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The judge's table for the 2011 contest. (KCRW)

Tim Burton Pies Spin Fantasy Into Sugar And Art

by Evan Kleiman, KCRW
Jul 5, 2012

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A Tim Burton-inspired lemon cream pie with chocolate crumb crust in the 2011 Good Food Pie Contest. A chocolate chess pie from the 2011 contest.

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Evan Kleiman, KCRW

When you decide to hold a pie contest at a prominent art museum, it's hard to ignore all the inspiration around you. And so it happened that last year the Los Angeles County Museum of Art hosted our station KCRW's 3rd Annual Good Food Pie Contest. When we realized that an impressive show of more than 700 Tim Burton works would be up, we immediately had a new category.

It's hard to think of another artist whose work, at once so playful and so often strangely dark, is more perfectly suited to making pies in Los Angeles.

But I don't think any of the other judges or I were prepared for how ingenious the entries would be. As each Burton pie was cataloged into the judging area everyone crowded around to marvel at the sugar-driven fantasies.

There was a simple but perfect chessboard with finely delineated black and white squares — a clever nod to the classic chess pie (described yesterday by Linda Wertheimer). Some bakers used the round form of the pie to immortalize Robot Boy.

Other pies were used as simple visual backdrops upon which a wide fantasy was created out of edibles or painted paper.

The winning pie was startling in its simplicity. It was a James and the Giant Peach Pie, inspired by the Roald Dahl book and Burton film, made by the appropriately named Emily Baker. It was a simple, yet delicious, peach pie with a giant peach in the middle on which a tiny paper James was perched.

This year we're taking pie inspiration from an exhibition at Los Angeles Country Museum of Art from artist Chris Burden's Metropolis II. It's an engaging kinetic miniature city complete with skyscrapers, car-crowded highways and busy train tracks — a unique work that seems to appeal equally to the discerning museum-goer and to 5-year-olds.

What would your Metropolis II pie look like?

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