A Puppet Rocking Day!

Wump Mucket Puppets - Terrence Burke puppeteer and chracters

Cyril, Terrence, and Unka Unka ham it up for the camera.

A Puppet Rocking Day!

I have no time for a proper blog right now, as I am in the middle of building THREE new puppets, a mask, and more, yet I wish to share this with our friends and fans.
As many of you know Wump Mucket Puppets regularly donates performances to non-profit organizations. This afternoon’s show at Community Services of Northern Kentucky was one of those magical moments that once again proves to me that my path in puppetry is pretty clear; share the knowledge, spread the joy.

Several of our audience members approached me after today’s puppet show, with smiles so bright you could probably see them on the moon. They told me several times how much them LOVED my puppetry. One woman asked if I knew the legendary Cincinnati puppeteer Larry Smith, and said  that I reminder her of his show that she watched as a young girl. I told her that while I did not grow up in Cincinnati, I have met him several times at Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild meetings and events. She then asked if Larry still performs, and I explained that he has retired from performing his lovable characters. To this she replied, “You should ask him if YOU can perform his puppets for us!”
I am very touched that someone sees a similarity in our styles, and that I was able to bring back a bit of her childhood for thirty minutes.  This is why dear friends and fans that PUPPETS ROCK!

Now back to getting messy with glue!

Wump Mucket Puppets are returning to FOX 19!

Wump Mucket Puppets are returning to FOX 19!

Wump Mucket Puppets at FOX 19 television studio

Cyril outside the FOX 19 studios in 2012.

We have been invited to appear on FOX 19 Morning Xtra on Friday June 6 at 10:25 am.

I am thrilled that my daughter Eleanor will be joining me as a guest on the show!

We plan on bringing Cyril, Unka Unka, and Kitty Quo Quo Quo Qua and hope that all our pals tune in this Friday.

We love to see your coloring pages!

We love to see your coloring pages!

Over the years we have probably passed out hundred, possibly thousands, of free coloring pages to our young fans after the show.  Wouldn’t it be a great idea to share these fantastic creations with the world?  Sure!

If you are the parent of a child who’s enjoyed our silliness, simply snap a photo of the finished Wump Mucket Puppets coloring page and either email it to us, or post it on our Facebook page.  Be sure to include your young artists first name (only) and age.  We’ll have Coleman post ’em up on our fan page lickety split!

Live outside the Greater Cincinnati area?  No worries, here’s a link to download a few coloring pages that Lara has drawn over the last several years: Coloring Pages Link

Here are a few coloring pages from our friends at Stepping Stones in Norwood, Ohio

Wump Mucket Puppets - Fan coloring page - Stepping Stones Ohio

Wump Mucket Puppets - Fan coloring page - Stepping Stones Ohio

Wump Mucket Puppets - Fan coloring page - Stepping Stones Ohio

Wump Mucket Puppets - Fan coloring page - Stepping Stones Ohio

Wump Mucket Puppets - Fan coloring page - Stepping Stones Ohio

We look forward to seeing YOUR coloring page soon!

Introducing Unka Unka the caveman!

Introducing Unka Unka the caveman!

Wump Mucket Puppets Unka Unka the caveman

Our newest cast member Unka Unka the caveman!

We are very please to announce that Wump Mucket Puppets has brought a new puppet character to our stage, Unka Unka the caveman!

A couple of years ago my daughter Eleanor said, “Daddy, you need a caveman in the show.”  She is a big fan of the classic Scooby-Doo cartoons, and really enjoyed the episode that has a “caveman” chasing Mystery Inc. around.  This silliness inspired her to make up her own “caveman” word “unka”.  An idea was planted.

Some time later this doodle found it’s way to my studio desk:

Wump Mucket Puppets Unka Unka caveman doodle

Unka Unka doodle by Eleanor

This made me want to try my hand at creating a puppet head sculpted from clay:

Wump Mucket Puppets Unka Unka head

Unka head sculpted by Terrence Burke

Time past.  I was able to see many incredible paper maché puppet heads at the 2013 National Puppetry Festival.  It was time to get this puppet rolling!  It had been decades since I worked with paper maché, and I took my time to learn as I built the puppet.  There were a couple of setbacks, which will now be known as learning experiences.

Wump Mucket Puppets Unka Unka the caveman

Unka Unka’s new paper mache head observes his clay remains.

