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Topic: Vent Haven ConVENTion 20101
Message: Posted by: kidshowvent (Jul 8, 2010 10:44AM)
Brother and Sister Vents..

I want to invite all of you to come to the Vent Haven International Ventriloquists' ConVENTion . It's next week, July 14-17, in Ft. Mitchell, KY (just across the river from Cincinnati, OH) and you get a chance to see some top talent, both performing ane lecturing, and get to see the fabulous Vent Haven Museum, the largest and oldest vent museum in the world. Some of the people who post here will be in attendance, including Neale Bacon, Tom Crowl, and myself. Jeff Dunham also comes every year, as he is a product of the ConVENTion. Jeff started out there in our Junior Contests decades ago..and has risen to the top of the adult vent market.

You can register by PayPal or pay at the door..it doesn't matter, as long as you are there.

Mark Wade aka kidshowvent
Message: Posted by: kidshowvent (Jul 8, 2010 12:12PM)
Hate to reply to myself here...the posting should be "Vent Haven ConVENTion 2101" not "20101" I try to look ahead but that was ridiculous! :) Sorry for my bad typing..
Message: Posted by: Daveandrews (Jul 8, 2010 04:57PM)
Oops, Mark, you're looking even further ahead now!

I'm really sorry I can't get there, but aim to next year.

See you at KIDabra.

Message: Posted by: Dr. Solar (Jul 12, 2010 12:50AM)
Yes, indeed, I am leaving tomorrow for a round about way there. No ticket yet, but will pay at the door. It has been about 7 years since last going and sorely missed it. I look forward to seeing past acquaintances. Don't want to say "old friends".

See ya there,

Dr. Solar
Message: Posted by: kidshowvent (Jul 12, 2010 06:35AM)
Dr. Solar..glad you'll be joining us. It's always a fun time at the ConVENTion!

Dave..I'll see you at KidAbra and I still want to talk to you and Kimmo about the 2011. It would have been this year but we had a few things come up and I wasn't able to arrange it.

See you both soon!

Message: Posted by: Neale Bacon (Jul 12, 2010 05:59PM)
Hey Mark,
Looking forward to seeing all the folks there. I have the handout notes all set of Junior Vent U. Liz suggested 24 sets as she says there are around 20 kids usually but some others may want the script writing notes too.

Glad to be part of the family.
Message: Posted by: Scott O. (Jul 12, 2010 06:45PM)
Mark, "Vent Haven ConVENTion 2101"???

That seems pretty forward thinking to me. I'm not sure I will still be around then. ;)
Message: Posted by: kidshowvent (Jul 12, 2010 09:27PM)
Sorry guys, about my lousy typing. NONE of us will be here in 20101! Glad you're part of the family, Neale. You'll like working with Liz and with Lynn Trefzger-Joy.

Scott, we'd love to have you come some day to Vent Haven. It's a great time!


Mark Wade- Ventriloquist
Grove City, OH
Message: Posted by: Joseph_Then (Jul 13, 2010 01:48AM)
As long as we make it after December 2012, our next (x10) generation will have the hope to be at the conVENTion 20101. :)

Too bad I'm located in Singapore, but I do plan to go in the near future, maybe before 2012 ends.
Message: Posted by: kimmo (Jul 13, 2010 03:07AM)
I plan to be there one year - it's a bit close to Kidabra to do both in the same year. Hope you all have a great time.
Message: Posted by: kidshowvent (Jul 13, 2010 05:41AM)
Hi Kimmo,,,I mendioned to Dave that I want to talk to both of you about Vent Haven conVENTion 2011. I wanted to bring you both over this year, but we had a few difficulties (we ended up spending a bunch of money on a new sound system..) so I had to put it off. I haven't forgotten. Let's talk at Kidabra!

Joseph, we'd love to have you attend the ConVENTion in 2012. I know it's not cheap to travel from Sinapore, but well worht the trip!

Message: Posted by: marshalldoll (Jul 13, 2010 06:15AM)
Don’t forget, tonight at 7pm (Eastern) we will be testing our LIVE broadcast. To see it go to:


If you can't make it to the Vent Haven ConVENTion this will hopefully make you feel like you are there.

Message: Posted by: Daveandrews (Jul 13, 2010 02:58PM)
Yep, Mark, talk to you at KIDabra.

I look forward to KIDabra the more I go. I think it's the whole deal, the convention, the friends Sally and I have made and the amazing Pigeon Forge.

