Monday, April 5, 2010

Austria: Not just a smaller Australia?

Leave it to the Austrians to take a wholesome family-oriented form of entertainment like ventriloquism and make it dirty, Dirty, DIRTY!

I'm just kidding, of course.  I'm still a little miffed that the Austrians totally blew off the Budding Ventriloquist Winter Olympic Coverage (TM). I mean, the coverage started while it was still January, and the games themselves were, like 123 days in a row. How long can a whole country play with their own edelweis?

But, being a proud German by both heritage and nature, I am an amazingly forgiving soul, of course.
And when they aren't selling Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer autographs on ebay to each other, there is a good bit of ventriloquism action in Austria.

Here's a promo for a show called Magic Mushrooms, which features a ventriloquist dummy/dragon who wants to be a porn star (see?  Dirty, Dirty, Dirty!). The video is actually a promo for a big magic act, but the first minute is the ventriloquist part of the act, and it's very funny - and it has subtitles!

It also makes me want to learn all the German Mr. Alles tried to teach me at Bell Junior High in Milwaukee 35 years ago, so I can perform at the Kabarett Simpl in Vienna, Austria. It looks so classic.

Is that Joel Grey and Lisa Minnelli necking in the corner, old chum?

And then there's bauchredner (Ventriloquist) Frank Rossi and his human puppet, Karlchen, delightfully portrayed by Bert Rex.
This is great stuff, and it's always fun to watch performers when they obviously are enjoying their schtick.  The clips is from their performance at the GOP Varieté theatre, which has 4 theaters across Austria and Germany.


Bauchredner = Ventriloquist
Bauchreden = Ventriloquism
Bauchrednerattrappe = Ventriloquist Dummy
Ok - pop quiz.  What's the German word for ventriloquist?

No, you can't borrow a pencil from Steve. It's not my fault you're not perpared. What if your father went to work without his tools? Huh?
Bauchredner literally translates into "belly talker". By no coincidence, ventriloquist translates into "belly talker" as well.

Strange, you say?  Yes, but true.

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