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Topic: Busking for Ventriloquism?
Message: Posted by: Joseph_Then (Nov 18, 2004 01:15AM)
Just interested to know if anyone has done ventriloquism as a busking item.

If so, can I know if there are such resources on the Internet?
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (Nov 18, 2004 01:28AM)
One night, I had just finished busking for the day and this girl came up to me and asked me about it. Turns out she was a vent artist and had won awards but hadn't done it for a while. I really encouraged her. Haven't seen her though.

Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Nov 18, 2004 08:49AM)
I think a vent act would work a treat on the street. ANY form of true variety entertainment will work on the street.

Stand up comedy, vent, dance, anything. If you want to busk and you are willing to stick it out until you learn the ropes it will work.

If you are not good you will very rapidly become good if for no other reason than repetition develops timing, comfort, and polish. It can not be helped.

I say get out there and do it!

All the best,

Message: Posted by: constantine (Nov 18, 2004 09:28AM)
It works. I believe the best paid busker in the country is a vent, The Dead Dan Show. The troop (vent, musician and girl singers) only play in the rarified air of festival. They have fan clubs and promoters advise fans to arrive an hour early to get a seat. The 'hat' takes twenty minutes becouse everybody drops it. It's largely repeat crowds and they set with money in their hands. Oh, the vent (Dan is the figure, a life-size skeleton) wares a burlap mask that covers his lips.
Message: Posted by: suspectacts (Nov 18, 2004 09:42AM)
Constantine -
Unless there is a ripoff artist around, you are thinking of 'Ded Bob'. He plays Ren Fairs mostly.


I have never seen him, but his legend proceeds him.

Peter G
Message: Posted by: Avrakdavra (Nov 18, 2004 09:52AM)
There is another ventriloquist out there who (unlike Dead Bob's operator) himself dresses as a skeleton, and whose vent figures are various repulsive characters--is that "Dead Dan" perhaps?
Message: Posted by: Eric Evans (Nov 18, 2004 10:32AM)
The last time I saw Michael, he was using a vent. I don't know how well he did making the transition from magic to ventriloquism but he was making the switch gradually. That was 7 or 8 years ago.
In Boston's Harvard Square Igor Fokin (no umlaut here apparently) held court with his marionette figures. What a great show.
I've also seen giants. For a festival setting, they're a sure draw. Big draw.
But with the possible exception of Michael, I've never seen anyone else venting...unless you happen to catch a glimpse of whatever Gazzo has in his pocket.
Message: Posted by: constantine (Nov 18, 2004 11:02AM)
Sorry, I got my dead guys confused. Ded BOB is the vent. Amazing act.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Nov 18, 2004 01:17PM)
I have to correct you on this. Ded Bob is not a vent act. Smudge (Clark) does not do vent. His face is covered. Bob is simply a talking puppet.

Now, regarding busking with vent, certainly you could do it.

One of the best busking acts I have ever seen was a puppet act I saw in Salzburg. The fellow had a marionette that was made up to look like Duke Ellington. This marionette played the piano -- a miniature piano. The marionette wore a pair of shades. When you dropped a coin or bill into the cup on the top of the piano, the marionette would stop playing the piano, raise his shades and look into the cup. There was a mercury switch or a thumb switch on the rig that stopped the music when the marionette lifted his shades.

Although he got mainly change, the bit worked because it invited repitition.
Message: Posted by: Dr_Stephen_Midnight (Nov 18, 2004 04:52PM)
I tried it once....once.

Parents would bring their kids up to see the 'talking frog,' then they would smile, say, "Thank you," and walk off without tipping a cent.

Message: Posted by: Zack (Nov 18, 2004 07:10PM)
Ventriloquism kills and I mean KILLS. If you are good, you'll make bank.
Message: Posted by: Danny Hustle (Nov 18, 2004 07:38PM)
On 2004-11-18 11:32, In Boston's Harvard Square Igor Fokin (no umlaut here apparently) held court with his marionette figures. What a great show.

Igor was the best and you never met a sweeter soul. He is still missed by the locals.


Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Nov 18, 2004 11:34PM)
On 2004-11-18 17:52, Dr_Stephen_Midnight wrote:
I tried it once....once.

Parents would bring their kids up to see the 'talking frog,' then they would smile, say, "Thank you," and walk off without tipping a cent.


Maybe the frog needed to be more vocal???

