Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Summer of CRL
The Cartoon Research Lab splices onward.
June 20 will be the second public iteration of the Saturday morning screening room, and the bar is set high after the May edition at General Public Collective.
Garish pink pastries from Rocket 88 rounded out an ample breakfast spread alongside Tex Avery-inspired exploding eyeball yogurt parfaits, recontextualized sugar cereals, and fussy cheeses scavenged by city mice in residence.
Lab Rats saw to it that baseline coffee levels were met by all present so they could turn their energy toward higher concerns:
Relevantly, the first theme examined was starvation. Marx Shoemaker curated a set of clips showing cartoon protagonists driven to strange psychological states from hunger. Each cartoon was interspersed with an animated commercial for bullshit 80's snacks (Cheetos, Dunkaroos) that amplified the noisy derangement of a dieting Pink Panther's hallucinations, Sylvester the Cat's neurotic smoking, and Donald Duck and Goofy's violent betrayals of one another in pursuit of food.
This blog's author handpicked a set circling around the theme of Nightmares starting with "Pigs is Pigs"-- a truly disturbing cautionary tale of a punished (and ultimately unremorseful) piglet with a memorable force-feeding scene paying homage to Modern Times.
This was followed by "Pudgy Picks a Fight," a waking nightmare to rival Crime and Punishment in which Betty Boop's dog is plunged into denial and despair after assaulting her mink stole. The set ended with "The Big Snooze," a chaotic short in which Bugs Bunny invades Elmer Fudd's dreams--smearing him with nightmare paint, forcing him into drag and trotting him in front of a gang of lusty wolves, and otherwise wreaking havoc.
Bree Gerard provided a welcome deviation from the running vintage theme with a block of weird contemporary animation. She screened spaced out and surreal cartoons with idiosyncratic timing (Paper Rad's "Alfie") and immersive future(?) worlds (Cartoon Hangover's "Manly"). Appropriately, one video was a selection from Childgod996, an indie video game with a rich fantasy world being developed by a Bloomington, IN resident.
Bethy Squires of Bloomington's Sitcom Theater fame finalized the event with the most specifically focused set. Her selections followed the recurrence of "ear horns" as comedic devices and culminated with a beautiful, nearly silent Warner Bros. short directed by Chuck Jones called "Now Hear This."
These antique hearing aids seem to have no real life referent other than as examples of antique technology in cartoons, making a bizarre closed set of information: cartoons reflecting cartoons while cartoons reflect a weirdo version of the world at large...
A heady topic that the Cartoon Research Lab is uniquely qualified to address.
Come join the next round of discussions:
Saturday, June 20
at General Public Collective
1060 Virginia Ave
Coffee and exciting snacks are available for donation.