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Monday, July 20, 2009


This is the story of Vent Haven 2009, in words and pictures. This was one fun time, continuous laughter and merriment from Wed afternoon till Sat evening. For those who haven't gone , you have to make it a must do for the 34th in is a story in brief encapsilated form...hope you enjoy...for those who have attended please leave some of your memories.

On Tuesday, July 14th, we had left Delray Beach heading for Ft. Lauderdale to board Delta's flight to Cincinnati/Kentucky Airport arriving at 3:30pm. It was one beautiful airport! Spotlessly clean with a subway that takes you from the plane to Baggage Claim. From there, we walked outside and waited for our shuttle to the hotel "Drawbridge" arriving at 4:30. After unpacking we met up with Wilma Swartz at the Drawbridge, as well as Mr. D. and one of his many female figures, who just happens to be all the same figure. Wilma was our tour guide around this neck of the woods. We ended up in Florence at an Italian restaurant. With some time still available we drove around and wound up back in Ft. Mitchell, again, and went shopping at Remke's. Returning to our room and being overly surprised by a wonderful birthday card given to me by Wilma, we yakked till 10:30pm, with Wilma showing us her vent figures, her Reverend character, her duck (Wilma I need you to fill in names), Squirrely Shirley, an Axtell figure. Barbara Phoenix finally showed up and then we went downstairs to see her car, the Smart Car that you see in the photo with pictures of all of her vent figures with Oregano and Friends.

Day 2 - July 15, 2009
Woke up at 6:15am and went down for breakfast which consisted of cereal, eggs, toast, juice, coffee/tea and honey buns, nice breakfast, right? Thought so mineself. After breakfast, with some free time, we went to the was very pleasant and quiet. Going back to the breakfast bar, joining up with Wilma and Barbara as they had their breakfast. We had another cup of coffee. After breakfast, we all piled into Wilma's van and headed over to Walmart to look for some oven mitts shaped like vent figure faces, and we weren't lucky so we then went over to Target and did the same. As we were walking thru the store we met up with a lady and her granddaughter who was pushing the wagon from the bottom. Look up and you'll see the picture. After leaving Target, we decided it was time to eat, again, so Waffle House here we come. On our return we stopped again at Barbara's smart car and met up with Johnny Price, exchanging business cards and chatted for a little while, and then Gary Lare pulled up and we helped him unload his car and bring it to his room, not knowing Gary well, yet, we exchanged our cards and made fast friends. Sometime after getting Gary to his room, the Rev. John Lutton arrived. We then went back to our room, changed into our jeans, and got ready for the 3:00 start of the Vent Haven conVENTion.
The line was not long when we got on to sign in.. but while waiting I met a friend from the Axtell
Forum (Mathew) I believe Mat has a bright future in the world of vent, Being this was the first time I went to the convention, there was a special orientation set up for us newbies, we were read the riot act regarding no cell phones, video taping or flash photography, while in the Show room or for that matter anywhere that a lecture or class was being given. Soon afterwards, in the same room, we got to "Meet The Pros". The official opening began around 7:00 with Mark Wade, Director of Vent Haven conVENTion, introduced J. S. Brooking, the president of Vent Haven Museum, followed shortly by the Wednesday evening show, which was MC'd by Pete Michaels and featured Dave Carr, Barbara Jean, and Nick Pawlow. Each performer was equal to the task. There was a small intermission after the show and before the round table discussion. The topic was "Discovering Your Creativity" moderated by Ken Groves. The panel consisted of our Director, Mark Wade, "The Two and Only"'s Jay Johnson, the wonderfully fabulous Lynn Trefzger-Joy, and Dan Horn. Jay showed up a little late due to the fact that his plane arrived late, but what a welcome he got when he did arrive. When the round-table concluded we then hustled over to the dealer rooms to either view or buy something new. After spending about an hour eyeing the new candy, which we didn't buy at this time, we then decided to go over to the Hospitality Room to meet Bob and Marty and have a drink. After chatting with some new friends, we decided to go outside, by the pool, and enjoy the evening. Thus, concludes our first day.

