Daily post 29 Nov 2006 09:00 am

Sito in person/Pitt on dvd/Canemaker at the Oscars

- Tonight Tom Sito will be in New York at the Chelsea Barnes and Noble (675 Sixth Ave, near 22nd Street) to talk about and sign copies of his book, Drawing the Line at 7:00PM. The author, animator, writer, director, producer and great friend will be giving a presentation about the history of animation unions. He’ll offer some real insight into the back door workings of some of the biggest (and smallest) cartoon studios.

His book, (official title) Drawing The Line: The Untold Story Of The Animation Unions From Bosko To Bart Simpson, is a unique book with a compelling story for its subject. I read through it in what felt like hours, I was so engrossed, and would suggest anyone interested in animation and its history take a look at it.

At the very least, you should try to make it tonight to meet Tom and hear what he has to say about the subject.

7:00 PM Chelsea Barnes and Noble 675 Sixth Ave, near 22nd Street.

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- Suzan Pitt has been making animated films for almost thirty years. In my opinion, her work has always been the closest thing animation comes to “Art.” Not all of the films are easily accessible for the masses, but all of them border on the genius side of film.

Asparagus was the biggest thing in the Indepedent animation world back in the early ’80s. (The film was completed in 1979.) Hardly a screening of animated films existed without including this short. Hence, I’ve seen the film at least 30 times, and it wears well – though there were times when I became impatient during it. Her films don’t have the haste that today’s animation always seems to strive to achieve. This, to me, is a positive on Pitt’s side. The short played on the circuit, for over two years, opening for David Lynch’s Eraserhead.

El Doctor, her most recent film, recently played on PBS this past October. It’s a complex short that takes its time in telling a nightmarish story which plays out in Mexico. A medley of styles – all inspired by Mexican art – is beautifully and richly animated. Ms. Pitt used a number of talented assistants to reveal this half-hour story. There’s a good article by Chris Robinson on AWN about the making of the film.

All of her films have been put together in one dvd released by First Run Features. EL DOCTOR, JOY STREET, AND ASPARAGUS: The Wonderfully Strange & Surreal Animation of Suzan Pitt .

It’s a well produced package that includes the three films plus a new documentary, “Suzan Pitt: Perisitance of Vision”, which explores Pitt’s inspirations, animation techniques, and more.

There’s an excellent review of this dvd by Mark Mayerson on FPS.

Not included on this disk is the series that she did with R.O. Blechman‘s Ink Tank. Troubles The Cat was done for Cartoon Network’s Big Bag and is one of the most delightful series done recently for television. Designed by Santiago Cohen and narrated beautifully by Maria Conchita Alonso. Go here to see a clip. I’d love to see these shorts collected on one dvd.

She has had major exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of Art, the Holly Solomon Gallery in New York, and the Stedlijk Museum in Amsterdam. She has designed two operas in Germany which were the first to include animated images for the stage (Damnation of Faust, and The Magic Flute). In addition, Pitt has created two large multi-media shows at the Venice Biennale and Harvard University. Pitt is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Fulbright Scholar Award, three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and a Rockefeller Fellowship. Her work is in the permanent collection of the Walker Art Center, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Filmmuseum in Amsterdam.
(Click on any image to enlarge.)

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In case you haven’t seen it yet, Ward Jenkins has posted an absolutely delightful two-part series on
John Canemaker‘s adventures in winning an Oscar.

It’s a day-to-day accounting of what John went through on the way to the microphone. Lots of pictures and a really fun read. Part 1 here. Part 2 here.

One Response to “Sito in person/Pitt on dvd/Canemaker at the Oscars”

  1. on 29 Nov 2006 at 10:08 pm 1.Ward said …

    Yet another reason to move to NYC — I’d love to see Tom Sito speak. That book looks fantastic. I’ll have to add that one to my Christmas list.

    Oh, and big thanks for the mention, Michael!

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