More Unleashed news, music, Wesleydale, LeapPad and the BIG bake

January 4th, 2014

Happy New Year, Wallace and Gromit fans! For the holidays this year, I ordered a copy of The Art of Gromit Unleashed, which wasn’t cheap when shipping to the US was added, but was worth it. Between the articles I’ve read on the Gromits and the background information about every Gromit provided in this book, I almost have stopped regretting not booking a trip over the Atlantic to Bristol to see them in person.

Plus, the fine folks at The Grand Appeal included a hand written note with my purchase.

Speaking of Gromit Unleashed, the organization continues to release the figurines for sale on their site and at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway. I’m still hoping that in 2014 they’ll have enough to ship internationally! Finally, one of the Gromits has found a public home: Gromit’s grand new dog house decided by voters

In musical news, the duo just finished up their Musical Marvels events in London and Sydney. There are currently no upcoming shows but you can sign up for their newsletter to be notified of any updates.

I’m a big fan of Wensleydale cheese (sold at Whole Foods here in the United States) so it was great to see this news: Wensleydale cheese finally wins protected status

Have a kiddo with a LeapPad? This news should interest you! LeapFrog brings Aardman’s Wallace and Gromit and Shaun the Sheep to LeapPad

This fall through December 31st, Homepride Flour sponsored Wallace & Gromit’s BIG Bake which included a fundraising kit for individuals to bake goods and sell them for the Wallace and Gromit charity. The winner will be announced at 5pm on Monday 13th January 2014. Keep an eye on Wallace and Gromit’s Charity Pintrerest page for more.

In the spirit of things, here is a sampling of what came out of that!

Gromit Unleashed wrap-up

November 13th, 2013
Gromit Unleashed

I have already written about some of the exciting things Wallace and Gromit were up to over the summer, but the biggest one of all was the Gromit Unleashed art display in Bristol, UK! For 10 weeks from the first of July Gromit statues decorated by world famous and local artists alike dotted the city of Bristol in a walking tour that attracted thousands. The exciting summer wrapped up with an auction of the statues in September that raised over £2.3 million for Wallace & Gromit’s Grand Appeal charity for children and their families Bristol Children’s Hospital.

Back in June I wrote about couple of ads that were released promoting it. So, first up, an article from just before the launch: Gromit Unleashed: Celebrity line-up revealed

The unveiling of the statues themselves was seen over by none other than Wallace and Gromit Creator Nick Park!

Throughout the summer several outlets continued their reporting, featuring all kinds of Gromits and their artists from the trail:

Once the trail itself ended, the Gromits were moved to a temporary location where they were housed and on display for visitors:

Throughout their display time the wait times to see the Gromits were tracked on the @GromitUnleashed twitter account and at times reached up to 3 hours!

It was perhaps no surprise then that the auction of the Gromits was so wildly successful:

As a wrap up, the Bristol Post published a fantastic 32-page booklet titledThe Great Gromit Auction on ISSUU, so you can browse the whole thing online.

Looking for more photos of the gromits? Be sure to visit the Gromit galleries on the Gromit Unleased website for more.

There are figurines being produced of many of the gromits, which will be available on the Gromit Unleashed Shop. Unfortunately they are out of stock but have promised to fulfill demand next year. You can click on the “Newsletter” link on the website to be kept up to date with current developments, including when new figures will be available. And they don’t ship to the United States directly on their website, but I was able to follow the instructions to contact them and just sent in my payment for the The Art of Gromit Unleashed Book – a steep $41.46 including shipping to the US, but I’m sure it’ll be worth it. Hopefully I’ll be able to get one of the figures too when they’re available again.

Thrill-O-Matic Ride and Wallace and Gromit endorsed UK Staycations

October 22nd, 2013

What a summer for Wallace and Gromit!

We saw the opening of the Wallace & Gromit Thrill-O-Matic at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. This is the first amusement park ride featuring the duo to be launched, so a very exciting moment!

There was a lot of press coverage leading up to and around the opening in April, including lots of great photos with Nick Park as he was there to celebrate the opening of the ride.

Then Wallace and Gromit hit the trail to team up with VisitEngland promote “staycations” in the UK.

Announcement on WallaceAndGromit.com here: Wallace & Gromit’s Great UK Adventure Begins!

And check out the great website here: YourGreatAdventure.co.uk

Press coverage, including some great pictures and a great slideshow from the BBC of a series of the images showcased in the campaign:

Finally, the promotional video is a lot of fun:

For Shawn fans, we also saw this news: Shaun the Sheep Movie is Announced!

And perhaps the biggest news of the summer? The amazing Gromit Unleased tour in Bristol where 80 Gromit statues decorated by 80 famous and local artists! But this requires a post of it’s own, coming soon.

“A Grand Tail” in Bristol and some costumes

June 19th, 2013

Sarah Chidgey has passed along the latest video promoting Bristol and the upcoming 80 Gromit statues coming to the city and writes:

A Grand Tail is a slapstick romp around some of Bristol’s most iconic locations, to publicise the unveiling on 1st July of 80 life-sized Gromits painted by a host of high-profile celebrities and artists, including Harry Hill, Cath Kidson and One Direction’s Zayn Malik. The summer trail and film are aimed at families and couples looking for a UK break or ‘staycation’.

