It is never easy to deal with headlines these days. It is even harder when it’s about someone you may know, or a place you are familiar with. Especially when it’s your hometown. I was born in Boston, grew up in the suburbs, then moved back to the city as a young man.
The tragic events at the Boston Marathon this week, the people who have lost their lives, or have been seriously injured, have all been in my thoughts. I have difficulty understanding the reasoning for inflicting such pain, especially during a sporting event that brings pride to the city of Boston. Why did this happen?
How does this tie in with my puppetry? Boston is a part of me, I am a part of that city. My childhood memories of attending a puppetry festival in Boston with my father, or watching classic Boston kid’s TV shows “Boomtown” and “Major Mudd” are certainly a part of my inspiration to create fun puppet shows for families today.
Tomorrow the Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild will present our National Day of Puppetry celebration. While puppeteers can not solve this horrible act of violence, we can offer something that our world could certainly use more of these days, and that is joy.
Wump Mucket Puppets is a labor of love. When I say that I really mean it. It’s work to juggle many hats in a family run independent puppet troupe. Some days I must wear the daddy hat and help my daughter with her math worksheets. Other days I wear the booking agent hat, and talk to event coordinators who are interested in having the Wump Mucket Puppets perform at their events this Summer. Being a do-it-yourself puppeteer, I have my hands in every single step of producing a puppet show that I want to see. I would have it no other way.
Don’t touch that dial!
What dial? Most televisions are controlled by remote these days… Well it sounds good as a lead in to this exciting bit of Wump Mucket Puppets news! I had a great meeting with Dean Miuccio and Randi Douglas of the local television variety talk show Cincinnality this morning. They have been keeping in touch with me for about a year, and we are now at the point to to plan something fun with my puppet characters to eventually shoot a few bits to include on their program. I don’t want to give away too much right now, yet I will say that some very cool and funny ideas were brought up during our chat. Please give their show a look, they are creating local television that features entertainers and musicians from the Cincinnati area. Cincinnality airs on Sunday nights at 11:30 PM on WXIX FOX 19 in Cincinnati or watch clips on their video page.
February is off to a grand start for the Wump Mucket Puppets! We have a NEW puppet character joining the cast at our Happen show on Saturday, February 16th from 6 – 8 PM. On Sunday February 24 we’ll be guests at MOTR Pub on the Ted Clark After Dark live talk show. Please keep in mind that this event is for the “big kids”, that means adults. Ted will be interviewing me about puppets, pizza, cartoons, and more. I may have a possible surprise to share with everyone! Show up, have fun!
Next month I will have lived in the Queen City for 20 years. There have been ups and downs along the way. I am very pleased that most of those years were on the up and up and getting better all the time. As a fun way to celebrate my twenty years as a Cincinnatian, I’ll be adding fun bits of local trivia, history, and a new song to the puppet show. It’s my way to say thanks to all the kind and friendly Cincinnatians that come and see my imagination given form, the Wump Mucket Puppets.
Short and sweet blog tonight gang!
We have LOTS of activity at our super secret headquarters. What?
Well, it’s tip top secret! I can say that one of our regular characters is getting a pal.
Wump Mucket Puppets Terrence Burke cutting fabric for puppet
Not only will we have a new puppet at the February 16th show at Happen, Inc, we’ll have a new tune for Coleman to sing, a new game for Cyril to play with the audience, and lots of fun and laughs for new members of our audience. Our regulars all know that the Wump Mucket Puppets R-O-C-K!(that’s why they keep coming to our shows)
Wump Mucket Puppets Coleman the Sasquatch and Eleanor
We are pulling out all the stops tonight! Coleman has called in his number one fan, Eleanor Burke, to make a video to help the Wump Mucket Puppets reach and BEAT their goal of 300 likes on the official Wump Mucket Puppets Facebook page. Not only will the 300th person to like our page have a tune recorded on video for them to show the whole wide world that they are pals with the wacky (yet wholesome) Wump Mucket Puppets, but we will throw in this incredible pack of Anastasi trading cards:
We are thrilled to announce our first contest of 2013!
Really folks, this is going to be lots of fun! We are trying to reach 300 (more would be fantastic!) likes on the Wump Mucket Puppets Facebook page. To entice new pals we are offering a FUN-TASTIC prize of a custom made video tune for the winner to share their good taste in puppet troupes with the whole wide world!
Coleman the Sasquatch and his pal Tiernan Burke
You would simply not believe what we did to make this contest a special one. First, we flew our furry puppet star Coleman the Sasquatch in from his vacation in Peru via Learjet. Then we enlisted the help of our second oldest fan in the world, none other than the one and only Tiernan Burke. Finally, brace yourselves, our camera crew were allowed into the super secret Wump Mucket Puppets Head Quarters! It was amazing to see Terrence Burke’s “Desk/Mess”! It was so exciting we are still covered in goosebumps.
