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Muppets

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The last time you saw The Muppets, was on the big screen in 2014 in Muppets Most Wanted. It was another standard Muppets adventure and comedy you could remember, but now ABC has promised fans a new “grown-up” take on The Muppets. Now it’s plain as day that fans of The Muppets would have to be ready to handle the now-knotty personal lives of these internationally renowned felt creations. With the mockumentary  format used by well-known comedies such as: Modern Family, The Office and  Parks & Rec; we get to jump into the lives of The Muppets.  The following is a review of the show, which means it contains SPOILERS. You have been warned.

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Of the many projects that Hollywood currently has in its mammoth machine the one most “flying under the radar” right now to me, feels like the forthcoming Muppets TV show, set to premiere this Fall on ABC.  These classic Jim Henson characters that many of us grew up with, are getting a modern-makeover in their televised presentation. I’m not referring to their physical appearance, but rather their stylistic approach.  The show will feature a behind-the-scenes style format that could allow the writers to do some truly unique and entertaining things with this “cast.”  Now, we at home get a chance to take a full look at the pitch video that got the series green-lit!

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With the recent success of the latest two Muppets films, interest in these classic characters has been embraced by a new generation. So why not take it a little further? There’s no doubt that we’re going to see several more movies coming our way in the future, but it looks like the folks at Disney may be taking it a little further. Muppets fans rejoice, for there may be a new Muppets television show looming on the horizon. (more…)

This is not a typical NerdBastards article, but this is something that we wanted to tell you about: a group of former Jim Henson Company puppeteers, people behind The Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock, who have come together to educate children in refugee camps through puppetry. They are No Strings International and they need a hand right now. 

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According to a report by NBC News, there are one million Syrian children living in refugee camps, displaced from their homes by a situation that may get worse before it gets better… if it ever gets better. 75% of those children are under the age of 11.

Some call them “The Lost Generation”. To borrow and contort a phrase, I can’t visualize what one million of anything looks like, but I can imagine the darkness caused by one million extinguished lights.

To save these kids from slipping away, there are certain things that they need: warmth, love, and food. These are basic things and there are living saints, aid workers, who are providing them, but they also need help coping with the shocking loss of everything that they have ever known.

Enter No Strings International, a not-for-profit organization with the ability to cut through language and cultural barriers while delivering a different kind of aid.

Comprised of puppeteers and aid workers, the people at No Strings are using puppets as a teaching tool in a way that should be familiar to anyone who grew up watching Sesame Street and similar shows. The difference is, these lessons are being taught in refugee camps all over the world and they are about land mine awareness, hygiene, HIV/AIDS, gender equality, natural disaster preparedness, and how to deal with trauma.

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Created by former Muppet Show puppeteers Kathy Mullen and Michael Frith , and Johnie McGlade, an aid worker who stumbled onto the idea while using a puppet named Seamuss at a camp in the Sudan to communicate with both children and adults, No Strings International has made 13 short films in 24 languages for 14 countries.

Here is a look at some of their campaigns.

I had a chance to talk with Rosie Waller, the Programs Manager for No Strings via email as they try to secure financing for their work in the Syrian camps. Here’s Ms. Waller on what happens after these films are completed and ready to go to refugee camps in places like Afghanistan, Haiti, and Syria.

The next step is to host workshops in that part of the world, where we invite delegates from organisations dealing directly with children and young people, either in Syria, or living as part of the refugee community, so we can share best practice ideas about how to target the films and follow them up.

Our trauma-healing film in particular is very sensitive: children can respond on a profoundly emotional level because it deals with very difficult issues like loss and grief. It’s therefore vital that facilitators showing this film have the right additional tools so that it’s ultimately a very positive experience for those children. In addition, the No Strings workshop is co-led by a small team of exceptionally talented puppeteers, who share a range of techniques that local facilitators can use to help children explore feelings together in small groups.

With our peace-building film, puppetry is a tool young people can use to challenge the film’s inherent messages, and work through new ideas. These are techniques that we’ve shared in many parts of the world, and they’re a lot of fun as well as very effective.

