Friday, August 24, 2012

Jerry Nelson: In Remembrance

I'm not really sure how I knew it; but, when my dear friend and fellow Muppets fan, Zach, texted me tonight I began to fear the worst.  My room mate was across the room from me and I had already began to choke up and felt the tears ready to roll as I told my roomie, "I think I've just been sent some bad news."

All I could see in the text preview was, "I just heard Jerr" and I could feel something was wrong.  I got to my room, in the dark, opened the text as I laid down and read something that upset me terribly.  The world has lost another great human, and a great soul:  Jerry Nelson.

You know, it's probably just a little silly to be weepy over someone you only ever met for a few seconds; but, when that person you met for those few seconds had a lifetime affect on you those are a few seconds that are cherished forever!

When I had the opportunity to meet Jerry Nelson, it was at MuppetFest (the first and only convention for Muppets fans and of all things Jim Henson).  It was a thrill to watch him during the panel discussions because he was so funny.  It was awesome to see a master at work.

In case you don't know, he was the performer for Count von Count, Kermit's nephew Robin, Floyd Pepper, Gobo Fraggle...and, really, the list goes on forever.  He made cameo appearances in many of the shows and movies the Muppets made. 

He's also probably one of my favorite vocalists.  His smooth voice, whether his own or that of Floyd Pepper, Robin, or the Count, somehow always has a hint of comfort behind it.  A few years ago, he released Truro Daydreams, a downloadable "record" of original songs he'd worked on for years, and music I listen to once a week or so.  If you haven't bought it yet, please do--you won't be dissatisfied!

Here is a behind the scenes video of "Noah's Ark" from Truro Daydreams.

I can't really suggest that I'm one of the most connected people in the world to share a memorial on his website; but, I do feel a need to share a little bit because of how much the Muppets inspired me as a kid (and still today!).  Not just the characters, either; but, also their performers:  Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt, Dave Goelz, and of course Jerry.  Without these folks, certainly Jim, and Charles Schulz, I would never have been so bent on creating fun and entertaining things to bring joy to other folks.  And Jerry is one of those to be thanked for that!

I don't usually share personal items from my collection of things, especially when they mean a lot to me; but, back in 1999 I took a chance to write Jerry a letter of appreciation and asked for an autographed photo of himself.  Really, it wasn't a fan letter to his characters, but to him.  I explained that I loved his work when he sang, performed puppetry, and that his characters are among my favorites (of course, they're Muppets so probably all of them are my favorites!).  He was kind enough to send the following letter (on the back of which is a little list of things to do, such as clean the fish tank) and an autographed photo of himself that I think he took just for me?

The end of his letter is that he hoped it was "what I wished for."  Well, it is.  He provided a photo, certainly; but, the enjoyment of the characters he performed, the songs he sang, the happiness he brought me...

Who could have wished for anything more?

Thank you, Jerry Nelson, for bringing such a joy to the world.


Sesame Street remembers Jerry Nelson.

NBC News

Jerry Nelson's Cameo on Sesame Street surrounded by Count, Sherlock Hemlock, Herry Monster, Fat Blue (aka Mr. Johnson)...his famous characters from that most wonderful street.

Chicago Tribune tribute.

Television Blend shared videos.

The LA Times posted a report on his passing.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Reflection on 40

Effective at 11:09 am on August 20, 2012, I am officially 40.  You know, 40 years ago I never thought I'd make it this far.

Of course, 40 years ago I don't think I thought that much anyway. 

Yet, here I am. Somehow.  By the grace of God.  I'm thankful to be here, though a bit confused as I consider all the crazy things I've done in my childhood that should have ended my story: jumping into ponds not knowing what snakes were in it, swinging on vines over deep ditches, playing by spillways near lakes, walking into strangers' houses just because the doors were is surprising that I'm now 40.

I've always been thankful of the little things in life: birds chirping, cool breezes, sunny skies with puffy white clouds, green grass and trees.  I never falter to be thankful for my home, clothes, food, transportation, and work.  I'm most thankful for my greatest birthday gifts of all: friends, family, talents, and an ability to both smile and make folks smile.  I'm always appreciative of those who inspire me to do the things I do, including those who have left this world.

