Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Vent haven Convention with Ax and the Hatchets!

At this years Vent Haven ventriloquist convention, I was honored to be called up on stage by one of the premiere puppet makers in the world, Steve Axtell, who was a performer on the Wednesday night show. Steve is also a professional musician and he put together an impromptu band during his act and I was asked to play guitar and sang backups. What a great time.

Here is the video, which includes Steve asking for players from the audience for his "band." This part before the actual song is hilarious.

So much fun playing for over 500 people who were rocking with us. Thanks Steve, Steve Petra, Pete Michaels, Lisa Yates Sweasy and Gary Owen

Monday, July 13, 2015

New Book from Legend Sammy King

I received a copy of Sammy King's new book, "Time on the Boards" a few days ago.

I was planning on reading it over the course of a few days.

Instead, I ended up reading it from cover to cover in one evening. I just couldn't put it down.

What a great story of one of the best vents ever and his over 60 year career.

Lots of great photos, too. You need to add this book to your vent library. Fantastic story.

You can get a copy on amazon, or pick up a copy at the convention this week if you are attending.

I know I'll read this book more than once!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

My new figure

I received a new, great little figure the other day from teen up-an-coming vent and figure maker, Jeffrey Golc.

It's a mini McElroy tribute dummy.

I met Jeffrey in my hometown of Greenwood, Indiana when he was 7 or 8 years old. My daughter was playing on the middle school basketball team at the time and Jeffrey was in the crowd.

I saw this little kid in the bleachers playing with what looked like a stuffed Mortimer Snerd dummy. I went up to talk to him (I found out his older sister was on the basketball team with my daughter) and saw that he had actually modified the dummy and added a simple headstick. I thought this was quite clever for someone his age.

We struck up a conversation.

I found out he was REALLY interested in ventriloquism. I mentioned the Vent Haven International convention to him and his mom and he attended his first convention that year.

Fast forward 8 years. Jeffrey is now in High School, is doing shows, writing routines, building figures, inventing new products for majpr puppet companies and rubbing shoulders with some of the greats in the world of ventriloquism.

He has recently decided to focus on working up a great show and is not presently building many figures.

And, he is just one of the nicest and respectful young men I've ever met.

He has also, I believe, attended every convention since that first one I mentioned to him about all those years ago.

Watch out for Jeffrey Golc! It's a name, I predict, that will be known by many over the coming years.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

When things don't go as planned...

When things don't go as planned...

A couple of screen shots of a "virtual" trade show I did a couple of weeks ago.

Me with Nick Woodson, Doc Wilson, the Flexible Mirror trick and the Mismade Queen card trick.

My day job company wanted me to perform some vent and magic during our annual company Expo.

There were 25 of our partner / vendors participating with booths set up and around 300 people attending the Forum Convention Center here near Indianapolis.

I originally wanted to be at the venue in the lobby doing mostly close-up magic (rotating 8-10 tricks) for people as they checked in to go into the Expo.

But the owners wanted to leverage one of our new streaming video technologies and have me perform from my home studio and have the video and audio streamed live into the Expo, where I would be on a 65" LCD display interacting and performing tricks and short vent bits. Unique concept, but...

Everything tested out great the Friday before and at 6am the following Tuesday morning - the day of the event. Very strong and fast internet connection between my studio and the Expo venue.

About 90 minutes into the day, as people started piling into the event and wanting to connect to the venues wireless network, my connection speed really started to suffer. Eventually the connection was so poor, we pulled the plug on my remote performance. The venues bandwidth, which again we tested multiple times, couldn't take the load of all of the vendors connecting their technologies to the internet, as well as the attendees.

Live and die by the network...

So, I changed out of my tux, drove an hour north to the event and just carried around a few of my favorite walk around pocket tricks to entertain a bit. It was still a fun day.