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daffydoug
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Eternal Order
Look mom! I've got
14063 Posts

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I have a beautiful figure called Daniel Duggins that is full featured. I take him many places, and I get smiles from the children, and receptiveness from grownups. My problem is this though. My family often looks askance at me, and if I could read their thoughts they would probably say "Oh there's my weird brother again with his "doll". I wish he wouldn't carry that thing around. It's embarrasing."

My question is this: Should I leave my figure at home and never take him out in public? Am I a weirdo for doing this? Is this un-natural behaviour?

My other problem is one that cuts to the bone. You see, a couple times I've actually been kicked out of fairs and parks for having my pal. All I was doing as making people feel good and helping them to have a good time. Spreading joy is all I was doing. Is that against the law? Is there an anti dummy law in this Country I'm not cognizant of? What could I have actually been doing so wrong that I was worthy of a police escort, like I was some sort of common criminal.

I am at a loss about this. I've puzzled over it for months. I have no good answers though. that's why I'm turning to you guys. Please help, because this breaks my heart. If there is any of you out there that has had a similar experience, that would be a great comfort to me. Right now, though, I feel so alone. Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
Trois
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Myrtle Beach
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I would say fairs have their ownb entertainment that they have control over. They don't want someone else controling or performing at their function that they have responsiblity for. Kind of like you can't , or shouldn't, go to a concert and get up on stage and sing, even if you are good. As for your family that is a typical reaction, I'm sure there were probably times where they asked you to do the dummy bit for someone. But they have seen it so much that they talk it down, maybe from personal viewing burnout. Heck I get that with my stuff from my family. We can be a strange lot, us entertainers, but one must pick and chose our viewing audience with care as not everyone thinks we are so great. Be selective ! Hope this helps and have a Merry Christmas. Trois Smile
Not clever enough to come up with something orginal, or did I.
Jimeuax
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Even though a lot of the instructional guides tell you to think of your "figure" as though it were real--it only applies to practice in private IMHO---We have to overcome the stereotype of the "psychotic" ventriloquist talking to "himself". Treat the "figure" as you would any other prop---because that is what it is. I went to a David Copperfield show and while standing in line to get in, there were amatuers doing tricks for the people in the line and it really came off as just "pathetic". Practice in the mirror and for the videocamera.-my 2 cents!------cheers!----Jimeuax Smile
rsummer27
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South Carolina
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I read in one of the Tarbell books about magicians who stand in the lobby doing tricks before a show. He also seemed annoyed with such behavior and pointed out to such offenders that he was the one who was being paid to perform. If you walk around with a vent dummy, or magic tricks, or juggling balls or a deck of cards all the time it could be a little odd.

I would also like to add that I have been to clown conventions before and seen people that did not know when to stop acting silly. One night several of us went to a restaurant together to eat and discuss the fine aspects of our art. I was embarrassed at how some of them behaved.

If you are a performer then find a spot to perform. Share the joy with people in nursing homes, orphanages, and hospitals or get a paying gig.

I was kicked off a beach once myself because I decided that it would be nice to practice juggling in the nice warm sun. For some reason, quite a crowd started to gather around me and several people started putting money into a hat that I had "accidentally" dropped on the ground beside me. We are all probably a little guilty of overstepping out bounds from time to time.
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Ron Reid
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Inner circle
Phoenix, Arizona
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Hi daffydoug:

I wouldn't go so far as to call you a "weirdo", but in answer to your question: yep, it does sound a little weird to be doing what you're doing.

I don't know you are your circumstances, so everything may be real cool, but based on what you've shared, it does sound a little creepy.

Ron
Neale Bacon
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Burnaby BC Canada
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First of all as a fellow ventriloquist you are not weird, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

I would be more aware of how your family feels and maybe not take him as many places.

A fair or carnival will ask you to leave because they may think you are busking or something.

If you want to take your partner places to amuse and cheer people, try arranging a visit to a nursing home or children's ward at your local hospital.

rsummer27 - I hear you! I am clown as well and I agree that some people need to learn to turn it off when it is not appropriate. I have seen the situation you describe at conventions too.
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
Burnaby BC
Canada's Favourite Family Ventriloquist
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harris
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Harris Deutsch
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My dad would always call my figures, Dolls.

Other than that he was always very supportive.

A rule of thumb, I have is not to do magic where other entertainers are scheduled. This is most followed when there are magicians and vents. (just a courtesy)


Here are some successful spontaneous bits of business.

Use of a mosquito whistle in the Grocery Store.