More time past.  Shows were being booked, songs were written, skits were being created.  The puppet was coming along slowly but surely.  Many thanks to fellow puppeteers Rick Morse, Mathieu René, Michael Schwabe for advice and tips.  A HUGE HUG and THANK YOU to my fantastic wife Lara Rumizen!  She really helped this puppet “get his act together”.  Many thanks to my father-in-law Jim Rumizen for shooting these photos.

Wump Mucket Puppets Cyril the Sea Serpent and Unka Unka the caveman

Cyril and Unka Unka inspect a prop for our newest skit “Elvis and The Shoemaker”

We hope our audience and fans will join us in welcoming Unka Unka to the silly stage of Wump Mucket Puppets.  Please visit out Facebook Page to view more photos of the building of this puppet.

Wump Mucket Puppets FUNday Monday # 16

Wump Mucket Puppets FUNday Monday # 16

Wump Mucket Puppets Coleman the Sasquatch FUNday Monday

We hope that all our pals had a great Easter!  Here are a couple of videos that will make you giggle:

Have you ever heard of the Easter Squatch?

Be sure to visit our YouTube page for more silliness with Coleman the Sasquatch.

Wump Mucket Puppets News!

We are getting things ready for our season launch on FREE COMIC BOOK DAY, May 3rd 11:30 am at Maverick’s Baseball Cards & Comics 8522 Winton Rd in Finneytown.

Wump Mucket Puppets Free Comic Book Day graphicBe sure to come and see the premier of our newest puppet character, Unka Unka the Caveman!  He’ll be bringing LOTS of FUN to our show!  Bring all your pals to meet our new puppet pal!

FREE Puppet show!

FREE Comic Books!

How COOL is that?!?

See YOU there!

Puppeteer brainstorming

Puppeteer brainstorming

I really am fortunate to live in a city where there are several very talented puppeteers. This evening I had the pleasure to hang out with my neighbor and friend Jesse Mooney-Bullock of Bullooney PuppetWorks.

It was great to “talk shop” about new puppets, show ideas, puppetry festivals, and our families.  Like many creative people, it’s easier to express yourself to another artist who knows both the joy and the pain of being a solo artist. 
Please take a look at his work at: Bullooney PuppetWorks

Hello 2014! Are you ready to ROCK?!?

Hello 2014!      Are you ready to ROCK?!?

It’s a new year!  Yippee!  I look at it as a blank sheet of paper waiting for a doodle, a song, or a skit to work into the puppet show.  I have already started a list of goals to work towards and would love to share a few with you, our fabulous friends and fans!

New puppet characters!  In the new year we will introduce two new member to our growing cast of silly puppets.  Both have been “on the drawing board” for a some time and it’s due time that they joined the fun!  First will be this guy, Unka Unka the Caveman!

Eleanor with her concept sketch and the sculpted head of Unka Unka the Caveman.

Eleanor with her concept sketch and the sculpted head of Unka Unka the Caveman.

Next will be our second Sasquatch character, who will be named Cousin Snavely.  The voice is sounding a bit like actor Charles Nelson Reilly.  He played Horatio J. HooDoo on the 1970s kid’s TV show LidsvilleHere’s the opening theme on YouTube.

Coleman the Sasquatch with Bigfoot crossing sign.

Watch out for Sasquatch!

Our third puppet project with be a much needed rebuild of on of our most loved characters, Coleman the Sasquatch.  This little guy is over 35 years old!  It’s quite amazing that he has held up as long as he has.  The mouthplate inside the puppet is deteriorating with every show.  We’ll be sure to share this process as his rebuild begins.

Of course that’s not all!  We have a couple of fun new skits and songs in the works, which we think you will enjoy.  Here’s a short video with a sneak peek of a few of the tune ideas:

Thank you 2013! You ROCKED!

I had planned to create an entertaining end of year review of Wump Mucket Puppets adventures in puppetry over 2013, then I caught the flu.  Ugh.  I am happy to share that I am on the mend, and will do my best to keep you interested in a look back at what was a FANTASTIC year for me performing my puppets.  Let’s get rolling…

Happy New Year 2013 photo collage from Wump Mucket Puppets

Looking back at my goals for 2013 I see that some were met, some were lost, and a few popped up while the year was in full swing.  Wump Mucket Puppets had the pleasure of performing all over Greater Cincinnati to thousands (yup –THOUSANDS!) of children and their families.  Not too shabby for a little puppet troupe fueled by a dream.

