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Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Erica Crooks Comics 2019 - Comic Con Dystopia political satire



When Comic Con is changing for the worst.
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Steve Whitmire ( From a heartbroken 1990s childhood generation Muppet Fan )


Steve Whitmire
( From a heartbroken 1990s childhood generation Muppet Fan )



( The following blog article is LEGAL due to news-reporting / social commentary purposes . In no means this is meant to libel , slander , or lie about anyone. )
Yesterday I written a comment on instagram talking about my bitter 1990s childhood Muppet fan disappointment which was a VHS video tape called “ Muppets on Wheels “ and also talking about the history of “ Sell Out “ projects which were made so Jim Henson can keep his company going but of course in the heart of this artist - he’d do anything to get away from capitalism and have the creative freedom he always wanted.
The main reason why Jim Henson wanted to sell to Disney in the first place.
It was NEVER about being rich , he wanted creative freedom and people to enjoy his art.
Jim Henson is one of a few who are true creative artists that are not driven by EGO of fame , fortune and social status.
Steve Whitmire read my comments and liked it.

Today as I write this blog article almost completely alert from just waking it less than a half our ago , I found out that STEVE WHITMIRE will be appearing at my local comic con.
I raise the question , should I get his autograph to replace the one which my abusive father threw away on me when I shook Steve’s hand at MuppetFest in December 2001 when I was 13 years old ?
As a fan of the classic era of Jim Henson’s Muppets it’s a no brainer. 

I have Frank Oz’s autograph
I have Dave Golez’ autograph

But do we live in a society that only focuses on the here and now when history doesn’t mean a thing ? It raises another question , should I get an autograph from the creator of my 2nd favorite show and perhaps my favorite animated cartoon of all time “ The Ren & Stimpy Show “. Eventually I will get Bob Camp’s because he’s awesome and fun to meet.
But I’m referring to Ren Hoek himself John Kricfalusi.

Answering both of these questions “ “ READ THE NEWS HEADLINES between 2017 / 2018 “



How important is Steve Whitmire in my eyes ?
His Christmas Turkey in Muppet Family Christmas influenced me to create the voice of perhaps my first puppet character which I do still perform on The Erica Crooks Show 20 years later named “ Barney The Hand “.
This guy is one of my strongest influences as a puppeteer and voice artist.
Still to this very day , he was the best replacement for Kermit in my opinion. 
I come from the 1990s Muppet Fan generation , Steve Whitmire’s name is EVERYWHERE !
He started in season 3 of The Muppet Show , he’s best known in the 1980s as Rizzo the Rat , Foo-Foo ( Miss Piggy’s dog ) , Bean Bunny , and of course what he’s best known for in 1980s Muppets which is Fraggle Rock’s Wembley Fraggle and Sprocket ( Doc’s Dog ).
My 2nd favorite Muppet movie next to The Great Muppet Caper , Muppet Treasure Island - Steve Whitmire performed Kermit the Frog as well as Rizzo the Rat.

Makes since to say hi and get an autograph from him.
However when it comes to comic con in this day and age ,
You ask about Steve Whitmire’s blog “ Muppet Pundit” 
As well as various other trolls as well as controversial user name Fleece Throat are in fact current working Muppet Performers who hid their names from sight out of the fear of getting into legal trouble and being in the same situation as Steve Whitmire …….. fired .


In the history of the original Muppet Performers , no one was fired.
David Lazer wanted Jim Henson to fire Richard Hunt for talking about a Muppet Show Guest Star when a reporter overheard everything and it ended up in the papers ( as mentioned in Brian Jay Jone’s Jim Henson : The Biography ) .

In 2017 , one of the last standing Muppet Performers Steve Whitmire was fired.
On his blog “ Muppet Pundit “ Steve Whitmire seemed to be with the classic Muppet fans shaking his fist at the capitalist suits of The Walt Disney Company and even said how he was pretty much the only one fighting Disney from ruining The Muppets.
Automatically a HERO !
This was before Frank Oz for the first time going on Twitter more so telling his opinion that regarding Sesame Street today and even Disney’s ownership of The Muppets , just like in an interview from 2013 “ Those are NOT The Muppets that Jim had intended. ) also releasing his documentary “ Muppet Guys Talking “ .

Steve Whitmire talked with ToughPigs to promote how he was selling his collection of Muppet Memorabilia in order to raise money to help out The Muppet exhibit at The Center of Puppetry Arts in Atlanta , his home town.

During the time Steve Whitmire firing was headline news , Kickstarter raised enough money for the Jim Henson Exhibit for The Museum of The Moving Image. ( And I was one of many who helped donate. Not much but I did get some cool stuff. ;) ) .

