Category - Fun Stuff

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Beyond The Sock 2015
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Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm – Kickstarter!!
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Pee Wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series comes to Blu-ray!!
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Crash and Tim Lagasse Crash and Bernstein interview at D23 Disney Expo
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How a Community Builds a Puppet Show
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Project Puppet Spring Sale!
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Muppet Christ Superstar- by fan Christo Graham
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Muppet Mash Up!
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Frog Kissin’- A New Muppet Podcast
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Vintage “MUPPET” View-Master Reels

Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm – Kickstarter!!


Jamie Anderson, son of late Gerry Anderson (Fireball XL5, Thunderbirds, Space 1999) wants to continue the work of his father by producing one of his father’s series concepts “Firestorm”.

As they describe on their Kickstarter campaign:

Firestorm was originally conceived and developed by Gerry Anderson in 2001 under the title ‘Storm Force’. The series was eventually bought by a Japanese production company and developed as an anime series. By the time it reached the screen it was quite different to the original series Gerry Anderson had envisaged, and we want to go back to those original concepts and develop them as a true Gerry Anderson production.

Firestorm will see a return to several elements that we think are essential for a real Gerry Anderson project:

Practical effects – yep, that’s REAL explosions
Physical sets
Beautifully detailed miniatures
and yes… puppets!
Harking back to the wonderful world of Thunderbirds, we’re calling this updated combination of elements: Ultramarionation.

Here are some of the beautifully crafted puppets being built by the talented folks at Mackinnon and Saunders (Bob the Builder, Postman Pat and Fifi and the Flowertots, to Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride and Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr Fox) Their Gerry Anderson connection runs deep – Ian Mackinnon had his very first paid job working on the 1980s pilot show Space Police, and the company was also responsible for the puppets in Gerry Anderson’s Lavender Castle.From concept maquettes, mould making and armatures to costume, hair and paint, their team will always go the extra mile to ensure the characters that are produced create the maximum impact on screen.

2014-09-12_Tokashi sculpting Sam

 

2014-09-15_Noel sculting McCallister 2

 

McAllister Front PRINT

 

Their Kickstarter campaign is chalked full for information and describes exactly what the funding will be used for. Please give to this amazing project!

Pee Wee’s Playhouse: The Complete Series comes to Blu-ray!!

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If you were a child (or college student) watching TV in the late 80s, Pee Wee Herman, the cherubic man-child of Pee Wee’s Playhouse, was your patron saint of silly and fun. As a college student, I fondly recall rolling out of bed just before 10am on a Saturday morning to tune in for my wake-up call and weekly inspiration. Cool Cat, Dirty Dog and Chicky Baby were beat-poet, jazz musicians in the Puppetland Band, puppet fish swam in the fishbowl, while Randy, the bully marionette teased and terrorized. Of course, there was Pterry the Pterodactyl, Pee Wee’s ardent sidekick who loved to fly and play catch. There were several other resident puppets including Clocky, Globey, Magic Screen, the flowers, Mr. Window, Chairy and others. Pee Wee’s Playhouse incorporated everything you could love as a young puppeteer including claymation, animation, stop motion effects and wonderful humanette techniques. The psychedelic color palate and cast of characters were an artist’s dreamscape and, no-doubt, instilled inspiration for that generation of merry-makers and would-be puppeteers.

The entire series plus a glut of bonus gems will be available on blu-ray in US and Canada on October 21, 2014. If you were a fan of the recent Wayne White documentary “Beauty Is Embarrassing” with White’s brief focus on his days working on the Playhouse, the included bonus materials looks like a puppeteer’s and Playhouse fan’s dream come true.

From the Shout Factory official release:

Synopsis

TV Guide named Pee-wee’s Playhouse #10 of the Top 25 Cult Television Shows Ever!

All 45 wacky episodes, plus Pee-wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special, have been METICULOUSLY RE-MASTERED from the original film elements — and now YOU can see this ground-breaking series for the very first time in beautiful HIGH-DEFINITION!

Winner of an amazing 22 Emmy® Awards!

Scream along to the SECRET WORD with Pee-wee Herman and his pals — Jambi the Genie, Miss Yvonne, Cowboy Curtis, Reba the mail lady, Captain Carl, Magic Screen, Conky, Globey, Chairry, Pterri, Randy and many more! Aaaaarrrrrrrrr!!! I know you are, but what am I!?! Mecka-lecka hi… Mecka-hiney ho!

Includes Bonus Features:

– OVER 4 HOURS of brand-new interviews with the cast and crew, plus never-seen, behind-the-scenes footage—all part of TEN FEATURETTES, including:
– Building the Playhouse
– Opening the Playhouse
– Writing for the Playhouse
– The Look of the Playhouse
– Music of the Playhouse
– The Cast of the Playhouse
– Puppets of the Playhouse
– Animating the Playhouse
– A Very Merry Christmas Special
– Fans and Memorabilia of the Playhouse
– These featurettes include interviews with actors Laurence Fishburne (Cowboy Curtis), S. Epatha Merkerson (Reba the mail lady), Lynne Marie Stewart (Miss Yvonne) and John Paragon (Jambi the genie).
– Mark Mothersbaugh and Danny Elfman explain the music of the show and the Emmy award-winning production design team of Gary Panter, Wayne White and Ric Heitzman explain how the sets and puppets were imagined and produced.
– Animation Supervisor of all 5 seasons of Pee-wee’s Playhouse, Prudence Fenton (Liquid Television) talks about all the types of animation used in the program and animators Peter Lord and David Sproxton (Wallace & Gromit) discuss their contributions.
– Ve Neill, the multi-Oscar winning make-up artist talks about designing the make-up ‘looks’. Two of the shows writers talk about how the scripts were created.
– Other cast and crew explain, in fascinating detail, stories from the production of Pee-wee’s Playhouse. If that weren’t enough, many of the shows puppeteers and voice artists are interviewed about how the puppet characters were brought to life.

