So long October


So long October, you were windy, sometimes hot, sometimes cool, a bit wet at times, but always fun when performing Wump Mucket Puppets’ Kooky Spooky Halloween Show.

That’s the trouble with performing a holiday puppet show, I guess.  Just as things are rolling along at a good pace, the month ends with the holiday that you have been celebrating.  Tomorrow morning I will close the 2017 run of TKSHS (that’s short for “The Kooky Spooky Halloween Show) at a private school performance in the Cincinnati area.  It’s been a great month, and brought my puppetry to several new places too.

We opened at the beginning of the month with the Behringer-Crawford Museum in Covington, Kentucky.  What a wonderful place this is for children!  My kids loved visiting here when they were younger, bringing back many happy memories of those years to me.  The little ones in the audience were great, and I am happy to share that I will be back there on December 16th at 2PM with our Frozen Follies holiday show -so mark your calendars now.

Half way through the month we were at our final outdoor show of the year at the West Chester Pumpkin Fest.  As the opening entertainment for the event, the audience grew as the show was performed.  What started as a few dozen people in the seats, grew quickly into hundreds!  Thank goodness the wind wasn’t too strong.

A few days later the show made a special stop to visit with our pals at the Our Daily Bread Kids Club in Over-The-Rhine.  This was our second time donating a performance, and although the audience was small, I could tell that our silliness was enjoyed BIG TIME!   Look at this very thoughtful card that our pals sent.

This card made my day, knowing that my puppetry was enjoyed and brought smiles to young faces.  Thanks Our Daily Bread pals!   I look forward to my next visit with you.

Our furthest performance of the month was at the Tipp City Public Library, where we were the featured entertainment for the library’s Halloween Family Night.  We were greeted by several teenage helpers, that were great in getting the stage and sound equipment into the library on a chilly evening.  I was told that this library had not had a puppet show in several years, so the large audience was very welcome.  Thank you for having us Tipp City, we hope to see you again soon.

As the month got closer to it’s end, I performed our busiest day with two library shows scheduled.  The day started very early for me, 4:40AM to be exact.  For one reason or another I awoke before the alarm clock to find that the power was out.  I suppose this is good, since I had an hour on the road to our first show at the MidPointe Library in Trenton, Ohio.  This is another new library, and our audience was very welcoming.  I enjoyed meeting the children after the show, especially the three year old girl who dressed-up as Dorthy Gale from The Wizard of Oz (my all-time favorite film).

After loading out of Trenton, and having a bit if mobile phone trouble, it was South to visit the Reading branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.  Once again, a new library for the puppets to work their magic (let’s keep this up!).  I arrived early, allowing me a leisurely load in and set-up.  The Reading branch is a new library too, and the community room that I performed in has a door that allows performers to get very close to the building.  I love easy load ins, and should offer awards for such places.  Here’s the poster that was made by the library to promote my show:

I shall remember the October 2017 tour fondly.  The puppets and I had fun sharing make-believe to celebrate Halloween.  We met so many great kids and parents, saw lots of cool costumes, and learned which houses give out the BIG CANDY BARS!  Thanks to our audiences, the school, library, and museum directors who booked the show, and our media friends who helped promote the shows on TV and radio.  Have a happy, and safe, Halloween!

 

Everyday is Halloween for us in October

Everyday is Halloween for us in October

I love performing The Kooky Spooky Halloween Show for our audiences.  2017 is the second year that the puppets have brought our special brand of Halloween kookiness to our pals.  We are very grateful that they enjoy our spooky silliness.

For me, Halloween should be a fun time for children (and adults).  Offering us time to  celebrate and make believe together, minus terrifying images or horrific creatures.  Sadly there’s plenty of horror in the real world.  Today’s audience at Our Daily Bread was just that, people having a fun time together with a bit of spooky silliness.

