The Gepetto Files™ is a rock, comedy puppet show from Detroit ,
Michigan U.S.A. The show mixes a wild assortment of characters,
with twisted sketch comedy and heavy rock music to blow your face
off with a shock and awe, one of a kind experience. This show rarely
ventures outside of the Detroit area. We are planning a tour some day.
Here is a brief history of The Files. This is a work in progress.
In the fall of 1996 or 1997, it's not quite clear, a puppet show was born in a dirty old basement in a house in Ann Arbor Michigan by artist Ted Talvitie. This puppet show would premiere it's act at a Halloween basement party full of the worst assortment of misfits, punks, drunks and skunks ever assembled. Carl the ghoul and his pal Frank did stand up comedy and danced to entertained crowds. The smart mouthed little puppet got into an altercation with a drunk guest who had just gotten out of jail. This was a sign of things to come.
The Golden Age
After that first show Ted had a creative enthusiasm like nothing before in his life. He was overtaken by a vision that would occupy his every waking moment for endless years to come. He spent day and night building puppets, often watching X-Files episodes while working. This gave him the idea for the name, The Gepetto Files™. The main cast of characters were created relatively quickly, within less than a year. There's Carl, Frank, Goward, Cold Timmy, Goth Boy, Melvin D.A., Veronica, Drunk Santa, The Black Frog, Mole Boy, The Fuzzy Bunny, Klaus, Tripetta, Hopfrog, Death, and Satan. Over the years there will be many more characters introduced, but these first ones mostly remain the core to this day.
A crew of friends was assembled and started performing in and around the Ann Arbor and Metro Detroit area. The shows were vaudeville style sketch comedies, often improvising to fit the circumstances of that day or evening. They took any gig they could get. These shows consisted of house parties, rock bars, cafes, sideshows, fetish shows, goth clubs, hippy fests, etc. Our in your face comedy style got us the nickname from fans as, The Most Dangerous Things On Strings™. The shows popularity and media attention was quickly growing, as was the drama between the cast and crew.
During this time our Christmas tale was created Santa's Been Drinking and He's Got a Gun! It's the story of Santa's fall from grace and rebirth as an anti-hero. It was performed at 1515 Broadway in Detroit. Right when the show was at it's peak, we recieved the news that our rental house was to be torn down to be made into a parking lot. That's when a few of us packed up the puppets, stage, and a motorcycle traded for a marionette and went off to Woodstock 99 as construction workers.
On the very first day on the job we got booked to perform at this giant concert by the producer himself Michael Lang. It was a dream come true. But the concert was a few months a way still. We thought, "Piece of cake." After surviving several months of drama and insanity being a worker there (which will be a full article or book at a later date) we managed to secure a time slot after the Red Hot Chili Peppers on the final night to perform. We had a puppet stage set up just outside the rave area, between the two main stages. But before we could open the curtain the whole place broke out into a riot, with fires and riot police. We packed up the puppets and stage, and ran for our lives. We hid atop a large water tower watching the whole place burn all night long. In the morning we discovered that the water tower we were on to avoid the fires, was filled with jet fuel.
After the Woodstock 99 disaster Ted Talvitie decided to temporaraly shut down the show and get some serious puppet education. He moved to Hamtramck, a village within Detroit and joined a local Russian puppet troupe. During that times he created The Magic Van Gogh a horrible magic show featuring a bungling, foul mouthed Van Gogh puppet and his sidekick monkeys Mr. Bixby and Mr. Sparkles. Drunk Santa performed poetry at St. Andrews Hall. Also the gradual move bagan away from marionettes and towards larger hand puppets. Many important things were learned in the three years time with the Russians. Most importantly.......
After many years as being a marionette sketch comedy opening for bands. The Gepetto Files™ returned with a bang as a puppet rock musical with a full rock band pit orchestra. The musicians, we called The Lighter Thieves were all dressed in black clothing and hoods, and eventually viking helmets. The puppeteers stood behind rather than from above as before and also dressed in black. Sketch comedy was replaced with song. This is when Goth Boy, Melvin D.A., Goward, and many others found their voice. This is also the dawn of The Ballad of Jeffery Dahmer™. Once again audiences went wild. First starting out as the opener but quickly headlinging venues across the Motor City. Headlining at Theatre Bizarre, also appearing at the Hamtramck Blowout. We have opened for acts such as Mushroom Head, The Meatmen, Crud, and Sponge. The show was unstoppable, so we thought.