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Ok, so I have a…

July 23, 2012

Ok, so I have a couple stories that I wanted to share that are old, but are good.  And work has been so crazy that to keep this blog going I better keep writing.

It is the story of me, Holly and Wyatt going to NYC to MTV for Wyatt to work with Patrick Zung from Celebrity Death Match. It was Spring, 1999!  Holly and Wyatt and I were living in our little house in Hillsborough and for some reason (Holly!) we had cable.  Holly turned us on to the show, “Celebrity Death Match”.  It was a show where celebrities who are made out of clay beat each other up, fun stuff!  Anyway, one day Wyatt says to me, “Mom, no one likes me.”, and I say, “People like you!”, and he says, “NO, there is NO one like me!”, and I say, “I know!  That is because you are in a small group of people, when you get older you will meet other people who are like you.”   So, we rented a video of Celebrity Death Match one day and I took down the name of the Executive Producer and called him.  That one phone call landed us in NYC at the MTV studio.  Patrick Zung called me back and said, “We would love to give you a tour, but we would really like to work with him, can you come up for the weekend?”  ‘OMG!!! Yes we can!”….Holly’s friend Eddie’s mom moved out of her apartment in lower Manhattan and let us stay there, bought 3 tickets and next thing we know…

We got to MTV near Times Square about 11:00 am.  I had my boy, Wyatt (10) and my girl, Holly (19) and her friend Eddie, who was pretty much our host while we were there.  Here we were sitting on these two plush Victorian couches at mtv, watching an mtv show called the Tom Green show on TV! at MTV!  Oh yea, and this was when MTV was cool.  It’s a discrace now and should get the heck off TV, anway…  Patrick Zung came and got us.  He was very tall, skinny, long hair, Asian eyes and quiet, shy, gentle, basically just a really authentic sweet person!    He introduced us to everyone.  There were three shows going on in this area, a new animation, Downtown; animated show, Darias and CELEBRITY DEATH MATCH!!!  To show them Wyatt’s skill we had brought along an egg carton that had 12 sculpted heads with a toothpick on the end for easy pickup/showoff!  Wyatt had done David Letterman, Larry King, Al Pacino, Robert DeNiro and more.  The first woman we met was Liz; she sculpted heads in decreasing size as they are being punched down by their opponent.  Each character had its normal head and then they just kept getting smaller, she was very nice, I liked her a lot, she was young  and had reading glasses on and a great smile, very open to my boy. 

Patrick and Wyatt check out the sculptures

I was astounded as how much this place looked like my living room, clay everywhere; I was snapping pictures left and right!  Patrick took us into a storage room where the sculptures for the show they are working on are kept.  Elton John was in there in a gladiator costume.  We saw a bunch of cool little props.  Next we went into a sculpting room.  Met two guys who took me aside and told me about their lives, how hard they had it in school and how one had sculpted since he was four (like Wyatt) and the other just stared out the window at school day dreaming, both had a hard time in school and gave credit to their parents for sticking by them and not giving up…had their hand on my shoulder telling me not to worry about my boy, he’ll be all right!  Really enjoyed watching this guy do Elton John.  His sculptures were so smooth.  Next we went to visit the puppet doctors, passing the story board on the way.  The two doctors showed us how they would repair the puppets.  If something goes wrong while filming, they run the poor puppet to the doctor and get fixed.  We visited the different sets for filming.  Met a guy who was doing something with the computer and the voices….Seeing the big celebrity death match ring was totally cool, it had the lights set on it, and some guy being filmed (do not remember who the actor was).   Patrick took us to a storage area where all the sets were stored and pulled them out one by one to show us, there was the set from the great Alex Trebec vs. Pat Sajak fight, wheel of fortune, where the wheel would turn and tell you what to do to your opponent…some of you may be queasy with more details, but hey, it’s just clay….for the next hour Wyatt, Holly, Eddie, two interns and two production assistants were busy sculpting background people.  The two interns were on summer break from art school and one of the production assistants was great, her name was Nicole, she looked like a 25 year old Holly!  (Holly is now 32, which is kindof wierd)  Patrick did a little work and then we all got on the subway to go downtown.

We pretended we didn’t see anyone at all while on the subway, big change from North Carolina.  Went to 30th avenue near Madison Square Garden.  This is the shop where they make props and molds.  Met a bunch of guys at this location, all in their 20s and all very charming.  One of them reminded me of Elvis.  He was busy repairing little plates for a fight between Martha Stewart and Sandra Bernhardt (you know, the lesbian from the Rosanne Show?)  This shop is where we spent the rest of the weekend.  The workers talked and laughed and kept working the entire time.  They sculpted something and then they would custom make a box out of thick poster board, glue it together and then pour this blue stuff inside to make the mold.  When it dries you have to carefully cut it open to find the original.  anyway, now they can make a lot of heads all the same…For this shop they painted the floor with a special paint that doesn’t allow paint to dry/stick, but what they didn’t realize was that it would be terribly slippery.  But , what fun, everyone slid around all day, I entertained myself by sliding around the room every now and then….”hey, look out for that patch by the door!”….Patrick was like a super hero, we would call him and he would ”’whoosh!’ show up!……ok, fast forward, went do dinner (Indian)  went to our apt. on the east river right next to the Brooklyn bridge, with a ballpark 9 stories down, got up the next day.  Wyatt and I found our way to the subway, ate breakfast at the Tick Tock Diner and walked over to 30th street by 10:00 am.  Patrick met us there.  No one else was there when we got there, Patrick had cancelled his acupuncture appointment and spent the next nine! Hours working hands on with Wyatt and teaching him exactly how they make the puppets.  I was only there to take notes and sit on my butt, boy was it sore…

Patrick started at an empty work table and brought in the materials as needed.  They each worked on making two puppets.  Won’t go into all the details, but it was totally cool and for the most part we can recreate the process at home.  People started showing up around 1ish, working on their own projects since it was Saturday.  After nine hours we had to say goodbye to Patrick.  Wyatt told him that instead of going to Disneyworld next year can we go there, he said yes.  Wyatt and I both cried in the elevator on our way down,  we had become quite accustomed to being around Patrick and his demeanor was so genuine that he was easy to love.  People who know Wyatt’s work were saying to me, ‘were they astounded by his talent?’ I said no, they were all just like him, and it was the first time that Wyatt got to be with people like him.  I just want to say to everyone that is reading this:  There was no way to know what would happen when I made that phone call to MTV and left that message.  This was a remarkable trip for me and my children.  And especially Wyatt.  Don’t wait until another day to do something you love, or try something new, don’t be afraid to ask for help while on this voyage.  Go for what you want, be intentional and the universe will line up just where you need it.

Oh, and by the way, if you are wondering where Holly was that second day…we were supposed to meet her somewhere, Washington Park? Anyway, what do you think my daughter was doing when Wyatt and I showed up?  She was on the shoulders of a guy riding a unicycle. Yep, Big Smile!  Remeber it like it was yesterday!  Of course that would be her!

Yep, that is my girl!


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