I'm starting to get reports from folks telling me that the Mighty Fine Muppet t-shirt that I designed has shipped.
I'm holding a contest for everyone who ordered the shirt. Just take a photograph of yourself wearing the shirt and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll pick my favorite and send you a cool prize. I'll give you until the end of the year to get your pics to me. If you haven't ordered your shirt yet, you can get it right here:
Two of my three pieces of artwork submitted for the Puppet, Muppet and Marionette art festival have found homes! The third "Teeth" is currently hanging at Club 57 West at 57 West Pine Street in Orlando.
The painting is part of a show called "Hung Over" where select pieces from various shows that didn't sell are given a second chance. If you weren't able to see "Teeth" in person, this may be your last opportunity before some lucky person snatches it up! Thanks to my friend Rinaldo Stephens for the pic!
In a few short months, her exhaustive work on the blog has helped numerous families and continues to be a comprehensive resource for parents of children with Down Syndrome. Please take the time to visit her blog, and nominate her to be one of the Top 30 Down Syndrome Blogs by following the link here.
To nominate the blog, simply copy and paste this URL
into the box titled Website Address and click Submit.
I'll spare you the plot points and synopsis of the movie, that info is everywhere. I also won't go into what a huge Henson/Muppet fan I am and what an influence they are to me. If you want to know, just click the Muppets tab on the right-hand column.
What I will discuss is the film, and I'll try not to give any spoilers away. I think writing for the Muppets is an incredible challenge. It comes down to the tone. The Muppets are sweet and nostalgic, yet chaotic and sometimes edgy. They are quiet and reflective, yet have explosive anarchy. There's so much warmth, heart and humor. A fine line needs to be walked. The Muppets are FAMILY entertainment, they are not meant strictly for children, nor are they geared only toward adults.
It's obvious to me, for one of the few times in 20 years, that the Muppets are in capable hands. The movie is a delight. I sat there with a smile on my face nearly the entire time. I even have a few goosebump moments and an occasional tear (dusty theater I'm sure).
This movie was a love letter to the fans. There were so many references and inside jokes and fun little details packed into the corners and backgrounds of nearly every scene. What surprised me, were the numerous call-outs to Jim Henson himself. In several flashback scenes, they even used his voice and performance.
I was also pleased that CGI was used as little as possible. The movie celebrated the art of puppetry, as well it should. There were even a few "how-did-they-do-that, moments, a hallmark of any good Muppet movie.
Was the movie perfect? Well, no. The film was trying to accomplish so much in such a short running time resulting in some confusing, chaotic editing. Judging by the footage from the trailers and clues in the soundtrack, there's a wealth of footage on the cutting room floor. I would love to see a director's cut, or the deleted scenes when the movie comes to DVD/Blu Ray.
Regardless of its flaws, the Muppets are back and not a moment too soon. We live in a cynical and sarcastic time. The Muppets remind us that it's okay to be silly, sweet and goofy. We need their trademark gee-whiz optimism in our lives.
I'm not sure that this review gave the movie justice. I have more that I'd like to say, but I want to give you a few days to actually see it for yourselves before I go into more detail, so look for some additional thoughts of the movie coming soon.
I should mention, give yourself extra time to get to the movie before it starts because there's a new Toy Story short before the movie, and it's terrific.
The kids and I just saw the new movie The Muppets.
Check out Kathy's Kermit-green hoodie.
Alex gets into the act.
I LOVED the movie! My intention was to post a review today, but after seeing the movie, a botched attempt at putting up Christmas decorations, and having to take the kids to their mom's, I'm out of time and off to work!
After all this buildup, the movie deserves a proper review, which I'll have first thing tomorrow.
