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Dragon*Con 2012: My Muppet Experience

Discussion in 'Henson People' started by Walter, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. Walter

    Walter Well-Known Member

    On Saturday, September 1st, 2012, I attended my first ever Dragon*Con in Atlanta, Georgia. This was my first Con ever. I had heard so many amazing things about cons like Comic-Con that naturally, I was very excited!

    My first Panel of the day was a Panel at 1:00 called "Remembering Jerry Nelson". It was hosted by Heather Henson and another Henson Puppeteer who was also a musician. So basicly, He and Heather talked about Jerry and shared memories that they had with him. The Puppeteer told a great story of how he and Jerry made music together, and how he was even invited to perform on Jerry's "Truro Daydreams" album. The audience joined in with stories about Jerry and memories they had of him. I told my story of how my first scene of the Muppet show was when He snuck up on Kermit in his office! and that Uncle Deadly was my favorite Muppet. The Panel was finished with a song that the puppeteer wrote for Jerry along with a slideshow and it was beautiful. I really wish I could find it somewhere. Many people, including Heather, were crying. After the Panel, I thanked them both and talked with them for a minute.They were very kind and it was an honor being there with them both.

    So then I went on to exploring the con and it's many booths. It really was everything I dreamed it would be! Everyone was very polite and friendly. There were so many of my favorite movies and shows all crammed into one place, it was like a dream!

    My last panel I attended for the day was "Puppetry for TV" Hosted by Peter Linz. I was so excited! I sat down in the second row with my dad, and waited for the presentation to start. From the minute it started, It was non-stop fun! Peter and three other puppeteers from henson demonstrated how to basicly perform the Muppet Show, and they were hilarious!!! Peter performed Theo too! They even called up volunteers from the audience. I was a little nervous, so I just enjoyed the other volunteers performing. In fact, during the presentation, Peter called up a woman with a fraggle..named Janken! It was indeed Slackbot from these very forums! she performed a group routine with them, and then Peter asked the audience if they had any questions. I had a question in my mind, and when it finally came my turn, I asked "Was Walter built special to whistle?" Peter said that Walter actually has two heads, and that the "Whistling" head has two steel spring loaded devices that can be triggered to make the whistling motion. He also said that Walter can't talk as well with this head, because his mouth is stiff from the mechanism.

    After the panel, Peter said he would meet everyone outside at the puppetry tables(since they needed the room for the next panel). We waited for a few minutes, I talked to Slackbot and Janken, and I looked at the cool puppets on display at the table. I went to sign up for Heather's IBEX Puppetry newsletter on the table and when I turned around, right behind me was Peter Linz.

    He was really cool and very professional! He signed a picture for Slackbot and she said she was on Muppetcentral(It was at this point I realized she was Slackbot) When I asked her her name and she said "Slackbot" I said "Seriously? My username is Walter!" After he was finished talking to Slackbot, I asked him if "I could ask Walter for an autograph", he replied in Walter's voice " What? me? sure!" It was so awesome!:fanatic: He then took a picture with me and the photo.(at this point, a line formed of others wanting to meet him!) As I left I said "Thank You so much!" And he said, "I like your username, I'll be looking for your posts!":fanatic: It was such an honor meeting him and learning from him.

    Between the amazing atmosphere and people of Dragon*Con, meeting Heather Henson, and meeting Peter Linz, This was the Best Day Ever!:fanatic:
  2. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    With the tough week everyone has had here this is a great and happy story!
    Walter likes this.
  3. AndyWan Kenobi

    AndyWan Kenobi Well-Known Member

    That's awesome! I was there too, and at many of the same panels--the "It's Time to Raise the Curtain" panel, the "Heather Henson: A Daughter Remembers" panel, the "Peter Linz: Muppeteer" panel, and the Fraggle Rock panel. I also got a chance to chat with Peter Linz out in the hallway, where he graciously accepted my multitude of praise for his performance of Walter, and even signed a picture for me. The thing that impressed me most about him, Leslie Carrara-Rudolph, and all of the other Henson-related guests was just what genuine, creative, and wonderful people they are. They love the Muppets as much as we do, and their enthusiasm for them (and for interacting with the fans) is refreshing. I could sit for hours and listen to their stories, look at their fantastic behind-the-scenes pictures (I've now seen the inside of Snuffleupagus!) and generally bask in their warm Muppety glow. Thanks for such a great time at the Con!

    Muppet fan 123 and Walter like this.
  4. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry, but Muppets and anime conventions don't mix... that's a deadly combination right there, worlds will be colliding.
  5. MelissaY1

    MelissaY1 Well-Known Member

    I enjoyed reading about everyone's experiences at Dragon Con. I enjoy going to horror movie and comic cons myself in the NY/NJ area when I can. Who was the other puppeteer at the Heather Henson/Jerry Nelson panel? I'm very curious? I agree though, almost all the folks I've met from the Muppets are just the nicest people. They're very accommodating to fans, etc.
  6. Walter

    Walter Well-Known Member


    That's really cool! I wish I would've run into you, I was actually considering bringing a big "Muppetcentral" badge to wear on my lanyard.:laugh:

    While anime was present, It was more Sci-Fi/fantasy/steampunk than anything. It was still so amazing to me how so many different interests could come together and create one big awesome celebration!