Currently just like John Kricfalusi , Steve Whitmire is on Instagram surrounded by fans ( who probably don’t pay any attention to the news ) and still paying thee bills from Comic Cons that care more about capitalism than fandom. I do have a better idea for an anti-capitalist comic con which I have written a blog article about it awhile back.

In 2018 , Kevin Clash returned to performing in The Happytime Murders after his headlines hit the news.

Noticed a pattern ? 
( 1. Headline News
( 2. Waiting for time to go past
( 3. Come back and pretending nothing happened .

As an Anarchists I do know that those in power think the masses are stupid as well as those who exploit and cash in on people with capitalism .

In 2018 , I have spotted a video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mj15doDzxss
Which Steve Whitmire took a stuffed Frog plush doll and compared to a “ Master Replicas Kermit Photo Puppet “ and said 
“ Over there that’s Kermit , this…this thing …. Is not Kermit. “ then he makes a Transphobic joke which he says
“ Kermit is no Transgender Pervert or anything “ or “ Kermit is no Transgender or anything “

I MADE A YOUTUBE , I CALLED STEVE WHITMIRE OUT ON THIS !


So far he hasn’t sued me.

I don’t care how famous he is , Trans Lives Matter and no one is anyone’s superior.
Jim Henson knew that.

Still the very thought makes my blood boil .


However , am I willing to let the past go ? It’s not like he’s John Kricfalusi and insults his fans ( as mentioned in the book “ Sick Little Monkeys ) .


The big question of course is …. 
Did Steve Whitmire get bad press with lies spinning out of control ?
There’s still some of his co-workers that are friends with him on Instagram.
But let’s look at THE FACTS shall we ?
( And No , I’m NOT MAKING ANY OF THIS UP ! )

During one of the premiere videos / Q&A videos for Frank Oz’s Muppet Guys Talking.
Bill Barretta makes a joke that he saved the very rib bone that was from Hulk Hogan when he made a cameo in the movie Muppets From Space.
He shows it in a plastic bag telling people that he saved it all these years.
Bill Barretta cracks up and says 
“ It’s not true , none of it’s true “ .
Dave Golez ( Him and Frank Oz being the oldest living / surviving of the original Muppet Performers ) says “ JUST LIKE STEVE’S FORUM ! “
Bill Baretta , Fran Brill , Dave Golez and Frank Oz share the little laugh .

( Yes folks , I paid for the VIP for Muppet Guys Talking. ;) Perhaps only VIP fans seen that , I don’t know.  )


Last year , Frank Oz did a “ Ask Me Anything “ Q&A on Reddit


And someone asked the following question to Frank Oz .

Q : Where do you stand on the firing of Steve Whitmire?

Frank Oz responded ( in quote ) “
I'm just very sad about what happened with Steve. I'm not privy to the reasons. I'm not part of Disney. As I understand it, the reasons had nothing to do with performing. When Steve was on the set he was always a joy to work with. So it saddens me that something outside of performing caused this to happen. It just saddens me, that's all. “


And finally
The Henson Family ( Jim Henson’s children who have running The Jim Henson Company since his passing in 1990 )


Lisa Henson mentioned Steve Whitmire  “played brinkmanship very aggressively in contract negotiations.” And he was against having an understudy so that someone was available to puppeteer Kermit at “B-level performances, such as a ribbon-cutting,” some of which she said Steve Whitmire wasn’t willing to appear.
Also “blackballed young performers” when he refused to appear on shows with them.

Cheryl Henson
“ Steve’s vision of history is ridiculously self serving. My father never asked him to perform Kermit , my brother Brian did. Steve’s performance of Kermit has strayed far away from my father’s good hearted , compassionate leader of the Muppets. Steve performed Kermit as a bitter, angry, depressed, victim. Worst of all, in the past few years he had not been not funny or fun . Recasting Kermit is long over due. Stop with the pity party ! Let’s get back to the true spirit of Jim Henson’s Kermit ! “

According to Nov 17-23 
TV Guide The Muppets at midlife : Life without their leader  , it was said that Jane Henson mentioned that Jim Henson was looking for future replacements. However that is debatable .
However according to The Hollywood Reporter
Brian Henson, along with his late mother, Jane, who picked Steve Whitmire to continue Kermit after Jim Henson’s passing in 1990 .

