Weird Al Yankovic Publishes Kids’ Book

02.03.2011

Image courtesy HarperCollinsChildrens.com

Pop music parody king and three-time Grammy winner Weird Al Yankovic published his first children’s book on February 1st, When I Grow Up. Publisher HarperCollins describes the book thusly:

Billy’s classmates may have never considered careers in snail training or sumo wrestling before, but by the time the exuberant eight-year-old is done cataloging his dream jobs, they just might share his belief in unlimited potential!

Virtuoso wordplay, irresistible rhythm, and laugh-out-loud humor abound in the first picture book by the one and only “Weird Al” Yankovic. This unbridled celebration of creativity and possibility invites readers of all ages to consider afresh what they want to be when they grow up.

The book has received critical acclaim from comedian/actor Patton Oswalt (Ratatouille, Robotomy, WordGirl), who called the book “wonderful” via Twitter.

And if you don’t care for Oswalt’s opinion, Seth Green (Robot Chicken, Family Guy) says via Twitter that Al’s book is “great…for story-time reading!”

Granted, Seth Green has no experience in parenting to make him an authority on kids’ books, and Patton Oswalt isn’t one most would look to for recommending good books for kids either.

So would it help if Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich gave this glowing review of the book?

Have a kid? Need a book to read with said kid? @alyankovic just wrote one, and it’s great!

And here’s Al narrating an excerpt of his book via YouTube:

(You can download the entire audiobook on iTunes for $1.99.)

Weird Al’s also doing a book signing tour during February 2011, and new dates keep being added to the schedule at WEIRDAL.COM. Current schedule (courtesy of Yank Blog):

Feb 12 – Los Angeles, CA – Barnes & Noble (at the Grove) 2:00pm
Feb 13 – Van Nuys, CA – Costco 1:00pm
Feb 15 – Irvine, CA – A Whale of a Tale 4:00pm
Feb 18 – Naperville, IL – Anderson’s Bookshop 7:00pm

And here are some recent interview links with Al discussing his book:

- Naperville Sun Times: Yankovic book tour to visit NCC

- CNN: What happened when Weird Al grew up

- IndyStyle.TV: Weird Al Yankovic (video interview)

- MyFoxBoston.com: Weird Al Yankovic Interview (video)

- CelebrityBabyScoop.com: Weird Al Yankovic: “Family is my first priority.”

- Stuff.Co.NZ: The Weird Al Yankovic Interview

- ThePageTurn.com: My Favorite Teacher, by Al Yankovic

- iTunes Podcast – English, Baby!: Grow Up – Weird Al Yankovic (Select episode #3.)

- HarperCollins: Q&A with Weird Al Yankovic (PDF file)

- FaceCulture video interview:

Additional source: World of Weird Al Yankovic

~ Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News
(and lifelong Weird Al fan/”close personal friend”)

Weird Al Yankovic and Craig "Voiceroy" Crumpton at the 2004 San Diego Comic-Con. (Demotivator caption by Steve Helling.)


Charitable Voice Actors

02.03.2011

Celebrity charity auction site ClothesOffOurBack.org has listed a few items that some voice actor fans may be interested in bidding on: two bottles of 2008 Merlot wine autographed by Hank Azaria (The Simpsons, Anastasia) and Mila Kunis (Family Guy, Robot Chicken), and a dress donated by CCH Pounder (Justice League, Batman Beyond).

Both auctions end March 1, 2011. Proceeds benefit various children’s charities.

In a bit of related news, Paul Rugg (voice actor and writer on Freakazoid and Animaniacs) has announced that he is going to be auctioning off animation cells and memorabilia from shows he has worked on to help raise funds for Angels Way Maternity Home in California. Paul has a video on his Froynlaven! blog showing many of the items he’ll be donating from his own collection. We’ll provide an update when his auction officially begins.

~ Craig Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News

====================================

The Clothes Off Our Back Foundation is a 501c3 organization that hosts charity auctions showcasing today’s hottest celebrity attire. Items are put up for bid to the public with proceeds going to benefit children’s charities. Clothes Off Our Back was founded by actors and philanthropists Jane Kaczmarek (“Malcolm In The Middle,” “Raising the Bar”) and Bradley Whitford (“The West Wing,” “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip”) whose efforts, along with their celebrity and designer friends have helped improve the lives of children across the globe. For more information and to bid, log onto www.clothesoffourback.org.


