On Saturday Bill and I went to the Vintage Paper Fair in Golden Gate Park. It was a bit disappointing. I was expecting antique Italian paper, art deco movie posters, advertisements, big things articulately composed restaurants would hang on their walls, and stuff I could make some cute Happy 2011 cards out of. Instead, there were mostly boxes and boxes of old postcards. Though the olden day writing on them was charming, I didn’t find the arbitrary/sentimental-to-someone else prose enough to warrant penciled prices of $6 and up.
Perhaps it’s a sign of the antique paper market. Not being of the crowd that “collects” this particular batch of ephemera, I can’t say for certain. The people watching wasn’t even especially interesting. Older people who like obscure things? I live in Berkeley. We got retired hippies by the droves.
Bill’s final find of a a few 3-D Disney postcards (Worth flipping through, not necessarily worth the cash.) segued nicely into the eventual next point of interest en route of our pursuit of a non-wasted day. Though the Paper Fair was a bit of a bust and the impressionism exhibit at the De Young is sold out until its close (Good for Art!), we decided to head north to the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio.
Beyond the “family room” entry way into the museum, photography is generally not allowed. Bill had fun with my G12, though, snapping his favorites from just a fraction of the awards and decorations Walt Disney earned himself in his lifetime.
While a custom Academy Award is a bit of a “Duh.” in symbolizing how special Disney was, I couldn’t get over the seemingly greater significance of awards back then. Hand-forged trophies, custom plaques. Just looking at this “Special Award” made me feel a degree of fantasy. The gilded-ness, the hand drawn calligraphy – Quite fittingly, it reminded me of the story book openings of old school Disney cartoons. (Think Sleeping Beauty, one of my all-time favorites. Sick story book intro, opened by a phantom hand. Best villain. HyperColor ball gown.) Prizes and awards seemed to have so much more value back then. I almost felt inspired to commission someone to make a calligraphy certificate out of a personal achievement just so I could feel like I actually earned something important. What good is the frame on an undergraduate diploma when you know that piece of paper was just spit out of a printer? (Side note: I never got my diplomas framed.)
Moving into the actual museum, you get taken through an interesting history of Disney’s family background, and of course, the creative end of what we end up seeing on screen. I really liked the interactivity of the museum. The flow was extremely thoughtful and well planned. When Bill and I were synchronizing replica instruments with Steamboat Willie, other passersby were protected from our banging away. Those headphones were a good call. And so was that break at the midpoint. There is so much visual stimuli in that place that Bill and I both needed naps after our walk-through – Not the least of which is all the concept art and fun things like videos of their princess models and how they mixed cel paint. I’d like to meet the person who is not inspired by Mary Blair and give them a healthy dose of childhood wonderment, or maybe a box of crayons. The Museum is a great place for adults to go to find their whimsy. (Yes, yes, I know this all sounds very Peter Pan right now.)
I knew my old friend (And we’re talking kindergarten days.) Laura had worked on the construction of the Museum. (Another dalliance: Laura is Buster’s mom.) So after I got home, passed out, watched Fantasia, and regained general consciousness, I dug through her portfolio of work. Thankfully, she was able to take pictures where the rest of the Museum’s visitors cannot, so I had to call up a few favorites here. Think of it as an after-hours tour as I recount the notes I could not photograph:
The real kicker is the end of the walk-through. I almost called it “the finale,” but with the mortal word “final” in it, it makes me sad just to think about it. The last rooms in the museum (Before the gift shop, natch.) are announcements of, but mostly responses to, Walt Disney’s death. I’m not even the animator in the couple, and I almost cried. Looking at one newspaper cartoonist’s depiction of Pluto crying for Disney, my throat choked up under the pressure of a greater understanding of Disney’s innovation and vision. Can’t say I’ll voluntarily sit through Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln, but I get it now.