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.

Living the puppet life!

This past week has both flown by, and moved so slow that it could have been a month.

It has brought me new friends, and reconnected me with old ones.

I have been introduced to new techniques, possibilities, and ideas.  Thus allowing me to review my own creativity with a fresh perspective.  Growth is good.

(r)evolution.  evolution.  Terrence Burke at 2013 National Puppetry Festival, Swarthmore Pennsylvania

Not the ending.  A new beginning.

Having been awarded a scholarship to attend this festival was certainly a honor, yet that was quickly passed by making connections with so many unique, beautiful, creative people.  I started the week knowing but a handful of those attending, and left knowing so many more people.  It was amazing.

Can I pick one event as a favorite, no.  I can share several though.

The human connection through puppetry would have to be what I consider the most important experience of the week.  We channel our souls and imaginations through objects, material, pictures, and words.  Some of us share more than others, and that is the choice of the artist.  To bare their souls, their hopes, their nightmares and dreams to an audience is something that I consider a very brave act.  Not all succeed, yet the attempt is something to be admired.  I applaud everyone who took to a stage, large or small and shared part of themselves with over 500 puppeteers.  You are all amazing human beings.

Meeting artists who’s work has inspired me as a puppeteer was all very thrilling.  To share a chuckle, a handshake or a hug, a chance to meet the person and learn more about them has already begun to change the way I look at my art. Terrence Burke with Wayne White

 

 

Wayne White  has left a mark on my way of creating puppets.  His rock n’ roll attitude, and language, may turn some people away.  NOT ME.  I love that he creates for himself, if others like it great.  If they don’t, BLEEP!

If you have not watched the film “Beauty is Embarrassing”, drop what ever you are doing right now.  Sit down.  Watch it. Now!  WARNING:  Wayne uses quite a few expletives.

Beauty is Embarrassing

 

Another of the magical moments was being invited to the studio of Chinese artist/rod puppeteer Hua Hua Zhang.  I truly believe that things happen for reasons.   Terrence Burke with Hua Hua ZhangFilmmaker/puppeteer/blogger Andrew Young, of PuppetVision blog, asked if I could drive him and his film gear to Hua Hua’s studio after some complications restricted his previous ride to take him there.  I quickly said yes.  The word is one that opens many doors.  For if I had said no, I probably would have never encountered her artwork, or spend part of my Saturday afternoon in her studio.  Thank you Hua Hua, you are a very kind and sharing person.  I look forward to meeting again.

Such a week may be a once in a lifetime adventure.  I have so many happy memories that this edition of my blog will have to be continued.  Here are a couple of photos of my dear friends, old and new, who make living the puppet life the best!  Thank you all, I cherish our friendships and time spent together.

Old friends from the Cincinnati puppetry community:

My new Puppet Pals from the East Coast:

 

Now it’s time to go to bed before 2 AM!  Keep rocking puppeteers!

 

 

 

 

Puppet week is almost here!

A major event in my life as a puppeteer is less than 24 hours away!  Tomorrow I will be at the 2013 Puppet Festival (r)Evolution in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.  I am so excited that I may not sleep tonight.

Terrence Burke with G'Wazzl G'Wook of Wump Mucket Puppets

My journey to the puppetry festival has been a long one.  It can be traced back to my childhood in Massachusetts, where I was first entranced by puppets on television.  It’s about time that my inner five year old enjoy a week of puppetry workshops, performances, lectures, and meeting other puppeteers!  I am happy that I still have quite a bit of “kid” in me, although my almost 50 year old body needs a kick in the pants now and then.

There are so many people that I must thank for their love and support over the last ten years, as I have slowly made my passion in life something to share with others.  My family (Lara, Eleanor, and Tiernan), my parents and siblings, my extended family, friends, fellow puppeteers & the global puppetry community (including the selection committee that awarded me a scholarship to the festival), and all the great people who come to see my little puppet troupe perform their silliness and songs.  You have all proven to me that I have something worth sharing with the world.  Thank you everyone!

Enough of me babbling.  Here’s a fun little video I made with my daughter at a rest stop along our long drive, enjoy:

As I say at the end of every show, “Puppets ROCK!”

Ramble On!

Ramble On, And now’s the time, the time is now, to sing my song.
-Led Zeppelin

Lots of different things happening in the world of Wump Mucket Puppets, and I would love to share a few with you.

FREE Coloring Pages!
Those of you who have attended our puppet show may have received a complimentary coloring page at the end of the show, well maybe not the folks reading this blog, but their children. I still can remember being a child, and the thrill of being given a small priWump Mucket Puppets coloring page by Eleanor Burkeze at a grocery store, the dentist’s office, or even a gas station. That’s why I always have a supply of hand drawn coloring pages for our young fans to take home with them to color. Understanding that some friends of our little puppet troupe live far away, or may live close by and feel the need to color Cyril, Coloeman, and G’Wazzl on a rainy Summer afternoon we are thrilled to have several of our coloring pages available for you to download and print out!

Go HERE to find our coloring pages

 

 

Jim Henson – The BiographyTop of page 192 Jim Henson biography
I am enjoying reading this new bio written by Brian Jay Jones. I was not very familiar with Jim Henson’s early life, and the relationships that he had with his parents, grandmother, and brother.  As I write this blog, I am at page 206 in the book. Jim is trying to get a television network to produce a variety show featuring puppets! I wonder how that will turn out?  The author has been given access to Henson’s diaries, interviewed his family, fellow puppeteers and associates to allow the reader into Henson’s world as he created it. Without giving a spoiler, I must say that at times I feel a bit uncomfortable reading some of the details of Henson’s life. Overall, I enjoy it very much.  Now who’s going to write a biography of Burr Tillstrom?    This book is on  available 9/24/13  Pre-order from Amazon

The Puppet Revolution is almost here! 
In nearly three weeks I’ll be pointing the mighty Wump Mucket mobile towards the East, on my way to my first Puppet Festival! I am arriving a bit early to help out with the registration, and anything else that the staff can throw at me. It will be great to meet so many puppeteers, and shake the hands of people that I have only met “electronically”. You can bet your boots that I’ll find my way onto the stage during the week. Be sure to check back here for all the exciting details, I plan to document as much of the festival, and my experiences, as possible. As my puppet pal Micha has said so eloquently, “Viva la Sock!”


