“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!

What a week Wump Mucket Puppets

What a fantastic, puppet rockin’ week it has been!  Wump Mucket Puppets are becoming regular guests in Cincinnati media.  We love all the kind attention that we are getting.  Thank you to the producers, anchors, and editors that have helped me share this adventure in puppetry with their viewers, listeners, and readers.  You ROCK!

We return to WVXU
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Our media “blitz” this past week began with an email from WVXU 91.7 FM, Cincinnati’s NPR affiliate, to invite me to come to their Central Parkway studios and be interviewed to promote our May 9, 2015 performance at Northside’s Art in the Park.  Producer Lee Hay has been very kind to our little puppet troupe, making this our fifth appearance on Around Cincinnati.  Be sure to tune in Sunday April 26, from 7 – 8 pm or listen to their stream.  We had a great time chatting with host Anne Arenstein, plus Reg The Loveland Frog makes his radio singing debut!  Here are a few of Wump Mucket Puppets previous apperances on WVXU to enjoy.

Promoting Cincinnati puppetry on FOX19
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How do you follow up a radio interview?  How about a LIVE morning television segment!  As the president of the Cincinnati Area Puppetry Guild, I am very grateful to the folks at FOX19 to invite myself and our vice president Ryan Moore on as guests.  Anchor Frank Marzullo is fun to talk to.  WXIX has a long history with Cincinnati puppetry, as it was the TV station that our founding guild president Larry Smith helped sign on the air in 1968, and remained one of the top rated shows.  I look forward to future guests spots with Frank and his co-hosts at FOX19.
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Here’s our segment on FOX19 Morning Xtra to enjoy:

Day of Puppetry

As the week drew closer to the Day of Puppetry, my wife Lara and I found the time to get our growing cast of puppets together for a few photos that Cincinnati Magazine has requested for their June 2015 issue to promote Wump Mucket Puppets performance at the Taft Museum of Art on Sunday June 21, 2015.  You must pick up that issue to see our fantastic photo.

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The Day of Puppetry at Happen in Northside was a big hit with all the children and their families who attended.  Thanks to Happen Inc for being our host for three years in a row!  And thank you to puppeteers Ryan Moore and Richard Brown who performed along with me and share the joy of puppetry with our city.

 

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

Autumn is here

After a very busy (and hot!) Summer for Wump Mucket Puppets, we have finally made it to my favorite time of the year, Autumn.

I was born in New England, and have many fond memories of this season. Some of them are apple picking, delivering newspapers around the village I grew up in while leaves crunch beneath my feet, and of course Halloween!
I wish that I had photos to share from that time in my life, the costumes were remarkable. You’ll have to remember that I grew up in the 70’s, decade before digital cameras and the internet. Let’s see, some of my favorite costumes that I made were:
– A silver robot made out of cardboard boxes
– Making a witch nose & chin from liquid latex that my mother bravely allowed me to make   a plaster cast of her face. She has a great witch cackle!
– Although I didn’t make the Frankenstein monster mask, I had fun pretending to be what may be the world’s shortest Frankenstein as a warmed-up the people waiting in line to enter a community center haunted house.

These days, I enjoy watching my two children have fun as they trick-or-treat around our neighborhood in Cincinnati. Here is a cute video from 2007, when our family dressed up as the Mystery Inc. gang from Scooby-Doo:

Bitter about Litter

Over on our Facebook page I recently shared with our fans where ideas from songs come from.  Sometimes the ideas pop into my head and I have to search for a pencil to scratch it down before it’s lost to time.  Other times ideas are more obvious and are inspired by daily life.

Coleman at our info table at the Taft Museum of Art

Here’s the first verse of a tune that Coleman sings in the show:

Oh it make’s be kinda bitter,

To see all this litter thrown all over the ground-ground-ground.

It makes me wanna scream, to see tires in a stream,

when they should be spinning round-round-round.

This song was inspired by the litter that I pick up nearly every morning while taking my daily walk around my neighborhood.  It makes me sad that the people who throw their trash on the ground do not care about the place where they live enough to keep it nice and clean.

When I was growing up I remember watching TV public service announcements that featured the costumed character Woodsy Owl (another way to say BIG puppet).  Back then children were encouraged to “Give a hoot, don’t pollute”.  Are today’s youth missing that message?

When Coleman introduces his song in the show, he expresses how sad it makes him feel when he finds litter strewn about the forest and picnic grove. I hope that a little bit of his song is lodged in the minds of the children watching my puppet show so they remember that “every litter bit helps”, and help keep our planet a cleaner place.

Here’s Woodsy Owl’s tune that found it’s way into my childhood memories:

Woodsy Owl PSA from Youtube

 

Puppets + Pizza = ?

