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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Roscoe Orman: The Man Behind the Icon

300px-Gordon3You probably know Roscoe Orman best as Sesame Street’s Gordon Robinson, the iconic role he’s played since 1974. Yet Orman’s fame as Gordon masks his artistry and experience as a multifaceted character actor, performing everyone from lawless pimps to Lincoln Perry (the controversial creator of Stepin Fetchit), everywhere from Harlem’s historic New Lafayette Theater to Broadway to the big screen.

“People think what they see on TV is real,” Orman says of being mistaken for Gordon. Read our recent interview to discover the man behind the icon, including his thoughts on Richard Hunt’s “life mission,” trying his “hand” at puppetry and why Whoopi Goldberg is a “human Muppet”. Continue reading

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The Count Writes A Haiku: Jerry Nelson (1934-2012)

Jerry Nelson and Jessica Max Stein, Truro MA, February 2010

Jerry Nelson and Jessica Max Stein, Truro MA, February 2010

Cape Cod in February has an austere beauty: sand dunes draped in snow, grey-streaked skies, a generous silence. My friend Mallory and I parked outside the house five minutes before our noon appointment and stood by the car getting our bearings. The front door seemed unused, with no path broken to it through the ice-crusted snow, yet a wall of trees blocked the driveway from the back of the house.

“Back here.” From behind the trees came an instantly familiar voice. I had known that voice, in its infinite variations, since childhood, from countless hours of watching the Muppets: the joyous enumerations of Sesame Street’s Count von Count’s (“The Count”); the easygoing, raspy laugh of The Muppet Show’s Floyd Pepper; the reedy, confiding tones of Fraggle Rock’s Gobo Fraggle (to name but three). It makes me smile, now, that I heard Jerry Nelson’s voice before I saw his face, for I had known his voice so many years.

“Do I hear a twang in your voice?” Jerry asked Mallory, once we were settled in the kitchen.

“I’m from Kansas,” she said proudly.

“I’m from Oklahoma,” Jerry said. “I like to say, I’m from Oklahoma – far from Oklahoma.” Continue reading

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The Irony of Birding: An Interview with Peter Dorosh

Peter Dorosh

Peter Dorosh

I met the amiable Peter Dorosh – where else? – on a birding walk in Prospect Park. Dorosh would seem to have some strikes against him as a birder, living in the decidedly urban habitat of Brooklyn, New York and being severely hearing-impaired, unable to hear many of the birds he sees.

Yet Dorosh is a top local birder, having just stepped down after 12 years as president of the Brooklyn Bird Club, and running the Prospect Park bird sightings blog. We sat down in Prospect Park to talk about his story, the accessibility of birding, philosophical differences among the birding community, and, of course, how best to get the birds. Continue reading

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A Moment for Peggy Mermelstein

Our old family friend Peggy Mermelstein died early yesterday. Smartass, artist, transplanted New Yorker, knew I was queer years before I did and didn’t give a shit, devoted mom to Kelly and Brian, great ally and mentor to both me and my sister. Thinking fondly of all our good times in that cozy house around the corner.

Picture: Peggy Mermelstein with her kids Kelly and Brian, December 1991.

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