‘Sesame Street’ Katy Perry/Elmo Duet Video Deemed “Too Racy”

09.23.2010

The New York Daily News is reporting that a video of pop star Katy Perry singing a spoof of her hit “Hot N Cold” with Elmo (performed by Kevin Clash) has been deemed “too racy” and subsequently pulled from Sesame Street‘s official YouTube Channel.

Kevin Clash with Elmo. Image courtesy SesameStreet.org.

The video, released exclusively on the web September 20th, apparently received too many negative comments and complaints about Perry’s wardrobe, which consisted of “a low-cut yellow-green heart-shaped dress, a sheer piece of material covering her ample cleavage.”

The show’s producers have issued the following statement:

In light of the feedback we’ve received on the Katy Perry music video which was released on You Tube only, we have decided we will not air the segment on the television broadcast of Sesame Street, which is aimed at preschoolers. Katy Perry fans will still be able to view the video on You Tube.

We will not be linking directly to any video here on the blog (just to avoid potential broken links); however, dozens of YouTubers are (naturally) scrambling to get traffic off the controversy and publicity. Just do a YouTube.com search for: Katy Perry Elmo and you’re sure to find it.

In a bit of ironically related news, The Hollywood Reporter has an exclusive preview video from Sesame Street’s upcoming 41st season with a parody of the very adult, violent and graphic HBO series True Blood. Sesame Street (and Jim Henson productions in general) has never shied from spoofing pop culture even at the risk of alienating their core demographic from the joke. But like the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) innuendo in classic Looney Tunes cartoons, there are some gags and references on Sesame Street that parents will laugh at but kids won’t understand until adulthood.

I don’t believe I can encode the video via WordPress, so here’s a direct link:

http://video.hollywoodreporter.com/services/player/bcpid6555681001?bctid=614605996001

Sesame Street has other preview segments for their 41st season on their official YouTube Channel, including celebrity guests Jason Bateman, Chris O’Donnell, Wanda Sykes and Colin Farrel, and two others which I must share here:

- Oprah Winfrey providing voiceover for an animated spoof of herself and her own show:

- Joseph “Run” Simmons (of famed hip-hop group Run-DMC) and Kevin Clash as Elmo as Steven Tyler performing a parody of “Walk This Way”:

And here’s a bonus video we linked to recently (for those who don’t follow us on Facebook or Twitter): Kevin Clash and Elmo visit Baltimore:

~ Craig Crumpton
Publisher, Voice Actors in the News

Additional source: Blastr.com


Complete List of Dragon*Con Voice Actor Events

09.03.2010

I’ve been asked by several individuals attending Dragon*Con if I would list all of the voice actor panels I’m involved with along with other related panels of note. As you will see below, there are so many related events that this was a rather daunting task. I hope my efforts will be useful as a guide to those attending the con.

Please note that the schedule and guests listed below are subject to change. Check The Daily Dragon regularly for up-to-the-minute schedule and guest updates.

Locations for each panel/event are not listed due to the possibility of changes. For those attending Dragon*Con please check your Pocket Program Guide, and every morning when you arrive at the con be sure to pick up a copy of The Daily Dragon from the local D*Con Info booth which contains all updates and changes.

FRIDAY

- 10:00 AM – Snydecast & FRED Entertainment
Featuring Dana Snyder.

- 11:30 AM – Aqua Teen Hunger Force/Squidbillies Panel
Featuring live script reads with a full cast: Jim Fortier, Dave Willis, Carey Means, Daniel Baker (Unknown Hinson), Daniel McDevitt, Dana Snyder, Bobby Ellerbee, Mary Kraft, and Scott Hilley. Autograph session to follow.

- 1:00 PM – Bill Corbett (Mystery Science Theatre 3000, Rifftrax)

- 2:30 PM – Trace Beaulieu (MST3K, Cinematic Titanic)

- 2:30 PM – Meet the Stars of Star Wars
Featuring Clone Wars cast members Ashley Eckstein, Phil LaMarr and Daniel Logan.

- 2:30 PM – Voice Acting for Podcasters
Panel description: “Learn the finer points of voice acting and voice overs to enhance your podcast.” [No industry guests listed for this event.]