    I really wish I remembered his name. He looked alot like Jim Henson, he even joked that he was a "Jim Henson Look-a-like". I asked Heather Henson on Facebook. Hopefully I will find out. I really want to share his song with you guys!:sing:
  7. AndyWan Kenobi

    AndyWan Kenobi Well-Known Member

    It really was such a cool event. I'd never been to Dragon*Con before, but it was so open and multi-fandom that really no kind of fan was out of place. I really hope that they bring the puppetry track back next year!
    Walter likes this.
  8. MelissaY1

    MelissaY1 Well-Known Member

    No problem, Walter. These conventions are overwhelming events, that sometimes it's hard to take in and remember everything too. I do hope you get a response. Hmm, I'm wondering who the Jim look alike is. At any rate, I'm glad you got to go to your first convention. They really are a great time for whatever you're into and share that with other people of the same interest and getting to meet people known for that field of interest.

    As I said, I love going to cons when I can. Over the years I've been to Chiller Theatre, Monster Mania, NY Comic Con, The Big Apple Con (two different conventions), Rocky Horror Picture Show cons, movie poster cons, etc. I've been fortunate to pick up rare collectibles from these events, and meet some of my favorite actors and directors, and yes, Muppet folks! Heck if you go to enough of these things, you start becoming friendly with the dealers who sell merchandise, etc. These things can get expensive, but they are great.
    Walter likes this.
  9. Walter

    Walter Well-Known Member

    Yeah, It's definately a place where anyone can have fun!:) I believe Voiceroy on these forums said that there will be Muppety guests next year, but he can't confirm who yet:fanatic: .

    Thanks! You're right, It's such a great feeling to be in a room full of people who love the same thing you do. I definately plan on going to Dragon*Con again next year.:fanatic:
    MelissaY1 likes this.
  10. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    When I was carrying Janken around during D*C two people came up to me (at different times) and told me with great assurance that Fraggle Rock was coming back. One claimed to have worked on a music video to premiere in about a month, and the other didn't say how he knew. My reply was that it'd be great if it was true, but we've been to that altar before; I'll believe it when I see production photos.

    So... a hint of things to come, or mere hot air? I'm not getting my hopes up.

    Now I'm gonna see if I can get my webcam set up so it won't be mirrored...
    Walter likes this.
  11. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Noooo! No way! You heard of separation of church and state? The same thing applies here, a separation of Muppets and cons. If it were something like Muppet Fest, a strictly all-things Muppet/Henson/Creature Shop/etc convention for Muppet Freaks, that'd be one thing, but "Muppets" and "con" don't belong in the same sentence together!
  12. Walter

    Walter Well-Known Member

    You seem to be under the impression that this was strictly an "anime convention". It wasn't. Dragon*Con is all about celebrating the many different aspects of the art and entertainment industry. Including, but not limited to, filmmaking, comic illustrating, writing, and puppetry.

    It was a great way for Muppet fans to get together and have fun! Everyone was extremely kind, and until we do get a "Muppet Convention" This is working great:).
  13. dwayne1115

    dwayne1115 Well-Known Member

    Hey Walter was the other Muppeter you are trying to think of name David Stephens? He is a Puppet builder/prefromer who is on my friends list on Facebook. He has worked and played Banjo with Jerry on SS and has worked on other Henson related projects.
    Walter likes this.
  14. Walter

    Walter Well-Known Member

    That's him!!! Thank you so much dwayne!!!:fanatic:
  15. AndyWan Kenobi

    AndyWan Kenobi Well-Known Member

    Slackbot, it was a pleasure to meet you and Janken at the con. I was the guy in the front of the line at the Muppet panel. Janken and I talked about my iPad, and we ended up sitting next to each other in the panel. Really nice to get to meet you!
    Walter likes this.
  16. Buck-Beaver

    Buck-Beaver Well-Known Member

    I was at Dragon*Con, but unfortunately didn't get to meet many people from MC who were there (I hung out mostly with the puppeteers in and around the puppetry track), although I did meet Slackbot!

    Here is some video of Peter Linz, Leslie Carrara Rudolph and David Stephens working the line outside Sunday night's late night puppet slam along with Gordon Smuder, who co-created the web series "Transylvania TV" (and posts here on the MC Forums). The slam had approx. 1,000 people in attendance (the line-up was huge). There is also a little bit of Leslie's puppet slam piece "Cookie Panel" with her character Lolly Lardpop later on in the video:

    Walter likes this.
  17. Walter

    Walter Well-Known Member

    Awesome video! Next year I will definately try to attend PuppetSlam.:fanatic:

    (Lol.. Theo is hilarious! It was really cool seeing him again at the panel after haven't seeing Between The Lions in a few years. )

    Thanks for sharing that video Buck.:)
  18. Walter

    Walter Well-Known Member

    Sorry to double-post, but I had to update... David Stephens was kind enough to upload his tribute song to Youtube! You can view it, here..

    It's really truly amazing.. isn't it?
  19. Slackbot

    Slackbot Well-Known Member

    Walter likes this.
  20. Walter

    Walter Well-Known Member

    Yeah, I know.. The line about him breathing clear gets me every time.. Even though I am unbearably sad he's gone.. The thought of him being happy and healthy after all that.. It makes things a little bit better..

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