Bee Happy at Rockdale Academy

Bee Happy at Rockdale Academy

Wump Mucket Puppets had a great time performing our Bee Happy puppet show at Rockdale Academy, which is an elementary school within the Cincinnati Public Schools system.  Our show was part of the school’s Global Conservation Day.

I wrote “Bee Happy” during the Winter/Spring of 2017, to perform it throughout the Summer at libraries, schools, and special events.  I was inspired by my mother, who is retired and keeps bees at her home in New Hampshire.  While speaking with her on the phone, we agreed that children are often afraid of bees, and should learn more about how they are very important to our world.

I cast our super space princess G’Wizzl (see above photo) in the featured story, having her land on Earth to meet a worker bee who tells her how helpful bees are, she is then invited back to the bee hive to meet Q.B. the Queen Bee.  During the later part of the story, G’Wizzl invites the audience to stand up to do a bee dance with her.  It was a better idea to have the 250+ students stay seated, and “dance along” by clapping and moving along to my electronic “bee music”.  The children were fantastic “bee dancers”.

I am very pleased that the show fit in with the school’s curriculum “BEE-utifully”.  Both the faculty and students told me how much they enjoyed the show.  This is very pleasing for me to hear, because it means that my puppetry is both entertaining and educational.  This was my second time performing for the Cincinnati Public Schools this year, and based upon this experience, I am looking forward to “buzzing” this fun puppet show throughout the school system and beyond.

What is a little ironic, is that I was terrified of bees as a boy.  Now I am helping educate children about the many benefits of bees, how they help us, and how we can help them.  

To close out this blog post, I wish to quote my original song that G’Wizzl sings towards the end of the show, “Be happy let your smile shine!”

The Aftab Pureval Duck flies again

The Aftab Pureval Duck flies again

I had the pleasure to shoot another as the puppeteer of The Duck in a video with Hamilton County Clerk of Courts, Aftab Pureval.  He is running for US Congress in 2018.  This will be the second time in almost two years that I have voiced and puppeteered The Duck for  campaign videos for Aftab.  Here is a link to the other videos that I perform The Duck:  CLICK HERE TO WATCH

While it may seem easy, providing the character voice and holding the puppet up into frame for the camera to see, requires me to hide myself behind Aftab while keeping The Duck puppet steady and in the shot.

You may be wondering where The Duck puppet came from.  The puppet was purchased by Aftab’s campain staff a couple years ago when he was running for Hamilton County Clerk of Courts (He WON!).  It was created by puppet builder Steve Axtell of Axtell Expressions.

This particular shoot was made on location at a private residence in Downtown Cincinnati.  Many thanks to the camera crew, and Aftab’s campaign manager Sarah Topy for having me back as The Duck’s puppeteer. I will be certain to share the video when it is posted online.  Best wishes AFTAB!

Giving thanks in 2017

Giving thanks in 2017

Wump Mucket Puppets - A Puppet Rocker's Blog

It is the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2017 as I write this blog.  Coffee has been made, my children are still sleeping, and our new cat Piper has been fed (more on her in a bit).  2017 has been another year of growth for myself and Wump Mucket Puppets.  

Look at the SMILES! @fallfeastcincinnati #Thanksgiving #FallFeast #Cincinnati #puppeteer #shareJOY

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My puppets have performed for so many people this year, including our fourth year at Fall Feast Cincinnati on Thanksgiving Day.  It was during these performances that I began to think how fortunate I am to be a puppeteer in the age of instant digital entertainment.  It takes time, including many late nights, some frustration (especially with using computers), and lots of hard work to get to where I am now.  What the audience sees onstage is thirty minutes of fun, that has taken many, many weeks of puppet building, script and song writing, and prop building/painting.  And I love every step of producing a puppet show. It thrills me that my audience is enjoying it too.  I am thankful for having the opportunity to perform for so many children.

Our pal Alex loved Q.B. at @fallfeastcincinnati #Thanksgiving #FallFeast #Cincinnati #puppeteer #shareJOY

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So why do I puppeteer?  Why spend weeks working on a puppet that will be performing for only five minutes in a show?  Why do I drive hundreds and hundreds of miles around the country to reach my audience?  The answer is one word, LOVE.  I love what I do.  I love to hear children laugh and clap when my characters perform.  I love having a parent tell me that their child sings my silly songs at home.  I love when my son helps me set up the stage and sound equipment, or when my daughter gives me feedback on a puppet design or song idea.  I love sharing joy through puppetry.

And speaking of love, we have a new family member, our family adopted Piper this past week.  She came to us through Cincinnati Cats, she is eight years old and blind.  Piper has won our hearts with her charm and cuddling.  

Meet Piper, our new family member. She is eight years old and blind. #adoptedcat #blindcat #cat

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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.  

Wump Mucket Puppets first PSA is here!

Wump Mucket Puppets first PSA is here!

Recycling with Mayor Cranley from CitiCable on Vimeo.

The wait is over!  Wump Mucket Puppets first PSA is here!

The first of five public service announcements (PSA) that were produced by staff and students of Cincinnati State College for the City of Cincinnati Public Services department is ready for your viewing pleasure.
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It was a fantastic experience to work with the crew, and help Cincinnati’s Public Services department encourage the citizens of our city to recycle in a fun way.  Cyril got a chuckle of seeing himself in a video with Mayor John Cranley. 

Be sure to recycle no matter where you live to help keep our planet green and clean.