I consider the years that have gone by which have taken those I love from my friends and family and remember them all frequently.  I hope somehow they can get a moment to recall me in their new lives.

40 brings a lot with it, I think.  I feel that I've learned to be more patient--except with folks who drive too slow, drive too badly, drive too fast, or speed up to get in my way and then slow down; or those who get in line in front of me at the store when checking out and yet have more shopping to do so I have the opportunity to put my life on hold while they go spend 10 minutes to get what they want...

But, I digress.

I'm grateful for the e-mails and the posts to my wall on Facebook.  There is no way I could ever possibly respond to everything, so I hope this will suffice as my THANK YOU to my family and friends.

And thought I may not always keep in touch by phone, e-mail, regular mail, or smoke signals, I do hope everyone knows that they are on my mind and in my heart daily. 

So, what has 40 taught me?  There's a bright side to everything if you look for it.  My own quote has always been, "I'd be dangerous if I could afford my genius," but also, "Above every storm cloud, the sun still shines."  I've learned that some gifts in life cannot be wrapped, and that is the gift of your friends, family, is the emotions of happiness, sadness which makes you appreciate being happy, and laughter!  What a great gift laughter is, right?  There are so many things to be thankful of!

And, as I mentioned to my nephew Daniel, there is one other thing about turning 40 that you will realize:  Being 40 means you feel like your 27 but with stiffer joints and more gas!

So, as I close out my 40th birthday and approach midnight, I again thank everyone for their birthday wishes and hope your birthdays and every days are as happy and special as you make me feel.  Thank you for being my friends--my gifts!  This means YOU!

It certainly is a happy birthday!

"Look, I know the chocolate on my face SEEMS incriminating, but,
I didn't take it.  It just fell in my mouth--I tried to push it away but it
kept forcing itself on me.  I'm innocent!  You don't believe me?!
...  OK then, I plead the 5th!"
Photo by DaMarco Randle.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Post "Rock n Romp" Update

We want to thank everyone that came to the Rock and Romp to see Muley the Mule and Friends in "Muley's Talent(less) Revue" and hope you enjoyed the part you got to see. We also want to apologize that our sound got cut in the middle of our show by the event in order that they could run their 'headliner band' after the event 'ran long' with a delay in getting sound set for the first act of the day.

Hopefully you can make it to the Leland Frog Fest in Leland, MS, on Sept. 29th to see both the "Talent(less) Revue" and "SuperMule and the Cookie Caper" shows. 

Again, your support is very appreciated, and we're thankful for our friends and fans!  Without you, there would be no reason for us to do what we love which is continue to bring you fun entertainment, laughs, and love.

You can see a really nice photo of Frankie Steinatra in the Rock and Romp's post Rock and Romp recap by clicking here.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Muley the Mule and Friends: Rock n Romp!

 August 19, 2012, Memphis, TN - 

The Muley and Friends Show presented their "Muley's Talent(less) Revue" at the Rock n Romp event at Minglewood Hall.  You can read the recap post at the official Rock n Romp website if you CLICK HERE.

Below are photos from the event which starred Janet Wade as Missy Mule, Martheus Wade as Buford the Dog and Santa Fish, DaMarco Randle as Roy Duck, and Kevin L. Williams as Muley the Mule, Frankie Steinatra, Death, and The TV Theme Song Singing Opera Singer.

Photos submitted by various audience members.

We were glad to perform for the families; but, won't partake in an event with the Rock n Romp staff again.  I post this information not just to complain but to inform other artists so they are aware of what can happen to you if you're not cautious about the quality of the programming being run.

First, it was a charitable "family event" so we offered to do the show at no charge, not realizing there would be beer sold to driving parents.

Second, the show runners ran long during the set-up of the show, setting the program behind schedule.

Third, we were the third act, and for the first half of the show, the guy over the program kept coming behind the stage, "How much longer? How much longer? We need to get the next act on."  "Look, you asked us to be here, and we're here performing.  It's a pre-recorded track, so we go until the show is over."

Fourth, with the entire audience watching, finally something the parents could watch with their kids, the show runners SHUT OFF OUR SOUND MIDSTREAM.  We had about 5 minutes left to go; but, they shut us off. Why?  They were paying the other three acts of the night, but not us, and so needed to get the PAID show on.

