2016 Recap – A puppet filled year

larrkin puppets.jpg– 2016 started with a series of school holiday and vacation care puppet show performances.

– The Richard Bell film I performed puppetry in (“5 for 35”) screened all Summer at GOMA as part of the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT8).

 

5 for 35 Richard Bell

– I provided puppetry training (and puppets) for ImproMafia’s “Not 4 Kidz” at the Brisbane Comedy Festival.

– A new puppet character, Frazzamatazz, joined the Larrikin Puppets cast in February.

– I began sewing lessons in preparation for the puppet building component of the upcoming intensive puppetry course I was enrolled in at the University of North Texas.

Interstate International Touring– I performed MC duties (hidden under a table – Troggg was the MC!) at the official Ipswich Festival media launch. Troggg got to introduce Mayor Paul Pisasale to the stage. I also performed puppet shows at the actual Ipswich Festival, and was informed by several friends in the lead up that they noticed big roadside billboards with Troggg on them!

 

 

Beyond the Sock Frazzamatazz on set

– I also performed puppet shows at the Paradise Resort in Surfers Paradise, the Redcliffe Sails Festival, a Bunnings store in Warwick, an Indian restaurant, a nursing home and several childcare centres, schools and birthday parties.

Brisbane Comedy Festival

– Elissa helped me run some puppetry workshops at a few schools, including a full week (three workshops a day) at Belmont State School.

 

 

 

Shannon, Troggg, Brett - The Puppet Workshop– We went down to Adelaide to visit Shannon Cooke at The Puppet Workshop.

– We lived in Brooklyn, New York for three months. We saw lots of live theatre in NYC – including many puppet shows for adults, improv comedy and “Avenue Q” off Broadway (with a backstage tour thanks to puppeteer contacts).

Kaufman1

– Much of my time overseas was spent networking with other puppeteers, which included frequent visits to The Puppet Kitchen for monitor puppetry sessions run by the awesome Michael Schupbach. Between there, several puppet shows/events and a few Muppet screenings at the Museum of the Moving Image it was really great to meet, perform and practice with so many great NYC puppeteers and fellow Muppet fans – including Marcelo Bottaro, Arlee Chadwick, Musa ‘Fuzzy Beard’ Bradley, David Bizzaro, Zach ‘Wackiman’ Woliner, Nicola ‘Callie & Izzy’ McEldowney, John Papovitch, Kevin Hale, Tau ‘Being Elmo’ Bennett, Christina Rodriguez Stone, Matthew Soberman, Sam ‘Mo Monster’, Tania Lopez, Tim Young, Erin Finnegan, Spencer Cohen, and so many more amazing people!

MoWallyTroggg– I performed my full puppet show at the Puppetry Arts Festival of Brooklyn (yes, I transported my whole puppet stage and all the puppets to America).

– Troggg guest starred in an episode of The Fuzzy Beard Show.

– We attended a convention called “Morning with the Muppets” starring Steve Whitmire (with Kermit the Frog), Eric Jacobson (with Fozzie Bear and Animal) and Peter Linz (assisting). I asked a couple of questions during the Q&A, and was lucky enough to have a brief chat with Steve Whitmire afterwards. He fluffed up Troggg’s fur as he spoke to me about a trip to Australia they were taking soon.

Fuzzy Beard01– We spent a week in Los Angeles, staying just off Hollywood Boulevard. We walked to the Jim Henson Company and checked out the big Kermit statue out the front.

– We spent a day with Henson puppeteers Grant Baciocco (whom I’d met in Brisbane a couple of years earlier during “Puppet Up!” and stayed in contact with) and Russ Walko. Troggg of course came out on all of these puppet-related excursions in both New York and Los Angeles.

Jim Henson Company 1– We spent a week in Denton, North Texas where, at the University of North Texas, I received advanced, intensive, life changing training in film & TV monitor puppetry from Henson puppeteers Marty Robinson (Telly Monster, Mr. Snuffleupagus) and Noel MacNeal (Bear in the Big Blue House), and a puppet construction component lead by Pasha Romanowski (Project Puppet, The Moe Show). Elissa came with me to all the casual nights of drinking and chatting with the puppeteers. She also attended the special performance night we did on the final day. The whole thing was an unforgettable experience. This kind of training simply doesn’t exist in Australia. I was so happy to not only get some of my existing skills validated, but also to learn so many valuable new skills, and better ways to perform my craft from the best in the business – my heroes!

