We’re going to the library!

I am 110% thrilled to say that on Wednesday July 6th the Wump Mucket Puppets will be performing at the Northside Branch of the Cincinnati Public Library, 4219  Hamilton Avenue, Northside, Cincinnati  (513) 369-4449.

 Here’s the Google link to help you find the Northside Library

July 11 Puppet Poster

The show starts at 3PM and runs about a half hour.  After the show I will be conducting a “Question & Answers” session with the audience about puppetry.  So please bring some questions for the puppets, and with some luck they will have a few answers for you.  Oh, tell all your friends about this FREE show!  We want to pack the room and have arranged to have books about puppetry and cryptozoology available to borrow, so bring your library card.

G’Wazzl gets a chuckle from old Earth comics

Why am I so happy to be performing at our neighborhood library you wonder?  The answer is simple, I LOVE LIBRARIES!  I remember my mother walking me and my sisters and brothers to the Ballardvale library when we were all very young, reading books to us, and the best part, being able to bring the book or record (yes record!) home to read or listen to again.  Libraries are one of the treasures in life that should be enjoyed and used frequently.  My family must visit the wonderful Northside library several times a week. 

Coleman reading one of his favorite books

I am also very please to say that to celebrate the Wump Mucket Puppets performance  at the Northside Library, I have written a new tune for Cyril to sing about his love of the library.  We hope to see you at the show!

Cyril loves reading about his cousin Champ

College Hill & Northside know that PUPPETS ROCK!!!

It’s been a busy week for the Wump Mucket Puppets and we love it!  Two shows performed in the same week and I haven’t lost my voice!  Remarkable. 

A HUGE thank you to everyone who came to see our puppet shows in College Hill and our home turf of Northside.  We love to perform for you.  I honestly believe that keeping the puppet show small and local really is, in the grand scheme of things, something big!

I look forward to our next puppet show that will be INSIDE an air conditioned building!  YIPPEE!!!
Come and join us on Wednesday July 6th at the Northside branch of the Cincinnati Public Library at 3 PM.
You can look forward to a couple of new songs that the puppets and I have been working on over the last few weeks.  As Coleman has said before, “It’s gonna be great!”

Two puppet shows next week!!!

Come out to see the Wump Mucket Puppets perform their first outdoor shows this year!

Both performances are FREE and 101% family friendly!

Thursday, June 16th 3:30 PM
College Hill Farm Market
5742 Hamilton Avenue, College Hill
The Farm Market is held in the parking lot of the College Hill Presbyterian  Church

Saturday, June 18th 4 PM
Northside’s Art in the Park
Hoffner Park (corner of Hamilton & Blue Rock) in the heart of Northside

We’ll be telling a few new jokes, a new tune or two, along with the Wump Mucket Puppets’ usual silliness!

Here’s a link to the cool new poster featuring Cyril:
June 2011 Wump Mucket Puppets poster

…and for those of you still reading, I have not forgotten about sharing the puppetry bits of our trip to Maryland last month.  I promise that I’ll get to it soon and include a few of the hundreds of photos. 
Thanks for your interest, we hope to see you at a show next week!

It’s always nice to hear from you

 It’s always nice to hear what our audience thinks of our little puppet troupe.  Here are a couple of very nice comments sent to us from folks who saw our shows that were performed in May:

Thank you for a great show today!! 
Chloe is still talking about it :O)

Thank you for the wonderment. An amazing show! Bravo!!!

The puppets and I  are very pleased that our wonderful audience enjoys our antics so much.  We couldn’t have done it without YOU!  There are more shows scheduled throughout the summer.  Check back here, or on our Facebook page for the dates in the very near future.  We hope to see YOU there!


Come see us at the Cincinnati Family Enrichment Center on May 21st!