Thanks for reading my blog.  I really appreciate all of the kind folks that I encounter through my journey in the world of puppetry, you ROCK!    Now I plan to read a few more pages of the Jim Henson biography before bed.

 

 

A letter from Entertainers Camp

A letter from Entertainers Camp

Terrence Burke during the pie fightOn a cold gray morning this past winter I received a phone call from ventriloquist Bob Abdou.  I had met Bob a few times at puppet guild gatherings, and kept in touch with him via Facebook.  Not only do Bob and I love puppets, we share interests in The Beatles, and 1960’s pop culture (Bob’s just a few years older than me).  During the phone call he asked if I would come to Columbus and give an informative talk about puppetry for about 30 minutes at the Entertainers Camp that he was organizing.  Is that all?  I could yack about puppets for days, and often do.  Then he informed me that the day would end with a pie fight!  I was sold.  I told Bob to sign me up for Entertainers Camp!

Terrence Burke and Bob Abdou during the pie fight

Terrence Burke and Bob Abdou during the pie fight.

What is Entertainers Camp?  It’s a relaxed day of sharing experiences and information in what Bob refers to as “the variety arts”.  It’s meeting entertainers who bring happiness to people of all ages through clowning, balloon art, comedy juggling, face painting, magic, story-telling, ventriloquism, and of course puppetry.  It’s about having good, (mostly) clean, fun!

Entertainers Camp 2013 posterOver the Winter and into Spring I scribbled down notes to knock my words into an informal speech to inspire the audience to pick up a puppet and start their journey as a performer.  I do not claim to be a puppetry expert, I only hope to inform others with the knowledge that I have gained from my own experiences.

Terrence Burke and his "abstract baloon art"

Terrence Burke and his "abstract baloon art"

When the day of the event arrived, I got up very early.  Brewed an extra strong pot of coffee, and pointed the Wump Mucket mobile towards the capitol of Ohio… thank goodness for Doctor Who audio books (and auto pilot).

I wasn’t sure what to expect from the day.  I did know that a few puppeteers that I know “electronically” would be there, and the chance to shake hands, give a friendly hug, and spend time together was a big enough thrill.  I am very pleased that I had the wonderful opportunity to meet many great entertainers.  If that wasn’t enough, I had the opportunity to get silly and perform a puppet lip-sync with young puppeteer Frank Cesario.  Remember his name, this guy is going to be a star!

Terrence Burke and Frank Cesario perform Abba's "Mama Mia"

Terrence Burke and Frank Cesario perform Abba's "Mama Mia"

As the lead off speaker for the day, I had the job of getting the day of to a good start.  If there was one running theme of my talk, it was my closing sentence, “share the knowledge, spread the joy.”  Of course I brought Cyril to sing a little to the audience, and have them shouting “Puppets ROCK!” at the end of my lecture.  Several “campers” came up to me afterwards to thank me for my suggestions and sharing the information that I have acquired during my time as a performing puppeteer.  Which makes me very happy, sharing what I have learned about puppetry with others.

Entertainers Camp 2013 attendees

Entertainers Camp 2013 attendees, and the top of Bob Abdou's head.

The day will always be a very happy memory for me.  Not only did I get to yack about puppetry, I was able to listen to other entertainers and learn from their experiences and talents.  Thanks for inviting me Bob, I hope you’ll have me back to camp next year.

The Three Puppeteers - Frank Cesario, Nate Puppets, Terrence Burke

The Three Puppeteers - Frank Cesario, Nate Puppets, Terrence Burke

Terrence Burke wins scholarship

Terrence Burke wins scholarship

Wonderful news everyone! 

I have been awarded the Emma Louise Warfield Memorial Scholarship for the National Festival of the Puppeteers of America.  I am very grateful to everyone who helped me including Linda Mason (Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild), Aretta Baumgartner (Center for Puppetry Arts), John Lewandowski (Madcap Productions Puppet Theatre), Lisa Davis (Ronald McDonald House Charities of Greater Cincinnati), Sarah Schellenger (Cincinnati Public Library), my father-in-law Jim Rumizen, Lara, Eleanor, Tiernan, and my family for inspiring me every day to do my best.  Puppets ROCK!

Here’s a silly video we cooked up to celebrate the occasion:

For the love of puppets

For the love of puppets

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!

Wump Mucket Puppets Terrence Burke and Cyril on Cincinnality studio set

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.

Wump Mucket Puppets Cyril the Sea Serpent on the Ohio river

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.

New fun on the way!

New fun on the way!

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

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 Facebook 300 quest continues!

Wump Mucket Puppets Facebook 300 quest continues!

Wump Mucket Puppets Coleman the Sasquatch and Eleanor

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:

Wump Mucket Puppets Coleman the Sasquatch with Anastasia trading cards

Here’s tonight’s exciting video:

What a thrilling contest this is!  Have you liked it?  Have you liked Wump Mucket Puppets on Facebook?  You didn’t really think that this was Rod Stewart?  It’s NOT Rod.

NOT Rod Stewart

Thanks to everyone who has joined the fun so far.  We need your help, so feel free to share our silly little video with the whole world and let ’em know that Wump Mucket Puppets ROCK!