Saturday, July 23, 2016

Sketches..


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Sketches..


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Sketches..


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Friday, July 22, 2016

Carlos Nine

I first discovered Carlos Nine's brilliant work when my buddy and character designer par excellence, Peter DeSeve brought it to my attention.

Immediately I was bowled over by the originality and the superb draftsmanship. So, I was shocked when I heard yesterday that he had died at the age of 72.

Our friendship was sporadic but warm. I met him only once - I was invited to the Buenos Aires film festival and, while I was there, I cabbed out to the suburbs, where I was warmly welcomed by the master himself - he spoke very little English and my Espanol was muy mal. Yet, we got on very well - he showed me his newest work and then he opened up his flat files to show some very large sketches and paintings - my mind was blown - what magnificent artwork - the guy is a genius.

The next time I had contact with Carlos was when I organized an exhibition of my favorite designers/illustrators for the Society of Illustrators' show "Icons of Animation."

I got to choose my 3 all time favorite artists: Peter DeSeve, Bill Joyce, and Carlos Nine - and of course I included some of my own work, so it was a real extravaganza of artwork for animation - and in my humble opinion one of the greatest art shows of the year in NYC.

He was very courteous and generous with his original artwork which was and is extremely valuable - he was hoping to attend the show, however he was bogged down in book deadlines and was unable to attend. He's not well known in the US like he is in Spain and France, so I was hoping that my show would ignite a huge interest in his work.



I was scheduled to write an introduction to his newest work, but now I don't think it's going to happen - how sad.
There's a DVD called "Anima Buenos Aires" where they have selected cartoonists and illustrators to submit a short film using their artwork. And I must say that when I saw Carlos' short animated piece "Bu-Bu" it blew my mind.

This is the future of animation - this is what animation should be about - if you ever get a chance, be sure to check out his work in Buenos Aires.

Another bit of weird trivia: another of my greatest heros, Oscar Grillo is also from Buenos Aires! Those 2 guys are really the greatest.

So please check out his art, books, and animation. It will change your life.

Vaya con dios, Carlos.

- Bill Plympton

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sketches..


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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Talkhouse Podcast with Lloyd Kaufman

A while ago, I wrote a film review of "Man From Reno" for Nick Dawson from Talkhouse Film.  Recently he called me up again, this time to interview the famous Lloyd Kaufman at the plush Samsung Studios in the chic meatpacking district of Manhattan.  It was for a Talkhouse Podcast - I don't do much podcasting myself, but I know that my executive producer James Hancock has a popular one called Wrong Reel, and I've been interviewed for them on occasion myself.

I've known Lloyd ever since 1986, when I saw his film "Surf Nazis Must Die" at Cannes, and of course, he was the center of attention because of his street publicity guerrilla tactics.  We've been friends since then, in fact "Surf Nazis" was a  bit of an influence on the making of my new feature, "Hitler's Folly".

In any case, the interview went very smoothly and was quite entertaining, even though he popped in a few expletives to spice up the conversation - and we covered everything from Robert Rodriguez to Donald Trump.  Lloyd, of course, promoted the hell out of his new Troma films, and that's one of the things he does so well.

                                               Podcasting is so much fun, it's scary....

We also talked about San Diego Comic-Con, where he's been an attendee since the very early years.  I've only been going there since the late 1990's, so I'm a neophyte compared to Lloyd.  So check out the podcast we did together, I think that's how these things work, right?  You don't have to tune in at any special time, you can download the podcast and listen any time you want!  Isn't technology great?

Talkhouse is still editing the podcast, so if you didn't catch it live, it should be up on their site in about a week.  Please check it out! 

https://soundcloud.com/thetalkhouse
http://thetalkhouse.com/

In the meantime you can check out Uncle Lloydie's video diary here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8T8db4i10qo&feature=youtu.be

--Bill Plympton


Friday, July 8, 2016

San Diego Comic-Con, July 20-24

Finally, we can talk about our upcoming trip to San Diego!  The convention starts in just two weeks, and as you probably know, for 5 days it will be the center of the entertainment universe, and feature all the things that nerds and geeks love.      