Since opening the show at the Behringer-Crawford Museum in Covington, KY, we have performed to hundreds of happy kids that totally understand my style of make-believe.  They have giggled at Unka Unka’s mistakes on holiday greetings (and helped him out), assisted Witch Willie cast her scaring spell (which never seems to work), and told me that they love our new puppet character Gourdon the pumpkin man. 

Gourdon and Witch Willie have even found the time in their busy puppet star schedules to make their world radio debut on Cincinnati’s NPR affiliate 91.7 WVXU ‘s weekend arts program “Around Cincinnati” with a great interview conducted by media journalist John Kieswetter.  This was fun interview to record.  John had great questions for me, and it gave me a chance to talk about the show, our new puppet, and growing up in Andover, Massachusetts.  Enough babbling from me, why not just give it a listen?
Listen to the interview HERE                                    (Photo by John Kieswetter)

No matter how you celebrate Halloween, I hope that you and your family have a fun and safe one.  If you should happen to have children in your life, be sure to bring them to my puppet show.  

Here’s Gourdon! Our new puppet star!

Our newest puppet star has arrived!  Gourdon has joined the cast of “The Kooky Spooky Halloween Show” that we perform throughout October.  Here’s a look back on how this puppet went from a lump of clay, to a paper maché head, and almost making his public debut on live TV, yet to being interviewed for a weekly radio program.

The idea to create a pumpkin headed puppet popped into my head earlier this year when my daughter Eleanor asked me to watch the cartoon “Over The Garden Wall”. In one of the episodes, the two boys visit a village of pumpkin people. They reminded me of the character Jack Pumpkinhead from the Oz series of books written by L. Frank Baum.

So I began sculpting a new puppet…

The new puppet had to wait to be worked on as I toured our “Bee Happy” summer puppet show around Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and even a trip to Massachusetts in August.

Gradually the clay began to “magically” work it’s self into a friendly face that children would enjoy.  I love Halloween, and find the vintage greeting cards that feature pumpkins, witches, and ghosts most visually appealing.  I started looking at lots of great pictures, and added them to a Halloween themed Pinterest page.

Gourdon’s head is made of paper maché, and took me about a two days to build.  I lost count of how many tiny bits of paper it took.  I enjoy this part of the puppet building process, since I can listen to music while working.  I remember listening to Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, They Might Be Giants, Gary Numan and Led Zeppelin while building this puppet.  There is a reason why I always say, “Puppets ROCK!”.

The build was moving along at a good pace.  Things were looking great as I finished the head, and Gourdon started really looking like Gourdon.  I was very happy with our new puppet star, and prepared to sew his body and costume together.  I was booked to make a live TV guest appearance and wanted this to be  his public debut.

Then a bit of a “hick-up” happened after I had finished sewing his inner sleeve and body.  While quickly trying to get the puppet completed for the TV segment, I goofed up and used the wrong pattern on his costume.  It was too small.  I was rather upset, since this puppet has been my project.  In the past, my wife Lara has been the principle puppet builder.  She took a step back to allow me to be more comfortable with sewing, and give me room to learn.  Ugh.  Gordon would not be going on TV.

Fortunately we have a great cast of puppets to “step up” and take Gourdon’s place for the TV interview.  Witch Willie was the best puppet to replace Gourdon.  I have been performing her for over a year, and through the summer, so off to FOX19 she went to make her third live TV appearance:

With this scheduling problem solved, Lara whipped together a fantastic costume for Gourdon to wear for his puppet stage debut at the Behringer-Crawford Museum.  I could hear the children in our audience react to Gourdon as he welcomed them to our show, they love him.  After the show they were thrilled to meet him, with several of the kids requesting to have their photo taken with our new puppet star.

The day’s adventure in puppetry was not over.   After I finished loading-out of the museum, I had to drive back to Wump Mucket Puppets headquarters to unload our  gear, only to head back out to have Witch Willie, Gourdon, and myself record a radio interview on WVXU, Cincinnati’s NPR radio affiliate.

