Happy days are here again

Happy Days card: The FonzI'm taking off for the Great White North later on today to be reunited with my family—I'm so happy I could just spit! To celebrate this occasion, how about a pair of Happy Days bubblegum cards? These were found in an old worn out box that contained a bunch of my old belongings from back in the day. I'm talking about 1976, kids. I was 7 years old at the time and it seemed like Happy Days was the biggest thing on TV. Our family watched that show like it was going out of style. And The Fonz? Man, he was the shiz-nit, wasn't he? Everyone loved him and wanted to be like him. Well, at least in my neck of the woods. I remember kids in my grade school acting out Fonzerelli poses and quoting signature lines from the show. This and Welcome Back Kotter. We always gravitated to those rebellious types, those who were "on the fringe", I guess you could say.

For seconds, here's another bubblegum card featuring Potsie and the show's Everyman, Richie Cunningham:
Happy Days card: Potsie and Ricky

I'm so excited to see my family! Driving up tonight and coming back on the 4th (that's always fun). Have a great weekend and a fantastic 4th of July! See ya soon.



I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of YouTube. The quality of the movies suck. I can't stand that compressed crap, especially if it's of some hard-to-find animated short that I've been dying to see since, like, forever. I know, at least I am finally getting to see it, but still. Just wish there was something better for a video sharing site.

Another peeve I have of YouTube is that you can't download the videos to your desktop because they use Flash in their programming. Again, this is the animator speaking in me but if I want to look at said animated short, you're telling me that I have to go online each time I want to view it? No. Not for me. I need to study it, pick it apart, learn from it, and I want to do this on my own spare time. I can't do that with YouTube. Plus, how will I know that the person who put up the film will still have it up days, months, even years from now? I've already seen some YouTube links disappear, and that can be very frustrating for the one who wants to see something that is already rare and hard-to-find in the first place.

Welp, the tide is turning for me. I found out how to download videos off of YouTube and save them to my desktop. It wasn't easy, though. In fact, being a Mac user, it was downright frustrating for me to find a way to view the videos. Here's what I found:

1. When you find a movie on YouTube that you like, copy the url address of that page.
2. Go to KeepVid and paste the url address in the window near the top. Choose "YouTube" in the choices on the right (as you can see, there are many sites where you can choose from) and press "Select."
3. Just below, under the "Download" section, right-click on the download link (that's command-click for you Mac people).
4. The file will be titled "get_video" but you need to add ".flv" for the extension.

Okay, at this point you have your file, right? Well, in order to view it, you need an flv player. It's different between PC and Mac users, so here are the options for each:

For PC users, go HERE for the latest version of FLV Player, and you should be all set.

Mac users, it gets kinda odd. You have to go to this Japanese site and go over to that light blue boxed area and click on the link that is written in dark blue. Once you unstuff it, you have your FLV player (with a nifty icon image)! The great thing about this player is that you can scrub back and forth with no problem.

Okay, so the quality is still kinda crappy, but at least I can now be at peace with YouTube. Maybe I'll put up my two animated shorts someday. Ummm... nah. I'd rather make a DVD for ya. I hear DVD's have better quality.

Ava Thursday: Ms. Brown's Card

Ava Thursday: Ms. Brown's Card

This is the back of a card Ava drew for one of her Kindergarten teachers, Ms. Brown. This is Ms. Brown reading a book to the class. Notice that she has her hair pulled up in a bun—yes, Ms. Brown wears her hair pulled into a bun most of the time, although probably not so much on top of her head like Ava's drawn here. I love how all the kids are sitting around her listening intently, hands in their laps. I didn't have a chance to find out which one is Ava.

And of course, we have the "cool sneak-peak" feature: a feather hiding a secret drawing, similar to the ones Ava drew for Ms. Williams and Ms. Beck.

Now, go and read a book! Or, maybe have someone read one to you.


