Jim Henson’s legacy throws its weight behind digital puppetry

The cast of ‘Word Party’.
Image: jim henson’s creature shop

Very little onscreen kids’ entertainment these days escapes computer enhancement. From green-screen set backgrounds to full-blown animated graphics, the technology has reached the point where we can often no longer tell the difference between real life and CGI.

Except where the Muppets are concerned, right?

The iconic puppets created by the late, legendary puppeteer Jim Henson have been around for more than six decades and are often held up as the last bastion of the analog fight against digital.

But the Jim Henson Company, with Henson’s daughter Lisa Henson at the helm as CEO, is also throwing its weight behind digital animation. At its Henson Digital Puppetry Studio, actors fitted with motion-graphics trackers act out their puppet characters, which are later rendered by a computer.

Henson told Mashable that it is good storytelling, not realism, that’s needed to breathe life into a character.

After all, the Muppets themselves were a gangly, cartoony bunch that charmed their way into millions of children’s hearts through the way their characters expressed themselves on screen.

“To look ‘puppety’ or ‘Hensony’, it’s really an animation technique, not a digital one. When Lulu Bear kisses the screen, children do too…they believe she’s real,” said Henson, referring to one of the main characters on the company’s Netflix exclusive, Word Party.

The Jim Henson Company sold the rights to the Muppets to the Walt Disney Company 12 years ago. Non-profit organisation Sesame Workshop owns the Muppet characters that appear on Sesame Street.

Lisa Henson

Image: The jim henson company

Still, Jim Henson’s company, and his children, are still recognised as the guardians of his puppetry legacy. Despite what the analog purists say, Lisa Henson insists that digital technology doesn’t detract from the traditional craft.

“A lot of adults love hand puppets from childhood. Kids like the look of CG animation.”

“The (motion capture) puppeteers are trained in traditional hand puppetry. They’re very closely connected to their characters and that’s what makes their (portrayal) very ‘Hensony’,” she said.

Behind the scenes, the demands on the actors are just as high as for traditional puppeteers, she added. Bodily motions are captured at the same time as the actor’s expressions and voice.

This spontaneous ‘live’ acting gives the portrayal of characters on shows such as Word Play a more TV-like feel, she believes.

Capturing an actor in one take also offers one pragmatic advantage: it’s cheaper. Simply put, motion-capture puppetry allows the company to produce sufficiently high-quality, life-like characters “on the budget of kids’ animation.”

For bigger-budget stuff, the Jim Henson Company’s traditional craft remains its trademark. A cast of new puppets has been produced for a new series starring Julie Andrews. The show, Julie’s Greenroom, is slated for 2017.

Henson said: “A lot of adults love hand puppets from childhood. Kids like the look of CG animation.”

Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/09/27/lisa-henson-digital-puppetry/

David Hernandez

Hollywood Made Lindsey Vonn Wonder If She Should Lose Weight

While many people look at Lindsey Vonn’s body in awe, the Olympic skier admits there were times when she felt insecure about her figure.

Vonn writes in her upcoming book “Strong Is the New Beautiful” that attending Hollywood parties made her question her athletic build.

“The more time I spent at these events, the more I began to feel that I didn’t quite fit in,” Vonn writes according to the New York Post.

“It seemed like everyone was model-thin, with tiny waists and long willowy legs…I thought: ‘Should I not wear this dress? Do I need to lose weight if I want to stay socially relevant as an athlete?'”

Vonn seems to have moved past her insecurities, often-wearing revealing outfits at red carpet events.

Pull-ups work. Fact. Hard work pays off. Fact. #strongisthenewbeautiful

A photo posted by Lindsey Vonn (@lindseyvonn) on

She also shares a variety of workout pictures of videos on her Instagram.

Getting stronger 🙂

A video posted by Lindsey Vonn (@lindseyvonn) on

Vonn’s new book hits stores October 4.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2016/09/28/hollywood-made-lindsey-vonn-wonder-if-should-lose-weight.html

David Hernandez

Chorizo Cheese Dip Because We’re All Going To Get Fat Anyway

Theres something beautiful about not giving a fuck about gaining weightthat is, until February hits and you immediately do fucking care because omfg summer is coming. But, for now, youre in a safety zone.

