The Afternoon Oasis of Familial Beguilement

Having lived 60 miles from Six Flags: Great Adventure, some of my fondest memories from New Jersey come from frittering away hot summer days in the (second) happiest place on Earth. From my first visit, where I refused to get near a roller coaster line, to my last, where I tried to bribe my way into Kingda Ka, I fell in love with amusement parks. Although I do not consider myself an amusement park aficionado by any means, I would never pass up the opportunity to visit one (unless of course it’s Hopi Hari).

When I heard that one of my favorite directors, Wes Anderson (Moonrise Kingdom, Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums), was planning on creating a signature theme park, I thought, where can I fund this? Speculation of a Wes Anderson theme park arose after the release of a compilation of Mark Mothersbaugh’s visual artworks Myopia. The book is published by Adam Lerner, the director and chief animator of the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, where there is now an exhibit of the same name until next April. As the author of the book’s foreward, Anderson wrote, “I hope to soon secure the means to commission the construction of an important and sizeable theme park to be conceived and designed entirely by Mark Mothersbaugh […] For 40 years he has set about creating a body of work which amounts to his own Magic Kingdom, where the visitor is amused and frightened, often simultaneously.”

One of my favorite directors, Wes Anderson was planning on creating a signature theme park. Where can I fund this?

Mark Mothersbaugh had gained fame through his avant-garde rock band Devo as its lead singer since 1972. Although primarily a musician, he was not confined to music as a form of expression, and he is now known as a seasoned visual artist who has done over 150 gallery shows in the past 20 years. But it was music that brought Mothersbaugh and Anderson together: Mothersbaugh has composed the score for four of Anderson’s feature films, including Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. It seems that this past work convinced Anderson to begin contemplating the start of—dare I say—a grand project with Mothersbaugh.

If you have seen any Anderson movies, his stylistic choices are impossible to ignore: vertically symmetric shots, fast panning, extreme zooms, clean set design, obsessive object placement, and an almost insatiable search for the perfect color palette. Given Anderson’s notable style, the unique visual nature of a potential theme park would likely attract film-buffs and regular viewers alike. Although from Anderson’s statement Mothersbaugh would seem to be designing the park single-handedly, Moonrise Kingdom-lovers should not fear the absence of Anderson’s signature style, as Mothersbaugh’s past use of symmetry and bright color palettes should make fans of the movie director feel at home.

The two artists have a visually similar concept of design, and with Mothersbaugh collaborating on almost half of Anderson’s masterpieces, the duo have a well-established impeccable chemistry. It will be interesting to see what these two artists come up with and how they will develop their creative relationship into a large-scale project. Get your power domes and favorite tweed suit on, kids. And get ready to lose yourself in “The Afternoon Oasis of Familial Beguilement.”