Day 3 Thursday July 16th
This morning we were greeted by Mark Wade, executive director of the Vent Haven conVENTion, after meeting with Wilma, Barbara Phoenix, Gary Lare, and the Rev. John Lutton sharing some breakfast. Before the conVENTion began, we met Jay Johnson and got to take a picture with him and he also signed a photo I brought with me, I also saw and chatted with Carol Greene, doing pictures and signings.
The first lecture of the day, "PUNCH: 6 Sure Fire Techniques to add Punch to Your Comedy Material" was given by Tom Ladshaw. "Comedy is the art of making people laugh without making them puke." - Steve Martin. It's a craft - the art of writing material. The 6 different techniques are: Specificity, be specific. Put the Juice on The Caboose, putting your funniest word last. Kickapoo. Characters in conflict. Kill the message. And, One more time.
The next lecture, given by Mike Bishop, "Marketing for Dummies and Their Owners." It's now time to break for lunch so we had sandwiches and sodas. Returning at 1:15pm for the Junior Open Mic MC'd by Bob Isaacson, who gave us a brief history of himself and then a talk on how to become a vent and a short performance. Bob has told us that 81 newbies attended this year's conVENTion. The junior open mic was opened with Pete Michaels Jr. and had several other acts to be listed later. Directly after the Junior Open Mic, Pete Michael Sr. MC'd the Senior Open Mic. All were received in high esteem. Names to follow. Next followed the celebration of Bob Isaacson's 60 years of performing. Dinner followed the celebration at Josh's Tavern, the steaks were great and priced reasonably. After dinner, everyone hit the dealer rooms, some of the many dealers that were there were MAT Puppets, Al Good, Axtell Expressions, One Way Street,
Imaginarium Galleries, Gottle of Geer, Figure Fashions, Lee Cornell, Ventriloquist Sideshow, Pittsburgh Puppetworks, Al Alfaro, to name just a few.
From 7:30pm to 8:30pm we had a lecture: "The Art of Splitting" given by Sammy King, that's doing 2 or more characters at the same time. Open Mic Session 1 was given by Bob Rumba at 8:45pm, followed by Open Mic Session 2 given by Pete Michaels at 9:45pm. At 10:00 PM, the dealer rooms opened again for those who did not get enough the first time. The crowds in both rooms were humongous.
We headed for the hospitality room around 11:00pm. Met Marty and Bob Hamill and a lot of other new friends. At about 11:45pm, we headed for our room to call it a night.
Friday July 17th
Today we woke up bright and early for our workshops. We took two workshops, Dan Horn's How to Use Puns Effectively and Nancy's Roth's Booking and Working Fairs. Both of these workshops were very educational and gave me alot of information.
Lecture #1 PUNS. We found our that puns are the lowest form of humor, yet Edgar Bergen made a career out of using puns. The worse the pun the better it is. An example, W. C. Fields says to Charlie McCarthy "I'll slice you into venetian blinds." Charlie's reply was "That makes me shutter." Or another example is when using a cloth figure, "I'll make you into drapes." Reply, "I guess that means curtains for me." Also when trying to name one of your figures, use a pun such as one of the ventriloquists used could be something like Richard Slimmons for Richard Simmons. A set-up for a punch line could be something like, "Toyota, Oh what a feeling." Etc., etc. etc.
Lecture #2 was FAIRS. The main ingredient in working fairs is to be sure to sell the fair and making the fair managers job easy by being prepared. There are many books on the subject recommend you read them. If you have any questions about which ones they are just get a hold of Nancy Roth or myself. Libraries are good sources of books.
At 9:15 AM- 11 AM the Junior Vent University opened.
GROUP PICTURES were now being taken at noon. Many of the pictures you see on this blog are a product of that time period. After the pictures were taken we piled into the car and went out to Burger King for lunch. Getting back to the dealer rooms just before the Kids Show Clinic with Mark Wade was presented. Mark brought in 50-60 kids from the local school for him to work to, must say Mark is one of the greatest kid vent in the country, possibly the world. After the kids show a round-table discussion was held moderated by Gary Owen. On the panel were Pete Michaels, Barbara Jean, Bob Rumba, and the late-comer, Kevin Johnson. The discussion was about How to Keep Your Creative Edge. Many great ideas came out of there along with some great questions. Next my dear friend, Jimmy Nelson presented "VENT VIDEOS." After the videos we moved on to Josh's Restaurant in the hotel dining on steak and salad. And then going back to the dealer rooms where I purchased a new girl puppet from Virginia Petersen, whom I haven't named yet. Anybody got any great ideas for a name and/or some dialogue? The grand part of the evening is yet to begin. Jay Johnson and his "The Two and Only" was presented and enjoyed by everyone present. Got to say No wonder he won an emmy. It was that good. Thank you Jay.

The next part of the evening was the Vent Haven raffle and due to the fact that it was our first Vent Haven conVENTion we bought $100 worth of tickets. We knew that the money was going to go to a worthy cause, the continued upkeep of the museum.
Next part of the evening was MC'd by Bob Rumba, and Oh before I forget, during the raffle Bob was Charlie Chaplin, and balloon man, making balloons for all the kids in the audience until he either ran out of air or time. The performers were Sammy King, Kevin Johnson, Jimmy Nelson, and Bob Isaacson. After the show was finished, Mark presented Sammy, Jimmy, and Bob with Lifetime Achievement awards, I was always curious about that. Does that mean that their life is over, or that they will not be able to achieve anything any longer. I'm confusiated!!!
Hey, guess what, that's right, the dealer rooms are open again for those who haven't gotten their fill yet. I know I haven't and so we ventured to Tom Ladshaw's booth for him to sign the book that was written by Bill DeMar. Thank you Uncle Bill for not forgetting to bring them. Great day, see you tomorrow......good night.

Ventriloquially Yours,
N Jay
Remember No Person Is Too Tall
To Not Stoop To Help Any Child


Kenny Croes said...

enjoyed the photos very much. thank you. - kenny croes

nighttrain57 said...

N.Jay maybe I can clear up the confusication on the Awards given.
At our Church's last Annual Assembly I took "Retired Relations" with the church. I was asked what it ment; "do you stop pastoring, preaching, ministering, funerals and weddings?" No I replied, they just hand me my award. "Then whats the use?" My reply was, this way I get to see my award, other wise if I wait until I die they just bury it with me and I don't get to see it.

nighttrain57 said...

Nighttrain57 is Rev. John Lutton