Busker HoF 55 – Lee Zimmerman Interview


Episode Notes:

Comments: Lee Zimmerman could be described as a Rock Star trapped in a puppeteer’s body and there’s no question that the world is a better place as a result. It’s not just that he makes his marionettes move like their life-sized musical counterparts – it’s that Lee somehow becomes the music while deftly manipulating his mini stringed-musicians.

Beyond the cast of his mini rock tribute though, Lee possesses the sort of wit that could have easily made him a stand-up comedian – his two years as a regular at “The Improv” is proof of that. Add to this his amazing ability to create works of art with an Etch-a-Sketch and you’ve got an incredible creative powerhouse.

Eric Amber visited Lee to discuss Lee’s amazing adventures in the world of showbiz his love of his street performer tribe and some of the highlights from a resume that includes an incredible number of clients from Hollywood’s elite.

Bonus Images From Lee’s Archives with commentary by Lee:

01-Final.jpg“1983 ~ my very first year, my very first pitch; right across the street from the Art Institute of Philadelphia. Let’s hope I made enough for a sandwich.”


“I’d taken my show as far as it could go in Philadelphia, and it would have just ended there if I hadn’t met the fabulous Lisa in 1988. Fun fact about Lee: if you are blond and you are smart and are packin’ a twelve-star caboose, basicalLee, I will follow you anywhere. Thanks to her, we moved out to San Francisco in 1990. After splitting in ’91, I headed straight to Venice Beach to give myself one last shot.”


“Six weeks after I hit Venice Beach I landed a ten-minute showcase at the Improv on Melrose. I got a standing ovation that night and I’ve always felt that what put me over the top was the years and years of doing street shows, performing for people with ZERO attention span.”


“It’s because of this photograph that Debra Jo and I started hanging around with Quentin Tarantino. We met him up at Hef’s one night, and I showed him this wallet photo of us getting married by Elvis: “DUDE! We based our entire marriage on the film ‘True Romance’!” He was so tickled by that, he invited us over to watch the film at this house…he even mentions us during the Writer’s Commentary he recorded for the 20th Anniversary DVD release. Another fun fact? if you ever visit the Graceland Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, look on the wall and you’ll see our portrait, right next to Bon Jovi…but, my hair is way more better.”


“This is the doppelgänger image described during the conversation that was created by Phil Ortiz” 


“Made the cover of Laugh Magazine wearing the red “Etch-a-Sketch” suit with a couple of my children.”


“Teaching circus skills to kids-at-risk in Northern Manitoba with the Circus and Magic Partnership out of Winnipeg. The most rewarding work I’ve ever done.

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