Hello Dear Readers! Now tell the truth, how many of you stayed up all night long and celebrated Leap Day here in Anaheim or Florida. Oh no, wait, what am I thinking? If you partied all night during that One More Disney Day, you’re probably exhausted and you’re sleeping. Well, maybe you’ll read this later.
So for the rest of you … our topics today cover everything from yet more Oscar talk — it goes on and on, don’t you know (and I’m not even going to mention a certain leg — oops, I just did), to a bank’s murals. Here’s what we’ll be talking about:
• Touring Film Locations • William S. Hart
• Viola May Have Lost But She Still Won
• Fantastic Flying Books • Saturn: Neither Car or Planet
• Millard And The Murals • Low N Slow
The silent film, The Artist, took home five statuettes at last Sunday’s Academy Awards and it was shot entirely in Los Angeles. Wouldn’t it be fun to visit some of the locations in the film? You can — celebrate the film on your next trip to LA by having a look at some of the places where The Artist was filmed. Curbed LA has compiled a nifty list of 12 different locations used in the film — you can plan a whole day of it:
The Artist was the big winner at the Oscars, the silent, twenties- and thirties-era tale of the rise and fall of actor George Valentin and his dog Jack, took Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, and more. As the Oscars announcer said, The Artist was the only Best Picture nominee to be shot entirely in Los Angeles, and the production picked some good spots too.
For the list of the sites plus a link to an interesting blog with more in-depth details of the film locations and their actual ties to the silent film era, visit this link.
While you’re investigating films and film history, you might also want to put the William S. Hart Ranch and Museum on your list of places to go & things to see. The William S. Hart Park and Museum is the former retirement home of the famed silent film actor and director who produced a series of hit Western movies in the early 1900's. His Spanish Colonial Revival Style Mansion, which now serves as the Museum, exhibits an impressive collection of Western artwork by artists Charles M. Russell, Frederic Remington, and Joe de Yong, as well as mementos from early Hollywood, personal furnishings and effects, and artifacts representing multiple Native American cultures. The Hart Museum is currently exhibiting items relating to the films, Hugo and The Artist, all of which will be on display until June 1st.
Hugo fans will be interested in a letter in the exhibit in which the father of special effects, Georges Méliès, speaks bitterly of his plight as an ignored silent filmmaker. If you saw the film, starring Sir Ben Kingsley as Papa Georges, you know that much of the plot revolves around just this. The Artist was influenced by the films of Douglas Fairbanks and it happens that the Hart Museum owns a few Fairbanks props too, the jeweled dagger used in The Thief of Bagdad, for example. Also in the display are several early cinema machines including magic lanterns and a Praxinoscope.
The William S. Hart Park and Museum is open Wednesday — Friday from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM (last tour at 12:30) and Saturday — Sunday from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM (last tour at 3:30 pm). The museum is located at 24151 Newhall Avenue in the city of Newhall, CA. For more information, visit this link.
We’re still working on Oscar-related stories here, and this one is just nice. No hoopla, no Oscar-gown-bashing or praising, no weird posturing that the press talks about for days, none of that Hollywood stuff. It’s just about nice and that doesn’t always get talked about. Which is why I wanted to mention it.
I think just about everyone, pre-Oscar show, figured Viola Davis would win Best Actress for her portrayal of the maid, Aibileen Clark, in The Help. But then Meryl Streep walked away with the statuette instead. The next morning Ms. Streep did a very nice thing for Ms. Davis:
The morning after actress Meryl Streep walked off with an Oscar many had bet would go to Viola Davis, Streep gave a cash-strapped school in Rhode Island a $10,000 donation in Davis's honor, the school's founder said on Tuesday. Davis has been a champion for now-bankrupt Central Falls, Rhode Island, the town she grew up in and has herself donated cash to help keep the library open. Her longtime friend and sometimes rival Streep, in response to Davis's cheerleading, sent a $10,000 check to a local charter school, the Segue Institute for Learning, which faces closure.
Wasn’t I right? Nice, huh? For the rest of the story, visit this link.
We’ll continue our Oscar discussion by talking about some flying books. You know … I was really rooting for Enrico Casarosa’s La Luna to take home the Best Animated Short award. He looked so smart in his tux on Oscar night, and well ... I just knew he’d win. And then he didn’t. This other short film, the with a very long and rather intriguing title, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, won. And then as I sat glued to my big screen TV, I watched William Joyce, looking all hip in his hipster hat, step up to the podium and accept the statuette.
“Say what,” I asked myself, “Is that the same William Joyce who wrote one of my favorite children’s books, Dinosaur Bob and His Adventures with the Family Lazardo? The same William Joyce who sometimes works with Disney and invented Rolie Polie Olie? And Meet The Robinsons?” Yep. The very same.
I have since seen The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore and I really like it. It’s a little bit Wizard of Oz, a little bit Hurricane Katrina, and a whole lotta love for books. Book-love is good. Would that I owned a library like the one Mr. Lessmore walks into!
If you own an iPad and care to divest yourself of four dollars and ninety-nine cents, you can spend some time with Mr. Lessmore and his books too. They have an app for that:
The award-winning short film is now an interactive narrative experience. William Joyce's "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore", blurs the line between picture books and animated film.