What the critics are saying: "Effortlessly blending wised-up,
self-reflexive humor with old-fashioned let's-put-on-a-show pizzazz, The
Muppets is an unexpected treat! Justin Chang - Variety "You can't go wrong with this one." Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com "The movie is just shiny, funny, and filled with songs." Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly "Slam-dunk. The movie slaps a smile on your face you won't want to wipe off." Peter Travers - Rolling Stone "Muppetational, a concept that's been in sadly short supply as of late." Elizabeth Weitzman - New York Daily News "A generally charming exercise in nostalgia." Roger Moore - Orlando Sentinel
"A very welcome return for Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy and the rest of
Jim Henson's creations after a 12-year big-screen absence." David
Germain - Associated Press
"I'm fiercely protective of these old
friends, and I believe that the great Jim Henson would be very pleased
with this movie." Scott Weinberg - Twitch
"There isn't a single beat
in the film that feels crass or opportunistic. This one is from the
heart." Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald "They still have plenty of heart and smart a-s-s-ness to give to a new generation and beyond." Devin Faraci - CHUD "A Muppets for our ironic age." Ann Lewinson - Boston Phoenix "A vivid reminder of how much we all could use some Muppets in our lives." Eric Goldman - IGN Movies "The movie world has been a lesser place without the Muppets." Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com "As funny, outlandish and sweet as ever."Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine "A brilliant makeover." Pete Hammond - Boxoffice Magazine
"Remember that feeling you got in the cinema watching "The Muppet
Movie" as a tyke? You'll feel it all again." Clint Morris - Moviehole "The beloved gang's sweet reunion will melt nostalgic adults into laughter and tears." Bill Weber - Slant Magazine "Makes superfans out of all of us." Simon Miraudo - Quickflix "One of the year’s biggest, mostly effective attempts at franchise reboot." Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.com
"'The Muppets' is not just one of the best films of the year, it is an
affirmation that we can indeed occasionally find our way home again, and
that some things shouldn't change." Drew McWeeny - HitFix
Well, this is it. The last Muppet Monday before The Muppets hits theaters. I'm going to be seeing it Wednesday, and I'll give a spoiler-free review after seeing the movie. You have a week from today to see the film before I do the spoiler-rich version of the review, so plan your holiday weekend accordingly!
I couldn't decide what else to post today. There's just so much new stuff to choose from.
The Muppets have officially dominated the media. They've made the recent covers of magazines like Entertainment Weekly and Wired, there are articles in the New York Times and newspapers around the world, they're making the television and talk show rounds (including an appearance on Saturday Night Live) and their soundtrack just became available. This is a great time to be a Muppet fan!
The Fellowship of the Muppets. That's Robin as Frogo, Bean as Samwise
Bunny, Pepe as Peppin, Rowlf as Gandrowlf, Scooter as Legopher, Kermit
as Arafrog, Fozzie as Bearamir, Gonzo as Gimzo, and Rizzo as Mizzo.
At long last, the horror anthology book Dark Mischief is available for purchase!
Dark Mischief is is a full color collection of the spooky and supernatural, featuring
stories and art by some of the best creators in independent comics!
I count myself fortunate to be considered among that group. I contributed an original 16 page story which I wrote and illustrated myself called "Dead Charlie and Zombie Bob". You can purchase your copy here, and I'll be adding it to the column on the right soon.
I had to leave St. Pete for a few hours early this morning because I had an appointment in Orlando. My plan was to drive back to St. Pete to bask in the greatness that is the ISCA convention. However, as I approached my destination in Orlando, this appeared...
...my check engine light came on.
Ugh. So after I finished my errand, I drive home to Clermont and took the car to my mechanic. Turns out several hours and a hundred bucks later it was determined that the problem was a sensor issue.
I'm so frustrated. But there WILL be another con next year, and I WILL be there!
I'm at St. Pete's Beach attending the International Society of Caricature Artists Convention for a few days. I was unable to get a room at the hotel that the convention is at, but I did get a room up the road at this place:
The hotel deftly walks the fine line between scary and charming.
Due to a mixup, I was booked in a double and after explaining that I was alone, they switched me to a single, but threw in a kitchen.
I find mom and pop places like this to be quite endearing.
I considered my kitchen and I got to thinking, if I get some groceries, I could prepare meals out of my room and not spend tons of money going out to eat.
After picking up a few supplies at the local Publix, I couldn't wait to get back to the room and pop my Home Run Inn frozen pizza in the oven.
Want to wear the most sensational, inspirational, celebrational, Muppetational t-shirt to the premiere of the new Muppet movie opening next Thursday?
