30 October 2006

Back in the Saddle

They say that when you get thrown from a horse, it is vital to get back on the horse. I'm not sure why. To show that horse who's boss? Anyway, I futzed around with puppets for pay this past weekend. Pamela joined me and three other puppeteers in a walk-thru haunted house at this big, impressive Beverly Hills Halloween party. Our job was to direct people through the maze, and keep the mood light (there were a lot of little kids at the party.)

Here is Tex, decked out as a vampire:

And here is Emo Clown:

Emo Clown make look familiar to some of you. He's basically a spare Mimey built originally by the great and powerful Russ Walko. I was going to bring Clownie as an "Evil Clown" but didn't want to risk damaging him. So in desperation I searched the house for a puppet to bring, and fell upon the box of discarded puppet corpses Russ gave me. Pam designed the Emo overlay. She told me that Emo was far scarier than Evil, and I have to agree.

The hair is leftover marabou from a play we did. He's wearing a baby's inside-out Chicago White Sox sweatshirt. The highly-posable pipe cleaner eyebrows are lashed to the bridge of a pair of Stan's discarded glasses. I added the pom-poms and voila!

Pretty impressive, considering I threw him together over an hour, hanging out in the car while Pam attended a big, important theatre meeting!

Pamela performed Emo Clown, saying such frightening things as "I love Weezer!" and "Rivers Cuomo is the bomb, yo!" and singing "The Sweater Song."

Tex mostly just popped out and threatened to bite people. Great fun!

Oh yeah - I also updated www.daht.blogspot.com over the weekend with an actual video! How novel of me!

18 October 2006

Saint Kricfalusi on Form

In the 1970s form began to be considered uncool. It represented the rigid establishment. So everything started to become vague and mushy. These toys are just one example of the horrible thing that has happened in all walks of modern (post 1970) life. Nothing has form anymore. Music is rambling non melodic nonsense. Jorge's pants aren't the same shape as his legs. Movies and TV are vague, dark and shot with wobbly cameras. Form has since been replaced by meanness, ugliness and "attitude".
Pamela and I routinely visit The Getty. Speaking for myself (and possibly for her) it recharges my artistic batteries to be surrounded by true masterpieces of art. After reading Kricfalusi's blog posting entitled "The Death of Form," the reason why I feel drawn to The Getty has come in focus. I am attracted to form.

I take pride in my appreciation for chaos. I love Sun Ra, Pollock, and children's theatre. Hell, I love cartoons. It occurs to me that all that chaos hangs ever so delicately on a wire hanger of form. In other words, it takes a lot of hard work and practice to make something look so disorganized. Sloppy hacks who envy the success of something like ... oh, I don't know, let's say Ren & Stimpy ... try to "figure out" the popularity of the thing, and observe only the surface chaos, not the thought and effort that went into it. So they try to emulate the thoughtful chaos, and produce only mud.

We are absolutely inundated by this thoughtless mud. It's on t.v., on the radio, on the web. It fills magazine racks and bookstores. For instance, everytime a show like "Lost" hits, a half dozen copycats spring up that try to duplicate the "gimmicks" of the show without ever grasping the heart of the thing. "Surface" anyone? Or take Justin Timberlake's new single ... please.

As John K. demonstrates, there is much room for chaos within well-established guidelines. (Anyone who's ever watched a really good game of football has seen this.) Form must be present, if only so there's something to push against. Sort of like how some of us rebelled against authority in our younger (and not so younger) days.

Sun Ra was an accomplished musician and arranger before he started skronking with wild abandon. Jackson Pollock studied under Thomas Hart Benton long before "action painting." And children's theatre ... I've got nothing. It's just chaotic.

So I go the the Getty to be surrounded by works of art created by folks who pay heed to form. It's refreshing to know such a thing as form exists.

10 October 2006

The Future of The Felties

I had a very interesting meeting last week with a very talented accquaintance of mine. He is interested in throwing in on The Felties, and had some very interesting ideas on how to accomplish what I hope to ultimately accomplish. I'm sorry I can't go into too much detail on this, but in fairly short order you will see this new angle take shape.

Wow. Is that vague enough?

Seriously though, this is a great idea. It's going to make The Felties an actuality, not just a felt-upholstered pipe-dream.

Okay, here's a hint: I recently blined ("blogged" and "whined" at the same time) about how I live in L.A. and should really shoot an actual t.v. pilot and try to sell this series to some cable network or something. What my friend (David) suggested was the exact opposite: go smaller.

Duh. And I'm the one who snobbishly quotes Seth Godin ("Small is the New Big") and Chris Anderson ("The Long Tail") at ice cream socials and coffee klatches. Just goes to show maybe I should talk less and practice what I would otherwise preach more often.

The Felties done smaller gets back to something I had posted early on in the history of this blog. That's the idea of The Felties as a webcomic. Specifically a comic strip. Gags. David suggested concentrating on one or two characters in brief (45-60 second) gag-driven videos. The audience investment is nil (there are ad bars with animation loops that last longer than 45 seconds) and we can crank out a handful of these bits in a day on a shoestring. Compare that to the much more lofty goal of shooting 22 1/2 minutes of pilot!

Well, we'll see what happens.