For my Cinefamily animation screening this month we’re examining the cartoons (and especially Bugs Bunny) where male characters dress up as females. Why? Because they did it and it’s funny. From the days of Shakespeare through to the days of vaudeville, silent movies and beyond, cross-dressing has passed into the mainstream as a safe, well-worn comedy staple; think Milton Berle, Flip Wilson, the Kids In The Hall or Eddie Izzard. Whenever our beloved cartoon characters get into the act, however, it all starts to get a little nuttier, and dare we say — hotter? Come for clips of your favorite cartoon stars cavorting as members of the opposite sex, alongside complete short subjects on 35mm and 16mm (including several in Technicolor), all featuring classic moments of animated role reversal.
Notice any resemblance between the two characters above? We didn’t either… but Japan’s NTV news reporting team did note certain similarities between the Shanghai Expo’s animated mascot, Haibao, and the USA’s own Gumby. They sent their people to interview the American owner of the Gumby copyright, Joe Clokey, about the issue. Here’s a clip (in Japanese, below) of the full report that aired yesterday (skip to 3:17 if you only want to see the part with Clokey).
Here’s an incredible four minute film – a student film – from France’s Georges MéliÃ¨s School. The filmmakers are Vivien Chauvet (“Looky”), Adrien Toupet and Clément Delatre; their short, La Main des MaÃ®tres (The Hand of the Masters), mixes an anime influence with steampunk and Art Nouveau. An English subtitled version is on You Tube, Vimeo version below has better picture quality:
I really love this bizarre retro-ish mixed media music video for the British indie band Editors, directed by the Lennox Brothers (Lee & Wayne) at London’s Between The Eyes. As for what it all means, the band says:
“Ultimately the video paints a truthful picture of the lies which affect our current state of existence in a (so called) free world. From the moment we’re born we are controlled, manipulated, and led astray from what really matters in life – freedom. We are orchestrated from high above; even our leaders are merely puppets/clowns with their strings being pulled by powerful groups out of sight. Conspiracy theories, Illuminati, The New World Order; the free world is no longer free, our decisions no longer our own. An Orwellian future which has come to be realised within our own lifetime – A case of the corrupt blind leading the free minds.”
Number #2 on their list is Warner Bros. Censored 11 – and Time embeds (via You Tube) the P.D. Tex Avery Bugs Bunny short All This And Rabbit Stew. Eight of the eleven were shown publicly this past weekend at the TCM Classic Film Festival without incident (the restored prints, particularly of Coal Black and De Sebben Dwarfs were stunning).
1. South Park and Muhammad
2. The Censored Eleven
3. The Simpsons and Brazil
4. Song of the South
5. The Boondocks
6. Family Guy and Sarah Palin
7. Pokemon Panic
9. South Park and Scientology
10. Speedy Gonzales
“I made a cartoon that went viral but [this campaign] isn’t really my thing,” cartoonist Molly Norris told Comic Riffs, characterizing her cartoon as merely a personal response to Comedy Central’s censorship of a “South Park” episode last week. “Other folks have taken it over” — an appropriation she says she is distancing herself from.
Eight thousand people have already joined the Facebook page. Other media, including The Daily Show and The Simpsons (image above from Sunday night’s episode), have publicly supported South Park‘s right to parody. It’ll be interesting to see where this all leads.
Another day, another great book from Craig Yoe. His latest is a collection of Dan DeCarlo’s futuristic teenage comic books from 1952, Jetta. As usual with Yoe’s books for IDW, the production (and comics reproduction) is superb. He reprints the three hard-to-find Jetta issues in their entirety, as well as a selection of other rare DeCarlo good-girl art — and an art gallery of 37 tribute pin-ups by contemporary “good-girl” artisans, including many animation artists such as Dean Yeagle, Craig McCracken, Jenny Lerew, Bill Pressing, Katie Rice, Stephen Silver, Stephanie Gladden, Tracy Mark Lee, Kali Fontecchio and many others including our friends Bill Morrison (from Bongo Comics, above), Leslie Cabarga (The Fleischer Story) and Mark Frauenfelder (of Boing Boing).
Another magnificent package. Highly recommended and only $14.95 on Amazon.
The program will begin at 7:30pm on Friday May 7th at the Hammer Museum’s Billy Wilder Theatre in Westwood. I will be appearing with Bill Kroyer on a panel discussing how the techniques of creating animation have changed since the earliest days of cinema.
The first half of the show will highlight recent restorations of silent animated shorts (soon to be available online as part of a new website run by the UCLA Archive’s Research and Study Center), while the second half features pioneering digital shorts, such as Peter FoldÃ¨s Hunger (1974) and John Lasseter’s earliest work at Pixar. The silent cartoons will include 35mm prints of: J. Stuart Blackton’s The Enchanted Drawing (1900); Indoor Sports (1920); Joys and Glooms “Her Minute” (1921) Directed by John C. Terry; Animated Hair Cartoon No. 18 (1925) and others. A complete list of the films being screened is posted here.
