Tim Burton @ ACMI

Now, normally I’m not a “pitch-shit-at-you” kinda girl, but to be honest, I haven’t been to any event, any bar, or any store of huge merit in a long time. So, when Ross and I were looking for something to do for a night of “just Mummy and Daddy”, the opening of the Tim Burton exhibit, fresh from New York, seemed like a pretty good option. To be honest and as superficial as it sounds, I had sort of put Burton’s work to the back of my mind after the onslaught of 15 year old neo-goths with Jack Skellington backpacks had kind of ruined the whimsy for me, and had just thought this would be a semi-interesting time-waster with some vaguely interesting doodles.

Not so! I was pleased to note my instant childlike wonder with nearly everything around me. Burton’s artwork creates its own entire world around you, and when you’re surrounded with larger than life props, it’s quite easy to be pulled into his magic. While there are the usual copious sketchbook doodles framed all over the place, for once I wasn’t bored and took the time to note each one. I particularly liked the note to a young Tim Burton from the Burbank Fire Department, his rejection letters from Disney and the early works he created at CalArts (which, I must pathetically admit, was always my dream school when I was younger) which show his work developing into the style that has become his trademark.

I had also forgotten how many films I enjoy that Burton has had a hand in. Every time we went around a corner, I would make a high-pitched noise and clutch at Ross’ arm (I pushed a woman out of the way to get to the lifesized pumpkin-headed scarecrow from Sleepy Hollow) and I am ashamed to say that when I recognised the cookie-cutter robot from Edward Scissorhands, in the flesh, IN FRONT OF ME, I nearly cried!

I’m glad the exhibit invoked such reactions from me, because it would be sad to think that the remnants of my 14 year old self had completely withered away into nothingness. I am sorry that I hadn’t seen the exhibit at the tender age of 14 however, because when we reached the cabinet where the REAL Jack Skellington puppet was cased, I felt nothing except shame that someone might see me looking at it and had to move on…

For anyone still considering whether or not to go, here’s a run-down of (my own) exhibit highlights;

~ Edward’s gimp costume
~ the cookie-cutter from Edward Scissorhands
~ Enormous burned puppets from Willy Wonka’s factory, (pictured below) which is actually Bea’s favourite part of her favourite film – puppets on fire, melting, hmm – and I almost screamed when I saw them
~ a real scissorhand prop
~ larger-than-life topiary deer
~ Sleepy Hollow pumpkin head scarecrow
~ Headless Horseman’s cloak
~ Alice in Wonderland costumes and props
~ Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman suit
~ Sweeney Todd’s razors
~ The glow-in-the-dark peepshow Circus Tent tunnel forest thingy that has to be seen to be explained clearly (which made my hair look fabulous under ultra-violet light)

Okay, everything was great, down to the doodles on cocktail napkins. Plus, Tim Burton himself was there puttering around in the crowd, so that kind of gave it a noice little speshul vibe. Yee-yer! So basically, if you appreciate art or film or both or neither, get yourself to ACMI before the season closes (it’s open till October) and with the amount there is to see, I would wait and go in the  morning a few months down the track so you can have it to yourself. I nearly killed the guy in front of me, who deliberately walks up and stands IN FRONT of you? Who stands with their nose practically ON the wall? Am I the only one whose parents took them to art openings as a child? Was nobody else raised with gallery etiquette?!

(Next post; Raising Children With Gallery Etiquette…)