Terrence Burke of Wump Mucket Puppets displays tools while building new space cat puppet.

Terrence Burke displays his measuring and cutting skills while helping build the Kitty Quo Quo Quo Qua puppet.

January was cold in Cincinnati.  It’s a very good time to stay inside and build a puppet.  You should try it!  The design team (Terrence, Lara, and Eleanor) put on their thinking caps to create a pet for our space traveling puppet pal G’Wazzl G’Wook.  What did we come up with?  Kitty Quo Quo Quo Qua!  Learn more about Kitty here. 

Cyril and Kitty Quo Quo Quo Qua rehearsing.  Wump Mucket Puppets

Cyril and Kitty Quo Quo Quo Qua rehearsing.   Performed by Terrence and Eleanor Burke.

February started with a meeting with the producers of the local variety/talk show Cincinnality for Wump Mucket Puppets to make a possible television appearance.  A few good ideas were bounced around, yet sadly the program was canceled before anything was recorded.  We didn’t make it onto television this year, which is something that Coleman plans to change in 2014.

Cyril and Terrence Burke on the set of Cincinnality television show, February 5 2013.  Wump Mucket Puppets

Cyril and Terrence Burke on the set of Cincinnality television show, February 5 2013.

With the hope of the television appearance on the back burner, the puppet troupe kicked into gear for the public debut of our new puppet character Kitty Quo Quo Quo Qua at Happen in Northside on February 16th.  What a night!  What a crowd!

Here’s a video clip from the show:

Keeping things rocking and rolling, the puppets (and their puppeteer) where interviewed on the Ted Clark After Dark show at the rock club MOTR.  The audience were a bit older than our usual crowd, and may have been drinking something other than chocolate milk. Perhaps that explains their choice of words?  Still it was fun to bring our brand of silliness into a rock club, and Ted was a cool host.  Big thanks to fellow puppeteer Ryan Moore that night.

Enjoy Cyril singing “A Song About Cryptozoology”:

Valentine’s Day was a little over a week late at Wump Mucket Puppets H.Q.  It’s not that we forgot the date, it’s the news that was received on Tuesday February 26th…

Yes fans and friends, we had been awarded our first scholarship!  We were really going to the 2013 Puppeteers of America National Puppetry Festival!  Yipee!!!

Marching along into the end of Winter, the troupe performed at St. Boniface School in Northside.  We were part of the school’s Right to Read Week, and from what we’ve been told were  a big hit!  Here’s part of the kind thank you note we received from the children’s teacher:

Dear Mr. Burke, 

Thank you so much for bringing your Wump Mucket Puppets to St. Boniface.  We loved them!  We were even inspired by your program to make our own hand puppets.

It was around this time that I gave a bit of thought to my philosophy of puppetry, it’s very simple:  “Share the knowledge.  Spread the joy.”

We dodged a few rain showers in April to begin a very busy Spring.  The puppets entertained guests at the Voice For the Innocent/Connections: A Safe Place event at Sharon Woods.  And while the television cameras were looking elsewhere, the microphones at Cincinnati’s NPR affiliate, WVXU were on -inviting us into their studio three times over the year!  Here’s our April interview with host Jim Stump, as we talk about Cincinnati’s National Day of Puppetry:

Terrence Burke and Wump Mucket Puppets on WVXU-FM

Bob Abdou, Linda Mason, Terrence Burke at Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild's National Day of Puppetry celebration

Bob Abdou, Linda Mason, Terrence Burke at Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild’s National Day of Puppetry celebration, April 20 2013 at Happen, Inc.

The members of the Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild presented a fantastic National Day of Puppetry with help from our host Happen, Inc.  It was marvelous to see so many happy people interested in puppetry!  I was a very proud father that day. My daughter performed with me, and even up-staged me to get BIG laughs!  Way to go Eleanor!

Eleanor and Terrence Burke give a pre-show warm up.  Wump Mucket Puppets

Eleanor and Terrence Burke give a preshow warm up at Cincinnati’s National Day of Puppetry celebration 2013.

If you have never attended a National Day of Puppetry, here’s a short video made by puppeteer Bill Yost:

At the beginning of May, we pointed the Wump Mucket mobile towards Columbus Ohio.  I was invited to speak about puppetry at Entertainer’s Camp, organized by our pal Bob Abdou.  What is Entertainer’s Camp?  It’s a day long, low-key, networking event for members of the variety arts (clowns, magicians, jugglers, balloon artists, and even puppeteers).

