Wednesday, August 01, 2018
Vent Haven International Ventriloquist ConVENTion I was at last week -
from my perspective.
For those of you who don't know, the convention takes place every year near Cincinnati, OH - mainly because the location is just a few minutes away from the only museum in the world dedicated to the art of ventriloquism -
The Vent Haven Museum, in Ft. Mitchell, KY
This year was the 42nd annual get together. I went to my first convention in 1981.
Once again, Executive Director Mark Wade and his team knocked it out of the
park. Just a fantastic lineup of workshops and shows again this year.
The event was at a new location this year - The Cincinnati Airport Holiday Inn.
A very nice hotel and they seemed to have no problem handling the over
500 who registered.
The theme this year was "The Power of Funny."
I was saddened by the loss of two of the greats in our art, Bob Isaacson and
Jerry Layne over the past few months, but I'm sure they were looking down
on all of us.
I also missed my good friends Jimmy Nelson, Sammy King and Al Stevens,
who were not able to attend this year. And I know I'm missing others who
couldn't make it.
Since there are so many people there and so much to do, I didn't have the
chance to go to all of the workshops. Plus, I've been attending for so many years,
sometimes I just like to hang out in the huge lobby and find some other vent
friends to sit and talk to. I did that a lot this year.
Just a few of the highlights included (remember, I wasn't able to get to everything
on the schedule, although I would have liked to - sorry if I miss mentioning some
of you. I know you all did a terrific job ):
-The BIG WEDNESDAY NIGHT SHOW with Neale Bacon from Canada, Lisa Laird
and Al Moessinger. They all had funny acts and were well received by the
-Bob Rumba's workshop on how to set up publicity shots was a lot of fun.
Bob's lectures always border on crazy. He's one of the funniest guys I know.
-The Junior and Senior open mic sessions. There are some really talented folks
who sign up for this each year - especially the kids. It's great to see the stars of t
omorrow performing and then getting critiqued by a panel of professionals.
-The SUPER THURSDAY NIGHT SHOW with David Crone, Dan Sachoff, Trish Dunn
and Rey Ortega. Another fantastic show!
-Shane West's "Creating Character Voices" was very good and had a ton of useful
content and ideas.
- I especially enjoyed Austin Phillips and Tyler Ellis' "Fully loaded - Hard Figure
Care and Repair" workshop. It was cool to see the inner workings of some classic
figures. These two are really becoming the best as the new generation of hard
- Jeff Glotz and Jake LaMarca's "Comedy Club Experiences" was fun and the
Friday night International show is always a highlight.
-The annual raffle was a blast, as usual. For some reason, Mark Wade and
Jeff Dunham were "on" to a level I'd never seen before with their back and forth
jabs at each other as the raffle prizes were being awarded. Of course, I didn't win
any raffle prizes, but was honored and humbled to receive the
WS Berger Distinguished Service Award this year.
And congrats to David Crone and Daniel Robison - the other recipients this year.
- What can I say. The SATURDAY NIGHT ALL STAR SHOW was one of the best
I've ever seen. Keith Haddrill, Phil Hughes and Darren Carr literally had the whole
room on the floor with non-stop laughter. My eyes were watering.
And don't forget the free tours to the Vent Haven Museum, the two packed
dealers rooms and just the opportunity to hang out with like minded performers
from all parts of the world.
There was also an update on the progress of the new, state of the art museum
which will be completed in the near future.
If you've never been to the convention, you simply MUST attend.
If you go once, you WILL return again.
Here are a couple of links you should check out:
The Vent Haven Convention website
The Vent Haven Museum website
(also please consider making a donation to the new museum capital fund
The four days always go by so fast and I'm already counting down the days
until next years convention.