Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The Center for Puppetry Arts: My Muppet Dreams Come True

Because I suck at getting to the point efficiently, I'm still catching up on Atlanta posts, so just in case you are bored to tears- look on the bright side- this blog is filled with puppets and better yet...MUPPETS! So unless you suffer from pupaphobia, I don't see how you couldn't be interested. [Tangent: Rest assured this is my last ATL post, so then we will move on to something else.]

As soon as we picked Atlanta as our last minute road trip destination, The Center for Puppetry Arts was immediately on our radar. [Tangent: I remembered reading about it in this post on my friend Rae's blog, and I was intrigued.] THIS. PLACE. WAS. AMAZING! The website seriously doesn't do it, or the new Jim Henson installation justice. [Tangent: I guess it's good that our expectations were minimal, but seriously this place blew us away! We loved it, and were smiling like jerks from the moment we opened the door. It's now in the lead for the hotly contested title of : Kimmie's happy place! Exhibit A: Look at my face when I "met" Rolf.]

As we entered the place, a busload of children was leaving. Thank god. I really didn't need a gaggle of kindergartners harshing my puppet buzz. The museum has a ton of fanciful daily shows and lectures, but to be real, marionettes in action make me a wee bit uncomfortable, so we opted to just check out the exhibits on our own. [Tangent: And if you've watched too many episodes of Twilight Zone or read too many Goosebumps books, and you have an irrational fear of being murdered in your sleep by a ventriloquist's dummy- some of the items in the "Puppets of the world exhibit" might be a little unsettling. But you'll love it, just be forewarned!]

Because we went on a weekday morning when there was basically no one else there, we could feel comfortable posing ridiculously with the features we felt moved to do so with. [Example: If there is a giant puppet of Scar from the Lion King Musical, you're not gonna pass by're gonna cower in fear alongside it, right? Same goes for seeing Madame in person, you're gonna impersonate her.]  

We were also allowed to completely monopolize the nice tour guide volunteer, aka the "puppet master," who was a repository of puppet facts and the history behind a lot of the pieces. His day is the epitome of Life goals.[Tangent: I now realize I was probably really obnoxious. Based on the fact that I have seen the docs I Am Big Bird and Being Elmo, I've obviously deluded myself into thinking I am an expert, so I was sharing facts with the guide with far too much authority. Clearly I should have stayed in my lane. Hindsight is 20/20.]

I guess in my mind I expected the non-Henson portion to be a little ho-hum, but the unexpected diversity blew me away. Sure, they had ancient puppets that looked like horrifying burn victims and cool marionettes from the Howdy Doody days of TV, but there were also claymation and shadow puppetry. [Tangent: Little known fact, my boyfriend is a big fan of shadow puppets, and not a sunny patch on the wall goes unvisited by a barking dog or Abe Lincoln head in his presence.]
I will admit though that going through the entry to The World of Jim Henson was one of the most exciting thing I've done in years (sad as that may be); I felt like Charlie Bucket going through the gate to Wonka's factory. [Tangent: Also, it's forever astounding how much Jamie resembles of course I had to get a side by side of addition to a shot of me losing my damn mind, while Miss Piggy looks on at me judgmentally. ] We also got to get within inches of pieces of our childhood. I was the world's biggest Sesame Street fan (I had the lunch box and stayed home from Pre-School to watch Maria get married.) so seeing one of the actual big birds was surreal!

They had various rooms: One devoted to the Muppet Show, one for Sesame Street, one with interactive exhibit of how episodes are shot, a room for Dark Crystal/Labyrinth and a room set up as a mock-up of Henson's studio. I literally giggled with delight when I went into a room filled with Fraggles and artifacts from Emmett Otter's Jug Band- two staples of my youth.
the muppet posing with the "9" is the only existing Roosevelt Franklin- one of the rarest and most controversial muppets

Then as we left and bid adieu to our muppet friends, we had the option to leave a post-it note on the you can see 99% of them are Bowie tributes. 
If you were a Muppet, what Muppet would you be? 

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