Saturday, October 22, 2011
Thanksgiving Parade to Feature Burton Balloon
Next month, on November 24th, Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York City will feature a specially commissioned balloon designed by Tim Burton, writes Dave Itzkoff of The New York Times.
“It’s such a surprise to be asked, and it was great,” Mr. Burton said in a telephone interview from London. “It’s such a surreal thing that you don’t even believe what you’re hearing. Somebody’s trying to play a joke on you or something. It had that kind of feeling.”
Burton even wrote an origin for this character, named B. Boy. B. was created, Frankenstein’s monster-style, from the leftover balloons used in children’s parties at the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. Forbidden from playing with other children because of his jagged teeth and crazy-quilt stitching, B. retreated to a basement lair, where he obsesses over Albert Lamorisse’s film “The Red Balloon” and dreams that he, too, will be able to fly someday.
“There’s always been something about balloons,” Mr. Burton said, by way of explaining his B. Boy character. “You see them deflated and you see them floating. There’s something quite beautiful and tragic and sad and buoyant and happy, all at the same time.”
Mr. Burton’s sketches of his B. Boy character, as seen from various angles.
“Maybe we’re stepping into the dark side here,” said Amy Kule, the parade’s executive producer, “but Tim’s balloon, although gothic, is really fun in spirit, and nobody should be worried that it’s going to be scary or should be part of a nighttime parade rather than a daytime parade. We’re pretty cognizant about what we put in the air, and this balloon deserves to be up there with all the others.”
Burton didn't think his style was particularly transgressive, either. “I’ve always felt like my stuff was never that weird or subversive, but that’s just me thinking that,” he said. “For me, it’s pretty natural. Maybe for others, it might not be so much.”
But will Burton appear at the parade itself on November 24th?
“I’ll probably be hiding somewhere, in a building,” he said. “That’s why I’m not an actor – I’m more a stay-behind-the-camera kind of a person. My marching-band days are over. I did that way back when, and I was pretty bad at it then, so leave it to the experts.”
You can read a bit more about the making of the balloon at the original article.