Saturday at Disneyland

Yesterday, We took my girlfriend's Brother and Nephew, Lorenzo and 8 year old Matty, to Disneyland. They are visiting this weekend from Baltimore. We saw the big parade first...

Here's Matty on Lorenzo's shoulders watching the Pinnochio float.

Then came the Little Mermaid float.

The Little Mermaid is a true Disney classic and Ariel is a great character.

The design and colors of her costume are terrific.

The attention to detail is amazing. The sculpted lines of Ariel's bottom fins eased into her shimmering long green tail as it waved up and down welcoming all.

The curves of her hip scales lead my eye to perfectly rounded and firm sea shells. Her red mollusk encrusted hair glowed in the mid-morning light as it cascaded down her shoulders.


The camera somehow broke after this shot. My unexpected bloody nose and bruising made me miss going on Autopia with everyone next but I was able to do all the rides later once the swelling went down.

My Sister Monica's Wedding

My baby sister Monica got married to a great man and friend, Kirk last Saturday.

I was also honored that they asked me to help decorate the affair.

Months ago Monica, Kirk and I got together and started to discuss idea's. We already knew the wedding and reception was to take place at my other sister Megan and husband Paul's home. They already had a beautiful backyard thank's to nepotism and the show "Outer Spaces" (joking! it was a wonderfull backyard without the show)

Rather than trying to force a decor or theme into the space, Monica and I decided it was best to take the existing contemporary country feel the yard already had and push it further.

Monica chose colors/ideas with a French country feeling that complimented the space and gave the small backyard affair a casual but still elegant feel. After a few evenings sketching and discussing idea's, a practical and good looking design evolved. The final design plan below was created and also gave Megan and Paul a good idea what to expect.

When "Outer Spaces" made over the yard (2 years ago) it included a playhouse I designed and built for my little niece Devin. Since then, it aged poorly. Paint was faded and peeling, the thatched roof had all but dissappeared and it overall looked like a burned out war time bunker. It was the first and only thing the yard really needed to be fixed up. Below is the new look. My 4 year old niece, Devin, was happy to help and more often supervise the process.

The red flower box was a direct request by her to change after I had painted it green to match the door. After all my years working with design divas on occasion, who knew she would be one too.

At this point I must let you know I'm pre-mature in posting this event. There are still pictures I'm waiting on getting that would really illustrate everything better, so look for an update the meantime.

In designing the ceremony space. We decided it was nice to keep simple. Lavender became the flower/plant theme. Megan and Paul already had a nice area for the ceremony with trellises and flowers. So I made 2 simple lavender planters with a lantern post emerging from the center of each that would make the area special but merge well with the existing space. I added few extra pots with flowers to ground the idea.

The wreath you see on the center arch above was a detail carried through all the decor and tables.

Monica with her own little hands made each wreath for all the tables. I made small "crackle finished" pedistals to go in the center with a mason jar "candle" on top. For the tables we kept the "simple is best" rule and went with natural wood finish chairs, white dinnerware, and a tan table cloth with a lace top cloth.

The mason jars were one of many personal touchs to the event. Kirk's Dad and Mom years ago would make their own perserves and Kirk had over the years inherited them. With so many at hand we made them a design theme. Jars with candles inside were on the tables and hung in the trees all around.

Kirk's Dad passed away little over a year ago. In honor of him Kirk wore traditional scottish dress for the day. In my small way, having never of known him but knowing what a great son he had and soon to be brother in law to me, I thought of Kirk's Dad as I lit every candle. They encircled the yard.

Flowers, as I already mentioned was lavender with allysum accent.We stuffed them into everything, everywhere, outside and inside!

Devin dropped a sea shell in a pot for luck ( I don't know...must be some crazy pre-school tradition I guess) see if you can find in the picture below. She also ran around tieing little bows and hanging cut out paper hearts on everything. When she started to pull out Christmas ornaments it became hard to curb her decorating fervor.

Mom helped create the bridal bouquets...nice huh?

