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Born on a mountaintop in Tennessee, the greenest state in the land of the free, raised in the woods so’s he knew every tree, kill’t him a bear when he was only three …
You can’t have Davy Crockett without Beautiful Betsy, his rifle. If you’re toting a prop rifle in a burlesque show, it had better do something fabulous. Hence: My Betsy is a confetti cannon. At least, half the barrel is — the rest of the “gun” is just for show. I’ve been meaning to post a tutorial on this for some time.
A disclaimer: THE CONFETTI CANNON WORKS ON COMPRESSED AIR. You can easily injure yourself or others if you don’t use common sense! Only use this to blast confetti, and NEVER POINT IT AT PEOPLE, ANIMALS, OR FRAGILE OBJECTS. In fact, now that I think about it, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO BUILD THIS THING. I’M A (self-trained) PROFESSIONAL.
When I perform the Davy Crockett number, I aim the rifle at the ceiling, above the audience. The blast of confetti looks awesome, and then it drifts down onto my adoring fans — double awesome!
Here we go …
Here are the ingredients for my confetti cannon:
And here’s why you need a screw-on Schrader fitting. You’re going to attach that tapered inflator nozzle to the CO2 inflator. Attach one end of the vinyl hose to the nozzle, and hose clamp that sucker in place.
Look, I’ll be honest with you. You may not actually need the hose clamp. I’m a Nervous Nancy, however, and I want to make sure my connections are as tight as possible.
Place (and by place I mean “shove”) the male end of the reducer into one end of your PVC pipe. I used a little E-6000 to glue it in place because, again, Nervous Nancy.
Here’s the genius of my confetti cannon: The hex head on the reducer keeps it from entering the pipe. Meaning there is no risk of accidentally propelling a hard brass fitting into the air when you activate this thing.
Insert the barb hose adapter into the reducer, put the hose on it, and clamp it. (Note: you’re going to want to put the hose through the hose clamp before you attach the hose to the adapter.)
Fill the PVC pipe with confetti, and activate the tire inflator. Huzzah! confetti cannon!
Now here’s a problem: My Beautiful Betsy is 50 inches long. I want to fit it into a standard-size suitcase for air travel. It needs to be collapsible, and so I’ve accomplished this with the addition of a couple of pieces of hardware.
Here’s what the connection at the PVC looked like.
And here’s what it looks like now! I unscrewed the barb hose adapter from the reducer, and inserted a 1/4″ quick connect coupler and male plug with 1/4″ female plug. Now this part of the confetti cannon breaks apart …
Like so! The gun stock is being broken into three pieces that I will assemble after I arrive at my destination. I’ll source the CO2 cartridge locally so I don’t have to travel with a compressed air cartridge. (I don’t know if it’s legal or not to travel with CO2 cartridges — I don’t really care. I like the idea of showing up in another town and looking for a bicycle shop. Gives me a chance to take in more local flavor.)
So there you have it: an inexpensive confetti cannon that can be built in a couple of hours.
This is the Doodlebug. Her name is actually Felicity, but no one calls her that. We took the Doodlebug to the vet a few weeks back for her regular check-up, booster shots, and to have an evaluation done on one of her teeth that seems to be giving her some trouble. She was running a little bit of a fever, and so they decided against the booster shots and instead did a blood test in preparation for the dental work. As it turns out, our little sofa loaf (she is a bit of a napper) is anemic.
No sweat, put some iron in her diet, right? Nope. Anemia in dogs doesn’t work like anemia in humans. It could be caused by an infection (like what’s going on with her teeth) or it could be cancer. Or some sort of autoimmune issue. It could be a whole bunch of scary things. She’s on a treatment program right now, and she appears to be responding well (red blood cell count up the last time she was checked, about a week ago!) so we’re hopeful it’s one of the less frightening issues.
Needless to say, the vet bills are stacking up. But rather than make an outright appeal for financial assistance, my wife and I are doing how we do: We’re making stuff and selling it. To be specific, we’re making Doodle appliqué pillows, similar to the prototype pictured (along with the Doodlebug) above. If you’re interested in picking up a Doodle pillow and helping us get the Doodlebug the doctorin’ she needs, please follow this link to my wife’s website. And thank you!
I finally get to take the wife to see The Muppets: Most Wanted tonight. I got to see it a couple of weeks before it opened (I know a guy) and I’m stoked to see it again. I enjoyed The Muppets, but it felt like a reboot, and more of a vehicle for Jason Segal than a MUPPET movie. I’m not complaining! Kudos to Segal for doing the damned near impossible (judging from recent history, i.e. Muppets in Space): making a GOOD Muppet movie!
The Muppets Most Wanted puts the Muppets front and center. And it introduces us to a new Kermit imposter, Constantine, The World’s Most Dangerous Frog!
But this isn’t the first time Kermit has been replaced …
In a second season episode of The Muppet Show, the pigs takeover the show. Performed by Dave Goelz, this is probably the most frightening of the Kermitgangers. At least it was to me as a little kid!
