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Waiting in Line for Avatar

Waiting in Line for Avatar, Ink & watercolor
Waiting in Line for Avatar, Ink & watercolor

I think we picked the craziest day to go see Avatar at a shopping center theater: the day after Christmas when shoppers were out in force, filled with pent-up shopping frenzy after a whole day of closed stores.

I purchased  tickets online the day before and we left two hours early for the theater which was a good thing because we got stuck in an Emeryville traffic/parking nightmare for about 45 minutes.

Only two cars at a time were making it through each light change to turn left into the street leading to the parking lot at Emeryville’s Bay Street 16 AMC Theater. After sitting through at least 10 light changes we finally made it into the next line-up-and-wait scenario on the narrow road leading to the garage. Then when we’d finally crawled our way close to the garage entry we saw a sign saying “Garage Full” blocking the entry to the garage. The only option was for cars to exit back on to main the street we’d just come from.

I decided to just move the sign and the rubbery barriers and go in anyway, since we could see people leaving the garage and we knew they were letting people in at the other end of the shopping complex.  Jessica was smart enough to run over and try out the ticketing button to see if it would raise the arm and allow entrance. Of course they’d programmed it so that it wouldn’t.

So back out into the awful traffic we went. A few blocks away we saw parking spaces by an old boarded up restaurant, parked, and speed-walked through the outdoor shopping center to the theater since it was starting to rain. I picked up our tickets from the ticketing machine and we entered the theater. We were still an hour early and only the 10th people in line. We were warm, dry and comfortable and I got to sketch some of my fellow waiters-in-line.

Our seats were great and the 3-D glasses were comfortable and worked well, even over my glasses. The Imax theater filled completely, even down in the front rows where you’d be looking up at the screen the whole time.

And the movie was fantastic—so beautiful and transporting. I still feel like I am in the incredible world Cameron created for Avatar. I had objections to a couple bits in the movie but overall, it is truly a masterpiece of filmmaking, a gorgeous work of art and imagination, and a feat of technological brilliance as well.

7 replies on “Waiting in Line for Avatar”

Great sketches Jana! We went on Boxing Day too but couldn’t get in and I’ve never seen a shopping centre and car park so busy here, it was chaos. So we booked and saw it yesterday and I thought it was a beautiful film, though I admit I was prepared not to like it because of the hype! 😉 I wonder which bits you didn’t like? I saw a lot of references to the past and James Camaron’s political views seemed pretty obvious.


i really want to see avatar, but my gal wanted to see sherlock holmes. so i gave in. the next weekend was just as crowded, if not, worse! as a fellow artist, i know i would enjoy the creativity of james cameron’s vision as well. do people notice you drawing them? if they do, what do they say to u? im sorta shy, so i dont get to sketch in public much. great watercolors and blog btw!


Often people do notice and occasionally they will ask to see it, which is kind of fun (or awful is the drawing is bad). Only once has someone asked for the drawing and I tore out the page and gave it to them. Rarely do they seem bothered by being sketched, but I do try to be subtle if I get a sense they might be. When I’m out with my sketch buddies we’re pretty obvious since there is 3 or 4 of us. I do plein air painting too, and that helps to toughen you up to people seeing what you’re working on. Once on BART (our subway) it turned out I was sitting next to a drawing instructor at the Academy of Art and he gave me some helpful tips.

I think the key to getting over the shyness of sketching in public for me was to just do it and discover how easy it was to get away with it, and even more important how positive and supportive the public is about it. I’d say 95% of people being sketched or observing you sketching will be very complimentary and enjoy the sort of inside joke.

And after visiting your blog and seeing your wonderful drawings and illustrations I can see you’d have nothing to worry about. Your work is just wonderful! Jana


Avatar was incredible. I don’t think my face turned from the screen even once during the whole movie. My ex said he was talking to me a few times and he couldn’t get my attention; I was transported and transfixed. I would love to see it again just to look more at the scenery. CGI is getting so realistic now and I think this was the best CGI movie I have seen so far.


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