Tag: jim henson company

Puppet Up! San Francisco Tour Diary – November 14, 2014

I did not get to bed last night until after 1:30 AM. I slept very well in the cool house that Puppet Up has put me and Michael Oosterom up in. I got up at about 9:00 AM worked out and then walked the easy 10 minute walk to my parents shop.

I absolutely love to walking around San Francisco and being very familiar with my surroundings. When I was walking down the street that my parent’s shop is on, I saw my father standing out front and started to wildly wave at him. Next thing I know, my mother comes out in front of the shop and she starts running down the street to greet me. It was so good to see my parents as I haven’t seen them in a few months and that was just for a short visit.

I went over to the shop because some people were coming to film a promotional video for my dad’s business. My dad did not want to be on the video at all so he asked me to be there to be sort of the spokesman for the company. We took some time to shoot the video with the production company and, being the Baciocco family, we had a great time doing it. There’s always a lot of laughs when the four of us are together.


After the video was done, I hung out and visited with my parents and brother for a bit then Cameron and Aaron from the Puppet Up production came by the shopand we all took a walk to get some barbecue. It’s always great fun to hang out with both Cameron and Aaron. And the barbecue was pretty great too.

After lunch Cameron and Aaron went off to explore San Francisco and I went back to the shop and hung out with my parents for a while. My parents, along with my brother, and some of their friends were all coming to the show tonight so I’m very, very excited.

I’m also excited tonight because Robin Goodrow is coming to the show. Robin Goodrow created a show called Buster and me that was a local San Francisco kids show. It was one of my first exposures to the puppets, outside of the Muppet show. I’m very excited to get to perform puppets in front of somebody who inspired me as a kid.

After visiting with my family for a bit, I walked back to where we were staying and just relaxed.

Headed down to the theater at about 5:30 PM. Got to experience the fun of taking my first Uber ride. At the theater we rehearsed some pieces including the jamboree song which would be in tonight’s show. Soon enough it was showtime.


Such a fun show tonight. Lots of great suggestions from the audience and a few crazy ones! The jamboree went well. Sang about Justin sitting in the front row who was a clinical psychologist. The jamboree got many laughs but it’s just not quite where I want it to be yet. It will get there though. Another favorite sketch involved Ted, Michael and myself stuck in an elevator. It was really a funny sketch and it’s hard to explain via writing. You kind of had to be there. But that was probably my favorite sketch of the night.

Because I sang in the jamboree, I did not sing the alien barbershop tonight. Those duties fell to Michael Oosterom.

After the show I went out to the lobby and it was great to have my family there. I can tell that my mom and dad and brother all enjoy coming to see the show. That means a lot me. It was also great fun to meet Robin Goodrow after the show.I told her again how her show had been a big influence on my love of puppets. She told me that she never had kids but all the people who watched her show her like her kids. I took a picture with her and I can’t wait to get a copy of it.

After the show, the cast went and had some food. Then we were off back to our places of residence. Tomorrow, we have two shows which will be interesting. But exciting. I can’t wait.


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Puppet Up! San Francisco – November 14, 2014 – Opening


Set off today for another fun PuppetUp run. This time is especially fun because the show will be playing in San Francisco. Growing up in the Bay Area, it’s always great to get to play there. It’s also fun because the first time I played a full run of Puppet Up shows was in San Francisco in 2011, so it extra special.

Funny story from that first San Francisco run, I had only done a few Puppet Up shows here and there before that and hosted two of them. I was excited because Brian Henson and Bill Barretta were both doing the run as well. First rehearsal, in the theatre, and Brian and Bill are going to rehearse the opening of the show using their Bobby & Sampson characters. Brian says, “Leslie (Carrara-Rudolph), you right hand me and….Grant, you right hand Bill.” Wow. Pressure is on from the start.

So, Bill and I are getting Bobby on and as I slide my hand into the sleeve I jokingly say to Bill, “So what kind of voice do you want your hand to have?”

