Monday, December 5, 2011

Penguins & Country Stars

I can tell you how to get to Sesame Street. It involves good timing, a bit of luck, and a dozen or so years of practice.

Of the handful of Sesame Street projects I was lucky enough to have a hand in (get it? hand? puppeteer? funny?) Elmo's Christmas Countdown was by far the most memorable...partly because of the soap bubble snow that caused us to constantly slip and fall all over the place, and partly because of the celebrity guest stars who were always parading through the legendary neighborhood.

Admittedly, I am not a pop culture guru. (I'm certain that both of my readers are gasping in shock at this revelation.) In fact, I remember sending harried text messages in a pathetic attempt to find out who was who. Kevin James? No idea. Brad Paisley? The name rang a bell. I was informed via my outdated wireless mobile device that he was something of a mucky-muck in the world of country music. Awesome.

Imagine, if you will, being yanked from the sidelines and thrown straight into the lion's den to perform with a Grammy Award winning country superstar mucky-muck. No warning. No rehearsal. Nothing. Zip-doo-dah.

Anxiety, much?

That's precisely what happened to me. For one reason or another, the regularly scheduled, A-list puppeteer had to depart and yours truly was given the opportunity to try and fill his Paul Bunyan-sized shoes. The character was a blue-billed penguin that was perched up on a sleigh - right next Brad Paisley's million-dollar guitar strummin' hand.

Long story short, it was at once nerve-wracking and marvelous.

Enjoy Brad and the Sesame Street Muppets. And pay special attention to the lone, slightly terrified, blue-billed penguin on the left.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Inspiration, Where Art Thou?

Ideas often come from unexpected places.

Not so long ago, my friend Cassie and I were rummaging through a local, bargain-basement-type dollar store. We were in search of props for our *CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED web series Living With Larry.

*Living With Larry is not critically acclaimed, unless you consider my mother to be a critic.

While I was scrounging through off-brand pharmaceuticals and cardboard zombie cut-outs, Cassie momentarily vanished from view and then reappeared with an enormous, flaming-red "FOR SALE" sign. In her best Ellen Degeneres slash Dory-like voice, she posed a question:

"Can Larry sell my stuff?"

VOILA! The seed was planted for our latest *HIT episode.

*Living With Larry is not a hit, unless you consider 3,588 combined YouTube views to be the ultimate measure of success.

The moral of this story is that your local dollar store can be an invaluable source of inspiration. The same can be said for your local parking garage, hospital cafeteria, or mortuary supply store. Just get out there. You never know where the next brilliant (or in some cases, marginally humorous) idea is going to come from.

Enjoy the latest from Larry:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Todd's Puppet Mastery

Over the years, I have received tens of e-mails asking me how to get started in the wonderful world of puppetry. Time and time again, I have directed young hopefuls away from myself and toward the ultimate puppet genius – Todd Buckram.

Todd is not just a puppet master. He is the I Ching, the Godfather, the Messiah of puppetry. There is no greater resource.

I invite you now to sit right back and take a class:

Friday, November 11, 2011

Living With Larry

The premise is both simple and ridiculous - single girl in the city takes an obnoxious monster as a roommate. Let the hijinx begin!

My friend Cassie and I decided to jump on the YouTube bandwagon with a web series of our own. Here is one of four promos that we filmed for our little dog and pony show:

I play Larry. He was constructed several years ago by yours truly for absolutely no reason at all. And now, VOILA! Internet superstar!

Power to the people (and the puppets).