NY museum honors Kermit the Frog and his creator

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Jim Henson, the relentless innovator who gave the world Kermit the Frog and “The Muppet Show,” is getting a permanent tribute in New York, nearly 30 years after his death.

If rarely seen on camera, Henson lived and breathed television, hooking adult Americans on puppets, turning puppetry into prime-time entertainment and for 25 years gave life to Kermit, the world’s most famous puppet.

Not only did he create “The Muppet Show” and several of Kermit’s contemporaries, he gave birth to Elmo, Big Bird, Bert and Ernie of “Sesame Street” fame, “Fraggle Rock” and movies “Dark Crystal” (1982) and “Labyrinth” (1986).

On Saturday, the Museum of the Moving Image in Queens opens a permanent exhibition exploring Henson’s work, challenging visitors to look beyond his most famous creations at the astonishingly breadth of his career.

The exhibition brings together more than 300 objects, among them a Kermit the Frog, and more than 180 items bequeathed to the museum by the Henson family.

When Henson came to see puppetry as a serious art form, inspired partly by a trip to Europe in 1958, puppets at that time in America were for children, said Barbara Miller, curator of “The Jim Henson Exhibition.”

“The work and the projects that he developed — they were always fighting against this notion that puppets are just for kids,” she said.

“‘The Muppet Show’ was obviously the most successful way that he broke that barrier. It was programmed as prime time on Sunday nights. It was family hour so it was everybody.”

Merging comedy, fantasy, poetry, music and song, it was a surprising blend of weekly US television show which ran from 1976 to 1981, defined a generation and inspired eight feature-length films from 1979 to 2014.

– ‘Innovate’ –

But unusually, Henson walked away when the show was still in its prime, although he continued to give voice and movement to Kermit until his sudden death from pneumonia aged 53 in 1990.

“He was worried he was going to start repeating himself. The last thing my dad would want is that Kermit just keeps doing the same thing,” son Brian explained in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter.

“My dad’s number one thing was don’t repeat yourself. Innovate. Do something new.”

Henson demonstrated that innovation time and again with short, Oscar-nominated 1965 surrealist film “Time Piece,” then with “Dark Crystal”, “Fraggle Rock” and “Labyrinth” starring Davie Bowie.

Each time, he created a new universe made possible by advances in technology.

The purpose of the exhibition is not only to showcase his work but to illustrate “how things happened and what the creative processes were,” Miller said.

“I wanted people coming in with an idea of who Jim Henson is and leaving with a more complex idea of who he is and maybe more questions than they had when they came in,” she explained.

A traveling version of the exhibition is on view at the Museum of Pop Culture in Seattle and will travel the United States and the world over the next five years.

“We know ‘The Muppets,’ we know the characters on ‘Sesame Street,’ maybe a couple of other things — but one of the goals is to really deepen our understanding of Jim Henson as an artist, as a creative thinker, as an experimental filmmaker,” said Miller.

“And really see a bigger picture of him as a creator.”

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  • shalom

    I believe Kenyatta will unite Kenyans in the midst of all skepticism. He has proved to handle weighty matters and he showed more compassion than ever.

    • How has he proved? just elaborate. When you say, he is compassionate than ever, what exactly do you mean? Just from the debate? What measure of compassionate do you mean here. Also of interest, rate Dida, Karua, Kenneth or even the RAO

      • shalom

        Listen to his speeches in comparison to rivals.

        • bobcat

          Speeches, have you ever Mugabe and Hitler speeches?

    • Judasgoat

      How will he Unite Kenyan’s. They have not even bothered to campaign in Luo Nyanza AT ALL!

      • Duncan Muchina

        Why waste resources going where cords hang in every neck when a few more dalliances can get you kitu kidogo elsewhere? Fikiria sana my brother!

        • Judasgoat

          That’s crap and you know it. If one is to be president you have to be able to go to places even where you know you ain’t popular and will get little if any. You don’t see Obama refusing to campaign in Texas yet he knows no Democrat has a chance of winning there.

          • Duncan Muchina

            Wrong. He never set foot in Texas (but he fund raised there among gay and Latino voters)…it’s a red state. Do you understand that? In the future, TX may become a battleground state but not right away.

          • All states in United States were covered by every candidate. Question of blue or red states only emerges during the final stretch of campaigns. You therefore need not lie to bolster tribal hegemony! Uhuru is patently a tribal candidate backing on mere tribal numbers to get to power. Infact, he thinks with ill-gotten money and big tribe to boot, anything is pretty possible!!!!

          • mazzdark

            Obama did in fact make campaign stops in Texas, from which side are you blowing gas….

          • Duncan Muchina

            He actually did and got over 30% of the votes. So you are right. The candidates should transverse the country like the four winds. That’s how our democracy will emerge better. But with tribal kings sitting at the top of every tribe, that will take time to dismantle.

          • Harry Kim

            We are not in America my brother. This is Kenya, made up of 42 tribes, led by tribal kings. Sink that reality to your head.