And that includes animation - Jim Lujan and I are going to be appearing on a panel to preview our upcoming animated feature, "Revengeance".  We'll have a bunch of the voice-over actors from the film there, so it should be a lot of fun.  Also, we'll be showing new clips from the film (much longer than the ones we showed last time). I think it's one of the best films I've ever made, so please visit our panel on Friday, July 22, at 4 pm in Room 23ABC.


If you attend the panel, you'll get a postcard - then just bring it on down to my booth (#1537) afterwards and I will give you a free sketch on the postcard!

Also, my short film "The Loneliest Stoplight" will be playing in the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival on Saturday, July 23 at 12:40 pm in the Pacific Ballroom 23 on the first floor of the San Diego Marriott Marquis.  This is the hotel next door to the convention center, on the north end (close to Hall A).  Yes, you'll have to leave the convention center, but I promise it's worth it!  Your Comic-Con badge will get you in to the film screening, just like it will get you in to the Exhibit Hall and other events.

The rest of the time, (OK, most of the rest of the time...) I'll be in Booth #1537, and if you missed my last post about Comic-Con, here's how to find us.  In the big exhibit hall, with its hundreds of booths and thousands of people, just go to Row #1500 - look for the big banners hanging from the ceilings with the row numbers on them.  Then just walk toward the back, about 3 aisles in, we'll be on the corner, across from the Spike & Mike's booth.  If you hit the back wall, you've gone too far, so turn around.


You'll recognize me because I'll be wearing this very cool t-shirt I designed.  It's in reaction to all these idiots who come up to me and ask me why I'm not making computer animation - and then when I talk to them they always complain about glitches, crashes, slow rendering times, expenses, software problems, etc. etc. and I tell them "Just Draw It".  


We'll have all of my DVDs for sale at the booth, plus BluRays of "Cheatin'", and a bunch of animation art from my films.  Get there early for the best selection!  I'll also do caricatures of everyone (time permitting) for a reasonable price!  And because this is an election year, we'll be selling a bunch of my rare, out-of-print books to coincide with the occasion: 

If you support Hillary Clinton:
Why not pick up this book about the FIRST Clinton administration, a parody of the coverage of the Monica Lewinsky scandal.  Relive the "Glory Days" of the mid 1990's when Bill Clinton was President and it sucked to be a White House intern!  Monica's story is told in hilarious verse, with illustrations by Bill Plympton!

If you support Bernie Sanders:
Anyone in the lower 99% can afford this - at just $5, it's the cheapest thing on the table that you can get autographed by Bill!  A collection of print cartoons from a previous decade (some of these cartoons are nearly as old as Bernie!) there's even a drawing of some Socialist worms on the cover, getting ready to share the wealth!

If you're undecided about who to support:
It's time to get educated before you vote!  Are you a Democrat, a Republican, or just not sure?   Learn all the subtle differences with this book from another election year, 1984 - because nothing's really changed since then, right?  This book is mighty collectable, it's been out of print for years, but we recently bought some copies on eBay and Amazon, just so you can figure out which side of the political fence you're on!

If you support Donald Trump:
This collection of Bill Plympton print cartoons from men's magazine is right up Trump's alley.  (And what a sleazy alley that is!)  We've still got a few copies left from the book's first printing, and when those are gone, this book's going to be extremely rare and valuable!  I mean, it's gonna be HUGE!  For adults only, don't let the kids read it.  But we've sold hundreds of these over the years, and people seem to really, really like it, they say it's amazing.  Top quality dirty cartoons, printed in Canada, not Mexico!

If you support Kanye in 2020:
We'll have copies of the book "Through the Wire", featuring lyrics by the great Kanye West, with illustrations by Bill Plympton that go along with them!   Get a jump on the next election season before this one's even over!  This "graphic memoir" uses 12 of Kanye's songs to tell his back-story - find out what put him on the road to stardom with annotated explanations of the references in his songs.  From "Jesus Walks" and "Heard 'em Say" to "School Spirit" and "Gold Digger", pick up this one-of-a-kind book that's a unique, rare partnership between two creative minds.  Imma let you finish, Taylor Swift, but this is one of the best illustrated books of all time!  Yeezy for Preezy!

So I hope to see you all at our booth in San Diego!