And of course , 
Jim Henson’s Son , President for many years of The Jim Henson Company 
And the one to thank for keeping The Muppets alive in the 1990s Jim Henson Productions ( 1990s ) era and making my 1990s Muppet fan childhood come true.
( And I won’t mention the crap film which shock Muppet fans to this very day The Happytime Murders ) 
“ Brain Henson “ : 
( From The Hollywood Reporter Interview )
"I really don't want to be talking about this, and I think it is very sad that this has become an issue. I have to say, in hindsight, I feel pretty guilty that I burdened Disney by not having recast Kermit at that point because I knew that it was going to be a real problem. And I have always offered that if they wanted to recast Kermit, I was all for it, and I would absolutely help. I am very glad we have done this now. I think the character is better served to remove this destructive energy around it. Nobody worked harder than me on making sure Kermit survived my father's death and retained his cathartic personality and presence. So I understand the fans being concerned.”
In the Hollywood Reporter article “ Brain Henson said he had to have numerous talks with Steve Whitmire over the years about his unprofessional conduct, which included "appalling" communications with colleagues. Despite being a fantastic technical puppeteer and impersonator, he made "outrageous demands and often played brinkmanship," which he was warned as far back as the mid-1990s needed to stop. Brian Henson declined to go into specifics about Whitmire's exact demands, but did say,
 "Steve would use 'I am now Kermit and if you want the Muppets, you better make me happy because the Muppets are Kermit.' And that is really not OK.”
Brian, who helped train possible replacements for Whitmire, said he has full confidence in newly named Kermit puppeteer Matt Vogel.
"Kermit has, as a character, flattened out over time and has become too square and not as vital as it should have been," "Again, what my dad brought to it — without even thinking because he was accessing his own character that was coming out of his own personality — was a wry intelligence, a little bit of a naughtiness, but Kermit always loved everyone around and also loved a good prank."
The character, as Whitmire had interpreted it, was getting away from what the elder Henson imagined, his son said.
"There was an awful lot of stuff to Kermit where people thought, 'Oh, Kermit is a wholesome, all-American lovely guy,' which was not really what my dad developed," Henson said. "What my dad developed was that Kermit the Frog is a little bit of a prankster, he likes to put an act onstage that will shock you and is kind of weird. But Kermit the Frog, when push comes to shove, is loyal and believes in the family of friends. Kermit believes you should love and respect the being most different from you because of how different they are."
He added: "So there was a lot of complexities to Kermit that have been kind of falling away, and I do believe Matt Vogel can access that energy really well. And Matt is a very good performer. And I believe that in protecting Kermit going forward, Matt will do a really wonderful job. I think the fans should not be so scared of change. Steve did Kermit for a very long time — I would say for far too long. And the character was no longer being serviced by Steve performing Kermit.”
"My dad's No. 1 thing was don't repeat yourself. Innovate. Do something new," Henson said. "He is the guy who canceled The Muppet Show when it was the No. 1 show in the world after five seasons because he was worried he was going to start repeating himself. The last thing my dad would want is that Kermit just keeps doing the same thing over and over and over and is in the same circumstances and having the same attitude. The character needs to be stretched and maintain his heart.”

Sorry for the copy & paste but I felt that this article is very important still. And here’s the original resource. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/amp/news/jim-hensons-son-explains-why-kermit-actor-was-replaced-character-could-use-change-1022041

But wait , did I forget someone ? Who ? Steve Whitmire ? Just Google Search and use the “ Way Back Machine “ archives and look at what he had to say on his https://stevewhitmire-muppetpundit.com which has been abandoned . It even had glitches to the point of exposing his home address and email address.
But of course I’m leaving out someone…. “ FLEECE THROAT “  who still might secretly be a Muppet Performer ! I have a guess who it might be but I won’t mentioned ( their ) name because I think ( they ) are a great performer.
I was searching all over Google for the original comments made by Fleece Throat . But I remember EVERYTHING ! I read everything !
Who is Fleece Throat ?
Fleece Throat was seen by many fans and even Steve Whitmire himself as a troll trying to ruin Steve Whitmire’s public image with libel and slander. However I was getting a lot of spiritual awakening insight that this person was perhaps one of the original Muppet performers. Even going so far as trying to get UK Muppet Performer’s attention and saying that they are real “ I know your performing for The Hollywood Bowl performance , I am too. Tonight I’ll walk up to you and introduce myself and explain EVERYTHING ! “
Fleece Throat had a twitter account which the goal to EXPOSE THE TRUTH ABOUT STEVE WHITMIRE !
What was mention was two things.
( 1. Mafia style dinners. Perhaps there was no real Mafia involved of course , however it was referred to Steve Whitmire’s Narcissistic Ego. The story goes that three current performers that currently work on Sesame Street in 2017 ( Clues were left , I think I know who the three are but again I will not mention it for privacy reasons ) were invited for lunch / dinner with Steve Whitmire. The purpose of it was Steve Whitmire WAS PISSED SOMEONE WAS PERFORMING ERNIE ! The three performers abandoned Steve Whitmire with a “ Go F**K YOURSELF ! “ 
It was said that Sesame Workshop was experiencing problems with Steve Whitmire similar to Disney and even The Jim Henson Company. Showing up on set late and trying to get as much money as he could get as a member of The Screen Actor’s Guild.

