Friday, August 05, 2011


Last Saturday, I made my first venture out to the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens (actually, right by where they film Sesame Street) to see the new exhibit called Jim Henson's Fantastic World.

One thing I liked about the exhibit was that it featured many of the sketches Jim created, the sketches that were the groundwork for his commercials, Muppets, films, and television shows. I appreciated that the show revealed the creative process behind the final product. With everything so computer-generated in today's world, there's something so reassuring about seeing pencil and pen drawings that come straight from the artist's mind.

During my visit to MOMI, I had the pleasure of attending "Hands Up! Puppets Down!": An Inside Look at Puppetry for Television. Writer/producer Craig Shemin and veteran Sesame Street puppeteer and wrangler Lara MacLean shared behind-the-scenes footage and live demonstration to show how puppetry magic is created for television.

Great fun was seeing the Muppet which Craig's wife and Sesame Street performer Stephanie D'Abruzzo had created in Craig's image. Craig and Lara together were a great team.

They fielded questions from Muppet fans in the audience who ranged greatly in age. Like Star Wars, the Muppet shows and movies have a fan base that spans generations. One young person in the audience asked "Is it true that Tim Burton was a Muppeteer in a scene from one of the Muppet Movies?" Craig confirmed that yes, it is true. Wow, how do people get their hands on this info?!?!?

Click HERE for the full list of Henson-related workshops and screenings. Be sure to note that some events require advance ticket purchase to guarantee a seat.

Here are two that I am particularly excited about:

Photo of Lara MacLean from Muppet Wiki

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