Sharing a magic trick with a crying child, (after getting permission)

Years ago I showed up at a Zuchinni Festival(Reno, Nevada) in Green Face(Years before the blue group)
It was about 1979. I worked under the name of MIME OVER MATTER. I got some great publicity including a picture in the paper.

In the 80's I walked into a newspaper in mime make up with my Skeleton Marionette and Magic. I had many programs including local libraries coming up that month. It was the beginning of October. I got some great shots and captions in the paper.

Publicity Stunts don't always work out that well.

I used to have magic, balloons and or puppets with me all the time.

In fact I used them as Ice Breakers. I was not comfortable as just me. This was in my earlier very days.

Theatre and magic helped me learn to be more comfortable with situations without props.

In fact life is like the Improv Show in that we really don't have a script.

Hey it is fun to be Nearly Normal.

If you or others would like a MS Word Document on the Nearly Normal Right to Play Society, Email me at

harris.deutsch@leesummit.k12.mo.us

Monday - Friday I have access to the Nearly Normal Document.

I also hand out business sized version of it when people show a good sense of humor at my silliness.

Enjoy the journey

Have a safe and nearly normal new year.

Harris
Harris Deutsch aka dr laugh
drlaugh4u@gmail.com
music, magic and marvelous toys
http://magician.org/member/drlaugh4u
mdspark
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I agree with all that has been said. Good solid advise from experienced perfomers here. I have no idea if you fit into this catagory but it is down right embarrassing when some people (magicians, vents, balloon twisters, jugglers) don't know when to stop or when it is inappropriate.

To me this is a sign of immaturity and quite unprofessional.
rsummer27
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South Carolina
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Harris, are you a school teacher?
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amazingboz
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Hi
A very wise person told me once" if people seem not to like you ,than you must be doing something right."
If those who encounter you with negativism ,just have the attitude( this always helps me)of mind over matter; you shouldn't mind and they shouldn't matter.
Think good it is good,
Boz Smile
daffydoug
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Eternal Order
Look mom! I've got
14063 Posts

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Let me put it this way, I'm not ashamed of my vent figure, and love to see people smile and laugh and have a good time. I enjoy watching them carry on a conversation with the figure.

I always had the impression that Bergin (sp) carried Charlie around with him to social events.

Nobody complained, and his lips even moved.

If the dummy is a real person, (and he becomes that when I begin to manipulate him) then he should have the same rights as anyone else to be in public.

I read about a famous fellow ventriloquist whose pal ran for mayor!

Nobody thought he was nuts, and he got lots of publicity in the process.

If a dummy can run for mayor, then what is the problem with them being seen in public?

Should I be ashamed of him and "hide" him, and only bring him out when I have a paying gig?

I LIKE my dummy, and he likes me too.

I can bring pleasure to my fellow human beings with him.

To me that is fullfilling.

I didn't get kicked out when I took him along the folks lined along the streets for our annual town parade a few years back. I took him along the route, and children just flocked to him!

One little boy who was in a wheelchair and crippled with what I believe was cerebral palsey smiled the biggest grin I'm guessing he ever smiled in a long time.


He reached out his arms to give Daniel a hug. I almost lost it right there. I believe my eyes were noticably wet.

This was deeply fullfilling to me.

That is the kind of thing that motivated me to take him out in public more, leading up to the incident of which I spoke about in my original post.
The difficult must become easy, the easy beautiful and the beautiful magical.
Matthew Kimbro
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D.C.
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Quote:
On 2003-12-24 23:26, daffydoug wrote:
I have a beautiful figure called Daniel Duggins that is full featured. I take him many places, and I get smiles from the children, and receptiveness from grownups. My problem is this though. My family often looks askance at me, and if I could read their thoughts they would probably say "Oh there's my weird brother again with his "doll". I wish he wouldn't carry that thing around. It's embarrasing."

My question is this: Should I leave my figure at home and never take him out in public? Am I a weirdo for doing this? Is this un-natural behaviour?

My other problem is one that cuts to the bone. You see, a couple times I've actually been kicked out of fairs and parks for having my pal. All I was doing as making people feel good and helping them to have a good time. Spreading joy is all I was doing. Is that against the law? Is there an anti dummy law in this Country I'm not cognizant of? What could I have actually been doing so wrong that I was worthy of a police escort, like I was some sort of common criminal.

