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austin_dern

September 2017

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May. 30th, 2017

Motor City Fur[ry] Convention, back when it was Furry Connection North More Or Less, used to have puppeteers. So did AnthrOhio, back when it was Morphicon. But somehow over the years the puppeteers drifted away. I don't know why. Maybe it was just people moving out of the area. Maybe the programming heads of the conventions wanted other stuff. Don't know. While [profile] bunny_hugger and I were always interested in the puppet track events and attended more of them than any other kind of event, we were never in the know of what was going on. All that happened was we realized there weren't puppet things going on and we talked last year about maybe we should run something. We're not really qualified to do it, but we've been to some Intro To Puppeteering panels and that's better than nobody doing anything.

So, when Motor City Fur[ry] Con asked for panel events I signed us up sure that [profile] bunny_hugger remembered our discussing this idea and wanted to do it. She was a bit surprised to find she was on the con schedule as co-host to ``Puppeteering With The Complete Amateur''. But she was up for it, which was a lifesaver, since I talked in the event description about our bringing puppets. She owns almost all the puppets in the family; the only one I have is a Folkmanis guinea pig she gave me. I've named the guinea pig Latham Shoales, because so help me that's the kind of person I am. And it took me three years to settle on that name.

Anyway, as the event capsule I described myself as not really knowing what I'm doing but having heard some stuff from actual puppeteers and being up for sharing that. Since there haven't been this kind of performing tracks at the con in years I didn't know what to expect and what was actually there as the designated hour started was an audience of two people, one of whom was the other guy who brings puppets to the con. The one person I could not wow with just awareness that any quantum of motion makes a puppet alive.

A few more folks wandered in, though, and after I nearly died of nerves to start, it all turned out ... really quite well. I had not gotten to actually make notes of the things I wanted to get to. I'd had a few thoughts in mind and hoped that in rambling I'd get around to everything important. So I ended up saying something like, ``the one thing I have actually learned about puppeteering is'' about six times, enough that I could make that my thematic hook. Somewhere around forty minutes in I realized I was doing that as a thematic hook and played to that. Also, mercifully, [profile] bunny_hugger was on exactly my wavelength. She's a fantastic partner for me in so many ways. But one of them is that as I petered out of any particular thought, she had something she could say to pick up on it. I think we ended up looking a lot more professional-ish and organized than we were.

The other puppeteering guy was really impressed, by the way, with the one trick I've learned about Latham Shoales. If I keep flexing my fingers in just this right way, the guinea pig looks plausibly like it's breathing. He was bowled over by this technique. I'm so thrilled to think I could impress anybody with my technique. I would imagine it strikes anyone who's held a puppet as realistically shaped and sized as the Folkmanis guinea pig, though.

And so ... my debut as someone pretending to know something about puppetry was a success. Maybe even a hit. I signed up to do it again at AnthrOhio, going on this weekend. With [profile] bunny_hugger as cohost. It's happened between my writing this and its scheduled posting. Maybe it went well, maybe we crashed and burned. I'm hoping it was fun. It was nice doing the first time, anyway.

Trivia: Very little of London's warehoused tea was damaged during the Blitz, although more than half the tea brokers' offices were destroyed over the night of 10 May 1941. Source: Tea: Addiction, Exploitation, and Empire, Roy Moxham.

Currently Reading: The History of the Calculus and its Conceptual Development, Carl B Boyer.

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