Sunday, April 24, 2011

Checking in

I have lots of unpacking to do to get my workshop up and running.

Step 1: Get the shop TV hooked up to the satellite. Check!
Step 2: Reassemble my computer desk and set up my computer. Check!
Step 3: Get connected to the network. Check!

Now comes the task of de-boxing all this stuff and figuring out how I want to set up everything. But hey... at least I'm here, and that was a BIG job in itself.

More "Checks"  later.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Shave and a haircut

Here are three very fun photos from Del Burkholder and "The Lighter Side of Del Ventriloquist Act".  The featured figure in the barber's chair is Abe Buzzard, the wild west outlaw built by Clinton Detweiler from my Uncle Earl head.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Space... where no dummy has gone before

My new workshop is nearly finished.  The garage door is actually still on the outside of the garage.  The contractor just built an interior wall over it leaving the openings to expose the windows in the garage door.  I'll be installing a curtain rod across the length of the windows to accommodate eight panels of red suede-like drapes.  I'll shoot video and photos of my figures against the red draped backdrop. (It'll be like a little TV studio!)

The carpet gets laid later in the week.  The electrical (more outlets, wall heater, ventilation fan) has been completed.  I'll probably add some shelving and a cabinet or two for additional storage since I won't have a closet. 

I will have my old desk, computer desk and a my workbench from the bedroom workshop.  I'll also add a 6-ft.-long table (a former audio console table) to the furniture.  Throw in my computer, an old TV, tools and drill press and I'm ready to go.

Meanwhile I'm occupying myself with unpacking and Netflix.

Thursday, April 14, 2011


There’s no doubt that ventriloquists and puppeteers are sometimes looked upon with ridicule, more often with fascination. The documentary “Dumbstruck” shows us some of both as it follows the careers and personal lives of five vents; polished pros Terry Fator and Dan Horn, regional touring talent and beauty queen Kim Yeager (now Miller), struggling saint Wilma Swartz, and young aspiring amateur Dylan Burdette.

The camera follows all five as they move their careers forward while struggling with life’s issues along the way. Particularly heart-wrenching were the families' reactions to the choice of occupation of the featured ventriloquists. Each ventriloquist is driven by hopes and dreams for their lives. The families also have hopes and dreams, but not always the same ones. You’ll find yourself rooting for the ventriloquists, especially when the people around them are least supportive.

“Dumbstruck” is beautifully photographed in widescreen HD and the storylines are nicely edited. I also appreciated the long timeline as each story unfolds. The peeks behind the curtains, from nursing home to cruise ship to Vegas showroom are fascinating. I really enjoyed the gorgeous footage from the annual Vent Haven convention. Throughout the film, you’ll see glimpses of personalities you may only know from vent blogs and forums.

“Dumbstruck” will entertain fellow ventriloquists and laypersons alike, though for different reasons. The film is respectful of oddities while celebrating both small and smashing successes. When it hits the theaters and/or DVD marketplace, I recommend you give this splendid documentary your time and attention.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Bosom buddies

Recently I found Mr. Fenster a home (he's now called Howard).  Not long after that, his new partner (his name is Michael) purchased an Elmore head from Braylu Creations and built his own figure. Elmore's new name is Leroy.  Nice work, Michael.  Glad to see they get along so well.  You know how jealous older siblings can get after the new little brother arrives.

Note: My move to Bandon has been accomplished, though we are shoulder-high in boxes,  Work on the garage conversion for my new workshop progresses nicely.  Though I'm currently on a self-imposed dummy-makin' vacation, my new workspace will be worth the wait.  Photos will be shared upon completion.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

No bathing suit?

My little pal Henry is off to Florida to meet his new partner.  He seems a little overdressed to be going to such a sunny state, don't you think?


Jimmy Eisenberg is one of the most interesting vent figure builders in the business. His characters are totally unique and joyfully bizarre. He works in paper mache, a popular topic in recent vent blogs. His Facebook page has many photos demonstrating his building techniques.  Type "Ventriloquist Sideshow" in the Facebook search window and it'll guide you to the page. While you're there, click on the "LIKE" button, because there is certainly a lot there to like.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Boxed out

There are a lot more boxes than this.  Almost everything in my shop is packed and ready to be transferred to my new workshop space.  Kenny Croes Dummy Store will be on a brief hiatus, but I'll put together the new shop as quickly as possible. 

I got plans. Big plans!