Dracula exhibit sucks you in

January 2, 2008 (Contra Costa Times / Jackie Burrell) -- Why it's cool: Winter just got a little chillier. Was that a bat that just swooped in? Or an elegant gentleman with a sweeping black cape and impressive incisors? Oooh, Dracula has descended upon San Francisco's Cartoon Art Museum -- or Edward Gorey's images of the great vampire, anyway.

Gorey did the breathtaking sets and costumes for the Tony Award-winning Broadway show, wowing audiences with the black and white backdrops, with a single, blood-red dollop of color in each scene.

Now you can get a behind-the-scenes look at Gorey's creations, from notes and sketches to finished masterpiece. Plus, photos and memorabilia from the production itself.

What kids like: Cartoons come to vivid life at the Cartoon Art Museum. The museum houses 6,000 original pieces, and rotating exhibits give fans a taste of cartoons' power to entertain, educate or simply elicit giggles. The added bonus here is that every kid knows Gorey's whimsical drawings from "The Shrinking of Treehorn," "The Wuggly Ump" and countless other tales. Now they have a chance to see what he did with the legendary Dracula.

What parents like: Between the Broadway production, New Yorker cartoons and that ever-charming introduction to PBS' "Mystery!" series, Gorey's drawings enchant grownups, too.

Afterward: Do we even need to mention it's just blocks from Metreon (101 Fourth St.)? Take in a movie, grab a snack or head for the arcade. Sample the sweets at Just Desserts, or snag a tri-tip sandwich and tasty fries at the Buckhorn Grill.

Parking: Street parking is hopeless, but there's a garage at Fifth and Mission ($3 an hour), or take BART to the Montgomery Station and stroll on over.


Fanged Films

From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

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