Sesame Street Muppets perform at NPR's Tiny Desk

Oh my heart. The Muppets of Sesame Street had their own Tiny Desk concert!

NPR's Bob Boilen:

The news has stopped! Count von Count and the NPR kids count us down: 5 ... 4 ... 3 ... 2 ... 1!

And there they are at the Tiny Desk: Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, Rosita, Abby Cadabby and Cookie Monster, all singing about a sunny day and how everything is A-OK. The Sesame Street crew — including Elmo, Grover and other surprise guests — visited NPR's headquarters in Washington, D.C., to celebrate Sesame Street's 50 years of teaching the world its A-B-Cs, its 1-2-3s, how to be kind and how to be proud, all while spreading love and joy.

Sesame Street has won more major awards than any other group to play the Tiny Desk, including 11 Grammys and 192 Emmys. There was a lot of love as the cast of Sesame Street got to meet NPR hosts and newscasters, who in turn got to geek out meeting their favorite Muppets and the creators behind the felt and fur. These folks include Matt Vogel, Sesame Street's puppet captain and performer, and music director Bill Sherman.

I even got to sing with Grover. And I'll also say, on a personal note, that this may well have been the hardest-working, most dedicated group of performers I've ever worked with. I'm so proud of these Muppets and so happy to celebrate all that they've meant to the world for these 50 years.

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Watch this totally inappropriate and bizarre Bert and Ernie parody in German

From the Muppet Wiki:

Bernie und Ert was a recurring sketch on the show created by Attik Kargar, who performed the puppets and supplied the voice of Bernie. Bernie and Ert are an obscene parody of Bert and Ernie on Sesame Street, and especially as re-dubbed on Sesamstrasse. The pair are a same-sex couple, with no nose and one eye each. Each sketch focused on such topics as crime, drug abuse (Bernie is a cocaine addict), and S&M practices. In February 2003, Bernie and Ert were dropped from the series because of legal concerns; however, older episodes circulate on the Internet. The characters lived on and appeared in another recurring sketch called Popo Club in where they wear S&M gear and go by the names Unknown No. 1 and Unknown No. 2. These versions of the characters later appeared in the German adult puppet series Eye TV – Der durchgeknallte Puppensender and two spin-off web series.

(via r/ObscureMedia)

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"Happy Furry Monsters" and other Sesame Street parody mashup songs

Sesame Street is turning 50 years in November. As part of the yearlong celebration, they've posted this fun compilation of well-known musicians parodying their own songs over the years. (I'm actually ok with not being able toget REM's "Happy Furry Monsters" out of my head because it's adorable.)

A YouTube commenter listed all the musical artists with their Sesame Street-ed song:

* 1973 - Stevie Wonder | Superstition (0:00) * 1978 - Paul Simon | Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard (5:09) * 1979 - Ray Charles | I Got a Song (1:40) * 1984 - James Taylor | That Grouchy Face (3:41) * 1988 - Smokey Robinson | U Really Got a Hold on Me (4:02) * 1988 - Billy Joel | Just the Way You Are (0:38) * 1988 - Marlee Matlin | Just the Way You Are (0:38) * 1996 - Melissa Etheridge | Like the Way U Does (4:15) * 1996 - Spin Doctors | Two Princes (1:15) * 1998 - Tony Bennett | Slimey to the Moon (2:48) * 1999 - REM | Furry Happy Monsters (1:24) * 2000 - Hootie & the Blowfish | Hold My Hand (2:01) * 2000 - The Goo Goo Dolls | Pride (1:05) * 2002 - Dixie Chicks - No Letter Better Than B (2:20) * 2003 - Sheryl Crow | I Soaks Up the Sun (1:48) * 2004 - Norah Jones | Don't Know Y (0:18) * 2005 - Andrea Bocelli | Time to Say Goodnight (2:27) * 2007 - James Blunt | My Triangle (5:00) * 2008 - Feist | 1234 (3:00) * 2009 - Jason Mraz | Outdoors (4:47) * 2011 - Elvis Costello | (A Monster Went and) Ate My Red Two (3:27) * 2012 - Train | Five By (3:11) * 2015 - One Direction | What Makes "U" Useful (4:31) * 2015 - Macklemore | Grouch Thrift Shop (3:53)

Just try and tell me that didn't make you smile, even a little. Read the rest

Max Headroom recites the ABCs

In 1987, Max Headroom appeared on Sesame Street where he recited the alphabet. Catch the wave.

