Friday, January 29, 2010

Men in (Stripey) Tights

Last week, my brother David was passing through town on his way to a reading with Sam Shepard and Patti Smith. We took the opportunity to check out Tim Burton's exhibition at the MOMA, an event I was actually slightly dreading.

Let me explain.

Like almost every outcast 'art girl' in High School, I went through the black stripes and eyeliner Tim Burton phase. Hell, I even declared a Tim Burton week one year (don't ask - if you don't already know the details, well, you're just not meant to).

Over the years, my outlook expanded and I began to realize how narrow Burton's niche was. Not to mention the fact that his films just, for lack of a better phrase, 'got bad'. I remember deriving some amusement out of Sleepy Hollow, mostly due to the 'Walken Factor'. But Planet of the Apes, Willy Wonka, Sweeney Todd? Ugh.

Beetlejuice was a blast. Scissorhands, wonderful. Ed Wood, interesting. And of course, Batman.

Tim Burton's first Batman works because it has just the right balance of dumb action and macabre humor. Also, Keaton is kinda 'off-his-rocker' as both Batman and Bruce Wayne ("You wanna get nuts?") Burton's second Batman becomes a little too much about Burton.

But I've gotten off-track...

I was slightly dreading the exhibit. All I could think of was Depp's performance as Willy Wonka.

Then I was reminded of Burton's excellent drawings and design sense, what drew me to his work all those years ago. And really, that's what's worth braving the stripey-tight wearing crowds - the hundreds of doodles and drawings of random dog-walkers and kissing couples he's brought into his own demented little world.

And of course, all the movie props from the films I loved in grade school (special thanks goes to my brother for blocking the guard's view while I snapped these photos).

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