Grant and Russ 1– Since returning to Australia, I performed both puppet characters in a short comedy film called “Kev”, plus shows at schools, childcare centres, festivals and parties every week!

 

 

Marty Robinson, Pasha Romanowski, Noel MacNeal– There were more shows at the Gold Coast’s Paradise Resort, and even a few shows at New Farm Cinemas, which included some Larrikin Puppets cinema advertising before screenings of “Moana” and “Sing”. I even got to perform my first puppet show at the famous Brisbane Powerhouse!

Larrikin Puppets Deja Voodoo Woodford– And we spent the final week of the year performing three shows a day, every day at one of Australia’s biggest festivals – the Woodford Folk Festival.

It’s been an absolutely huge year! Here’s to more puppet fun in 2017!

Brett Hansen

New York and Los Angeles Puppet Adventures

Fuzzy Beard01At the end of our fourth week in New York City, Brett (and Troggg) spent a day with Musa Moses Bradley, who is the puppeteer for a character called Fuzzy Beard. We went out on the Staten Island ferry and filmed an episode of “The Fuzzy Beard Show”, with special guest Troggg!

Fuzzy Beard2

Troggg HollywoodThe next day, we flew six hours to Los Angeles where we stayed just off Hollywood Boulevard for a week. Troggg found Kermit the Frog’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame!

We also went to see The Jim Henson Company, where the famous Kermit the Frog statue stands at the front gate. He’s dressed like Charlie Chaplin. Why? Troggg explains why in the video below:

Jim Henson Company 3

Jim Henson Company 2

Jim Henson Company 1

Then we got to meet up with two Henson puppeteers, Grant Baciocco and Russ Walko in Burbank, California. Troggg met some puppet friends – Uncle Interloper (performed by Grant Baciocco), Toiley T. Paper (also performed by Grant Baciocco), and the stars of web series “The Ultimate Nerd-ament”, Stanley (Grant Baciocco) and JAX (Russ Walko). We had the honour and pleasure of visiting Grant’s office and Russ’ workshop (known as ‘The Puppet Garage’). Russ Walko built a bunch of Muppets for the recent TV series “The Muppets”, and also built puppet characters for an episode of “Community” and an episode of “The Simpsons” that featured puppets. One of the puppet monsters in Russ’ workshop looks like Troggg’s long lost brother! Have a look:

Grant 1Grant 2Troggg with Toiley T. Paper

Grant and Russ 1

Grant and Russ 2

Troggg got to chat with Toiley T. Paper after a successful run of comedy puppet shows at the Orlando Fringe Festival. He’s also about to perform at the Hollywood Fringe Festival:

And then Troggg had a casual discussion with Stanley and JAX about air travel:

So it’s been another fun and busy week of puppet adventures with Troggg!

We’re now in Denton, North Texas – about to start lessons at the big “Beyond the Sock” film & TV puppetry workshop at the University of North Texas. The teachers are a couple more Henson puppeteers – Marty Robinson (Telly Monster and Mr. Snuffleupagus on Sesame Street), Noel MacNeil (Bear, from Bear in the Big Blue House), and Pasha Romanowski (builder of puppet characters from New Zealand’s “The Moe Show”) .

We’ll leave you with Troggg’s guest starring episode of “The Fuzzy Beard Show” filmed in New York City:

 

3 Days of Fun with NYC Puppets

NYC PuppetsFor three days in a row, Troggg, Brett and Elissa immersed themselves in New York’s puppet culture. In NYC puppets are all the rage! From professional film and TV puppeteers to small businesses to hobbyists – everybody loves puppets!

NYC PuppetsOn Friday night, (20 May, 2016) we went to see “Team Lopez” – a puppet improv troupe – at Broadway Comedy Club in the theater district. They were part of a big night of improv comedy called “Pre Game Happy Hour Improv Comedy”. After the show, Troggg got a photo with the puppets, then we all went out for drinks.

NYC PuppetsOn Saturday morning (21 May, 2016) we attended “Morning with The Muppets” as part of the Vulture Festival at Milk Studios in Chelsea. We got to see a panel discussion starring Muppet performers Steve Whitmire (Kermit, Ernie, Wembley Fraggle, Rizzo, etc), Eric Jacobson (Fozzie, Piggy, Bert, Grover) and Peter Linz (Walter from the recent Muppets films), and of course the superstars themselves Kermit the Frog, Fozzie Bear and Animal.