Tune in to Around Cincinnati next week to listen.  WVXU’s John Kieswetter had many great questions for the puppets and myself, making what I am sure will be the fun radio debut of a pumpkin head puppet named Gourdon.

Welcome Autumn

The calendar says that today is the first day of Autumn, although in Cincinnati it feels like mid-August.  Yuck.  I am not a fan of hot and sticky weather.

Today will also be the final performance of my “Bee Happy” show for 2017.  That is unless I receive a request to perform it again.  Don’t worry if you missed it, we’ll be bringing it back next Spring.  It has been a great show to perform, and marks the first show that I have sang along to music that I have created, through the puppets of course.  I really enjoy singing, although sometimes it’s been a challenge to sing in the puppet’s voice.

Tonight’s performance will be at the Ronald McDonald House in Cincinnati.  I have been donating puppet shows there since the summer of 2012, and enjoy working with their staff.  While my audience is often small, the children and families who I perform for are appreciative.  I love providing them with a half hour of silliness, and help them with the healing process through laughter.

With October around the corner, our newest puppet “Gourdon” is nearing completion.  I began sculpting his head out of clay in June.  My daughter asked me to watch the TV show “Over The Garden Wall” with her.  In one of the episodes there is a village of pumpkin people who I found most interesting.  They reminded me of “Jack Pumpkinhead” from L. Frank Baum’s Oz books. I also enjoy vintage Halloween greeting cards and decorations featuring jack-o-lanterns.   When I returned from our East Coast tour in mid-August I began working on “Gourdon”, using paper mache.  I really enjoyed building our latest cast member.  Please come see him at our October shows.

When “Gourdon” is finished, it’s time to build another traditional hand puppet for our “Frozen Follies” holiday show.  This puppet will be included in our new skit “The Many Names of Santa Claus”.  I will be posting photos to the Wump Mucket Puppets official Facebook page as the building progresses to give our friends and fans a chance to view the puppet building progress.  Please give our page a “like”.  Thanks for reading this. Puppets ROCK!

A Thank You To Our Fans

Coleman the Sasquatch has a special message to share with our fans

We thank everyone who has attends our puppet shows, watch our videos, and follow us at the Wump Mucket Puppets Facebook page.  We couldn’t have done any of this without you.

It was a wonderful summer for the cast of Wump Mucket Puppets, performing “Bee Happy” to thousands of happy kids throughout Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, and Massachusetts too.  Don’t worry if you missed it, the show is booked on September 9th and 16th as well as several dates in 2018.

We are excited that Autumn is not far away, and with that cooler weather and plenty of leaves to rake.  Oh, that fun holiday called Halloween is coming too!  This means that Witch Willie and Morty the Ghost will be out and about performing The Kooky Spooky Halloween Show.  Have you started working on your costume yet?

See you in the audience!  The Wump Mucket Puppets love ya!

Bee Happy is almost here!

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We’ve been working hard for the past six months to bring our new BEE HAPPY show to the stage and I look forward to performing it for you very soon.  Ever wonder how the ideas for  this show came about?

The opening act is called Coleman’s Green Team, and touches on a subject that addresses an important ecology topic, littering.  In this segment of the show Coleman the Sasquatch gently reminds the audience that we need to get bitter about litter.  I live in an urban neighborhood of Cincinnati, and pick up trash daily.  I find this most upsetting, and decided to help share a positive message through puppetry, that littering is ugly and we all need to pitch in and help stop it.  I remember when I was a boy, watching Woodsy Owl in TV commercials, encouraging everyone to “Give a hoot, don’t pollute”.

The Bee Happy segment of the show is inspired by my mother, who is an amateur apiarist, or beekeeper.  For several years she has kept bees, and as I write this blog is visiting Eastern Europe, learning new methods.  I recall being frightened of bees as a boy, and think that this is a good opportunity to help children understand more about bees, and how connected they are to so many of the fruits and vegetables that we enjoy.  I hope that my young audience will enjoy G’Wizzl’s visit with QB the Queen Bee, a fantastic new puppet created by my wife Lara Rumizen.  The closing song to this skit is rather catchy too!

