Midway through James Cameron’s 2009 sci-fi action film "Avatar," set on the distant planet of Pandora, lead character Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) observes, "Out there is the true world. In here is the dream."
He’s referring to his ability in the film to inhabit an alien body, and not, of course, a theme park. Yet Disney, at its Animal Kingdom park in Orlando, Fla., will on May 27 attempt to transport guests to an otherworldly reality — a place not inhabited by princesses and castles and singing ghosts but by floating mountains, a bioluminescent forest and mysterious creatures who rustle plants just out of sight of guests.
Pandora — the World of Avatar, which was inspired by the Cameron film but does not feature any of its main characters, aims to put a true-to-life spin on the fantasy universe. Situated in Animal Kingdom, Pandora will play up themes of conservation as it presents a fragile world on the road to rehabilitation. Set about a generation after the conflict of the film, much of Pandora, which we visited as part of a preview today, conveys a tranquil setting.
The Na’Vi River Journey boat ride is an intimate (the boats seat about eight people each) and calming trip through a bioluminescent forest, culminating in a visit with the Shaman of Songs, a Na’Vi relaxing and serenading guests amid the glowing fauna.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
There’s not really a recipe to selling albums. But nobody’s going to buy a record if they don’t believe that you believe what you’re singing. People believe me; that’s what I think I bring to my music. I sing songs that say what I would say if I was in that position.
Paris Hilton and Sharon Stone (Chris Delmas /AFP/Getty Images | John Sciulli / Getty Images for MOCA)
The annual Museum of Contemporary Art gala Saturday night was, in a word: magenta. Bright, reflective magenta — a celebration of the lavish and colorful kind.
MOCA transformed its Geffen Contemporary location into a shimmering Jeff Koons-scape, honoring the New York artist for his creative and philanthropic contributions. Koons has helped to raise more than $5 million for the museum in the last five years, and the party drawing more than 600 art stars, Hollywood celebrities and others was the museum’s thank you. The design, by event producer Ben Bourgeois, was inspired by Koons’ “Celebration” series of sculptures and paintings. A purple carpet and hot pink step-and-repeat backdrop for arrivals came with glowing magenta ceiling discs reflecting magenta-tinted tabletops in the dinner tent, where walls lined with mylar balloons were — you guessed it — shiny magenta.
Artist Eric White and actor Patricia Arquette Artist Jwan Yosef and singer Ricky Marti Artist Justine Wheeler Koons and honoree Jeff Koons Dave Wakeling of the English Beat performs at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Should the Tribeca Film Festival be considered a more traditional place of cinematic discovery, as a series of narrative films get their world premieres and seek the distribution to help them break out in the wider world? Or is it more about the experience around the movies, with post-screening concerts from the likes of Carly Simon and Puffy, and talks between Tom Hanks and Bruce Springsteen?
The jury is out. And may never, in a sense, come back. But for Tribeca, which Sunday wrapped up its 16th year under the hand of Robert De Niro and producing partner Jane Rosenthal, that’s OK. What seems like a throw-it-at-the-wall exercise to some is exactly the kind of tapestry its organizers want — an event that, much like the city it inhabits, offers a little something for everyone.
Here’s a small sample of the diversity I experienced over the past 12 days, and first up is the undeniable breakout of the festival, “Keep the Change,” winner of the jury prize for best narrative feature. Rachel Israel’s feature debut is an offbeat romantic comedy — but not the kind of offbeat romantic comedy typically associated with film festivals.