Without missing a beat, Bill looks off stage and yells, “Where’s the champagne glass that Bobby always holds?”

It was funny. Anyway, back to this trip. The Puppet Up crew arrived at Burbank Airport at 8am for our 9:55am flight. As we checked in we were informed that our plane was delayed due to weather. So we hung out in the airport and watched the clock. Finally, around noon, we were on the plane and off to San Francisco.


Once in San Francisco, we were in the van off to the theatre and to slip into our rehearsal which we were a little late for thanks to the flight delay. As I’ve said before, we have a great crew and they are total pros so we were soon up and running.

We rehearsed pretty much up to house open and then it was time to don our puppet blacks for the show and what a show it was.

We went into this one a little frazzled for several reasons but pulled out a really fun show. The audience tonight was amazing. They were better than amazing, they were incredibly amazing. So much fun. Great suggestions, I mean, Narcaleptic Juggling?! What better suggestions is there than that?

Got to do I’ve Grown Accustomed to your Face and the Alien Barbershop. The topic of the barbershop was Jesus. I decided to tread lightly and not insult anyone:

I don’t insult Jesus
As a general rule.
Even though I’m and atheist,
I went to catholic school.

Got a big laugh from the crowd. Some really funny scenes tonight. The Narcoleptic Juggling was a personal fave. And, of course, it was a treat being on stage with Brian Henson.

After the show, and some socializing in the lobby, we went to a big cast and crew dinner that was a bunch of fun. After we made our way to our accomodations for the weekend.

I have good feelings for this portion of the run. And tomorrow, as one of the added benefits of doing shows here, I get to go visit with my family. Can’t wait.

Here we go! Puppet Up!

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Puppet Up Down Under – April 27, 2014 – Adios Australia


The day started as most big travel days do for me, with a stress dream. Woke up about an hour earlier than I needed too, panicked that my alarm would not have gone off and I would be late for lobby call. I wasn’t. The cast met in the lobby as it was, sadly, time to head towards the airport and bring to a close our amazing Australian adventure. We said goodbye to our stage manager Stephen who had come to see us off and soon we were in a cab headed towards the airport.

Once we were all checked in at the Brisbane airport, most of us went around spending the last of our Australian money. I came away with only $2.30, which is pretty good. I’m keeping one dollar as sort of a reminder that I want to get back Down Under as soon as possible. (I’m actually looking at possibly going back later this year. We will see.)

The flight home was long, twelve and a half hours, but uneventful. I know I fell asleep twice, but it can’t say how long I was out for. Maybe an hour or so, perhaps only minutes. I did watch a bunch of movies on the flight. Saving Mr. Banks (liked it), The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (decent), American Hustle (abysmal), Grudge Match (not good) and Mary Poppins (classic).

Before long, we were landing at Los Angeles International Airport. Home again. Our amazing Down Under puppet adventure was officially over.

The past five weeks have been spathe best times of my life. Incredible to get paid to go on to a foreign country and play make believe with puppets. We got to play at the Sydney Opera House! THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE! How many people get to say that.

Huge thanks to Melbourne International Comedy Festival for making it all possible. Susan of the Comedy Festival and her staff were truly amazing and could not have been better hosts. Not only did they give if first class treatment, they put on a heck of a festival. We loved the other shows we got to see as part of the festival and we wished we could have seen more.

Huge thanks to our crew. Stephen our stage manager, Bek our puppet wrangler and Andy our video tech. They hopped on board a very crazy, tech heavy show, made it their own and rocked it as if they had been there all along. And the crew at each venue was top notch. Especially the crew at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne who built us pieces we needed for the show. A great group of guys.

Huge thanks to the amazing fans who came out to see the shows. Each crowd was so into the show they made it so much fun to step on stage. The suggestions ranged from mild to really dirty and we delighted in trying to pay them all off.

