Looks like we'll have to go back to Disneyland to see the new Alice section in the revamped Disney California Adventure. This Alice is inspired by the weird, colorful word of Tim Burton's film that's re-imagined through the theme park lens. It's a House of Cards nightclub that opens in the evening with arcade and a rock band headed up by a Mad Hatter channeling Mick Jagger and a White Rabbit dj channeling deadmau5. The caterpillar dance in channeling Pilobus dancers. Alice is channeling Ashley Tisdale from High School the Musical. Check out the video here. Maybe just a little squeaky clean, or just squeaky teen Disney, but still seems fun.
Entries in Disneyland (4)
Mary Blair's amazing artwork for Disney is the topic of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' 17th Marc Davis Celebration of Animation lecture tomorrow night. Looks like a fun, interesting panel the creators from Disney and Pixar who've worked on Toy Story 3, Monsters, Inc., Aladdin, Up, Pocahontas and more. Of course, the panel is already sold out, but it would be great to be a fly on the wall.
I'm fascinated by Blair's work. I included a chapter in my recent book, The Place of Lewis Carroll in Children's Literature, about the re-working of Alice in Wonderland by Jon Scieszka using the art that Blair created for Disney as an inspiration for his animated film. Not the best Alice adaptation because Scieszka doesn't bring his usual humor and confidence to Blair's dark and stylized work.
When we were in Disneyland during the summer, we were able to see an exhibit on Mary Blair's work. I thought that the panel talk would be a good opportunity to post some of the photos from that exhibit. The exhibit was near the entryway to Disneyland in the area on Main Street devoted to the history of Walt Disney and the theme park. It's one of my favorite sections because the older Disneyland is the one that seeped into my imagination while watching the Sunday night Disney television and The Mickey Mouse Club.
Looking at the photos again, which are obviously not perfect photos, reminds me how much Mary Blair was inspired by Henri Matisse cutouts.
Mary Blair's artwork and creative ideas for Disney are legendery. She had a modernistic, more abstract vision that Walt Disney appreciated but was very different from the drawings in his animated films that are rounder, softer in town and cuter, in a different way. Blair is so revered at Disney that she is lauded in a special section of Disneyland's museum area as a Creative Innovator. She's in a hall of luminaries that includes astronauts, inventors, politicians, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney and others.
A chapter in my book, The Place of Lewis Carroll in Children's Literature, has a section critically analyzing a book recently published by Disney that uses Mary Blair's conceptual art for Disney's Alice in Wonderland film along with a text loosely adapted from Lewis Carroll's by children's author Jon Scieszka. Here's a link to a presentation, with images, based on that chapter.
For this blog on our Disneyland trip, I am posting photos of the "It's a Small World" ride to show what it looked like during the Christmas 2010-2011 season. The music had been changed to an amalgam of the original "Small World" tune along with Christmas carols. The dolls and scenery within the ride had been decorated for Christmas to reflect the different culture's Christmas, or end of the year, celebrations.
Disneyland is still the most magical place on Earth I'm happy to report. Like so many kids who watched Disney's Sunday night TV show, I was fascinated with Disneyland in California. My parents took our family once, in the late 1960s. When we arrived in Disneyland, I wanted to go everywhere, see everything that I had seen on television. Instead, my parents made us stop on Main Street. Not to watch a parade, or wait in line to see Mickey Mouse, or anything interesting like that. No. My parents, always pharmacists, wanted to hang out in the drug store on Main Street USA. It's not like they hadn't seen drug stores before. They worked in them. They even collected a few antique drug store items. But they couldn't budge for what seemed like an hour as they looked at every detail of that drug store. I don't remember them complaining something was wrong with it -- as Disney people work hard to get the essence right. But I do remember being enormously disappointed at my introduction to Disneyland.
This year, my son, my wife and I visited Disneyland before going to MLA in downtown LA. We have been wanting to go for years. Some of us have never been and some of us hadn't been for a very long time. So the experience was new and exuberant for us. I'll post some of the photos from our trip over a few blog posts.