Susan Simpson, founder of the Manual Archives, is an experimental theater artist and filmmaker whose work involves intricate marionettes and hand manipulated projection. She is on the faculty of the CalArts School of Theater and is the co-founder and co-director of AUTOMATA, an organization devoted to the advancement of puppet theater, pre-cinema, and other forgotten or neglected forms. Her puppet plays have been presented in New York, Seattle and Los Angeles including numerous times at the Museum of Jurassic Technology, and the Velaslavasay Panorama. She is a member of a performance collective, The Little Fakers, creators of the marionette serial, Sunset Chronicles, which has appeared at venues across Los Angeles. Her most recent film, Boll Weevil Days, was shown at film festivals nationally and internationally and was nominated for a Tiger Award at The Rotterdam International Film Festival. She has received grants from the Durfee Foundation, California Community Foundation, Creative Capital Foundation, and is the recipient of the 2002 Center Theater Group’s Richard E. Sherwood Award.


Janet Sarbanes (Ph.D. English, UCLA) teaches narrative writing and theory of narrative in the MFA Writing Program, and cultural studies in the School of Critical Studies. She is the author of the story collection Army of One, (Otis Books/Seismicity Editions 2008), and several academic articles on the role of aesthetic practice in utopian and subcultural social formations. In 2006-2007 she presented at conferences sponsored by the Society for Utopian Studies and the Society for Narrative Literature.

She has recently published short fiction and cultural criticism in Black Clock, Popular Music and Society, Afterall, and the anthologies Still Moving: Between Cinema and Photography and the Noulipan Analects.