- 4:00 PM – Darkstar: The Interactive Movie
Featuring MST3K’s Trace Beaulieu

- 4:00 PM – Voice Actors
Panel moderated by Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton, featuring panelists C. Martin Croker, George Lowe, Billy West, Dana Snyder, and John DiMaggio. (Additional guests possible for this panel.)

- 5:30 PM – The Animation Fan Fun Panel
Hosted by yours truly, Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton, with special industry guests (TBA). Light on commentary and packed with voice actor improv, a wild Old Time Radio script read, and trivia contest with prizes. Sponsored by toonzone.net and Voice Actors in the News.

- 5:30 PM – Akira: The Great Dub Debate – Streamline or Pioneer?
Fan panel discussing the two dubs of the classic anime film.

- 7:00 PM – Atlanta Radio Theatre Company
Live performance by local audio drama troupe.

- 7:00 PM – [adult swim] Comedy
Fan panel with industry guests TBA.

- 8:30 PM – Aqua Teen Hunger Force Fan Panel
Industry guests also possible for this panel.

- 8:30 PM – MST3K and Cinematic Titanic
Historic live performance featuring Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Joel Hodgson, Mary Jo Pehl, Bill Corbett, and J. Weinstein. [This is nearly a 6-hour event.]

- 1:30 AM – WEEP
Live concert featuring Venture Bros‘ Doc Hammer on lead vocals and guitar.

SATURDAY

- 11:30 AM – Voice Actors
Panel moderated by Craig “Voiceroy” Crumpton, featuring panelists C. Martin Croker, George Lowe, Billy West, Dana Snyder, John DiMaggio, and Tom Kenny. (Additional guests possible for this panel.)

- 11:30 AM – MST3K
Panel presentation featuring Kevin Murphy, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Joel Hodgson, Mary Jo Pehl, Bill Corbett, and J. Weinstein.

- 1:00 PM – Venture Bros. Guests
Featuring Doc Hammer and Jackson Publick. Autograph session to follow.

- 1:00 PM – FUNimation Entertainment Industry Panel and Q&A
Possible industry guests in attendance.

- 1:00 PM – Star Wars Costume Contest
Emceed by Ashley Eckstein.

- 4:00 PM – Bizarro Saturday Morning
Adult Swim voice actor/animator/artist C. Martin Croker hosts this vintage film showcase. Here’s Clay’s description of the show:
“Bizarro Saturday Morning” is a film series (all 16mm from my own collection) that I’ve shown around the South – but primarily at [Atlanta's] Historic Plaza Theater – of vintage, rarely seen and usually offbeat cartoons from the 1930s through the 1980s intercut with vintage Toy and TV spots mostly from the 1960s and 70s.”

- 4:00 PM – Meet the Stars of Star Wars
Featuring Phil LaMarr and Daniel Logan.

- 8:30 PM – Quantum Quest
Animated feature film screening with guest Tom Kenny.

- 8:30 PM – FUNimation presents: Anime’s Greatest Hits – The Best Scenes
Possible industry guests in attendance.

- 10:00 PM – Nuts on the Road: The Quiz Show
Improvised game show with contestants Dana Snyder, Doc Hammer, Jackson Publick, Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Joel Hodgson, Mary Jo Pehl, Adam Savage, J. Weinstein and Kevin Murphy.

SUNDAY

- 10:00 AM – Tom Servo vs Tom Servo
MST3K event featuring Kevin Murphy vs J. Elvis Weinstein.

- 11:30 AM – Squidbillies Fan Panel
Possible industry guests in attendance.

- 11:30 AM – Gargoyles: The Animated Series
Featuring cast members Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis.

- 1:00 PM – Stories with Uncle George
George Lowe’s popular one-man panel show.

- 1:00 PM – Meet the Stars of Star Wars
Featuring Daniel Logan and Ashley Eckstein.

- 2:30 PM – Voice Acting Workshop
Featuring voice-over professional September Day and anime/video game voice actor Bob Carter.
Panel description: “Ever wanted to break into the voice over industry but just didn’t know where to start? Don’t have thousands to spend flying out to Los Angeles or New York for weekend-long workshops? How about coming to a workshop to learn what it REALLY takes to get started in this awesome industry right here in Atlanta? You don’t need a ton of money to launch your voice over career!”

- 2:30 PM – MST3K: Meet the Mads
Panel featuring Trace Beaulieu, Frank Conniff, Mary Jo Pehl, J. Weinstein, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy.