Because of said safety zone AND because the holidays are coming anyway, we figured why not prep our bodies for the onslaught of sugar and fat with a delicious, bubbly cheese dip that we adapted from Foodie Crush?

You can serve this dip with veggies if you want, but we recommend tortilla chips, bread, and other cellulite-forming carbs.

Ingredients

  • chorizo sausagethe kind that is NOT cooked alreadyyou need 6 oz
  • 4 tbsps butter
  • 2 cups of sweet onion, chopped
  • tsp thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • tbsp smoked paprika
  • 8 oz package of jalapeo cream cheeseif you cant find it, use regular and add in one chopped jalapeo unless youre a pussy
  • cup Dukes mayoand yes, it matters
  • 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese
  • cup green onions, chopped

Take the casing off your chorizo and cook in a skillet over medium heat until cooked through. Set aside. Grab a diff skillet and melt your butter, then add in the onion, thyme, salt, pepper, and smoked paprika. Cook over medium-low until the onion is soft and caramelized. Dont rush this shit or itll burn or be not as cooked and youll just fail all around.

Meanwhile, grab a medium bowl and mix together the cream cheese, mayo, and mozzarella. Once thats all combined, throw in your caramelized onions and green onions (and jalapeos if using). Fucking finally, add in the chorizo GENTLYgrease and all. Pour all that into a baking dish thats been sprayed with nonstick.

Bake at 350 for like, 15 mins or until the dip is golden and bubbling. Note that you will 100% hate yourself after you eat this, but youll feel so great during.

Read more: http://www.betches.com/creamy-bad-for-you-cheese-dip

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David Hernandez

Trump’s America: No fat chicks

(CNN)Donald Trump has a message for the American people: No fat chicks.

And America has a message for him: That kind of crass sexism may have sold tabloids in the ’90s, but it loses you elections in a more feminist, body-positive 2016.

    Is

    But a reinvigorated feminist movement and its overlap with movements for fat acceptance mean broader awareness of the harms that narrow beauty ideals can cause, and a more generalized disgust at men who feel entitled to judge women’s bodies. Beauty pageants are on the decline. Companies increasingly tout the use of “real women” in their ads, or their refusal to airbrush photos of models. Americans are, in general, larger than we’ve been in the past.

    Stay up to date on the latest opinion, analysis and conversations through social media. Join us at Facebook/CNNOpinion and follow us @CNNOpinion on Twitter. We welcome your ideas and comments.

    That means more Americans know the sting of anti-fat bias, and aren’t laughing along when Trump calls a beauty contest winner an “eating machine.” There is also strength in those numbers: The more Americans self-identify as fat and refuse to accept that being fat makes them less worthy of love, respect, and being treated with basic humanity, the less public figures like Trump can get away with using weight as a tool of sexist humiliation, and the more antics like this will hurt him in November.
    It is not a coincidence that Trump doubled down on his sexist, sizist remarks right as polling showed that voters crowned Hillary Clinton, and not him, the winner of the debate. Trump is a sore loser who loves to play king. But as any of his pageant contestants could have told him, you don’t show up on stage outgunned and underprepared — and if you come at the queen, you’d best not miss.

    Read more: http://edition.cnn.com/

    David Hernandez

    Zoodles With Bolognese Because We’re On A No-Carb Diet

    So like, weve frequently sung the praises of Mr. Atkins and his groundbreaking diet. Is it totally recommended by nutritionists and people who actually study this shit? No, but can you lose 3 lbs in a week? You bet!

    Simple swaps like replacing rice with some sort of cauliflower powder or noodles with some sort of spiralized veggie can save you more than 200 calories. That way, you wont feel as bad when you splurge on some kind of delicious sauce like the meat-laden Bolognese.

    Making zoodles isnt hard. We adapted the Bolognese from Italian skinny betch, Giada, so you know its good.

    Ingredients

    • 2 medium zucchini
    • 2 tbsps olive oil
    • Salt and pepper

    For the sauce

    • 2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
    • medium onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 1 celery stalk, chopped
    • 1 carrot, chopped
    • lb ground beef
    • 1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
    • cup dry red wine
    • 3 tbsps parsley, chopped
    • 6 basil leaves, fresh, chopped
    • Salt and pepper
    • Grated Pecorino Romano cheese

    Grab your spiralizer, if you have one, or a veggie peeler. Cut off the ends of the zucchini and spiralize or peel, catching all the noodles in a sheet pan. Grab a saut pan and heat with half of the olive oil. Once its super fucking hot, add in half of the zucchini and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring n shit. Add some salt and pepper, cook another 2 minutes, then remove. Toss out any and all liquid in the pan, add the rest of your olive oil, and repeat with the rest of the zucchini noodles.

    Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat up your oil and, when its almost damn-fuckin-hot (like, nearly smoking), add in the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent without burning the goddamn garlic.

    Add in the celery and carrot and saut for another 5 minutes before adding the beef. Cook over high heat, breaking that shit up into manageable pieces until it isnt pink anymore. Add in the tomatoes, wine, parsley, basil, salt and pepper and cook until the sauce thickens in like, 15-20 mins. Remove from the heat and top your zoodles. Grate some fucking cheese over the top and BLAMO.

    Read more: http://www.betches.com/

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    David Hernandez

    Gremlin The Bulldog Cant Gain Weight Then He Gets A Special High Chair

    When it comes to celebrating our favorite friends in the animal kingdom, were always ready to show them plenty of love!

    Still, while each and every animal is pretty darn spectacular, well confess that we do have a special soft spot in our hearts for some of the creatures that spend their days making human lives that much better.

    Theres something truly exceptional about loyal animals like horses, kitty-cats, and sweet pups like this fluffycotton ball with the face of an angel that just makes life that much better!

    And if you know dogs, you know that they will never give up on their human. Even when youre at your lowest, in the worst mood of your life, a pup will always do everything in her power to boost you back up again.

    Thats why its so powerful to see humans that return the favor, and absolutely refuse to give up on their very best four-footed friends.

    Check out the gallery below to learn the background behind one incredible puppy-love story.

    Gremlin, now 5years old, is a beautiful valley bulldog who lives in a happy and loving home with his human family.

    But Gremlin didn’t exactly get the easiest start in life.

    As a puppy, he was the runt of his litter, and wasunable to gain enough weight.

    Fortunately, he was adopted early on by his fur-ever mom, Chrissy Wilson, who was bound and determined to give her little guy a good life.

    When they first found each other, poor little Gremlin was throwing up all day long, and still couldn’t put on any weight.

    The veterinarian gave Gremlin a grim prognosis: The pup likely only had a year to live.

    Eventually, however, Wilson was able to get a diagnosis for her poor pup, who couldn’t keep down enough food to gain weight.

    He had canine megaesophagus, a condition where his throat muscles are too weak to push food all the way down, so it gets stuck in the esophagus, where it’s eventually vomited back up.

    With the diagnosis, Wilson was able to start thinking hard about a solution to improve little Gremlin’s quality of life.

    After lots of research, Wilson hit on an innovative solution that would improve Gremlin’s life dramatically and allow him to gain weight.

    All she needed to do was change the way he ate.

    Instead of eating standing on the ground, as is healthy for most dogs, Gremlin needed to sit up straight, to allow gravity to pull his food into his stomach.

    To help Gremlin, Wilson jury-rigged something called a Bailey chair.

    For humans, Bailey chairs are generally used to help children with developmental or physical disabilities sit upright.

    Gremlin’s chair works in much the same way: It holdshim vertical, with a high chair-style tray toeat from.

    The initial idea proved to be a huge success, allowing Gremlin to eat and reach a healthy weight for the very first time.

    Wilson took the idea to a handy friend, who ended up developing a nonprofit called Bailey Chairs 4 Dogs, to help other dogs living with the condition.

    They have now successfully helped hundreds of dogs have happier and healthier lives.

    Gremlin, meanwhile, isn’t resting on his laurels. He’s become a doggy advocate for the chair that saved his life.

    He shows off his skills by napping in the chair, hanging out, and, most impressively, jumping into the chair all by himself, and showing other dogs (and humans) just how this awesome concept works.

    If you’d like to learn more about this awesome project, check out Bailey Chairs 4 Dogs, and watch the video below to see Gremlin putting his moves in action!

    Please don’t forget toSHAREthis awesome idea with friends and family to help raise awareness about dogs that just need a little extra loving to live their best lives!

    Read more: http://littlethings.com/

    David Hernandez