See you there,

Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 13, 2010 11:02PM)
The convention starts tomorrow, but there are already quite a few vents at the Drawbridge. I got in around 5:00 and hooked up with Ken Groves, Dan Horn, Mark and Jodie Wade, Joe Lefler and his wife, and Bob Issacson. (Sorry if my spelling is off on any of the names!) We ran into Pete Michaels, Mark James, Allo and a slew of other vents during dinner.

After dinner, Ian Varella and I teamed up for a drink. Later I hung with Steve P., Bob Abdou, Neale Bacon and others in the lobby. Finally got to meet Dan Willinger in person too.

Sounded like Dan's initial broadcast went well, so if you aren't coming, check them out. We'll try to keep you updated here as well.
Message: Posted by: Wanlu (Jul 14, 2010 03:45AM)
So cool Tom!!!

Y'all have fun...
Message: Posted by: marshalldoll (Jul 14, 2010 06:35AM)
It was a grerat first night to be sure!! If you missed out first web cast you can view it by going to the blog on Ventriloquist Central.
Tom it was great to finally meet you in person!! Everyone please tune in tonight at aproximately 10:00 P.M. Eastern Time for our next live web show directly from the dealers room at the Vent Haven ConVENTion.

Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 15, 2010 06:09AM)
Yesterday was exremely busy. I am working with Ken Groves, Mark Truman and Sue Johnson on the sound this year. Ken, Mark & I had to set the showroom in the morning. The sound system is brand new, just out of the box and it took longer than expected to get everything tuned and equalized to the room. The results are incredible though - it sounds great.

I opened the show last night, followed by David Crone, who did a very cool bit with Eugene playing Flight of the Bumblebee on Kazoo. Ken Groves filled in for Steve Axtell, who couldn't make it here due to health problems. (Hope you are doing better Steve!) Ken killed, as always. He is so smooth and relaxed with incredible skills.

Following the show, Ken moderated a round table discussing how Vents can prepare for the future. The panel included Sylvia Fletcher, Mark Wade, and Brad Cummings, who had literally just arrived. The topics were varied and the questions kept coming/ At 10:00 pm they had to shut it down since they were already 15 minutes over schedule.

The dealer rooms were open - and WOW! Lots of dealers and GREAT figures. So much to see and play with. I hadn't eaten since lunch, so Ed Thomas, David Crone, Ken Groves, Brad Cummings and I had a late dinner in the restaurant. Service is much better and the food is delicious this year thanks to a management change.

This morning I've got to run and turn things on for Dan Horn's lecture. It will be a full day!
Message: Posted by: Bob Baker (Jul 15, 2010 12:55PM)
Thanks for the report, Tom. Keep 'em coming!

Message: Posted by: ColinDymond (Jul 15, 2010 05:10PM)
Wish I was there. Maybe I'll come as part of a British invasion one year soon. Have fun everyone.
Message: Posted by: Ony Carcamo (Jul 15, 2010 05:19PM)
Have fun, Tom and everybody there!
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 16, 2010 12:22AM)
Just finished getting the showroom reset and divided for tomorrow's lectures. (So I can sleep in until 7!) I was up very early this morning to work on setting up Dan Horn's lecture, which was great. The roundtable discussion by Dale Brown, Ken Groves, Jerry Layne, Lynn Trefzger-Joy and Mark Wade was very informative. Jr. & Senior Open Mics ran most of the afternoon, followed by a lecture by Sammy King. After dinner break, Brad Cummings did a great lecture on showmanship. He is a very class act. A viewing of the movie "DUMBSTRUCK" was next - wow, what a great movie. It truly shows the human side of this business. After the movie was a brief question/answer session. Finally the general open mics - which ran very late.

Busy day tomorrow and I've got to be up to help finish setting the halls and helping the lecturers get prepared. So - Good night!

BTW Colin, Karl is here representing the UK! Plus had a chance to meet Sarah from Australia. Those of you not here need to start saving for next year!
Message: Posted by: Jimeuax (Jul 16, 2010 01:31AM)
Thanks for posting---we are watching this post to see what went on......Cheers! JIMO
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 16, 2010 11:47PM)
Another great day here at VentHaven. The morning started with lectures by Dale Brown, Mark Wade and Lee Cornell. The Jr. Vent University ran at the same time for the younger set. Following the lectures was the group photo. At lunch a group of us were joined by Dan Horn. The afternoon lectures were held by Dan, who does an incredible manipulation workshop, Sylvia Fletcher and Joe Lefler.

