Monthly Archives: September 2011

Jones Family Gathering Welcomes a Special Guest!

At last night's gala dinner on the patio of Lou & Mickey's (at the very heart of San Diego's historic Gaslamp Quarter–previously known as the "Stingaree"), the Jones Family Gathering welcomed a very special guest, one of Chuck Jones's favorite authors and wits.

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This author has been gone from this world for over a century, so our 'reception' was at times a little blurry, but we kept fiddling with the knobs and dials of our "Way Back Machine" (not to be confused with Peabody & Sherman's WABAC machine), and he eventually came into clearer focus.  

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To everyone's amazement and delight it was that rascal and raconteur, the inimitable Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens).  Mr. Twain was gracious enough to stroll among us, delighting us with bits and pieces of his encyclopedic knowledge of all things west of the Mississippi (and some things east of it too!)

Chuck Jones began reading at age three and around the age of seven (circa 1919) discovered the writings of Mark Twain, in particular a book Twain wrote about his and his brother's trip by stagecoach out to the gold fields of the Sacramento basin in 1849 ("a miner, a 'forty-niner', oh my darlin' Clementine…"), titled "Roughing It".  One particular passage stuck with Chuck, and it was Twain's description of the coyote (which is repeated below for your edification); it was a description, Chuck said, that resonated with a scrawny, seven-year-old, and one that when needed about 20 years later, provided much of the characterization of one of Jones's most enduring and popular characters.  Let's see, who could that be?

Twain wrote: 

"Along about an hour after breakfast we saw the first prairie dog villages, the first antelope, and the first wolf. If I remember rightly, this latter was the regular coyote (pronounced ky-o-te) of the farther deserts. And if it was, he was not a pretty creature or respectable either, for I got well acquanited with his race afterward, and can speak with confidence.

The coyote is a long, slim, sick and sorry-looking skeleton, with a gray wolfskin stretched over it, a tolerably bushy tail that forever sags down with a despairing expression of forsakenness and misery, a furtive and evil eye, and a long, sharp face, with slightly lifted lip and exposed teeth. He has a general slinking expression all over. The coyote is a living, breathing allegory of Want. He is always hungry. He is always poor, out of luck, and friendless. The meanest creatures despise him, and even the fleas would desert him for a velocipede. He is so spirtless and cowardly that even while his exposed teeth are pretending a threat, the rest of his face is apologizing for it. And he is so homely! -so scrawny, and ribby, and coarse-haired, and pitiful."

Celebrating Chuck Jones’ 99th Birthday

Thomas J. McLean of Animation Magazine has written a tribute to Chuck Jones in honor of his 99th birthday.  He's also included three cartoons, "What's Opera, Doc?", "Prest-O Change-O" and a Tom & Jerry short, "Jerry, Jerry, Quite Contrary".  To read his article and to watch the cartoons, click on this sentence.

A Special Message to Chuck Jones on his 99th Birthday

Today is my grandfather’s 99th Birthday.  Maybe some will say “But he passed away nearly 10 years ago, so it should be ‘would have been…’”  It is certainly true that he, the man, is no longer here, but he, the presence, the teacher, the giver of smiles and laughs is certainly still among us.

If he sat here before me today, I would tell him a personal Happy Birthday, but also tell him that his birthdays always meant a little more than just the cake and the attempts at getting him a gift.  What has always been so wonderful about Chuck’s birthdays to me is that it seems as though everyone celebrated it with him.  Whether it was at the Hollywood Bowl with 18,000 people singing him Happy Birthday during Bugs Bunny on Broadway, or showing his cartoons to packed house of 500 at Warner Bros. to celebrate his 85th or 88th, it was always a celebration of everyone’s joys in life. 

And even back when we were very young, we would gather at home to watch him blow out his candles (always the accurate number no matter how difficult it was to get them all on the cake), and to see how he might cut the cake this time.  Somehow he never cut that first piece quite the same.  Sometimes it might have been small, sometimes large, and sometimes a handful that would be delicately deposited on the adjacent plate.  

Regardless of the memory, the ever-present feeling was always that of joy and fun. And that is something that I can continue to celebrate until long after I cannot fit even one more candle on my birthday cake. 

Happy 99th Birthday, Chuck! 

With much love, Craig

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Chuck Jones with his grandson, Craig Kausen, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Chuck Jones Center for Creativity.

News about the Chuck Jones Centennial Celebrations

"We have a major Chuck Jones exhibit opening this month at the Port of Portland’s International Airport that will be viewed by nearly one million travelers as well as an exhibition of original production art at the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio coming in November,” said Craig Kausen, “and also this November will be the grand opening of the Chuck Jones Experience at Circus Circus in Las Vegas, all of which we feel is a grand way to launch my grandfather’s centennial celebrations.”    

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Jones, one of the fathers of Bugs Bunny and the creator of such iconic cartoon characters as Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner, Pepé le Pew and Marvin Martian, was born in Spokane, Washington, on September 21, 1912.  The four-time Academy Award recipient, including a Lifetime Achievement Oscar in 1996, enjoyed a seven decade career in animation and fine art, beginning in 1932.  His life and life’s work spanned the history of animation, from the first tentative steps of Gertie the Dinosaur, animated by Windsor McKay in 1912, to the brilliant CGI (computer generated imagery) of John Lasseter and Pixar Studios. 

Chuck Jones by Steve Banks 3 x 72 dpi

The Chuck Jones Centennial Celebrations will include a revamped version of the multi-media extravaganza “Bugs Bunny at the Symphony” created and conducted by George Daugherty, with planned appearances at Wolf Trap and the Kennedy Center in 2012 as well as with other notable symphony orchestras around the country.  The Center is working with its local Congressman in the hope that United States Congress will designate Jones’s birthday as National Chuck Jones Creativity Day in 2012.  