The Ded Bob site is a hoot! I'd pay to see that act.
Message: Posted by: procyonrising (Nov 19, 2004 12:25AM)
I knew a guy who pulled huge crowds with a vent act (in New York City). I want to say Anthony Thomas, but my memory's rusty. Really sweet and funny guy though.

He did all kinds of gigs, street being one of them.
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (Nov 19, 2004 12:58AM)
It would seem that it could be a lot of fun to have "two people" doing the hat lines. You could play off each other well.

Message: Posted by: The Mighty Fool (Nov 19, 2004 04:22AM)
Ded Bob has the sort of life that other performers really envy. And what an act!! I've seen buskers doing marrionete work with the puppet lip-synching and dancing to local popular music, and it did great! And I'm sure there are some cool & clever ways in which vent & magic could be combined....
Message: Posted by: kOnO (Nov 19, 2004 04:41AM)
Steve said:
"Parents would bring their kids up to see the 'talking frog,' then they would smile, say, 'Thank you,' and walk off without tipping a cent."

Did you ask for tips? Maybe you should have had the figure ask for the money to make it work.

When I was in Phoenix AZ, not much busking going on there but I do remember a ventriloquist who worked the crowds before and after the Ball Games at the BOB (Bank One Ballpark). It has been a few years so I donít know if he is still working or not. But he seemed to do okay working small groups with a short show. The kids seem to love the guy and the folks always seemed to give the kid a buck or two for the show, I know I did.

Anyone know if this VENT is still working the BOB?

Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Nov 20, 2004 02:54AM)
There are so many ways to have a figure ask for tips! A frog could say, "I didn't tip a wizard and he turned me into a magic frog. Watch out!"

People will take all kinds of brash lip from a vent figure that they won't take from a regular person.
Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Nov 20, 2004 10:52AM)
I've only seen one vent husker. (This was years ago when I lived in NYC.) His vent work was actually very good, but his delivery needed serious work. His routine consisted of: vent sets himself up, figure delivers punchline/insult, vent tugs angrily at figure's lapel to get him to shape up! After his act, I left him change (this was the 70s, we could do that back then) and told him how good his vent work was and that he needed work on his material. Never saw him again.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Nov 20, 2004 12:53PM)
I didn't realize vents had husks. I always thought they came out of their shells quite nicely.

You learn something every day.
Message: Posted by: kOnO (Nov 22, 2004 04:42AM)

I think that "DUMMY" was from Nebraska.

Message: Posted by: ed rhodes (Nov 24, 2004 05:12AM)
Message: Posted by: Max Sparber (Apr 21, 2005 01:10AM)
Avrakdavra, a little belatedly, I think the fellow you're thinking of is Mr. Deadguy.
Message: Posted by: Bill Palmer (Apr 21, 2005 01:27AM)
Regarding Ded Bob -- I don't think you will see him working the streets. His Ren Faire Act has a built in money machine. I won't tip it here, because it's too clever, and he deserves to have it to himself. All I can say is I hope nobody from the IRS watches his shows!

He makes more money in one show than most people make on the street in a week.
Message: Posted by: muzicman (Apr 28, 2005 11:06PM)
If a human statue can get a hat, then an entertaining vent act certainly could. I agree with the above posts that said "Anything Entertaining" should be able to get a good hat. You have to ask though, coins may drop if you don't, but bills will drop if you make them laugh and make it an event.
Message: Posted by: Max Sparber (May 6, 2005 04:06AM)
I'm a ventriloquist and will be taking my act to the street here in New Orleans starting this week. I'll let y'all know how it works out.
Message: Posted by: JamesinLA (May 6, 2005 04:12AM)
Hey, Max, please do let us know how it goes. Also let us know who else you see performing down there.

Message: Posted by: Zack (May 6, 2005 04:46PM)
"People will take all kinds of brash lip from a vent figure that they won't take from a regular person."

Here's one for you:

VENT: This show depends entirely on your largesse!

FIGURE: Yeah, so get offa your largesse and put some money in the hat!
Message: Posted by: AReady (Apr 22, 2014 07:08AM)
I'm thinking about giving it a shot at a busking patch near me. For those who've done it, did you use a sound system? I'm unsure how well it would work without one, and I don't currently own one.
Message: Posted by: G.Gilbert (Apr 22, 2014 12:53PM)
The Amazing Josini does a great vent act on the street. He mainly works Ocean City Maryland boardwalk in the summer time