Rank #1: Episode 91 – Justin Reams
Justin Reams is not just a top designer for twisting balloons, he has become quite the resource for getting into decor as well. Fresh off his first teaching gig at Twist and Shout, he is in the Jam Room for a very informative conversation about all things balloon.
Check out Justin’s available tutorials at The Twisters Cookbook. And of course, follow him on Facebook. And definitely register on Betallic and get access to the B Gallery for all sorts of free designs for arches and more.
Rank #2: Episode 90 – The Jam Room is Re-opened – Designer Finn Thompson
Retirement didn’t last long, I’m back at the microphone with a new season of episodes of the Jam Room! My first guest in Jam Room 3.0 is someone I just had to talk to, and I am glad to share that conversation with you. If you don’t know him yet, you can thank me later for introducing him to you. I’m predicting some high profile press in his future, so I’m selfishly getting in on the ground floor. Follow him on Instagram and look for him at the next Twist and Shout. It’s wunderkind Finn Thompson of Colorado.
Rank #3: Episode 89 – All Good Things…..
It’s time to close up shop on this project. If you’ve been a long time listener, I’ll let you know why it’s over and why I’m considering this whole thing a success. Thanks for the memories folks! I’m still kicking and still twisting, just laying down the podcasting.
Rank #4: Episode 88 – Chrystal Crain of AEBA
Rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. The show is back, with possibly our first call to action. Worldwide, bans on balloon releases are starting to become total balloon bans. How can and should our industry reply? A very informed and helpful guest is in the Jam room today, Chrystal Crain of All American Balloons in Texas.
The AEBA Facebook group is the place to start for US artists.
On the show we discussed the problem with misunderstandings that lead to blanket bans. Chrystal mentioned an advocacy group that has sample ban petitions for use with municapalities. It is telling that the reference to balloons pops up on the page for single use plastic waste. I personally think the organization here seems like a usually reasonable and well-intentioned resource, but they have this one wrong.https://jamroompodcast.files.wordpress.com/2018/08/jam-room-88-aeba.mp3
In other cheerier news…
New logos for myself and Olivia
Otakon 2018 – How did we do?
And what would summer be without visiting another awesome balloon artist?
Rank #5: Special Episode – Remembering Deb Fellman in Her Own Words
This is a repost of my Feb 2017 interview with Deb Fellman, as we were just about to go to Twist and Shout. A year later, Deb was leading her last large sculpture build with many friends from the balloon community. Thank you for everything Deb. Green dogs forever.
Here is Julie Zauzmer’s wonderful Washington Post article about the Richmond build. It was shared in many other papers, so if you can’t see the link behind a paywall, google “Deb Fellman Washington Post” and you will find other ways to read it.https://jamroompodcast.files.wordpress.com/2018/04/jam-room-87-5-deb-fellman-repeat.mp3
Rank #6: Episode 87 – Juho Hokkanen
You ever get that feeling that you’ve seen everything that can be done with balloons? How even the great sculptures look like something you could reverse engineer with enough time? Hopefully you never get jaded as an artist, like you’ve seen it all, but in case you ever do, we have the solution. Pallotaide.com by Juho Hokkanen. All I can say is look at this website to see this next-level art. Then when you have questions, put on this podcast. We have a very down to earth conversation and get to know a relative newcomer in the balloon world whose art is anything but the usual.
In the monologue I offer an observation that I hope does not offend anyone, and it may be obvious to everyone else, but I just noticed it. Jugglers as a group are just more fit.
Rank #7: Episode 84 – Dale Obrochta
This episode of the Jam Room sets the record for most instances of the phrase “Chicagoland area.” Dale is a well-seasoned performer who began learning in an analog world, and has changed with the times to deal with the reality of digital screens everywhere. He is sharing his insights through his Restaurant Entertainment Facebook page, and here in the Jam Room. He was also the founder of the MBD2 forum site which was quite active in the days before Facebook Groups nearly eliminated the use of traditional BBS and forum sites. He’s been around for a lot of changes, and he rolls with them. (Oh man, that would have been a good outtro song…..)
In the monologue, I barely touch on the Star Wars Episode VIII debate, and make a comparison about exposure requests that I have this eerie feeling I made before. Let me know if that story gives you deja vu. I do repeat myself sometimes.https://jamroompodcast.files.wordpress.com/2018/01/jam-room-84-dale-obrochta.mp3
Rank #8: Episode 83 – The Twister Sister Holly (Hopper) George
You know her youtube and if you don’t know her apparel line, you soon will. Holly George has been twisting since she was just a girl and her parents actually encouraged it! We check in on all her current doings, how to move cities and still keep a business, and why youtube isn’t as scary as people think. Come on in the Jam Room and hang with the Twister Sister!
