April 7th, 2007

Rabbit Redux: Animate

This may be one of those sites/organizations that everyone but me knows about -- an absolutely fantastic resource for and about alternative animation.


I found this when I started researching Run Wrake, creator of "Rabbit," the animated video I posted the other day.  Crystal-clear versions of "Rabbit" are available on Run Wrake's site and the Animate site, MUCH better than the Youtube version, which suffers from generation loss and looks pretty murky.  The Animate site also includes story boards and background info on how the film was created. 

"Rabbit's" origin is in a set of vintage educational stickers Run Wrake found at a thrift shop in the 1980s, featuring illustrations by Geoffrey Higham.   Americans of a certain age will recognize these as the UK analogs of our childhood "Fun with Dick and Jane"  Learn to Read primers.  The film itself resembles what I imagine a Henry Darger tale would look like if it were animated -- beautiful and disturbing and jewel-toned.  The Animate site contains other material, as well as schedules of London events (A.S. Byatt lecturing on portraiture in animation!) for those of you fortunate enough to live in that provincial town.


The premise of Grindhouse, the film oddity directed by Richard Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, is to offer the moviegoer an evening at a drive-in theater double-feature during the 1970s, complete with cheesy title cards, previews of mega-violent exploitation flicks, and film that’s rife with glitches (scratches, scuffs, et al), projector troubles, and missing reels. It’s a clever idea, classic high concept, and I have no doubt that it will be successful at the box office. Be that as it may, the filmmakers (especially Mr. Rodriguez) seem to be missing the point that the kids who went to these movies back in the day didn’t actually watch them or, if they did, did so intermittently between bouts of making out, hell-raising, and six pack consumption. But I imagine they’re working from the premise that, forty years after the fact, our nation has been sufficiently stupefied so that what once was viewed as trash is now booked into mainstream theatres as a nostalgic “masterpiece” (yes, that word has been used in reference to Grindhouse, notably by Messers Punch and Ebert) and fawned over by fanboy legions.

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Lyonel Feininger

How often can you say that you've mastered the entire oeuvre of a seminal artist simply by reading one book of less than sixty pages? Not damn often! But in the case of comics-guy-turned-fine-artist Lyonel Feininger


you certainly can, and be a better person for it!

Feininger did only two abbreviated newspaper strips before turning to broader canvases, and the complete runs of both are collected in this inexpensive paperback from Fantagraphics, a new edition of a 1994 volume that's attained collectible status:


The strips are gorgeous, and stunningly reproduced. The adventures of THE KIN-DER-KIDS and WEE WILLIE WINKIE'S WORLD will amaze you. And you will meet such new good friends as Mysterious Pete, Sherlock Bones and, bearing what is perhaps the best comics character name of all time, Japansky the Clockwork Waterbaby.

I Wanna Be Your GOP

 Da Linz sends this from DC's new conservative tabloid The Examiner ...

WASHINGTON (Map, News) - Jeff Dufour and Patrick Gavin cover people, power and politics in the beltway each weekday. Email them at yan@dcexaminer.com .

Iggy, Stooges have a soft spot for the GOP, lobbyists

So this is how punks grow old: They stay in chic, modern hotels, hang out with banking lobbyists and reveal their Republican allegiances.

Punk legends Iggy & the Stooges, who played the 9:30 Club Thursday night, have been hanging their tattered hats this week at the newly spiffed up Park Hyatt in the West End.

Wednesday night, the Stooges, including original members Ron and Scott Ashton, were sitting down to dinner on the outside patio at the hotel’s Blue Duck Tavern, when out came Iggy Pop himself.

He was “gimping through the lobby” wearing only one Birkenstock sandal with the other foot bare, said Erick Gustafson, a lobbyist with the Mortgage Bankers of America, who was himself having dinner at the time and just so happens to be a huge fan.

“He looks and walks exactly like you’d expect him to look and walk,” Gustafson said.

Iggy hung out for about 40 minutes before going back upstairs to do whatever it is that he does, but the Ashton brothers stayed out long after dinner, whereupon Gustafson and Dan Berger of the National Association of Federal Credit Unions joined them for drinks.

As the temperature dropped, the party moved inside, and the punks and policy wonks continued to enjoy wine and spirits into the wee hours.

Among the biggest surprises from the rockers? They love jazz great John Coltrane, and they’re both Republicans.

“Ron was pretty knowledgeable about lawmakers and policy,” Gustafson said.

Not very rock ’n’ roll of them. At least they could have heaved a TV out the window for old times’ sake.