Fifth, when you ask a group to come perform for you, and you get them for free, let them perform.  Cut the other group short, or pay for the venue a little longer.  Had I known this was an event where they could pocket the difference in cash I would NOT have participated. 

I strongly suggest all artists create a contract that supports you and your performance, and never EVER let some group shut you off midstream.  I can say, though, that the green room turned red after we were done with them.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Muley at Rock n Romp and Church!

Don't forget that this Sunday is the Rock and Romp here in Memphis!!

Muley the Mule and Friends will appear at the Memphis Rock n Romp
to perform "Muley's Talent(less) Revue" show between bands 2 and 3!

Muley was also featured in this week's church newsletter, click the image to see more!

This photo was taken after the kids' message about James' discussion in the Bible about "how to be a good Christian."  A LOT of people could learn from that book!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Interview with Dave LaMattina and Chad Walker: "I AM BIG BIRD"

UPDATE!  As of May 6, 2015, the documentary is available for download by clicking here.

UPDATE! 3/16/2015 - You can now view the official trailer by clicking here.

UPDATE! As of August 16, 2012, the "KickStarter" event mentioned below has ended with 1,976 fans donating $124,115 toward their minimum $100,000 goal!  Way to go fans!  This documentary will be as fantastic as the man it is about, Caroll Spinney!  Here's to the soon and future success of "I Am Big Bird!"

"Sunny days, sweeping the clouds away..."
As I enter my 40th year of childhood, I recall my earlier years in which a popular tune from Children's Television Workshop (nowadays Sesame Workshop) kept me feeling happy, knowing that all things -- no matter how bad -- would be okay because each day at 3pm I could rush home to the happiest street in the world and visit with my old friends (even when I was little I felt as I had known Gordon, Susan, Maria, Bob, David, and "Mr. Looper" my whole life).  There were also my more plush-skinned friends Bert and Ernie, Prairie Dawn, Count von Count, and the furry pals such as Grover, Cookie Monster, and those who would prefer to be left alone like Oscar the Grouch.

But, there has always been one particular character and friend of mine from that great place known as Sesame Street that upon seeing the very image of him and hearing his voice a great joy comes to my face as a smile and stronger happiness wells up in my chest.  I even dedicated a painting to him that I took a long, long time on and titled "Big Bird Makes Me Happy."

This isn't the aforementioned painting, but a 5x7" titled
"Little Mr. Big Bird"  Acrylic on Canvas Board, 2011

Because he does.  Big Bird cheers me up whether telling me why I'm special 'cause there's "Just One Me," or that the alphabet can be one big word in "AB-C-DEF-GHI," or influencing me on my favorite number because Big Bird says "I Just Adore Four."  It really is a number sublime!  For years, my cassette player/radio clock was set to wake me up to "Good Morning Mr. Sun" and who could ever forget that it's okay to bumble because "Everyone Makes Mistakes."  Yes, and I even cried with him during the loss of Mr. Hooper, during "I'm A Blue Bird", and cheered with the day was saved in Follow That Bird and Don't Eat The Pictures.  Phew!  And that's all I can fit in one small paragraph while I can certainly go on and on and on...

And while I have always had this great fondness for this great fellow that Oscar the Grouch calls a big yellow turkey, I don't know if the sweetness of my own creations would exist without my life-long close studies of the great Caroll Spinney who, for these past 42 years, has performed the roles of the soft-spoken, eager to learn Big Bird, and the muck-of-the-street Oscar the Grouch--two characters with two totally different personalities at either end of the spectrum.  What other puppeteer can walk around with a television strapped to his neck to see his performance--let alone roller skate?  None that I know of.  Whether taking Big Bird on a walk down Sesame Street or the times Oscar got a walk around the block by his trash can toting pal Bruno, Caroll made it okay for us to come along and enjoy the scenery.

But, what do we know about Caroll other than this part of his life?  We've read a few books and a few biographies that he's been a part of.  We've seen him in a few interviews, sure; but, we haven't been able to get really indepth and get a good look at who this man--this friend of our's through our childhood and into our adulthood--really is!

When I first heard about the Copper Pot Pictures documentary "I Am Big Bird," I was thrilled.  Finally, a moment of due attention has come to a man who really shaped what Sesame Street was!  I would finally be able to jump on board and be a small part of something by donating to a cause and helping get this man's story to the screen by visiting their website on Kickstarter.  Then, one day, an offer came to do an interview and I said, "Heck yeah!"

