Tuesday, July 04, 2006

John. A filthy puppeteer.

My friend John hustles puppet. Hand puppets. Sock puppets.
The sort of puppets one associates with church youth groups and poignantly under-funded hunting safety awareness programs in small, rural school districts.

These are those sorts of puppets, only with syphilis and model airplane glue addictions. Vulgar, profane, angry puppets; puppets that lead innocents astray.

John is a founder of the Harvey Finklestein Institute, a think tank that develops original and nasty things for cheap puppets to do while adults watch. The Institute is currently running shows in its home base of Chicago, as well as recently opening “Sock Puppet Showgirls” in New York (yes, it’s an all sock puppet adaptation of Eszterhas’ masterwork).

Below, I ask John a bunch of questions about filthy puppets. It may be boring. I just don’t know. Join us, won’t you?

G: Congrats on the opening. And Harvery Finklestein is
now in...New York? Is that right? I'm confused.

J: Thanks. Harvey Finklestein is indeed in NYC, "Harvey Finklestein's
Sock Puppet Showgirls" running since May 13. In Chicago we just opened "UU7: A Magician Never Tells His Tricks", which has received an overall pan by the critical community! Ha!!! I guess people in mascot costumes tea-bagging other people in mascot costumes isn't for everybody!

G: Um, John, holy shit, you've built a career on the back of a filthy hand puppet! What is the genesis of the Harvey Finklestein

J: Beer and a sock puppet version of Oedipus Rex, from there the flower bloomed. We then did a sock puppet version of the MGM film "Showgirls", told in 45 minutes

G: Has any audience members died in a gruesome or unsettling way during a performance?

J: Not that I know of. But once people showed up with home made t-shirts and pennants on sticks that they waved during the show.

G: From where does Harvey "make"?

J: His penis

G: Are there multiple Harveys?

J: No, there can be only one Harvey Finklestein. That's why he's kept in a plastic Ziplock freezer bag.

G: Does he get laundered much?

J: Never been washed, I guess that's why he's so filthy! Did I just say

G: Has Harvey evolved over time?

J: Yeah… he started out as a "Damn-it!" Doll, then he turned into a
loud-foulmouthed-insulter, and finally to a dirty and perverted puppet who speaks with an english accent (which I believe gets worse as time goes on. A-heh.

G: Have you ever had any walk-outs or outrage from tight-sphinctered types?

J: Yes. Last friday 10 minutes in a couple walked out - no refunds. The first show (a-heh) a group of six left after a young lady was overheard to utter "I can't handle this! I've got to get out of here." No outrage as of yet.

G: Have any confused people ever brought their kids to see the lovely puppets?

J: People have asked if HFSPS was for kids. And this happened when we were playing at midnight.

G: You’ve got a new production, UU7: A Magician
Never Tells His Tricks
, that just debuted in Chicago.
What the hell is it about?

J: It's a parody of the James Bond genre.

G: Now with uu7, you're incorporating life-sized puppets and a live band. At any point in conceiving the production did you find yourself thinking, "Wow. This has potential of being
really gay"?

J: No, but now I do.

G: Were any things taken out because of excessive gayness?

J: Yes. All the (a-heh) stuff about you.

G: Are there jugglers or cat trainers?

J: We're working on that.

G: So now you’re running a two-city empire. Do you
spend a lot of time in New York?

J: No. Once every couple of months maybe for two nights. Last October I commuted from Chicago to do the show on weekends for three weeks, which lost it's appeal during the second week, as I blew projectile vomit pizza chunks into the just opened La Guardia airport mens room at 6 am on a monday morning.

G: Do New Yorkers have a different response to the show?

J: Yes. they are willing to pay $15 at the box office.

G: As an impresario, do you get to wear a cape and monocle now?

J: How did you guess?

G: Do you interject (a-heh) randomly in conversation?

J: Yes, of course

G: Several years ago on our shared birthday, you and I
protested irrational traffic patterns on during the
morning commute. We stood on Pleasant Hill Road with
signs, shaking our fists at traffic. I think we made adifference. What about you?

J: I sleep better at night thinking we did, always have.
If that wasn't the right thing to do, then there's just something plain
ol' wrong in this America we live in.

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Blogger Jack P Toerson said...

Good to have you back.

11:21 AM  
Blogger Kris_One said...

Another man who's great with his hands. Was that out loud?

6:48 PM  
Blogger G. said...

Not sure you get it in the US, but there's a fucking hilarious TV show here in Canada called "Puppets who kill." It's about....well...nevermind.

7:48 AM  
Anonymous Taliessa said...

Well, Hank, since I'm a certified special education teacher and am qualified to test students for such; I hereby declare you certifiable. I don't know if that's what you wanted, but I didn't have any certificates handy. I agree with Greg, just don't point the damn gun at me!

10:15 PM  

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