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.

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.

“A Show of Hands” documentary news

“A Show of Hands” documentary news

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For those pals who do not follow our adventures on Facebook (please LIKE us) I will recap what’s been happening with the documentary film that has been made about me:

In late September of 2015 I was contacted by Wright State University film student Sean W. Mangan.  He was interested in making a short film about me, my puppetry, and how it all came to be.  We chatted on the phone, exchanged a few emails, and eventually set-up a schedule to shoot the film.  Over the course of five days in October, Sean interviewed me at home,  shot some footage of my family, and a couple of my puppet shows performed in Kentucky and Indiana.

During the holiday season Sean edited all of his footage into a 10 minute documentary short and gave it the title “A Show of Hands”.  Then it was ready to watch!  On February 12, 2016 I attended the screening at Wright State University’s 16th Annual Doc Night with students, faculty, alumni, and families of the filmmakers.  I am very pleased to say that Sean has captured my story on film in a very honest and heartfelt manner, and believe that others will enjoy it too.

What’s next?  We are trying to juggle our busy schedules and present the film to the public with a screening at the Northside library, where my professional puppetry career began, followed by a Q & A session with Sean and myself, perhaps a puppet or two.  I thank everyone for their interest and patience as we work towards a Cincinnati premier date.  For my out of town family and friends, the film will eventually be available to view online.

Thanks again for all your interest, support, and love over the years.  I think you too will enjoy “A Show of Hands”.  Puppets ROCK!

Wump Mucket Puppets on the radio

Wump Mucket Puppets on the radio!

Wump Mucket Puppets on the radio WVXU
We are hitting the Cincinnati airwaves as guests on 91.7 WVXU‘s “Around Cincinnati” program on Sunday, November 8, 2015 between 7 – 8 PM.  This will be G’Wizzl’s radio debut so be sure to tune in and hear Terrence Burke and G’Wizzl chat about all things Wump Mucket!  Listen online at www.WVXU.org

In other Wump Mucket Puppet news…

Film Documentary Update:

The film documentary directed by Sean Mangan is coming along nicely.  I have seen a few bits, and it looks fantastic!  Sean has been editing the footage that he has been shooting over the last month or so to complete a 15-20 minute film.  It’s very exciting to be the subject of a documentary, and I look forward to seeing the finished film.   Sean has been fantastic to work with!  We are hoping to have a screening for our Cincinnati friends, and will be sure to let you know when and where as soon as we can.

New Puppet Star and skit:

A new puppet star is on the way!  My wife (and chief puppet builder) Lara Rumizen has come up with a fantastic design for what we are sure will be a popular new addition to our growing cast of puppets.  Can you guess what sort of fantastic new creature it will be?  Here’s a few clues…  This creature may have been “found” out West or on the prairie.  A statue of this legendary creature was built in Wyoming.  It has even found it’s way onto very popular postcards.   Can you guess what it will be?  Be sure to join the Wump Mucket Puppets Facebook page as we begin to post photos of this new character!

Our “Frozen Follies” Holiday/Winter show is preparing to roll out to several schools and libraries this Winter.  Be sure to come and see our brand new skit “The Great Marshmallow Harvest”  that stars Coleman the Sasquatch and our new puppet star! Dates and times for performances open to the general public can be found on our website’s SHOWS page.

As always, thanks for your interest in my puppetry.  I hope that you can come and see our show this Winter.  Puppets ROCK!

Documentary Day One

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Documentary Day One

I know that it’s been MONTHS since I updated this little blog.  I shall try harder to keep our friends and fans up to date on the wonderful and wacky world of Wump Mucket Puppets.  I bet  you are wondering what’s all this documentary talk?  Well I hope you are.  Let me explain…

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Wright State University film student Sean Mangan.  He asked if I would be interested in being the subject of a portrait documentary that he was directing for his film making class.  His film’s purpose is to explore a human being’s story and find a way to make it relatable to an audience.  I called him soon after I read the email and arranged a meeting at Wump Mucket HQ (our living room).

Our first meeting went very well.  As it turns out, Sean was referred to me by another puppeteer and friend.  We talked about the time commitment and began to work out a shooting schedule.  During the following week, I emailed several of my clients to obtain permission to allow a film crew to follow me around at their event.  The replies were all very positive, and the clients expressed their support and interest in this film.  Yahoo!

Finally it was time for our first day of shooting.  On October 9th we shot my interview for the film.  Sean and his crew member Eric Dickey arrived with a LOAD of film equipment.  It was cool to see our living room gradually turn into a mini film studio, as Sean and Eric set up all the lights required to get the right look for the film.

I made certain that I had a cup of tea, and a bottle of water on hand, for what turned out to be what I feel was a great interview.  Sean’s questions were very thoughtful.  His film is allowing me to tell my story as a performing puppeteer and explain what life events and challenges I have encountered during this adventure in puppetry.

I invite you to follow Wump Mucket Puppets on Facebook.  I have posted a few photos on that page, and will be adding more as this production continues next week with a camera following me behind the scenes at my puppet show.  Puppets ROCK!