What began as a few sketches on a piece of paper this past Summer is now many zeros and ones on your computer screen. What in the world am I babbling about? Why the promotional video that Wump Mucket Puppets have created for Cincinnati Pizza shop NYPD Pizza of course.

Puppets have been the “spokes things” for products for decades. Burr Tillstrom’s Kukla & Ollie pitched RCA washing machines in the 1950’s. Long before Jim Henson was a household name his Muppets were selling Wilkins Coffee and LaChoy “Chinese” food. I am very proud to have the opportunity of join these legends of puppetry, by having my puppet characters help promote a local, family owned business that I am a regular customer of for many years.

Who knows, perhaps this is the start of something bigger for me and my little gang of puppets?

Now go and order yourself some pizza at www.NYPDpizza.com   -tell ’em Cyril sent ya!

I am a proud Daddy puppeteer tonight

It’s probably true that most parents are happy when their children take an interest in something that they both enjoy.  Some dads may share their love of baseball (my father was a HUGE baseball fan), or perhaps a mother may enjoy gardening with her children.  Every family has their own shared interests.  In our house, we are into puppets… a little bit.

Today’s puppet show performance was very special to me.  It was the first time that I performed with someone else, that someone was my almost seven year old daughter Eleanor.  She asked me a couple of days ago if she could “do something” in the show.  Seeing that she seemed very interested I told her sure, and asked if she wished to perform.  Earlier in the day she even put on a little “warm-up” puppet show for her brother Tiernan and I to enjoy:

About an hour before I loaded the puppet gear into our car, Eleanor seemed hesitant about performing.  As much as I wanted her to perform with me, I was not going to push her.  “Besides”, I told her, “you’ll be inside the puppet stage with me where no one can see you.”  That seemed to settle her fears, and she was ready to perform with her toy puppet “Pinky”.

Cyril the Sea Serpent Terrence Burke Wump Mucket Puppets

A father and daughter, and their puppets.

As you can imagine, my children have been around puppets their entire lives.  When they were very young, I would perform my puppets to entertain them.  Eleanor would often ask to talk to Cyril, and would seem to have “private” conversations with the puppet -even though her daddy was right there operating the puppet.  Somehow I doubt that will happen when she’s a teenager.  Which is why I am happy that she has the interest in puppetry now while she is young and able to use her young imagination right along with me.  Who knows?  Maybe Eleanor and Tiernan will be the second generation of the Wump Mucket Puppets.

 

The creation of our new Autumn coloring page

I am very happy to tell our young fans that we will be offering a new Wump Mucket Puppets coloring page at our Northside Farmers Market performance tomorrow (Oct. 5th) at 6 PM.

Before I give you a sneak peek, here’s a look at the original idea that was drawn by my almost seven year old daughter Eleanor:

Eleanor Burke's Wump Mucket Puppets Autumn coloring page

Eleanor Burke's Wump Mucket Puppets Autumn coloring page.

 

 

I love how she came up with an Autumn themed coloring page that features all of the Wump Mucket Puppets characters.

 

 

 

Next we have the rough draft,  drawn by my very artistic wife Lara:

Wump Mucket Puppets Autumn coloring sheet rough draft

Lara's rough draft for the Autumn coloring page

 

Lara expanded on Eleanor’s idea of the puppets popping up out of a pile of leaves.  Did you ever do that as a child?  Or perhaps you still do.  Go ahead, admit it, leaves can be fun.

 

 

 

Finally we have the finished coloring page:

Wump Mucket Puppets Autumn coloring page 2011

The finished Wump Mucket Puppets Autumn Coloring page by Lara Rumizen.

 

I added the Wump Mucket Puppets logo so our friends, new and old, will remember our little puppet troupe.  I am very lucky to have two very talented ladies in my family that help make the puppets look great.

 

 

 

We would love to see your completed Wump Mucket Puppets coloring pages!  We’ll even add a few to our fan page of the website to share with the world.

Parents, email a photo of your child’s completed Wump Mucket Puppets coloring page, along with your child’s first name and age to wumpmucket @ fuse.net

Location scouting in Parkers Woods

Thankfully there was no rain when my son Tiernan and I took a walk in Parkers Woods to look at locations for the “web-mercial” that I am creating for Northside’s best pizza shop NYPD Pizza.

Come and join us on a short walk in the woods and learn more about what I am making:

I am very happy with the script, and hope to get the production rolling within a week or so.  Now let’s hope that Cincinnati doesn’t get a week of heavy rain. Here’s a sneak peek at the storyboard:

A page from the NYPD Pizza "web-mercial" storyboard.

You always hear about truth in advertising, and how some ads are not what they seem to be.  I’ll completely honest with you, I am a loyal customer of NYPD Pizza and consider it an honor to create a funny little video with my puppet characters for them to use on their website. The Leidecker Family, who own the pizza shop, have always been great neighbors to my family and to our entire neighborhood of Northside.