Nearly twenty five million (25,000,000) people have watched that “Charlie the Unicorn” cartoon on YouTube.  That’s an “I Love Lucy” headcount.    If there were a science to getting viewers, the world of Jeff Twiller and Slushing Brooks would surpass the billion mark by comparison.

TWILLERAMA II from the Molly Pitcher Rest Stop of the NJ Turnpike

A few years back MTV revived “Beavis and Butthead”.  These are brilliant characters. The show was clever, insightful and an eerily accurate account of teen life -in the late 20th Century.  Are there still thousands upon thousand of disaffected teens in AC/DC t-shirts making “boner” jokes while watching music videos on cable?   Maybe I’m out of touch, maybe babies born in the 90s have grown into replicas from a 20 year old world.  The revival failed just as a series in 1991 which starred two flower-hair kids listening to New Riders of the Purple Sage while burning their draft cards would have failed.

Jeff Twiller, Rod Holcomb, Randy J. Johnson and their retinue occupy a cobwebbed corner of cyberspace.  Movie reviews, blogs, workout videos, Facebook wars.   Within the last decade social media and “nerd culture” have dominated the contemporary discourse.  This painstakingly authored universe uses recent media developments -Youtube, Facebook, et cetera- as a poison pill means of delivery. The central player, Jeff Twiller, could easily be the guy you sat next to in school, or your cousin, your neighbor or even you.

This Saturday, June 6,  the second edition of TWILLERAMA premieres at Videology in Brooklyn.

The animated Jeff Twiller presents a hand picked selection of short films.  Joining him as co-host is his friend Rod Holcomb.  In addition to films by greats like Rose Stark, Caleb Wood, Signe Baumane and not so greats like me, the evening promises guest appearances by the animated likenesses Elliot Cowan and Joe Garden and his Ford Festiva.

This is not simply a screening of animation, this is the entry point to a brilliant and finely constructed parallel reality.  If justice prevailed in our reality, Jeff Twiller would be bigger than a rainbow covered unicorn and every cable network would be fighting to get him.

TWILLERAMA II  • Videology • 308 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11211

June 6, 2015 • 8 PM

Tale of Two Compressions

Jeff Twiller’s latest shenanigan.

Slushing Brooks – VCR Repair from Slushing Brooks on Vimeo.

Animator Morgan Miller sent a link on YouTube then wrote “my colorist friend Crystal did alot of tweaking on it with a Wave Panel console…for her little home studio, and then when you look at You Tube, it looks all washed out.”

Here’s the YouTube link.

The color difference from the same source file is pretty strong.

Minus One For Clapping

Like many longish-timers in New York animation, I have an on/off relationship to ASIFA. 

Over the past two weeks they’ve been screening entries for their upcoming awards show.  It’s always a mixed bag, there’s not much anyone can do about the quality of entries.  Except, of course, to enter films of decidedly high (or low) quality to tip the balance.

The Independent shorts are typically the highlight.  For whatever reason, this year they were the weakest program.

My favorite from that evening was Morgan Miller’s Vacuum Attraction.

It’s kind of crude and more than a little lewd, but the characters are well defined and the creative vision is precise.

Two things that attract me to ASIFA are its history and its and outreach.  The student films can be exciting and innovative.  Young artists provide fresh blood for untalented creative vampires like me.

I missed a small chunk of the student films.  I see Kelsey Stark’s film was in the first few (I’ve seen it a few times, and it would probably rank in the top of all films shown).

Two other standouts were Jacob Kafka’s Giraffe-stronaut

And an unexpectedly great, somewhat unfinished film by Kevin Dossantos titled My 1st Invention. It matches up with Morgan Miller’s in some ways, but it’s much cuter. No sign of it online.

The history of ASIFA has some meaning and these screenings are reminders. I’m reminded of George Griffin saying how your job in the audience is to program a festival. A festival that is emblematic of New York’s relationship to animation.

As fun as it may be to moan and cluck from the auditorium, it’s a serious task if one takes animation seriously.

That’s why I find the clapping and hooting for personal favorites obnoxious. A member has a vote, yes. That vote has meaning, but screenings aren’t about you, hooting voter. They’re not even about the films, per se, or the film makers. The ASIFA show, the awards, represent Animation. It represents New York, community, for better or worse, and the continuum of an art form from Stars & Stripes Prods. Forever, Inc. “Sparklettes: Desert” (the first best in show) and the great Sesame Street films of the 70s (Jerry Lieberman’s Parrot capturing 1972 title) and Suzan Pitt’s Asparagus and Michael Sporn’s Marzipan Pig and John Schnall’s Grim to the groundbreaking, individual artists of the future.

Slushing Blog

Morgan Miller has been sharing some clips and tests from his film in progress.

The most recent animation test features a well-cast “celebrity” voice (I’m not sure if he wants the artist publicly named).

He recently started a production blog.

The art and tone remind me a bit of my ol’ pal Greg Fiering’s work.

Morgan’s art -especially the backgrounds -are decidedly more sophisticated.   But there’s a definite kinship.

As you’ve probably heard, MTV is reviving “Beavis and Butthead”.  Nothing against those two, and I think Mike Judge is a remarkable talent, but the world would have been better to develop Morgan’s universe to a series format.  Like “Beavis”,  it’s a well rounded world with ridiculous characters who are close enough to reality to be unsettling.