North Adams, MA- New York City’s favorite all-star tribute ensemble, The Loser’s Lounge, returns to MASS MoCA with a full-blown salute to the Muppet music oeuvre. Variety praises The Loser’s Lounge as “one group that brings vibrant life to the catalogues of many beloved musical acts.” At MASS MoCA, they will get their collective Kermit on with music from The Muppet Show’s many films, albums, and television episodes, in a family-friendly matinee at MASS MoCA on Saturday, October 20, at 3 PM.
From the silly to the sacred, Muppet music has impacted generations young and old. Rolling Stone’s Elizabeth Stevens calls herself an unauthorized Muppet historian, and in that role has spent some time analyzing the creative processes of the classic Muppet songwriters. From peering at the brains behind classics like “Bein’ Green,” “Rainbow Connection,” “Couldn’t We Ride,” “Saying Goodbye,” and that infectious Fraggle Rock theme, among others, she’s identified five Predictors of Muppetationality which she says are: “creative freedom, radical collaboration, ability to get into a Muppet’s head, full understanding of Kermit’s complexity and resolve to not talk down to kids.”
Not surprisingly, Muppets creator Jim Henson is credited by Paul Williams, songwriter for Emmet Otter, The Muppet Movie, and A Muppet Christmas Carol, with his inspirational leadership. “Jim Henson gave you more freedom than anybody I’ve ever worked with in my life. I said, ‘You want to hear the songs as we’re writing them?’ He said, ‘No. I’ll hear them in the studio. I know I’m gonna love them.’ You just don’t get that kind of freedom on a project these days.”
The Loser’s Lounge is comprised of a diverse assortment of New York musical talent. The Losers gather bi-monthly to pay homage to the pop music greats of the past with witty tribute concerts at Manhattan nightclubs. Founder and keyboardist Joe McGinty (of Psychedelic Furs, The Ramones, and Ryan Adams) and psycho-cabaret singer Nick Danger started the group in 1993 with a piano sing-a-long tribute to Burt Bacharach. Since then, The Lounge has grown into a dime-store extravaganza, featuring dozens of guest vocalists and a permanent backing band called the Kustard Kings. “Loser’s Lounge [has] made the musical tribute into an art form,” raves Time Out New York.
Loser’s Lounge has performed at Celebrate Brooklyn, Westbeth Theater Center, The Knitting Factory, The Bowery Ballroom, Makor, and The Jewish Museum. In 2003, they performed the new rock opera People are Wrong! at MASS MoCA, and then returned to North Adams in 2004 with a sold-out tribute to Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Weber’s masterpiece Jesus Christ Superstar.
The Loser’s Lounge performs the Muppet Music Extravaganza in MASS MoCA’s Hunter Center on Saturday, October 20, at 3 PM. Tickets for the performance are $12 for adults and $8 for children. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 11 AM until 5 PM (closed Tuesdays). Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased on line at www.massmoca.org.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings. MASS MoCA is an independent 501(c)(3) whose operations and programming are funded through admissions and commercial lease revenue, corporate and foundation grants, and individual philanthropy. Except for an initial construction grant from the Commonwealth, and competitive program and operations grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council, MASS MoCA is privately funded: 90% of annual operating revenues are from earned revenues, membership support, and private gifts and grants.