I was able to ask a few questions of the folks involved in the film, and am sharing these with you now.

And before I get into all this, I hope you take a moment to go donate to their cause in the next few days because a documentary of the scope they are making takes a lot of work and a lot of money, and the main thing to recall in all this isn't that you're helping a group make a film, but you're helping make a tribute to a great man who taught you your ABC's, how to count, and to just be happy.


For our readers who are not yet aware, please share who you are, what you do, how long you’ve been doing it, and what directed you toward this career?
DAVE LaMATTINA: Chad Walker and I are directing/producing I AM BIG BIRD for COPPER POT PICTURES. Along with our partner Clay Frost, we formed Copper Pot five years ago to create films that we'd want to see. While we all came to the entertainment industry with different backgrounds, we were brought together by our first film, BROWNSTONES TO RED DIRT, which is about a pen pal program that connected sixth graders living in housing projects in Brooklyn, NY with war orphans living in Freetown, Sierra Leone. What interests me personally about docs is that they're always evolving. You can start down one path and end up somewhere completely different. It's maddening, but really fun. Making docs allows the three of us to pick a topic that we love, then spend 2-3 years of our life becoming an expert in that field.

Chad Walker, Dave LaMattina, Oscar the Grouch, Clay Frost
What IS “I Am Big Bird?”

CHAD WALKER: I AM BIG BIRD is a documentary about Caroll Spinney, who has been Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since 1969. Caroll is 78 years old and he's sill doing it--and he has no intention of ever stopping.

What project or idea lead to doing a documentary on Caroll Spinney?
CHAD WALKER: It's in our company mission statement that we look to create films that inspire and Caroll's story certainly fits that description.

DAVE LaMATTINA: I always just wanted to be a part of what Sesame Street and the Muppets do. I just love them. One of my first jobs in this business was as an intern at Sesame Workshop because I had a dream of writing for the show. The passion was always there. The event that led to the film was me telling a friend about the internship. His fiance was there and offered that she was family friends with the Spinneys. She started telling me all these amazing stories, which I relayed to Chad while we were filming BROWNSTONES

(Editor's note: Brownstones to Red Dirt is available on the Copper Pot Pictures website.)

CHAD WALKER: Unlike Dave, I didn't know that Caroll Spinney had been Big Bird and Oscar for so long. I had no idea one person had done it for the entire history of the show. And so that fascinated me. Then, to realize that he was 78 and he's doing this incredibly intense puppet--to picture my grandfather doing that just blew my mind. The Bird's head weighs 5 lbs. Can you imagine holding that up, take after take, day after day, for 43 years? It's amazing. We had to make a film about it. 
Why is it important to represent the story of Caroll Spinney to the world?
CHAD WALKER: Caroll has impacted so many people, but so few people know who he is. When they start to see what a remarkable person he is and how he really does infuse himself into Big Bird and Oscar, they'll want to know how he became who he is. We just cut a scene about bullying in which Caroll talks about how badly he was picked on in his youth. In the scene, we cut to the most recent season of Sesame Street in which Big Bird is bullied. When you see those two stories intertwined, it's clear that Big Bird is who he is because Caroll is who he is. People need to know who the man is.

What was the conversation and the moment that the decision came up to make “I Am Big Bird?” And, what was then your next step to get in touch with Caroll Spinney?
DAVE LaMATTINA: It was actually really easy. Chad and I went back and forth and figured this would be a great movie and it was right up our alley--this was back in 2009. I emailed a few people from my internship days thinking that we'd never hear back, but we did within a week. Sesame Workshop has just been phenomenal. They've loved the idea from the start. They set up a meeting and a few weeks later, we were chatting with Caroll and his lovely wife Deb.

Describe how you felt when you discovered that Caroll said it was a go:
CHAD WALKER: We were pumped. Just absolutely pumped.

DAVE LaMATTINA: And a little intimidated. This is a great story and we feel a tremendous amount of responsibility to not mess it up. We're honored they've trusted us with their story.

