It may be the only experimental puppet theater in Los Angeles, and that fact alone makes Automata worthwhile. Multidisciplinary performance artists Janie Geiser and Susan Simpson founded the nonprofit organization in 2004, hoping to combine creative forces while spotlighting the burgeoning experimental-puppetry scene in L.A. They've made one episodic art piece together, called Frankenstein (Mortal Toys), a multimedia presentation with a live soundtrack, two-dimensional puppets, original scenery, short films and half a dozen performers, all breathing life into Mary Shelley's monster. In a way, Automata is another kind of art piece, one that provides a forum not only for alt-puppetry but also other art forms. Even though it's been around for eight years, Geiser and Simpson just found their ideal spot this summer. Complete with a workshop, exhibition space and storefront windows, Automata's new home on Chinatown's Chung King Court promises to bring quirky performances, offbeat lectures and unique art projects closer to the audiences of L.A. 504 Chung King Court, Chinatown. (213) 819-6855,

—Tanja M. Laden

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