We’ve been pretty frustrated with Disney merchandising the last few days. But when Disney does something right, let’s be just as quick to note that. This “how-to” commercial for the Disney Cruise line, in the style of the old Goofy theatrical shorts, is right on the money. Hopefully they’ll make more commercials, and actual cartoon shorts, like this in the future.
Here is something that doesn’t happen often: Swedish filmmaker Johannes Nyholm released a trailer earlier this week for his short Las Palmas, and the trailer became a viral hit (1.643 million views as of this writing). This is it:
True, there’s no animation in the clip above, but Nyholm has also made animated shorts. His finest animated piece to date is The Tale of Little Puppetboy, the first part of which is below:
Puppetboy had me rolling on the floor when I first encountered it a few years back at the Fredrikstad Animation Festival–a wonderful festival by the way–and as one of the jury members, I made sure it got an honorary mention. On the surface, Puppetboy appears crude, but the concept and comedic timing are razor-sharp, which I think sheds some light on Nyholm’s unique ability to make even a trailer go viral.
Talk about Disney merchandising Fail. This is taking “urban” fashion to the extremes of bad taste: “roflerskatez” found this wallet for sale in Taiwan yesterday and posted it on Tumblr. It’s Chip and Dale with a lyric from a 50 Cent song called My Gun Go Off. Despite the copyright notice, this is (I hope) a knock-off.
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!
Taking a page from the playbook of hip hop musicians who peddle their CDs in tourist areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn animator Mark Stansberry is using a novel way of promoting his cartoon character Puddin–selling DVDs on the subway. The NY Daily News has more about his story. According to Stansberry, he’s sold over 40,000 DVDs over the past two years at $1 a piece. The DVDs contain multiple Puddin cartoons like this one:
Stansberry’s grassroots promotion of his animation is laudable, even if the actual cartoons don’t excite me personally. He is proving that there is more than one way to get your animation into the hands of an audience. Here’s another interview with him in which he talks about how his oldest son is helping out with the digital animation.
The best part of this story is that General Motors made his animation career possible. “I worked fifteen years at General Motors in Maryland, and when they closed down the plant in Baltimore, I got a buy-out,” Stansberry says. “But for all those fifteen years I worked there, I also had my own studio where I was working on my animation and making these shorts…General Motors pretty much put me in a place where I could concentrate on my animation.”
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.
Some of the commenters in the post about Disney’s disastrous foray into “urban” fashion failed to grasp how embarrassing it is for a company with Disney’s legacy and reputation to release products as ill-conceived as the ones in its Graphic Edge line. Historian Jeff Kurtti saw the bigger picture and eloquently summed up everything that is wrong with the Disney Company’s approach to contemporary fashion:
What’s unfortunate is manifold:
1) Plain poor design. Not just ugly, but uninformed; putting characters in situations that have nothing to do with their long-standing and strong identities, or that belittle their history,
2) That an organization that continues to base so much of its business on the strength of its culture can prostitute their core characters in such a blatant way, and that does nothing to build on those characters, or have any cultural value beyond desire for profit,
3) That “relevance” is seen not in playing up the characters’ strengths and long-standing identities in a new and unique fashion, but rather in dressing them up in “whatever the kids are into.”
4) That, rather than using those built-in strengths to lead a design trend in pop fashion, they choose to ape an already-tired “Urban Fashion.”
It’s “Disco Mickey Mouse,” writ large and without tongue in cheek.
Simon’s cat move over; there’s a new animated cat in town. Veteran animator Frans Vischer, currently working at Disney, animated this charming trailer for a book he wrote and illustrated called Fuddles. It’ll be released in May by Simon & Schuster. Until then, you can watch this trailer over and over, and sulk about how much you miss that good old traditional animation.
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.