About two weeks before the trip, wackynephews
mentioned a charity event at Pixar Studios
. Put on by the Cartoon Art museum, it was to be a day at Pixar.
And it was on the Saturday I was going to be in the Bay Area!
Now the cost was quite a bit more than I usually pay for such things - 500 dollars! However, the more I thought about it, the more I figured that this was one of those things I'd regret not doing a lot more than I'd regret spending the money. As I get older and my regrets pile up behind me, I indulge in these things more and more.
So was it worth the money? In the sense that it was for a good cause, yes. For the entertainment provided? Maybe, but only because the time of the creators who did the one hour talk in the middle was very expensive. It was like those charity dinners where people will pay thousands of dollars to hear some politician speak - the chicken dinner isn't why you spent the money.
I took BART across the bay and walked about a mile to get to the Pixar campus in Emeryville. Reaching the site I discovered I was just about the only person who walked it. Everyone else drove their expensive cars to go there. Mostly the other people there were like me - fairly affluent nerds. Some were very affluent indeed, since they forked out for multiple tickets for the whole family. This is what the Technorati do with their money.
I got a few complements on this tee-shirt
. I wish I had a smoking jacket to go with it.
So what did i get for my donation? Well for two hours it was mostly wandering around a portion of the main building. I have pictures, but I'll save them for the last part of the post, since they're really not part of my narrative. The main lobby of the main building had numerous murals and statues in it. There was also a gift shop doing roaring good business. I picked up an Incredibles tee-shirt and a coffee table book
We also got to wander about 1/3 of the way into each of the buildings two wings. No photography was allowed, which is too bad because this was where the really good art was. The east wing was assorted pre-production art for Monsters University
. The west wing had assorted personal artwork from the many talented artists who work at Pixar. Most of it had little to do with animated movies. There was sculpture, paintings, a lot of portrait photography. It was fascinating stuff and, as is the usual with such things, made me feel like a fumble-fingered caveman.
One of the things advertised was "seeing Pixar staff at work". This was a misnomer - none of the people with offices in the section we had access to were at work that day. What we did have was a handful of staff doing presentations in the meeting rooms. Sadly, I missed out on those (they filled the rooms fast, and it sort of depended on you being in the vicinity when one of them started.
Next up was the main event - a talk about the tenth anniversary of my favourite Pixar movie - and favourite super hero movie, The Incredibles
. The talk was with the director Brad Bird, and a half-dozen of the lead animators/creators. Some of the talk was the usual bits of how it was pitched and made and the impact it had. There was also a lot on the collaborative software that was developed for the movie. Fascinating stuff for this software geek.
Afterwards it was off to another building for drinks, hors d'oeuvres and an auction. You always want free booze at a charity auction - it loosens up the wallet. I set a rather high limit for myself for this, but my one unbreakable rule for auctions is to not bid over your maximum. If it hits that level, stop. No matter what. I followed my rule, but it was so hard. Glad I did though. The two items I wanted were a print of the Parrs in action, and a signed one-sheet of The Incredibles that was very evocative of early James Bond posters
. Instead, I bought a reproduction when I got home for twenty bucks.
The whole air of the evening was that of a proper cocktail party for nerds. It felt good, even if I was my usual wall-flower self.
At this point I'd like to say that it must be nice being a dot-com-millionaire. I couldn't believe the price that some of those pieces went for. Even if I had that kind of money (I don't, despite being there), I'd feel down right guilty forking over $10K for these pieces. Were they worth it? For the talent that went into it, and being for charity, yes. And yet, I'd still feel guilty. In the end, I'd have to spend that money twice: once for the piece itself, and once again to the food bank so that I could hang it in my house without feeling like total ass.
Anyway, Pixar put on a nice fête. I quite enjoyed it, and I might consider doing it again if they celebrate the right movie. Brave
(or Incredibles 2) would get me in the door. Cars
, not so much.
As an aside, I've recently discovered that I effective paid more for the evening then all those rich folk. It's tax deductible, but it's not for this Canadian. Heh.( And now, on to the pictures! )