Illustration Friday: Rain

Looks like rain

I drew this sketch of a little girl holding out her hand to capture the first raindrop of a storm several months ago. What a coincidence that this week's theme for Illustration Friday is Rain, huh? Nice. I didn't have to think too hard on the concept, however, I did have a dickens of a time trying to find the right color scheme. I went through several iterations, from green, blue, red, etc. At first I had her in mostly blue hues with a greenish background. But I realized that I use green and ochre way too much. I wanted to use colors that I normally wouldn't use. Peach seemed peachy keen to me.

Well, here ya go. What do you think?


Empty and Quiet

Well. Here am I completely alone in a house that is empty and quiet. I have found myself sans family for the second time in as many years for a whole week. A whole week. I didn't ask for this; both times this sort of thing has just plopped into my lap. It's a bittersweet thing, however. It's nice to have time on my own, but I realize the flipside is that Andrea has the kids and still has to be "on" as a Mother. She'll have some moments to herself later on in the day, or whenever her Dad and/or Mom plays with the kiddos, but all in all, the kids are with her, not me. I am essentially free from any kids or spouse. Free, but hanging out in an empty home.

At first it's nice to have peace and quiet, but then it dawns on me that this silence is hollow and soulless. I miss the ambient sounds of life emanating from various rooms in our little abode: the quirky babbling and constant banging of toys on tables and/or floorboards from Ezra, the shuffling feet of my wife as she walks by me in the dining room (sometimes we set up the computer on the table there), opening and shutting of doors, the TV, the air-conditioning kicking in, the settling, creaking, breathing of an older house.... All this I miss right now.


What to do with myself? Well, I went to go see some movies last night. Three, to be exact. I had a free movie pass from my AMC MovieWatcher program and decided to go see AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH. Please go see it. I loved it. Who knew that Al Gore could be so intoxicating and funny as a speaker? The best movie I've seen this summer so far, save maybe Pixar's CARS. It did its job by opening my eyes to all that's been going on with our environment and the whole Greenhouse Effect situation. Mind-numbing, eye-opening, fascinating, and almost too disheartening, An Inconvenient Truth is one great movie. I find documentaries fascinating, but I know that docs are not everyone's cup of tea. But here, I have to say that along with the pacing and editing paired with Gore's sharp demeanor and open candor was right on target with the subject matter—even the most die-hard doc-hater would certainly enjoy this engrossing movie. Highly recommended, not only for the entertainment value, but also for the sake of the earth.

Saw the most recent SUPERMAN RETURNS trailer. There was a shot in it that is now making the geek-rounds through the internets, dubbed the "Bullet to the Eye" shot. I'm very impressed. Just a great reminder of how much Superman is the Man of Steel. Here, take a lookie-see:

The second movie I saw last night was CLICK. Eh. Whatever. Not much going on there. Really, if I want to see a film that has a message about realizing just how much I could be missing in my life if I just stop and smell the roses, I'd go see CARS. Again. Even though the storylines are similar, I'd much rather see cars talk than dogs humping stuffed animals over and over. (Apparently this is funny to the filmmakers. Also, they think that having kids and adults alike drop the S-bomb multiple times is funny, too. Not me. I found it extremely irritating.) Oh, and come on. I saw the ending a MILE away, people. I just knew what was going to happen. Pah-leeeze.

The third film was NACHO LIBRE. I wanted to like it, because I like Jack Black, but it wasn't all there for me. Most of the jokes and characters rang hollow. Dunno what they could've done to make it work, but putting oddball characters together just for the sake of seeing them together will not always bring the laughs. There has to be some substance to the jokes. Here, most of the film was disconnected—I really liked Nacho's friendship/relationship with the new nun on the block, played by the incredibly underused Ana de la Reguera, but there was no connection between the two. Even though we see that Nacho definitely has feelings for her, again, it all rang hollow for me. Oh well. I still like Jack Black, even if he makes a dud.

