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

Friday, May 08, 2009

Define yourself. Take the vent test...

Ventriloquists are a diverse bunch, a motley crew. We typically have only one thing in common, the ability to make inanimate objects seem to talk. But our differences define us as ventriloquists.

What we lack, however, are pejorative names. Ways to look down upon one another by how we refer to our differences. Putdowns. Nicknames.

Other professions have that. They get to call their own members names associated with their specialites. Pill pushers. Bone crackers. Shrinks. Empty suits. Numbers crunchers. Pipe jockeys. Ambulance chasers. All in fun, of course.

Consider our differences as ventriloquists:

The kinds of ventriloquial figures we use:
  1. hard figures
  2. soft puppets
  3. latex and vinyl figures

The characters those figures represent:

  1. people
  2. animals
  3. inanimate objects (jalapenos, e.g.)

The content of our shows:

  1. family comedy
  2. adult comedy
  3. gospel
  4. message (drug use, safety, reading, etc.)

The audiences we target:

  1. children
  2. family gatherings
  3. church-goers
  4. night club patrons


  1. comedy club
  2. private party
  3. church
  4. corporate
  5. schools, libraries

(None of these lists is meant to be comprehensive.)

Now choose one element from each list that best defines how you practice ventriloquism. Then choose from these lists the corresponding putdown to arrive at the way you can be insulted by members of your profession who make different choices.

The kinds of ventriloquial figures we use:
  1. blockhead
  2. rag doll
  3. rubber ducky

The characters those figures represent:

  1. store dummy
  2. fuzzy bunny
  3. talking carrot

The content of our shows:

  1. goody-goody two shoes
  2. dirtbag
  3. bible thumper
  4. boring lecturer

The audiences we target:

  1. rug rats
  2. homebodies
  3. the holier than one 'nother
  4. drunks


  1. dive
  2. backyard
  3. tent meeting
  4. office orgy
  5. day care

Based on all the above, I am a dirtbag vent who uses blockhead store dummies to entertain drunks in dives.

Who are you?

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