Support The Cancer Fund For A Former "Sesame Street" Puppeteer! Alessandra Rizzotti

Images from Muppet Wiki and PBS. From left to right, up to down: Dr. TickTock, Forgetful Jones, Poco Loco, Slimey, Michael Earl (the puppeteer behind all these characters), Mr. Snuffleupagus, Polly Darton, Anything Muppets, and Leslie Mostly

Michael Earl is most fondly remembered as the puppeteer behind Sesame Street‘s Mr. Snuffleupagus.  As a four-time Emmy Award-winner and Jim Henson protege, he created the characters Forgetful Jones, Polly Darton, Leslie Mostly and dozens of Anything Muppets.  Later on in his career, he co-created, wrote and starred in PBS’ “Ticktock Minutes”, which was the winner of twelve Emmys and two Parents’ Choice Awards.  Michael also puppeteered several lead characters in Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s film “Team America”.   Now, with a 30 year career in entertainment, he has started to pass down his puppet-making and puppeteering talent by teaching classes through his Puppet School in California, New York and Chicago.  I, along with countless others, have been inspired and creatively reenergized by his school.  I even wrote an article about a class I took there, because I wanted others to be able to share the happiness I felt after learning the valuable, priceless skill of puppet-making.

Me and fellow puppeteers Russell Nauman, Sebastian Paz, Kwesi Davis, Erik Kuska, and Michael Earl at Puppet School

Unfortunately, just six months ago, Michael Earl discovered that he had colon cancer, and according to doctors, it seemed it was progressing quickly.  Now, without health insurance, Michael is trying to raise up to $100,000 for his treatment and recovery expenses, and he has until December 1st.  As a small business owner who relies on his income from teaching, Michael now has to take a leave of absence from Puppet School, which will also be a big loss for a lot of his students.  Luckily, friend and former student Amy Smith has set up this You Caring link for friends, students and fans to donate to Michael Earl’s cancer fund.

Michael Earl puppeteering for the Muppet Band (Image from Muppet Wiki)

Michael Earl teaching a class at ACME (Photo by Erik Kuska)

As a student of Michael’s, I want to help him out in any way I can.  I’m getting the word out here, but I’m also dedicating my monthly storytelling show In Bloom: Stories About Growing Up and Still Growing to Michael Earl.  Oct. 14th’s show is themed “Festivities” and it is particularly special because the puppeteers that Michael has trained will be co-hosting with me, using their puppets.  Storytellers include three-time Emmy winner and Moth Mainstage performer Cole Kazdin, former Blue Man Group performer and Moth Mainstage performer John Grady, imboycrazy.com’s Alexi Wasser, children’s book author Dallas Clayton, “Seinfeld” actress and NPR’s Morning Edition’s Annie Korzen, Mr. Show’s John Ennis and more.  Music will be provided by Micky Adams.  If you’re in Los Angeles, please consider joining us.  If you can’t make it, please donate HERE and thank you for being a part of Michael Earl’s recovery process!

Sunday, Oct, 14th 7:30pm-9:45pm at…
Lyric Hyperion Theater and Café

2106 Hyperion Ave.
LA CA 90027
$10 Cash at the Door with Food or Drink Purchase
Donations encouraged.
If you’re not in Los Angeles, help us promote the event.
This is our Facebook invite and Facebook group.
Our Twitter is @inbloomstories and Puppet School is @puppetschool
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9/25/2012 06:09 am
Alessandra Rizzottiview all posts by Alessandra

Alessandra Rizzotti is the Associate Features Editor of GOOD Worldwide.  It would be awesome if you learn, do, and become aware of important issues with her at good.is.  You can also currently read her writing in the Wildlife column of Takepart.com or in Smith, Heeb, and Neave's online magazines.  Her past careers have included a stint as a Post PA at Family Guy, NBC Page at the Tonight Show and Ellen, and she was a child model and actress in Rolling Stone MagazineVogue Bambini, and Bloodsport 2: The Next Kumite.  She once fell 60 feet off a cliff, drove a lavender Mercedes that ran on veggie oil, and had random pieces of her mixed media art featured in the Baltic Contemporary Art Museum, Miranda July and Harrell Fletcher's "Learning to Love You More" gallery, and an exhibit honoring Leonard Nimoy.  Follow her @hellorizzotti and check out alessandrarizzotti.com.

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