Season one of the Muppet Show gave us this guy, who seemed like an explosion of Kermit id — up to no end of mischief. We also get a Kermit take on the old Marx-bros mirror gag! (A gag that is revisited by Kermit and Constantine.)
The Steve Martin episode of The Muppet Show is my all-time favorite. Martin shows up to host only to discover that it’s open audition night at The Benny Vandergast Memorial Theater (better known as The Muppet Theater nowadays). The only show to air without an added laugh track, the laughing and applause you hear is coming from the crew and performers watching the performances. Great stuff.
Baskerville the Dog (in Fozzie Bear-esque polka dotted tie and brown porkpie) kills in his audition as comic. Fozzie gives him the ol’ vaudeville hook and yells, “Next!”
Says Kermit, “C’mon, Fozzie, you’re taking all this too personally!”
Next up is Lenny the Lizard (Richard Hunt) auditioning to be the emcee.
“NEXT!” yells Kermit.
Not really Kermitgangers per se, but this bit from Sesame Street stands out in memory:
And now, because the internet is fueled by DIY and lists (and cats, but the wife is allergic, so I’ve got nothing), it is with almost patriotic pride that I present to you the Make Your Own Constantine PEZ Dispenser Tutorial!
What did YOU think of The Muppets: Most Wanted? What sort of pointless tutorial would you like to see next? Let me know!
“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.” – Bilbo Baggins
Boy howdy, do I know the feeling. It’s a good feeling — I’m not complaining. I’m happy to have the problems I have because they are the problems of a creative individual. Problems like “I need to finish the costume I’m wearing next Monday Night” (as Brand from The Goonies) or “I need more jokes for the show I’m hosting Friday night” or “Seeing as how puppetry-type stuff is on my radar again, I should probably refresh my puppetry page on the website.” Stuff like that.
Starting with St. Patrick’s Day and culminating in next Monday night, I figure I will have exercised my full range of artistic skills. Making music, dancing, comedy, puppetry, etc. It’s all been on full display this month. That’s why I’ve been a little quiet here, at Mad Theatrics, and on Twitter. I’m busy doing stuff.
How does the creative multi-tasker get it all done? Red could probably give a better answer, because she is easily the most industrious person I know. But since she’s way too busy, I’ll give it a shot.
1. TO-DO LISTS. Seems obvious, eh? Well, this lackadaisical, lazy ass has learned the hard way to figure out what he needs to do before he starts doing. That way he doesn’t forget things. A bonus is, writing your to-dos down helps you do the next thing, which is …
2. PRIORITIZE. Some steps must be done before you can begin other steps. Sometimes you have to paint a prop first thing in the morning so it will be dry in time for the performance that evening. Hand washing a garment won’t wait until two hours before curtain. Blogging about having a lot on your plate will wait until midnight on a Wednesday.
3. EAT AND SLEEP. You will forget. You will get busy and totally blow past exhaustion and hunger. Then you’ll get cranky, make mistakes, etc. Take the time to eat and sleep.
4. SQUEAKY WHEELS. Put out the fires. This should probably go under “Prioritize,” but it’s late, and I’m tired and hungry. Seriously, sometimes you just have to prioritize based on what’s screaming at you the loudest.
5. LIMIT DISTRACTIONS. I still haven’t watched the last episode of Cosmos. At the rate I’m going, I might be able to squeeze it in on Saturday. I also tend to not drink much of the demon liquor when I’m in the midst of a whole lotta stuff.
6. MAKE A LITTLE TIME FOR BACK BURNER PROJECTS. As projects complete and come out of the queue, you’ll have more stuff entering the queue. Another way to put this might be INVEST IN YOUR FUTURE PRODUCTIVITY.
7. STEP AWAY BEFORE YOU BREAK SOMETHING. If you’re like me, you live about an eighth of an inch away from stack-blowing frustration. If you’re like me, you’ll have to learn to moderate yourself, and put the project down before you hurl it across the room. Letting frustration get the better of you only results in more work later. Go work on another of the dozen or so irons you have in the fire.
8. FINISH THINGS. Poke it with a fork, wrap it in a bow, put the cherry on top, and get it out of the queue. Don’t keep fussing with something you know is done. “How do I know it’s done?” Please, don’t bullshit a bullshitter. You know when you’re just fussing with something that’s done.
Having too much to do is a good thing. I’d much rather be exhausted from wrapping a show at 2 am after a week’s worth of writing and prop building and performing and and and than sitting on my ass watching the calendar pass me by. I’d rather be butter scraped over too much toast than butter sitting on a tray in the fridge.
The Creation of Kirk is now on a t-shirt. Be the first on your block to own the magic!
From the Monday Night Tease, Chocolate Box Burlesque show on February 10th, 2014. Here’s a little ditty I wrote about my dog, Buster.