The Cartoon Art Museum of SF has a special place in my heart. They initially drew me in with their amazing Mary Blair showing, and I’ve been impressed with their enthusiasm and exhibition selections ever since, even if I haven’t been able to go as often as I’ve liked. When I heard they’d be holiding a fundraising event at Pixar, I knew I had to attend–especially since I’ve wanted to visit Pixar for years.
So I drove up to Emeryville yesterday afternoon and found my way to Pixar’s 45th Street entrance (the main entrance on Park is under construction). As I entered, I was greeted warmly by a security guard who checked my name off a list of attendees. From there, I parked in the guest section of the lot and made my way to the front of the building, where I saw this:
My name was checked off once more by a different friendly staff member, and then I made my way inside. Once there, I was asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement. Pixar allowed photography on the first level, but not the second, as it featured unique pieces and potentially future film concepts which it didn’t want shared with the public. Being on the first level, I started snapping away:
Pixar had several murals from the Toy Story films, including one featuring Buzz and Woody, and another with the ensemble and Lotso the Bear.
At the center of the room was a long table piled high with food, including green salad, orzo salad, fruit salad, cheese, mini pumpkin pies, and cookies. I snagged some salad and a seat towards the back of the area. High above me were vaulted glass-paned ceilings, and the room was filled with airiness and light. The place had a wonderfully open and energetic vibe to it. And when I needed to use the restroom, I quickly spotted this:
I spent a good amount of time exploring the upstairs area (wish I could describe it here, but I imagine the works are rotated out depending on the film), and happened upon a drawing class with Pixar’s Josh Cooley. Fortunately, the class was just starting, so I found a spot and did my darndest to replicate Mike Wizowski, and then a Toy Story alien (“Oooh the claw!”) When I wandered back downstairs, I discovered complimentary drinks and multiple seating areas.
I decided to challenge myself by taking an improv class. I’ve never been especially skilled at improv, even though we’d do it somewhat often in high school drama class, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to refresh my skills. Pixar’s Chris Romero taught the class, and he was wonderfully enthusiastic, supportive, and patient. We did three different improv activities, and I soon realized that I typically overthink things. Going with your first thought is really the keystone of improv, and I think I have this need to perfect my thought before uttering it. Improv doesn’t allow for this. I realized my brain isn’t used to leaping before looking, except perhaps in dance improv. I definitely need to retrain it. Spontaneity, sharing new ideas/building on others, risk-taking–all of these are good things.
My visit to Pixar reminded me that I was spontaneous as a child, and the most awesome people are creative and spontaneous. It also reminded me that I can throw out ideas without fear of censure–and as Chris R mentioned, work is especially a good place for adding to ideas, building on them, etc. I’m completely stoked. I invite you all to come to the fundraiser next year–it was well worth the money.