This is one for all you fans of 60s psychedelia, and especially pastiche 60s psychedelia. Not to mention being one for fans of transgressive cartoons, and in particular one of the best cartoon shows of all time, John K’s Ren & Stimpy.
In this clip Stimpy gets invited to climb into his own stomach by his belly-button, which disturbingly enough looks like a talking foreskin. Im sure that’a a metaphor for something or other, but as I have not seen the full episode I can’t offer the context. Once inside his navel Stimpy is treated to some pretty great visuals and a very neat tune called “Climb Inside My World”, performed by Chris Goss (producer of Kyuss, Screaming Trees and Queens Of The Stone Age among many others), here channeling that groovy ‘67 spirit of the Beatles and the Small Faces.
It’s great that what was nominally a kids show could get away with something like this. Of course, this was before cartoons were taken seriously as “adult” entertainment, and we can thank Ren & Stimpy hugely for that change in perception. A bit like Stimpy’s own changing perspective.
Ignore the German intro and skip straight to 0:23 for the action. Ooh, there’s that pesky number 23, but I’m sure it’s just a co-incidence…
“Tadanori Yokoo’s works reveal all of the unbearable things which we Japanese have inside ourselves and they make people angry and frightened. He makes explosions with the frightening resemblance which lies between the vulgarity of billboards advertising variety shows during festivals at the shrine devoted to the war dead and the red containers of Coca Cola in American Pop Art, things which are in us but which we do not want to see.”
In the sixties, Yokoo made some amazing animated pop psychedelic shorts (with insane soundtracks), here’s “Kachi Kachi Yama” from 1965:
After the jump, two more great animated shorts by Tadanori Yokoo…
Jan Švankmajer’s beautiful, mesmerizing yet strangely unsettling film Historia Naturae, Suita (1967), presents a short, 8-part history of nature, presenting each phylum through a different piece of music. These are:
Švankmajer is currently working on his next full-length animated feature Pictures from the Insects’ Life is due for release in 2015. Based on Karel Čapek and Josef Čapek satirical play from 1922, Pictures from the Insects’ Life tells the story of a tramp who falls asleep in a forest and dreams of insects as a metaphor for human life.
Augustin Rebetez gives answers to questions that are as quirky and idiosyncratic as his films.
The Swiss conceptual photographic artist and film-maker describes himself as “a sad child full energy.” I don’t know whether he is sad or not, but his work is certainly full of energy and boundless imagination. I was particularly impressed with his stop animation film The Dinner of the Lonely Man, which he tells me was made “With my hands” over “Some nights.”
It is a beautifully eerie, funny, Lynchean dream, that tells the story of “The painting of Ulf, the old owner of a house in Norway who was living there alone.” Now you know.
This isn’t his only film, “The others who exist already are more epileptic that this one,” and his work has been exhibited and screened across the world.
Augustin’s only aim when making art or films is: “I try to be honest and to present good stuff.” He certainly does that, and in an amusing and highly original way.
He is currently working on “Some stuff, one new film which is called maison.” Check out more from the highly talented Mr. Rebetez here.
From the early 1970’s into the 80’s, Robert Abel and Associates were pioneers in the use of computer graphics in TV commercials. His style was clearly influenced by Peter Max, Yellow Submarine, Milton Glaser, Stan Vanderbeek, Fillmore poster art and psychedelic culture in general. In addition to commercials, Abel did special effects work for films like Tron, The Andromeda Strain and Star Trek.
Abel’s style was nicknamed ‘photo-fusion,’ the combining of still photography with video. In his 1975 7-Up commercials, Abel used back-light techniques called ‘candy-apple neon,’ a highly stylized type of animation that created a day-glo effect. In 1982, Abel used ‘candy-apple neon’ to create the look of Tron.
Here’s a selection of Abel’s trippy commercials. The 7-Up ads are particularly lysergic. In addition to the commercials, I’ve included demo-reels and a short documentary on Abel.
Pop culture keeps compressing more and more of itself into smaller and smaller bits of itself. The glittering Simpson video mosaic featured below makes avant-garde video pioneer Nam June Paik’s 1995 “Electronic Superhighway” installation (above) feel like a slow trip down the scenic back roads of central Kansas.
Life seems to have become that flickering thing at the periphery of our vision. Is this what “I saw my life flashing before my eyes” looks like?
Top to bottom: each row shows a season (from season 1 to season 10)
Left to right: each column shows an episode (from episode 1 to episode 13)
A total of 130 episodes is displayed, framerate is 25fps, thumbnails have been captured at 80x60px
And to think it all started with Hollywood Squares.
“Once upon a time…or maybe twice…there was an unearthly paradise called Pepperland…”
The Beatles’ classic 1968 animated feature film, Yellow Submarine, has been restored in 4K digital resolution for the first time by Paul Rutan Jr. and his team at Triage Motion Picture Services. No automated software was used in the clean-up of the film’s restored photochemical elements. This was a job painstakingly done by hand, a single frame at a time. The absolutely stunning Yellow Submarine restoration premiered last weekend at the SXSW festival and will be coming on Blu-Ray DVD at the end of May with a new 5.1 multi-channel audio soundtrack. Seeing the film unspool on the big screen of Austin’s historic Paramount Theatre was like watching a series of moving stained glass windows.
Directed by George Dunning, and written by Lee Minoff, Al Brodax, Jack Mendelsohn and future best-selling Love Story novelist Erich Segal, Yellow Submarine, based upon the song by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, is a basically incomprehensible series of musical vignettes, groan-worthy puns and lysergically-inspired kaleidoscopic eye-candy that sees John, Paul, George and Ringo saving the world from the evil Blue Meanies.
When Yellow Submarine originally premiered in 1968, the film was regarded as an artistic marvel. With its innovative animation techniques, it represented the most technologically advanced animation work since Disney’s masterpiece, Fantasia. Inspired by the Pop Art of Andy Warhol, Peter Max and Peter Blake, art director Heinz Edelmann’s work on Yellow Submarine is now considered among the classics of animated cinema. Yellow Submarine also showcases the creative work of animation directors Robert Balser and Jack Stokes along with a team of the best animators and technical artists that money could hire. The ground-breaking animation styles included 3-D sequences and the highly detailed “rotoscoping” (tracing film frame by frame) of the celebrated “Eleanor Rigby” sequence. The production process took nearly two years and employed 40 animators and 140 technical artists.
I must say, though, as happy as I was to be one of the first people to see the restored Yellow Submarine, I couldn’t help be to think that—with all of its merits—the film is just a little bit boring. If you responded negatively to the news of the (now shelved) Yellow Submarine 3-D remake, consider that not only did the Fab Four have precious little to do with the actual making of the original film (it’s not even their own voices) but that today’s kids—your kids—won’t have the patience to sit through it. Nor will they even understand what’s being said onscreen. Yellow Submarine, I hate to say it, was ripe for a remake. Sacrilege, I know, but it’s not like I’m suggesting that they remake A Hard Day’s Night or anything!
Below, a decidedly low res version of Yellow Submarine in its entirety. This isn’t really the way to watch it, of course…