Throughout the month of January, The ToonSeum is proud to present a series of film screenings celebrating the birthday of one of the world’s most accomplished artists, Hayao Miyazaki. The filmmaker turns 70 years old on January 5th.
Often called the “Walt Disney of Japan,” Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli reinvigorated the Japanese animation industry in the 1980′s and 90′s with a string of genre-defying masterpieces that would become international hits. But it wasn’t until the success of 2001′s Spirited Away that most American audiences began to discover Miyazaki’s work. Largely through the efforts of PIXAR’s John Lasseter (who lists Miyazaki as not only a huge influence but a great friend), many of Miyazaki’s films have enjoyed broad theatrical and DVD releases.
Miyazaki’s films have changed the way the world thinks about animation. Typified by wild flights of fantasy, political and ecological commentary, and meticulous and breathtakingly beautiful hand-drawn and watercolor animation, Miyazaki films often cast a spell over viewers young and old. While combining nuanced story-telling techniques and a vibrant, naturalistic mis en scene, Miyazaki’s animation often subverts the viewer’s expectations, with calm, reflective moments that give way to unpredictable twists and turns. Most notably, Miyazaki’s protagonists are often strong, confident female characters just as his villains are often complicated, sympathetic victims of circumstance.
The following films will be screened with discussion and production notes:
January 13 at 7:00pm – Castle in the Sky (Laputa) (1986). After a daring escape from sky pirates, a young girl teams up with an orphaned miner to uncover the secrets of a magical city floating in the clouds. The second of Miyazaki’s first feature length films, Laputa is full of sweeping action and vibrant characters.
January 22 at 3:00pm – My Neighbor Totoro (1988). Miyazaki’s pastoral masterpiece is a story of two young girls coping with their mother’s illness and resultant move to rural Japan. There they encounter a Totoro, a gentle forest spirit that guides and protects them through the turbulent time. Totoro is the antithesis of American children’s movies: quiet, observant, and humane. Named by the British Film Institute as one of the Greatest Children’s Movies of All Time.
January 27 at 7:00pm – Princess Mononoke (1998) Roger Ebert called it “the Star Wars of animated film,” and he wasn’t exaggerating. The boldest and darkest of Miyazaki’s films, Mononoke is a complex Buddhist parable in which spiritual forces do battle with ragged human imperialists. Lush and provocative, Mononoke marks Miyazaki’s first foray into computer-generated imagery, accentuating several scenes with bizarre movement, though every single cel remained hand-drawn.
In addition to the screenings, the ToonSeum will conduct a poll allowing fans to vote for their favorite Miyazaki films and characters.
Films are all family-friendly, however Princess Mononoke contains adult themes and war-related violence. Admission for the screenings by donation only.
Caroll Spinney, the man behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street appears at a special event for the Toonseum.
Pittsburgh – On Saturday, November 6th, 2010, the ToonSeum celebrates memories of Saturday mornings filled with cartoons, breakfast cereals and animated heroes. Jim Martin (Gary Gnu of the Great Space Coaster) and David Newell (Mr. McFeely of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood) will be on hand throughout the evening, along with live music, a silent auction with unique experiences, food, drink, and plenty of cartoons.
The evening begins with a special ticketed VIP reception at 6:30pm featuring a conversation with Caroll Spinney. Caroll is best known for his portrayals of Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street. Caroll is also a talented cartoonist, painter and illustrator. Attendees of the VIP reception will receive a signed print from Caroll, along with a year-long ToonSeum Membership.
After the VIP reception, the ToonSeum kicks open the doors to all ticketholders at 8pm for KA-BLAM! III: The Return of Saturday Morning. This year’s blast is a celebration of cartoons, comics and everything else that made our mornings special. With cartoons, hands on activities, entertainment and much more, the event is a great chance for grown ups to let their inner child out to play and party.
The annual fundraiser benefits the ToonSeum, Pittsburgh’s Museum of Cartoon Art. The ToonSeum, located in Downtown Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, is one of only three museums in the nation dedicated to the comic and cartoon arts.
This year’s event being is chaired by Yu-Ling and Gregg Behr (who are fans of cartoons and of being big kids). “The Toonseum is a new and important asset to our vibrant Cultural District and we are honored to be a part of KA-BLAM. Celebrating childhood memories is important and something we should take time out to do. This event will remind us of all the things we loved as kids and still love as big kids.” – Gregg Behr
KA-BLAM! Will take place on Saturday, November 6th, 2010. The VIP Reception with Caroll Spinney begins at 6:30pm, and the main event will be from 8:00 pm to 11:30 pm.
VIP Tickets are $100 each or $150 per couple. VIP admission includes a signed limited edition print and ToonSeum membership. KA-BLAM event only tickets are $50 and student tickets are $25. All ticketholders must be 21 years of age to attend. Saturday morning pajama dress is welcome and optional.
Tickets may be purchased online at www.ka-blam.org or in-person at the ToonSeum.
945 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222
R. Crumb celebrates his 67th birthday at the ToonSeum with a special screening of Terry Zwigoff’s critically-acclaimed documentary Crumb, an intimate look at of one of America’s most infamous and influential artists. Crumb’s frank, acerbic, and often hilarious comics and illustrations have been a vital part of the American art scene since the 1960′s. From his early work in Zap Comics to last year’s masterpiece Book of Genesis, Crumb has spent much of the past 40 years sharing his often controversial take on sex and politics, jazz and blues music, and the importance of comics as an artform. Zwigoff’s film, packed with humor and pain, is widely regarded as one of the best biographical documentaries ever produced.
Thu, August 26, 7:30pm
Admission is a suggested $5.00 donation. Guests will receive a free R. Crumb gift while supplies last. This event is recommended for mature audiences. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
ToonSeum of Pittsburgh
945 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA
Rob Rogers speaks at the ToonSeum about his 25 years as an editorial cartoonist in Pittsburgh and his new book, No Cartoon Left Behind.
As a editorial cartoonist for the last 25 years, Rob Rogers’ cartoons appear regularly in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Newsweek, and USA Today, among others. His “How the Gingrich Stole Christmas” graced the cover of Newsweek’s 1994 year-end issue. He received the 1995 National Headliner Award, the 2000 Overseas Press Club Award and has won seven Golden Quill Awards. In 1999, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
In his new book, No Cartoon Left Behind, Rogers recounts his humorous path to cartooning and shares his own personal perspective on the major news stories of the past two and a half decades, covering a diverse range of topics including the Cold War, gun control, smoking, racism, the environment, 9/11 and presidential elections. It is considered as a must-have for political junkies, history buffs, cartoon fans.
The ToonSeum, 945 Liberty Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222