Q&A: The Bubblegum Queen and Puppets Galore
The 2005 Bubblegum Achievement Awards, a very particular breed of strange, takes place this Friday evening (10/7) at the Bob Baker Marionette Theater. Bob Baker himself will be performing puppet magic alongside classic psychedelic rockers from The Archies, Ohio Express, Doctor Demento and a person dressed as an ape in a safety vest and hardhat. A screening of the documentary revolving around the book Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth is also on tap.
During the course of four hours I sat down at a giant roundtable with the book’s editor Kim Cooper, Master of Ceremonies The Bubblegum Queen and her two cohosts, Big Hamm and L’il Hamm (Canned Hamm, collectively). Over a 12-pack of Bazooka and a Costco six-gallon bag of Smarties, I gleaned the following.
I gaze at the people gathered at this roundtable. Round and ’round my eyes go and finally. stop. on…..Kim Cooper. Editor. Conceiver of this puppet show-cum- gala-bubblegum-awards -show- cum-reason-for-a-safety-ape-to-appear-in-public. Oh yes, my questions shall begin with Kim.
What will the contestants have to “achieve” over the course of the evening?
This is one night when they don’t have to achieve anything, since we honor past achievement. They can come wrapped in cloaks of anti-bubblegum if they like, and we’ll still give each of them their Gummy.
I see. So how did Bob Baker get involved in the event?
The Bubblegum Queen and I were prepared to beg, but as soon as we described what we were up to, Bob said it sounded like a lot of fun and he would love to be part of it. What an honor!
What is Bob Baker’s official stance regarding the meaning of the Ohio Express lyrics “Yummy Yummy Yummy, I’ve Got Love in my Tummy” ?
Bob is very pro-Yummies in Tummies.
For one night only, will Bob Baker allow bubblegum chewing in the theatre?
NO WAY! But in the party room after the awards, yesyesyes.
How about Sugar Sugar?
And cake, too.
Love in Tummys?
Also, punch. And the parking lot is dimly lit.
Hypothetically speaking, if horses and donkeys were to meet the predetermined bubblegum achievement criteria, would they be allowed entry to the Bob Baker theatre?
They would need to buy several seats to accommodate their bulk, or sit on the floor with the puppet freaks. We’d also want them to wear booties on their hoovesies.
What new tricks of puppetry can we expect to see rolled out by Maestro Baker?
Baker’s old tricks are brain-bending enough. His bubblegum show features a Monster Rally, dancing gum drops, tunes originated by Pebbles & Bamm Bamm, sexy Parisian kitty cat-hookers, that bratty latch key kid Eloise, swirling Chinese umbrellas and yet more madness. We can’t wait!
I turn now to my left and gaze upon royalty herself: the psychedelically-dressed, bubble-blowing Bubblegum Queen, Master of Ceremonies for Friday’s ape-inclusive event.
A vaguely uncomfortable silence settles on the table.
Your Highness. What’s the largest bubblegum sculpture you’ve ever created?
The Royal Bubblegum Sceptre I gave the Bubblegum King at the last ceremony. It is at least two feet long.
Have you ever sculpted a horse’s head entirely out of bubble gum?
No. But I’d sculpt a Unicorn’s head out of Bubblegum. They are magical creatures.
Do horses and donkeys care for bubblegum, per se?
They like Sugar Cubes. Bubblegum gets stuck in their teeth.
I’ve never actually seen a photo of Doctor Demento (Google is down). Does he, in fact, look exactly like my gradeschool choir director, as I’ve always suspected?
He wears a top hat. Did your choir director wear a top hat?
Moving on. I have a sort of bumpy, flaky-looking rash on an undisclosed area (suffice it to say lower part of my body). It showed up roughly three weeks ago. Will Doctor Demento be available for diagnosis a few days before the event?
That’s up to him.
Fine. What will your duties consist of at the 2005 BAA?
I will host and MC the event with my Royal Courtiers and Bodyguards: Canned Hamm.
With that cue I turn now to Canadians Canned Hamm for a few questions.
BH & LH: ?
Gentlemen. Have you ever written or performed any songs about horses and donkeys?
BH & LH: No, but we have written a song about horsey rides called “Giddy up.” We have written a song that deals in Mexican culture called “Seafood Taco.” We might just perform that one Friday night.
Have you ever performed a song to an audience comprised entirely of horses?
LH: As a kid before he joined AA my daddy bought me a horse when he was drunk but we couldn’t afford to keep it. The horse’s name was Stormy. A very common name. I never got the chance to sing to it before he sold it.
How about donkeys?
LH: My daddy was never that drunk!
I’m currently growing a beard. Do either of you have any tips as to the grooming of a fine beard or mustache?
LH: A fine beard is one who never blows your cover.
BH: For a quality moustache use measuring tape for symmetry. Measure from your ears.
Back to Kim:
Who the dickens is Lancelot Link?
Only the most psychedelicized chimp super-spy and rock and roll groovester on the 1970 TV dial. It’s okay if you don’t know him yet, because after Abram the Safety Ape’s multi-media tribute to great simians in Hollywood, all will be revealed.
That makes perfect sense to me.
Anything else you’d like to add?
(Queen) Spread Joy or Be Destroyed by The Bubblegum Queen!
*All images stolen without permission from the respective websites of the interviewees