Sunday, October 16, 2011

Not Sunday Dinner: Tim Burton at LACMA

There will be no edition of Sunday Dinner tonight because, honestly, I find it hard to imagine that anyone cares about me making Rice-a-Roni with hot dog cut up into it (yes, I do eat hot dogs occasionally).  I had a very fun filled weekend, and now just can’t be bothered to cook!  I spent all morning yesterday in the kitchen baking cupcakes for my friend’s kid’s 1st birthday.  One of my other friends, J-fer, and her fiancĂ©, Michael, came up to LA from San Diego for the birthday party and they stayed at my house.  After the birthday party, a bunch of us went out for sushi and then came back to the house to play Rock Band until who knows when.  Today, J-fer, Michael and I went to the Tim Burton exhibit at LACMA (Aaron had to work, so he couldn’t join us).

I can’t believe I have lived in LA for 10 years and have never been to LACMA!  (LA County Museum of Art – for those, not in the know).  The Tim Burton exhibit is one of those where you have to buy special admission ($22) for a specific time – our admission time was noon.  I’m really glad it wasn’t any later.  When we got there, the parking structure had plenty of spaces left, and we were able to park without any real hassle (which, for that part of LA, is a pretty big accomplishment).  We exited the elevators from the parking garage straight into a courtyard surrounded by statuesque heads of the signs of the Chinese Zodiac (honestly, I only picked that up once I saw my sign, the horse, and then the monkey, which was 2 years later – and from there I was able to make an educated guess).  Then we were all standing around talking about it, and this lady comes up to us and says “There’s a sign over there that explains everything.”  Thanks, I guess I should have looked for a sign at a museum . . . oh well.

I don’t have any pictures of the Tim Burton exhibit because they warned us at least three times before even entering the big gaping mouth of an entrance that no photography was allowed.  The guards kept repeating “No cameras, no cell phones, not even for texting or calling.  Put it away, or it will be confiscated.”  Even with all that, at one point in the exhibit, this 13 year old girl came up to me and said, rather rudely, “Excuse me” and shoved me aside so that she could snap a shot of a black light painted picture with her iphone.  Now that I think about it, I bet that picture didn’t come out so well since it was so dark in that room!  I was so shocked at her rudeness that it didn’t even occur to me to call a guard on her.

Overall the Tim Burton exhibit was very enjoyable and very informative.  I had no idea that growing up in idyllic suburban Burbank could be so traumatic! (Though it definitely explains “Edward Scissorhands.”) For anyone who loves that slightly disturbing artistic Burton style, this is a must see.  They had doodles of his from when he was still in high school – up through costumes and full puppets/3D models from his stop motion features that everyone loves.  There were several iterations of Jack Skellington’s head – each with a different expression/emotion.

The one negative that I will give is that it can get really crowded.  The beginning of the exhibit is a complete bottleneck.  I will admit, I got a little claustrophobic/agoraphobic with all those people not moving in a very small space.  Then it opened up in the middle, and it seemed like there was good spacing between each art piece.  The last room was not only cramped, but it had this diorama that played music, but not just any music – creepy, dollhouse music, that overlayed an image of a kid in a house with a Christmas Tree and blood spattered all around the room.  I swear by the end of the time I got done with the last room, I thought I was going to go crazy if I had to hear that music one more time!  Oh, and then, of course, it opened into my least favorite exhibit of all: the gift shop.  I think I inherited my distaste for gift shops from my dad (though I tolerate them much more than he can).  But I really hate a) being forced to walk through a gift shop and b) being forced to try to get past all the other people who don’t mind being forced to walk through a gift shop.

One last caveat about the Tim Burton exhibit: it is definitely not for young children.  “Nightmare Before Christmas” is about as tame as it gets in there, but a lot of his earlier stuff is definitely not for children’s eyes.  I saw people with very young children, some of the kids were scared, others were just bored or miserable.  But, if you are an adult (and/or you have kids that are mature enough to handle more grown up themes) and you love Tim Burton, this is definitely a good exhibit to go see!  Hurry though, if you are interested, because the exhibit only runs through Halloween weekend.

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