The film features two hapless delivery drivers trying to drop Gromit off in time for the Trail, but getting hopelessly lost in the city.

Tourist attractions in the city include Bristol Zoo, Clifton village, the Harbourside area of town, where the SS Great Britain is docked, two theatres, the recently revamped music and comedy venue Colston Hall, Bristol Museum and @Bristol (a science museum suitable for adults and families), two cinema complexes, plus an enormous range of restaurants and the recently-built Cabot Circus shopping area. Other attractions include the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the Downs, and Leigh Woods.

Check it out here:

In related news, Brunel’s ss Great Britain has announced the arrival of their very own Gromit, “staying with us over the summer and presiding over Brunel Square for ‘Gromit Unleashed’ from Monday July 1st 2013.”

From their press release:

The artist is Thomas W. Dowdeswell; whose piece ‘Being Gromit-Malkovich’ incorporates an abstract cityscape in a Vorticist style. It is an industrial yet contemporary construction which strikes an interesting balance with the historic engineering of Brunel’s ss Great Britain.

Thomas W. Dowdeswell said: “As Gromit is taking over the streets of Bristol, I thought it would be an interesting twist to turn [him] into a cityscape in his own right. Gromit now is not just a dog but an idea, a vision and a hope which encompasses the whole city; on the streets, in our homes, under blue skies and neon-lights people are volunteering to live, at least for a while, in Gromit’s world”

And thanks to the folks at Carbon Costume who create “Famous outfits made from everyday gear” and also reached out to show me a couple recent posts featuring Wallace and Piella Bakewell costumes!

See the Wallace costume here and Piella here.

Gromit Unleashed ads unleashed!

June 12th, 2013

The Gromit Unleashed campaign features a series of 80 Gromit statues made by area artists that will be placed throughout Bristol for 10 weeks from July 1st to September 8th 2013.

In preparation, a series of videos have begun to be released:

Wondering where you’ll find 80 Gromits this summer?”A Grand Tail” coming soon

Gromit stirs up the Clifton set in this outtake from “A Grand Tail,” coming soon

Thanks to Sarah Chidgey for letting me know about these videos!

Gromit in CACM

February 16th, 2013

It’s rare when my love for Wallace and Gromit intersects with my career in technology, but today was one of those days! While reading an issue of Communications of the ACM this morning I found an article titled “Saving Private Gromit” (membership required to view, alas) about efforts to preserve and legal issues around preservation of video games, with a focus on the industry in the UK.

Here’s hoping video games of our beloved duo can be preserved for future generations!

Wallace and Gromit star in Google+ Hangouts ad!

December 18th, 2012

Thanks to my friend Miia Ranta for showing me this – Wallace and Gromit, along with a host of other Aardman characters “get together” for the holidays via a Google+ Hangouts advertisement!

BBC Proms wrap-up, Gromit sculptures coming to Bristol and a new amusement park ride

December 1st, 2012

It’s been a few months since our last roundup update! Here’s a roundup of some of the news that came in since then.

It will probably not be a surprise to long time fans, but at an interview back in July Nick Park talks about the origins of the characters: Gromit was ‘nearly a cat’ says animator Nick Park

Last time we talked about the upcoming performance at the BBC Proms, and with those long behind us there were some great articles that came out covering it, including…

The Telegraph did an amusing interview with Wallace: Proms 2012: Wallace and Gromit: interview. And not to be outdone, The Guardian also featured an interview with Wallace: Wallace: ‘I have a feeling Gromit has a hankering to be a composer himself’.

As for the event itself, this article from the BBC covers it and has a great photo from the event: Wallace and Gromit take over Prom

Wallace and Gromit brought some animated anarchy to the BBC Proms on Sunday with a family-themed concert featuring new sequences created by Bristol-based film studio Aardman.

So, what was the music actually like? Julia Savage of Bachtrack writes a great description and review here: Prom 20: Wallace & Gromit’s Musical Marvels!

With the proms behind them, where did the duo surface next? One event was the Preston Guild celebrations as reported here: Wallace and Gromit creator honoured at the Preston Guild celebrations. They also showed up at Wensleydale Creamery following a cycling event for charity as reported here: A grand day out at creamery. And while on the topic of charity, it’s been announced that Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal to be official partner for this year’s Bristol 10k.

Finally, a couple pieces of news that I’m pretty excited about. First is news brought to my attention by Emily Koch Gromit sculptures to be unleashed on Bristol. I’ll probably not be able to see it in person, but Gromit sculpture all over Bristol, how cool!

And the other big news, a Wallace and Gromit amusement park ride is coming to UK’s Blackpool Pleasure Beach in 2013!

Set to open in 2013, the $7.8 million Wallace & Gromit Thrill-O-Matic dark ride at the United Kingdom’s Blackpool Pleasure Beach will whisk visitors through the world of the eccentric cheese-eating inventor and his anthropomorphic dog.