Tonight's international show included Stevo Schuling as MC, and opened with Jan-Robert Henrikson of Norway. What a class talent; he had an incredible set. Jae Woo An of South Korea came up next. He handled the language barrier with ease and had everyone enthralled. The final act was a surprise spot by Nina Conti. I've seen Nina on video, but live, she really rocks the house. A great show!

The raffle for VentHaven had a ton of prizes donated by the dealers. Albert Alfaro won the Mary Ann Taylor puppet, which gave everyone a laugh! His daughter, a very talented ventriloquist, now has a brand new character.

Jeff Dunham was there and helped with the raffle, then held an auction for a mid-night tour of VentHaven. The winning bid got a great prize. 4 people could get on Jeff's tour bus and ride to the museum. In addition to the private tour and ride, he included 4 tickets to his show at any venue, along with backstage passes and dinner with him and the crew in that town. The winning bid was over $3,500. The proceeds all benefit VentHaven Museum.

At midnight, the General Open Mic ended and everyone made their way to hospitality to continue the fun. Me, I came back to the room to report and grab some sleep. Saturday is another busy day - and Jeff Dunham will be presenting his lecture after the bus tour to VentHaven Museum.
Message: Posted by: Jimeuax (Jul 17, 2010 12:32AM)
Thanks for the report! Sounds like a fun time!!!!
Message: Posted by: Dash & Me (Jul 17, 2010 12:36PM)

Thanks for the updates. I'm curious if Al Stevens got a chance to perform with the new figure he was making?

Sounds like you are going to need a vacation after the conVention.

Troy Anderson
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 18, 2010 06:25AM)
Its over. Went by very fast. Troy, Al did perform his new figure at the General Open Mic. He did a great job and got a huge laugh.

Saturday opened with the International Panel discussion. The International show was very strong and the acts had great insights. The highlight of the event for me was watching Nina Conti answer questions with Monk. It was a lesson in splitting personalities. The key moment came from a simple statement she made. Those words created an "A-HA" moment for many of us. It was the discussion of the convention after that. I'd share, but really, you had to be there.

Pete Michaels, Lynn Trefzger-Joy, Sammy King and Brad Cummings followed with a round table on How to Improve Your Act. Great insights and lots of laughs.

The afternoon had trips to the VentHaven Museum for most. I never made it. Ended up being treated to lunch! After that, I teched Brad Cummings evening show and helped get things ready for Jeff's lecture.

The lecture was packed. Jeff had a great talk on "The Spark of Life". He also told some stories about what was going on with his career and treated us to some bits with Walter and Achmed. After the lecture, Jeff stayed and signed autographs and posed for pictures.

The All-Star Show was MC'd by Joe Lefler who opened with his magic and mentalism. Sylvia Fletcher was the first act of the evening and performed with Chico, her custom Axtell puppet. Brad Cummings introduced Jack In The Box and brought the house down. He then brought out Rex and ended with a standing ovation. Todd Oliver arrived late, but when he went on stage, you couldn't tell. He brought two of his talking dogs and also received a standing ovation. After the show, Todd presented a lecture on the power of being unique. It was a great ending for a great convention.

If I sounded a bit vague on some things above, it was on purpose. If you haven't been to the VentHaven convention, you have no idea how much it will inspire and teach you. You need to get there if you want to get better - that is what the convention is all about. You'll meet and get access to the big names. You'll learn techniques, be able to witness acts and see ways to raise your own show. It is unlike any other convention you will attend. Next year the dates are July 13 - 16. Put it on the calendar and start saving your change in a jar. I'll look forward to seeing you there!
Message: Posted by: ColinDymond (Jul 18, 2010 12:26PM)
OK It's in the diary. Now to start a saving fund.
Message: Posted by: kidshowvent (Jul 18, 2010 11:03PM)
Greetings to you all! I had a great time with Tom over the weekend and the ConVENTion went very smoothly. Tom has pitched in and become one of our new sound tech guys and he did a wonderful job, along with Sue Johnson and Mark Truman.

The lectures and workshops went fantastically (mine was standing room only..) and the talent on all the shows was outstanding.