I am at a loss about this. I've puzzled over it for months. I have no good answers though. that's why I'm turning to you guys. Please help, because this breaks my heart. If there is any of you out there that has had a similar experience, that would be a great comfort to me. Right now, though, I feel so alone. Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile Smile


I would say unless you are being paid to perform a ventriloquial act, leave him at home. I personally think that this looks unprofessional and gives a bad reputation to those who are making there living through ventriloquism.

I'm guessing by your post that you're young, and I'm sure you have a great time taking him out and getting laughs. I'm reminded of what a past commercial art teacher told me once. When you "give" away your talent, or act, or skill, or whatever, that is the price or value you are setting on your talent. Does that make sense? If you go and perform for fun and for free, then you're setting a precedence that as an entertainer (or future professional entertainer) you're performance is only good enough to do for free on a street corner. Think about that.

Now...if you're just walking around and bugging people with a dummy then I do think that is just weird, and stop doing it. I doubt that is what is happening, but I've seen that before and I (along with many) do find it very strange. If you're looking to your figure for companionship/friendship, then it is time to get out and meet some people! Just throwing that in, just in case. I'm sure that isn't what is happening. Best of luck.
Matthew Kimbro
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D.C.
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Quote:
On 2004-03-10 20:14, daffydoug wrote:



Should I be ashamed of him and "hide" him, and only bring him out when I have a paying gig?

- The answer to this is YES!!!!!!!!! Or for a charity event such as visiting people in hospitals. Nothing wrong with that. Taking him to the mall shopping....that is nutty.

I LIKE my dummy, and he likes me too.

- How can he like you too. He isn't real. I repeat, he is not REAL.

I can bring pleasure to my fellow human beings with him.

- Yes, if you're not scaring them off.

I didn't get kicked out when I took him along the folks lined along the streets for our annual town parade a few years back. I took him along the route, and children just flocked to him!

- Now I don't see anything wrong with that if you're entertaining folks in your community for fun. BUT...view it as a business opportunity and pass out business cards/flyers for your act! Always an opportunity to drum up business. Marketing, Marketing, Marketing!!


olivertwist
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Nashua, NH
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Even at the Venthaven convention most ventriloquists don't walk around with their figures. There were only one or two who did and they seemed a little strange, even among ventriloquists. If you carry him with you everywhere you will appear strange to people.
rickmorse
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Flushing, MI
131 Posts

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Quote:
On 2006-03-10 08:27, olivertwist wrote:
Even at the Venthaven convention most ventriloquists don't walk around with their figures. There were only one or two who did and they seemed a little strange, even among ventriloquists. If you carry him with you everywhere you will appear strange to people.


I agree. One can usually spot the rank amateurs (or folks who desperately need attention) at puppetry festivals: they're the ones who keep shoving puppets in people's faces, trying to be both entertaining and clever--which they usually aren't. Yuck! I'm not saying you're doing this, Doug, but I guarantee it IS annoying!

In your case, Doug, I can see you performing in hospitals and nursing homes for the joy of it, and for the joy it brings others. However, it is NOT professional to bring your figure to a fair or carnival that already has entertainment booked. Would you take your violin to the symphany and wander around playing for whoever will listen? The symphany wouldn't take it very kindly, I'm sure.

None of this is meant to be harsh, only to offer perspective. As always, my two cents.

Rick
indysmagic
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cherokee, tx
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Rick,
You are right on the money. I love the Vent Haven Convention. I'm as wacky as the next vent. However, I had to draw the line when a guy standing at the urinal next to me in the men's room thought that it was a good time to show off his character. His "puppet" was trying to carry on a witty conversation with me. Needless to say, it was pretty creepy.
olivertwist
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Nashua, NH
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Indysmagic,

That's a vent who is totally out of touch with reality. I talked to one guy who had been heckling the performers (although he thought he was adding humor to their routines). He told me he used to think his figures were really talking to him.

Oliver
Doug Arden
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885 Posts

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These guys need to get a life, and not one through a vent figure! That kind of behaviour is extremely annoying and unprofessional. But we're obviously not talking about professionals, are we?

Unless you have been asked to perform, leave your lamp shade (and your vent figure) at home!
magic_man204
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north idaho
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I know if one of my sibbling brought their vent dummy around everywhere I would probably try to kill it it iit's sleep. leave it at home. it is entertaining when you do it t a gig. or at least it is supposed to be, but not everywhere. I will say it again leave it at home it is not real it does not love yopu. you love yourself and it sounds like you are insicure without it. repeat after me. It is not real, It is not rreal, It is not real!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Manny
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It's not weird....
It's a disease. Check with your insurance
company...they may be able to pay for the
treatment!!!!

P.S. You are not alone.
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