What all preparation did you do before you contacted Caroll, and then what changed in that prep work before you met him?
CHAD WALKER: We obviously read Caroll's book, The Wisdom of Big Bird, and watched a lot of old Sesame Street episodes. We were pretty familiar with his story.

DAVE LaMATTINA: We try to not over-rehearse our pitches. We want them to come from the heart and I think that served us well with Caroll and Deb. I think they saw our passion and I think that's what sold them that we would do justice to putting their life on film.

What was the experience like meeting Caroll for the first time, and then meeting Big Bird and Oscar or walking onto the Street?
CHAD WALKER: That's a great question because the pitch meeting was so crazy. Basically, we're sitting around a table with Caroll, Deb and a few folks from Sesame Workshop. At one point, Dave was talking to Caroll and while he was, Caroll leaned down sort of nonchalantly and reaches into a duffel bag. While he's responding to Dave, Caroll pulls out Oscar, who had been kicking it in the bag. As soon as Oscar was on Caroll's hand, he came to life. He was blinking, looking around the room and reacting to things. Then he started staring me down, all while Dave and Caroll are talking. Suddenly, Oscar yells out, "BORING!" It was crazy.

DAVE LaMATTINA: And being on the set was equally crazy. It's strange that being there doesn't ruin the magic, it just enhances it. We were in Caroll's dressing room with him as he got ready, we walked out to the set with him, but then he gets in the feathers and it really is like Big Bird is a living, breathing being. It's impossible to explain. Big Bird is real.

So, the project starts and you begin collecting information, interviews, and personal memorabilia from Caroll: Was the amount of material about what you expected, or you were allowed into much more than you thought?

CHAD WALKER: In that same pitch meeting, Deb told us that she and Caroll are somewhat obsessed with documenting everything they do--a hobby of Caroll's that goes back to the 50s when he was in the US Air Force. Basically, she said they had photo or video material of his entire life. She asked if we thought we might use that. We freaked out. It's a total treasure for a doc filmmaker to be given that sort of access. It's been so much more than we could've ever hoped for or imagined.

Of the materials (so far) what has been your favorite piece of memorabilia?
DAVE LaMATTINA: For me, it's probably the behind-the-scenes stuff that Deb shot during the filming of China. Look--everything they've given us is simply incredible. Just amazing. But I have a really fond memory of watching BIG BIRD IN CHINA with my family, so to see them making that film was mind-blowing. You see the sets, the characters, the locations and it just brings you back. It made me connect with the film on a whole new level.

CHAD WALKER: I'd say the behind-the-scenes stuff Deb shot on A MUPPET FAMILY CHRISTMAS because that special brought together everyone from SESAME STREET, FRAGGLE ROCK and THEMUPPET SHOW, so the behind-the-scenes stuff is like a super fun reunion. You're seeing people like Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Richard Hunt and Jerry Nelson work their magic and then goof around when they're not shooting. It's amazing.
Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, Jim Henson,
Frank Oz, Caroll Spinney, Fran Brill
Speaking of memorabilia, I own the sets from the old 70’s Fisher Price Little People Sesame Street playsets. What did you have as a kid, or own still today?
DAVE LaMATTINA: No one has asked us that, but I'm glad you did! My current Twitter profile picture is of me using Big Bird slippers to put on a puppet show (my brother, the neighbors and I wrote a little diddy called "The Sesame Gang Rap"). Also, my mom is a bit of a baker and had all these cake pans and made stuff like a giant Cookie Monster cake. One year we also made Bert and Ernie jack-o-lanterns. My mom still talks about that.
CHAD WALKER: I'm big into music, so though I had a ton of Sesame toys and pajamas and things, the thing I remember loving the most was the Sesame Street Fever album... on vinyl! I love that. I was psyched when Caroll gave us photos of when he worked with Robin Gibb.

This image is by my pal Quinn Rollins who is the expert of all
things Fisher Price Little People (and I'm too lazy to set up my
own collection).  Click the image to find his cool site.

Before Sesame Street and the Muppets, what have you learned about Caroll's career that you can share now?

