May 18, 2013

Famous bird snuffs it at the art fair

Filed under: Art by Branko Collin @ 9:25 am

Visitors of the KunstRAI art fair in Amsterdam are confronted with an art work by Bart Jansen even before they enter the building. The corpse of a giant blue bird, the famous brainchild of American puppeteer Jim Henson (and yellow in its native country), is slowly passing the last of its warmth to the cold, grey pavers.

The artist says on a nearby sign: “These days a national park only seems to amount to something in the public eye if it is being threatened. The next step is to make the reservation accessible for recreation. This requires a motorway. In this work, the only bird in the world that was deemed safe, has just fallen by the way of an unstoppable civilisation.”

Click the ‘read more’ link to end your childhood.

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March 20, 2011

35 Dutch Sesame Street songs by Henny Vrienten

Filed under: Music by Branko Collin @ 2:16 pm

Holly Moors points out that Rubinstein released a CD (accompanying a booklet) with 35 songs from the Dutch version of kids show Sesame Street.

The music on Vriendjes Voor Altijd (Friends Forever) was written by Henny Vrienten, the lyrics by various writers. Most of the songs are sung by characters unique to the Dutch version of Sesame Street—Mr Aart, Ienie Mienie, Tommie—with Big Bird (called Pino over here) making the odd appearance.

Hennie Vrienten was one of the front men of legendary Dutch pop band Doe Maar during its short life in the early 1980s (the band broke up because the members couldn’t handle their popularity!).

Moors has this to say:

[…] One big party. If you have children or grand children of the right age, the purchase of this booklet + CD are obligatory, but use any excuse to buy this jewel, because any music lover will appreciate this CD, no matter what age.

Listen for instance to the magnificently modern classic Dutch street organ song with a twist that Vrienten created for Mijn Broer (My Brother), or the lovely exotically bouncy Gasfornuis (Gas Stove). […]

Vrienten clearly treats kids like grown-ups, and the result is that you get to hear songs with surprising rythms, remarkable arrangements, and intelligent changes. Music you can listen to again (and parents of small children know how repetitive children’s music can get), and that even gets better upon hearing it again.

Moors’ review has samples of four songs, including the ones mentioned here.

(Cover image: Rubinstein)

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April 14, 2009

Mr Aart threatens to leave Sesamstraat

Filed under: Shows by Branko Collin @ 8:30 am

Aart Staartjes, the actor who has been playing the grumpy Mr Aart in the Dutch version of Sesame Street for over twenty years, is threatening to leave the show over a programming dispute. He said this last week on the Coen & Sander radio show (Dutch). The ire of Mr Aart was awakened when the starting time of the show was moved around a lot by the NPS public broadcaster. Originally, Sesamstraat started at 6:30 pm, later it was moved to 6 pm, then 5:30 pm, even later to 5 pm, and, starting today, finally back to 5:30 pm, writes (Dutch).

Last week, an emotional Staartjes suggested on De Wereld Draait Door (Dutch) that the network was trying to deliberately kill off the show, which saw a marked decline from 500,000 to 30,000 viewers: “What idiot came up with the idea to program a show at five in the afternoon when the target audience are parents and their young children? Nobody is home at that time. And when I try to find out who’s responsible, everybody’s pointing at someone else.”

Sesamstraat was first broadcast in the Netherlands in 1976, at a time when the country disallowed commercial networks and there were only two or three public channels. Staartjes (1938) joined the show in 1984. He is also well-known for having presented the reception of Sinterklaas for 18 years.

(Photo by Photocapy, some rights reserved.)

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