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A monster interview with the star of “Being Elmo”

A monster interview with the star of “Being Elmo” (photo)

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We had a lot of celebrities come through the IFC Crossroads House at South by Southwest, but only one was so popular that their mere presence caused a spontaneous reception line of fans dying to get their picture taken with them. That would be Elmo, everyone’s favorite red monster from “Sesame Street.” The effect this little Muppet has on people is remarkable: I watched grown men — we’re talking gruff dudes with tattoos and beards — turn into squealing children in his presence. The IFC crew was giddy for days.

I’ll be honest: I was pretty starstruck too. I’m a child of “Sesame Street” myself, and though Elmo really came to prominence after my time watching the show, he was right in my younger brother’s wheelhouse. So getting to watch him come to life before my eyes was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had on this job (on the other hand, getting to watch him sit lifelessly inside a plastic bag before the interview, like someone had asphyxiated the poor guy in mid-giggle, was one of the creepiest).

The man who brings Elmo to life is Kevin Clash, the incredibly warm and talented performer who is the subject of the new movie “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey.” This documentary from filmmaker Constance Marks tells Clash’s story, from his childhood dreams of puppeteering to his incredible work defining one of the signature Muppets. Here’s my South By interview with Clash and Marks, followed by my interview with Elmo.

Months later, I’m still eating off that part where Elmo says he loves my wife. God bless that monster.

“Being Elmo” opens this Friday at the IFC Center in New York City with a full national rollout to follow. And take note “Sesame Street” fans: Clash and a “special guest” will be in attendance in New York this Saturday and Sunday at the 12:35, 2:25 & 4:15 PM shows. Expect a long line for pictures.

Who’s your favorite Muppet? Tell us in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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Rev Up

Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Give Back

Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

It’s the final countdown to Christmas and thanks to IFC’s movie marathon all Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, you can revel in classic ’80s films AND find inspiration for your last-minute gifts. Here are our recommendations, if you need a head start:

Musical Instrument

Great analog entertainment substitute when you refuse to give your kid the Nintendo Switch they’ve been drooling over.

Breakfast In Bed

Any significant other or child would appreciate these Uncle Buck-approved flapjacks. Just make sure you’re not stuck on clean up duty.

Cocktail Supplies

You’ll need them to get through the holidays.

Dance Lessons

So you can learn to shake-shake-shake (unless you know ghosts willing to lend a hand).

Comfy Clothes

With all the holiday meals, there may be some…embigenning.

Get even more great inspiration all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC, and remember…

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A-O Rewind

Celebrating Portlandia One Sketch at a Time

The final season of Portlandia approaches.

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GIFs via Giphy

Most people measure time in minutes, hours, days, years…At IFC, we measure it in sketches. And nothing takes us way (waaaaaay) back like Portlandia sketches. Yes, there’s a Portlandia milepost from every season that changed the way we think, behave, and pickle things. In honor of Portlandia’s 8th and final season, Subaru presents a few of our favorites.


Put A Bird On It

Portlandia enters the pop-culture lexicon and inspires us to put birds on literally everything.

Colin the Chicken

Who’s your chicken, really? Behold the emerging locavore trend captured perfectly to the nth degree.

Dream Of The ’90s

This treatise on Portland made it clear that “the dream” was alive and well.

No You Go

We Americans spend most of our lives in cars. Fortunately, there’s a Portlandia sketch for every automotive situation.

A-O River!

We learned all our outdoor survival skills from Kath and Dave.

One More Episode

The true birth of binge watching, pre-Netflix. And what you’ll do once Season 8 premieres.

Catch up on Portlandia’s best moments before the 8th season premieres January 18th on IFC.

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