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02 May 2009 @ 10:47 pm
Shine on, you crazy muppet  
Word count: 4179 | Since last entry: 1623

Finished up the first draft of my story for the Shine anthology in a burst of 1000+ words, and sent it to my critique group. Stories always go quicker for me at the end, when I've built the world, established the character's voice, and set up all the plot bits to set up the ending. In this case, though, I got to the climax and realized it didn't match up with the character's situation at the beginning of the story, so I went back and changed the beginning to set up the end I'd come to. That's the nice thing about fiction, as opposed to real life. I'm not 100% satisfied with the story as it stands, but that's what critique is for.

Yesterday we went to the art museum for an exhibit centered on a new Ganesh stele they just acquired, which was quite nice although the exhibit was smaller than I'd anticipated (only about a dozen pieces). As we walked in, we noticed that the two large stone bowls in front of the museum's Mark Building (a former Masonic temple) were spewing flame, which they don't normally do, and we guessed that a movie or TV show was using the museum as a location. But when we came out, we found ourselves in the middle of a colorful parade of academics. We eventually determined that the parade was part of the ceremony of installation, or investiture, or some such, for the new president of Portland State University.

The parade was led by a drum corps, followed by the Royal Rosarians, followed by a hundred or so people wearing doctoral gowns. These are a lot more interesting than the usual black graduation gowns, as each institution and department that grants doctoral degrees has its own special gown and hood, and sometimes hat, and the tradition is that on ceremonial academic occasions each person with a doctorate wears the outfit of the institution where they obtained it. (I believe they are usually rented rather than owned... the job of stocking and renting out the appropriate academic garb for hundreds or thousands of colleges must be daunting.) Some of them are quite flamboyant and colorful.

We went back to the art museum today, for a presentation of rare footage of the Muppets (including the original pilot for The Muppet Show, titled Sex and Violence and featuring the Swedish Chef subtitled in Chinese). Original Muppeteer Dave Goelz (Gonzo) was scheduled to present it, but unfortunately was unable to appear. We still laughed harder than I can recall doing in a long time. One of the highlights was a string of ten or twenty of the thirty-second "this week on the Muppet Show" commercials, each of which was a delightful dollop of concentrated goofiness despite the fact that it was so brief and held to such a strict formula. We'll be back again tomorrow, for another Muppet show entitled "Commercials and Experiments."

ETA: Here's a great review of the Henson retrospective series by culturepulp.

Katekateyule on May 3rd, 2009 05:58 am (UTC)
The Manah-manah scene got the biggest applause, but the whole afternoon was full of gems. We really needed those laughs.

(The Muppets. Not the Academics...)

OMG, a young Lily Tomlin singing "I Got You Babe" to a Skeksis... Viking pigs' rendition of "In the Navy"...

Edited at 2009-05-03 06:02 am (UTC)
Luke McGuffholyoutlaw on May 3rd, 2009 06:07 am (UTC)
I remember very early Muppet appearances on the Ed Sullivan show. One time they had a popular crooner of the day (early 60s) sing "I've Grown Accustomed to Your Face" to what started out as an attractive female muppet. Well, for "female muppet" values of attractive.

Anyway, while the singer continued, the muppet slowly ate its face to reveal An Hideous Monster. I don't remember how it ended, but I remember being unable to stop laughing and the singer barely keeping it together.

And YouTube provides! (starting at 5:58, unfortch.)


Of course I misremember it almost completely.
joycemocha on May 3rd, 2009 01:40 pm (UTC)
Actually, I think most folks own their own gowns. I own my Masters gown and hood--the Masters gown is totally different from the high school and bachelor's gowns (sleeve design, we had to be shown how to put them on and wear them), and the Doctor gowns have velvet markings on them.

Hmm. I suppose I could wear my academic regalia to a con sometime--probably the only time I'll ever wear it again! The color of my hood I believe is determined by the school within the college but it is not universal between colleges--so an Education hood (my masters is in Education:Special Education) at Portland State is light blue but I think other universities have other colors for Education.
kellymcculloughkellymccullough on May 3rd, 2009 01:51 pm (UTC)
I'll second this
My wife's a professor and the vast majority of her fellow professors (at least those who turn out for graduation and the like) own their regalia.
dd-bdd_b on May 3rd, 2009 02:25 pm (UTC)
The professors at Carleton own their gowns, all the cases I know of. Harvard is unusually colorful, but many of them are pretty much black with a little trim.
scarlettinascarlettina on May 3rd, 2009 02:31 pm (UTC)
Muppet exhibit! I saw signs for it when I was there a couple of weeks back but I don't think it had been mounted yet. This makes me want to come back and see it. Wah! Sounds like it's great.
David D. Levinedavidlevine on May 3rd, 2009 03:21 pm (UTC)
It's not a standing exhibit, it's a retrospective series of movies at the Film Studies Center (which is located at the art museum, or at least uses the art museum's auditorium). There's a great review of the series here: http://culturepulp.typepad.com/culturepulp/2009/05/movie-review-muppets-music-magic-jim-hensons-legacy.html

However -- you lucky girl -- a Muppet exhibit IS opening in Seattle this month. http://www.empsfm.org/exhibitions/index.asp?articleID=1336
Ramblin_Phylramblin_phyl on May 3rd, 2009 04:18 pm (UTC)
My brother and his wife both own their own doctoral gowns. Hers (much older) is more elaborate with velvet trim that has to be deconstructed for dry cleaning. Big Brother J went for the simple washable one and only has to remove the hood and colors to clean it. When my s-i-l was a dean she wore her gown a lot. Now she's back to just being a professor and only has to trot it out for graduations and such.