Terrence performs

Terrence performs “Dancing Queen” with Frank Cesario Entertainer’s Camp 2013

It was great to hang out with puppeteer pals and talk about…puppets!

Frank Cesario, Nate Brown, Terrence Burke at Entertainer's Camp 2013

Frank Cesario, Nate Brown, Terrence Burke at Entertainer’s Camp 2013

Best of all,  the end of day pie fight was a SMASHING success!

Terrence getting a pie in the face!  Entertainer's Camp 2013

Terrence getting a pie in the face! Entertainer’s Camp 2013.

Terrence Burke at Entertainer's Camp 2013

Who wants pie?!?

Then our Summer schedule blasted off like a rocket on it’s way to Mars!  It seemed like we were everywhere, well we were!  Libraries, schools, festivals,  there was no stopping our mighty little puppet troupe.  Somewhere we even found the time to give another chat, this time for the Cincinnati Women’s Connection.  It was during this speaking engagement that a member of the audience told me that my puppetry and love of using one’s imagination reminded her of one of my heroes, Fred Rogers.  I was flattered.

Terrence performs Cyril at the Cincinnati Women's Connection luncheon, July 18 2013.

Terrence performs Cyril at the Cincinnati Women’s Connection luncheon, July 18 2013.

August popped up quicker than you can say Puppetry Festival five times fast!  The car was loaded, the puppets safe in their cases, off to Swarthmore College we went.  We did make a stop along the way, Coleman gets hungry when traveling:


Now I won’t review an entire week, that’s been covered HERE.  However, I will repeat that attending the 2013 National Puppetry Festival was one of the happiest weeks in my life.  I was free to be my five year old self (more or less) for an entire week of nothing but puppets and puppeteers!  Will i be attending the 2015 festival?  You bet your Bert bedsheets I will!

Terrence Burke at 2013 National Puppetry Festival

Keep this puppeteer AWAY from sugary cereal!

Of course Cyril got into the spirit of the festival to perform during Potpourri:

We were even “heckled” by several Sesame Street puppeteers!

The Potpourri

The Potpourri “judges”:  Telly Monster, Grundgetta Grouch, and W. Performed by Martin Robinson, Pam Arciero, and Tyler Bunch. What’s in those cans?

As Autumn made it’s way to Cincinnati, the puppets and I kicked into festival season which brought us to the Edgewood Kentucky Fall Festival, CliftonFest, and a very special performance for our new pals at Saint Joseph Orphanage.  The big news for us was our new stage!

Wump Mucket Puppets perform in their new stage at Smale Riverfront Park

Wump Mucket Puppets perform in their new stage at Smale Riverfront Park, Cincinnati September 15 2013.

The stage was a planned project over 2013, and started late 2012 with the guidance and knowledge of California puppeteer Charles Taylor.  The construction of the stage was a team effort that included my neighbor, and fellow puppeteer, Jesse Mooney-Bullock.
Jesse opened his workshop to me and shared his woodcrafting skills as we constructed the stage together over a few Saturday mornings.

Wump Mucket Puppets stage being built at Bullooney PuppetWorks

Wump Mucket Puppets stage being built at Bullooney PuppetWorks, August 2013.

After I painted the frame, my wife Lara, and mother sewed the curtains for the new stage.

Sewing the curtains for the new Wump Mucket Puppets stage.

Sewing the curtains for the new Wump Mucket Puppets stage.

We had our share of troubles, yet in the end things were worked out and the new puppet stage made it’s debut performance at Smale Riverfront Park on Sunday September 15, 2013.  This was a very special show for me.  I was performing on the same stage as my friend Jesse, who had helped me so much with the stage over the summer.  I was also performing my show for my mother, who lives in New England and has never seen my puppetry -as an adult that is.

Backstage at Smale Riverfront Park

Backstage at Smale Riverfront Park. Looks like the puppeteer wants you to like his Facebook page.

Terrence Burke with the new Wump Mucket Puppets stage.

Terrence Burke with the new Wump Mucket Puppets stage.

Puppeteer with his Mum

Puppeteer with his Mum at Smale Riverfront Park.