This week, from the top: Mother Goose and Grimm (4/25 and 4/22) by Mike Peters; Baby Blues (4/21) by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott; Wulffmorgantaler (4/22) by Mikael Wulff and Anders Morgenthaler; and Free Range (4/20) by Bill Whitehead.
(Thanks, Jim Lahue, Ed Austin, Uncle Wayne, David Ian White)
Leif Jeffers, an animator at DreamWorks, wrote in to tell us of an auction that went live on ebay today. It’s called Beautiful Grim. Here is the the description of the auction from the website:
“My name is Daarken and I am a concept artist and illustrator working for Mythic Entertainment. My friend Leif Jeffers, an animator at DreamWorks, and I are organizing an art auction fundraiser.
Earlier this year my girlfriend, Cat, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 25. On November 3rd, 2009, she had a bilateral mastectomy after going through 16 weeks of chemotherapy. As you can imagine it has been hard for her, not only mentally and physically, but financially. In order to help alleviate some of her medical bills Leif and I wanted to throw an art auction. The proceeds that are left over after her medical bills have been paid will go to a breast cancer related charity.
We currently have artists contributing that hail from all regions of the industry: concept artists, animators, photographers, sculptors, fine artists, illustrators, you name it. The theme for the auction is “Beautiful Grim.” The interpretation of “Beautiful Grim” has been left up to the artists.”
No one admires the work of Mary, Lee and Preston Blair more than we do. Now Mary’s nieces, Maggie and Jeanne, have just sent word of their new Mary Blair website that does the family proud. The site features photos, stories, merchandise and news about Mary, along with a few other surprises. Loads of gorgeous, inspiration pieces. Bookmark.
As many of you know, every month (on the fourth Monday evening) I co-produce a live comedy/cartoon show, Cartoon Dump, at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. If you are in the area, this month (on 4/26) will be a great one to drop in on. In addition to our regulars, Frank Conniff (MST3K) and Erica Doering, our special comedy guest is Patton Oswalt. I’ll be there, showing an extra helping of really horrible cartoons. Showtime is 8pm. Ticket info is posted here. Check out the new FaceBook page for more information and updates.
New York, N.Y. TEX AVERY CARTOONS at MoMA.
I think this is in conjunction with the massive must-see Tim Burton exhibit, possibly selected by Burton himself! 35mm prints of Swing Shift Cinderella (1945), Red Hot Riding Hood (1943), Little Rural Riding Hood (1949), The Cat That Hated People (1948), The Three Little Pups (1952), Field and Scream (1953) – all good ones! Saturday, April 24, 2010, 4:00 p.m. in Theater 2 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2). For more information click here.
Los Angeles, CA SITA SINGS THE BLUES at the Laemmle Music Hall
If you haven’t seen it on the big screen – or even if you have – Nina Paley’s masterpiece comes to LA for a 1-week theatrical engagement starting Friday 4/23. Do not miss it in 35mm, it’s a much cooler experience. And sing along with the Annette Hanshaw soundtrack! The film is playing each day at 5:10pm, 7:20pm and 9:30pm at The Laemmle Music Hall 3, 9036 Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills, California.
Cartoonist, illustrator and Oscar winning animator Ted Petok has passed away at age 93. His Oscar winning short was The Crunch Bird (1971), written and voiced by Len Maxwell. A native of Detroit, Petok’s animation also appeared on Sesame Street and The Electric Company. A complete obitutary appears in today’s Detroit Free Press. His Academy award winning film appears below:
This is why the Internet was invented. Here’s something I’d never seen or heard of before. “Niffiwan” in Toronto has post on You Tube a subtitled version of a formerly unknown (to me and all my reference books) 1945 Russian animated feature (43 minutes long). It could actually be considered the first traditionally-animated Russian feature, because there was actually a feature made with stop-motion animation in 1935. (The more well known, full-length, Magic Pony (The Humpbacked Horse) was released in 1947).
It’s called The Lost Letter, and it’s definitely worth watching. It was directed by the pioneering Brumberg Sisters (Valentina and Zinaida) with Lamis Bredis, and was based on a short story by Nikolai Gogol. Made during the darkest days of World War II, this film was practically unknown and unseen outside of the former USSR until now. Ben Ettinger from AniPages Daily wrote a nice mini-review of it back in 2005, though it was unsubtitled back then.
Below is part one (of four). Read more about the film, how it was subtitled and see the other three parts at Niffiwan’s Journal.