And if you're not hip to Max's cyberpunk stylings, the 1985 UK TV movie is where it all started:

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The Internet can't decide if Grover is throwing the F-bomb or not

Here we go again. This Sesame Street sound bite is being called the new Yanny/Laurel. Read the rest

Sesame Street introduces Lily, the first muppet to experience homelessness

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind Sesame Street, isn't afraid to keep it real for kids. Last year they introduced Julia, the first muppet with autism. Now they've launched an initiative called Sesame Street in Communities that, amongst other things, will bring the first muppet to experience homelessness. Her name is Lily and she was originally introduced in 2011 as a character whose family was struggling with hunger.

Unfortunately, Lily’s path is common for many children experiencing homelessness. “We know children experiencing homelessness are often caught up in a devastating cycle of trauma—the lack of affordable housing, poverty, domestic violence, or other trauma that caused them to lose their home, the trauma of actually losing their home, and the daily trauma of the uncertainty and insecurity of being homeless,” said Sherrie Westin, President of Global Impact and Philanthropy at Sesame Workshop. “We want to help disrupt that cycle by comforting children, empowering them, and giving them hope for the future. We want them to know that they are not alone and home is more than a house or an apartment—home is wherever the love lives.”

CNN:

"When Lily was first launched, she came out as part of the food insecurity initiative. So she's not brand new, but this seemed like a really perfect extension of her story, so that we could use her to help children identify with," Westin said. "With any of our initiatives, our hope is that we're not only reaching the children who can identify with that Muppet but that we're also helping others to have greater empathy and understanding of the issue."

Although her journey with homelessness will not appear in televised episodes of "Sesame Street" at this point, she will be in separate videos and materials in the initiative.

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All I want (to make) for Christmas: Yip Yips stockings

OMG, these hand-crocheted Yip Yips stockings by Carissa Browning sure do make me smile. The big mouths of Sesame Street's Muppet martians are perfect for stuffing in holiday gifts (and later for storing toys, Browning suggests).

One catch: If you want these, you'll have to crochet or knit them yourself. Fortunately, Browning has provided patterns for them which can be downloaded for free from her Ravelry page.

The spaceship has landed, and any fan of late 20th century children’s public television will recognize these lovable aliens.

Crochet them or knit them, use them as holiday stockings, toy storage, kids’ laundry, whatever really!

You should also be prepared to play with ping pong balls and pipe cleaners, and do a little light sewing.

Yip yip uh-huh uh-huh

(Cool Mom Picks, Daily Crochet)

photo via Carissa Browning, used with permission Read the rest

Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch puppeteer Caroll Spinney announces retirement

The Sesame Workshop is reporting that long-time Sesame Street puppeteer Caroll Spinney has announced his retirement, noting that he's performed on the program since its 1969 premiere. Spinney has played the roles of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch for nearly 50 years!

After five decades as the heart and soul of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, it’s impossible to entirely separate the man from the characters he so vibrantly brought to life. Big Bird visited China with Bob Hope in 1979. He’s danced with the Rockettes, and with prima ballerina Cynthia Gregory. He’s been feted with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, celebrated with his likeness on a U.S. postage stamp, and named a “Living Legend” in 2000 by the Library of Congress. Performing Big Bird has taken Caroll to China, Japan, Australia, France, Germany, Canada, and the United Kingdom. He has performed on hundreds of episodes of television, starred as his big yellow avatar in the feature film Follow That Bird, and conducted symphony orchestras throughout the United States, Australia, and Canada. Spinney even met his wife of 45 years, Debra, on the Sesame Street set in 1973.

Not to worry, Big Bird and Oscar are not going anywhere. They will be played going forward by puppeteers Matt Vogel and Eric Jacobson, with Spinney's blessing.

Also, if you haven't seen the 2014 documentary about Spinney titled I Am Big Bird, I urge you to do so. It's a truly beautiful portrait of a deeply creative man who chose to live his most authentic life. Read the rest

Bert and Ernie are a gay couple, says ex-'Sesame Street' writer

It's a question that's floated around forever: Are Bert and Ernie gay?