DAVE LaMATTINA: Caroll's career pre-Sesame Street could be a film in its own. He was a draftsmen in the Air Force, he was offered a job as an animator at Disney, he worked for a media company where he shot a campaign ad for John F. Kennedy, he co-starred (as Goggle the puppet) in The Judy and Goggle Show and he did about a billion characters on the Bozo show. The Disney thing is wild, though. Caroll actually was only using puppet shows to pay for gas money and art school because he wanted to be an illustrator. Then he got to Disney, interviewed, was in the room with Walt himself and was offered a job. The pay was so bad and the work was so tedious that he just walked away. Crazy.

CHAD WALKER: He does still do Picklepuss, which is a creation of his. He's brought Pickplepuss out for us and he still does a Picklepuss show every year at his family reunion. I think he also still does the "Punch and Judy Show," though that is an old British puppet show, not one that he wrote.
What is one thing you learned about Caroll that surprised you most? Inspired you the most? Did you learn anything new about Big Bird or Oscar that you hadn’t known before?

CHAD WALKER: I think his talent as an illustrator has struck me. He is such a talented artist and he really could have had a very successful career as an artist. As a matter of fact, he talks about how if/when he retires from Sesame, he'd like to get back into that, which is remarkable, because here's a 78-year-old man discussing his second career after retirement.
DAVE LaMATTINA: I don't want to give away any spoilers, but Caroll has told us some stories about Big Bird where he's had a very emotional reaction to something that has happened to Big Bird. That surprised me about both Caroll and Big Bird--how deeply the two are connected. I was shocked to learn that the Oscar the Grouch puppet used today (the same one we saw in the pitch) is the Oscar that has been used on the show since 1969. That was trippy, to realize that we were hanging out with the same puppet we grew up with.

What would you say has been the funniest thing you have had happen along the way of this documentary?

CHAD WALKER: When we had to shoot a Kickstarter appeal video, we were fortunate enough to include a cameo from Oscar. Working with Oscar was hilarious. Yes, what made it to the screen is good, but Caroll truly shines with improv, so to be between takes with Oscar was hilarious. He had lots of laughs at our expense, not in a mean way, just in a typically grouchy fashion.
What has been the most fun part of making “I Am Big Bird?” Have there been any challenges?

DAVE LaMATTINA: Hanging out with the Spinneys has been amazing. My favorite part of this project has been when we go up to their house to interview Caroll. We always take a long lunch and sort of get to know one another and share stories. It's been a special experience for us.
CHAD WALKER: I think one of the most fun things has been one of the most challenging. The Spinneys continue to give us hundreds of hours of archival footage, which is amazing to go through and just so fascinating to see, but it's extremely time consuming. It's a good problem to have, but it's certainly been a challenge to find the time to get through it all.

Through Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, Caroll has inspired us all. For me, he’s one of those who inspired me to create fun, funny, inspirational, family-oriented puppets and comic strips. What have the influences of Caroll, Big Bird and Oscar been on your life?

DAVE LaMATTINA: I think I can speak for all of us when I say that Caroll's impact on all of us has somewhat morphed since we began this project. At first, we approached this film from a perspective that we were blown away that one guy has done these two iconic characters for over 43 years. But then, as we got to know the man, not just the Muppets, we learned what an inspiration he is. He has gotten to the highest heights without ever compromising his values or who he is. He's really done what we aspire to do professionally and personally and so he's become something of a role model for us. He's proof that you can do it the right way.

Matt Vogel with Caroll Spinney.

What is left to do to complete the documentary? How can people help?
CHAD WALKER: We still have the bulk of our actual shooting to do and between that and licensing some of Caroll's appearances, we are in need of financing, so we turned to Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a crowd-sourcing website that helps artists raise money from individuals in exchange for products or experiences and has not only helped raise $45 million for film projects, but also financed three documentaries on the Academy Award shortlist this year. It has truly become a great way for documentaries to get made. We have loads of cool incentives to offer, among them are a copy of the film (essentially a pre-order), an original illustration by Caroll and an opportunity for a group video chat with Caroll.