Huge thanks to all the puppet people I got to hang with. Michael, Brett, the Hands & Gloves puppet group and the amazing Ingrid Elkner (who plays a mean ukelele). It was also great reconnecting with Lana Schwarcz who I hadn’t seen since 2011. Always love talking puppets with people passionate about puppetry.

And big thanks to the rest of the core Puppet Up crew. Allan, Colleen, Peggy and Ted, always so much fun to improvise with. So many memorable scenes. Brian who is, of course, and incredible improviser but also a heck of a roommate. Dan, who came up with a great song improv backing track and always has the right song for every scene. And, the big chief, Patrick, for making the run so fun and for trusting me to be part of it.

Lastly, to you, for reading these entries. Thanks for coming along for the ride. It was a heck of a time and I’m excited to see where it all leads in the future.

Until then…


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Puppet Up Down Under 2014 – April 25, 2014 – Batting Average


Slept in a little this morning after not being able to fall asleep last night. Upon waking up I immediately hit the gym and ran on the treadmill. The gym is in a cinder block room in the middle of the parking garage in this hotel and it heats up fast. It is sort of like working out in a sauna, which is actually pretty great.

After showering I went over and visited with Brian a bit. After weeks sharing what was basically a two bedroom apartment, it’s weird now to be in two separate rooms. We had a nice chat and then I struck out to get some food.

It still makes me stop when I see a car drive by and see someone in what I think should be the drivers seat, have both hands on their cell phone. Then I quickly remind myself that that is actually the passenger seat. Brian and I were talking about how weird it is going to be to actually start driving again after months of not driving. It’s been really nice. Another thing that has been really nice is not having regular cell phone service. I enjoy not being at the beck and call of my cell phone. That’s something I may bring back to the States with me.

Anyway, I went out and grab some lunch and then just walked around for a bit. I passed by a hotel called the Empire Hotel. It is really unique on the outside and it has a waterfall running down the outside glass. The inside is even crazier. It looks really weird and I don’t know if I would want to stay there. But it’s definitely unique! Then I came back to the hotel room to relax a little bit and do some writing. Then it was call time so Brian, Dan and I hopped the taxi to the venue.

Patrick is fond of saying, “Improv is a batting average.” Meaning that not all improvs are going to be fantastic. Tonight was an off night for me. I feel like I was just spinning my wheels. My Jamboree son was just a disaster, couldn’t get a rhyme in at all. And it was especially painful because I could tell the audience really wanted to like it but they just couldn’t because the rhymes weren’t there and it just didn’t make sense. Then I. The rest of my improvs I was off. No characters, the voices I was doing changed halfway through scenes. I was just completely unfocused. My batting average dropped a lot tonight. At least I have I’ve Grown Accustomed To Your Face to buoy me a little bit. The crowd liked that one.

The show overall was great, no thanks to me. Solid,fun suggestions from the crowd again, seems like Brisbane prefers odd suggestions over dirty and we like that just fine. The Hot Dogs went sunbathing, we saw a scene about a burrito, learned the perils of being a hair dresser and out audience puppeteer applied for the job of a bridge painter. The Alien Barbershop suggestion was theme parks.

At the theme parks
Soda’s $10 a cup
You ride a bunch of rides
Then you throw up.

Meh. Didn’t help the batting a peerage at all.

After the show, I met a Brisbane puppeteer named Brett Hansen and his friend (sorry didn’t know the relationship there) Elissa. Always fun to talk about puppets and puppetry with someone who shares the passion. He has a show that’ll be going on in Brisbane later in May. Sorry I’ll miss it.

After the show we all met back at the hotel and we actually had a fun evening just chatting and laughing in Colleen and Peggy’s room. Soon it was after midnight and time to head to bed.

One more show. One more day. Can’t believe it is over. Sad to see it all end. Going to enjoy tomorrow as much as I can! Gonna get that batting average back up tomorrow night.

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