And for the latest balloon fashions and accessories,
Rank #9: Episode 82 – The Multi-Talented Mr. Ripley
I describe Drew Ripley as a Jack-of-all-trades and master-of-many. He is a true Renaissance man and as such, a great asset to the balloon art community. You may have seen his work as part of many Airigami projects, both twisting and behind the scenes. He will be part of team Canada at World Balloon Convention 2018. Recently he set a unique world record that combined balloons, clowning, and physical strength and stamina. Drew truly does it all, and I was so glad to get him on the show to talk about the many facets of his work.
Rank #10: Episode 81 – Twisting Blind with Kira Larkin
This week’s Jam Room features a balloon twister who approaches our art from a rare position. Kira Larkin is blind. She has been twisting balloons since childhood. We talk about the challenges of twisting without sight, and the modifications she has found to learn balloon designs and to handle twisting for events.
Kira doesn’t have a website or a portfolio, so I have borrowed a photo that Diana Habovstak shared in Balloon Twister Central back in Feb of 2017 where they worked an event side by side.
If you’re a twister near Salt Lake City, drop her a line. She would be interested to meet other twisters. Her email is Kaydielle0618@gmail.comhttps://jamroompodcast.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/jam-room-81-kira-larkin.mp3
Kira mentioned a children’s book on the show, and I wanted to link it here.
From the monologue…….
This is my favorite youtube channel right now.
But if you really want to go down the rabbit hole…… here is an example of a youtube wood turning demo.
Rank #11: Episode 80 – Sean Rooney
The Jam Room is a place where talk about balloons is just the beginning. Sometimes, like today, we go deeper. Taoism, music theory, and architecture are all on the docket this time. Do you know what tensegrity is? Or why noted American architect Buckminster Fuller called the balloon the perfect architectural form? You will after sitting in on this fascinating conversation with Sean Rooney. Find his work and travels at Balloon Maestro.
In Air Weaver news, I present the video of the hot air balloons from my gig, as well as my dinosaur.
Rank #12: Episode 79 – Smarty Pants Returns and He’s a Chicago All Star!
It’s always a joy to talk to Smarty Pants of Chicago. He’s a full time entertainer who continues to innovate and experiment, and it pays off. Since we last spoke, he established a group project called The Chicago Kid Show All Stars. We talk about the ins and outs of collaboration, and how it has propelled him forward as an entertainer.
He had a viral moment with daughter Penny’s Wonder Woman cosplay. You probably saw this picture.
And we know Smarty Pants really loves decor. Here’s a giant taco.https://jamroompodcast.files.wordpress.com/2017/10/jam-room-79-smarty-pants-2.mp3
In the opening monologue, I went into details on my experience building David Mahoney’s “$2 bases.” I shared some ins and outs with tools and materials, but here is the original JPG that was shared. Thanks to David for his constant free info he shares with the community.
Rank #13: Episode 76 – Catching up with King of all Balloon Media Steven Jones
OK, I gave him that title, he didn’t claim it, so settle down. But what else can I say about someone who not only runs his own local balloon business, but continues to maintain the #1 go to source for instructional DVDs, directs a huge successful convention in FLOAT and just launched a new industry standard bearing magazine? Steven Jones is on top of all of this and more. We talk about his new role at the Twist and Shout convention as well as the behind the scenes stories of the launch of Issue One of the Balloon Professionals magazine. Steven always tells it as he sees it, and I love to hear his perspectives. We Gen Xers have to stick together I think. On to the show.
Check out Steven’s first appearance in the Jam Room on Episode 36.
Rank #14: Episode 73 – Marvelous Marc Feickert Deconstructs Balloons
Marvelous Marc is building a great reputation in “The Springs” as the go-to artist for balloons. How do you you go from “balloon guy” to “I want AAA Balloons?” It takes time, but persistence and being a helpful person cannot be over rated. We also talk about Marc’s background in linguistics and problem solving, and how they apply to his balloon business. I am also glad to know a guy so complex that I can legit choose the vastly different intro and outtro music that I did for this episode. Check out what Marvelous Marc is up to at his website.
In the intro, I go full steam into a controversial topic that may not endear me to all industry insider listeners. But I don’t think extremes work out for the most part in life, and I see some of us getting extreme with an “anything goes” attitude when fighting the opposite extremism.https://jamroompodcast.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/jam-room-73-marc-feikert.mp3
Rank #15: Episode 72 – Flower Clown, Bagmaker Extraordinaire – And Conrad the Unicorn Checks In
Ron Fowler is a long time balloon twister and clown, who has become known lately for his great balloon bag designs. You can find his work at bagalloon.com Also check out his page clevemandu.com which directly aids victims of the earthquake.
