Our Kind of People are Cardboard People


The Red Queen, sold by AG (Advanced Graphics)

Some light entertainment for your Sunday morning: Where would you put a life-size cut-out of Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen (yours for only $34.95 from AG)? I would like to think of her used to direct attention to a particularly important agenda item, or perhaps to direct traffic (to the left).

I have to admit I am featuring this item mainly because the idea of the company made me giggle: AG, “Home of Cardboard People” is “the world’s largest manufacturer of cardboard standups.” Where “our kind of people are cardboard people.”

But fans of Disney’s 1951 Alice in Wonderland may like to ask why it is possible to purchase a three-foot-tall cut out of Dumbo, but no Alice and no Cheshire Cat? Who exactly is the target audience? Does the Dumbo fan club really wield more eccentric purchasing power than the fans of Alice? Say it isn’t so!

Disney's 1957 Mock Turtle

This cartoon cel of Disney’s Mock Turtle is from LCSNA member Matt Crandall’s collection (featured in an interesting article on the “official” Disney fan site, D23.) Although the Mock Turtle is an important character in the book, he didn’t make it into either the 1951 or 2010 Disney movie. This frame is from a Disney animation for a 1957 Jell-O commercial – oddly fitting that they used the calf’s head (like in the original Tenniel illustration). Was Jell-O the mock turtle soup of the 1950s (and should a turtle with the head of a soybean be doing TV spots today singing “Beau–ootiful To–fuuurkey”…?) We’re told the 1957 commercial will be a special feature on the upcoming DVD release of Disney’s 1951 Alice in Wonderland.

Disney Japanese Pocket Puzzle

Japanese Pocket Puzzle from ThinkGeek.com

And now for something completely different: drive yourself mad with a Disney-themed interlocking pocket puzzle, sold online at ThinkGeek.com. The puzzles are based on the classic mechanical games involving two interlocking pieces which must be separated – only this time you are offered motivation from the Magic Kingdom: help Alice navigate the Red Queen’s maze, extract Winnie the Pooh from Rabbit’s hole, separate Minnie and Mickey (?…).

The vendors says that the puzzles are intended for adults – “kids might be pretty frustrated,” by which I think they mean they will be quiet for hours (good), right until the point they pitch the thing through the passenger side window (bad).

“Alice’s Theme”: Music & Lyrics by Danny Elfman

Danny Elfman’s soundtrack to Tim Burton’s Alice In Wonderland will be released on CD (an ancient kind of optical disc used to store digital audio) next Tuesday, March 2nd, and there’s some short clips at the Amazon store if you desire a teaser. I couldn’t help noticing the opening song – with children’s voices singing “Oh, Alice, dear where have you been?” – and I found the complete lyrics at a blog called cinemusic.net. I’ll include them with that website’s charming introduction:

Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, starring Johnny Depp as Elijah Wood The Mad Hatter begins pissing off prickly Lewis Carroll purists on March 5, 2010 in theaters everywhere in eye-popping 3D. Lending musical support is Burton’s constant composer Danny Elfman, AKA film music’s most awesome red head.

Threaded throughout the score is an original song penned by Elfman, called “Alice’s Theme”, and it opens up the Disney Records score album due in stores on March 2 (obligatory Amazon link). Here’s a sneak peek at the song’s lyrics (thanks to the supremely talented LD for these)…

“Alice’s Theme”

Music and Lyrics by Danny Elfman

Oh, Alice, dear where have you been?
So near, so far or in between?
What have you heard what have you seen?
Alice, Alice, please, Alice!

Oh, tell us are you big or small
To try this one or try them all
It’s such a long, long way to fall
Alice, Alice, oh, Alice

How can you know this way not that?
You choose the door you choose the path
Perhaps you should be coming back
Another day, another day

And nothing is quite what is seems
You’re dreaming are you dreaming, oh, Alice?
(Oh, how will you find your way? Oh, how will you find your way?)
(There’s not time for tears today. There’s no time for tears today.)

