COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t stop them
Blue Earth native Marjorie Engesser, husband, author book
Blue Earth native Marjorie Engesser, along with her husband Bryan W. Simon, have again crafted a work of art and this time it’s a book. The producer and director of stage plays/feature films used the isolation of the pandemic to find a new way to express themselves and raise money for one of their causes.
“We’ve always believed that artists have to make art, so we switched gears and came up with an idea for our COVID project, as we like to call it.” Engesser says.
‘I’M NO DUMMY EVERYDAY: 365 Days of Ventriloquial Oddities, Curiosities, and Fun Facts’ is a 406-page calendar book with 390 entries and over 950 images with trivia, stories and never before seen photos. It is available on Amazon.
All profits from the sale of the book go directly to Vent Haven Museum, where Engesser and Simon have served for a decade on the Board of Advisors, located in Fort Mitchell, Kentucky. It is the only museum in the world dedicated to the art of ventriloquism.
“We were prepared to film our next feature in Minnesota in 2020 and the pandemic brought that to a screeching halt,” says Engesser. “Independent films couldn’t get insurance because of the risk of cast and crew getting COVID-19 and actors were wary to leave town so most production all over the world came to a standstill.”
Their I’m No Dummy Facebook page, which began after the release of their hit comedy documentary of the same name, had become very popular with its Tuesday Trivia and Film Clip Fridays, so Engesser and Simon used it as the springboard for a trivia book. They worked closely with Vent Haven Museum mining their archives, library, and expertise filing out and finding amazing nuggets of facts, legend and lore.
Some of the trivia which readers of the book will learn is: what puppet was sued for divorce, what puppet ran for Governor of Kentucky, what puppet testified before Congress, and which famous actress was banned from radio because of what she said to a puppet.
“As Advisory Board members of Vent Haven Museum, we found ways to help the museum grow and evolve,” Engesser says. “We began the Touch Screen project, providing a resource for the many visitors to see their favorite and classic ventriloquists perform right in front of them on a touch screen.”
The publication of ‘I’M NO DUMMY EVERYDAY’ will help spread the word about this amazing art form and raise much needed funds as Vent Haven moves forward on construction of a brand new facility, Engesser adds.
I’m No Dummy (the film) screened at the Blue Earth Community Library in April, 2010, with Engesser and Simon signing DVDs. Profits from the DVD sales were then donated to the local library.
When asked if she was disappointed that their next film project is on hold, Engesser quickly replied, “Not at all; like everyone else we had no control over what transpired last year. Adversity is a part of life and art. One thing I learned growing up in Blue Earth, you keep going no matter what you’re up against.”