Here’s the video we made at Wump Mucket HQ:
Amazing stuff! We know that we can count on all our pals to help us reach this goal of 300 Facebook pals really soon. Please share this with all your friends as soon as you can. The suspense may keep us up all night wondering…
Now what will the Wump Mucket Puppets do to reach 400 likes? Hmmm….
What a week we are having at our super-secret headquarters! It’s been a fantastic week for us. All this activity is, well… FANTASTIC!
First, a HUGE thank you to Jim, Aretta, John, Sarah, and Lisa for taking the time to write letters of recommendation for my scholarship application to attend the 2013 National Puppetry Festival in August. Your kind words of praise were truly moving. I am very fortunate to know each of you.
G'Wazzl can't wait to introduce you to his new puppet pal!
I have been sworn to secrecy regarding the creation of a new puppet character that is joining our fun little troupe. The idea has been in my sketchbook for years, it’s about time that I bring this puppet to our stage. Be sure to come to our February 16th show to see our new puppet pal!
And last, but not least, the date has been confirmed for Cincinnati’s 2013 National Day of Puppetry celebration! Mark your calendar for Saturday, April 20th from 12 pm until 3 pm. Members of the Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild will be presenting a fun packed afternoon of puppet shows, demonstrations, and displays about the history of puppetry in Cincinnati at Happen 4201 Hamilton Avenue in always happening Northside. You won’t want to miss this!
Review of The Punch & Judy Show: History, Tradition and Meaning by Robert Leach
I have been reading books about puppetry almost as long as I have been interested in puppets. Did I ever mention that two of first words that I learned to write on my own are the words puppet and circus? I remember sitting at the kitchen table, asking my mother how to spell these words. I guess I wrote them so often I was bound to become either a puppeteer or an elephant trainer in the circus (I LOVE elephants!).
Terrence Burke reads "The Punch & Judy Show" to Cyril
The Punch & Judy Show: History, Tradition and Meaning by Robert Leach (1985 University of Georgia Press ISBN 0820308005) was a true delight to read and learn about Punch and his “professors” who have been delighting audiences for hundreds of years. The author’s research is simply amazing, and follows Mr. Punch from his Italian roots to the streets and village fetes of England. The show’s tradition has changed with the times, moving from the hustle and bustle of the street, to the Victorian drawing rooms, and finally to the holiday beach resorts. Forever changing, yet forever part of the culture. How many puppets can make that claim? If you are interested in puppetry’s history, this is a great book to learn from. I am fortunate to have found it among the collection of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County since it is out of print and rather pricey.
Cover of The Punch & Judy Show by Robert Leach
Reading about Mr. Punch and his poor wife Judy has inspired me to come up with my own variation of this time tested puppet play in the future, with a 21st century American twist of course! My wife Lara has even expressed interest in helping perform it! Be sure to check back to this blog for future developments of the Wump Mucket Puppets version of Punch & Judy. Keep in mind that originally Punch was a street show and very adult in content. We shall see what we come up with. A puppet slam piece? Perhaps something for a Fringe festival? Maybe we’ll just busk our merry way through the streets of Cincinnati.
Did I ever tell you about my brother Andy? He’s a puppeteer too! Not only is he a puppeteer, but he often works with very large parade puppets. And if puppets weren’t enough to keep him busy, you can sometimes find him walking on silts or playing drums.
My brother Andy Burke with a few of his puppets
In celebration of Andy’s birthday, I am dedicating today’s blog to him. We’ve had our differences over the years, as many siblings do, yet as our hair gets grayer and our backs ache a bit more we find that it’s best to agree on the things that we agree on, and button our lips when we need to on other topics. Let’s stick to things we agree on, most importantly… PUPPETS!
Andy Burke's puppet character Kuumar
How we both ended up puppeteers as adults I am not sure. We both watched many of the same television shows as children, so that may have something to do with it. Regardless, it’s great that Andy creates his own puppets and performs them at fairs, festivals, and concerts. Keep rockin’ the puppets Andy!
Have a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDY, from you big brother Terrence
Wump Mucket Puppets loves the new Flexitube TV puppet show!
It’s been a very long time since I have been excited about watching something on television. Nothing offered by the networks and cable channels seems worth my time. However, through the magic of the internet we can watch television shows that are broadcast in other parts of the country!
When I learned that New York puppeteers Craig Marin and Olga Felgemacher of Flexitoon Puppet Theatre were creating a new television show “for children and other people” I was very excited. The show is called Flexitube and it is FANTASTIC! I felt like I was an eight year old boy again while I was watching the show on our computer with my daughter Eleanor and son Tiernan. The jokes are funny, the music is catchy, and the puppetry is simply brilliant. I loved all of the different styles of puppetry used in the show, and the “winks” to famous TV puppet shows from yesteryear. Bravo Craig & Olga and company! Here’s a a Vlog that I made this morning with Eleanor and my puppet character Cyril:
You too can watch Flexitube when ever you wish, I think I’ll watch every Saturday morning, by clicking this link: Flexitube On Demand