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Saturday, February 16, 2013

PUPPET DIARIES

Recent Photo and Weight Loss
due to rigorous puppet show.
Photo by Joe Mazza

I have sadly not committed all my puppet adventures to writing.  I should have done that not only for people to read but to increase my memory, and learn to base things more on a current truth than a retrospective truth.  Alas, I never learn my lesson.  I don't value the telling of my experiences until it is too late, then it becomes just a mere fiction of the more sensational reality from which the memory derives.  So, though I hate to admit it, I may owe a little credit to Facebook for giving me an instantly gratifying format to type out my daily exploits.  It is not what I would call the best way to do it, but at least when it is recognized and "liked" by "friends" it does give me a sense of achievement, a post pavlov positive reinforcement for the masses. If you are interested in the genesis of my odysse, and Paige's support by coming with me, to Cincinnati, the story can be heard in the The Whole in 30 Days Podcast called Leaving… Actually now as I write this I realize that a previous podcast called Binge & Purge was the true beginning of this part of my adventure, I toured for three weeks with Madcap during that podcast, which in turn lead to me "Leaving" Chicago in the later podcast called "Leaving."
Link to 30 Days Podcast.

This below is my attempt at recovering some of those FB posts in hopes that I get inspired to keep better track of them.  And also, for right now, I am tired of talking about my musical exploits, which probably means I am about ready to live those exploits instead of write about them, which I guess is good.  So for now enjoy, or get a good laugh out of what Jughead is doing now.
So, in case you do not choose to listen to those podcasts, all you need to know to follow these small posts is that I took a gig, touring in a puppet theater called MADCAP based in Cincinnati, and that me and my girlfriend Paige had to pack our bags to live there, actually next door to there in a blue collar neighborhood of Cincinnati called Cheviot, for 7 months.  Almost every day, I travel to elementary schools all over the midwest to perform two Grimm Fairy Tale based stories called Rumpelstiltskin and When You Wish Upon A Fish in front of hundreds and hundreds of kids from ages 5 to 12.

PS. Besides the cool feeling I get from giving kids a neat experience they will remember for a long time, I have also lost alot of weight, due to the fact that we have to set up our puppet show anywhere from 1 to 3 times a day, and then I sweat like crazy during the show and then have to break it all down and do the same again the next day.  So this cute video above is one BEFORE I lost about 20 pounds because of the work.



September 18, 2012
South Bend Indiana. After the puppet show. We sat on the front of the stage with the kids. I had two old guy puppets, one on each hand. I was pretending they didn't know math. The kids loved it! I'd say things like, "You think you are smart, Kid? Well at least I know 2 + 2 is 5!" And they'd laugh and then correct me. A bit later another kid, very quiet and intense, walked up to me and padded the shoulder of one of the old guy puppets. "What's 9 times 4?" He asked. I turned towards him and said. "OOOOHHH that's easy, 157!" He just looked at me and the puppet, then said with a very serious and sad face, "No really. I really need to know." I paused, then said in the puppet voice, "36." He thanked me, then walked away quietly.


November 9th 2012
So often in the elementary schools we need to change into costumes in the kids public bathrooms. Well today I was changing out of my costume after the show, and in the stall there was a big shit in the toilet. It would not flush, so I went about changing and decided to "unload" when I got home. I walked out of the stall and one of the kids went in after me, and said over the stall to his friend as I was exiting: John just left a big pooh in the toilet. I did not dispute the accusation of a 7 year old. I was the bigger man and just walked away... humiliated.

November 15th 2012
On the road spreading peanut butter onto a piece of bread with a pen. I feel like I'm back on the road with ye ole Weasel again.

November 21st, 2012
Had to sign the second half of my Puppet Tour contract yesterday, I said "Is this contract in puppetuity?" No one laughed. Maybe it's a joke for Puppeteers that are also lawyers.

Jan 21st, 2013
Who else here drove from Cincinnati to Hagerstown Maryland tonight and almost died in a snowstorm in the mountains? Anyone? Anyone?

Jan 23rd, 2013
My new puppet partner and I drove 15 hours total and weathered a dangerous snow covered mountain for a 45 minute puppet show. Theater is weird, ya' now?

Jan 30th, 2013
Tonight I dressed like a woman and pretended to eat plastic sausages in front of one hundred kids stuffing their faces with actual bags of Doritos and Fritos, while two or three parents visibly slept in their chairs. THEATER!

Jan 31, 2013
At my Puppet gig today, I overheard a teacher asking her kindergarten kids to state their favorite holiday. The first two said, independently of each other. St. Patrick's Day. Is it really possible that these children would pass up the gifts of Christmas and the chocolate eggs of Easter for Cabbage and Corned Beef?

Feb 6th, 2013
We were in a huge theater of an Arts Academy for Children with our Puppet show performing for their Kindergarten thru Third Grade. Before the show started another teacher brought a high school class in to look at the theater. He pointed out that we were from Madcap Puppets. He also stated with a grand voice that it is important to introduce children to theater at a young age, and I whispered to my partner Dustin, "Or else there'd be no gay men."

Feb 10th 2013
What do you do when you run out of Socks for the kids to make puppets in a puppet workshop? You start hoping some of the kids that left early left behind their mutant misfit puppets. You hide behind a partition and begin ripping off the google eyes, weird patches of hair, and random bits of fabric leaving behind a slightly ripped sock for the late kids to rebuild into something they may love, or leave behind once again for the cycle to begin all over. Or you can just put eyes on a stick and bounce it in front of their face and say, "See! It's a rod puppet." Then you watch their eyes roll back in their head and then they walk away from you in complete disinterest.

Feb 15th 2013
I usually don't say sentimental stuff like this, but I was at a school today for a puppet show where I witnessed that the way a Principal runs his or her school really does make a big difference. The way he spoke to his kids, the way he peaked their curiosity, the respect he showed them and us, really paid off to make a great puppet performance. With amazing questions from the young students afterwards. Indiana, you surprised me.
(Not in the Fb Post):
The Principal confided in us that he had to miss watching the puppet show because of a custody battle.  At first I thought this was strange for him to tell us that HE was in a custody battle.  But as he continued talking I realized that he was talking about protecting a child from her father, who just got out of prison that day, from grabbing her out of school.  Her mother was frantic, and the Principal informed her that she needed paperwork that stated he doesn't have permission by the state to take his daughter.  So the Principal had to take the mother and the daughter to file paperwork to protect her from the father.  Now I don't know if this "father." had any intention to harm, ya' know, just because he was getting out of prison, but it did show me the level of involvement that an active Principal is thrown into, and that important choices can be made each and every day.

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