Thursday, January 7, 2021

MO WILLEMS STUDIO UPDATE 2021

Hello, 2021

Instead of a listing of various performances, appearances, and events in the coming months, here's a video of me fiddling with ink while Yo-Yo Ma fiddles with strings. 


The continuing pandemic has made it difficult, if not impossible to plan appearances, performances, theater, music, or any live experiments that had been scheduled around my tenure as the Kennedy Center's inaugural Education Artist in Residence

But, ART persists. 

It invites us to experiment, create, and embrace empathy.



If you want to try making things, drawings, puppets, animation, and songs, visit the Kennedy Center's Mo Willems site for special videos.

Special series include: 

LUNCH DOODLES WITH MO WILLEMS (15 episodes)

THANK YOU THURSDAYS (4 episodes)

THE YO-YO MO SHOW (1 episode)

They're all at the MoKC site waiting for your creativity.

While live appearances and performances are either canceled or postponed, it is my hope that we will be able to share planned collaborations with Jason Moran and his BandwagonBen Folds and the NSO, Beethoven Abstractions and the NSO, the touring production of DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS! (THE MUSICAL!), and more later in the year.  I will try to post at this site, my twitter feed, and instagram feed as information becomes available.

Here are a few things I feel fairly certain will happen this year:





The Kennedy Center and I are currently creating an alternative puppet piece with Manual Cinema and a dance work with Ephrat Asherie Dance as virtual performances.  (Details to come)


Carlos Simon and I, in collaboration with The Washington National Opera, have created a short Opera (or SLOPERA) based on Elephant & Piggie's I REALLY LIKE SLOP! It will tour the DC area for schools and the public in the late spring.(Details to come)

There are also art exhibitions, both virtual and live planned for the year.


THE PIGEON COMES TO YOUR TOWN is an interactive experience filled with games, drawing, busses, laundromats, animation, and other activities. Venues in 2021 include:

Children’s Museum of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA
Minnesota Children’s Museum, St Paul, MN



I recently Co-Curated an exhibition with the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art called ART IN PLACE: SOCIAL DISTANCING IN THE STUDIO.  This digital show features the recent work, studios, and personal stories of 21 leading picture book illustrators as they navigate the new realities of the post-Covid19 world.  

There will be a show of my recent abstractions at the R. Michelson Galleries in the Spring. (Details to come)




As previously announced, I'll be creating new work for the screen for HBO Max.

They are currently screening a concert comedy special entitled THE STORYTIME ALL-STARS PRESENT: DON'T LET THE PIGEON DO STORYTIME! performed by some of your favorite comedians.



HBOMax also streams CODENAME: KIDS NEXT DOOR, Mr. Warburton's kid adventure series that I served as head writer for from 2002-2006.  Mr. Warburton and I are teaming up to create an CGI animated special based on NAKED MOLE RAT GETS DRESSED: THE ROCK EXPERIENCE, a rock opera that Deborah Wicks La Puma and I created a few years back.

Also slated, an animated series based on UNLIMITED SQUIRRELS and a live-action/puppet take on CAT THE CAT.

All of these projects are being produced by my pals at Stampede Ventures.  We're working with wonderful teams of collaborators. We are having a ball.


I am still busily working on books, with several scheduled to be published this year.




MAY 11: I'm ON It!
                                
                -- a wonderful story by Andrea Tsurumi.  The 8th Elephant & Piggie Like Reading                         adventure!

JULY 6: DOODLING 101: A SILLY SYMPOSIUM
                                
                -- a new activity book based on last year's Lunch Doodles, featuring your favorite                         characters as drawn and animated by YOU and the Doodle Poodles.

SEPT 21: Elephant & Piggie's BIGGIE-BIGGIE-BIGGIE-BIGGIE (vol. 4) 
                                
                -- a collection of 5 Elephant & Piggie adventures

OCT: GUESS WHAT!?
                                
                -- the 4th UNLIMITED SQUIRRELS adventure!

OCT: OPPOSITES ABSTRACT
                                
                -- a concept book, abstracted

Phew!  That's a lot.  There are a few more projects and initiatives that I hope to be able to post about soon.

Until then, enjoy this short film about my inspirations.




Be safe, be kind, be creative out there!

Mo