--Bill Plympton

Monday, June 27, 2016

"Finding Dory"

Now that my son Lucas is almost 4, I'm introducing him to the movie theater experience - large screen, 5.1 surround sound, popcorn, coke, and sharing the space with large audiences.  Also, he loves the trailers (which should really be called "previews", since they come before the movies now, they don't "trail" after...).

The most recent screening we attended was Pixar's "Finding Dory", and one of the extras was the world premiere of the new Pixar short "Piper".  In the past, the Pixar shorts have been very imaginative and entertaining, however this one seemed to be created to test some kind of new digital technique, because there was absolutely no entertainment value in it.  Plus, the film was so photo-realistic, it could have been one of the old Disney nature documentaries.  The storytelling was nil and it felt like it was created by a robot.


Not so with "Finding Dory", a spin-off of the ever-popular "Finding Nemo", which was very fresh and entertaining.


The new film takes forever to get started - it seems like the first 30 minutes of the film are about two issues: #1 - Dory has short-term memory loss, and #2 - she wants to find her parents.  How can they waste so much time on such simple ideas?

Once it finally gets going, the characters are flat - they don't have the personality of the characters from the original film.  Two really lame characters are the whale shark and the beluga whale.  A total waste of time, why not bring back the A.A. great white sharks from the original - in fact, my son kept asking, "Where are the sharks?"


Although my son liked the film overall, I was very disappointed and felt that "it fell very far behind the original "Finding Nemo", although I hear it's making a tidal wave of money! 

Here are my scores:

"Piper": C   "Finding Dory": B-

Friday, June 24, 2016

Watch this space...

Usually, at this time of year I'd be writing my recap of the Annecy Festival, telling you all what a great time I had at one of my favorite festivals.  Sorry, not this year, I didn't have a film in that festival, but I have high hopes for "Revengeance" being able to participate next time!

But it's officially summer now, and a lot of other great things ARE going on this time of year.  First we've got the great big San Diego Comic-Con, which this year takes place July 20-24.  It's later this year than usual, my office manager tells me that it's got something to do with baseball - the convention center and Petco Park share parking garages, so the convention can only take place while the Padres are on a road trip.  Weird, huh?  That's San Diego for you.


Take it from a guy who's got THIS many conventions under his belt - and I hear that the stack of badges he has at home is even larger!  Anyway, we're not supposed to announce the details of Comic-Con until two weeks before - but I can tell you that there WILL be a "Revengeance" panel, both Jim Lujan and I will be there, we'll have much longer clips from our new "Revengeance" feature and a few cast members on hand, and I'll announce the date and time here as soon as I can.  My film "The Loneliest Stoplight" will also be playing in the Comic-Con Independent Film Festival, again, I'll announce the date and time when we get closer to the event.  Most of the time, I'll be at our usual booth, which you can find in the middle of all the madness by using this handy photo:

                                         This is the view from the mezzanine, facing north.
                      (The main entrances to the large convention floor are at the back of the photo)

After Comic-Con, I'll be in Portland, OR for a week, just to visit family and friends, and then in August, I'll be going to France for a week, to visit my wife's family.  No screenings planned on these trips (yet), for once these are genuine vacation trips! 

Also this summer, you can catch my short film "The Loneliest Stoplight" playing at a bunch of film festivals, like these:

L'Hybride / Cine-Barbecue, Lille, France, June 24-25
Animator Festival, Poznan, Poland, July 10-16
Fantasia Festival, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, July 14-August 2
Drunken Film Festival, various pubs around the U.K., July 25-30
Traverse City Film Festival, Traverse City, MI, July 26-31
KloosterKino / Bouwlab, Nijmegen, Netherlands, August 20
World Festival of Animated Film, Varna, Bulgaria, September 7-11

Please check the festivals' web-pages for exact screening dates and times.  Get yourself out to a comic-con or a film festival near you and start having a good time!  Enjoy the summer, everyone!

--Bill Plympton

Monday, June 20, 2016

End of "Revengeance" production

I'm now in the middle of a post-partum depression.  I've been working on "Revengeance" now for almost three years, and today I handed in the final drawings for the film, and I'm feeling depressed - because the project was so much fun to work on and it was so intensive, there's an emptiness now when I don't have to get up at 5:30 am and draw all day.  I feel like my baby is out of my hands and my life is somewhat meaningless.