Some movies I'd like to see soon:

SKETCHES OF FRANK GEHRY (playing at LeFont Garden Hills Theatre)
SUPERMAN RETURNS (might go with my momma on Wednesday night—how fun and geeky is that?)
A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION (love me some Altman)
A SCANNER DARKLY (more Rotoshopping trippyness with Linklater)
STRANGERS WITH CANDY (love me some Amy Sedaris in her first leading role, finally!)


Little Ward Art: Blue Head/Hand

Ward Thursday: Blue Head/Hand

I've got a stack of old drawings my mom saved when I was a kid, so I thought I'd post them separately from Ava Thursday. (AT will be back next week, by the way.) See a previous drawing I did when I was 3 here.

On the back of this interesting little production, my mom wrote: Ward age 4 - 4/73.

It was fingerpainting day in class that day, I guess. Or rather, "stick your hand in a tub of blue tempera paint and see what happens" day. I like the additions of earrings or some sort of jewlery that adorn each finger/dread.

Dig the green tie with the purple and red outfit. Man, this little character had style!


Illustration Friday: Dance

Illustration Friday: Dance

Boy, it's been a long, long time since my last IF entry. When I saw that this week's theme was Dance, I just had to do it. Considering that my wife is a dancer and dance teacher/instructor, and I study and draw motion through animation, it was sort of a no-brainer. Funny how Andrea and I both study movement: she in a 3 dimensional sense, and I in a 2 dimensional sense. And I'm not alone in this. Marc Davis, one of Disney's Nine Old Men married a dancer as well.

Andrea and I both share the same sensibilities when it comes to analyzing motion and movement in general. I like to analyze how a leg might take the weight of the body when an arm goes up, and Andrea likes to analyze how that phrase of movement will feel to her body as well as look to a viewer or to herself. Repetition becomes important—we both want to get the movement pattern down right. I love having this to share with my wife. She knows that I won't fall asleep when we go to dance performances. Afterwards we'll go into a long discourse about the show and talk about how each piece did or didn't reach the audience, how it flowed, how the choreographer utilized the moving bodies on stage, how the piece sucked, how it soared, etc. There was a time when we would go to various performances with fellow Moving In The Spirit dancers and their boyfriends/spouses and afterwards engage with great debate about what we just saw. It was both exhilarating and incredibly fun. I miss that.

I love the idea of interaction between two dancers: the mixing and mingling of arms, legs, muscles, hair, fabric, etc. All entangled, fused, coming together to make a whole. With this piece, I wanted two dancers intertwined, in fluid motion. I chose poses that, if you took the two dancers apart, would look like they could stand/dance on their own. But when the two are put together, however, there's electricity. Hopefully you can sense that here.

More Illustration Friday goodness can be found here.


Be an artist!

Art School: Be an Artist!
You gotta love all those old vintage ads that depict the world of art as nothing but a parade of nude women surrounding male artists all day. Apparently, back in the day, there was a dearth of artists, painters, and local penniless beatniks; so to catch the eye of any budding self-taught "artist" (male, preferrably), what anyone would have to do is show that art=nudity and you'd soon bag many an unsuspecting young man to shell out 10 bucks of their hard-earned money to receive a cheap art course destined for File 13 after about 3 weeks. Poor soul. What were they thinking? Did they even ponder the thought that maybe living an artist's life probably did not mean scantily-clad lasses hanging out at your high-rise apartment 24/7?

No, I guess not. But it is interesting to see that all these types of ads ran ad nauseum throughout the pages of those "men's interest" magazines like Outdoor Adventures, Stag, Flirt, Fury, and Titter, to name a few. I found these two in such a mag from 1955, owned by this freelancer here at work who was going to sell them on eBay. I couldn't scan them (I didn't want to ruin the spine), so I tried my best to take a photo of the pages.