( 2. There was a cruse which The Muppets were on with different performers. A leaked email from Steve Whitmire to Debbie ( one of the head people of Disney’s Muppet Devision ) related to the stop of different performers taking their place.
HOWEVER it was noted by Fleece Throat that Steve Whitmire only cared about HIMSELF as Kermit , he didn’t care if Dave Golez ( Gonzo ) and Eric Jacobson ( Frank Oz’s replacement ) were replaced.
Fleece Throat even mentioned if anyone ever wondered what happened to Steve Whitmire’s wife. The one he married since High School and rarely seen in public. Nothing further was exposed.
Fleece Throat was deleted from Twitter and barely any trace of them can be seen. However this user commented on pretty much any article and video. Especially when Steve Whitmire was doing whatever he could to go on The Today Show , radio shows , anywhere where he can shed a tear on camera.


In conclusion , what is my final opinion of Steve Whitmire ?


_ Like Camille Bonora ( currently an editor of a Christian Right website that hates LGBTQ+ people ) , Chris Langham ( One of the funniest people in British Comedy History , Muppet Show writer and guest star , and forever blacklisted due to his arrest for being a pedophile ) , Kevin Clash ( Underage relationship with teenage boys ) , Brian Henson ( that crappy movie The Happytime Murders ) ,etc

Perhaps it’s best to appreciate their talent as the creative talented artists as they are and forgive. Yes I just threw Brian Henson in there for The Happytime Murders because I felt betrayed as a Muppet Fan where that sell out dumb down sex puppet movie was compared to the raunchy humor of the original performers. By the way Henson Alternative SUCKS TOO and doesn’t relate to the original performers because it’s not satirical and or creative within their humor ( as I mentioned in many YouTube blog videos last year ) …
But Brian Henson is innocent compared to the others.


So am I willing to get an autograph from Steve Whitmire ?


Let me put it this way. 
Through out my life , Narcissists have hurt me in my life. I forgive them from a far and move on with my life. Because I just need to accept that there’s nothing I can do that will change their abusive behavior . And it’s good for my own mental health.

My Twin Flame became a runner and HURT ME , but I love her and forgive her.
We are Twin Flames going through Twin Flame Ascension into Union . 
That’s a totally different story because it’s neither one of our faults , the triggering comes from within and our reactions relating to that.
It’s a deep process of personal and spiritual growth which will make us better people and eventually we will unite when the only feeling we have is unconditional love and light.


Steve Whitmire regardless is still one of my all time favorite puppeteers.
His performance style and voice acting inspired me to do the same growing up in the mid - late 1990s.
The headlines were a shock , especially Muppet fans of the 1990s childhood generation like myself.
Even more when The Henson Family and some of the original performers came forth.

Steve Whitmire mentioned how he was going to get the original performers on his side.
They all performed without him at The Hollywood Bowl performance.
Some are still subscribe with him on Instagram .
Fans still subscribe to him on Instagram.
Some fans still meet with him and get his autograph.


But when your a lifetime Muppet fan , when you can say easily that Jim Henson’s Muppets are your favorite #1 Entertainment to the point where you become a puppeteer yourself ,
When you’ve been such a strong fan of Steve Whitmire’s work ,
When you heard he got fired for fighting for Jim Henson’s Legacy one moment then telling Brian Henson “ I AM NOW KERMIT SO YOU BETTER MAKE ME HAPPY ! “ and in current times enjoying your Comic Con career thinking it’s okay to call a random stuffed frog doll “ Transgender Kermit “ …

It almost feels like heartbreak.
It almost feels like someone you liked and admired for many years finally stabs you in the back with narcissistic supply.

Brian Henson is innocent. The Happytime Murders and the garbage seen at The Jim Henson Company today just screams out more than ever “ WE NEED THE MONEY TO SURVIVE AND LIVE ON “ ! It’s capitalism , capitalism kills especially art. 
Brian Henson still cares about The Jim Henson Legacy . He NEVER EVER RUINED The Muppets like Disney did.
The Jim Henson Company today…..has barely anything to do with Jim Henson.
That’s showbiz ! ( sigh )

If The Jim Henson Company was sold to Disney , it shouldn’t be surprising.
Personally I root for The Jim Henson Legacy , they should own both the company and The Muppets.
Fans keep pop culture alive , culture should belong to the people.
Just make sure to give thanks and pay tribute to the original .


Steve Whitmire to me in my view is kind of like John Kricfalusi.
He cares more about himself but he still manages to fool “ Well Meaning Fans “.

Comic Con doesn’t care about the fans , they care about capitalism.

It’s time for a pop culture revolution !

ANARCHISTS UNITE !


Finally I will repeat again , In no means am I trying to libel and slander.
I WANT TO TELL THE TRUTH  ( at least to my knowledge ) AND MY OPINION ON IT ALL !
But I am an Anarchist , Hierarchical Power only cares about that , I want power to the people not the people in power no matter who they are.



_ Erica