Thursday, November 7, 2013

Meeting Brian Jay Jones, Muppet Fan and Jim Henson Biographer

I was nervous and excited about a tell-all biography of my hero, Jim Henson.  I was able to make my way down to the Mississippi Delta to meet the author, Brian Jay Jones, who is a great writer and a great person.  Super friendly, fun, and always ready to talk about The Muppets, and real cool to meet him in Leland.

Having left early the morning of November 7, I also had it in mind to visit some sites of Blues History; but, first, there was a sign that (since my first visit in 2007) I wanted to turn into a joke. 
"Turn left at the croc' in the road!"

Then, it was on to the Delta Blues Museum where I got to see great articles of Blues History--but, no photos to share and there was also no slides available; but, there was a GREAT reconstruction of a log house like Muddy Waters lived in and a whole Muddy Waters section which I got a kick out of. 

I went across town to the Rock and Blues Museum which was fun--a hodge-podge mix of all kinds of memorabilia including some items from Wade Walton's barber shop.  When I was a kid, I wanted someone to take me to Clarksdale, MS, so I could meet him at his barber shop and, hopefully like others in Blues history, learn harmonica from him.  But, then, I read an article that said he found 'religion' and would chase you out of his barber shop if you mentioned the 'devil's music.'  However, this video tends to make that article look like bunk.

After some eats, it was on to Leland, MS, home of the Jim Henson Delta Boyhood Museum and Frog Fest, to meet Brian Jay Jones at The Leland Progress, home of the town's famed newspaper!  I stopped in at the museum where I caught up with old friends and met Lucas Ervin, a long time old buddy from the Muppet Central fan forums.  I showed him the area believed to be where Jim grew up, the school, the theater where he watched movies as a kid--it was his own personal mecca (mine was several years ago).  I'd met Lucas many years earlier at the open Muppets auditions in Los Angeles.

We ended up at the Progress to get signatures and photos.

After the event, we all ended up for dinner at Vince's where, on that beautiful, white paper table cloth I drew everyone's favorite Muppets. 

I hope you get a copy of the book and get a chance to meet Brian Jay Jones in person!  Both are worth it!

Have you ever read anything that just seemed to flow so well that once you started you didn't realize how long you've been reading before you realize that, "Dang, time flew by?"  Well, this book reads like that.  It's 600 pages long; but, you get so involved that you don't even realize how many pages you've read until you come back to this side of the book and notice it.

Everyone has 'that side' of their life that isn't anybody's business, but when discussing it the details are handled respectfully and then gets right back to the story of Jim's life. 

For me, a biography includes a personal life as well as a career story, and I want to get inside the mind of the subject, to learn what drives them creatively and what area of their lives end up pushing their work.

No matter what one thinks of the side of Jim Henson that would be his personal life, we get the opportunity to focus on his work's philosophy, the joy he brought us all, and the many creatures he and his team has brought us and continues to deliver today.

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