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Convention Anecdotes 2008

Junior Showcase 2007

First Meeting of the Long Island/New York Vent & Puppeteers Group Held in December


February 2008

Junior Showcase 2007

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!




Hannah L. & Whiskers, Urbana, IL

Hannah 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 Questions."


Meghan C. & Ellis (or L.S. for Little Stinker), Westminster, CO  

Meghan 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.    


Dylan B. & Reggie, Crestview Hills, KY

Dylan 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 here."    


Aileen C. & Cloud Shrimp, Loomis, CA

This 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.


Peter M. & Tommy, Staten Island, NY

Peter 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.    


Jamie G. & Puppy Chow, Princeton, WV

Sixteen 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.  


Bryan G. & 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.  




Audrey F. & 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.  





Nick W. & Spike Spiff, Shepherd, MI

Nick 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.  





Jacob S. & Jerry, Austin, TX

Thirteen 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.


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January 2008

First Meeting of the Long Island/New York Vent & Puppeteers Group Held in December

Sheree 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.

Thanks 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 dinner.    

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

Thanks also to Herschel Rosner who took some photos.















Thanks 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    These small groups are a fantastic way to make connections and share ideas outside of the big Vent Haven ConVENTion!




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