Friday, November 01, 2013
Danny Elfman & Tim Burton
I was all ready to spend last night handing out candy to trick-or-treaters, when Tim called. A friend at work had two tickets to the Danny Elfman concert at the Nokia Theatre. The concert, which sold-out in 12 minutes, was featuring Elfman’s often eerie scores to Tim Burton’s movies—the perfect complement to Halloween. We decided to go.
Burton famously grew-up in Burbank, around the same time I did, and went on to study animation at Cal Arts. He worked as a storyboard artist for Disney, in the early 1980s, but his quirky, often macabre style didn’t quite fit in and so he left and began making movies on his own. His break-through film was Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, for which Danny Elfman composed the score. They have collaborated on all but two of Burton’s films since.
We are big Tim Burton fans, but obviously not as rabid as many of the people who attended last night’s concert. Halloween seemed just an excuse for them to dress as their favorite Burton characters. We saw several corpse brides (from the animated film Corpse Bride, starring Burton’s other frequent collaborators, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham-Carter), several Beetlejuices (from the movie of the same name), quite a few Sallys (from The Nightmare Before Christmas), and an excellent Sweeney Todd, as well as an assortment of non-Burton costumes, including two Marie-Antoinettes, an Elvis with a rubber wig, and two bananas (!). I wore the same Jack Skellington t-shirt I’ve worn every Halloween for the past ten years or so. The unofficial uniform for most of the audience was anything in black.
Me wearing Jack
The Nokia Theatre was designed specifically as a concert venue, so there are no bad seats, even though we were in a private “box,” above the floor and to the right of the stage. The Hollywood Symphony Orchestra played under the direction of John Mauceri, the founding director of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Slides of Burton’s conceptual art and clips of the various films accompanied each segment of the concert. The opening bar of the more popular movies, like Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Beetlejuice, Batman, and my favorite, Edward Scissorhands, were greeted with screams and a roar of applause, overwhelming those of us sitting two stories above the audience. But nothing prepared us for the sound of sheer adoration when Elfman, himself, walked out onto the stage to sing songs from The Nightmare Before Christmas. He was Jack Skellington, all bluster and bones and highly animated. It was absolutely wonderful!
The evening ended with an encore of Elfman singing Oogie’s song from Nightmare. Certainly it couldn’t get any better than this. But then a man entered from stage right and the noise became deafening.
“Who is it?” I asked my husband.
“TIM BURTON!” he yelled, applauding madly.
I screamed like a teeny-bopper! Burton then took the mic and said there was no one he’d rather spend Halloween with than Danny Elfman.
A very Happy All Hallow’s Eve, indeed!