So far, the response from the people who've seen "Revengeance" (the rough cut) has been phenomenal.  I don't want to get TOO excited, but it looks like this may be one of my best productions. 

Now comes the more difficult apart, finding a buyer or distributor for the film.  And that entails doing a marketing campaign (posters, trailers, post cards and press kits) and trying to get the film into as many important festivals as possible.  Festivals are where hungry buyers and press people are looking for the next hit. 

Also, Jim Lujan and I will be at San Diego Comic-Con with a booth and panel to promote the film, we'll show some longer clips this time, and we'll have a few cast members on hand to talk about doing the voices.  Stay tuned for more details. 

I'll also keep you updated on the progress of our journey to get "Revengeance" to as many outlets as possible. 

But as for my post-partum depression - I think I have a new "bun in the oven", I've just started work on my latest "Guard Dog" short, "Cop Dog", where our Oscar-nominated hero works at an airport, sniffing for drugs hidden in luggage.  You just know that's not going to end pretty. 

Thanks for your interest -

Bill Plympton

Monday, June 13, 2016

"Revengeance" wrap party!

OK, we may not be completely finished with production on "Revengeance", there are still some minor tweaks to be made to the film here and there, but we finished a submission cut for entering festivals, so we got as many of the interns and staff members together as we could, and had a wrap party over at the Frying Pan.



If you've never been to the Frying Pan, it's a bar on a railroad barge, next to a historic Coast Guard lightship, over on Pier 66 on the west side of Manhattan.  Maybe it's not the best place to go for drinks if you're vulnerable to seasickness, but it's a fun place and you just can't beat the view of the Hudson River. 


We went there on a Monday, so it wouldn't be as crowded as, say, a Friday or a Saturday.  They let us sit up on the raised platform, which made it a bit of a challenge to climb the stairs with drinks.  We filled up a few tables with people and got ourselves some beers and food.



Wow, what a turnout!  I think we had about three sets of interns show up, so for some people it was their first chance to meet nearly everyone else who worked on the film!  I had to leave at some point and take Lucas home, but I heard that when my crew got off the boat, they hung out in the grass by the river and watched the sun set, I guess the evening was so much fun that nobody wanted it to end!



My thanks to the Frying Pan for hosting our wrap party, and to everyone who came out to have a few drinks!  We'll make another reservation there when we finish the next film!

--Bill Plympton

Monday, June 6, 2016

"Hitler's Folly" premiere

Whew, it's over!  And I survived!  I'm writing this on the day after my world premiere of "Hitler's Folly" at the prestigious SVA Theatre.  And the reaction was terrific - no assaults, or verbal abuse, only laughter and applause.

In my early career as an illustrator and cartoonist, I loved to push the limits of good taste, and try to shock people.  I found that my cartoons were much more effective if they were scandalous.  At the same time, I was working for National Lampoon and that was their in-house style, to shock and disturb.  In fact, they once published a book of cartoons called "Hitler's Favorite Cartoons".

I loved their style of humor - after all, I grew up enjoying Charles Addams' cartoons, they were always irreverent, too.

So, when I got the idea for "Hitler's Folly", a mockumentary about an alternate world, where Hitler got accepted into the art academy and ends up being a very successful cartoonist, I thought, "This is perfect for me!"  A few years ago, I made a very popular short film called "Santa, the Fascist Years", which took a much-loved character, Santa Claus, and turned him into an evil dictator.

For "Hitler's Folly", I switched the roles and had an evil dictator become a kind, lovable artist.  I find a lot of humor in taking something iconic and turning it into its opposite.  It's a form of ironic humor.

But a few people who saw the rough cut of "Hitler's Folly" expressed fears that my career would be over and the Jewish Defense League would rough me up at the screening.  So I didn't know what to expect as the movie-goers filed into the SVA Theatre to watch the world premiere.

                                        Before the screening, with the cast of "Hitler's Folly"

                                            Dana Ashbrook (from "Twin Peaks") as Josh

                                          Michael Sullivan ("Greaser's Palace" as Michael

                                                      Nate Steinwachs as Adolf Hitler

As they entered the auditorium, I wondered to myself which of these people are "politically correct", or have no sense of humor and might be out to get me.  Maybe one of them is wearing an explosive vest or something, it's not like I can afford bomb-sniffing dogs or metal detectors at the door.  After all, three of my artists refused to work on my Hitler film and preferred to resign from the studio instead.

