“Picturing Alice” at the San Francisco Public Library

Draw Me a Story at the San Francisco Public Library

Draw Me a Story at the San Francisco Public Library

The San Francisco Public Library has teamed up with the nearby Cartoon Art Museum for Draw Me a Story: A Century of Children’s Book Illustration, an exhibition of children’s book illustration featuring 12 books and 41 original works of art by artists from Ralph Caldecott and Kate Greenaway to twentieth century innovators of illustration including W.W. Denslow, William Steig and Chris Van Allsburg.

The exhibition opened in September and will run until December 2, but the best day to go will be Thursday, October 25, when LCSNA President Mark Burstein will be delivering the talk “Picturing Alice,” in which he will explore art inspired by Alice from the 1860s to the present. The talk will be at 6:30 p.m. in the main library and will be followed by a book sale.


Behind Shattered Glass – help fund a new indie Wonderland film

The website indiegogo.com is a good place to raise money for an independent art project. Some filmmakers in San Francisco – Chandra Reyes (Writer/Director), Laura Chenault (Director of Photography), and Jorna Tolosa-Chung (Co-Producer) – are campaigning there for a future Carroll-derived indie movie, Behind Shattered Glass. Their creative vision is written for their campaign:

The film is about a young woman who, with the sudden loss of her love, takes sanctuary in a new strange world. Deep in this wonderland she discovers an elusive Man in White who tempts her to follow him down a dark path. There she encounters many other frightening characters who threaten to keep her in Wonderland. Will she break free from his hypnotic trance or is history destined to repeat itself even deep within her own imagination?

I believe that every filmmaker that grew up reading or watching Lewis Carroll’s fairy tale has an Alice in Wonderland story within them that needs to be told. Carroll’s story is about a girl who’s curiosity leads her into strange and new places that she’s not all that ready to be led into. It’s a story we all can identify with. In my reimagining Alice is no longer a young naive girl, but a woman who is stuck making the same mistakes over and over again. Wonderland isn’t just her sanctuary, its her opportunity to break free. [continue reading]

As of today, they’re only $266 out of a proposed $2k. There’s perks to investing in this project, besides feeling good about helping someone enter another looking-glass. For $25 you get a poster of the film, for $50 you get that and a copy of the film, and yet greater thank-you prizes as the donations increase – ($500 gets you an illustrated version of the script.)  Follow progress of the movie on twitter at @bshatteredglass and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/behindshatteredglass.


“Fellini’s take on Lewis Carroll”: photography by Jeff Charbonneau and Eliza French

"Starfield" by Los Angeles artists Jeff Charbonneau and Eliza French is among the "Circumspect" works on view at E6 Gallery. - SF Chronicle

This new Jeff Charbonneau and Eliza French photography exhibit in San Francisco at the E6 Gallery is said to be “Lewis Carroll … inspired” by the San Francisco Chronicle. The exhibit, called Circumspect, was also described by Photograph magazine as “Fellini’s take on Lewis Carroll.” And Charbonneau says, “Our vision of the solar system and the universe based on a very simple idea: How would you view it as a child or see it in a tangible form that you can interact with?” The art looks lovely, even if the relation to Carroll is merely high-concept. (Could any art featuring girls in wondrous lands be considered in some way related to Carroll?)

Circumspect runs through September 14, 2011: 12-6pm Wed.-Sat.; 12-5 pm Sunday; at E6 Gallery, 1632 Market Street, San Francisco, California.

Jeff Charbonneau and Eliza French: Circumspect, at E6 Gallery, San Francisco



Theater Review: 11th Hour Ensemble's Alice

There’s a new theater piece called Alice, premiering tonight at the Theatre of Yugen, 2840 Mariposa Street in San Francisco (running September 9th through 19th), directed and “imagined” by Allison Combs. As a work of “movement theatre,” it’s about 60% interpretive dance and 40% dialogue, easily juggling different genres of theater with different types of music, and varying levels of seriousness & silliness.

Alice, in her traditional blue outfit but played by a leggy adult actor/dancer (Megan Trout), is already exhausted on the stage when the audience is allowed to enter. (“Is that Alice?” asked a young girl behind me, Alice having already silently begun her opening number while an usher noisily hobbled past her to turn off a loud fan & the audience settled in.) This Alice starts out with grown-up anxieties, obsessive-compulsively counting numbers, and reassuring herself repeatedly “okay, okay, okay.” In contrast to the wildness she’s about to encounter, we realize that her troubled state of mind at the beginning is her supposed normalcy.

Then, instead of a white rabbit, she is shaken from her routine by a single playing card falling from the sky. A tribe of five strange savages in rags starts to mess with her by taking her thru the mind-and-body-changing adventures of Wonderland, loosely inspired by the stuff that happens in Carroll’s book. (While Alice was exploring the corridor, before it really gets going, the child behind me declared “This is upsetting because it’s boring.”) Growing, shrinking, falling, mushrooms, being stuck in a house, scary forests, and all manner of psychedelic abstractions are created by the weird tribe with their flexible interlocking limbs, in extremely creative ways. Only using their bodies, a caterpillar sits on a mushroom, and when he sucks on one of their fingers, the whole mushroom inhales & exhales. It’s most fun during the wild dance numbers, with their very cool choreography; it drags a little during the dialog, which like so many Alice in Wonderland adaptations, is always a lot less clever than Carroll’s original. For some reason, their amazing Cheshire Cat, very feline & Kabuki-ish, stuck closer to Carroll’s words, and was consequently much more powerful.

After Alice has gone native, a new square-peg (named Lewis) also finds himself lost in Wonderland, and by this time Alice has already become one of the weird savages. Lewis’s unhappy anal-retention makes us realize what Wonderland is to these people: everything ‘other’ in American society. Their Wonderland is part hippie, part hipster, part Burning Man, part mushroom trip, totally gay, multi-cultural and sexy. It has games with no rules, self-examination, community, humor, and of course lots of dancing and singing. It’s also dirty. Uptight Lewis rejects it outright, and even Alice eventually wakes up. But she’s definitely dirtier than before her trip to Wonderland (“Is she dripping sweat?” asked the child behind me.)