Tag Archives: Museum of the Moving Image

West Bound and Down (If Only For a Moment…)*

…and hello again. I’m coming to you from San Francisco Airport, where I’m waiting to make my connecting flight to Los Angeles, where I’ll be taping an appearance on The Tavis Smiley Show tomorrow afternoon.  The moment I finish there, I go whizzing back to the airport and return to the East Coast so I can make another mad dash to New York.

It’s been more than a week since I last blogged – and what a week it was.  On Tuesday, October 1, I was delighted – and incredibly flattered – to attend the booklaunch event for Jim Henson at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York. I had great fun sitting on a panel with Karen Falk, Bonnie Erickson, Fran Brill, Barbara Miller, and Dwight Bowers. (The expertise on Jim and the Muppets was so deep and wide that I was joking just before we all went on that all I really had to do was sit there and refer all the questions to my fellow panelists….)

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The panel for Jim Henson: The Biography commences (under the watchful eyes of Jim, Kermit and Ernie): From left, Dwight Bowers, Karen Falk, Your Humble Narrator, Craig Shemin, Fran Brill, Bonnie Erickson, and Barbara Miller.

The panel – moderated by Craig Shemin, current President of the Jim Henson Legacy – opened with three really interesting clips of Jim making various talk show appearances, including one that I had never seen before: a bizarre, ill-fated talk show pilot for Orson Welles. Welles appeared to be doing his best parody of himself, and Jim seemed on the edge of cracking up during most of the interview, while Frank Oz looked wryly unamused.

One of the neatest moments on the panel – for me, at least – was when Barbara Miller, one of the MOMI’s curators, pulled out a precious artifact that’ll eventually be on display for the Jim Henson exhibit. “I nearly brought Ernie,” she said, “but decided for something even more intimate.” There was an audible gasp from the crowd as she pulled out of a box – while wearing protective white gloves – Jim’s very own miked headset that he would’ve used while performing on set.  In fact, it appeared to be the very headset in this photo here (another of my very favorite photos of Jim):

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The audience asked great questions, and it was terrific to meet so many of Jim’s fans afterward who told me how much they enjoyed the book.  Thank you, each and every one of you who made the event. And thank you to the Museum of the Moving Image and the Jim Henson Legacy (and, yes, Random House!) for putting together such a great event.  It was a fitting way to kick off Jim’s biography.

I spent the next afternoon doing various radio shows over at SiriusXM – and as a longtime Sirius listener, it was great fun to see the inside of their studios and meet deejays like Frank DeCaro at OutQ, Meredith Ochs and Chris T at Road Dog, and the dynamite Judith Regan (who knows a thing or two about books and publishing).

And yes, just as I did when I appeared on The Diane Rehm Show, I got to wear the headphones. And no, while I kept my eyes peeled, I did not see Baba Booey. Darn it.

I’m getting ready to board now, so I’ll leave you for the moment.  But I’ll be back here shortly with one – no, make that TWO — exciting announcements.  And to say I’m thrilled about both of these would be the ultimate understatement.

See you in a bit.

* No, I’m not down. I was just making the reference work.

Book Launch, Radio, Reviews, and More . . .

I’m a virtual plethora of information today. Ready? Here we go…

MOMI-logo-176x176-72dpiFirst, the official book launch for Jim Henson will be on October 1 at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York. Working with the Jim Henson Legacy, there’ll be a panel discussion about Jim Henson and his work, featuring me, Muppet performer Fran Brill, Henson Company archivist Karen Falk, Dwight Bowers of the Smithsonian Museum of American History, and MOMI curator Barbara Miller.  That’s a deep bench of folks well-versed in Jim and the Muppets, so this should be a lot of fun–especially as the panel is moderated by Craig Shemin, current president of the Jim Henson Legacy (and an ace in Jim’s story as well) who’s bringing rare video, along with a beautiful new print of Jim’s 1965 experimental film Time Piece.

The event starts at 7 p.m., and when that’s done, I’ll be signing books–and, as this is a ticketed event, thanking everyone profusely for coming–until they close the place down.

Why the MOMI? Not only did the museum recently host the exhibition Jim Henson’s Fantastic World, but the Henson family recently donated hundreds of puppets and artifacts, which will serve as a permanent exhibit–housed in their very own gallery, courtesy of the support of  The City of New York–starting in early 2015. It’s sort of Jim’s home away from home.

More information on the museum and the event can be found right here.  And don’t worry, while the launch event is October 1, the book is still coming out on September 24. Promise.

UnknownSecond, on Wednesday, September 25 — the day after the book comes out — I’ll be live in studio to talk Jim with guest host Susan Page on The Diane Rehm Show. And if that weren’t exciting enough, we’ll be joined by Muppet performer Dave Goelz.

Yup.

DAVE.

GOELZ.

So okay, you say — those are two cool events, but neither takes place on September 24, when the book is published.  True enough.  I have something else in store for that day — with another special guest. But more on that as we get closer to Tuesday the 24th.

Third: The fine folks at ToughPigs — who are nearly Kirkus-like  in their take-no-prisoners, call it like they see it assessments of Muppet- and Jim-related products — reviewed Jim Henson: The Biography . . . and liked it. A lot. I’ll let you go read the entire thing yourself, but here’s a taste:

“[T]he sheer amount of information, both new and old, in this book is simply staggering . . .  Jim Henson: The Biography is the most complete record of Jim’s history that I’ve ever seen, which is completely relatable to all sorts of Muppet fans . . . This is a must-buy.”

My thanks to Joe Hennes at ToughPigs for the kind words.

Finally, nods to Jim are showing up on all sorts of wonderful and unexpected places.  There was this nice little piece in Hemispheres–the magazine you find in your seat back on United Airlines flights–as well as this full-pager in Southwest Airlines’ Spirit magazine. Additionally, look later on this month for Jim Henson to show up in Vanity Fair, Real Simple, and over on Parade.com.