How do you get to Sesame Street? Practice, practice, practice

When people ask if I like working at TJ’s, I usually say yes (depending on whether that question was preceded with the dreaded “Where is the end of the line?” inquiry, to which the only appropriate response is a throttling with the large neon-green sign that says indicates the END OF LINE), and the reason I say yes really boils down to one thing: nearly everyone who works at TJ’s doesn’t just work at TJ’s; they’ve all got some other pursuit outside the building that doesn’t quite cover the bills yet, which most often means music, acting, art, DJing, writing, but also includes pottery, jewelry making, graphic design and the occasional journalist here or there. The walls of 130 Court Street hold some serious creative talent, ensuring that it’s never a dull place to work, and never one where anyone can take the daily shortage of white bean hummus too seriously.The following is the best example to come along that I’ve had the pleasure to highlight.

These two videos are for a Sesame Street contest on the animation-sharing site Aniboom. The animation is by Mari Jaye Blanchard, one of the store’s artists who produced much of the large-scale art on the walls, with music by Mandy Heck (aka Akwarian Sea Rebel), and the second one features the voice of crew buddy James “Bones” Cunningham. The more views and votes they get, the better their chances of getting a deal with Sesame Street, so take a look at these, and think about how much you enjoyed these kinds of interstitial cartoons as a kid:

Inspector Nose Private Eye

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Lonely Eleven

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The Lonely Eleven song has been stuck in my head on repeat for a week now. These vids are clever, cute and entertaining, a perfect combo for the eyes and minds of the Sesame Street youth audience. The judges for the contest include NPH, Sandra Oh, and the guy who created that original pinball “12” cartoon for Sesame Street back in the day, so you know this is some serious biz.

TJ’s — like so many other bookstores, bars and restaurants that act like basins collecting the underemployed creative talents of Brooklyn — also fosters a collaborative atmosphere that produced the above, and a bunch of other team-ups in the works. The schemas of crew-crossover projects presently in the works include a lit zine, a series of web video shorts, a summer rock tour and numerous other shared-billing live shows.

It’s comforting to know that behind each fellow can stocker and meat-spoiler is a person whose passion hasn’t died with the ailing economy, who goes home at night and churns out something creative and fun, nudged along for the time being by stellar health care and a solid discount on groceries. That transforms the job from just something you do to get by and make rent payments into a community of people just striving to make something bigger happen. All that makes each “where is the end of the line?” question a little more tolerable.

RELATED: This 2007 NY Mag story about the Manhattan TJ’s, which presupposes the whole chain as “the supermarket of starving artists.”

One response to “How do you get to Sesame Street? Practice, practice, practice

  1. hey, I just read an article about Mari Jaye Blanchard doing some animation work for the popular children’s show Sesame Street and a New York City recording studio called 
      MetroSonic . You could read the article and watch the her animation by clicking right here!

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