Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Muppet Performers Dave Goelz and Steve Whitmire at the Atlanta History Center November 16th, 2008

Wow, an opportunity like this doesn’t come along too often, especially for Muppet fans!

On the weekend of November 15 and 16th at the Atlanta History Center, Muppeteers Dave Goelz, best known for performing Gonzo and Steve Whitmire, performer of Rizzo the Rat and the current performer of Kermit appeared at an intimate (and I do mean intimate) screening of rare Muppet clips, Muppet Show sketches, and a screening of “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth”. It was billed as "Muppets, Music, & Magic: Jim Henson's Legacy".


Muppeteers Steve Whitmire and Dave Goelz at the Atlanta History Center.


We were able to go on Sunday the 16th. My Wife’s friend and her sister came down from Nashville the night before and the four of us headed downtown Sunday morning. The screening started at 12:30 pm with the Harry Belafonte episode of the Muppet Show. This was followed by the “Visual Thinking” skit from Sam and Friends, Jim Henson’s first TV show. Then a portion of an appearance by Jim, Frank Oz, and Don Sahlin
on “The Dick Cavett Show” where they demonstrated how a “Whatnot” puppet works. This was followed by an episode of “The Storyteller” called “The Heartless Giant”. Then the lights go up and up to the stage walk Dave and Steve for a casual Q and A session with the audience. It was so special and amazing!

Dave Goelz sits with The Great Gonzo!

Steve Whitmire and Kermit! THE REAL KERMIT!

They answered questions for a good long time. Then Steve went backstage and returned with a big trunk. I was holding my breath. They sit down and Steve reaches into the chest and pulls out Kermit. Holy Mackeral! The ACTUAL KERMIT was right there 10 feet from me! Dave reaches down and pulls out Gonzo. This was an absolute first for me. This was the first time I had ever seen these Muppet superstars in person performing live! They continued to chat and perform for a while, and then Steve packs Kermit away and pulls out Rizzo the Rat. Three Muppet Superstars!! Woohoo!

Dave and Steve take questions from the audience.

They sat and talked and performed and continued to take questions. Then they stood up and demonstrated how they have to hold the puppets over their heads while they perform, how since Steve is a few inches taller than Dave, he has to crouch down while Rizzo and Gonzo are working together.

Gonzo gives Rizzo a hand with his hand.

Steve demonstrating his height compared to Dave's.

Steve explaining the subtle nuances of Rizzo.

All of this was a good 2 plus hours, and then it was time for the screening of “Labyrinth”. We actually took this opportunity to sneak away and take in the Smithsonian Jim Henson exhibit currently at the History Center entitled “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World”. This exhibit is fantastic! It includes many drawings and sketches, storyboards and hand-written scripts, actual Muppets on display, videos of commercials and short films, and clips from Muppet TV shows. And… worth the price of admission alone are life-size recreations of Wilkins and Wontkins from the Wilkin’s Coffee commercials that Jim produced in the 50’s. They are GORGEOUS and I wanted them! Damn… no photos allowed in the exhibit! I couldn’t even take pictures! AAAH!

But, photos were allowed with Dave and Steve at their presentation. And I took a few videos as well!


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VIDEO: Dave and Steve hamming it up with Gonzo and Kermit.

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VIDEO: Dave and Steve discuss their favorite characters to perform.

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VIDEO: Dave and Steve discuss performing problems.

So, we returned to the theater where “Labyrinth” was finishing up. We caught the last 15 minutes or so of the film and afterwards, Dave and Steve came back on stage for another round of questions and answers. This time they sat down right on the edge of the stage for the chat. We didn’t want it to end but apparently THEY wanted to see the Henson exhibit, too! Hehe! They signed autographs and posed for pictures. It was truly amazing and a once-in-a-lifetime thing!





This appearance wasn’t advertised very well and I would say only about 25 people were there on Sunday. I don't know about Saturday. This was fine with me. We had them practically to ourselves for the entire afternoon!