Former Sesame Street writer Mark Saltzman says yes.

In a recent Queerty interview, Saltzman (whose partner is Arnold "Arnie" Glassman) reveals that the Muppet duo were based on his own (gay) relationship:

Ok, so we have to address—that’s the big question, right? In the writer’s room, you’re all adults. Were you thinking of Bert & Ernie as a gay couple? Did that question ever come up?

I remember one time that a column from The San Francisco Chronicle, a preschooler in the city turned to mom and asked “are Bert & Ernie lovers?” And that, coming from a preschooler was fun. And that got passed around, and everyone had their chuckle and went back to it. And I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert & Ernie, they were. I didn’t have any other way to contextualize them. The other thing was, more than one person referred to Arnie & I as “Bert & Ernie.”

That’s telling.

Yeah, I was Ernie. I look more Bert-ish. And Arnie as a film editor—if you thought of Bert with a job in the world, wouldn’t that be perfect? Bert with his paper clips and organization? And I was the jokester. So it was the Bert & Ernie relationship, and I was already with Arnie when I came to Sesame Street. So I don’t think I’d know how else to write them, but as a loving couple.

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Uniqlo's got a KAWS x Sesame Street line for grownups & kids

KAWS has put his imprint on Sesame Street in a new apparel line for adults and kids. The collection will be available online on June 28 and in stores on June 29 at Japanese retailer Uniqlo. Prices start at $14.90 for adults and $9.90 for kids.

(HYPEBEAST) Read the rest

Happytime Murders film successfully trolls Sesame Street into marketing the film

Sesame Street lawyers are not happy that Jim Henson's son Brian has a raunchy puppet film coming out called Happytime Murders. After they filed a suit against the film, Henson retained a crack puppet lawyer named Fred (above) to defend them. Read the rest

Sharing Things, Sesame Street's homage to Stranger Things

In Sharing Things, Cookie Monster stars as Cookiegorgon, a monster who eats all the treats in town. Lots of inside jokes for those who love the series, including barfing up gummy worms and bad Eleven-themed puns. Read the rest

Sesame Street: How a saxophone is made (1983)

Wonderful 1980 video of Sesame Street's visit to a saxophone factory, complete with a free jazz sax soundtrack. (via Laughing Squid)

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Beastie Boys' 'Sabotage' starring Big Bird and the Sesame Street gang

This is the Beastie Boys and Big Bird mashup we never knew we were waiting for.

Thank you, Mylo the Cat aka Adam Schleichkorn, for editing this for our viewing enjoyment.

He writes:

About 3 years ago, I spent a Sunday editing a video of the Muppets rapping “So What’Cha Want”, which ended up being a total game-changer for me. The original “Sabotage” music video is without a doubt, one of the greatest of all time, so I knew I couldn’t do a regular old lip sync video, I had to bring it! RIP MCA.

(Dangerous Minds, Nerdcore) Read the rest

Julia, a muppet with autism, makes her 'Sesame Street' debut

Welcome to Sesame Street, Julia!

In March, Sesame Street announced plans to bring Julia—a muppet character with autism who’s appeared in books, apps, and other supplemental material—onto its flagship show. And she finally made her official debut on the iconic block this week. In her first appearance, which you can watch above, Big Bird meets Julia for the first time and learns about the many things that make her special and unique. Vox’s Dylan Matthews, who is autistic himself, has a great piece explaining the many subtle but important choices Sesame Street made in how to introduce Julia. And he points out one or two areas in which the show could potentially improve its autistic representation in the future too.

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at Julia’s creation:

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Sesame Street has been trolling Trump for three decades

Trump's distaste for publicly-funded children's programming may or may not be connected to Sesame Street's character Ronald Grump, a grouch who finagles Oscar into relocating from his trash can to Grump Tower. Read the rest

Muppet with autism plays Boing Boing tag!

Julia is the new muppet with autism who's joined Sesame Street and she's off to an amazing start with this delightful game of "Boing Boing tag." We love you too, Julia! (Thanks,Sam Borgeson!) Read the rest

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