Sunday, September 16, 2012

Anaheim Oktoberfest Lager!

Here are a couple of things that make me happy: My hometown of Anaheim and really good beer.  I also like German stuff,  so every year during Oktoberfest season in Anaheim, it's like the stars have aligned.

Recently, the Anaheim Brewery asked me to create the label for their bottled Oktoberfest Lager (which just came out this week) and, let me tell you, my little heart jumped for joy.  (Besides, Jody got to design the label for the Brewery's Old Pacific IPA and I've been jealous ever since.)

My first thought was to do a graphic inspired by Anaheim's German roots, but Brewmasters Barbara and Greg Gerovac explained to me that this beer is really all about the city of Munich.

My rendition of Munich's Rathaus. 
A few years ago Jody and I traveled to Munich and fell in love with the city, its pedestrian-dominated streets, architecture, beer gardens,  and a park with a river running through it that attracts urban surfers.  There's even a 1970s Trader Vic's there!

Our cameras got the biggest workout at the "New City Hall"-- or Neues Rathaus -- that has a glockenspiel built into its 262 foot-high tower. Everyday at noon, accompanied by tinkly carillon bells, wooden figures reenact two historic events: the traditional coopers' dance originally performed to ward off the plague, and a famous wedding celebrated in the square in 1568.

Waaaay up on the tip of the tower is the famous "Munich Child" (Munchner Kindl), a symbol of the city that first appeared on Munich's coat of arms over 800 years ago.  The figure is up so high, that you can barely see it from the ground.  Likewise, on the beer bottle the Munich Child is a teeny speck, so I've magnified it here for you about 2000 times.  Looks like a call for Batman!!

In, around, and below the Rathaus.

A couple blocks away from the Rathaus, stands the most overwhelming building in the whole city, the Frauenkirche, or "Church of Our Lady." The twin domed towers seem impossibly tall, and signs warn you not to stand too close in winter, or snow and ice might cascade off the roof and smash you like a ton of bricks.  Without a doubt,  the Frauenkirche needed to be on the label, too.

Anaheim Oktoberfest Lager is now available in 12-pack bottles, in growlers, or by the glassful at the Anaheim Brewery's tasting room.   It's a precious and fleeting treat, limited to the autumn months, so if you're local to Southern California, get some while you can.  The Anaheim Brewery will celebrate Oktoberfest in their biergarten located at the brewery on October 13.  There will be a German brass band, pretzels, bratwurst, saurkraut, and undoubtedly me in lederhosen doing the chicken dance.  Hope to see you there!

Only 27 more shopping days left 'til Oktoberfest!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

The Big Fig List

The List.

Several people have asked for a comprehensive list of all the big figs that Jody and I have worked on together.  And so, here it is.

This is also a fine place to mention that producing these sorts of items is always the result of a team effort.  With few exceptions, these figures were sculpted by other artists, and the success of the character likeness depends as much on their ability, as on our concepts and guidance.

We'd like to acknowledge the exceptionally talented artist Pete Emslie who drew splendid character turnarounds for many of our very best figures, and to Bo Tsai, our favorite sculptor in China.  Sadly, Bo passed away this spring, but his contribution to worldwide Disney merchandise over many decades is legendary.