Anything Michel Gagné does is worth a post on Cartoon Brew, but a whole new film by him is cause for celebration. His new short, Sensology, visualizes in abstract form an improvised musical session by two leaders of the avant-guarde jazz movement, Paul Plimley (piano) and Barry Guy (bass). The music was recorded on November 9th, 1995, at the Western Front in Vancouver, Canada. A 9-second teaser of Sensology, posted online in the Fall of 2006, resulted in Pixar contacting Michel to do the abstract taste visualization for the film Ratatouille. Gagné tells us:
“The film was started in August 2006 and completed in July 2010. Many months of experimentation with various animation techniques lead to a grant from Art Partners in Creative Development and the creation of the live show Fixed Fragmented Fluid which will also make its way as a film at a later date.
“I’ve been refining the animation over a four year period and finally wrapped it up three weeks ago. The completed 6-minute film premiered in Los Angeles last week, to qualify for an Academy Award, at the Laemmle’s Fallbrook 7 in West Hills, CA.”
Was the plot of Christopher Nolan’s Inception inspired by a Don Rosa Uncle Scrooge comic book story? In the story, created for the European market in 2002 and published in the US in the May 2004 issue of Uncle Scrooge (#329), Scrooge’s totem is a 25-pound bar of solid gold. His “limbo” is an endless desert where each grain of sand is actually a microscopic gold coin. Both stories have characters use a machine to enter someone’s dream – and entering someone’s dream to steal a secret. The similarities don’t end there. You can read the full comic here.
This weekend in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Rapids Betty Boop Festival will celebrate its native son: Myron “Grim” Natwick, the designer and original animator of Betty Boop at Fleischer Studios in 1930. The ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive will be there with an exhibit and screenings featuring Natwick’s greatest work. Nina Paley will also be there screening Sita Sings The Blues, and there will be parties, dances, motorcycle rallys, and live music. The whole event culminates in the unveiling of a historical marker in honor of Grim Natwick at their museum. For more information, check the Boop Festival website.
A couple of bits of news from the stable of The Brothers McLeod. They’ve uploaded a trailer for their new short film The Moon Bird (a 15 minute dark fairytale) and, below that, they just finished their latest run of Fuggy Fuggy shorts:
Here’s something I’d like to have: this cleverly designed limited edition Mickey Mouse remote control from Japan, with a stand shaped like Mickey’s shoes. In addition to controlling the TV (and which Disney Channel you’ll watch) it has a voice button with which to hear 9 Mickey Mouse lines. It also has a “B.S.” button (which hopefully filters out all Disney B.S.). If only it could restore all cable programming to pre-1970 Disney films and cartoons.
Each week we highlight several of the print cartoons, comic strips and panels that reflect the world of animation. This week we’ve got three examples: Doonesbury (7/28) by Garry Trudeau, Brevity (7/30) by Guy Endore-Kaiser and Rodd Perry – both referencing Pixar – and Scott Hilburn’s Argyle Sweater (7/28), taking on a breakfast cereal icon.
(Thanks to Jim Lahue, Kurtis Findlay and Charles Brubaker)
Animation viz-dev artist Goro Fujita tells us that he and 44 other artists from Dreamworks are having a gallery show at Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, California, from August 14th through September 6th. The artists include Fujita (art pictured above), Nate Wragg, Christophe Lautrette and Devin Crane. The exhibit will feature personal works of art to be featured in an upcoming group book, Moonshine. There’s an opening reception on Saturday, August 14th, from 7 pm – 11 pm and a closing reception/book signing on Friday, September 3rd, at 7 pm. The group has also started a blog. For more info on the exhibit click here.
I was hanging out with my friends Will Ryan and Tom Knott this morning and we dropped into one of my favorite places on Melrose Avenue, Off The Wall Antiques. Amongst the coolness on display there was this large object hanging from the ceiling, a Popeye Painted Wood Carousel Figure. Kids were meant to ride on his back. The proprietor told us this was part of a set with Felix The Cat and a Mickey Mouse-like figure. It’s a very cool piece, though it’s priced way above my station… Check the Off The Wall Antiques site for more photos taken at other angles. May the right Popeye collector buy it!
Next Tuesday, the CineFamily will present a rare 35mm screening of Chuck Swenson’s Dirty Duck (aka Down And Dirty Duck, 1974). Long before Bill Plympton and Nina Paley, Swenson convinced producer Roger Corman to give him the money to make a one-man hand drawn animated feature. The money he got was so little, the film was originally titled “Cheap” (it was also test marketed under that name). However, like Ralph Bakshi’s Fritz The Cat, the finished film is surprisingly smart, funny and original. Featuring the voices and songs of Flo & Eddie (Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan of The Turtles and the Mothers of Invention), Dirty Duck is a strikingly stylized psychedelic odyssey that perfectly embodies the raunchy American underside of the 1970s. Animation director Charles Swenson will appear in person for a Q&A after the screening.
This will be preceeded by a selection of Turned-On Toons, a pre-show of titillating short cartoons from across the ages, from raunchy XXX-rated revelries of the ’60s and ’70s, up to the perversions of now. All hosted by yours truly, Jerry Beck. The show starts at 8pm, at the Silent Movie Theatre, 611 N. Fairfax Ave. in Hollywood, California. Advance tickets available now.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will be hosting two back-to-back animation events in August. The first, on Thursday night August 19th, will be a panel on the art of animation voice acting. Panelists will include June Foray, Susan Egan, Jim Cummings (Winnie the Pooh), Yuri Lowenthal (Ben 10 and anime) and Russi Taylor (Minnie Mouse), animation directors Bob Peterson (Dug) and James Baxter, and casting director Rick Dempsey. Voices of Character will be moderated by animation historian Charles Solomon.
The second program, the next night Friday August 20th, will be a screening of all nine Oscar nominated and winning Chuck Jones cartoons in 35mm. The program will include For Scent-imental Reasons (1949), So Much For So Little (1949), Mouse Wreckers (1948), From A To Z-Z-Z-Z (1953), High Note (1960), Beep Prepared (1961), Nelly’s Folly (1961), Now Hear This (1962) and The Dot and The Line (1962, pictured above).
Tickets for these events go on sale August 2nd, general admission is $5 (students with a valid ID $3). Both programs will start at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, 8949 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills, California.
I really like the designs Danish artist Christyan Lundblad has posted on his blog. Here is a student film Lundblad did a few years ago with fellow animator Sylvester RiishÃ¸j – produced in one night, improvised under the camera:
It’s that time of year again. This month the gang at Cartoon Dump invites you to help celebrate their 3rd anniversary. Join Jerry Beck and Frank Conniff (“TV’s Frank” from Mystery Science Theatre 3000) with Erica Doering as “Compost Brite” and J. Elvis Weinstein as “Dumpster Diver Dan” for Cartoon Dump – for another depraved offering of sketches, songs, puppets, stand-up comedy, and the most God-awful Saturday Morning Cartoons from the 50s, 60s and 70s.
Is there any better way to wind down from Comic Con? Special anniversary guests include Duncan Trussell, Ron Lynch, Michael Rayner and Jimmy Pardo. It’s tonight, Monday July 26th, at 8pm at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. Advanced tickets can be ordered here. Also join the Facebook Page.