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Feb 222010
 

      

Just last Saturday evening at Mardi Gras in “Universal Studios” in Orlando, Blondie performed live in concert. Deborah Harry sang many of her biggest hits, including ones I’ve never heard before. She also sang a couple of cover songs like Michael Jackson’s “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” and Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”.     

Like many stars of the 70s and early 80s, I first heard about Blondie lead singer Deborah Harry from her appearance on The Muppet Show, where she performed two of her hit songs, “One Way or Another” and “Call Me”. She also sang “The Rainbow Connection” with Kermit.      

Then the album The Best of Blondie not only had those two hit songs, but other good ones like “Heart of Glass” and “Hanging on the Telephone”.      

In addition to being a rock star, Deborah Harry has also been in several films. The one I remember best was Tales from the Darkside: The Movie, where she played a witch preparing to cook a paperboy for dinner. It was clever how the boy was trying to stall the witch by telling her some tales of horror.      

According to the Internet Movie Database, Deborah Harry has more soundtrack credits than anything else. Some of which are uncredited. And I thought Smash Mouth had a lot with that song “All Star”. It also mentioned that Blondie broke up in 1982, then reunited in 1998. That’s a long time. During that duration, Deborah Harry had five solo albums and acted in several movies and TV shows.      

    

Since Blondie’s last gig was in Las Vegas, Deborah Harry mentioned that last time they performed in front of a bunch of gamblers. This time it’s for riders and whiplash victims. She was really nice. Here’s something interesting; Though many performers have water bottles during their acts, she uses coffee mugs.      

Is that a straight jacket she's wearing?

 Deborah Harry also mentioned that Blondie has new songs in the works. They were recording a new album, but none of those songs were performed at the concert. I wasn’t disappointed though because I still enjoy the classics.      

      

I had a terrific time at that concert and Deborah Harry still looks great after all these years. I’m not sure when Blondie’s next album will be released, but it would be interesting to find out what kind of new material they’ve come up with.

Sep 252009
 

Of all the different variety shows I’ve seen, The Muppet Show (1976-1981) definitely stands out as a favorite. It’s a perfect balance of onstage performances, backstage story lines, and one-liners from old hecklers Statler and Waldorf as they express their criticism about the various acts. Jim Henson was a genius.

I used to take drama classes at a community college, so that made the story lines more relatable. For example, let’s say that you were part of a live theater show, amateur or professional. Sure, you and the cast are performing the same show every night, but what about backstage while you’re waiting for your cues. There’s usually an unseen story happening, which can sometimes affect how you perform onstage.

The Muppet Show also shows an artistic side from each of the different Muppet characters. Reoccurring regulars include Miss Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo, Rowlf, Swedish Chef, and the Electric Mayhem (the house band). It’s a great assortment.

Along with the individual acts, there’s also sketch comedy. Here are some of the reoccurring skits.

Vet’s Hospital is about Dr. Bob (Rowlf), Nurse Piggy, and Nurse Janice telling jokes while working on patients.

Pigs in Space is about Captain Link Hogthrob, First Mate Piggy, and Dr. Strangepork having comedic misadventures on their spaceship, the Swinetrek.

At the Dance features various Muppet characters with each couple telling corny jokes to one another in a ballroom.

Muppet Newsflash has a news man telling fictional news stories as the items he talks about fall from above onto his head, which I have always found hilarious.

Muppet Labs is a scientific demonstration sketch, where Dr. Bunsen Honeydoo and his assistant Beaker present their various inventions that never really work.

Muppet Sports features sportscaster Louis Kazagger covering unusual sporting events.

Then there was Bear on Patrol. Chief Link Hogthrob and Officer Fozzie have funny situations at the police station while bringing in criminals.

I have to hand it to Kermit. He’s always open to all kinds of acts, no matter how strange they are,  considering how much hard work and dedication is needed to put on a show. As for the acts that don’t run smoothly, I feel that trying too hard is what causes it. For instance, Fozzie tries too hard to be funny in his standup, Gonzo makes his daredevil acts too complicated, and Miss Piggy always wants to be the star of everything. She makes threats if she doesn’t get her way, just like a diva. There’s always one of those. Don’t you just hate that?

The Muppet Show has opened a lot of doors for me as well. It was how I first heard of celebrities such as John Cleese, Ruth Buzzi, Julie Andrews, Lynn Redgrave, Twiggy, and the late Peter Sellers.

This show has many different types of songs, some of which are old Broadway show tunes. That’s how I first heard about them. Sometimes I wonder, if most of the music featured on this show is not original, then how do you suppose they get the music rights so easily? Well, at least when the celebrity guest star is a singer performing his or her own music, like Elton John, Paul Simon, or Deborah Harry, it’s all covered. (For that episode anyway.)

Overall, I think The Muppet Show is very creative. As comedically strange as the acts and skits are, Kermit knows how to keep the show professional, if he can help it.