Overall this was a wonderfull time planning and making happen. Everyone in the family got involved and had imput. Dad had a brilliant design idea to a problem area at the zero hour while providing all with coffee and lunch during the day. Mom became the "go to" person for everything from wedding tradition to silverware placement. My brother, Ted spent an afternoon high on a ladder in a tree as I critiqued his xmas light placement.

Sister Megan headed up all the house's interior decor and catering. It became clear early on to just stay out of Megan's path as she would knock you outta the way in making everything perfect for Monica and Kirk. She had her husband Paul painting walls with one hand and moving furniture with the other! Everyone mentioned how great and "on the spot" the Servers hired for the day were...I secretly believe it was fear of Megan as she probably gave them a orientation speech that would make General Patton in WWII seem warm and fuzzy.

There are many other stories to tell and decor details I could mention and will post pictures of soon...but until then it was a great day with great memories.

The ceremony...

My Brother as best man giving a funny and touching toast...

A happy day spent with good friends and family...

Seeing the next generation learn what weddings are really about, CAKE!...

...and seeing my little sister very happy!

Real Life Adventures 2

A few years ago I met this guy one night while out for a few beers with friends. He was new in town. He was a friend of a friend and I tried to get to know him. We talked alot about his life. Well, I should say I just listened to alot about his life....

How he had moved from Florida just 3 months before.
How he bull****ted his way into working in Dreamwork's development department.
How even though he's just a production assistant doing petty stuff he has the ear of the decision makers.
How he has already been pushing scripts he thinks are great.
How he was only 24 and going to have his boss's job in 4 months.

The conversation around the table began to center on the Star Wars prequels. I said; "As bad as The Phantom Menace was, it still was fun because of all the energy in the theater being the new Star Wars movie and there was some really great stuff in it."

The new guy in town looked at me and said...
I was stunned. It was one of the most insulting things anyone ever said to me.

My response? I buried my anger and did the above cartoon of him in my sketchbook that night. It's a caricature but close to a photo realistic portrait.

Any payback? Yes, I just saw him yesterday working in the BEST BUY at the Empire Center in Burbank.

I was so tempted to ask him where I could find the Phantom Menace DVD.

Happy Cinco De Mayo

Sketchbook II

These are sketches of 2 potential puppet characters for a short lived 3-D television series.

Click on pictures to enlarge.

Summer movies

The new batch of summer movies are about to hit. I'm looking forward to Pirates of the Caribbean 2, Superman Returns and X-Men 3. They represent what I think is best about summer movies since Star Wars in 1977... movies that really should be seen on the big screen and better yet, fantasy based. The stuff I could not wait to see as a kid reading and re reading every issue of Starlog or Fangoria long before the internet.
I'll always remember the summer of 1982...that was a kick butt year for summer movies...and really influenced and inspired my creative side . Those movies that summer were:

Conan the Barbarian
Mad Max 2 : The Road Warrior
Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan
ET: The Extra-terrestrial
The Thing ( John Carpenter's )
The Secret of Nimh
Pink Floyd:The Wall

Yea, go ahead and read that list's true, all those now geek classic films were in one summer between May and August of 1982.

That was a good summer...and seeing Pheobe Cates remove her bikini top in Fast Times at Ridgemont High was a rite of passage for my generation. Yes, they came out that summer too. A classic Sean Penn line from the movie, I still quote ..."it's OK, my Dad has an awesome set of tools".

What also made it a cool summer was the release of my Dad's one and only movie, Fighting Back, starring Tom Skerritt and Patti LuPone. He was the co producer. It was loosely based on a "60 Minutes" segment he produced and directed about the leader of a New Jersey neighborhood watch that walked a fine line. He was labelled a vigilante.

Fighting Back was far from a hit that summer but in all fairness it was released the same weekend as: The Road Warrior, Annie and Dead Men Don't wear Plaid. It never stood a chance.
But it did make more money than Monty Python's : Live at the Hollywood Bowl.