The show is rounded out by Cyril and Coleman’s silliness, and we’ll have Unka Unka the caveman trying to plant a flower garden, right on the puppet stage!

As an special treat for our fans who enjoy coloring, Cincinnati author/illustrator Mark Neeley has drawn a BEE-utiful new coloring page that everyone can download to print out on June 1st.  I love his comical version of our puppet stars, and thank him for this wonderful contribution.  BEE sure to share your finished coloring page on our Facebook page for everyone to see!

So come see the Wump Mucket Puppets this summer, I bet you’ll be happy that you did.  Click here for our performance calendar

 

Top 75 Puppet Blogs

Top 75 Puppet Blogs

Wump Mucket Puppets has been named one of the Top 75 Puppet Blogs on the web by Feedspot.com

Here’s a email from Feedspot.com founder Anuj Agarwal

I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of  Top 75 Puppet Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

I am proud to be included in this list of great blogs and websites, and thank everyone who reads my puppetry blog. Congratulations to all the fantastic puppeteers and puppetry fans who help promote our wonderful art form in the 21st century.

Puppets ROCK!

Puppets on CET Cincinnati PBS TV!

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Wump Mucket Puppets are very proud to be a part of the 2017 season premiere of The Art Show on CET Public Television  Cincinnati’s PBS TV station.  Here is the entire program, we are the first segment.  Thanks to producer Don Hancock and his entire production team for producing such a wonderful program that feature artists.  Please help support your local PBS station if you are able.

The entire production process was nothing short of fantastic, everyone involved are among the best in their fields.  I also wish to thank the staff of The Taft Museum for all of their help while the television crew shot my performance for use in the program.

Thanks for watching everyone.

Summer 2016 is here!

Summer 2016 is here!

Our summer touring season is off to a great start with an amazing week of shows, two live television appearances, a radio interview, and a FULL PAGE newspaper article!

Here’s a recap of the last week:

June 3, 2016 – Wump Mucket Puppets made their third guest appearance on WCPO TV.  Anchor Chris Riva was great to chat with.  Thanks to all our pals at WCPO for helping me promote the short film “A Show of Hands”.
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Behind the scenes:  This was Jacqui the Jackalope’s television debut.  Minutes before stepping in front of the cameras, her left antler popped off.  I tried to get it to stay on her head with a bit of Scotch tape…  which didn’t work very well.  Watch it wobble on live TV for thousands of viewers:

June 5, 2016 – Wump Mucket Puppets are on the radio!   WVXU has been a great supporter of our little puppet troupe, here’s our latest interview on the Around Cincinnati program:  CLICK HERE TO LISTEN photo WMP at WVXU June 2016_zpseuxhqrva.jpg

Behind the scenes:  This radio interview was recorded in early May, and broadcast on June 5th. 

June 6, 2016 – Our media parade continued into print with our very first feature article in the Cincinnati Enquirer written by Garin Pirnia.
 photo WMP in Enquirer June 2016_zpsbobqyyo8.jpg A link to read this article will be posted soon.  Thank you to Garin for the help in promoting the screening of “A Show of Hands” and for telling the story of my journey as a puppeteer.

