Sunday, October 25, 2015

Frog Fest 2015 Catch-up

It was great fun to get back to Jim Henson's birth place, Leland, Mississippi, and check out the Jim Henson Boyhood Museum again, and to catch up with old friends and make new friends.  Besides Muley hosting a larger costume contest, including two costumed dogs, I was able to show 55 kids how to draw characters like Kermit the Frog, Big Bird, Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and...a skateboard?  Hey, they wanted it.

I especially love the focus on the arts, and food,

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the photos and get a chance to make the trip to Washington County and see the museum and the fine, fine people who run it.  You'll also want to stick around until 5:30 to get your dinner at Vince's restaurant--best Italian food ever!

The day's schedule.

Kermit in the library window.

Muley prepared for the kids' costume contest.  Photo by Lisa Frye Bush.

Muley enjoying the festivities of Frog Fest!

We had 55 kids stop through for learning to draw cartoon characters!

Blues performer, Pat Thomas!

Lisa Bush and daughter (who came in 3rd during the Fun Run and won a Kermit)!

Muppet Merchandise.  You know you love it.

Deer Creek

Posing with the photo of Jim and Kermit that we made more famous.

Oh, look! We're in the museum's scrap book with the photo we took!  :)

In the museum memorabilia room, I always like to play "Got that, Need that."  What do you need?

Some scores from the gift shop.  Items that were given to the museum by the Jim Henson Foundation!

Oysters Bienville appetizer at Vince's.

Chicken Alfredo at Vince's.

They have crayons and paper table covers--you knew I would!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

2015 Leland Frog Fest, Saturday Oct. 24

Muley the Mule and Kevin L. Williams are returning to one of their homes:  Leland, MS!  This annual event is called the Leland Frog Fest, celebrating the hometown of Muppet creator, Jim Henson, and "Birthplace of the Frog," being Kermit.  THE Frog.

Click the logo for a schedule of events!
Leland is home of the Jim Henson Boyhood Museum, from which one of the most iconic and shared-on-the-internet photos was taken of Kermit and Jim.

Frog Fest began in 2011 and has been an event to which the mule and his human have returned to promote the arts and costuming.  It has also been home to a delicious Chili Cook-off, and the sounds of great music fill the city!

The event starts off with the Fun Run from the Rainbow Connection Bridge to the Museum and back at 9am  (sign-up starts at 8:30am).

At 10am, Muley hosts the Costume Contest.

Throughout the day, there will be art classes for drawing the Muppets by Kevin, but also art activities conducted by the college and the museum.

Lots to see, and do, so be sure to come on down to the Leland Frog Fest!

Oct 18, 2015 - Kids Message Update

On October 18, 2015, I will have a special guest helping me discuss God's Love during the kids' message at First Congo!  Hope you can come out to visit.  Meet and greet at the Cafe Congo at 10 am, and services begin at 10:30 am.  Click here to get there.

No clue why Missy is stalking behind me...


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

2015 Fall/Winter Muley's Kids Message Schedule

As you know by now, about once a month Muley makes an appearance at First Congo to deliver his kids' messages to the children (and congregation) of the church.  We never know what's going to happen next.  So, come on out to see what surprises are in store for you!

Each Sunday morning, there are meet-and-greets starting around 10am in Cafe Congo, services begin at 10:30am.  There is always great music, a great pastoral message, and tons of great people to get to know.

CLICK HERE to see a map and get directions.

See Muley's schedule below:
September 20, 2015
October 18, 2015
November 15, 2015
December 6, 2015
January 10, 2016

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Superman Celebration 2015 - That's a Wrap!

We love Metropolis, IL, when all the super heroes fly into town and make an historic landing to save the world from dull, boring times.  This is the second weekend in June, every year, and a time when all the greatest people of the planet converge on this town of about 5000 people to celebrate the greatest super hero of the comic book world: Superman!

We've been going to Superman Celebration nearly every year for many years now, and we love it.  The people of Metropolis are the best! Sweet, friendly, and the kind of folks you just love to love.  Good hugs, too!

And it's always an adventure.


This year, so much was happening with costumes, dealer rooms, fan films, comics artists and writers, and more.  The food vendors are always great, and there's nothing better than a lemon shake-up!

Lin Workman helps notify people where they want to be.

Trevor Hawkins and some original art!

"One Fine Sunday" exhibit, curated by artist John Read.

We had our schedule, and we provided our own brand of entertainment...albeit bad in some cases*!

First, our panel on television puppetry was low on attendance.  It numbered zero.  But, it was also very early in the morning.  Still, this panel may be retired.

*Our first puppet show, though, was well attended.  Nearly 50 or 60 people in the audience!  Now, time comes and the laptop is plugged into the speaker system.  "Play" is hit and we run behind the stage.  Music starts, and Muley dances up to the edge of the stage.  What happens?  No words are being sung.  So, Muley dances down and I run back to the computer.  I do some work on it, and then get the music playing again.

Music starts, and Muley dances up to the edge of the stage.  What happens?  Still no words are being sung.  Muley dances down, and I apologize to the audience, "Sorry, but we're having some technical difficulties."  I go back to the laptop.  I'm getting music, and no vocals.  So, with an audience of 50 - 60 people I do what any self-respecting performer does:


I call a friend, Stephanie Perrin, up and she is willing to push play when the critters let her know to start (she did an AMAZING job picking up on the signals, too).  So, Muley walks up to talk to his audience:

"Hello, everyone!  Are we having fun in Metropolis this year?  Are we enjoying all the heat?  Yes, we are!  Are we all here ready to see my friends and I perform?  Are you here to see us perform BADLY?  Well, as you might imagine: Per Murphy's law if something can go wrong it will, and it has.  So we can focus on our performances, the shows are pre-recorded but today we're only getting music and no vocals.  So, as we always do, when things get tough: WE GET TOUGHER!  Today, we're going to perform our songs LIVE for you, starting with 'Polk Salad Annie!'  Maestro, if you would..."

The music starts, Muley performs the song, the audience applauds.  Then, Frankie Steinatra sings "Witchcraft," followed by Missy Mule performing "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend," and more.  The lyrics were on my cellphone on my knee to be sure I didn't forget anything, so I was sitting, as you may imagine, in the worst position.

Joan, Muley's Co-host for the kids' costume contest, arrives as Baymax from Big Hero 6 and starts introducing the show when Muley pops up, "Woah, woah, waitaminnit! Quick, someone call the Ghostbusters! The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is on the loose! Or the Michelin Man!  Some kind of man! Somebody call the Ghostbusters!"  Then, she introduced the character to Muley who now understands, and they introduce about 40+ kids in costume to the audience.

Time for food--walking taco and lemonade!

The next day, the Puppet-making Workshop was a blast!  Showing people what they can do with a sock is so much fun.  Glue on some pipe cleaners, some pom-poms for noses and eyes, cheerleader pom-poms for wigs, and more.  Kids were taking our "Secrets of Puppetry" hand out and trying to learn puppetry with their new puppets!  This was a big deal, and a fantastic thing to see happening!


That afternoon's Muley and Friends Show was a much better performance as we figured out what was going on with the sound system!  Although, Roy Duck was left behind so Missy Mule filled in to perform Rawhide with Muley, which was a lot of fun.


Muley is ready to go onstage, and performing "Puttin' on the Ritz" with Frankie Steinatra (photo by Micah Riley).

We're looking forward to making another trip there in 2016 to see our Metropolis Family and renew our love for that great city, it's great people, and more.  Hope to see you there!

Here are the costumes!  Enjoy: