Norman Stiles, The Swami of Sesame Street

e67c57e1fb1218ea9227f7513c7c24f9Norman Stiles, Sesame Street head writer from 1971 to 1995, told me that Richard Hunt used to call him “Swami” – and after talking with him for a couple of hours, I can see why. Stiles comes off as a classic trickster guru, making you laugh but also making you think. We spoke about Hunt, Sesame’s halcyon days, what makes good writing, and about Stiles’ new project, The Baby and Toddler Parenthood News Network, in many ways a spiritual descendant of Sesame, in the last days of its Indiegogo campaign. Enjoy! Continue reading

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Muppet Biographers Unite!

Bn8CNy2CUAAC4-H.jpg-largeThis weekend I attended the Biographers International conference in Boston, where I had the privilege of meeting Brian Jay Jones, author of Jim Henson: The Biography.

The conference, held at UMASS Boston on the picturesque Dorchester Bay, attracted about 200 writers, editors, agents and other people interested in the craft, mechanics and morals involved in telling the story of a life. Quite inspiring!

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Toronto and Fraggle Rock

FR_19024_WrapPartyInvite_MKF I recently found a lovely Toronto blog that details Fraggle Rock‘s relationship with Toronto, situating the culture of the show within the culture of the city, including a link to my Fraggle geography map. “Given the show’s commitment to interdependence and a global consciousness,” producer Larry Mirkin told me, “I can’t imagine it being filmed anywhere else.” Enjoy!

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A Postcard from ‘Old Pete’

Pete SeegerFolk legend Pete Seeger has long been one of my heroes. A true patriot, he consistently brought together music and politics, not with dogma but with delight. Here’s a terrific postcard Seeger sent me in 2006, in response to my zine “The Long Walk Back to Myself,” about my 3-day, 50-mile walk from my home in Brooklyn to the Clearwater music festival in Croton, NY. Seeger founded the festival in 1966 with the goal of cleaning up the Hudson River. Since this walk, in 2004, I’ve traveled up the Hudson on my own power (walking and kayaking) as far as Cold Spring, and plan to go (leg by leg) all the way to its beginnings atop Mount Marcy in the Adirondacks. RIP Pete, you will be missed. Continue reading

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Funny Boy is coming to London!

I’ll be London at Duskhopping the pond to visit “the swinging city” for the first three weeks of January 2014. If you’re a London local interested in contributing to Richard Hunt’s biography, with a story or memory to share, I’d love to hear from you! Email me (Max) at richard.hunt.biography at gmail dot com.

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