On Tuesday night, we went with friends to see The Animation Show, a new collection of classic and new animated shorts, compiled by Mike Judge (creator of the infamous "Bevis and Butthead")and animator Don Hertzfeld (who seems to have done most of the actual work and promotion). As much as I despise "B&B," I have to admit Judge and Hertzfeld have pretty good taste otherwise. Highlights of the program on teh classic side included "Mars and Beyond," a classic Disney "science-fact" animation from 1957, which was wonderfully creative as to the possibilities of life on Mars, and "Vincent," the dark little film that gave Tim Burton his start. Newer pieces of note were the Japanese "Mt. Head," a very weird little story; "The Cathedral" and "La Course A L'Abime," both facinating art pieces and each entirely different from the other; and "Das Rad," which deals with the "life" of two sentient stones while human civilization rises and falls around them. Also worthy of note was "Parking," a homage to the Looney Toons of the past, and Hertzfelds own "Rejected," a supposed compilation of the cartoonist's rejected works chronicalling the artist's decline into ever greater surrealism and incoherence.
Ironically enough, Hertzfeld's other work, the introductory, "intermission", and end pieces are the weakest parts of the show: the introduction, which takes off talky serious lectures about intermission is too long and Hertzfeld's very minimalist and intentionally crude style is not the best lead-in to the more elegant works that follow. I could have done without Judge's "Early Pencil Tests and Other Experiments", which are indeed just scraps of work, and three short "Ricardo" clay animations, but all these parts were mecifully short.
The Animation Show is a new entry to the class of animation compliations that includes Spike and Mike's Festival and the Tournee of Animation, and strives to be a yearly offering. We enjoyed this opening outing and found it well worth watching.