Meeting of the Long Island/New
York Vent & Puppeteers Group Held in December
Each year the Vent Haven
ConVENTion provides opportunities for vents at all levels to perform, from
amateur to professional, through various shows and Open Mics. The
Junior Open Mic is one session where everyone can see what the young,
up-and-coming performers are doing. Plus these juniors, all under
the age of 17, get evaluated by three professional ventriloquists, a video
of their performance, and the valuable experience of performing on stage
in front of 400 people. This might seem daunting to some young
performers, but the 2007 Juniors stepped onstage seemingly unfazed.
They all really showed a
lot of talent and promise. The Junior Open Mic wouldn't be
complete each year without its emcee Bob Isaacson. Bob is a
professional ventriloquist, a long time advisor to Vent Haven Museum, and
on staff at the ConVENTion. Many thanks to Bob for corresponding
with the juniors to collect the background information used below.
We hope to see each of these young performers back in Ft. Mitchell this
July. Way to go, everyone!
& Whiskers, Urbana, IL
was an "old-timer" amongst her peers this year appearing for her
6th time at the Vent Haven ConVENTion. She has been doing vent
for eight years and attending Vent Haven for the past seven. Her
performances around her hometown include the Jewish Federation Rush,
Veterinarian Medicine Open House, and the Annual County Sweet Corn
Festival. She also has appeared at many parties including birthday
parties, a magic store Halloween Kick-off Party, a Mardi Gras party, and a
St. Patrick Day Celebration. As she is sixteen years old, this past
July marked Hannah's last performance in the Junior Open Mic
category. Now she will have to battle with the adults for one of the
coveted 10 spots of the Senior Open Mic. Hannah is also a regular
contributing writer on the Junior Vent
University page. Click
here to read her latest feature "Tips on Tips and Other Payment
& Ellis (or L.S. for Little Stinker), Westminster, CO
was exposed to ventriloquism from birth. Her dad substituted a
comical baby puppet for newborn Meghan, and when her grandma went to see
the new baby and pulled back the covers, she got quite a surprise.
Meghan picked up her vent skills from her "wild and crazy
dad." She has been performing since the age of five and is now
12 years old. She's performed in many public venues including the
Children's Museum of Denver, Denver's Aquarium, Denver's libraries,
preschools, and public schools. Last summer she got a post on the
internet entitled "Ventriloquist
Dummy Gets the Hiccups;" the post got 6000 hits. Meghan is
a member of the Puppeteers of America and uses her vent skills in many
school projects. She is an excellent student with a 4.0 GPA and is a
competitive swimmer on the Swim Team. Meghan started at a new school
this past fall and commented, "Little do they know they will be
getting two for one!" Finally, she was featured last
month as our Blast from the Past. Click
here to see pictures of Meghan at a younger age.
& Reggie, Crestview Hills, KY
first became interested in vent when he saw Mark
Wade, premier Kidshow Ventriloquist and ConVENTion Executive Director,
perform at his school. He's thirteen years old now and learned
ventriloquism by watching other vents on TV and in movies and teaching
himself. Dylan has been coming to the Vent Haven ConVENTion
for nine years now and performs at friends and families' birthdays.
Last year was his first time on stage in the Junior Open Mic. Vent
is a career he hopes to have one day, and he practiced every day for the
Open Mic performance. Dylan said, "Since I live right down the
street, it's not too much a hassle getting
& Cloud Shrimp, Loomis, CA
past summer was the second convention and second Open Mic for eleven year
old Aileen. She is the youngest of four children, but the only one
to follow in her dad's footsteps. Her past year performances
included a summer reading program at the library and a Cub Scout Camp,
plus a special Command Performance for her orthodontist. She was
also the featured entertainer at the Feline Rescue Dinner where she also
volunteers. Aileen has received awards from her elementary school
for Achievement in Excellence; she plays the piano and recently added the
flute and the oboe. Her family has many cats which she loves which
is why her figure, Cloud Shrimp, is a cat.
& Tommy, Staten Island, NY
is especially well-known by one professional vent...his father, who
despite being a seasoned pro was as nervous about Peter's Open Mic
performance as Peter was. Peter's love of ventriloquism started at
infancy. Last summer was his seventh Vent Haven ConVENTion; he
attended his first at three months old! Peter loves to come the VHC
every year. His influences are Paul Winchell, Jimmy Nelson, and his
dad Pete Michaels.
Seven year old Peter performed in the Junior Open Mic with his new figure
Tommy which Santa brought the Christmas before.
& Puppy Chow, Princeton, WV
year old Jamie has only been doing vent for two years, but already he has
designed and copyrighted all three of his custom Mary
Ann Taylor puppets. He performed at the Junior Open Mic with six
year old poodle Puppy Chow. Jamie also owns his own entertainment
business called Puppy Chow Entertainment Enterprises, Inc. that
specializes in children's entertaining. Prior to the 2007 ConVENTion,
Jamie wrote that he couldn't wait to meet everyone.
& Luke, Sagamore Hills, OH
Bryan is a freshman in
high school this year who has been practicing vent for five years.
This fourteen year old has been performing in local talent shows, at
church, at libraries, and at home. He hopes to make vent his career
one day. His figure Luke is a spunky character who thinks he's very
popular with girls.
& Grandma, Denison, TX
Audrey is twelve years
old and has been doing vent for two years. This past summer was her second
performance in Vent Haven's Junior Open Mic. She has also performed
in school talent shows, charity events, and churches.
& Spike Spiff, Shepherd, MI
learned ventriloquism from Edgar Bergen's book, How
to Become a Ventriloquist and Mark
Wade's video and has been performing for four years. At twelve
years old, Nick has been in his school talent show three times, plus
performed for the Women's Club and his family.
& Jerry, Austin, TX
year old Jacob's interest in ventriloquism began at the age of six when he
obtained his first figure at the Austin City Wide Garage Sale. He
then read books and rented videos to learn the art. Jacob attended
his first convention in July 2006. Bob
Abdou aka Mr. Puppet worked with Jacob to help improve his stage
performance, and Jacob was able to perform with Bob at a comedy club in
Austin in October of 2006.
(Back to Top)
First Meeting of the Long Island/New
York Vent & Puppeteers Group Held in December
Brown-Rosner writes: "Thanks
to all that replied to the email sent out inviting folks to the First
Gathering. Many had prior commitments and could not attend but want
to see this get off the ground. We had eight people that really were
interested in learning, sharing and making this group happen! We plan to
meet every 3 months, 4 times a year to start.
to Steve Petruzzella
for being the Kick-off Speaker. I think we could have gone on and
on. We all had a great time, sharing stories, magic and learning
some ventriloquism too.
Steve Petruzzella from PetraPuppets
was a wealth of knowledge. We all sat
and listened, took time to play with puppets, and check out some things
Steve made himself. His wife Jeanie was also along and chimed in with a
few pearls of wisdom about the business
part of the show. After some Q&A we took a group photo, ate some
While waiting for Steve to arrive Herschel and I let
people look at our two
Selbergs, Jillian and Jack Ash. Since one is a Living Figure and the other
a Hand Carved one, plus have different head stick designs and 17 years
between them, it was fun to have them side by side for comparisons.
We have our next Gathering March 31st, 2008 with a visit
from Mr. Puppet
himself...Bob Abdou www.mrpuppet.com.
Thanks also to Herschel Rosner who took some photos.
Sheree for sending in this report and photos! If there are other
regionally meeting groups of ventriloquists, please send reports of your
meetings to Annie Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
These small groups are a fantastic way to make connections and share ideas
outside of the big Vent Haven ConVENTion!
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