June 7, 2016 – All of the media attention would be for nothing if there wasn’t something to promote, and boy did we have that covered.   Our first library show of the season was at the Carroll County Public Library, where the puppets were welcomed by many smiling, laughing children and their parents.
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Our silly caveman Unka Unka won the hearts of the audience with his crazy attempt to build a sand castle.  He was such a hit, that many children were heard imitating him in the library after the show!  “Unka say Shhhh”.  Here’s a photo of Unka Unka meeting a new fan after the show.
 photo WMP at Carrollton KY June 2016_zpsly2kbq7y.jpgWhen our show was finished, I packed up to drive back to Cincinnati and prepare for the Cincinnati premiere of the short documentary film “A Show of Hands”.  The film screening was attended by family, friends, and fans at the Northside branch library.  Here’s a fantastic drawing that author/illustrator Mark Neeley drew to celebrate the screening:

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Following the film, our audience was treated to pizza donated by our favorite Northside pizza shop, N.Y.P.D. Pizza.  We then held a questions and answers session with myself and the film’s director Sean W. Mangan.  Puppeteer friend Linda Mason took this photo from the audience that includes Terrence Burke, Coleman the Sasquatch, Tiernan Burke, and Sean W. Mangan:
 photo 13407684_1189555544389320_1530215516_n_zps14lpe7ax.jpgJune 8, 2016 – Wednesday morning it was back to a TV studio for Coleman and Jacqui, as we made another live television appearance on WXIX FOX 19
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FOX 19 holds a special place in my heart, as they were the very first television station to invite me on as a guest years ago.  The producers and anchors have always been helpful and as you can see in this fun segment with Catherine Bodak, love our puppet characters:

June 9, 2016 –  With the media appearances completed (until next month!) it was back on the road for our mighty little puppet troupe.  Thursday we made our debut at the Gallatin County Public Library in Warsaw, Kentucky.   The audience was fantastic and loved our silliness!

Behind the scenes:  As I began to pack up the puppets after the show, a young boy and his mother approached me.  Apparently the mom had mixed up the showtime, and her son really wanted to see us.  Well, this young man didn’t go home disappointed…   Cyril and Coleman sang our theme tune for him, cracked a few corny jokes, and then took him on a backstage tour!  They also made sure he had coloring pages, a couple stickers, AND an autographed postcard to take home!

June 10, 2016 – We love meeting new pals, and the state of Kentucky appears to be full of new Wump Mucket Puppets fans!  On Friday we returned to Carroll County to perform for a very lively audience at the Sanders Baptist Church in Sanders, KY.   One of our new fans was so impressed with the show that she wrote a quick review directly after the performance:
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The note reads “Good job”  Coleman really appreciated the note, and enjoyed meeting his new pals after the show.

With the first week  of shows completed, I look forward to entertaining and meeting even more new pals on our travels as the Wump Mucket Puppets rock Summer 2016!

A Show of Hands trailer

A Show of Hands Terrence Burke Wump Mucket Puppets

A Show of Hands trailer

I am very please to share with my family, friends, and fans the trailer to promote the short film A Show of Hands, directed by Wright State University film student Sean W. Mangan.  The portrait documentary looks into a dark time in my life, and how I found happiness through puppetry.

Please join us for the Cincinnati premier screening on Tuesday, June 7 2016, at 6:30 pm at the Public Library of Cincinnati’s Northside Branch, located at 4219 Hamilton Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45223
A question and answer session with the filmmaker and puppeteer, along with a few very special puppet guests, will follow the film screening.  Admission is free and open to the general public.  Please RSVP on our Facebook event’s page:  CLICK HERE

The film will be available for on-line viewing after the screening.

More Wump Mucket Puppets news…

I will be promoting the film all over the media in the next week!  Here’s the schedule:

Friday June 3 WCPO TV 9 – Live TV guest segment on WCPO News  between 12:30 – 1 PM. 

Sunday June 5 WVXU 91.7 FM – Interview on Around Cincinnati 7- 8 PM

Wednesday June 8 WXIX FOX 19 – Live TV guest segment on Morning Xtra 10 AM

There will also be an article appearing in both the print and on-line editions of The Cincinnati Enquirer very soon.

Keep in mind that the live TV segment times are all estimated air-times.  Please give our Wump Mucket Puppets Facebook page a LIKE, for updates. photos, and performance dates.

Thank you for your interest in my work.  I hope that you will enjoy the film that Sean has made.