My advice to New Yorkers looking for something to do this holiday weekend, GO TO THIS! Dances of Vice is paying tribute to classic cartoons of the 1920s, 30s, and 40s at the vintage Liberty Hall / Ace Hotel, featuring live big band cartoon music and hot jazz by Brian Carpenter’s Ghost Train Orchestra. Special guests include artist Molly Crabapple, juggler Michael Karas and DJ Miz Margo.
The music starts at 10pm. Betty Boop Pinup Contest at 1AM!
EVENT: POWERHOUSE STOMP: A Tribute to Classic Cartoons of the 1920-40s TIME & DATE: February 19, 2011 – 10PM-4AM LOCATION: Liberty Hall at The Ace Hotel, 16 W. 29th St. NYC ADMISSION: $10 In Advance (Order Tix), $12 At the Door
Mention MoCCA the door and pay only $10 for Admisson!!
Whenever I want to remind myself why I love cartoons, I simply have to watch a classic Warner Bros. cartoon. Whenever I want to remind myself why I love animation history I pull out my set of Funnyworld magazines, edited by Michael Barrier. Mike’s website is a fount of knowledge and he has just post a must-read interview with Looney Tunes animator/director Robert McKimson (1910-1977). The interview, recorded in 1971, is one of the few McKimson ever did, and the conversation yields much information from the man and allows us to get to know a bit of his personality. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about the guy who designed Bugs Bunny, created Foghorn Leghorn and the Tasmanian Devil, go here now!
What goes around, comes around. So today Disney – or more accurately “DisneyToon Studios” – announced a new direct-to-video CG feature inspired “from the immensely popular Disney/Pixar’s CARS world”. PLANES will arrive on Blu-ray and DVD in Spring, 2013. From the studio press release:
PLANES will introduce an entirely original and hilarious crew of daredevils from every corner of the globe and draws inspiration from the immensely popular Disney/Pixar’s CARS world.
“We had such a great time exploring the world of ‘Cars’ over the course of two films, so it seemed only natural for us to see where our imaginations would take us in a film where planes were the main characters. By expanding the Cars world, ‘Planes’ gave us a whole new set of fun-filled situations and a great opportunity to introduce some fantastic new characters,” commented John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer, Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios.
“The team at DisneyToon Studios has done such an amazing job creating a heartfelt story filled with great comedy, adventure, and emotion. I know audiences are going to love taking off into the wild blue yonder with these daredevil characters, as they experience a whole new kind of animated adventure.”
PLANES takes off with an international cast of the fastest air racers around, in a comedy packed with action and adventure starring Dusty, a small town dreamer who longs to enter the most epic around-the-world air race â€¦ despite his fear of heights. With the help and support of a fleet of new and hilarious characters, Dusty wings his way into the biggest challenge of his life.
Street artist Banksy, who has a documentary nominated for an Academy Award, has invaded Hollywood with a new series of graffiti (above and below) in a possible effort to garner votes for his film. The billboard (above) is on Sunset Boulevard and Laurel Canyon.
New York’s Parsons/New School of Design is doing a public event with Richard McGuire, who directed and designed the closing segment of the animated anthology film Fear(s) of the Dark (embed above) among other projects (including the animated bumpers for PBS Kids). Richard is also a notable comics artist (RAW) and illustrator (The New Yorker), has designed toys and authored children’s books.
This event is in association with an exhibit Bill Kartalopoulos curated at Parsons called Cartoon Polymaths, which features artists whose work proceeds from a cartoon sensibility but embraces multiple media – and includes Winsor McCay, Tony Sarg, Saul Steinberg, Mariscal, Richard McGuire, and Paper Rad. There are five screens of animation running throughout the exhibit, which is open through April 15 and is free to the public. If you live in NYC: GO!
Friday, February 18, 7:00 p.m.
Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Auditorium
Sheila C. Johnson Design Center
66 Fifth Avenue at 13th Street
New York, NY 10011
For more information, Click here.