The puppets will be hopping into their box and rolling around the corner from our super secret Northside headquarters to entertain the families attending the Sampler Saturday at the Cincinnati Family Enrichment Center, 4244 Hamilton Avenue on Saturday May 21st at 3:30 PM

What’s a Sampler Saturday you ask?  (from CFEC’s website)
It’s a smorgasbord of abbreviated demo classes! Considering a music class for your infant? Wondering if signing with your baby is right for you? Does a creative movement class sound fun for your toddler? What about an art class for your one year old? Maybe Spanish for your 2 year old? Cooking, puppetry, drama, yoga? We offer over 20 classes from Birth to 5 years – give us a try! And, if you’re already a CFEC regular, please invite a friend who hasn’t found out how awesome we are!

  • Saturday, May 21st; 3:30-5:30
  • 6 class samples will be offered, appropriate from Birth to age 5
  • A $5.00 donation is kindly requested  to help us thank our entertainer

*Those who make a donation will be entered into a drawing for a free Summer Term child’s class series of your choice (a $100 value!)!

More info at:  http://www.theplaceforfamilies.com/

I’ll be glad to meet and greet anyone who wishes to talk to the puppets after the show and will have our wonderful coloring page on hand for our younger fans.  See you at the show!

Is it STILL raining?

Now that the frame of the puppet stage has dried I thought I’d give our fans a heads up that there are several public performances in the pipeline for the Wump Mucket Puppets!

I promise that the dates (yes DATES!) will be posted very soon.  I want to iron out the small wrinkles in Cyril’s tail before I make an official announcement.  I hope you are as excited as I am!  I bet Coleman would rather stay in his box.

So try to stay dry (hey, that should be a song) and drop by this little bit of a blog real soon.  As always, thank YOU for your kind interest in the silly adventures of the Wump Mucket Puppets troupe.

Thank you for being a wonderful audience!

If you look at the smiling faces of the children that I performed for this morning you will see the reason why I am a puppeteer.  As I continue to develop my puppetry skills (and spills) I crave moments such as this when I can bring laughter and smiles to the people who are so kind to be my audience for half an hour.

Sure, the sky opened up and dropped a gazillion gallons of water on me while I was unloading to set up for the shows today, yet the show must go on!  A little rain never stopped the Wump Mucket Puppets!

Thanks to all the students and teachers in Room A3 at Winton Montessori School this morning, and the families who stopped by the Northside Farmers Market this evening to see the show. I hope to see you at our shows in the future.

Come out and see our first show of 2011!

A singing Sea Serpent, a picnic basket loving Sasquatch, and a large orange alien have been spotted in Northside!
The Wump Mucket Puppets return to the Northside Farmers Market for a free puppet show on Wednesday, April 27th at 5:30 PM.  The market is located at the North Presbyterian Church, 4222 Hamilton Avenue in Northside, of course.
The twenty-five minute live performance is family friendly and includes original songs, skits, and silliness written and performed by Northside puppeteer Terrence Burke.
Be sure not to miss this!
Here’s the snazzy poster 

Puppetry for my neighborhood’s silent auction

I am donating a child’s birthday party puppet show to the silent auction at the Northside Generations concert.  This fundraiser is to help replace the banners that hang over the Ludlow viaduct to welcome visitors to our funky neighborhhood.  In addition to the musical performances, that feature different generations of Northsiders, there will be a silent auction of goods and services donated by people in the neighborhood.

Here’s a photo of the “gift card” that I made:
Generations Silent Auction card

I hope that the auction goes well, and look forward to perform my one of a kind puppet shows at a lucky neighbor’s birthday party.