So many doors – how did you choose
So much to gain so much to lose
So many things got in your way
No time today, no time today
Be careful not to lose your head
Just think of what the doormouse [sic] said…Alice!

Did someone pull you by the hand?
How many miles to Wonderland?
Please tell us so we’ll understand
Alice…Alice…Oh, Alice

(Oh how will you find you way? … Oh, how will you find you way?)

Sing along!

I’ve never met a prickly Lewis Carroll purist, let alone a pissed-off one, but I would presume they’re easily decapitated with a vorpal sword. Or defenestrated with a defibrillator.

Anyway, if you are not familiar with Mr. Elfman, he is the film composer and long-time collaborator with Mr. Burton, the man wrote the iconic music for Batman, The Simpsons theme, and those wonderful songs for The Nightmare Before Christmas. He has done less-than-stellar work for some of Mr. Burton’s more recent mediocrities. Elfman is often mocked in the classical world for basically having a team of composers do his work for him, although I sometimes feel this criticism is harsh. (After all, Renaissance painters employed whole crews of apprentices, Dale Chihuly has a studio to manifest his glass-art masterpieces, and George Gershwin didn’t do the orchestrations for Rhapsody in Blue (free round of drinks if you can name the composer who did!) Art is not always the product of an agonized solo genius, sometimes she can be more of an architectural designer, et cetera, especially in the film music world. Thus ends this parenthetical rant.)
As dear to my adolescent heart as Elfman’s music for The Nightmare Before Christmas is, there’s many cringeworthy lyrics (e.g., “I wish my cohorts weren’t so dumb / I’m not the dumb one / You’re no fun / Shut up! / Make me!”) I would pay a large sum of money to hire William Shatner to read the lyrics to “Alice’s Theme” as a beat poem accompanied by bongos and upright bass (as he did for Sarah Palin’s verbiage). In conclusion, Mr. Elfman should hire a real librettist.

"Curiouser and Curiouser" at the Nucleus Gallery, Alhambra CA

Nucleus Gallery, Alhambra CA

Next Saturday will be the opening night of “Curiouser and Curiouser: Inspired by ‘Alice in Wonderland,'” an exhibition of new artwork at the Nucleus Gallery in downtown Alhambra CA.

In addition to work from a remarkably long list of exhibiting artists, opening night will feature a number of artifacts and stills from the impending Disney movie.

… Opening Night only, glimpse into the creative brilliance of Disney Studios as exclusive concept art, production, and film stills will be shown from the upcoming Alice In Wonderland!

Exhibition Features:

  • Never-before seen concept art, production and film stills for Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ courtesy of Disney Studios.
  • Maquettes for ‘Alice in Wonderland’ on exhibit courtesy of Gentle Giant Studios.
  • Dress up in your best ‘Alice’ inspired attire for a chance to win prizes.
  • Cha for Tea serving up tasty teas.
  • Music by DJ Ronicus.
February 27 until March 29, 2010
Opening Reception February 27, 7pm – 11pm
Nucleus Gallery, 210 East Main Street, Alhambra CA 91801
Phone: 626-458-7482

Disney’s Alice in Wonderland Press Kit: Books within Books, USB keys, & more

Blogger Elizabeth Snead reports at The Dishrag that “Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ press kit is a trip in itself.”

The lucky recipients got “a very large box” containing “a large faux antiquarian book of Alice in Wonderland.”
burton.jpg
Inside the first book with drawings/photos of Tim Burton and the Lewis Carroll is another a delightfully smaller book with illustrations of locations and sets.

depp.jpg

Inside that book is another smaller book with illustrations of the characters, Mad Hatter (Johnny Depp), the Red Queen (Helena Bonham Carter), etc.
Inside that book is another smaller book containing a heavy metal key. And there’s a note that needed a magnifying glass to read it that says: The USB key will take you beyond the gates of Wonderland and unveil the many secrets that await you.”
We were kinda hoping for one pill that would make us larger, but whatever.
key.jpg
Anyway, breathlessly, we stuck the key in my computer and….
On the USB key is a cool new trailer and three photos from the film.
Leave it to Disney to make their “Alice in Wonderland” press kit as exciting an adventure as Burton’s adaptation of the classic tale promises to be.
The rabbit hole has never been like this.