Some are small, barely taking up 2 inches of space, but here's a full-page ad:

You Can Be a Successful Artist

In close up, you can see the typical artist outfit of the time: well-groomed hair, smock and a tie:

Close-up of model and artist

When I showed this image to a fellow Primate who has the same fascination with old books and magazines like I do (and collects about as many as I have, possibly more), he quipped, "Lookit, you know he means business. He's no fly-by-night, shyster dude."

Here's another one posted by dogwelder. Do I like art? Yes, only if nekkid girls are involved.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go and put on my smock and tie while all my female models disrobe for me in unison. Cheers.



Animation Extravaganza: Marquee
Boy, am I beat! And it's been over 24 hours since the Animation Extravaganza, so that's telling you something. Maybe I'm getting too old to do all this, but all in all, I really enjoyed the entire night. Everyone had a great time.

Animation Extravaganza: Filing in
Ever since I've become the screenings coordinator for ASIFA-Atlanta, there have been some stressful moments while organizing a particular event: making sure the venue is secure, all the films are cued up and ready to go, audio levels are in check, there are enough volunteers to help out at the door, etc. Luckily, I didn't have to do too much of that last night because it was essentially an Image night, the organization who puts together the annual Atlanta Film Festival, but there were plenty of tasks for me and my fellow ASIFA volunteers to attend to. For the record, we did have enough volunteers present to hand out flyers, sell and tear tickets, crowd control, that sort of thing,—so a big THANKS for those of you who offered your time to help. We can't tell you how appreciative we were of your presence there last night! I honestly feel that the event wouldn't have gone as smoothly as it did if you were not there. Thank you.

Animation Extravaganza: Marquee at nightThe screening overall was a highly emotional one, with some heavy material being shown, like John Canemaker's emotional THE MOON AND THE SON, Disney's somber THE LITTLE MATCHGIRL, DRAGON, and the apocalyptic THE SANDBOX. So no wonder that the films which received higher marks from the audience had more of a lighter tone, like FUMI AND THE BAD LUCK FOOT and THE MANTIS PARABLE. But that's what makes a great screening if you ask me. Give me a nice, diverse range of storylines, mediums, and styles, and I'll be a happy boy. I do feel that maybe one or two of the films could've been taken out to cut back on the almost-2-hour long running time, but overall it was a success.

During the second screening, I had a slice of pizza next door at Fellini's with two of the evening's filmmakers, Scott Kravitz (LOOM) and D. Grant Goans (MAN DRAWING A RECLINING WOMAN). We had a great conversation about how they found the time to make their films as well as some of the highs and lows of creating stop-motion animation (both of their films were done in this format). I've always admired stop-motion animators for their persistence as well as tenacity in what they do, so it was enlightening for me to listen to how these two guys created their films. Scott's short film took about 4 years to complete, a side project that became a creative oasis for him to return to in between drab paying animation gigs. D. Grant Goans' film was also a side project for him (most of these indie films are anyway), but unlike Scott, his full-time job is not in the animation industry. A local guy, D. Grant works for my alma mater, Georgia State University, in a very un-animation like position for their online library (I think that's right, sorry if I got that wrong, D. Grant). It's interesting to see how animation can serve as a creative outlet in so many ways for different filmmakers. And to have your work shown up on a big screen in front of fellow animation lovers is the perfect culmination for all your hard work and many man-hours slaving over your 'baby.' It is a tremendous joy. How do I know? I've had two films shown in festivals, and I've never experienced anything quite like it. (More on my two films later.)