- 4:00 PM – Futurama Cast Panel
Featuring Billy West, John DiMaggio and Phil LaMarr. (Maurice LaMarche unfortunately had to cancel his appearance at the convention.)

- 4:00 PM – Master Shake Tells it Like it Is
Featuring Dana Snyder.

- 5:30 – FUNimation Anime Sneak Peaks and Prizes
Possible industry guests in attendance.

- 5:30 – Meet Chad Vader!
Featuring the star of popular YouTube adventures of Darth Vader’s less fortunate brother, Chad Vader, who has also voiced Vader for LucasArts video games.

- 5:30 PM – Rifftrax Live…sort of
Featuring Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy.

- 7:00 PM – What’s on Dana Snyder’s iPod
Featuring Dana Snyder.

- 7:00 PM – Atlanta Radio Theatre Company
Live peformance.

- 8:30 PM – David Bowie: Loving the Alien
Featuring Doc Hammer.


MONDAY

- 10:00 AM – Clone Wars & Star Wars Cartoons
Featuring Phil LaMarr and Ashley Eckstein.

Other celebrity guests will be in attendance who have voiced characters for animated productions. Please check the Pocket Program Guide for the panels and autograph sessions they are participating in.

Thanks to all the following sites for providing detailed schedules for Dragon*Con:

Anime-Manga Track (by Jake)
http://anime.dragoncon.org/2010/08/22/anime-manga-track-schedule-subject-to-change/

Animation Track (by Jess)
http://dragontoon.moonfruit.com/#/schedule-2009/4534639034

Star Wars Track
http://www.swatdc.com/

MST3KInfo
http://www.mst3kinfo.com/?p=7080

Venture Bros Blog
http://venturebrosblog.com/dragon-con/

[adult swim] Central (by John)
http://www.adultswimcentral.com/dc10.html

[adult swim] Official
http://www.adultswim.com/presents/dragon-con/index.html


‘Voice of Hollywood’ Marni Nixon Concert Event in N.C.

08.17.2010

For immediate release

Marni Nixon image courtesy Asheville Lyric Opera

MARNI NIXON, “The Voice of Hollywood,” presents a cabaret show at Diana Wortham Theatre on August 29th, at 3:00 p.m. One of the most famous voices in Hollywood film history, Ms. Nixon is best known as the singing voice of Natalie Wood in West Side Story, Deborah Kerr in The King and I and An Affair to Remember, as well as Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady.

~~ Click here to view the promotional poster for this event ~~

This one-woman show of brilliant singing is part of the 2010 summer at the WORTHAM series, Pack Place in downtown Asheville, NC. Ms. Nixon sings highlights from her extensive career in TV, Recordings, Movies, Broadway and Opera. This once in a lifetime event will bring the audience a unique behind the scenes look into the music secrets and success of Hollywood and Broadway in the grand glamour silver screen days.

This special event is sponsored by Asheville Lyric Opera Guild and the Grand Bohemian Hotel and will benefit the ALO education programs and opera activates.

Tickets are available at 828-257-4530. Concert prices are $50, $40, and seniors $35.

For more information see www.ashevillelyric.org or call 828-236-0670.

Marni will also be performing October 9th with the Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra at the Los Medanos College Recital Hall in Pittsburg, CA. We’ll provide more details and ticket info on this event in the near future.

Update: 8.17, 2:15 PM — Marni tells Voice Actors in the News exclusively that she has just won a Peabody Award for “Outstanding Contribution to American Music” which she will receive in May 2011 at an event in New York.

And as a bonus, here’s a January 2008 video interview with Marni Nixon from The Chicago Tribune:

A very special thanks to David Craig Starkey for the press release and images, and to Marni Nixon for the info on the Oct. 9th concert. Please visit MarniNixon.com for more about Marni’s life and work.

~ Craig Crumpton
Publisher: Voice Actors in the News


Daytime Emmy Nominations Announced

05.13.2010

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has announced the nominees for the 37th Annual Daytime Entertainment Emmy® Awards.

Voice acting-related nominees for “Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Series”:

- Kevin Clash as Elmo, Sesame Street
Caroll Spinney as Big Bird, Sesame Street
Joey Mazzarino as Stinky, Myrry & Blogg, Sesame Street
David Rudman as Baby Bear, Sesame Street

Nominees for “Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program”:

- Ed Asner as Kid Potato, WordGirl (PBS)
Eartha Kitt as Cool Cat, The Wonder Pets! (Nick)
Amy Poehler as Bessie Higgenbottom, The Mighty B! (Nick)
Phillip Seymour Hoffman as William Fillmore Toffman, Arthur (PBS)

Voice acting-related mentions for “Outstanding Directing in an Animated Program”:

- Cynthia True, voice director: The Mighty B! (Nick)
Andrea Romano, voice director: SpongeBob SquarePants (Nick)
Lisa Schaffer, voice director: The Penguins of Madagascar (Nick)
Ginny McSwain, voice director: Fanboy and Chum Chum (Nick)

Some of Seasame Street‘s Muppet performers were also included in nominations for “Outstanding Directing in a Children’s Series”: Kevin Clash, Matt Vogel and Joey Mazzarino, and Mazzarino was also included in a nomination for “Outstanding Writing in a Children’s Series” (he serves as the head writer for Sesame Street).

Nominees for the category for “Outstanding Childrens’ Animated Program”:

- WordGirl (PBS)
– The Backyardigans (Nick)
– Curious George (PBS)
– Sid The Science Kid (PBS)

Also related to animation, PBS’ Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman was nominated for “Outstanding Children’s Series.”

Nominees of note in “Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction and Composition”:

- The Wonder Pets! (Nick)
– Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 (CN)
– Phineas & Ferb (Disney Channel)
– The Penguins of Madagascar (Nick)

Nominees of note in “Outstanding Original Song – Children’s and Animation”:

- “Nochebuena Song,” Dora The Explorer (Nick)
– “It’s a P-H!,” Between the Lions (PBS)
– “A Fiddler Crab Am I,” The Wonder Pets! (Nick)
– “Come Home Perry,” Phineas & Ferb (Disney Channel)
– “Song About Elmo,” Sesame Street (PBS)

And the main title theme for Disney Channel’s Special Agent Oso was nominated for “Outstanding Original Song.”

Also wanted to point out that a couple of the voice cast for WordGirl were included in nominations for “Outstanding Writing in Animation”: Jack Ferraiolo and Ryan Raddatz. And on a related note, Ryan Raddatz says of the three WordGirl Emmy nominations via his official site — RyanRaddatz.com: “I’m thrilled to be a part of the WordGirl team, and doubly thrilled to be recognized for our work.” Raddatz added that a PBS series he helped write, Fizzy’s Lunch Lab, “is nominated in the curiously named ‘New Approaches’ category.”

And just for kicks, here’s a breakdown of the total Emmy noms for networks and shows of interest (as they relate to this blog):

PBS 53
Nickelodeon 25
Disney Channel 5

And shows receiving “multiple nominations”:

Sesame Street 14
Disney Phineas and Ferb 4
Fanboy and Chum Chum 4
The Penguins of Madagascar 4
The Wonder Pets! 4
The Fairly OddParents 3
Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman 3
Hot Wheels Battle Force 5 3
WordGirl 3
Between the Lions 2
The Mighty B! 2
Sid The Science Kid 2
Spongebob Squarepants 2

“The Daytime Entertainment Emmy® Awards” are scheduled to air on CBS June 27th, 2010. You can view the full list of nominees via EmmyOnline.org.


Jolly Green-Grant Get Hitched

05.05.2010

Seth Green and Clare Grant at the 61st Emmy Awards, 9.12.2009 (Photo courtesy aceshowbiz.com, © Albert L. Ortega, PR Photos)

Congratulations to newlyweds Seth Green (Family Guy, Robot Chicken, Titan Maximum) and Clare Grant who tied the knot May 1st during a private ceremony at a vineyard outside of San Francisco, CA. (Weird Al Yankovic was a wedding guest.)

Grant is a native of Memphis, TN and has voiced characters on Robot Chicken.

For more photos and wedding details, visit the links below:

- People.com (5.04) — Newlyweds Green and Grant Can’t Believe Their Luck

- MTV.com (5.04) — Seth Green and Clare Grant: Wedding Details!

- People.com (5.03) — Seth Green Gets Married!

- GossipBooCrew.com (5.03) — Seth Green Got Married At Skywalker Ranch This Weekend


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