Thank you Ms. Snead for the images and description. Now, how do we get one!?

Alice Fashion in 2010

Fashion is a weak suit at Let “Universe” Be “Books”, but since Disney declared Alice is the New Black at a Las Vegas trade show back in September, Alice, and the prospect of tie-in merchandise, have been inspiring a number of fashion creations probably worth mentioning.

The Los Angeles Times reviewed the playing field on December 6th, name checking designers such as Donatella Versace, Jason Wu, and Antonio Marras, one of whom I have heard of. Mr Tom Binns is also making jewelery around the theme of absolutely smashing tea parties (New York Times photograph below).

Then there’s Swarovski (pictured at top), always hot on Disney’s trail; Fashion Times warns us what is to come in the 2010 Spring-Summer collection:

Rabbits, watches, cups of tea, small muffins and donuts, flowers embellish necklaces, pendants, bracelets, rings and earrings, precious and ironic.

Donuts? Anyway.
The cosmetics brand Urban Decay is coming out with a pop-up make-up box that Lewis Carroll would have been proud of, though he may have been less into the idea of little girls wearing eyeshadow with names like “muchness” (green) and “curiouser” (purple). (Thanks go to Diana Ajih from the blog Hot Beauty Health for locating sneak preview pictures.)

Vogue magazine’s naturally prophetic 2003 Alice-themed photoshoot, in which “the world’s most influential designers dress[ed] the original little girl lost in their own visions”, is back for viewing in the blogosphere, while the French department store Printemps has announced that the world’s most controversial designers will be dressing their store windows in one-off designs in time for Paris Fashion Week in February.
And for those who need that little blue dress now, Entertainment Weekly provided a short guide to “getting the look” of Syfy’s Alice.
Finally, Rock ‘n Roll Bride, “a little haven of kick ass weddingness in the overly poofy, pastel and often puke-worthy wedding world” posts Alice in her Wonderland, a photoshoot vision of a wedding with a difference (clue: the bride gets to eat the cake and the groom is nowhere to be seen).
Enough of fashion!

"Alice is the New Black"

I’m going to try not to blog about each and every thing Disney thinks up to market the new Alice movie, but this one is kind of clever. To announce the first of a purported many designers creating Alice-related couture, an acrobatic Mad Tea Party event with jewelry by Tom Binns took place at the Magic Marketplace fashion trade show on September 2. View the video at Disney’s YouTube channel.

(Though, again, hello Disney, you have my email, you have my age, you know I’m your target market – why didn’t you send me an email about this?!)

Disney/Burton/Depp

After much accidental online leakage (I would very much like to know the story behind that – coerced intern? anarchist webgeek? media outlet that doesn’t respect embargoes?) one day prior to Tim Burton’s official showing at Comic-Con (with surprise visit from Johnny Depp) and an early release to Mad Hatter’s fans on Facebook yesterday, the trailer for Alice in Wonderland is now up on the Disney website.

Probably not coincidentally, Disney also announced yesterday that an Alice game for the Wii, DS, and PC would be released the same week of the movie.

As a former marketing person, it is very interesting to see all of the various games and gimmicks that they are dreaming up for this movie. On the other hand, they are not quite on top of their game… I signed up for Disney’s mailing list despite my misgivings of giving the Mouse Corporation any of my private information. By signing up, I basically told them that they already have my $10 to see the movie on March 5, that I am their target audience, and that I will probably be talking about it to all of my friends for the next eight months. Soooooo…. why haven’t I received any emails yet?!

Mickey in Wonderland

If you need a bigger Disney Alice in Wonderland fix than a one-page website can provide and can’t wait until March 5, 2010, check out the upcoming Mickey Mouse Clubhouse: Mickey’s Adventures in Wonderland DVD. “Meet Tweedle Chip, Tweedle Dale and Goofy Hatter, play croquet with Queen Clarabelle and more!” Currently available for pre-order, the DVD releases on September 8.