It's that time of year again, folks. That rarified moment when Willy Wonka allows a lucky few to enter the Wonka Works ... er ... I mean when John Lasseter opens the gates in Emeryville, allowing a limited number of people to come visit Pixar Animation Studios.
Mind you, you won't need a Golden Ticket to gain entrance to the Pixar campus. But you will need to pony up some dough.
You see, the folks at Pixar only allow the public into their studio once a year because they're huge fans of the Cartoon Art Museum. Which is the only museum in the western United States dedicated to the celebration of all forms of cartoons and comics. Which is why -- for five years running now -- Pixar has held a benefit at their Emeryville campus for this San Francisco-based operation.
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And this year's event -- which will be held on Saturday, October 11th -- promises to be a particularly fun evening. The festivities will start with a reception inside of Pixar's cavernous lobby area, from which the guests will then be able to explore the studio's 2nd floor gallery space. Which will be filled with pre-production artwork from "WALL-E" as well as other fine artworks created by Pixar employees.
From there, event attendees will then be escorted into the Emeryville campus' state-of-the-art 235-seat theater. Where they will then hear stories from Pixar insiders, gain insight into this award-winning animation studio's unique movie-making process as well as get a glimpse behind-the-scenes at the making of "Finding Nemo," "The Incredibles," "Ratatouille" and "WALL-E." After this presentation, the guests will then get the chance to chat with some of the presenters. Which will include Jeremy Lasky, the director of photography on the highly anticipated "Toy Story 3."
The festivities officially kick off at 5:30 p.m. with the serving of wine & hors d'oeuvres in the lobby and art exhibition area. The presentation in the main theater will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m. and will include a peek at Pixar's next short. Afterwards, guests will be invited back into the lobby to enjoy dessert & coffee as well as quiz various studio insiders who will be taking part in this event.
Sounds like a great way to spend an evening, don't you think. Now comes the hard part: Tickets for Pixar's 5th annual benefit for the Cartoon Art Museum are $200 per person (Though CMA members can purchase their tickets for the somewhat reduced rate of $150 per person). The Museum has also set aside a certain number of tickets for larger groups. Though those reserved-rows-of-ten are going for $2,000 apiece.
Which I know sounds like an awfully large amount of dough. But trust me, folks. This money is all going to a very good cause. The Cartoon Art Museum regularly presents all sort of stunning Disney-related shows (Take -- for example -- last year's great "The Art and Flair of Mary Blair" exhibit). More to the point, when you buy a ticket to this event, you actually get to wander around inside Pixar. Which is a pretty thrilling place for any animation fan to visit.
Having had the chance to explore the Emeryville campus once myself, I can truthfully tell you that this is one opportunity that you really don't want to miss out on. And given that tickets to this annual Cartoon Art Museum benefit typically sell out very quickly ... You don't to dither around here.
So if you're interested in attending this year's open house at Pixar Animation Studios, call 415-227-8666, ext. 300 today. You can thank me later.
wow, I'd love to visit the Pixar studios! I'm suprised anyone gets any work done at Pixar with all the cool distractions that they lay on for their staff!
However, this article did make me pine for the original Disney Animation tour at Hollywood Studios...