As I stood on the stage and introduced the stars of the film, I felt a little more comfortable from the polite applause.  Also, it helped that we had a live version of the cartoon character, Downy Duck, milling around the cinema and on stage, dancing and mugging for people.  He added an air of absurdity and fantasy to the evening.


As the film began and I heard the audience's laughter, I could finally relax and enjoy the show.  Afterward I had a lot of people approach me and tell me how much they loved the film, and how they were going to tell all of their friends about it, so they can watch it streaming on www.plymptoons.com

                                                          On stage with Dana Ashbrook

                                           On stage with Hitler's "creation", Downy Duck

I want to thank the staff and crew at the SVA Theatre for a great job, and also Emma Griffiths and John Holderried for their help in putting this wonderful event together.

Please check out my film "Hitler's Folly" on my web-site, www.plymptoons.com

And my thanks to Adam Rackoff for taking these great photos!

Thanks,

Bill Plympton

Friday, June 3, 2016

V.I.S.

VIS stands for Vienna Independent Shorts - it's a film festival that's been around for about 13 years.

Apparently, last year David OReilly and Don Hertzfeldt appeared there and sang my praises - for whatever reason, I don't know.  In any case, the Austrian Film Museum invited me to come this year and do a retrospective screening and a master class.  I'd heard great things about Vienna, and thought it would be fun to visit.  So here I am, I'm writing this while on an AirBerlin flight returning from my 4-day visit to VIS.

They put me up in a fancy, yet wackily-hip hotel called 25 Hours.  The festival opened with a celebration of my birthday on stage, after screening my latest "Simpsons" couch gag.  I was caught by surprise, partly because my birthday was a month ago, and also because they gave me a cake with a cow on it, and it was the cow from my film "The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger", along with two large roman candles.

My three shows were big successes, because I had packed-house audiences and sustained applause throughout - this is what I live for.



But also, I was able to check out the robust cultural scene in Vienna.  The Belvedere Museum, which looks a lot like Versailles, had a couple of famous Gustav Klimt paintings.  Then I visited the Leopold Museum, which contains the largest collection of Egon Schiele artwork, and I must admit that right now I'm a freak for Egon, especially his drawings.  They're so evocative and distorted, yet are anatomically correct.  I'm considering using his drawing style for my next feature film.

Other highlights were the Austrian Congress building, where Hitler once gave a speech from a balcony where he claimed the conquest of Austria, in front of thousands of adoring Viennese fans.  And then, of course, the Austrian Academy of Art, which rejected Hitler's portfolio when he applied for enrollment to art school, which subsequently led to him trying to dominate the world.

Just imagine, if the school had accepted his application for enrollment - in fact, that's the premise of my new mockumentary, "Hitler's Folly", where you can see that alternate reality explored.  It's just released, you can see it streaming on my new web-site at www.plymptoons.com

But to get back to VIS - it's a vibrant shorts festival that concentrates on abstract and avant-garde shorts (I went through that phase in college).  That's why everyone who works for the festival is young or college-age, and it gives the festival a wonderful, free-form spirit, which I loved.  I give the VIS Festival a B+

Be sure to enter your short films there, it's a great experience.


And my thanks to the Austrian Film Museum for arranging my appearance, and for the great photos!

--Bill Plympton

Friday, May 27, 2016

"Angry Birds" + a trip to Montauk

First of all, I'm not an "Angry Birds" fan.  I've never seen them on my computer - since I don't watch stuff on my computer.  Yet I have a 3-year old son, and I"m trying to introduce him to the cinema/popcorn/coke habit - so we went to see "Angry Birds".

I liked the idea that an angry creature is the star of a film - any angry creature in a film, even a  human, would be refreshing.  I thought that it was a novel way to tell a story - I also like the evil pigs and their evil machinations.  They kind of reminded me of the evil penguin in Nick Park's "The Wrong Trousers".