Here’s the info about the event:

7:00 – 11:00 PM
The Deaf Club
3938 Spring Grove Avenue
For information 513-542-2500
or timjeckering@fuse.net

One of my favorite Sesame Street songs has always been “Who Are The People in Your Neighborhood”.  I often sing it to my children, and still feel that children should know the various names and faces in their little world.  I love the feeling of a community.  I guess this started about the same time I started watching Sesame Street in 1969 on my family’s tiny black & white tee-vee set in Ballardvale, Massachusetts.  It was in that village, that is located in the town of Andover, that I learned about the people in my neighborhood.  Mr. Beacott ran the Corner Cupboard (a small variety store & lunch counter), Bill Miller fixed cars next to our house at Shawsheen Service gas station, Mr. Cronin owned the ice cream distribution business down the street (where I would later work for a Summer in high school),  Mrs. Sharpe was the village branch librarian, Mr. Trombly was the barber who gave me my first professional hair cut, and Henry the mailman delivered our family’s mail with a smile everyday.  These golden memories have stayed with me all my life, and I feel that my children may be missing some of that simple magic of what it was like to live in a neighborhood.  I guess we have some of it still.  Maybe it’s that the Sesame Street song brings back those memories?  In any case I’ll be happy to be known as the Northside puppeteer and I am proud to help my neighborhood.

In memory of my father Denis Burke

I was recently in a conversation with a neighbor and was asked who my influence was as a puppeteer.  My reply was quick, “Burr Tillstrom, Caroll Spinney, and Jim Henson“.  Those men created or performed puppets that I really enjoyed as a child.  I admire their work and have viewed hours of their performances on DVD, read many books written by them or about them, even had the pleasure to meet Caroll Spinney several times in my life.  Yet, as I thought about my answer more while driving in the car with my children, there is a man who was far more influential on my work than any of those brilliant puppeteers.  That man is my father, Denis Burke.

My dad would be celebrating his 74th birthday later this week, if he had not suddenly died 10 years ago in late January 2001.  I took his death quite hard.  It really did a number on my daily life.  I began a spiral down into a state of mind that I never wish to see again and eventually agreed to see a counselor.  It was in those sessions that I realized that I needed to find an activity that brought joy back into my life.  I can’t recall exactly how it happened, yet the idea of working with puppets kept popping into my head in the Spring of 2001.

Puppets have always interested me.  Some of my fondest childhood memories are of watching puppets on television.  One of my most cherished memories from my boyhood, is when my dad drove me to Boston to attend a puppet convention (it was here that I first met Caroll Spinney).  My father was very supportive of my interest in puppets, and bought me a Musicians of Bremen finger puppet set to encourage my puppetry hobby.  Gosh, I wish I still had those little felt puppets today. 

As I remember back to those darker days in early 2001, I recall feeling so empty.  I was in my mid-30’s and was not prepared to lose my father so suddenly.  Is anyone?  Perhaps my brain kicked into a survival mode to help the rest of me survive the loss of my father.  Maybe the childhood memories of attending that puppet convention with my dad were waiting to be remembered fondly to release a feeling of happiness during that hard time in my life.  I may never know. 

The fact is that my father’s death brought on my adult interest of puppetry, which has brought me to the creation of the Wump Mucket Puppets.  That Spring I joined Puppeteers of America and the Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild.  I began drawing ideas for puppet characters, writing down bits for scripts, all of that creative activity helped me to keep my mind off the aftermath of a parent’s death.
Sure, it took me a while to get those sketches and scribbles into the form of a live puppet show, yet I did it.

Back to the influence topic.    I guess I get the performer gene from my father.  He was a radio broadcaster for many years, and could cook up some very silly schtick for his radio shows in the early 70’s and into the 1980’s when schtick could still be found on the radio.  For those of you who have heard my Cyril the Sea Serpent character shout “SCHPAK! SCHPAK!”  during the show, I am borrowing it from my father as a bit of a tribute to him.  My Dad introduced me to Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Ealing Studio comedy films, and the work of Mel Brooks and Woody Allen.  The man KNEW what was GOOD comedy.  I really hope that some of his comic awareness has rubbed of on my puppet show scripts.  I think that some of it has since I do hear people laughing at my puppets during the show. 

And that’s what got me started in puppetry in the first place, finding joy where there was sorrow.  Turning a frown into a smile.  Making people laugh is possibly the greatest thing that I can hope to accomplish as I try to do my very best as a puppeteer.  I know that my father would like that.

Dad & Terry December 1991
Denis and Terrence Burke, December 1991