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Went in to D.C. for Sesame Street’s official (?) 40th Birthday Party. It was sort of a mixed bag. They showed some video clips (“Big Bird, Mr. Hooper’s not coming back” . . . R.E.M.’s “Furry Happy Monsters” . . .) and then went live.

On the stage were muppeteers Kevin Clash (Elmo), Leslie Carrara-Rudolph (Abby Cadabby), and Fran Brill (Zoe), as well as Sesame Street executive producer Carol-Lynn Parente and Sonia Manzano who plays Maria. They had microphones, but this was the kid equivalent of the Beatles' concert at Shea Stadium in ‘65—the constant roar of two- and three-year olds meant it was difficult to hear anything. The muppeteers talked about how they got started in their jobs, and then they answered questions from the floor. (Bad idea.) Three-year-olds who say they want to ask a question frequently freeze when they get to the mike. A couple of good exchanges were audible however:

Kid: Why does Cookie Monster like cookies so much?
Zoe: Have you ever tasted a cookie?! They’re great!

Kid: Elmo, what’s your favorite food?
Elmo: Elmo likes wasabi. That’s why Elmo doesn’t have eyelids anymore.

We all sang “Sing,” and it was over. For $15 a seat, it could have been more entertaining. Next, you could go get your picture taken with the muppets (huge line) or go buy a copy of Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days, pre-signed by Clash, Carrara-Rudolph, and Brill. (Great idea.) Then, if you wanted Parente's and Manzano’s autographs (short line), you could go get those. We did that because Kate wanted to tell Sonia how much she’s always liked her, and the kids and I wanted to say how much we all enjoy her children’s book No Dogs Allowed. She was genuinely surprised and pleased to hear that. (It’s a lovely picture book about an extended Puerto Rican family’s trip to the beach only to find that their dog, “El Exigente,” isn't allowed. I recommend it.)



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