Tag: jim henson

Puppet Up! San Francisco Tour Diary – November 16, 2014 – Goodnight San Francisco

The house where Michael and I stayed while in San Francisco.

Before I talk about what we did today, I wanted to say one more thing about last nights 9 PM show. During that show I did my jamboree song improv. I think this was the best one that I haven’t done yet. It is also probably only about the eighth or ninth time I’ve ever done it.

The song was about a guy who was sitting in the second row named Carl. Carl is a theater director. And I got off the best first verse that I ever have in the history of doing this song.

On the day Carl was born,
His parents were feeling fine,
Cause the first thing he did when he popped out
Was orginize a doctor chorus line.

They did their dance and people loved,
They got a standing ovation
Except for that one nurse who kept asking,
“What’s my motivation?!”

The rest of the song kind of fell apart after that, it wasn’t a total disaster, and the audience love the rest of it. I’m just eager for the day when the whole song will be as good as that first verse.

Now onto the events of today.  I slept in a little bit this morning. Then got up and did my usual morning workout.    After a shower, I headed out to get some lunch at a barbecue place named Memphis minis on hate Street.I may have found a new favorite barbecue restaurant in San Francisco. This place was fantastic.

After eating my fill of barbecue, I walked back to our place and just relaxed for a little bit.

There’s a couple of cool puppet up fans, Connor and Melissa, who are in town to see the show and I headed over to the theater a little bit before our call to hang out with them.

Tonight’s show was really great. So many fantastic, laugh out loud, moments for both the cast and the audience. We saw the Noir film The Orange Bicycle, the Hot Dogs went to Burning Man, and I rotated back into Alien Barbershop.

I just had surgery,
The bill gave me a scare.
Then I remembered,
It’s free with Obamacare!

Barry the usher from the backstage tech position.

Just a fun, fun show and a good show to go out on. I love performing with this group and throwing Brian Henson in the mix only makes things sweeter.

After the show we hiked, literally, to The Tonga Room for a closing night gathering. If you haven’t been to the Tonga Room in San Francisco, go. It’s indescribable and incredibly fun. We had fun just relaxing, unwinding and chatting.

The fantastic Krystle, who ran the box office for most our shows, came along and we chatted most of the night. She’s totally great, even if she thinks I’m a nerd.

After that, it was back to our respective homes via Uber to hit the sack for the trip home. Gonna miss doing shows, hopefully there will be more scheduled in the near future!

Huge thanks to the Puppet Up Crew who had things locked down and ready to go for the cast.  Cameron, Ry and Aaron are the tops and we are so lucky to have them on board.  Thanks to the local crew at the Marines’ Memorial Theatre as well, Tig, Martine and Greg.  Our show is unlike a lot of other shows that come through theaters and this crew was not only at the top of their game, they were super friendly and enjoyed working with us.

Finally, big thanks to the rest of the cast, Colleen, Ted, Michael, Peggy and, of course, Brian Henson.  It’s always such fun to be able to work with such talented people and I, honestly, do learn something new about improv and puppetry each time I do this show.  And, thanks to Patrick.  Our fearless leader.  Able to roll with whatever bumps in the road arise and lead us through it with a smile on his face, and a can of Red Bull in his hand.

Unless something unexpected happens, these shows will be my last for the year 2014.  And what a year it was.  Local shows in Los Angeles, a mini Tour of the US, the amazing Australia run, a Pasadena Playhouse show and this San Francisco run.  Thirty eight Puppet Up shows for the year.  I couldn’t be luckier.  I look forward to the adventures in 2015.

Puppet Up!

blue puppeteers
None of us wanted the shows to end.
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Puppet Up! San Francisco Tour Diary – November 15, 2014

It is Saturday! That means we are having two shows today. One at 6 PM and one at 9 PM. So our call to the theater was a little earlier than normal.

But before heading to the theater, I got up early and met Patrick Johnson, our puppet wrangler on this tour, at the Walt Disney Family Museum. As a Disney nut, this is something that I have wanted to see for a while.

The Walt Disney family museum is on the Presidio in San Francisco. And it’s really just a beautiful area to hang out and even if you don’t go into the museum. But we were there to go see the museum, so in we went. Patrick’s wife Carrie is a member of the museum and so we got in for free. Excellent.

The exhibits at the museum or pretty amazing. I was most impressed with the first known sketch of Mickey Mouse, yes, they actually have it there. And this giant model they have of Disneyland. The model was just amazing. I wanted to buy it and take it home with me. Just truly fantastic.


They also had a special exhibit of all the Walt Disney trains. It was cool to see concept art and models of trains that eventually wound up in the park. My favorite part of that, was the concept art for the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland. One of the original concepts would have had jungle cruise boats and the Disneyland Railroad coming through the Indiana Jones attraction. It was pretty amazing.

After checking that museum we went over to Industrial Light and Magic and checked out the famous Yoda fountain. Then it was time to head to the theater. We had gotten there a little early so we walked around downtown San Francisco for a bit including a brief stop in Chinatown. But then it was time to get to the theater.

The 6 o’clock show was a lot of fun. And the crowd it was great! There was a lot of wackiness amongst the cast in the show and when those sort of things happen, those shows are always a bunch of fun. I had some family members at the show too so that was cool as well.

After the first show was over, we took a little dinner break, and then it was time for the 9 o’clock show. This show was even wilder than the first. Lots of fun suggestions lots of fun sketches. One of my favorite moments was when I forced Brian Henson to attempt a cart wheel with his hotdog puppet. It was a lot of fun. I felt a little guilty afterwards, but not too much.


This show meant a lot to me, because one of the teachers from my old high school was there. He was an English teacher at my high school even though I never had him for English. We were still great friends. He was the first person to introduce me to Spinal Tap. It was great to have him at the show and then to hang out with him afterwards.

After the shows were over we hung out for a bit at a pub next door to the theater. After a bit of carousing, it was getting late so it was time for me to head home. One more show tomorrow. This trip has flown by so fast. I can’t believe it’s almost done. I am going to savor every moment left.


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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 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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