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Friday, October 24, 2008

New Sketch

Here's a new Flash sketch:

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

New Flash Sketch

Here's a new drawing I did inked and colored with Flash.


I had some downtime at work, and I've been perusing all of the sketchbooks I brought back from Comic Con, so I started doodling. I'm not the greatest at coming up with poses without a model so I Google searched and found this life drawing online.


I used the pose to do a more cartoony, stylized drawing. Just a doodle on a notebook with a regular ink pen. I took this photo of it with my crappy camera phone in order to get it into Flash to finish up. The finish came out nice, but I always like the sketches better!

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Biker Scout Banner

Here's a little something I whipped up to use as a banner for some of the specific forums relating to my Biker Scout love. I have to use the GIF version:



... but here's the original SWF version:

http://wallofshemp.freeservers.com/ASWCCBanners/scout.htm

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Behold......

My Sideshow Premium Format Biker Scout figure.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Ken Anderson - Disney Family Album

Walt Disney often referred to Ken Anderson as his "Jack of All Trades." Indeed, over the years, Ken used his masterful skills as architect, artist, animator, storyteller and designer to pioneer many different areas of Disney's broad entertainment spectrum. Always focused on challenge and growth, Ken once said his desire was not so much to achieve, as to "be able to constantly improve."

Among Ken's character creations are the villainous Shere Khan in "The Jungle Book" and the playful dragon, Elliott, in "Pete's Dragon." His impressive roster of Disney credits also include story contributions to "Melody Time," "Cinderella" and "The Jungle Book," while his color styling greatly influenced "Alice in Wonderland." Ken's layouts were pivotal to the staging and design of "Peter Pan" and "Lady and the Tramp," and led to his production design of "Sleeping Beauty," "101 Dalmatians" and "The Aristocats."






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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Jane Henson in Atlanta!

Center For Puppetry Arts invites you to...

Look Both Ways & GO

Jane Henson, co-founder of the Muppets and wife of the late Jim Henson, will present a behind-the-scenes look at creating a cultural phenomenon featuring seldom-seen video clips from the Jim Henson Archives. Stay after the presentation for an exclusive showing of Time Piece, the rarely seen Oscar-nominated short film produced, directed and written by Jim Henson.

When: Sat., Feb. 23 @ 8pm
Where: Center For Puppetry Arts, Downstairs Theater
Admission: Free!


Holey mackerel, what an evening!

The night started with a screening of 12 Sesame Street counting films that were all made by Jim Henson. Then Jane was introduced to the intimate crowd of about 250 folks. She talked for a good bit about the early days of meeting Jim at a Puppet class in college, and then working together on Sam and friends.


Then we watched a short documentary called "The Sam and Friends Story". Got to see many early skits, a recording of Jim reading a hand-written script, lots of great behind the scenes action.


Then Jane opened the floor to questions. I don't know if this is news to the long-time Muppet die-hards, but it was news to me. Apparently when Jim and Jane were working together, they were each both engaged to other people! We then watched some early Sam and friends appearances on the Steve Allen show, including the very first Muppet appearance for a national TV audience. Then a hilarious "mock" documentary about the creation of a Wilson's Meats commercial.



Then the presentation was finished with a beautiful tribute video to Jane that was made for her for her 60th birthday. Priceless viewing! I would have given anything for a DVD copy of the evening's presentation!

Jane then left the theater to a reception area with food and drink and met and talked with all who wanted to meet her. We paid our respects and had our photo taken with her. My Wife brought along a rubber duck that Jane signed for her about 20 years ago at a puppetry convention to see if she remembered it. She didn't... hehe. That duck is also signed by Frank Oz, Carrol Spinney and Frank's Dad. Then back to the theater for a screening of Jim Henson's Oscar nominated short "Timepiece".



We then went back to the reception to have some food and mingling some more. We then said goodnight to Jane and thanked her again.


What an unforgettable night!

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