Animation Extravaganza: animator Q&A
After each show, I moderated a brief Q & A with the filmmakers present that evening: the aforementioned Scott and D. Grant, as well as the hairy, yet lovable Brett W. Thompson. D. Grant was not able to make it for the first Q & A, but all three were able to answer questions after the second show. There were some great questions asked, quite unlike previous years when like, only two questions would be directed to the filmmakers. And one of them would always be the inevitable, "So, like, um,... how long did it take to make your film?" Or, "So, how much did it cost to make it?" For some reason, these two issues are big with the general public when it comes to animation: time and money. The way I see it, it's a way of non-animators trying to put this strange, quirky art-form into tangible terms, when in reality, you can't. Most of the filmmakers did favors, bartered, eeked out time here and there to get their projects done, so to conform to concrete conditions in regards to a film's worth is ultimately pointless. When you have a vision, a drive, to create something, you don't think in terms of cost and time. Yes, it is important to have money to pay for equipment & materials, but really, all you want to do is just create. Your drive to create on your own becomes a priceless commodity that no one will ever understand, no matter how much you try and explain it in front of an audience.

Oop. Didn't mean to go off on a tangent like that. The evening ended with some great questions and even better answers, so I tip my hat to the guys who showed up to talk about their films. And another tip of the hat to all the other filmmakers who had the drive and energy to give us a most excellent evening of animation.

Big thanks to the ASIFA volunteers, Image, and especially to Jake Jacobson, the director of the Atlanta Film Festival, for allowing us to help out during the Animation Extravaganza. We had a great time.


Ava Thursday: Ms. Beck's Card

Ava Thursday: Ms. Beck's card
Ava created three cards for her kindergarten teachers when they ended the school year last month. I showed you one earlier, for Ms. Williams. The one you see here was for her main teacher, Ms. Beck, a sweet, caring woman who just adored Ava. We were very happy for Ava to have such a wonderful woman for her kindergarten teacher.

Like the first card, this one also had a "cool sneak-peek" bonus: hidden behind the glued-on green feather you see here is a little drawing. I think it's of a heart, but I'm not sure. But I love the creativity that went into the excecution of these cards. Ava had a great time making them.

DON'T FORGET: The Animation Extravaganza TONIGHT! 7pm and 9:45pm at Lefont Garden Hills Cinema, on Peachtree Road. Hope to see you all there!


Argle Barglin'

Well, shoot. Jerry at Cartoon Brew beat me to it, but I was going to mention that Atlanta's own animation connoisseur, C. Martin Croker ("Clay" to you and me), has finally started up a blog, called Argle Bargle! Clay is one of those rare individuals who happens to know just about everything on anything, especially when there's animation involved. I've never met anyone quite like him. Honest. Clay stories are legendary within the animation community here in Atlanta, and if ever there is a blog that you should read and link to, then this is it.

To try and describe Clay to someone just doesn't do the man any justice. Mostly known for his voice work on Space Ghost: Coast to Coast (Zorak and Moltar), what many do not know was that he was also the animation director for the show. In fact, a fair amount of local talent worked on various SG: C2C episodes, including yours truly. That was the first time I ever worked with Clay. However, Clay and I haven't had too many opportunities to work together after that (I think it was 1998), which is unfortunate. He did help me out with some animation for those Electrasol commercials I directed (you know, the ones featuring the Jetsons), as well as Sonny's "freak out" scene in the Cocoa Puffs commercial currently airing, but other than that, not too much interaction.

Hopefully, this blog will offer Clay the chance to get those crazy stories and odd interests out there to the general public, where they deserve to be heard. He usually does the Comic-Con circuit from time-to-time, but here, the audience will be far greater than those venues. So go check his blog out now!

Bowling freaks
Oh, I just had to share this photo. It's been hanging up on my board here at work and it always makes me smile. What you see here is a rarity. To get all these guys together in one room takes an act of God, so enjoy this while you can. This was at Primal Screen's Christmas party, 2001. It was at a bowling alley, natch, and that's Clay in the middle.

Here are the guilty parties from L to R:
Me (holding Ava), Dave Strandquest (aka Dr. Strangetoons), Clay Croker, and Robert Pope.

This is a great shot of some of the most unique animators I've ever had the chance of working with. Oh, the stories these guys could tell....


