Monday, April 2, 2018

Odds and Ends

I don't have one big topic for this installment of Scribble Junkies - because there's so much to talk about:

1. Our big Jackie Greene music video extravaganza was a huge hit.  We filled up the large screening room at the SVA Theatre, with fans of my animation, of music videos and of the man himself, Jackie Greene.  

I showed some of my earlier music videos, made for Madonna, Kanye West, "Weird Al" Yankovic and the European group Parson Brown.  I then introduced Jackie, he played two wonderful songs that had the room rockin'. 

Then we showed the world premiere of his 30-minute video "The Modern Lives", which people seemed to love.  Then Jackie ended with a third song, "Gone Wandering" that blew me away - what a great live performer! 

We did a short Q&A session together and then went out to the lobby and gave everyone autographs and I did little sketches.  It was so wonderful to hear such positive feedback from the audience!  I hope the songs get a great audience on line.

Here are some pictures from the event:

The marquee at the SVA Theatre
The line outside, which started to form an hour before the screening!
A still from "Modern Lives" that was used as the welcome screen
Introducing Jackie before we showed "The Modern Lives"
Live performance of "Modern Lives"
Live performance of "Tupelo"
Jackie and me with my cousins Nick and Christian Vellanoweth
Signing autographs after the show at the merchandise table
Jackie talking with his fans and signing autographs
and somebody filmed some of the songs, you can see "Modern Lives" here:

2. I just came back from a screening of Wes Anderson's new film, "Isle of Dogs".  As you may know, I'm not a huge fan of Mr. Anderson's animation.  Although I did love his film "The Grand Budapest Hotel", I thought it was very funny. 

This new film, however, has very little humor, just a lot of his quirky ideas.  The plot wasn't very engaging to me.  I never really rooted for the dogs - in fact, I fell asleep at one point.  The concept of using Japanese dialogue with no subtitles seemed like a poorly conceived affectation  - I wasted half of the film listening to an unintelligible foreign language.  And the music was constant huge Japanese headache-inducing drums. 

And it had Anderson's trademark look, which is that everything was completely symmetrical - which gave it the feeling that he lined up every shot according to a precise design.  It seemed that the whole screen was sitting on a fulcrum. 

I did, however, like the fight scenes where all of the participants were engulfed in a cloud of smoke and dust. 

Thus, I give the film a C-.  It's not a film I would like to view again, or recommend to others.

3. There's just been news on Buzzfeed about apparent sexual misconduct by the creator of the great TV series "Ren & Stimpy", John Krisfaluci  (or "John K." as many people call him.)

I don't know John K. very well, but we did co-host some live shows in Chicago a few years back - and I found him to be a nice, friendly, though a bit eccentric, guy.  But I am a huge fan of his cartoons and stories, he is a genius.

So that brings up the question - can a person admire a great artist, even if his private life is repulsive?  I still love the films of Roman Polanski, even knowing that he's done some very bad things.  And I believe I can still look at "Ren & Stimpy" or "George Liquor" and separate those films from his scandalous life.  But then, that's me and everyone has their own values and entertainment thresholds.

--Bill P.

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