Article Written by: David Manley- Up In Arms

How a Community Builds a Puppet Show

MonsterPress

Up In Arms’ latest puppet musical, “Monster Intelligence“, makes its debut with 3 shows free to the public in Orange County, New York on May 10, June 7 and June 14, 2014. Looking back, it’s been quite the journey. Over a year ago, many of my friends in the puppet community had been discussing the hurdles we face as full time artists. Bookings were and continue to be low and balancing budgets and the prospect of producing new shows becomes difficult to reconcile. This article won’t be about the hardships that we all know too well. I’d rather focus on the triumphs and community of puppeteers and supporters who made this show possible.

Last year, I became aware of a grant available through our county office of tourism which promotes arts events here in Orange County, NY. Several grants would be awarded at a maximum of $5000. Part of the funding had to come from the applying organization which just meant I had to show that I was investing in my project as well. It was my first grant and I had two very smart and educated nieces guiding me as they were both familiar with the grant writing process. Months after the grant was finalized, I was notified that I was a successful applicant and my project would move ahead with funds from Orange County Tourism and the County of Orange. This is the major reason why the show was even able to move forward in production.
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The grant and budget would pay for the script writer, music arranger, recording studio, puppet materials, additional puppet builder, scenery and props, photographer, talent rehearsal and performance stipend. Along with that, I had a community of people ready to lend a hand. Derek Lux is a builder from LA who was kind enough to buy an Up In Arms t-shirt when I had them printed to raise funds. I always enjoyed his artistry and was happy to be able to employ him as my additional builder. Although the materials were supplied, he jumped in at a reduced fee to help build some of the puppets. Pasha Romanowski from Project Puppet has always been a champion of all we do at Up In Arms and lent his artistry in drawing some initial concept designs for many of the characters. When it came time to construct props, I needed a drawing of a young monster for a cereal box. Of course, Dave Hulteen came to mind and I knew just the character of his I wanted to use. When I asked for use of the character, he not only allowed me to use it but, mocked up what he thought the cereal box cover might look like and it’s now being used in the show. These are all people that I’ve developed relationships with online over the years but, it still fills me with love and support that these people believe in what I do. Relationships in this community are everything to me. I met puppeteer Charlie Kanev at the POA festival in Swarthmore, PA last summer and he wanted to help in any way he could. I want to support this young talent, not only because of the friendship we’ve forged but, because of the amazing artistry and potential that he so obviously has. When I needed a butterfly for the opening scene, Charlie, with his knowledge of rod puppet mechs, built me a beautiful butterfly rod puppet with flapping wings. Charlie was instrumental in designing and painting some of the set pieces as well and will be puppeteering for the premiere performances. A designer I met at the Puppetry Guild of Greater New York (NYC) was Justin DuPont who designed and built a simple rolling frame for the monster’s doors which roll on and off during the show.

I took Colette Searls’ workshop “Directing for Puppetry” at the POA conference and realized that I’ve had to direct from within for my shows, being both director and puppeteer. Having an outside look at your show or having someone with that vision can be so helpful. With all of the great music and artistry that’s already gone into “Monster Intelligence”, I wanted it to achieve a greater vision. One of my favorite puppeteers that I’ve worked with on “Helping Drew” is Amy Rush as she’s always inspired better performance from me. I also met Joshua Holden, another amazing artist at the POA Festival, and enlisted the two to workshop “Monster Intelligence” so I could have that outside look and observe what’s possible with the various characters and their scenes. Amy and Joshua were a joy to work with and helped me see a better vision for “Monster Intelligence” that I couldn’t have completely seen for myself.
 
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Of course, there are more than just puppeteers and puppet builders that made this show happen. I’m lucky to be part of an arts community where I live and called upon talented friends for the initial table-read of the show, vocal talent to record the show, Scott Test, our exceptional music arranger, my friend Hannah Blair Butler who created costumes for a few of the characters and, my insanely talented friend John Simpkins in Oregon who painted the backdrop for the show. Major kudos, of course, to my creative partner and script writer Alex Ishkanian for taking on the ‘monster’ task of bringing this story to life. “Monster Intelligence” is ready to be embraced by an audience with a community of exceptionally talented and caring individuals behind it.

Article by David Manley

Muppet Christ Superstar- by fan Christo Graham

I was surprised to find Muppet fan Christo Graham from Lennoxville, Québec produced a Muppet musical based on the Broadway hit Jesus Christ Superstar. I’m pretty certain Christo hasn’t gotten the proper permission from Disney, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber to release this for sale to the public…so I recommend downloading it before the Cease and Desists arrive. LOL

I have given it a listen and it is pretty good from a character impression standpoint. You can give it a listen for free or download it for a donation HERE.
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