NYC PuppetsBrett asked a question of Steve Whitmire during the Q&A session about the difference in atmosphere between working with the original team of puppeteers (Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jerry Nelson, Richard Hunt, etc) and the team of the last 25 years (incl. Matt Vogel, David Rudman, Peter Linz, Eric Jacobson, etc). He gave an amazing, heartfelt answer reflecting on the magic of being surrounded by those amazing people in the early days. NYC Puppets

Afterwards, Steve had a quick little examination of Troggg, and mentioned that they will be visiting Australia in a few months! He was whisked away before we could find out where and why. Maybe a Supanova or Oz Comic Con?

NYC PuppetsBrett and Troggg also got to meet a few fellow puppeteers and Muppet enthusiasts, including Zach Woliner (with Wally Wackiman) and Sam (with Mo Monster from web series The Mo Show). NYC Puppets

NYC PuppetsOn Sunday (22 May, 2016) we went to Kaufman Astoria Studios, where Sesame Street is filmed! Yes – Troggg found his way to Sesame Street! Sadly the Sesame Street Muppets are all on Summer vacation. But the studio lot was open for a street fair. So Troggg spent time entertaining the families and posing for photos.

NYC Puppets

NYC PuppetsNext door to the Kaufman Astoria Studio is the Museum of the Moving Image, where Craig Shemin (President of the Jim Henson Legacy) and Karen Falk (the Head Archivist of the Jim Henson Company) hosted a special compilation screening of some old and rare films by Jim Henson from the 1950s and 60s that had been restored. The event was called, “Henson in High Definition: The Early Years”. Troggg of course attended and met some new friends. While we waited for the presentation to start, a small crew from a New York marketing company asked if Troggg could appear in a quick video for them. NYC Puppets

After the screening, Brett and Troggg met up with John Papovitch and Milo J. Monster-Smith in the foyer. Many people posed for photos with the two monsters. Brett also spoke briefly with another Henson puppeteer, Noel MacNeal, who will be one of his teachers at the upcoming ‘Beyond the Sock’ puppetry workshop in Texas. Noel is most famous for performing Bear in “Bear in the Big Blue House”.

Squad Photo

NYC Puppets

A great weekend of puppets and Muppet fun in New York City!

NYC Puppets

 

Troggg’s Jim Henson Tribute in NYC

Jim Henson Memorial

May 16, 2016 – 26 years since Jim Henson (creator of characters from The Muppets, Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock and more) tragically passed away at the age of 53. His memorial service was held here at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in Manhattan, New York City.

Jim Henson Memorial

Our very own Troggg decided to visit the church and pay his respects to Jim Henson. After all, he is a major influence on Larrikin Puppets. Brett and Elissa came along too, and were very much in awe of the spectacular gothic style buildings.

See Troggg’s video tribute below:

Many of Troggg’s Muppet heroes sung at this glorious old church at that Jim Henson Memorial Service – Scooter, Wembley Fraggle, Gobo Fraggle, Oscar the Grouch, Fozzie Bear, Big Bird, Gonzo, Bert and Ernie, Cookie Monster, everyone! So even though Troggg is 26 years late to the memorial, he’s very glad to be following in those legendary footsteps with his little talk and song here today.

Have a look at this moving footage of all of Jim’s puppeteer friends (with all of their Muppets) at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine performing an epic rendition of “Just One Person” at his memorial service. Music by Larry Grossman. Lyrics by Hal Hackady:

Here are some more photos of Troggg exploring this grand old cathedral:

Jim Henson Memorial Jim Henson Memorial Jim Henson Memorial Jim Henson Memorial Jim Henson Memorial

Jim Henson Memorial Jim Henson Memorial Jim Henson Memorial

In loving memory of the great Jim Henson. It was a lovely landmark to see. We’ll be taking a look at some more Muppet-related locations, visiting some conventions, workshops and meeting some more puppeteers as well. So stay tuned.

For more photos of Larrikin Puppets in the USA, please have a look at the ever growing album of images on our Facebook page. Click ‘Like’ while you’re there!

We’ll leave you with another video from the memorial service at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in 1990. It’s Big Bird singing, “Being Green”. We miss you, Jim!