zustifer: (blue scoff)
Your daily dose of puppet horror! (I actually sort of like this one, although there's no shell movement. Low-rent puppets are better in Chinese.)
zustifer: (Beetlejuice: flamefingers)
I am so completely and thoroughly psyched for Madame Tutli-Putli. Film Board of Canada is animation's saviour nowadays, as it has honestly been for a pretty long time.
This is seriously the best animated thing I've seen in years. The animators apparently worked with a human actor to develop the personality of the protagonist, which, from the small clips available, looks freaking insanely excellent. The granularity of the movements is amazing on its own, and the movements themselves are so well-observed and wonderful. Here's another little clip; little bits of footage here and there.
zustifer: (blue scoff)
Best Mefi Post Evar. Mummenschanz. God bless youtube; I remember searching for these clips years ago and coming up with noth-ing.
zustifer: (hedgehog picto)
Lederhosen Lucil music video, with puppets.

Unpleasant linked also a great Polysics video, which you should look at.
zustifer: (blue scoff)
Omg, look! Muppet wiki! And furthermore, Flat Eric was made by the Creature Shop!

Oh, Fozzie, always being foiled by your own incompetence.
zustifer: (Beetlejuice: Miss Argentina)
Oh yes, we completely need more "girly girl" role models. The problem with previous female puppets is obviously that they weren't "comfortable wearing a dress," and possibly that they had too little glitter in their hair.

Okay, whatever, they're going for the five-year-old pink-loving disney-princess-worshipping toy-truck-swaddling little gender extremes. I wish they'd admit it rather than pretend that they just weren't covering all the bases previously. Oh, this character wasn't that attractive. This one spoke spanish or some crap. This one was orange. Obviously we have a large and ballerina-shaped gap in our cultural landscape. God.

It's also a little funny in the article how they wheel out Miss Piggy (puppeteered by MEN, we're not sure what this means but it's probably not GENDER-POSITIVE) but not anyone from Fraggle Rock. Isn't the pink puppet more than a little reminiscent of Red Fraggle, in sort of a bastardised way? Fraggle Rock had a better gender ratio going anyhow, along with a shot at more complex characters due to more complex storylines and a smaller cast.


* NYT photo caption for puppet. Oh, yippee yahoo, puppet. Congratufukkenlations.


[edit] I'm pleased to say that I successfully imagined the character's voice before hearing it. Sigh.
Anyone else notice a decline in acting level since Jim Henson was removed from the picture, too?

[Later addendum] Come to think of it, is this style of puppet even compatible with the standard cultural concept of 'beauty' embodied by, say, Disney female protagonists? These one-person-operated flap-jawed puppets seem to be able to do certain values of 'cute', but I don't think 'cute' is necessarily entirely what the Marketing Dept. is after. Disney Princess Beauty(R) appears to hinge on, facially, small features and the general lack of information that is abstracted (or actual) 'attractiveness'. Henson puppets don't seem very keen on doing this, as well they probably shouldn't; but it is a little odd that they're being asked to think along those lines. I suspect the dearth of 'pretty lady' puppets stems from the fact that without a large expressive mouth (which, shrunken down to smaller proportions would be hard to operate such that the whole face didn't deform frighteningly) their faces would look dead and empty. Eyes and eyebrows take over this job in nonpuppet characters.

The article even admits this, in retrospect, by mentioning Dora the Explorer, a non-puppet traditionally cute/beautiful little character. Big (mobile) eyes, small mouth, round head, simple design. Can Henson puppets do this? No, sir, they cannot. Please allow them to do something they're good at, kthxbye. The boy market is less fixated on beauty at that age and male characters don't have to abide by these female standards, anyway. THIS is why you don't have any girlity-girl-girl-girl lovable pink glittery beautiful princess-bots, marketing department, not because Henson is a boy's club or doesn't know how to reach out to nonmale genders. They just focus on (theoretically) personality, and hope to be a little less shallow, since that is what their medium does better.
zustifer: (Ubik)
Oh, hi. Sunday I twisted something in my back and had to lie down a lot. It still kind of hurts, but only when my hips and shoulders aren't parallel. I can't paint, because the house is being painted on instead, and the only room in the house with enough light is wide open to painter-dudes, who might LOOK at me. So the internet.