Animation Extravaganza: Thursday, June 15th

As mentioned before, the Atlanta Film Festival's night of animation, titled The Animation Extravaganza, will be this Thursday, June 15th, at the Lefont Garden Hills Cinema. There are two screenings that night: 7pm and 9:45pm. It's usually a big seller, so I suggest buying your tickets in advance. By the way, ASIFA-Atlanta helped out in the selection process for the screening, with several of our members taking a gander at a tall stack of animated goodness. Some great talent out there—I'm jealous. I got a chance to see all of the films that were selected for the screening, so I definitely can attest to an excellent showcase of animation this Thursday! Some great work, professionally as well as independently. Our local cats did a fine job as well, holding their own with the big boys. It should be a fun night.

Here's what's on the bill for the evening, in alphabetical order:

6 min.
Dir: Geoff Marslett

4 min.
Screens with Brett's Animation Film Slam winner FLUIDTOONS (3 min.).
Dir: Brett W. Thompson
(Local Fimmaker)

8 min.
Dir: Troy Morgan

6 min.
Dir: Maureen Selwood

8 min.
Dir: David Chai

15 min.
Dir: Marek Skrobecki

3 min.
Dir: Joanna Davidovich
(Local Filmmaker)

8 min.
Dir: Roger Allers

5 min.
Dir: Scott Kravitz

5 min.
Dir: D. Grant Goans
(Local Filmmaker)

8 min.
Dir: Josh Staub

28 min.
Dir: John Canemaker

6 min.
Dir: Kory Juul

5 min.
Dir: Mike Blum

Notice that the local yokels are: CHICKENHEADS/FLUIDTOONS, JUXTAPOSER, and MAN DRAWING A RECLINING WOMAN. I'm not familiar with D. Grant Goans, but I do know the other two: Brett W. Thompson was the lucky fellow to win the first ever Animation Film Slam back in March, and Jo Davidovich is the newest member of Primal Screen! Both are frequent commenters here on The Ward-O-Matic, and I couldn't have been more happier for them. To have your work screened at the Atlanta Film Festival is a great opportunity and I wish the best of luck to them both.

A couple of interesting stand-outs for me in this line-up:

1. Disney's THE LITTLE MATCHGIRL is a holdover from a third installment of FANTASIA, which I believe was canned when they dropped the 2D bomb back about a year and a half ago. Looks like Disney's trying to tap into the film fest circuit with this one, not unlike what they did with DESTINO. I doubt it'll do as well as that earlier film, though, but at least they're putting this film out there for the public to see. It's a serious film, surprisingly holding onto the original Hans Christian Andersen story's somber note at the end. I really dug the film—the color palette and layouts were very well done, and the animation was well executed. The music, however, didn't do it for me. It didn't pull me in like some of the original FANTASIA segments of 1940.

2. John Canemaker's Oscar-winning THE MOON AND THE SON will be a highlight of the evening. It's a little long, but you'll be pulled into the story and the time will fly by. It's a fascinating account of John trying to come to terms with his father's death several years ago. It's an "imagined conversation" with his father, which makes it all the more heartwrenching to know that he was never able to talk with his father this openly and blatently. Something to be said about art therapy. You can tell that this film was definitely a catharsis for John.

3. FUMI AND THE BAD LUCK FOOT is a hilarious short made by animation instructor David Chai and his animation students at San Jose State University. Some pretty funny sight gags with fun animation. It's been making the festival rounds lately, so I'm happy to see it screened here in Atlanta.

The great thing about animation at film festivals is that there are all kinds of mediums and methods being shown: stop-motion, traditional, and CG. The same can be said for what will be shown at the Animation Extravaganza. A great mix of talent and vision, all shown within an hour and a half timeframe. Please come and support the local scene, as well as animation in general! I'll be doing some emceeing that night, so don't be afraid to heckle me in the audience. Quaint banter will ensue.

