Monday, June 01, 2009
"Up" in Emeryville
My partner domestique was invited to a Visual Effects Society screening of the latest Pixar animated epic at the company's screening room in Emeryville.
We ate at the iconic Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe in that strange, small town on the other side of the Bay Bridge, where there was a 45-minute wait and sexy Goth waitresses who were unusually polite and friendly.
Emeryville is actually an old Ohlone Indian clamming ground that has been used by the white man over the last 100 years for heavy industry, brothels, gambling, and now an odd mixture of modern condo complexes and huge box stores. We felt like we'd entered the new NBC spy comedy "Chuck" whose hero works in a Best Buy parody called "Buy More" which is situated next to an equally monstrous facility called "Large Mart."
The Pixar studio is across the street from Emeryville's glass Civic Center building, which gives a new meaning to government transparency.
The animation studio takes up a huge chunk of land, much of it devoted to lovely landscaping. The screening room, with its twinkling stars roof, was extremely cool and the "campus" actually had good vibes, something I can't say about a number of other pixel-pushing companies.
The movie "Up" was surprisingly good, with deep crevices of melancholy behind the adventure story which featured many terrifying dogs. There was a funny controversy started by Amy Graff at SFGate on Monday who complained that the movie was way too scary for her young children (click here). Though I thought Ms. Graff was whining a bit too much, she wasn't wrong. The dogs WERE scary and when they bit the rare bird on the leg, I was seriously distressed.