Basil Twist will serve as Grand Marshal at this year’s New York City Annual Village Halloween Parade. The master puppeteer has spent the past 20 years sending his giant spider Zohra down the parade route to the delight of Halloween revelers.
Twist will manipulate the puppet from the Clock Tower at Jefferson Market Library. The arachnid, which spans 10 feet, is set to walk through the streets of the West Village and up the 149 stairs of the gothic New York landmark, where it will rest in its perch. The parade route runs north on Sixth Avenue from Spring Street to 16th Street, kicking off at 7:00 PM October 31.
The Drama Desk winner for his puppetry work on The Addams Family and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was also was named a MacArthur genius grant recipient in 2015. He is the recipient of an Obie Award, a Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome, a Creative Capital Award in the discipline of Performing Arts, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among other accolades.
Twist’s work first appeared for the parade in 1996 when he created a swarm of bats, followed by Zohra in 1999. The namesake for the giant spider is an indirect Quranic name for girls that means radiant white color. There is also a reference to a woman named Zohra, who was a prisoner at the Jefferson Market, which was originally a courthouse with a holding area for prisoners on their way to jail or trial.