ATTENTION: We are still looking for more volunteers for the night! Please contact Vella and let her know which shift you can do. Remember: you can check out the other screening for free if you volunteer!

See you there!


Animation snob

My sister has on more than one occasion called me an animation snob. This outburst is usually directed at me after I mention that I won't be buying any Disney direct-to-DVD films, or "cheapquels," for my kids at all.

"Oh, you're such an animation snob!"

The description is also usually meant in jest, but I know that there's truth to her joking. I know because I am an animation snob. There, I admit it. I'm an animation snob. I can't help it. I've studied the art-form for far too long to plunk down 20 bucks on a product that is considered sub-par in my opinion. The way I see it, all those direct-to-DVD "films" released out into the unknowing public are produced with one thing in mind: the all-mighty DOLLAR. There is absolutely no entertainment value in them at all. Sure, this is nothing new. It's been debated about and argued over for several years now, but mostly within the animation community. Rare is the argument overheard in the family/children's DVD aisle when it comes to anything Disney produced. The majority of the general public out there simply do not care about whether or not this animated film is better quality than that one. If the name "Disney" is on it, then what's the use of arguing? It's bound to be good, right?

Now, my sister is no spring chicken. She knows her share of animation—all thanks to me, of course. But she's been a parent longer than me and knows that her kids like to be entertained. She knows what her kids like and she'll do anything to make sure they're happy. And now, since I've been a parent for almost 6 years now, I'm beginning to see what my kids' interests are, and yes, I'd do anything to make them happy as well.

But Disney direct-to-DVD movies (and any of those impostor films made quickly to cash in on the current trend) will not be a part of their happiness. Sorry, but I can't do it. To me, it's more about the notion of retaining the Disney name as something that of QUALITY. Remember when "Disney" was synonymous with "quality?" Remember when a Disney film ignited excitement and wonder whenever one was released in the theaters? I still get giddy just thinking about when I saw THE JUNGLE BOOK in the theater back in the 70's. It made a big impact on me as a young boy. The same goes for FANTASIA.

Yes, yes, yes, I understand that everything is vastly different now—the marketing, the venues, the box office, the production, the audiences, the films themselves—everything is different and probably will never be the same again. I understand that. But still, creating sequels to classic films like BAMBI? CINDERELLA? THE JUNGLE BOOK? C'mon, people. I saw CINDERELLA 2 and I wasn't impressed. When we see Cinderella and her new groom fade off into the distance in the original film, we assume that all is okay with the world. They will, indeed, live happily ever after. I didn't want to know anything else about Jacque the mouse, that he wished that he was a human. Or whether or not one of the evil step-sisters will find true love—they were evil and THAT'S THAT! End of story.

Geez, I'm such a snob. I know. But I want my kids to try and experience the Disney canon of films similar to how I experienced them: with wonder and amazement. And to do that, I try my best to make each viewing of SLEEPING BEAUTY or THE JUNGLE BOOK a special event. I sit down with them (well, I try with Ezra, but that little bugger just doesn't like to stay still) and watch the movie and oooo and aahhhh at all the right moments, and look at them to get their reaction as well. I try, mind you. I try. Sometimes it doesn't always go as planned, but if that's the case, I'll put on something else. But I really do try and watch all the old films with them personally, to make it an event that the whole family can be a part of.

Sequels and direct-to-DVD atrocities will never capture the same spirit as the originals, no matter how much money you put into them. Some might make nice with me, but overall, I will not succumb to the watering down of the Disney name. With new people in charge at Disney now, there's hope. I hear that they will stop the cheapquels once and for all. And to that, I say, good riddance.


Ward Thursday

Ward Thursday: My New Friend

Thought I'd pull a little switcheroo here and give Ava a break from her Ava Thursday duties. Here's a drawing by me done when I was 3 and a half. I guess I made a new friend, Sean. I don't remember him. Sorry I don't remember you, Sean, whoever you are—but at least you're immortalized here on Blogger now, frolicking freely amongst friends with your non-existent arms and tiny legs. Cheers.


