By Samir Mathur
Contributing writerStaff page | Twitter | Tumblr
BEING ELMO: A PUPPETEER'S JOURNEY opens tomorrow (December 16) at Enzian, for one week only. Click here for showtimes.
Even though I watched it as I got ready for school every morning - during high school, no less - I've never been much of a Sesame Street fan. It's odd, because I love the Muppets more than I love most of my relatives, but Sesame Street was always a little too... childish? Maybe I didn't watch it at the right age, when I was young enough to find it entertaining and educational as it's intended. For me, the best thing about the Street was the Bert Is Evil meme that was all over the internet a hundred years ago.
But as a Jim Henson devotee, I remain fascinated by the behind-the-scenes stuff, and so I'd been excited about Being Elmo for months. Even if you don't own a TV, you know who Elmo is, but you may not be aware that he's voiced by a big African-American man called Kevin Clash. This is his story - how he went from a poor childhood in Baltimore to becoming a global phenomenon, and how it affected his life. What's nice is that there's no background of extreme hardship or tragedy, which is often the case in this kind of story. Clash rose through the ranks the old-fashioned way, by being persistent, by falling in with the right people, and simply by being amazing at what he does.
There's footage of Elmo amazing children from all over the world, and footage of Kevin Clash showing budding puppeteers the drawer where they keep all the eyes and eyelashes. The film will probably mean less to you if you're not a lover of all things Henson - we can never be friends, by the way - but it's a feelgood story that ought to win over even the stoniest of jerks. Elmo loves you and I love 'Being Elmo'.