Everybody has a soft spot (pun intended) for the floppy, colorful characters in the "Jim Henson's Fantastic World" exhibit, a traveling show that begins its Southwestern première engagement on Saturday, December 15, at Arizona Museum for Youth, 35 North Robson Street in Mesa. The exhibition combines fascinating fun with reverence for the power of puppetry (and the genius of the late Henson, who created the Muppets and was essentially a loving surrogate parent to a generation of television kids). Along with viewing original puppets and creatures, photos, documents, videos, and dozens of framed artworks, visitors can play with AMY-TV, "a little 'television studio' for the kids where they can dress up and do a puppet show," says Michelle Balani, the museum's community arts coordinator.
The exhibit runs through March 9, 2008, with several special events scheduled, including a December 27 big-screen showing of the 1977 TV special Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas followed by a Q&A with Jim Henson Legacy archivist Karen Falk.
As befits a tribute to an artistic titan, "Jim Henson's Fantastic World" is a timed-ticketed event -- like when that Monet dude gets his stuff toured around. Seven bucks reserves your slot and admits you to the museum's other goodies, too.