Even the National Film Board of Canada is getting into the act – the 3-D act, that is. Nicola Lemay’s upcoming new short, by way of the NFB, is called Privates Eyes, and its also a hand drawn film mostly in black and white. The trailer below is in 2D and it looks pretty good without the glasses.
Award Season continues: The British Academy Awards were announced last night in London. Congratulations to Pixar for winning Best Animated Feature – and to Michael Please for The Eagleman Stag winning in Best Animated Short. Complete list of BAFTA winners here.
On a related note: Toy Story 3 also won a Grammy last night for “Best Score, Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media”. Congrats to Randy Newman for this win.
Here’s a shout-out to my friend James “Tim” Walker. Walker is both a long-time veteran of the animation business (currently at Warner Bros. Animation) and one of the champions in preserving the golden age of animation (Pssst, you can see some of his incredible collection online, over at The Animation Guild Blog where it’s posted under the alias “The Mega-Collector“).
A few years ago, Walker was diagnosed with Lateral Parkinsons Disease on his right side. Since then, he’s re-learned to draw using his left hand and he’s just published a sketch book showing his incredible progress over the last three years. Drawings From The Left is a testament to his amazing abilities as a cartoonist and should be an inspiration to all.
The book is now on Amazon, but if you live in LA, Walker is doing a book signing on Friday March 18th at Decor Art Galleries (12149 Ventura Blvd in Studio City, CA). I highly recommend attending the book signing to meet Tim, one of the real “good guys” in this business.
I love this. German designer Henning Lederer’s wonderful 2009 animation of the human body visualized as an analog industrial facility, based on Fritz Kahn’s 1926 poster, Der Mensch als Industriepalast. I imagine the best way to watch this is on a huge movie screen, but this will have to do:
Gnomeo and Juliet opens today in theatres across the United States. It’s a Touchstone (aka Disney) release of an Elton John/Starz production, directed by Kelly Asbury (Shrek 2).
Kenneth Turan in the LA Times, calls it “Playful, inventive and endearing”. Stephen Holden in the NY Times was less enthused. He calls it “a discombobulated grab bag of jokes, peopled with characters who have little emotional resonance”.
I’ve seen it, and I say its a very enjoyable little B-film. Had a smile on my face throughout. Cute picture, and better than I thought it would be. But it didn’t need the “Dreamworks dance sequence” at the end – and I don’t think it’ll be up for the Oscar next year.
What did you think? Comments are open below to anyone who has seen it and wants to post their opinion.
Here’s the trailer for an intriguing short film called Nanuq which merges live action with stop motion animation. It’s a re-imagining of an Eskimo myth about a young girl hospitalized in Alaska for surgery who meets an elderly Eskimo man there for the same reason. In the real world (live action), he becomes her guide, while in her dreams and nightmares (stop motion), he is her protector in a stark Arctic landscape.
LA-based Jill Jones directed and Brent Yontz produced, with Marina Cavalli (Robot Chicken) directing the animation.
Today at the Berlin Film Festival, is the premiere screening of Esben Toft Jacobsen’s feature film The Great Bear. Produced by Denmark-based animation studio Copenhagen Bombay, it’s part of a new wave of animated features coming out of Scandinavia. Here’s a clip:
Two highly anticipated animated features. Both with one-word titles, starting with the letter “R”. And now, both with a strangely similar marketing campaign. At least this is what I thought when I spotted these posters displayed side-by-side at the Pacific Theatre in Glendale last night.
I’m not saying these are exact duplicates of each other, but is this the only way to sell an animated feature? Lead characters staring at the camera, zonked-out in the foreground, with the supporting cast behind them. I have high hopes for these two films. I know the stakes are high, and I know both are aiming for the same core audience – but please, Mr. Theater Manager, don’t post these posters next to each other. It looks a little silly.
