Perspectives of a Writer and Musician

Issues related to writing, publishing and playing jazz music: One man's muse.
by Al Stevens

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Location: Florida, United States

Monday, November 20, 2006

Dieter-Lee Update and CFVA Meeting

It's been almost a month since I posted. Things have been busy in the workshop and in the studio. I'm building a new figure for a client and writing downsized big band arrangements for a six-piece band for New Year's Eve. Let's start with some happy news.


Susan Watson called me today from England. Big Fred has made some very positive changes in their home. They are, she said, a very happy family.

First, Dieter-Lee's speech has improved significantly since Big Fred arrived. Dieter-Lee is using many more words and making complete sentences far more often than before.

Second, Michael, Dieter-Lee's father, has taken an interest in ventriloquism, too, and he now spends far more time with Dieter-Lee as they study the lessons together. Susan said there's a close bond she hadn't seen before forming between her "very shy" husband and her autistic son.

Central Florida Ventriloquist's Association

Yesterday we met at the home of figure maker and ventriloquist Dan Bratton in New Port Richie on the gulf coast. We were delighted to have as our guest Annie Roberts, who lives in Jacksonville now and who is former curator of Vent Haven. Annie is still active with the museum and manages the content on their website,

Like most of our meetings, this one started out with a theme and progressed to the usual wide variety of discussions about ventriloquism and figure making. I don't think we spent much time at all on the theme, which was hard vs soft figures. I got to show off Uncle Sweeter Dabney. While we were in session, one of Dan's Brose kit figures finished its auction on ebay at just over $300. Bummer. I think the bottom has fallen out of that market.

Like most meetings, we spent a lot of time talking about the next meeting, which, if it works out, will feature Jimmy Nelson as a guest. I'm really looking forward to that. It's not a performance, it's a chance to get Jimmy to talk about the good old days and some of his experiences coming up during the so-called "golden age" of ventriloquism.


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