Follow this link, and get this shirt entitled "It's Time" designed by me, Kenny Durkin. Be sure to take a picture of yourself wearing the shirt. I'll pick my favorite photo and the winner will get a prize! Can't wait to see your entries!
Well, after a considerable amount of debate, number crunching and schedule reshuffling, I've determined without question that I will not be able to attend the 2011 International Society of Caricature Artists Convention here in Florida this week.
This decision was not made lightly and comes with a significant amount of regret. I was looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones. I desperately need the caricature "booster shot" that an ISCA convention always provides. I had many seminars I planned on attending. I had a studio piece (nearly) ready to unveil. I had competitions that I wanted to participate in. But most of all, I wanted to support my brother and dear friend, Steve Hearn in his role of ISCA President.
There is good news. The ISCA has offered the option of a "day pass" for those who are only able to attend for a portion of the convention. My plan is to attend Tuesday and Wednesday (and possibly Friday). I think this is the most realistic scenario for me. Can't wait!
There are many types and styles of live caricature. One that I've tried recently is the "hit and run" caricature. In this case, instead of being front and center drawing at an easel and putting on a show, the artist is to remain as invisible as possible, sketching subjects without their knowledge and surprising them with a drawing of them as a result.
There's a real trick to doing it. You have to be far enough away so that the subject can't see you and draw fast enough so that they don't walk away in the middle of the picture and you can't find them. Facial likeness becomes secondary to body pose, posture and gesture.
I try coming up with stories for mine, give them a bit of a narrative:
I have several bits of news for today's Muppet Monday entry.
First of all, I've changed my profile pic all over the web to this:
I figured since I've been so Muppety lately, I might as well go all the way!
Voting for the Mighty Fine Muppet T-Shirt Design Challenge is now closed. The votes are being tallied, and the winner will be announced this Friday, November 11.
November 11, is also the final day to attend the Puppet, Muppet and Marionette Art Show at the Avalon Gallery in Orlando. It's your last chance to see my three pieces up close and personal!
Finally, the new movie, The Muppets will be opening in just a few weeks on Thanksgiving Day. There's been a huge media campaign fir the film, including television show appearances, magazine articles, audio interviews and new merchandise. It's a great time to be a Muppets fan!.
Next week I will be attending the International Society of Caricature Artists Convention here in Florida. I've decided to enter a studio piece for competition. I'm going to reveal the actual piece at the convention, but I'll give you a sneak peek here. It's going to be a sculpture based on a painting I did several years ago. Here's a few glimpses of the painting...
Last night the family and I attended the Sing-Along Screening of The Muppet Movie. The free show was hosted by Ibex Puppetry and was part of the Orlando Puppet festival. It took place at the Avalon Gallery where the Puppet, Muppet and Marionette Art Show is being held.
The layout of the gallery has been modified a bit since my last visit. Pictured is a view of the gallery from across the street. Two of my pieces have been moved to the front of the gallery facing the window. You can see them on the far left.
This makes my pieces highly visible to anyone passing by the gallery. What an honor!
The sing-along screening of The Muppet Movie became so
popular, that after a tally of the RSVPs for the 7:30 show, a second
show needed to be added at 10. The show was free, however it was highly
recommended to purchase a 3 dollar "goodie bag" before the show.
The bag included various props,
noisemakers and other fun objects that we were supposed to utilize
during specific points in the movie. I won't ruin the surprise by
revealing the contents of the bag and when and where in the film they're
meant to be used. This show can't be explained, it has to be
Alex and Kathy, right before the show.
These next few shots are courtesy of Orlando Paparazzi. I
included them because the family and I are visible in them. You can
check out other pics of the event at:
The highlight of the evening for me was getting to meet the
effervescent Heather Henson. Heather is the founder of Ibex Puppetry,
an entertainment company dedicated to promoting the fine art of
puppetry and produces the annual Orlando Puppet Festival.
Here's a pic of us in front of two of my pieces
.The Sing-Along Screening of The Muppet Movie is likely to be an annual
event, so if you missed it, be sure to check it out at next year's
Orlando Puppet Festival. Trust me, it's an amazing show!