          • Judasgoat

            And that is what people like me are trying to end. Moi won by getting votes across the board, not just in Kale land. Thank you for noticing that Kenya actually does have 42 tribes. If You or Uhuru want to become paramount chiefs then you are free to do so.

        • Why cant you say bloated tribal hegemony cant permit that? With purported 6million votes supposedly in your pocket, you certainly dont need other people. Uniting figure has to be acceptable across the board anyway!!!!

          • Edwind

            oooh please spare us the hypocrisy, all the top contenders (UK, RAO and Mudavadi) in the presidential race are heavily relying on tribal numbers to win the elections. Let’s face it none of them is acceptable across the board as you put. Besides Uhuru was in Kisumu late last year and has also been to Western.

          • shalom

            Usipitwe na wakati 2007 tribal gatherings are over we are in the new dispensation culturing a new nation forging forward.Focusing on the solution.

          • Judasgoat

            Do you know how Moi used to win elections? By getting a little here and a little there…all over the country. The second round will be won by whoever get’s a simple majority. Every vote will count.

      • bull stefano

        They would have loved to,but then they are avoiding a situation where their might be a backlash…u remember they had to postpone the rally at Taita taveta coz of security concerns.So,if people become bigotries,which is not justifiable in any sense,to avoid any eventuality,its wise not to visit those places until when the elections are over if they win

      • shalom

        Despite a wise man sees mbali there was more violence in that area, statistics showed even our PM getting rough time to keep peace you let the airwaves work.

      • danger

        judagoat, how dare u talk of moi winning any fair elections in Kenya. what planet were u living in then. Uhuru has been to all parts of Kenya during this campign. And instead of people hurling insults at each other, vote for whomever u want on the 4th. the votes will decide how will rule Kenya for the next 5 years.

        • Judasgoat

          Yea, and you are the same ppl who say Kibaki won the last election. Bure kabisa. And Uhuruto have actually decided to visit Kisumu today. They HAD NOT VISITED THERE AT ALL!!!!! You are probably the one from Mars.

    • How can an individual driven by mere tribal numbers unite the country? He doesnt even know pugnacious tribalism is serious threat to peace and unity of the nation! I also noticed that some sort of tears were building in eyes. Perhaps, had taken too much “dose” to keep it calm??!!

      • shalom

        This is not kind of you Bwans Kwessi though entitled to your opinion.

  • Julius

    Kenyatta was on top for sure; despite all the pressure and gang attack ill call him “Amherst finest”

    • sycophant opinion, Lol

    • I just remembered the SA movie “Sarafina” when I saw liquids forming around his eyes!!!!

      • kwessi if uk ws high as u say…then id say hes good bt RAO looked like he was having morning sickness…i think hes jus a coward voting him in wud b the biggest mistake one wud ever do…i pity him tho…hes such a loser…

  • Lawi003

    I hope you will also report this latest survey by NMG: Consumer Insight (Raila 46.8pc, Uhuru 44.3 pc) ; Strategic (Raila 45.7 pc, uhuru 43.8pc); Infro track (Raila 46pc, Uhuru 44.5pc). Plse don’t overlook it. Capital has been very partisan of late

  • This is a ‘biased research’ and there seems to be more than meets the eyes.

  • Francis Ndirangu

    I fully agree with the poll. Uhuru was the best performer for saying he has 30,000 acres in Taveta and a lot more countrywide. This excited Kenyans who are now all trooping to Jubilee. Kenyans want a person who is courageous to own so much land when thousands of squatters are sleeping hungry.

    • danger

      at least he gave the squatters on that land 4000 acres. and by the way u can vote for whoever u want. tuwache matusi. none of this guys will add ugali on ur table.

  • wati bryan

    I also have a research… capital, K24 are biased media houses along with KBC which are the only ones that report apparent uhuru lead in polls, which as always are contrary to all other pollsters, Kwano wao ni wagani hao

  • Abdalla

    skewed opinion poll….Lets be serious!

  • JC

    This can only be true to those who did not watch the debate. No wonder you couldn’t even call a press conference to announce your results…..please excuse us and never take Kenyans for granted.

  • Please get these elections done today!!! I am already tired of the back and forth with the polls. Who said being ahead polls translate into winning election? There are many voters who cannot be reached over the phone or internet and my belief is that they represent the majority of the eletorate. Enough with these know-it-all media people with their analysis. Kenya has a long way to go before we can rely on the polls and I think like the Nyanza PC said, prepare for losing because there will be a lot of surprises. You will remember my words next week.

  • suluhisho

    UR2013 for transformational change.

  • mazzdark

    B U L L S H I T

  • Kizee Ba Mkubwa

    Kenyatta is Young and focused.unlike rao who is random and seeks for revenge.

  • mosez

    the findings of the poll are quiete suspect.Which criteria was used to do sampling, were the pple sampled registered voters, what are their level of education,which media did they use to engage i the debate? was it radio or television,and can this not influence on the response????

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