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As you can tell, No Strings goes above and beyond to craft these projects in a way that makes them as accessible as possible, and that extends to the look of the puppets that are used to reach the affected children. Here’s Ms. Waller on that process.

Working with a designer like Michael Frith, our puppets have a certain signature look. It’s important [that] they’re instantly appealing to children and full of character. There’s always a little whimsy to them, a charm, which draw audiences in. What’s also important is that they fully reflect the audience they’re designed for, and that they’re culturally appropriate, so we work closely with our partners in the field throughout the design stage.

To finish their latest batch of films and fully launch their program in those Syrian refugee camps, No Strings has taken to the internet and IndieGoGo.

With a little more than one day left and less than half of their $50,000 goal met, though, Ms. Waller is realistic when I ask her what will happen if they fall short of their goal.

We’re hoping to reach our IndieGoGo target, but we’ll be shooting the films whatever happens because we’re committed to them.

If you have an interest in checking out the No Strings International IndieGoGo, go here. To go to the No Strings website and read up on what they’ve done and why they do it, click here. You can also follow them on twitter.

Source: NBC News, h/t to Gerry Duggan

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Bret McKenzie took home an Oscar the first time he tussled with puppets, working as the music supervisor on 2011’s The Muppets. Naturally, he signed up for seconds, serving in the same capacity for the upcoming Muppets Most Wanted, but apparently, the Flight of Conchords co-frontman wants to continue thumbing through Jim Henson’s back-catalog for inspiration… sorta.

In a new interview with Collider, McKenzie talked up another project that he is working on with James Bobin (the director of both Muppet revival movies and also 11 Flight of Conchords episodes), one that McKenzie compared to Labyrinth, Henson’s David Bowie starring dark fantasy.

“I’m in the middle of a script for a kind of—it hasn’t got a name yet but it’s a fairy tale comedy musical, sort of akin to Labyrinth or something like that. I’m developing and that script’s halfway through. James Bobin’s helping me. I’m the official writer but we’re developing it. I want to make a comedy musical with singing dragons and monsters and stuff.  [It’s] live-action, so it would be a mixture of The Muppets and The Princess Bride.”

Obviously, this is still in the formative stages, but those comparables and McKenzie’s work with the Conchords makes this one to watch, even if it isn’t the Labyrinth-era David Bowie filled space party that we all desperately want and need.

Source: Collider

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Each and every week we scour the Internet for nothing but the best in nerdy art. We leave no digital stone unturned, we poke and prod every nook and cranny of the Interwebz. Why? Because we love you, and we love to bring you weekly feed of nerd art.

On with the dump!

Above: Oh no! Oliver Akuin has drawn Jurassic Park‘s Lex and Tim getting attacked by a T-rex, I guess we’ll allow it. If you’ve already seen the movie, and who hasn’t by now, you know that this failed snack attempt is the least of their worries. [XombieDIRGE]

Hit the jump for hipsters, balloons and X-men!
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The end is almost upon us, the second half of this season’s Doctor Who is almost here! We’re four days out from the second half of Season 7, having last seen the Eleventh Doctor off to find the connection between the Clara Oswin Oswalds, traveling across time in search of another Clara. So until Saturday rolls around we thought it would be nice to share some of our favourite Doctor Who fan art from around the internet. You can thank us once Saturday finally gets here.

Above: Minimalist art is cool, but minimalist Doctor Who poster art by Michael Parsons is always cool. Carefully picking what to do Michael puts together sweet fan-made posters for everyone to enjoy. Check out his Society6 shop.

Hit the jump for more!
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Each and every week we scour the Internet for nothing but the best in nerdy art. We leave no digital stone unturned, we poke and prod every nook and cranny of the Interwebz. Why? Because we love you, and we love to bring you weekly feed of nerd art.

On with the dump!

Above: Years before young Lara Croft was the world traveler she was just someone looking for an adventure. While gamers around the world are experiencing this through the new Tomb Raider reboot, Eve Ventrue put together a moment of eerie calm for the soon famous treasure hunter. [XombieDIRGE]

Hit the jump for Mutant Turtles, a predator and a giant fist! (more…)