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"The Best Idea Wins": Dave Goelz and Larry Mirkin on Creativity and Collaboration

Sunday, June 26, 2022 | 11am

ADMISSION: This online program is free with advanced registration.

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2022-06-26 11:30:00 UTC2022-06-26 23:00:00 UTC America/Los_AngelesThe CJM - 736 Mission St, San Francisco, CA"The Best Idea Wins": Dave Goelz and Larry Mirkin on Creativity and CollaborationWhen it comes to collaborating with Jim Henson, Muppet veterans Larry Mirkin and Dave Goelz know that it didn’t matter who it came from—writer, producer, stagehand—all ideas were equal in Jim Henson’s workshop. From Sesame Street to Fraggle Rock, collaboration and creativity were the guiding principles of Henson’s philosophy. Today, Mirkin and Goelz believe that innocence, generosity, seeing the best in others, acting in good faith, and celebrating diversity are even more essential to creating a better world. Converse with Goelz and Mirkin in this lively conversation exploring the magical chemistry of collaboration and creation. 

When it comes to collaborating with Jim Henson, Muppet veterans Larry Mirkin and Dave Goelz know that it didn’t matter who it came from—writer, producer, stagehand—all ideas were equal in Jim Henson’s workshop. From Sesame Street to Fraggle Rock, collaboration and creativity were the guiding principles of Henson’s philosophy. Today, Mirkin and Goelz believe that innocence, generosity, seeing the best in others, acting in good faith, and celebrating diversity are even more essential to creating a better world. Converse with Goelz and Mirkin in this lively conversation exploring the magical chemistry of collaboration and creation. 

How to attend

This online Zoom event is free. Please note that a Zoom account is required to register for the program. If you do not have a Zoom account, please create one by clicking "Sign up free" at the top of the registration page. 

Accessibility

The CJM strives to provide a welcoming and accessible environment to all who attend our digital programming and online content. To request live captioning or American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation for Zoom programs, please email access@thecjm.org at least two weeks in advance of the program. 

About the Speakers
Headshot of Dave Goelz
Dave Goelz

Dave Goelz is a principal puppeteer with the Muppets. Although he was passionate about puppets as a boy (inspired by Howdy Doody and Beany and Cecil), he trained as an industrial designer. In 1972, while designing scientific instruments in California’s Silicon Valley, Goelz happened to watch Sesame Street and became fascinated with the Muppets. Puppetry became an all-consuming passion that soon led him to employment in the Muppet Workshop, and training as a Muppet performer by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. From 1977 onward, Goelz focused solely on performing.

Goelz's classic Muppet characters include The Great Gonzo, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew, Zoot, Beauregard, Digit, Chip the I.T, guy, Gary Cahuenga the Vent Dummy, Randy the Stupid Pig, and Waldorf. He also originated Boober, Traveling Matt, Philo the Rodentia, The World’s Oldest Fraggle, Wrench Doozer, and Large Marvin from Fraggle Rock; Rugby and Ditz from Jim Henson’s Secret Life of Toys; Stinky the Skunk from Jim Henson’s Animal Show with Stinky and Jake; the Skeksis General and Kira’s pet animal, Fizzgig, from The Dark Crystal; and Didymus from Labyrinth.

Goelz has performed in all major Muppet projects for the last forty-eight years, and continues as a Muppet performer. He is also a co-executive producer of the new series of Fraggle Rock.

Headshot of Larry Mirkin
Larry Mirkin

Veteran showrunner Lawrence S. Mirkin has produced hundreds of fictional television programs and has worked on many others as writer, director, or executive story editor. These programs encompass many kinds of entertainment for children, families, and adults in many forms, including live action, puppetry, animation, and digital puppetry. His productions have appeared on NBC, PBS, and HBO in the United States; CBC, Showcase Television, CTV, APTN, and TVO in Canada, and variously around the world, and have been nominated for or won such diverse honors as the Emmy, the Gemini, the Prix Jeunesse, the Japan Prize, the Canadian Screen Award, the Ace, the Youth Media Alliance Award, and the International Emmy.

Mr. Mirkin has produced six puppet series including the multi-award winning Fraggle RockThe Jim Henson HourEric’s WorldLonghouse TalesWhat’s Your News?, and Hi, Opie! He had a long freelance relationship with Jim Henson, script consulting on many projects, including the feature films Labyrinth and The Witches.

More recently, in animation, Mr. Mirkin produced the third season of The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That starring Martin Short and was Consulting Producer on Hero Elementary for Portfolio Entertainment and PBS Kids.

Mr. Mirkin was a Juror for the 50th anniversary of the prestigious Japan Prize in 2015, a moderator at the Prix Jeunesse in Munich, and has spoken publicly in various forums about children’s television in Brazil, Japan, Canada, and the United States.

About the Exhibition

The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited celebrates the legacy of Jim Henson (1936–1990), trailblazing puppeteer, animator, cartoonist, actor, inventor, and filmmaker. Featuring more than 150 objects drawn from the beloved worlds of Sesame Street, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, and more, the exhibition highlights Henson’s groundbreaking work for film and television, his indelible mark on popular culture, and the profound social impact of his work. It also includes material from Henson’s experimental film projects and his early work, presenting him as a restlessly creative performer and technical innovator. Discover how Henson and his team of builders, performers, and writers created an unparalleled body of work, sharing characters and stories that represent diverse backgrounds and abilities. These stories continue to delight audiences and inspire people of all ages to look beyond differences and cultivate a more compassionate, inclusive world.

Jim Henson sits surrounded by Muppets


Supporters

The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited is a traveling exhibition organized by Museum of the Moving Image (Astoria, New York) in cooperation with The Jim Henson Company, The Muppets Studio, and Sesame Workshop.

Major support for The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited is generously provided by The Jane Henson Foundation.

Public Programs at The CJM are made possible thanks to generous support from Grants for the Arts and the Walter & Elise Haas Fund.

Image Credits

Header image: Jim Henson and his iconic creation Kermit the Frog, in front of a mural by Coulter Watt. Kermit the Frog © Disney/Muppets. Courtesy The Jim Henson Company/Museum of the Moving Image. Photo: John E. Barrett.

Exhibition image: Jim Henson and his iconic creation Kermit the Frog, in front of a mural by Coulter Watt. Kermit the Frog © Disney/Muppets. Courtesy The Jim Henson Company/Museum of the Moving Image. Photo: John E. Barrett.