East Van Panto 2017: Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

I illustrated the set for the 2017 East Van Panto again this year. This is far and away one of my favorite projects. My mother always told me I should be a children’s book illustrator. I always wanted to be a political cartoonist. This project is like the best of both!

Here are some of the pieces and the local references.

The East Van Panto runs until January 6, 2018 and it will likely sell out as it did last year. Get tickets here: http://thecultch.com/

North Shore McMansion Drop

Ever see those Monster Houses in West Vancouver? The theory is that those oversized McMansions are designed from the inside out rather than to blend in with their environment. That is, the owners compile all the elements they want – cathedral ceilings, Palladian windows, Baroque spiral columns, huge SUV garages and so on – without consideration for the outside appearance. The exterior usually looks bloated and asymmetrical.

I imagine the interior of most West Van Monster McMansions is part Trump-inspired Rococco styling and part M.C. Escher illusion confusion.

Snow White’s Bedroom Flat

The script direction described Snow White’s bedroom as a “gothic hellscape.” There’s some replication of the gold McMansion crown moulding and baseboards but this room has some unshiny non-gold metal trim to indicate second-class quarters. The spiral columns are bowed with effort and topped with capital flourishes that look more skull-like than Baroque. The dark walls are adorned with rose and skull emojii, a Cure album poster, an Edgar Allen Poe poster, and crossed-off “time served” days à la prison walls. Most teenagers would feel right at home here.

Well, I would.

Inversion View Drop

Cloud inversions are caused when a mass of warmer air traps a layer of condensed colder air near the surface of the earth. This is called a temperature inversion because usually the air is colder the higher up in the atmosphere you go. If you find a high enough mountain or hill, you’ll be able to look down upon a fluffy blanket of cloud and mist that looks almost solid with just the tips of the highest landmarks and buildings poking through.

It almost looks like a romanticized view of heaven and is, no doubt, a metaphor for some kind of class struggle.

Ironworker’s Bridge Flat

The steel trusses of the Second Narrows bridge make a colorful and complex web against the often grey and stormy skies over Vancouver.

Playland Drop

While normally a chaotic and colourful place, Playland in the off season feels more gothic than giddy.

Haunted House Flat

The Haunted House flat is modeled on Playland’s Haunted Mansion. It’s been given some inadvertent “cheeky monkey” pareidolia to match the tribal skull entrance décor.

Carousel Ride Cutouts

Old-fashioned carousel rides always seem a little bit like beautifully turned out reanimated zombies.

Playland’s Moving Parts (Cutouts)

A bumper car, a teacup ride, a rollercoaster car with a buzzed-out face, and a lonely little donut make up some of Playland’s colorful and ubiquitous motifs.

Cauldron Flat

The Queen’s cauldron is actually a large Vitamix Ascent Series blender (gold trim edition, natch).

The Ascent series blenders retail at $615 U.S. and include wireless connectivity and SELF-DETECT™ Technology. Presumably that means they can trigger the singularity and achieve eventual world domination.

Musical Instruments (Coroplast Cutouts)

One can never go wrong with a good assortment of strings, wind, brass, percussion, and electric power, all with a festive red trim. Of course no one expects anyone to actually play anything nowadays.