June 2004 Newsletter

Presidents Message,

By Randal Metz
Hello everyone. This is the last month of my term as your President. At this time, I would like to discuss with you how well I feel the year has gone. When our current board took over, we had 3-5 members attending the last few meetings in May/June 2003. We have averaged 25 plus since then. We’ve covered a wide variety of meeting topids throughout the year. They include:
– Performance meetings
– Lessons in using paper mache’
– Avant Garde puppetry
– Panel discussion on television puppetry and stop motion animation
– Our annual Holiday Party and performance
– Paper Theater Performance and Traveling with puppets around the world.
– A huge day of Puppetry!
– Panel discussion on breaking into the birthday party business – whew!
– Plus many other small surprises.

We have looked at an examined the following areas of our guild:
Newsletter – The newsletter has gone through three changes this year. ALl aimed at getting the information out to our members in a timely manner. We have also voted to pay a stipend to our newsletter aditor. Due to take effect this year.
Email and Webpage – Matt Baume has taken over the running of out brand new web page at SFBAPG.org. It is his goal to archive our newsletters as well as archive all the emails we receive concerning news in our puppet world. This is the first year we’ve had a web page and Matt has many great ideas. Watch for them in the coming months. Mary Decker is doing a great job of keeping the membership informed via emails that she sends out. This is a hard job. Thanks Mary!
Day of Puppetry – The San Leandro Library hosted the day of puppetry for us at no cost to the membership! Penny Peck, our librarian liason is very interested in hosting this event each year for as long as we allowe her to.
Meetings – We spaced our monthly meetings all over the Bay Area in 2003-2004. I might add that only at Fort Mason did we pay for a meeting space. Everywhere else: libraries, homes, studios, they were happy to have us at no cost to the guild.
And now…the moment I take great pleasure in announcing! The San Francisco Guild is only as good as the membership allows us to be. And this year, the membership came to the aid of our guild and shared their talents over and over and over again. Here is a list of members who ewent the extra mile to make the San Francisco Bay Area Puppetteers Guild so spectacular this year:

Lee Armstrong – Lecturer, Workshop leader, & Guild host
Nick Barone – Performer and Lecturer
Rose Sage-Barone – Volunteer and Raffle Organizer
Matt Baume – Webmaster and Web Designer
Pamela Brown – Treasurer, Volunteer & Worshop Leader
Peter Brizzi – Performer
Michael Borroughs – Vice President, Workshop Leader, & Performer
Mary Decker – Volunteer and Email Coordinator
Tim Giugni – Performer
Elisheva Hart – Volunteer, Performer, & Workshop Leader
Olivia Huff – Newsletter Mailing, Performer and Lecturer
Talib Huff – Performer & Lecturer
Lewis Mahlmann – Performer
Kevin Menegus – Video Coordinator, Performer, Worshop Leader & Guild Host
Michael Nelson – Lecturer & Performer
Valarie Nelson – Lecturer and Performer
Jeffrey Pidgeon – Lecturer
Kamela Portuges – Lecturer and Guild Host
Karen Prell – Lecturer
Lettie Schubert – Volunteer & Lecturer
Tia Smirnoff – Volunteer & Worshop Leader
Mike Wick – Lecturer
Patti Wick – Volunteer
Susan Woolner – Newsletter Editor
and non-members:
Carl LaRue – Newsletter Editor
David Jones – Guest Performer
Penny Peck – San Leandro Library Liason
Jesse Vail – Guest Performer

Thanks to one and all for all your hard work. And…I look forward to another great year in the guild. Michael Burroughs is moving to the position of Co President with me. Together, we will continue to bring excitement and new talents to our great guild.
Thank you, Randall.

Minutes From May Meeting,

By Michael Burroughs, Vice President

In May, the Guild met at Fort Mason; next to the San Francisco Bay. 22 members attended; including one member who drove down from Eureka. The meeting focussed on “Birthday Parties and the Business Side of Puppetry.” Elisheva Hard, Lettie Schubert, Nick Barone, and Kevin Menegus participated on the lively panel discussion which lasted until 10:15pm – well past the 10 o’clock curfew!! There was a breif business meeting which discussed the following:
– Mike Burroughs encouraged all to attend a Puppet Festival this summer. Our guild’s region – The Pacific Southwest – will sponsor a festival in Phoenix Arizon in late Fune. Go to azpuppetfest.com for more information. You are invited to attend other Regional Fesivals. Visit puppeteers.org for festival information.
– Nick Barone discussed a workshop-intensive fesival in Missouri from July 13-18. Visit midwestpuppetfest.com for more information. This festival is run by puppeteers. Spend four days with one of the following artists:
—- Luman Coal of Coad Canada Puppets
—- Philip Huber & The Huber Marionettes
—- Lynne Jennings of Jennings’ Puppeteers
—- Paul Mesner of Paul Mesner Puppets
—- (just a short list: Visit the fesival’s website for more presenters.)
– If you would like your name listed on the guild’s website, email a short bio to Matt Baume (See )
– The guild provides PofA with an annual report. The annual report requested the guild to provide the PofA with a roster of our members. Mary brough this sisue to the table. The members voted that the guild would NOT provide PofA with this information. Many guild members are part of the PofA; therefore the PofA already has their contact information. If you are not a member of the PofA and would like them to have your name, please contact the PofA via puppeteers.org.
– The annual report also requests the amount in our Treasury. The members voted to NOT provide this information to PofA.
Now to the fun stuff – The panel discussion on “Birth Day Parties.” The panel provided insights on all aspects of performing for Birth Day kids including: How to handle contracts? Do you require deposits? How are cancellations handled? How di I handle difficult kids? Difficult Parents? Performing outside. Portable Power. Lighting. Give a gift to the Birthday Child only? Or give something to each child? Should you include your name on the gifts? Should you single out a particular child? (Of course, the Birthday Child!) Curtain? Wind? Grass? Do you have a ‘Magic Phrase’ that gets the kids to quiet down? How do you advertise? Yellow Pages? Parent Magazine?
Nick Barone focussed on the importance of being able to roll-in and roll-out quickly. He rolled his equipment in and set up his stage during the panel discussion. We checked in with Nick during different stages of the setup and Nick provided his advice. The other panelists pitched in on how their setup was different. In the middle of the discussion, Nick performed his new show “T-Rex Thunderlizard’s Wild West Review.” Elisheva Hart discussed how she advertised in the yellow pages and the importance of lighting. She provided a smaple of several mechanisms that help a puppeteer dim lights with a Food Dimmer, Hand-Dial Dimmer, and small clip lights. Kevin Menegus recommended using a mini-disk player for music and investing in a “Hot Spot Monitor” which you can buy at Guitar Center. The monitor speaking is a small speaking with a lot of sound power. Lettie Schubert delighted the audience with her stories of working in television and for family events. A “Portrait Light” from a Hallers works well to light puppets. (She never had to advertise. Word-of-mouth kept he working!) There was so much more to this Panel Discussion. Several people have requested that this topic be brough back next year; because their is so much more ground to cover. So, look forward to this topic again next year. Thanks to all the panelists!