Tuesday, July 06, 2004

My name in Credits, my "arch-nemesis", Grover, and Fireworks!

or probably the best Fourth of July weekend of recent memory

About fourteen of my friends and I all went to see Spider-man 2 on Saturday night at the Arclight. (A pity we didn't take any photos, bleh). Most are puppeteers. One I met via Craigslist. One I've known since college and was a key member of my puppet troupe. Others friends I've met from those friends.

All had a blast! I'm am so lucky and thankful that my first movie is so highly reviewed, so successful (already at $180 million. Geez!) It was also cool that my name appears dead center with no names to the left, so it is easy to spot.
Afterwards a subset of us ate dinner/dessert.

The next evening, some of the same people (The Johnsons, Victoria, Anita & Jeff, and Danielle) and I went to the Hollywood Bowl for their Sesame Street Live event. I'd heard about it from Eric Jacobson (see in earlier blog), who was performing in it. It was fabulous! And strangely cosmic. For in 1999, The Johnsons and I met Victoria in Los Angeles before any of us had moved here, at the Muppet Auditions. Kevin Clash led a workshop and in class had us do an improvisation with Elmo. The topic? "Elmo wants to know how to get to the Hollywood Bowl." Well here we all were, at the 2004 Fourth of July festivities in the Hollywood Bowl, watching Elmo (Kevin Clash, our workshop teacher), Grover (Eric Jacobson, my childhood friend), Big Bird (Caroll Spinney, whom we all know now after assisting him at his award ceremonies), plus Zoe (Fran Brill), and Rosita Monster. AND Brian Stokes MITCHELL, my honorary "arch-nemesis."

You see, Brian Stokes Mitchell is the owner of http://www.brianstokes.com and the fabulous singing god of theatre, particularly in "Man of La Mancha" and "Ragtime." For a while in 1996 I was receiving his fan-mail, because Yahoo™ listed my website before his. There he was, live, talking to Grover, and Elmo. Elmo kept referring to him as "Mr. Stokes" (which made me & my posse laugh hysterically). I found out later from Eric that he had told Mr. "Stokes" Mitchell about me. Hehehe.

The show was sensational. Big Bird was wonderful. When he first conducted the symphony (gesturing madly, resulting in a mish-mash of noise), Big Bird commented to the conductor "Boy, they're not very good, are they?" Grover was hilarious, trying to help out with the music but failing miserably, starting with Christmas music, then incorrect anniversary music selections. Rosita Monster was hysterical too! At first she suffered from a bad microphone, and the conductor handed a handheld one to her. She lowered it down below herself, which added just a tad bit of unintended innuendo. Then she made a comment about seeing only one star in the sky over Los Angeles. Grover sang his rendition of "Elmo's World" as "Grover's World" making Elmo furious, which I loved. (It was nice that Elmo was not the center of attention for a change). Brian Stokes Mitchell sang Sesame Street songs, as well as "To Dream the Impossible Dream" which was worth considerably more than the price of admission right there. Then finally the FIREWORKS, which were really great too! Perhaps a bit too loud though as they were right over the orchestra.

So I suppose we did our part to help Elmo get to the Hollywood Bowl, eventually.

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posted by Brian at 12:06 AM


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