Reason 4,080 why I love Pixar

I was in the bookstore the other day and I happened upon the new The Art of Cars, from Chronicle Books. Nice, solid book, filled with excellent sketches, studies, and artwork from Pixar's upcoming film. I'm already a fan of the movie.

There were a couple of things that stood out for me while thumbing through the book:

1. During the course of pre-production, they nabbed the illustrious Dave Dale, aka Big Deal, to do an in-house workshop on drawing cartoony cars. There are a couple of his examples in the book, and boy, did it bring me back to the good ol' days of reading CARtoons magazine! They went to the right guy, that's for sure.

2. There was a spread on stickers and decals for Filmore, the hippie Volkswagen bus voiced by George Carlin, and amongst the 60's-themed sayings and logos, there was one that stood out for me:

Save 2D Animation

You gotta love Pixar for that.


Looking for volunteers!

Hey guys, if you live in the Atlanta area, we need your help! ASIFA-Atlanta has offered to help out Image for this year's Animation Extravaganza at the Atlanta Film Festival and we need volunteers for both shifts that night. We are very honored to offer our help and expertise on this exciting night of animation. If you live in the Atlanta area and think you could offer your time to help out for the night, please let us know. Here's all the info you need to know:

The Animation Extravaganza is being held this year on June 15th at Garden Hills Cinema and they are looking for around 10 volunteers to work the 6:30pm-9:15pm shift and 10 for the 9:15pm-Midnight shift. Volunteers will be responsible for crowd control, answering pertinent questions about ASIFA and animation, pointing folks in the parking lot at the Garden Hills in the right direction, passing out ASIFA information, etc.

Jake Jacobson, the Festival Director, has generously offered that if you volunteer for one of the shifts, you can be his guest for the other show.

If you are interested in volunteering, please let us know as soon as possible.


Pretty cool, huh? You get to check out the show, which will be a great one! If you can help out, please get in contact with Vella as soon as possible. (Let her know which shift you can do.)

I'll post a full rundown of what's on the bill for the evening later on today. Loads of award-winners!

Thanks, guys.


Fun Vinyl

In case you didn't know, I have a photoset on my Flickr called Fun Vinyl, featuring vintage EP's, LP's, 45's, 78's—you name it—with some pretty fun graphics. For starters, I found a couple of records that were part of an on-going series produced for children called the Children's Record Guild. The graphics are lively, bold and mostly primary, with lots of reds, blues, and yellows:

Come to the Fair
The Chugging Freight Engine
Riddle Me This

The following is a 7" EP that had what I swore up and down was an actual Jim Flora-designed cover. But alas, no, it was only a copycat:

Strike Up the Band: Morton Gould
To see more Flora-copycats, check this page out.

One of my favorite vinyl finds is this Columbia Records collection of 45's I happened upon at the thrift store (setting me back a whopping $1.99). The simple line drawings of 1950's teens swinging to a cool beat wrap around from the front to the back of the cardboard case, making this an absolute joy to behold when fully open. I love how the kids are dancing over the blue silhouette of a pop bottle in the background. Very cool design. Simple and effective. Oh, and what's even better about this set are the artists featured: Robert Goulet, Jerry Vale, Kenny Rankin, and Tony Bennett. The records are in pristine condition. I guess no pop party ever took place with this particular set. 'Tis a shame. Here's the cover:

Pop Party
To view this larger, click HERE.

The following covers are actually two different sides to one 12" LP:

South Pacific LP
The Music Man LP

And lastly, here's a cover with some fun graphics by a W. Dugan (not sure I've heard of him/her) for a children's record. Bonus points for that neato redesign of the Columbia Records logo in the upper right-hand corner:

Wish I Wuz a Whisker

There are a couple more covers featured, so come on by and check 'em out: Fun Vinyl.