Here's my first post from Everett, WA where Calvin Leduc and I are in town for the 2D or not 2D Animation Festival. We drove down this morning and arrived at the Everett Theatre for our presentation to a group of high school students. Afterwards we explored the town and found some used book stores. One of them had a very good copy of 'Of Muppets and Men' for $14, which I would have bought on the spot if I didn't have a copy already. Calvin bought it instead. Another store was run by an eccentric old lady who said she didn't have any books that would have been published after 1960, unless we did a Google search for a specific title to see if they had it. (I don't know what it is about Washington...sometimes it's literally like traveling through Twin Peaks. Funny people.) In yet another book store we found, literally called 'Half Price Books', all the books were...you'll never guess...half price! I got some good deals, but I can't reveal all of them here because some of them will be Christmas gifts. The only one I will mention is finding a good-condition copy for only $10 of Where the Sidewalk Ends, one of my favorite books which I plan on keeping to give Ariel in a few years when she can read. And I will also mention that if any hard-core Walt Kelly's Pogo fans out there (paging Mr. Fott? Mr. Nethery?) have an extra $350 kicking around, you can find a signed copy of one of his books inside a glass case there.
Today's other big event was making the trek to see the documentary The Pixar Story. As some others have said, most of the information about the studio itself was not new to us, as we have been following the studio in the news since its birth. The historical background of John Lasseter and his CalArts days was a bit more informative, highlighting the struggles the animators went through in those early days of computer animation. The film does a good job of tracing the roots of the medium, and really emphasizing it as a technique that was developed largely by scientists and artists working together, and that one group could not have advanced without the other. I've always felt the first Toy Story was a metaphor for this whole relationship, with Woody representing the traditional arts and Buzz representing the new technology. Overall, the whole film inspired me to re-watch all of the Pixar films again and soak them in more...and the ending notes signal a song of hope for what they will continue to do in partnership with Disney. No matter how much you already know about this amazing studio, you're bound to learn a bit more and see some amazing rare footage of the pioneering steps that brought them forward. Go see it, if it comes through your town!