Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Disney Hollywood Studios Passholder Muppet Event

On Sunday, March 7 Disney's Hollywood Studios held a special event for a limited number of annual passholders. This event dealt with the Muppets. Since there is a muppet attraction at the park this made perfect sense.

The special guest speaker for the event was Dave Goelz. While not a household name his characters are beloved by millions. He is better known as the voice of Gonzo, Dr. Bunson Honeydew and many more. Goelz is a puppet designer and performer who has been nominated for multiple emmy awards winning in 1978 for Outstanding Comedy, Variety, or Music series. He has worked with The Jim Henson Company since the early 1970's. You may read more about him here: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0324397/ or here http://muppet.wikia.com/wiki/Dave_Goelz

What was interesting about this talk was the brief history of Jim Henson and the muppets that was given. Henson started out with brief appearances on shows such as The Tonight Show, The Today Show and others starting the mid 1950's. He helped produce brief ads with his characters for use during the mandatory station identification breaks. We also got to see how many of the gags used on The Muppet Show in the 1970's were really older skits that had been used many times. Near the end as the q&a session started Goelz brought out his buddy Gonzo to help answer questions. The questions ranged from adults asking about what it was like to work with Jim Henson--Goelz had nothing but positives and seemed to truely still miss him to children asking Gonzo what he is--I guess Gonzo is just well Gonzo. When asked about future projects Goelz was somewhat evasive but did say there are many things in the works including a possible Halloween special.
As a special bonus at the end we were all allowed to have our picture taken with Mr. Goelz and Gonzo. Mr. Goelz was polite to everyone, talked to each group and was sure to thank us for coming. He seemed to be appreciative that we loved his work. I'm hoping Disney offers more events like this in the future.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Round-Trip to Deadsville Book Review

This slim volume, 146 pages, follows author Tim Matson as he attempts to stare down his fear of death. Along the way he realizes it's life that is scary and that death is much easier.

We get to tag along as Matson meets up with the "underworld" of death and dying. We start with a trip to the coffin maker, a man who makes custom coffins by hand. This includes his son's coffin after his tragic suicide. The coffin maker called it part of the healing process. We also get to meet the gravedigger, the stone carver, the lawyer, the crusader, the florist, the cremator, and others who deal in death for a living. Each chapter is brief but offers interesting insights.

As we learn, Matson decides death is easy: "The fear of death I was hoping to overcome was part of a larger fear that had crept up on me, a fear of life. It was the weight of fifty years of hard living, booze, divorce, and dreams that would never come true." (page 139)

After all is said and done Matson decides to be cremated and signs up with the cremator he meets along the way. Matson eventually makes the acquaintance of a wood turner who creates an urn to hold Matson's ashes. Matson gets a lesson in wood turning and gets an urn all for "A fifty dollar bill. That's what I charge for a half-day training workshop." (page 144)

Overall this is a quick and fun read despite what could be a depressing topic. This is something we have all no doubt thought about and if you haven't you will. Let's face it we all pass on at some point. We just have to decide what will happen to us after the inevitable. If we don't somebody else will. Just one small issue for me...First is the use of titles only rather than naming names. It just kind of got to me after a short while constantly reading about "the undertaker" or whatever. Not really a big issue I suppose.