 

Bugs Bunny and Haute Couture

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New York's Fashion Week and the coverage it receives is not usually where one would think you'd find references to Chuck Jones, but you would be wrong.  We've seen the work of Chuck Jones used as touchstones for everything from physics to philosophy, but this may be a first.  

Fashion critic for the New York Times, Cathy Horyn, has singled the work of Chuck Jones out, not only for his brilliant use of bold color, but also for the gentleness that was mixed in with the gags.  That all important convivial mix of wit and vulnerability was their hallmark.  She goes on to point out that the bold patterns being shown by many of the fashion designers lack that subtlety.  

Please read her article, The Volume Stays Up to get her particular take on the state of American fashion now appearing on runways throughout New York City.  

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"Drag Strip" a limited edition sericel available at the Chuck Jones Gallery.  

“It Held Me Smellbound.”

When Chuck Jones's 1949 short animated film starring Pepé le Pew, "For Scent-i-mental Reasons" won the Oscar for best short animated film at the Oscars held in March of 1950, he received many congratulatory telegrams (of course, he did not get the actual Oscar statuette, that honor was bestowed upon the producer, the irascible Eddie Selzer), but of all of the congratulations, the telegram below, from the inimitable Tex Avery is perhaps the most delightful.  This artfact will be on display at the soon-to-open Chuck Jones Experience at Circus Circus in Las Vegas.

OSCAR TELEGRAM AVERY 3-24-1950 copy

 

WNYH! (We Need Your Help!)

One of Chuck Jones Center for Creativity's most ardent partners and supporters is the amazing non-profit TEAM KIDS.  They have been selected as one of 10 finalists for a Cox Cares Grant of $10,000.00!  No one is more deserving, but, and this is where you come in, TEAM KIDS needs your vote!  The non-profit with the most votes wins the grant of $10,000.00 and will be named Cox's Non-Profit of the Year.  Please, please take a moment (okay, maybe 4 minutes, 5 tops) and go to Cox Cares and vote for TEAM KIDS.  We thank you and TEAM KIDS thanks you!  To learn more about TEAM KIDS, visit their website.  

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TEDx SAArtistsVillage Examines “EXTRAordinary” at Yost Theater, October 1

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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(SANTA ANA, CA) – September 2, 2011 – Creative Orange County presents TEDxSAArtistsVillage, on Saturday, October 1, 2011 from 9am – 5pm at the historic Yost Theater in Downtown Santa Ana. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. TEDxSAArtistsVillage is an independently organized event licensed by TED. 

Curated and produced by Creative Orange County, TEDxSAArtistsVillage will examine the meaning and interpretation of “EXTRAordinary,” be it unusual, remarkable, common, ordinary, or other. The program will include topical speakers, short film/video (1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners of the 1st Annual Creative Orange County Short Film/Video Festival), pre-recorded TED Talks and live musical performances.

LIVE speakers and performers scheduled to appear at TEDxSAArtistsVillage include (other guest speakers and musicians still to be announced) – - 

  • Brianna Karp, Author – The Girl’s Guide to Homelessness
  • Lisa Bloom, Trial Lawyer, Author – Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World
  • Mildred Lewis, Co-Owner, The Fox Lewis Project
  • Kelly Smith, Founder – Center for Living Peace
  • Laurie Hassold, Multi Media Artist
  • Gregorio Luke, Impresario- Murals Under the Stars
  • Craig Kausen, Chairman of the Board – Chuck Jones Center for Creativity
  • Jeff Lebow, Co-Founder – The Harvest Club
  • Kohl Crecelius, CEO – Krochet Kids International
  • Amber Kandarian, Founder – DocuThesis
  • Lindon A. Crow, Personal Growth Coach

TEDxSAArtistsVillage will coincide with Downtown Santa Ana’s first Saturday Artwalk beginning at 5pm the same evening, providing TEDx guests opportunity to experience extended creativity and culture following the conference.

Tickets for TEDxSAArtistsVillage are on sale and available online at http://www.tedxsaartistsvillage.com. The ticket price is $55 for general admission and will include the complete Saturday conference program including an interactive reception following.

About TEDx

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x=independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.

About TED

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. The annual TED Conference invites the world's leading thinkers and doers to speak for 18 minutes. Their talks are then made available, free, at TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani,Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Isabel Allende and UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The annual TED Conference takes place in Long Beach, California, with simulcast in Palm Springs; TEDGlobal is held each year in Oxford, UK. TED's media initiatives include TED.com, where new TEDTalks are posted daily, and the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as the ability for any TEDTalk to be translated by volunteers worldwide. TED has established the annual TED Prize, where exceptional individuals with a wish to change the world are given the opportunity to put their wishes into action; TEDx, which offers individuals or groups a way to host local, self-organized events around the world, and the TEDFellows program, helping world-changing innovators from around the globe to become part of the TED community and, with its help, amplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.

TED2011, "The Rediscovery of Wonder," was held February 21-25, 2011, in Long Beach, California, with the TEDActive simulcast in Palm Springs, California.  Follow TED on Twitter at twitter.com/TEDTalks, or on Facebook at facebook.com/TED.  

About Creative Orange County

Creative Orange County is a "think tank @ the intersection of culture, commerce and community".  Vision is to inspire, engage Orange County CA to be a "Creative" Community Showcase via partnerships and collaborations with like minded individuals and organizations.  Visit www.creativeorangecounty.com for more information.

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*This independent TEDx event is operated under license from TED.

Media Contact: Ashley Eckenweiler,The ACE Agency

 949.285.9239, ashley@theaceagency.com

Program Contact: Susan L. Petrella, Creative Orange County

714.975.0284, creativeorangecounty@hotmail.com