Tag Archives: The Muppet Show

Muppets coming to Museum of the Moving Image in new Jim Henson gallery

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of the NYC Mayor’s Office’s Flickr

Hi-ho, the Muppets are coming to town.

On Tuesday Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other officials announced the late Jim Henson’s family has donated close to 400 puppets, costumes, props and other items to the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria. The announcement included special appearances by Miss Piggy — who got a kiss from the mayor — Oscar the Grouch and Gobo Fraggle.

The objects will go in a new gallery dedicated to Henson’s film and television achievements including “The Muppet Show,” “Sesame Street” and more.

“We are tremendously grateful to the Henson family and to the City of New York for identifying the museum as the location of a permanent New York City attraction devoted to this transformational figure,” said Carl Goodman, executive director of the Museum of the Moving Image.

The 2,200-square-foot gallery, which has received $2.75 million in city funds, will be on the second floor of the museum and is expected to open in winter 2014-2015. Along with donations from Henson’s family, the exhibit will feature character sketches, storyboards, scripts from The Jim Henson Company’s archive, film and television clips, behind-the-scenes footage and interactive activities.

“We are delighted that the Museum of the Moving Image will house this permanent collection of my father’s work,” said Cheryl Henson, daughter of the late Jim Henson. “Our fondness for this city and its institutions is deeply rooted as NYC was home for The Jim Henson Company for many years and is now for the Jim Henson Workshop in Long Island City.”

In 2012, “Jim Henson’s Fantastic World,” a Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition, concluded its five-year national tour at the Museum of the Moving Image.

The new Henson exhibition will be accompanied by ongoing programs such as curriculum-based events for school children and live presentations by people who worked with Henson and continue to advance his unique artform.



LIC jazz guitarist strikes a chord

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Amanda Monaco

At age 12, Amanda Monaco picked up a guitar. One hasn’t left her hands since.

The Long Island City jazz guitarist, whose strumming floats through neighborhood wine bars and music venues, now leads the Queens Jazz Overground. A spinoff of the nonprofit Brooklyn Jazz Underground, it is a local resource for jazz musicians and fans.

“I started playing this music because it was fun and had community attached to it,” said Monaco. “You could really connect with people and it was adventurous. I think people are missing out.”

The New Haven, Connecticut, native’s love of jazz began with “The Muppet Show.”

Jim Henson, inventor of the Muppets and renowned jazz fan, implemented the musical style into many of his creations. Monaco recalled a particular episode of the program she watched as a child where the characters Wayne and Wanda sang “Autumn Leaves.”

“They took jazz and had fun with it,” said Monaco.

Growing up, Monaco’s father played in a local dance band and James Brown tunes regularly echoed from her family’s home. Her dad ran a cruise night where guys would bring their cars, show them off and fix them up. Monaco’s oldies cover band scored the gig and entertained the crowds with Motown hits.

Monaco studied music at Rutgers and William Paterson universities before attending graduate school at City College, at the encouragement of her father.

“He was always really supportive,” she said of her dad, who passed away in 2006 from pancreatic cancer.

Last September, Monaco accepted a position as an assistant professor in Berklee College’s jazz department. Once a week, she travels from New York to Boston to teach, a job that has secured Monaco’s necessary health insurance. The guitarist was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis three months before her 2005 wedding.

“Getting insurance was a big priority for me,” said Monaco. “People just don’t think about it.”

The musician feels jazz is frequently pigeonholed — many believe a deep knowledge of the art form is required to appreciate it. The Overground hopes to erase the stigma, informing people that jazz is entertaining without being overly intellectual. The collective, which originally formed as the LIC Jazz Alliance in 2010, consists of five members, many of whom have been playing music together since their college days.

“All of us agree that jazz is something really fun,” she said.

Monaco’s vision for the Overground is to secure a dedicated space for the jazz community to come together, a goal she hopes to achieve over the next five years.

“Being creative is something that helps everyone,” she said.