As much as we try to stay apolitical on the Brew – and as much as I’ve tried to avoid linking to Jimmy Kimmel – I couldn’t resist sharing this clip from last night’s show that mashes the Bill O’Reilly interview with President Obama and a clip from The Smurfs:
Last night on the PBS series Pioneers of Television, during an episode devoted to Local Kids’ TV shows, Stan Freberg recounted his earliest experiences in Hollywood. He tells of his first visit to Warner Bros. Cartoons and his trip (with Daws Butler) to Bob Clampett’s garage to start work on Beany & Cecil.
On the show last night (sequence posted below), these events are recreated by actors portraying Stan, Daws and Bob Clampett. The guy playing Stan looks a little like a heavyset version of Freberg, but the balding, white haired, potbellied guy playing Clampett is a hoot and the Butler stand-in is equally miscast. Kelsey Grammer narrates.
I’m doing an extra-added cartoon film program at the Cinefamily/Silent Movie Theater this month. On Sunday February 13th – one day before Valentines Day – we are commemorating the holiday with an assortment of classic animated shorts on the theme of love. From the sex-starved Pepe LePew to Fleischer’s luscious Betty Boop, our program features rare 35mm and 16mm Technicolor film prints, projected the way they are supposed to be seen – on the big screen. Suitable for cartoon-lovers of all ages, for more information or advance tickets, please click the CineFamily website.
Our friend Richard O’Connor at Asterisk Animation produced this sublime piece of dance animation for Cab Calloway: Sketches, which had its US premiere Monday on WLIW (PBS-21 in the New York area). The program has several encore performances this weekend. Richard writes:
The dancer is performing from the Alvin Ailey group’s “Uptown”, a piece which is a move-for-move interpretation of the Minnie the Moocher dance from the Fleischer film. We then animated Cab, in the style of illustrator Steve Brodner – he’s drawing Cab’s caricature throughout the film – doing the moves with him. We basically took poses from the film as layouts and animated from there. The film was produced for ARTE (France) in conjunction with the 25 anniversary of The Blue Brothers in October. Christina Capozzi Riley animated.
The music is heavy metal. The images are graphic. But I have to admit it’s one awesome piece. This video was created by two people, Ben Daure & Tom Box (aka Grape Productions), using After Effects and Photoshop, taking a little over 8 months to complete.
Calling all Disney completists! The George Eastman House in Rochester, NY, one of the first and finest film archives in the USA, has begun posting several of their rare shorts online. Among the first, Walt Disney’s live-action dental hygiene film, Clara Cleans Her Teeth (1926). This is the best and most complete version of the film I’ve seen. There is a wee bit of animation at the 8:43 mark, but this is otherwise a obscure piece of live action Disneyana. Clara is played by Walt’s niece Marjorie Sewell. You can watch it if you CLICK HERE–and don’t forget to brush!
Brad Bird was honored with a Winsor McCay Award for Lifetime Achievement at ASIFA-Hollywood’s Annie Awards on Saturday night. Brad, unable to attend the ceremonies as he was on location in Vancouver filming the live-action Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, sent a video-taped message to the animation community.
The embed below includes the video tribute to Bird’s career, as screened at the Annies – created by award-winning editor Les Perkins – followed by Brad’s pre-recorded acceptance speech.
Prepare to geek-out. Mike Van Eaton is co-producing a major animation art auction in Los Angeles on Saturday May 14th. The auction is a joint venture between Van Eaton Galleries and Profiles In History and will contain rare animation related items, including production art, Disneyana, Movie Posters, Hostorical Documents, etc. Mike says:
“I honestly dont think there has been a major LIVE animation art auction in at least 15 years. It will be held here in Los Angeles, with live bidding as well as bidding on the internet, etc. Let your readers know that we are still accepting consignments, at least till the end of the week, and then we will start to build the catalog.”
So, if you have anything incredible you want to auction off, send a note and a jpeg to VEGALLERY-at-aol.com. In the meantime, Mike is sending me sneak-peeks of art and other things already accepted for the auction – and has allowed me to share them on the Brew. First up, a few of the incredible vintage posters from Disney (above) and Ub Iwerks, Mutt & Jeff, Scrappy and Dinky Doodle. View the gallery after the jump. Continue reading →