Fortunately we have a Scissor Sisters performance here (youtube) that is clearly a surrogate for an actual Muppet Show guest spot. Apparently the puppeteers were ex-Creature-Shoppers. It is not unsweet, although as someone says in the youtube (I keep trying to type 'youtoube') comments, barnyard? I don't know why they didn't go with the giant-bird burlesque sort of theme that the Muppet Show constantly used. Although I did like the singing watermelons. And as always, I like visible puppeteers.
zustifer: (Default)
Fun and attractive puppet-and-animated short here. It is one of those things that I wish had been a little tweaked, but is still pretty nice. I quite enjoyed the figment-esque neon plants, and the character design was entertaining, but the transformations were short and sort of jarring. Also the tiger's walk is egregiously splay-legged and he doesn't shift his weight enough from side to side for such a stance. I really liked the visible puppeteers, though, and the aesthetic and palette. Good light bleeds and such.
Here is a link right to the largest .mov.
zustifer: (Forget Jones)
Sorry, madeofmeat, I can't find the episode with that sketch you wanted. Someday.
Please accept some other junk instead.










And, super double great bonus: Muppet Rone!

zustifer: (Five)
I guess I should know better than to look at the internet before I get to working on my homework, but it is too late now.
There's this japanese music video that's sort of half-hip-hop, that has this goofy puppet theme. It's also got some great hand-shape landscapes:



Do you see it? The arms sticking in from the sides are tree branches, and the hands on top of them are birds. The fingers emerging from the bottom of the frame are grass, and the little hand-beasts on the ground are I think rabbits. It helps to watch it moving.

There's also Labyrinth-esque multi-hand faces! Though they cheat and use googly eyes, instead of forming them with hands. I still cannot locate my Labyrinth DVD. I may have to spend the seven bucks that would allow me to buy a new one.



And, as a final bonus, Japanese DJ Campster!

zustifer: (Forget Jones)
Anticyclone reminded me of the vast array of archetypes and levels of amusement inherent in muppets, and I was idly trying to think of a muppet that would make a good avatar. So, share my bemusement and pointless woolgathering; put your hand inside the puppet head. Name a muppet that you'd use, yourself, for an avatar. If it's a Muppet Show muppet, I can screengrab you some images of it, because I have the boxset and some other episodes lying around (and in case you don't know how I love screencapping, yesterday I was checking one of Delia Deetz's horrible outfits by flipping through my Beetlejuice screenshots directory (1.5 gigs), instead of actually checking the dvd). So make me do some muppet searching. It'll be great. And you have an excuse to think of the muppet that best represents you, quiz-free.
If it's Sesame Street, though, it's just you and youtube.

(PS: I keep using this avatar for puppet-related posts because Miguel Ferrer is at his most muppetlike in this frame of Robocop. You can just see his head flapping up and down.)
(PPS: He is uttering the 'uh' phoneme of 'Fuck Jones,' or, in the TV edit, 'Forget Jones.' The facial expression is a lot more understandable if you know he's saying 'Fuck.' But I do enjoy the TV edit a lot. Regardless, that frame shows confluence of several amusing things (puppety Miguel Ferrer, bastardised-for-TV dialog, hilarious overly cocky scornful devil-may-care expression).)
zustifer: (Forget Jones)
From no-sword's comments, a guy lunk his list of youtube-available Sesame Street clips. Huh! Sesame Street sure operated on different principles than television now does.
PS: Omg, Johnny Cash doing 'Don't Take Your Ones to Town'. It's really remarkable. It seems to be about the false confidence that being able to count to one brings, which is then dashed by the need to count to two. It's SO TRUE!
zustifer: (pseudorca crassidens)
This video is just beautiful. Cecil sent it to me, as an example of modern puppetry, but it's not just that; it's a portion of that wonderful/terrifying line-walking that I love so much.

Part of that reaction may be due to a dream I had sometime in college, which the scene in the operating room really yanked out of deep storage and into conscious memory. I'd written it down back then.

You can read it, should you wish )

zusty: That floaty hips-up and hips-down motion at the end in the operating room is really making me think of that puppet operating room dream I had
zusty: I just love it.
zusty: The gurney shot is the pinnacle though
zusty: his horrible teeth
zusty: and the multi-axis mouth motion

The way the puppeteers keep encouraging your suspension of disbelief, but then crushing it when the puppet's mouth opens too wide and abnormally deforms the face, and the way the body in the close-ups never wavers but then a cut directly to a nerd-dancing long shot-- this kind of stuff is suddenly awesome in the usually predictable world of music videos. I think there are three - possibly more, but probably not - separate puppets.
Closeup one, as seen at the beginning. Has eye, eyelid, tongue, and several mouth controls.
Full-body, as seen at the beginning and at the end. Has no finer controls.
Closeup two, as seen toward the end. Watch the way the mouth and jaw deform, and look closely at the brow, and tell me if you think it's the same as closeup one. I think it's different; maybe there was damage to the original puppet. [Addendum: two is definitely a new puppet; it has the eyebrow controls.]


Also, I can't help but think of Daleks while watching this video for Cish Cash, which I didn't even know _had_ a video. The delicate way the tanks move their little gun barrels is extremely Dalekly to me.

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Karla Z

February 2012

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