ConVENTion dates for 2011 are July 13-16 in Ft. Mitchell, KY, the home of the world's biggest and best museum on ventriloquism, the Vent Haven Museum. I hope to see and meet all of you there. I run the ConVENTion as the Executive Director and I'd love to meet all of you face to face on day.
Message: Posted by: Neale Bacon (Jul 19, 2010 05:35PM)
This year I tried to save a few dollars by buying groceries and eating in my room but now I regret the fellowship I missed at the dinner table.
Next year I either have to have more money to eat or at least go for a drink and sit with people while they're having dinner.
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 19, 2010 06:14PM)
Thanks Mark. Mark Truman and Sue Johnson deserve the credit. They did an excellent job backstage and I really enjoyed working with them.

Neale, at least you made it to the convention! The people who didn't really miss out!
Message: Posted by: kidshowvent (Jul 19, 2010 07:50PM)
Neale..thank you also for helping with the Junior Vent University. It was great and your part made it greater!

I've got the best team anyone can assemble for a convention!! Hope many more of you on this Café can come to Vent Haven ConVENTion next year!


Mark Wade-Ventriloquist
Message: Posted by: Bob Baker (Jul 19, 2010 08:50PM)
On 2010-07-19 18:35, Neale Bacon wrote:
This year I tried to save a few dollars by buying groceries and eating in my room but now I regret the fellowship I missed at the dinner table.
Next year I either have to have more money to eat or at least go for a drink and sit with people while they're having dinner.


I've promised myself that I'm going to make it there next year. Here's my offer to you: if you can stand my company for a meal, I'll buy you dinner!

Message: Posted by: Neale Bacon (Jul 20, 2010 01:12PM)
Sounds like a plan. I never say no to a free meal :)
Message: Posted by: Neale Bacon (Jul 20, 2010 01:13PM)
On 2010-07-19 19:14, tacrowl wrote:
Thanks Mark. Mark Truman and Sue Johnson deserve the credit. They did an excellent job backstage and I really enjoyed working with them.

Neale, at least you made it to the convention! The people who didn't really miss out!

I agree that everyone did a great job, and people really miss out by not being there.
Message: Posted by: ColinDymond (Jul 20, 2010 05:17PM)
Ok Ok I've started saving!

Neale, maybe we should get some more people to buy groceries and we could all have a picnic!
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 30, 2010 12:09PM)
Thought I'd make a quick share about something I learned at the convention and just put to use.

The other night I was performing at a fair. The band on the main stage was deafening. It was so loud I could not hear my own sound - although I knew the audience could because they stayed and laughed. It killed a music cue that I use, since I need to hear it - so I had to drop it from the set.

At the convention, we had worked with a stage monitor. I've used them before, but never saw the need to have one for my own system. Dan Horn pointed out the difference a stage monitor makes in one of his lectures. Had I not been there, using a monitor may never have entered my head. The next day, I ran to the local music store and purchased a small powered monitor to receive the sound mix from my Anchor system.

Now I can hear exactly what the audience hears. The bands at the fair are no longer an issue. That little tidbit of information was just one of many I learned at VentHaven, and it allows me to present a more professional show. I like using the monitor so much, I plan on carrying it with me all the time.
Message: Posted by: Ken Dumm (Jul 30, 2010 02:39PM)
What type of monitor did you pick up? That's a great idea...and essential in some working conditions...Thanks for sharing Tom...

Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Jul 30, 2010 10:00PM)
A TC Helicon Voicesolo. I had never heard of them, but we took it in the back room, hooked it up and I listened to it. Sounded great for my needs and the size is exactly what I was looking for. I'm sure I could have bought something cheaper on line and had it overnighted, but I wanted/needed it then, so I went with what the local shop had in stock. I'm very happy with the unit.

Ken, you really need to put VentHaven on your schedule next year!
Message: Posted by: Ken Dumm (Jul 30, 2010 10:20PM)
Thanks for the info Tom. I'd love to go...It sounds like a blast! I'll put it on the calendar and try to make it next year...

Take care...talk soon.

Message: Posted by: ColinDymond (Aug 3, 2010 01:41PM)
Funny. I always like it when I do a big show and have a moniter but I'd never though of having my own. More money!
Message: Posted by: tacrowl (Aug 8, 2010 11:21PM)
Since I added it, I've become spoiled. Can't imagine doing a show without it now. I often work alone and use a hard wire microphone. I was guessing my volume based on how it sounded to my ear in an empty venue. I've done that for years and am pretty good at it, but there were times it was far from perfect. Now I can set music levels and check the house sound from the front. When music levels are right, I then add voice so it fits nicely over the music in the moniter. It gives me the correct mix for out front. Should have added one a long time ago!

And again, it was a simple thing we learned at VentHaven which has really helped me improve this area of my act.