However, to me the plot included too many characters - I got confused and the character design was a little too flat and crude.  And to the audience, there really was only one big joke - and honestly, now I can't remember what it was.  (I know, I should have written this immediately after the screening - but hey, I'm not a reviewer by profession, I'm a friggin' animator...)

So for me, it was a mildly entertaining film, but my son Lucas didn't like it at all.  Hmm, he's a tough critic.  So I give "Angry Birds" a C+

Also, I want to remind everyone that we're having the world premiere of my mockumentary "Hitler's Folly" at the SVA theater on 23rd St. in Manhattan, on Wednesday, June 1 at 7 pm.  All are invited and the admission is free - you just have to send an RSVP by e-mail to:  follyrsvp@gmail.com

So, if you want to see what Adolf Hitler would have been like as a cartoonist, check it out.  And if you don't live in the NY or NJ area, tell your friends about it, and you can watch it for free on my Plymptoons web-site, starting June 3.

Finally, last week I got together with my Scribble Junkies partner, Pat Smith, at his sprawling Montauk mansion.  It was a wonderful reunion, we talked animation and relaxed in the lap of luxury.  Here are some photos:









--Bill Plympton

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

"Hitler's Folly" premiere, June 1

I want to announce to everyone that we're having the World Premiere of "Hitler's Folly", my brand-new mockumentary on June 1, 7 pm at the SVA Theatre, 333 W. 23rd St. in New York City, and it's FREE!

I got the idea for this mockumentary when I read an article about Adolf Hitler that said he was obsessed with Walt Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" - and the idea that the most evil man in history was laughing at Doc, Happy, Dopey et al. seemed like the most surreal concept to me - I had to make a film about it!

Two years later, the result is a movie called "Hitler's Folly" - a re-imagining of history, since we all know that the infamous German dictator was a failed artist, this film positions him instead as a wanna-be cartoonist.

The film is a combination of old WWII footage, new footage of actors portraying historical characters (Hitler is played by Nate Steinwachs), and cartoons and animation supposedly created by Mr. Hitler himself.


I'm not the first person to use Adolf Hitler as a comic character, filmmakers like Walt Disney ("Der Fuhrer's Face"), Tex Avery ("Blitzwolf"), Charlie Chaplin ("The Great Dictator") and of course, Mel Brooks ("The Producers") did it way before me.  So, I hope people who see the film have a sense of humor - if not, they probably shouldn't come and see it.

Since the film has a lot of photos, film clips and music from the internet, I was afraid of lawsuits if I release the film, as I just plain don't have the money to pay for a copyright lawyer and all of the fees to use the images and music - so what I decided to do is release "Hitler's Folly" for free on the internet, and if some kind viewers like my humor and want me to continue making films like this, they can send a donation to my studio.  That way, hopefully I can make more crazy wacky films like this in the future.

So, be sure to tell all your friends about my new feature, and if you want to get tickets, send an e-mail to:  follyrsvp@gmail.com   and if you can't make it to New York, then check it out online at www.plymptoons.com  a few days after that.

Thanks for your support!

--Bill Plympton


The world premiere of "Hitler's Folly" will take place at SVA Theatre on Wednesday, June 1 at 7:00 pm. After the screening, Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Bill Plympton will be handing out drawings to all attendees.

This screening is FREE and open to the public and all of Bill’s fans. RSVP is required for admittance via: follyrsvp@gmail.com. Seating is strictly on a first-come, first-served basis.

A merciless satire from Academy Award nominee Bill Plympton, HITLER'S FOLLY explores what might have happened if Adolf Hitler's art career had been more successful and instead of becoming an evil dictator, he was inspired to become an animator like Walt Disney.

Using World War II footage, Hitler's early artwork and Plympton's signature animation, this dark mockumentary re-imagines history and explores Hitler’s unfulfilled animation career in the spirit of "The Producers" by Mel Brooks.  The film stars Dana Ashbrook of "Twin Peaks", Mike Sullivan of Robert Downey's "Greaser’s Palace" and Nate Steinwachs as Hitler.

HITLER'S FOLLY IS DIRECTED, DESIGNED, ANIMATED, AND WRITTEN BY BILL PLYMPTON.

See more at: http://svatheatre.com/events/hitlers-folly-new-york-premiere/