ONE Of These Fun Facts About Ken Raabe
IS NOT True. . .
He was conceived as part of the celebration of the end of World War II.
His last name means “Raven.” (the two “A’s” are from northern Germany.)
He is named after a movie cowboy hero, Ken Maynard.
He spent his childhood with the world’s funniest father.
He majored in Drama and English at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana, and, later, Education at Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago.
He was a drama teacher and project assistant for Valparaiso University at Coventry Cathedral, Coventry, England, after graduation.
He fulfilled his military obligation during the Vietnam War by becoming a conscientious objector and working as an orderly at the New Jersey Neuro-Psychiatric Institute.
He did post-graduate work in cultural anthropology at Governors State University.
During the summer of 1973 he performed the characters of Harlequin and the Doctor at Otto’s Beer Garden (now Cafe Ba Ba Ba Reeba) with Geoff Buckley’s Commedia dell Arte Troupe.
In 1975 he was a night watchman at the Field Museum and used to climb into the exhibits.
He started the Solar Mime Co., which did short narrated mime shows in the early seventies, opening for bands at Wise Fools on Lincoln Ave. in Chicago.
In the early seventies, he was a writer and performer on WBEZ’s national broadcast, “Audiojam.” He also worked on radio with Yuri Rasovsky and his Theatre de Phynance.
In the early eighties, he adapted to script and contributed music for J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,”which toured nationally for seven years as a full scale hand-and-rod puppet production through Russ Steiger’s Hutsah Puppet Co.
In the late seventies and early eighties he was part of the Artists-In-Residence Program for the Chicago Council On Fine Arts. Toured schools and after school programs with an environmental awareness themed full scale puppet show, “Uncle Padlock And The Hot Air Duck,” and a Punch and Judy show.
From 1976 to 1980, he and his wife, Jane, performed over fifteen hundred marionette shows in elementary schools in northern Indiana, while living near the town of Culver in a cabin on a hundred acres of woods.
In the early eighties, he was part of “The Last Chance Circuz,” appearing at King Richard’s Ren Faire and other venues.
Beginning in the early eighties and for some time afterward he appeared semi-regularly with partner John Szostek in bars and small stages in Chicago performing what was described as science fiction burlesque sketch comedy, (“Asleep and Place Like It” and “Time Hangs a Louie”) which eventually evolved into The Lump Bros.
In late eighties he was co-producer, scriptwriter and performer on a half- hour Evanston cable television show called “The Lump Bros. Secret Circus.”
He is the founder of the Urban Viking Biking and Hiking Association.
For twenty years he was a contract performer and puppet builder/operator for TV shows and commercials (“Sports Marty” in television commercials). He did a lot of traveling to many trade shows.
In 1984 he was the head puppeteer for “The Magic Door” – CBS TV WBBM, ch 2 – which won the Chicago Emmy for Children’s Broadcasting for that year
In 1984, he and Jane had a son, Max.
In 1994, he earned a teaching degree. He became a special education teacher, figuring out ways to use theater skills with special needs children in self-contained classrooms.
In the nineties, he wrote short reading passages for elementary school standardized tests as a freelance item writer for Riverside Publishing, Chicago.
In 1999, his students in his sixth grade class were State History Fair finalists in Springfield, IL doing a hand-and-rod puppet show, “The Night They Reversed The Chicago River.”
In 2001 he received an Oppenheimer award and grant for classroom puppet construction and performance.
Beginning in 2000 he has been associated with an ensemble acting company, the Piccolo Theatre at the Main Street Station in Evanston. He was in fifteen productions with this funny group of folks, scripting three of the plays.
In 2009, he was the lead in the short film, “The Guitarist,” from Quiet Storm Productions and Ravenswood Films.
He played Lewis Carroll for a year in the Filament Theater’s “Alice And Me,” a conflict resolution interactive kids’ theater piece through Urban Gateways – 2010.
His uncles, Muninn and Huginn, fly all around the world everyday, returning at dinner time to keep Odin informed about what’s going on in the world.
Currently, he is the guitarist for a really good open run burlesque/vaudeville show in Chicago, the “Kiss Kiss Cabaret,” at the Greenhouse Theater.
For the cabaret he also sings and dances as Jake the Peg, a character with three legs.
He and his musical partner from the cabaret, Mazurka Wojciechowska are available to play peppy party music at functions.
VISIT HIS YouTube CHANNEL HERE features a lot of burlesque comedy sketches.
Another more commercial use for YouTube is demonstrated by his bit for Intel VISIT HERE.
If you VISIT HERE, you will find “Sweets,” a beautiful little musical play, “ a bittersweet comedy with songs about selling,” by Kathleen Lombardo. Guess who’s in it?
He’s an expert practitioner of the traditional Punch and Judy having performed the show hundreds of times. and he’s one of the few masters of the swazzle in the country. He also uses the squawky swazzle device that produces the voice of Mr. Punch for burlesque comedy and for the character of Nutman, Insane Super Hero.
Ken was born in the sign of Pisces and and might have two invisible fish in his head, swimming furiously in opposite directions.
He’s a musician and singer, he’s a specialist in high energy comedy writing, directing and performing and can bring the distillation of many years of experience with many theater skills to any project.
Contact him if you think he might be able to be of any help in your film, audio, theater, or musical project.
Photography ©Robert E Potter III REP3