The 4-minute ride will feature a dozen scenes inspired by the animated short films starring the beloved British claymation characters, including “A Grand Day Out,” “The Wrong Trousers,” “A Close Shave” and “A Matter of Loaf and Death.”

Quote from the Los Angeles Times article Wallace & Gromit ride heading to UK’s Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Artist’s rendering of the ride:

How exciting! Now this may be worth a trip over the pond for… :)

D&AD Auction in London of Wallace and Gromit sketches

November 23rd, 2012

Jana Labaki, Awards manager of the educational charity D&AD, reported that they are are auctioning four original Wallace & Gromit pencil drawings from Nick Park on 3 December!

Educational charity D&AD champions excellence in the fields of commercial creativity. In D&AD’s 50th year, we invited 50 creative greats to design their dream cover for the D&AD Annual, the organisation’s yearly publication.

Designers, advertising creatives, filmmakers, photographers, illustrators and artists have all contributed. The result, a magnificent collection of original artwork.

Of the 50 pieces, 39 are being auctioned online at auction.dandad.org, and 11 pieces, including the Wallace & Gromit drawings, will be auctioned on 3 December. Proceeds raised through the auction will go to the D&AD Foundation, to help support the next generation of creative talent.

The four great sketches are as follows:

More details on the lot page: http://auction.dandad.org/lots/nick-park

The auction is happening on Monday 3 December, at the Gallery at The Hospital Club in London but is by invitation only, to attend please email sophie.moss@dandad.org, more details about the auction itself at:

http://www.dandad.org/dandad/events/2012-10-26/d-ad-50-auction

BBC Proms, philanthropy projects, Scienceworks exhibit, Jubilee video

June 23rd, 2012

As mentioned in the last update, the US DVD and Blu-ray release of Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention was on March 13th, io9 has a great review of it: Let Wallace and Gromit teach your kids about science. Animated Views also reviews the show and the Blu-ray itself, discussing extras, packaging and more: Wallace & Gromit’s World Of Invention. As a love of science shows in general, I was delighted to receive my own copy!

Back in April it was announced that Wallace and Gromit would join music greats with an appearance on the BBC Proms 2012 on July 29th.

“Concerto in Ee, Lad will be unveiled at a children’s Prom on July 29 and is, according to a tongue-in-cheek explanation by Proms organisers, a composition by Wallace himself.

The Aurora Orchestra will perform the concerto while Prom-goers are treated to a new Wallace and Gromit film devised especially for the occasion by Nick Park of Aardman Animations.

From: BBC Proms 2012: Wallace and Gromit compose their own concerto for Royal Albert Hall

The BBC covers it: Wallace and Gromit to feature at BBC Proms and the event page featuring Wallace and Gromit is also now online: Prom 20: The Wallace & Gromit Prom: Musical Marvels!

In my last update I also mentioned the Big Breakfast event on 20th -27th April, and the site has been updated to thank participants:

Thank you to everyone who took part in Wallace & Gromit’s first BIG Breakfast with our friends Foresters. We are very excited to let you know that over 100,000 people nation wide took part .

All the money you raised will help improve the quality of life of sick children and their families in local hospitals and hospices across the country. Thank you.

A few articles also covered some of the breakfast events across the country:

And in more Wallace and Gromit philanthropy news, this article from May about the success of The Grand Appeal: £250K appeal launched for children in Bristol fighting cancer. Finally, the Wallace and Gromit’s Children’s Foundation is hosting their annual Wrong Trousers Day this upcoming Friday, June 29th!

In May Museum Victoria Scienceworks in in Melbourne, Australia opened the Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention exhibit, making Australia the first country outside of the United Kingdom to host the exhibition.

Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention explores how innovation and inventiveness are a part of everyday life through a series of interactive exhibits modelled on the devices built by much loved TV character Wallace; a resourceful and creative inventor helped by his clever companion, Gromit the dog.

The museum itself covers the opening on May 17th in a media release, Wallace and Gromit set up shop. Karl Quinn of The Age also writes about the exhibition Just claying around: animation stars roll into Scienceworks and Jim Schembri of the Herald Sun covers it in his article, Inspiring feat of clay at Scienceworks.

There was a lot of excitement leading up to the next bit of news – a new 1 minute, 14 second Wallace and Gromit tidbit – released for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (which apparently is a big deal in the UK, even if we don’t know what it’s about here in the US!). Sponsored by the National Trust they released some teaser photos, a short video and a “making of” video before the Jubilee, covered in the following articles:

And can be viewed on the National Trust website: Wallace & Gromit: A cracking weekend, which also includes more details, activities, games and even a shop!

Wallace & Gromit in National Trust’s A Jubilee Bunt-a-thon video:

Direct YouTube links:

Finally, the Cracking Idea Award Winners for 2012 have been announced! And the author of the Wallace & Gromit newspaper strip from Titan Comics and Aardman, Richy K. Chandler, has announced that he has a new non-Wallace and Gromit webcomic in the works, to be released June 27th: Lucy the Octopus.