Saturday, March 27, 2010

Museums, Muppets, & Martinis

Today I spent my afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which is a great way to spend a cold day, if you don't mind being surrounded by hoards of humanity and adolescent field-trippers. It was my friend Chris's idea to go, actually, and I guess since he's given up alcohol for Lent, he was trying to find some way to spend his afternoon that did not involve all-day brunch drink specials.
I'm honored that when he thought, "Who can I get to go to a museum with me?" that he thought of me. After all, I do have a membership there. (I've got some culchah in me.) And that means I can go anytime I want for "free".
So, we met up early afternoon and spent about 3 hrs roaming the halls, alternately appreciating and mocking the priceless art.
A brief back story on how I know Chris:
Chris and I both went to Wesleyan, tho we were different years. I'm guessing we somehow met at a party at some point along the way, tho I do not remember the details. (Sad fact of my life: forgetting the good details.) And we became friends the way that you do when you're in college. That being said, all of my memories of Chris in college involve late nights and large quantities of alcohol. (Wine-in-a-Bag-in-a-Box being one of the more epic memories.) This is why I was surprised to get a text from him inviting me to go to the Met with him.

(A picture of me with Chris from my wedding... I'm guessing there are a slew of pictures from college that look remarkably like this one.)

What was not surprising?
While wandering around the Met, we discovered a café/wine bar that we did not know was there, as well as discovering the wine/martini bar on the roof that opens in the summer, with full "panoramic" view of Central Park.
Priceless art AND a full bar?
Yes please.
Future plans to take advantage of this discovery have been made.

On an entirely non-alcohol-related but Metropolitan Museum-related note:
I grew up loving Jim Henson and all of his creations. The Muppet Show and Fraggle Rock were my favorites, and later things like The Storyteller, and the movies The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth remain favorites of mine. I was less into Sesame Street as a little kid, and yet I still hold a special place in my heart for Super Grover.

There was, however, one Sesame Street movie that I loved, and that it crushes me that it had never been released on DVD. (And no, I am not talking about Follow That Bird... tho Big Bird remains the impetus for this movie as well.)
The movie I love is Don't Eat the Pictures. It is on sale from the Met Store for only $7, but it is only available on VHS, and really, who still has a VHS player?!?!!?

Let me give you a brief (or not-so-brief) rundown of this beloved movie.

The plot is that the grownups from Sesame Street have chaperoned a field trip to the Met with lots of the little munchkins. When they are rounding everyone up to leave, somehow no one notices that Big Bird has wandered off (in search of his friend Snuffy, who he was supposed to meet there that day.)

Somehow the Museum is alright with locking everyone in for the night, so they can find their 7-foot tall canary (to paraphrase Oscar the Grouch) and the rest of the night is spent searching, as well as looking at all the art in the museum.
Super Grover tries to make friends with "Max" and his shiny suit of armor. Musical number ensues about wanting to be your friend.

Oscar finds all the broken statues and professes in song that they are all "Broken & Beautiful" in his eyes.
Cookie Monster (you know, back when he was Cookie Monster and not Eat Fruit and the Occasional Cookie Monster) is having major issues because he finds himself in rooms with still-life paintings of fruits and sides of ham and so forth. He gets to sing the title song, "Don't Eat the Pictures". (Also, how much would I have loved to see that sign somewhere in the museum today?)
I have only included this statue because it is hilarious, and my mother even remembers finding it one day when she was searching for one of the elusive rest rooms in the museum. (Sadly I did not find it today.) But it was in the movie as well, in a scene with kids trying to mimic his face.

The other plot to this movie is that, once Big Bird finds Snuffy, they hear the sound of a little boy crying. They follow it and find a little Egyptian prince, crying because he has been trapped in the museum for thousands of years (presumably his spirit was attached to a sarcophagus or some such. Fear not, for he is not entirely alone. He still has his cat who has been cursed with invisibility, but you can see his gold collar.) Every night a demon appears to ask the prince the same question.

Believe it or not, that is James Mason of North By Northwest fame and Eddie Izzard's go-to impression for the Voice of God. So, apparently it is widely held that James Mason had deistic qualities.
If little Sahu (the prince) ever gets the answer to the demon's question right, he then gets to stand before Osiris to have his heart weighed against a feather.
(Great use of the main steps)
If his heart is lighter than a feather, then he gets to become a star in the night sky along with his parents. If not, he is doomed to stay on earth forever.

So of course, Big Bird and Snuffy do their best to help little Sahu become a star. All right before sunrise, at which point all the people from Sesame Street find Big Bird, who has already said goodbye to his friend Snuffy, so of course no one has seen him.
But the truly happy ending comes when Cookie Monster leaves the museum and is finally allowed to eat anything he wants from the hotdog stand at the base of the steps.
Never tell Cookie Monster he can eat whatever he wants.
Really, Bob, you should have known better.

Did I mention how much I heart this movie? Even tho the thing is chock full of songs, it remains dear to my heart. (Somehow as a child I did not notice that all Jim Henson TV shows were full of musical numbers. Or I just wasn't the jaded hater that I am today.)
So Dear Metropolitan Museum/Jim Henson Studios,
Please release this movie on DVD for all the 30-year-old kids out there who want to relive it, or even pass it along to their kids! It was adorable, and might even get a kid to want to go to a museum rather than play "Death-Ray-12, the Return of Killer" on their Xbox.
Thank You.

Also, lookin' forward to drinking on your roof this summer. Nice touch.


Chuck said...

Sounds like a great day in the big city. Rooftop bars are always a good thing to find.

On a side note this is the fourth blog in a row I have the first to comment tonight. That never happens. I think it means something.

Erin said...

Oh, I how I too love the muppets and Sesame Street. I loved Super Grover, we watched "The Adventures of Super Grover" on VHS approx 12 times a day. My fave Muppet movie though was "The Great Muppet Caper" and until I was about 16 I thought John Cleese was the guy from the Muppet Movie who was also in Monty Python instead of the reality of the Monty Python guy in the Muppet movie. In other news Jason Segal (How I Met Your Mother, Forgetting Sarah Marshall) has officially obtained rights to write, direct and produce a BRAND NEW Muppet Movie. Maybe they will re-release Don't Eat the Picture along w/ the new film.

RocknRollGourmet said...

Erin - I tried to comment to Sesame Street company, etc, but it kept telling me I was using illegitimate characters.
Apparently using ' , ? are too much for Sesame Street.