Saturday, January 20, 2024

Epic Dystopian Adventure Awaits at The Hip Hopera of SP1N0K10

 ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

The Hip Hopera of 


by Tarish “Jeghetto” Pipkins 

Presented by eta Creative Arts Foundation and the 

Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival

Ages: 10+ 


By Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

When I saw that The Hip Hopera of SP1N0K10 (pronounced “Spin-o-kio”) by Tarish Jeghetto Pipkins was going to be part of this year's Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival I prioritized tickets to this one over many other choices with simultaneous openings. I experienced one of Jeghetto's shows, Just Another Lynching (An American Horror Story), at puppet fest back in 2019, and it was such a powerfully moving piece that it's stuck with me ever since.

Photos by Bonnie Kenaz-Mara

Tarish Jeghetto Pipkins pictured with one of his sons, 2019 and with 2 sons 2024

This time around, the subject matter is more graphic novel than graphic American history, and well worth the trek to 79th street on the south side. It was truly a pleasure to catch this real life black Geppettos' latest sci-fi epic, SP1N0K10, with two of his sons as fellow puppeteers! 

Despite some opening night technical difficulties, this dystopian hero's story is lots of fun. SP1N0K10 features an impressive array of intricate puppets, projection screens, music, and sound cues that enhance the plot. 

Tarish Jeghetto Pipkins' puppets aren't his only mini me's. He's a proud father of 5 children, and so far at least several are embracing his love for creating intricate puppets and shows across genres. He's made short puppet films and is working toward a longer feature film as well as turning this original show into a graphic novel adaptation. SP1N0K10 is Highly recommended. 

Full Puppet Fest Schedule, including video clips of the productions HERE.

Bonnie is a Chicago based writer, theatre critic, photographer, artist, and Mama to 2 amazing adults. She owns two websites where she publishes frequently: (adult) & (family friendly). 

The Hip Hopera of SP1N0K10

Tarish “Jeghetto” Pipkins 

North Carolina

Presented by eta Creative Arts Foundation and the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival

At eta Creative Arts Foundation, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave., Grand Crossing

January 19-21

Four shows: Friday, January 19 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, January 20 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sunday, January 21 at 1 p.m.

45 minutes

10 and up

Tickets: $20-$30

Set in an Afro-futuristic post-apocalyptic realm, The Hip Hopera of SP1N0K10 (pronounced "Spin-oh-kio") is a science fiction tale about an android who wants to be a real B-Boy. It’s co-written by Pierce Freelon and Tarish "Jeghetto" Pipkins, and performed with Tarish’s two sons, Divine and Tarin. Featuring an original score by hip-hop producer Hir-O, video, and emceeing, Jeghetto’s magical plywood marionettes share his "artivism" as the title character encounters racism, oppression and police brutality on their path toward a better future. 

Tarish "Jeghetto" Pipkins was born in a small steel mill town called Clairton, PA. He is a self taught artist and has been creating art from a very young age. As a teenager, he moved to the East Side of Pittsburgh and graduated from Taylor Allderdice High School. In the late 90’s, Pipkins joined the BridgeSpotters Collective and became known for his live paintings and poetry. He was also a barber for over 20 years. He moved to North Carolina in 2005 where he launched his career in puppetry doing street performances with his puppets. In 2008 he started working with Paperhand Puppet Intervention, building puppets and performing in Paperhand productions. Jeghetto had the pleasure to work with Missy Elliott on her music video, “WTF (Where They From),” controlling the Pharell puppet and doing some puppet building. He also worked on the Amazon Echo commercial featuring Missy Elliott and Alec Baldwin as puppets. Pipkins is a former teacher at Just Right Academy, a private alternative school for children with special needs. He is married and a proud father of five children. 

Everything you need to know about the 6th Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival January 18-28, 2024

January in Chicago isn't all dreary, cold, and grey. Puppet fest is back to put some color and joy into your January. Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows, we've covered the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival every year since it's inception. We're elated that they're now an annual fest instead of every other year, and we'll be out to review as much of the fest as possible once again in 2024. Check out the schedule below to save the dates. There'll be plentiful family friendly and adult puppet fun and we'll have the scoop right here. 

Tickets are now on sale for the 6th Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, the largest of its kind in North America, returning January 18-28, 2024, at venues large and small throughout the city. 

The Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival is the largest event dedicated to the art form in North America. In the heart of winter, the Festival spans 11 days and dozens of Chicago venues, sharing 100+ puppetry activities with 14,000+ guests. The festival includes performances, the Free Neighborhood Tour, a Puppet Hub open throughout the festival on the fourth floor of the Fine Arts Building, a symposium, the Catapult Artist Intensive, workshops, and more. 

Visit for tickets and information about the 6th Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival, and sign up for the festival’s e-news.

Follow the festival on Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo, hashtag #ChiPuppetFest.

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