to me that this bike be modular, so it could be used to haul cargo as well as any attachment one could come up with.

A grillbike can make a summer. Each "trip to the park" turns into "grilling in the park". It's also good for moving open-ended loads:

Then Mayor Daley came up with his "music everywhere" program, which hired mobile musicians to perform all around downtown and the lakefront. I was hired by Mark Messing (Mucca Pazza) to build a drumkit attachment for the bike. This allowed a drummer to join more easily mobilized instruments in a mobile band.

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