Many of you got to meet Ron in person at his first Twist and Shout this past year.
Here is the video we talked about on the show. You may need to log in to facebook.
Ron was present in Nepal at the time of the massive earthquake. Huffington Post covered his presence there in the wake of things. If you can’t tell yet, Ron really has a heart for the people of Nepal. Our conversation gets deep into issues of labor in Asian markets.https://jamroompodcast.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/jam-room-72-flower-clown-and-carolynn-hayman.mp3
In our intro segment, friend of the show Carolynn Hayman stops by with Conrad the Unicorn updates.
If you don’t know about Conrad on AGT, how did you find my show?
And yes – the chocolate bar is here.
Rank #16: Episode 71 – Balloon Coach Joette Giardina
This week in the Jam Room: Joette Giardina is here to encourage you to grow your balloon business. How often do you get input that helps with the big picture of your business? Are you looking to make the leap from weekend warrior to full timer? Sometimes an outside objective perspective can help you with blind spots you aren’t seeing.
Check out the resources at BalloonCoach.com
In pre-show ramblings, I take on the sacred cow of “never do pre-mades.”
Be sure to subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher (android) and let us know how you like the show on Facebook!https://jamroompodcast.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/jam-room-71-joette-giardina.mp3
Rank #17: Episode 70 – Joanne Anderson Shows Us Britain’s Got Talented Balloon Artists!
Joanne Anderson, aka Betty Balloons, just had a great appearance on Britain’s Got More Talent, showcasing what balloon artists can do. The show is a spinoff of Britain’s Got Talent, this one showcasing more complete auditions and some behind the scenes material. Sometime in late May, we will learn if Joanne gets to go further with the show. We’re all rooting for her!
In the jam room, we talk about building an act for TV, the challenges of feminine faces, and her earlier print coverage for balloon caricatures of the royals.
Some stills from her event
And here are the Air Weaver family’s new awesome shirts!
And my new swag
Rank #18: Episode 69 – Tamsyn Spackman on Getting Started
Some of us get start out flying by the seat of our pants, hoping to figure this thing out. But some of us approach balloon twisting like a business from day one. Tamsyn is a fine example of the latter group. She is just getting her business started, but she has an approach that I think will serve her well. Not much here in the way of links, but here website is here. Go to the blog for the piece that got this conversation started.
I’m off to the Coney Island Jam as this is released. I hope to have some material for the podcast. In any case I get to see some old friends and hopefully make some new ones.
And just to see if anyone reads these notes, message me via the jam room facebook page if you can identify the dialogue clip i used for Tamsyn’s intro, and/or the song that was the outro. (Song is easier.)https://jamroompodcast.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/jam-room-69-tamsyn-spackman.mp3
Rank #19: Episode 68 – ABC Balloon Book Creator Steven Mayhew
Have you ever taken an insanely long time to design a sculpture? Or to set up a photo of a balloon to get it just right? Now do that again and again for 4 years, and you’ll understand the work that went into the ABC Balloon book by Steven Mayhew.
Based in Los Angeles, Steven has worked in the balloon industry for years in a number of capacities. Find out more about him and ordering his book at The Balloon Workshop.
In Air Weaver news, we finally uploaded our Hamilton stage show, warts and all – subtitles added because we need them.
And finally, the discussion I had in the intro – check this out if for no other reason to see the original short film that Tig Notaro did. Even if you don’t care about the dispute over whether Louis CK ripped her off, the original work is good enough to warrant your time.
Rank #20: Episode 67 – Sean Rogers
Sean Rogers literally does it all. Twisting, decor, balloon drops. This is a show full of insight and great tips for the aspiring deco-twister. Right now Sean has a great in-depth tutorial on a ride inside car, and he just announces the pre-sale for his sit-on ATV video due out in May. Check out his visit to the Jam Room.
@inspiredballoons on instagram
And here is the Air Weaver family trip to the circus. (Yes, Mrs. Air Weaver exists, but she couldn’t go to the circus, she was on call all weekend.)
The video is long, but it’s here for posterity – the Shaolin Warriors audience participation which included Jack – he’s the boy in the center of the back row in the blue shirt and white karate studio pants. Actually it is a decent study for those of us who do stage shows. The show is mostly a serious tone, but this provides some comic relief and handles volunteers well.