Friday, July 22, 2011

Spend the Night With a Superhero

MSNBC: Calling all superhero fans! You can now sleep with your favorite character on the fifth floor at the Wyndham Grand in the heart of Pittsburgh’s Golden Triangle. Ka-pow!

They’re all there. Batman. Wonder Woman. The X-Men. The Green Lantern. But be warned: It won’t all be acrobatic, pulse-racing fun. You’ll be sleeping with Homer Simpson, too.

The ToonSeum Suite was conceived in honor of the nearby ToonSeum, one of three American museums dedicated to a pop artwork that grows up, but never grows old.

“It’s becoming very popular,” said hotel spokesman Jason Martin. “We’ve sold 60 ToonSeum Suite packages since we began offering them in March, and word is still just getting out.”

For murky security reasons, Martin says the actual room number is only revealed to guests who’ve paid the starting-at-$129-per-night suite price. Why is a mystery. Only a villainous fool would want to instigate trouble in a room where Dr. Bruce Banner seeks solitude.

The cartoon-themed suite features 15 original framed cartoons, art and historical cartoon books, animation collectibles, a ToonSeum gift package (T-shirts, postcards, mugs, museum passes) and an artist desk in place of the traditional hotel desk.

The themed suite was conceived by Joe Wos, executive director of ToonSeum. A former resident artist at the Charles Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa, Calif., Wos said he was inspired to develop ToonSeum after a 2002 visit to the Cartoon Art Museum of San Francisco. (New York has the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art.) The unaffiliated trio share a mission to promote greater appreciation for an embraceable art that is increasingly driving pop culture.

ToonSeum is exhibiting “Superheroes: Icons & Origins” through July 31.

Everyone is invited to sit and scribble at a genuine 1930s drawing table purchased from the original Disney studios. (Unlike animators from that era, hotel guests can forgo the work environment that preceded the Disney strike of 1941.)

Wos says the displays are designed to appeal to the artistic interests of their core audience — “anyone between the ages of 6 and 106.” Famous visitors since opening in 2009 include actors Jeff Goldblum, Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway.

In the words of one of America’s most expressive cartoons ... "Th-th-th-that’s all, folks!"

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