As we rolled out the new puppet stage, we also stopped by WVXU again to chat about our trip to the Puppetry Festival and upcoming performances. Cyril considers this the best interview he has given, enjoy:

WVXU has been a fantastic friend to Wump Mucket Puppets.

WVXU has been a fantastic friend to Wump Mucket Puppets.

Here we are with WVXU’s Around Cincinnati host Robyn Carey-Allgeyer.

In puppetry you must be ready to improvise in a split second.  Sometimes this means changing the show a little to engage the audience, sometimes it means packing all your staging and sound equipment away when the weather suddenly changes!  Our second performance at CliftonFest 2013 was in danger of being canceled due to the rain.  What could we do?  There were children waiting for a silly puppet show, I had puppets…  it’s showtime!

Wump Mucket Puppets perform a very odd version of Cinderella (in the rain) at CliftonFest 2013.

Eleanor warms up the audience with Kitty Quo Quo Quo Qua at Northside Farmers Market.

At our final outdoor show of 2013. Eleanor warms up the audience with Kitty Quo Quo Quo Qua at Northside Farmers Market.

With our outdoor shows finished for the year, we began to wind down and  prepare songs and skits for our silly holiday shows.  I have always loved watching the television Christmas specials such as Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and A Year Without a Santa Claus, and love to perform my puppetry at Christmas time.  This year I donated a performance to another of our non-profit friends, United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Cincinnati.  The clients are a lovely audience, and always have kind words about my puppet show.

Terrence and Coleman the Sasquatch are in a mood for Christmas shows.

Terrence and Coleman the Sasquatch are in a mood for Christmas shows.

But wait, there is something very special that arrived in today’s mail -speedy delivery:

And there is is, more or less,  Wump Mucket Puppets had their busiest year ever!  We thank all our clients, audience members, fellow puppeteers, friends in the media, neighbors, friends, and family.  YOU are the reason I do my very best to create a family friendly puppet show that I would want to see with my children.  Thank you for your interest and allowing me to share my puppetry with you.  Puppets ROCK!

 

 

Thanksgiving Special

I hope that all my puppetry fans and friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  My family and I watched the Macy’s parade on television (where was  the Underdog balloon?), shared a delicious meal together, took a walk around our neighborhood to the playground, and enjoyed each others company.

Cyril and his puppeteer, Terrence Burke

Cyril and his puppeteer, Terrence Burke

Later in the evening I performed my puppet show at the Ronald McDonald House near Children’s Hospital in Cincinnati.  I have been donating shows for the guests for two years now.  Every show I perform there is special. Why?  Because for thirty minutes or so I let the children and families forget about the reason they are staying at the Ronald McDonald House and share my imagination with them.  Nothing more.  Sharing my love of puppetry, singing a silly song, telling a goofy joke, having a bit of fun.

As I prepared to pack up the puppets and the stage, a noticed a young boy who was about four years old standing in the theatre with his parents.  I offered him one of our coloring pages to color.  He seemed rather shy, so I was sure to give him space.  Suddenly he perked up and asked to see “the blue puppet” (which is our “Monster of Ceremonies” Cyril).  The boy began to open up to Cyril, ignoring that I was operating and voicing the puppet.  He asked Cyril many questions about his purple beard, where does his voice come from, and how does he pop up from the puppet stage.  All along his father was snapping photos of his son interacting with the puppet.  It was a wonderful moment for me.  This is why I am a puppeteer.  I brought magic to this young boy’s life for half an hour.

When the gear was all packed up and ready to be loaded, I passed the reception desk to have one of the volunteers tell me she overheard many of the children exit the theatre saying, “That was an awesome puppet show!”.  She thanked me for spending my Thanksgiving evening entertaining the children and guests and asked if I would come back again.  You bet I will!

This made my Thanksgiving special.

Listen up! We were on the radio!

Wump Mucket Puppets on WVXU radio

We are thrilled to share that the Wump Mucket Puppets returned to the airwaves of WVXU 91.7 FM, Cincinnati’s NPR affiliate, as guests on the Around Cincinnati program.

We’ve created a slide show of sorts to accompany the radio program that was orginally broadcast on Sunday, September 8, 2013:

Many thanks to Robyn Carey Allgeyer for interviewing “us”, and to producer Lee Hay for her continued interest in our silliness.  Please consider making a donation to WVXU, thanking them for their help in promoting the arts in Cincinnati:  wvxu.org/support

Wump Mucket Puppets with WVXU host Robyn Carey Allgeyer.