The campaign is now live and ends on August 16th (2012). You can view all the rewards and PLEDGE here:
DAVE LaMATTINA: Just to follow up on what Chad said about Kickstarter: one reason we've decided to go that way is because the Muppet fanbase is so strong. We're fans ourselves and we're making this for the fans. Kickstarter is a great way for this passionate group of people to make their voices heard and be part of something really special--but they have to do it before August 16th. Happy pledging!
And for fun, here is an unofficial comic strip I did a while back:
Here is some other art I did for fun:

And finally, my own little Big Bird story:

When I was a toddler, I had the Fisher Price Sesame Street puppets and dolls and toys and...everything.  My mom and dad were taking me on a trip to the mountains (probably against their will because there was no one dumb enough to keep me!).  I remember on the trip up seeing the teepee across the highway at a rest station and who should walk out but Big Bird.  When my mom and dad turned the car around and got us there, I noticed (even at that young age) that it wasn't the proper Big Bird because...well, look at those legs!  I was finally convinced by this imposter that he was Big Bird's cousin.
But, inside the place, there were big tables with a Cookie Monster wandering around.  I enjoyed chasing after Cookie Monster with his smaller version of himself that was on my hand.  I laughed so hard my sides hurt.  Wish I could find pictures of that as well.

Friday, August 10, 2012

"Muley's Talent(less) Revue" at Rock n Romp!!

On August 19th, you'll be able to find Muley the Mule and Friends starring in "Muley's Talent(less) Revue" show at the Memphis Rock-n-Romp!

Muley has travelled the world over (via the internet) and found some of the greatest acts ever and compiled them into a contest talent show.  But, when Missy Mule discovers the loophole in the rules and requires that she and the girls perform, can Muley and his friends win the day?

You can click the banner below to see more about the Rock-n-Romp; but, it's a great event of music and activities for kids of all ages (adults MUST be accompanied by a kid).  Sunday, August 19th, from 2 - 5 pm at Minglewood Hall at 1555 Madison Avenue, Memphis, TN 38104.  It's free to the kids, and adults are asked to donate at least $5.  So, bring out the little ones for a ton of fun and to see Muley's Talent(less) Revue show!

What else is coming up?

September 29, the Leland, MS, Frog Fest celebrating Jim Henson and the Home of Kermit the Frog!  Muley the Mule and Friends will perform "Muley's Talent(less) Revue" as well as "SuperMule and the Cookie Caper."  This will be a first for seeing both shows on the same day!

November 9 - 10, Memphis Comics and Fantasy Convention - Come see "SuperMule and the Cookie Caper" performance!

Keep your eyes peeled here for other appearances!

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Mars Rover Curiosity Has Landed...

Well, last night and today there've been a few ideas that hit us around here, so to start here are some Muley-Mini's (the quick sketched single panel 'toons), among other cut-n-paste items we did last night while waiting on the landing.

It's an historic day, so here ae some historic items of fun.  And, yes, we were first to make the Yip Yip Martians, Marvin the Martian and Mars Attacks items last evening.  This, we're proud of. 

On with the show...

From the deepest reaches of the outer zones of the universe, on board the starship "Shark"here comes METEOR MULEY! (Folks in the future can be so snobby sometimes):

Communication skillz sometime have a 13.8 minute delay...
It's all in the explanation (or lack thereof):

You know, around here, we have a firm belief in the work that science does, and so we promote it!  We must explore Mars! Or, at least get a taste test of the most delicious planet in the universe!

Mars Rover "Curiosity," 12:42 AM (5:14 AM UTC), "Touch Down Confirmed". Is this when we scream GGOOOOAAAALLLL!, or is that for a different kind of touch-down? I dunno; but, did you see the response from Mars yet??  I think Topps and Tim Burton told us something about needing to be careful with messing with Mars. And NOW look what happened! 

Uh-oh, NASA! Did you go to Mars uninvited?? :)  Maybe we should've knocked first??

But, anger turns to curiosity quickly!  The exciting first images from the Mars Rover Curiosity:

 The second image from Mars Rover Curiosity has been broadcast. Yip yip yip it has!

So, you can tell we're really into this space stuff.  Lots of fun!  Hope you enjoyed our visit to the red planet.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Muley & Friends at the First Congo Ice Cream Social

July 29, 2012, Muley and Friends performed at the First Congo Ice Cream Social in Memphis, TN. Special thanks to vocalists Janet Wade, DaMarco Randle, and Angela Freeman for running the video camera (don't pay attention to the man behind the curtain...or, wall?). Special thanks also to the First Congo folks for laughing at our (dumb) jokes. :)

Some really nice things said in the church bulletin.  We're glad to call that place our 'church home.'