I’ve been having great fun playing with the app — although it does crash occasionally, still fun though — you can see the short, you can read the book & the books in the story, well, they do things. Not gonna tell you what, but it’s fun to play with and it’d be fun to sit down and play with the kiddies. You’ll find the app on iTunes at this link.
Oh, and if you should find yourself in the fine town of Shreveport, Louisiana this coming Monday, you’re going to want to head downtown right around noon:
The city of Shreveport says it is pulling out the stops to throw a victory bash downtown at noon Monday honoring Moonbot Studios, winner of an Academy Award for best animated short film for its "The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore." The celebration of "flying books,’’ supplied by Shreve Memorial Library, will start with a parade that will begin in front of the Caddo Courthouse at Texas at Marshall streets. The marching band from C.E. Byrd High School, "Lessmore" co-director William Joyce’s alma mater, will lead the parade. Moonbot Studio employees, known as the "Bots,’’ will toss Moonbot Moonpies from their Mardi Gras float. And the city is encouraging the public to bring confetti and streamers to toss.
I want a Moonbot Moonpie! For more information and the rest of the story, visit this link.
The press release for this last entertainment item does such a good job describing it, I'll let it do the work here:
The "Big Awards" may have been handed out … but for fans of science-fiction, fantasy and horror films, awards season is just beginning! The nominations for the 38th annual Saturn Awards are in, with "Hugo" and "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2" leading the way — with 10 nominations each. The Saturn Awards will be presented on Wednesday, June 20, by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films, which marks its 40th anniversary this year.
We're very excited about this year's list of nominees, which include films, TV series and home-entertainment releases covering a number of genres often overlooked by mainstream awards, including Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror/Thriller and Action-Adventure. Which films will join a stellar lineup of past honorees that include movies as varied as "The Terminator," "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind," "Soylent Green," "Edward Scissorhands," "The Exorcist" and "The Usual Suspects" … not to mention "Star Wars," "Superman," "Alien" and other unforgettable film classics?
This year’s Saturn Awards will be presented at a special ceremony on Wednesday, June 20, in Burbank. For complete nomination details as well as more information about the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films and the Saturn Awards, (yes memberships are open to the public) visit this link.
Now … let’s switch gears and move on to some artsy stuff. How many of you grew up in Los Angeles area and remember Home Savings, those iconic bank building with murals on the facades? Alas, Home Savings is now a memory, sold to Washington Mutual in 1998, but many of the buildings remain. I remember from my childhood, the fascination I felt every time I saw the mural on the front of the building in Whittier. And I frequently drive by the one still standing at the intersection of Harbor and Lincoln on my way to Disneyland. I have always wondered who created those murals. And I’ve often thought it would be interesting to check out all the former Home Savings buildings to see the other murals out there.
The other day the Fall/Winter edition of the Huntington Library’s publication, Huntington Frontiers, arrived in my mailbox and inside I found an article written by Adam Arenson. Arenson is currently working on finishing a book about the Home Savings buildings and their murals, and the story is fascinating. The mural on the Anaheim building depicts Anaheim’s history:
Nationally recognized artist, Millard C. Sheets was commissioned by Home Savings & Loan Association to create murals at their branches throughout California. The colorful history of Anaheim is depicted in a mosaic mural decorating the former Home Savings & Loan Association building at Harbor and Lincoln.
The Byzantine and Venetian glass mural, executed by Nancy Colbath, includes important figures and episodes in Anaheim's past. Surveyor George Hansen, known as the "Father of Anaheim" is portrayed as a key figure in the history of the City. He mapped the original boundaries of Anaheim: North, South, East, and West Streets, which were then marked by stockades. This was one of the first cities in the area to have set boundaries, and remain the boundaries of the Anaheim Historic Colony District.
To read the rest of the story of the mural’s depiction of Anaheim history, visit this link.
Disney artist, Kevin Kidney has also written about the dolphin sculpture (by artist John Edward Svenson), in front of the Anaheim building and includes some information about the mural as well. To read, visit this link.
For much more on the artists and history of the Home Savings murals, written by Adam Arenson, visit this link and this link also.
And lastly today, I know you all are as anxious as I am to walk into Cars Land, so how about a little merchandise preview? Michelle, over at the Disney Blog released a teaser of the things we’re going to find once we finally get to walk into Radiator Springs and have a chance to peruse the shelves inside Ramon’s House Of Body Art:
While I can’t show you everything, I tried to pick a few things that you might enjoy and that would give you the sense of what the Low & Slow Car Club is all about. You’ll find the logo and variations of it on an array of items, including – shirts for work or play, hats and accessories.
I think I might be wanting that purse, it’s retro-cool. For more, visit this link.
Okay, I’d say that does it for this week, thanks for stopping by. I think I’m gonna hop in the car and go take a closer look at the Home Savings mural I drive by on my way to Disneyland, so I’ll leave you and say good-bye till next week.
In the mean time, if you want to know what I’m up to, you need to follow Pressing Matters on Twitter. You never know what you’ll find there — food, museums, shopping, Disneyland, Art! Follow along as I search for the all the latest Pressing Matters & tweet about what I find: