What a difference a year makes.

I went out for groceries and such today, and the whole time I was running errands, I simply wanted to be at home making puppets. Me, making puppets. I wouldn’t have been doing that a year ago. This time last year, The Muppets was in theatres and I was enjoying sharing it with friends and family.  I was reading about them online, finding out more about muppetcentral.com, toughpigs.com, muppetmindset.blogspot.ca and I didn’t even know that The MuppetCast existed yet. One year later and I have multiple puppets that I’ve made, I’ve helped others to bring their own puppets into the world, I’ve appeared on The MuppetCast and interviewed Steve Swanson for my own podcast. I’ve seen the Muppets perform live in New York and Montreal and I’ve seen a performance of Stuffed and Unstrung.  I’ve also visited The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta and the PuppetsUp Festival in Almonte. Quite an adventure in one year. I wonder, what will this next year bring?

Montreal was Muppety!

This is the tale of my second Muppety adventure of this year. My first was to see Jim Henson’s Musical World at Carnegie Hall in the spring where I was thrilled to attend and SO moved by the performances. This second adventure was also a real treat and I’m happy to say that it isn’t the last Muppety adventure I will have this year.

On July 26, 2012 my husband and I were in Montreal. We were staying in the cheapest hotel I could find, and that happened to be a 2 minute walk to the Just for Laughs Festival area! It was a lovely day, overcast, but mild, and we went for a stroll to explore our surroundings. (And to purchase tickets to the Star Wars Exhibit at the Science Centre – but that’s a different adventure).

The Just for Laughs area was a market of booths for interesting food, jewellery and even a spa tent! We sat on a patio and sipped Rose wine and watched the world go by. Later we had some dinner at a fabulous Brasserie across the street from our hotel and walked back down to the theatre.

There were two shows at 7 and 10 pm and I had purchased tickets to both. I didn’t want to miss a thing. The performance was recorded for television and will be broadcast in the fall, so I’m not going to go into detail on the show, except to say that it was perfect. I was worried that there would be too much of the guest comedians and not enough muppets – but those fears were quickly put to rest.

Before the 2nd performance my husband and I sat in the lobby to sip some more Rose wine and met some new friends. Kendal, Jordan and Bosko. I feel it was fate that we met. Jordan is an aspiring puppeteer and Kendal was filming and photographing their entire adventure. Lucky them, they’d seen rehearsal of the performance earlier in the day and Jordan had some Muppeteer signatures already. He graciously allowed me to snap a picture of his treasures.

The second performance was every bit as good as the first with some extra flub ups that made the show even funnier, plus our seats were much closer than the first show, so the angle of the performance was a very cool change.

I did manage to snap a couple of shots – trying not to ruin any performance, but just get their company bow at the end and the stage before the show began.

After the performance we made our way to the stage door where we met other enthusiastic muppet fans. There was a lovely couple there and the young man – Liam – proposed to his girlfriend – Sarit and she accepted. Of course we sang “Somebodies Getting Married” to them and continued to celebrate and trade stories while we waited for Muppeteers. The only one I met (if you could say chatting in a crowd was like meeting) was Bill Barretta.

He’d popped out to have a smoke and make a phone call and I pointed him out to the small group of fans, so we went to speak with him. He was gracious and funny and very kind to this crowd (there were about 9 of us – small crowd really). And when we told him of the engagement he went over to congratulate the groom and flirt with the bride – as Pepe, the King Prawn would do.

The lucky bride and groom also got to go back stage and meet a few muppets – Miss Piggy liked Sarit’s ring and posed for a photo with them. It will be their engagement announcement. I can’t wait to see that!

Around 1:15 am, with my husband starting to show signs of weariness, I decided we’d give up waiting. Clearly, I should not have done so, as my new Muppet friends have photos of themselves on Facebook with Muppeteers. So, IF I’d hung on, I might have met one or two – but ah well.

And my new friends, Kendal, Jordan and Bosko….  they’d already been backstage and met the rest of the Muppeteers! AGH!!!

I hope to meet up with these three at my next puppet adventure this summer – The Puppets Up Festival in Almonte, Ontario. I will try to get as many stories from them as possible.

I am very glad I went. I am super glad of the people I met and the creativity and inspiration I witnessed. I am now looking forward to my next adventures! Stay tuned!

Here in Montreal…

So, late last night we arrived at our hotel – which was tricky to find, because even though it is in the heart of the city and on the hotel strip it looks like an older apartment building and feels like one step up from a hostel. It’s not bad, but it’s… affordable.

However, kitty corner to the hotel is a wonderful Brasserie where we had a very late dinner. The food was wonderful – simple but oh so good, and the beers were incredible. And all brewed in house. Very nice service too. Made super suggestions for us to try. Really great.

While standing outside the hotel and waiting for the husband to retrieve something from the car, my Muppetsense began to tingle. I could hear the melody of The Whistling Caruso in the air. I wanted to run in that direction, but I was sensible and stayed. Had I run, I would have discovered an outdoor screening of The Muppets in downtown Montreal. While I was hungry and tired, (and thirsty), a part of me wished I had run. Ah well.

On to new adventures today. We are going to source out some Starbucks and make our way to the Montreal Science Centre to see if we can score tickets for their Star Wars Exhibition. Muppetsense will we on the alert today.

The Muppets in Montreal!

Tomorrow, (or much later today), I travel to Montreal. Now, this is a lovely thing to do at any time of the year and for any reason, but this time I am going to see The Muppets perform live-for the second time this year. If someone had told me a year ago that I’d be doing this now, I’m not sure I’d have believed them. Not the part about me traveling to see them, that is certainly plausible. But more the fact that the opportunity exists for me to see them in person.

I am wondering what they will do. I am wondering who will be there and I’m wondering how I will react. I know I was overwhelmed at the last performance. It was truly profound and I am hoping for something similar this time. It is fairly safe to say that, if Kermit appears and tells a joke or sings, I will be overcome. But I am very interested to see what this Just For Laughs performance will be like. Much different from the celebration of Jim Henson that occurred in Carnegie Hall, I’m sure. For one, they have not recommended the show for anyone younger than 16, I believe. These are comics after all, so it probably won’t be a lot of Sesame Street Skits. Which wouldn’t be right anyway, as they are owned by a different company. Regardless, it is sure to be a special experience. Certainly cost more than Carnegie Hall. But I’ll bet it will be worth it. Besides, a short holiday in Montreal is never a bad thing.

Wish me luck on this new adventure. I’ll tell you all about it as it happens.