Asbury Park Press from Asbury Park, New Jersey on August 8, 1999 · Page 81
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Asbury Park Press from Asbury Park, New Jersey · Page 81

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Asbury Park, New Jersey
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 8, 1999
Page:
Page 81
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SUNDAY, AUG. 8, 1999 ASBURY PARK PRESS PAGE E7 ENTERTAINMENT ETC. Ticket Hogarth (voiced by Eli Marienthal) and the Iron Giant (Vin Diesel) new animated feature, "The Iron Giant." Nation From Page El -The adult offerings include a cerebral, six-minute short titled "More," which was nominated for an Academy Award and won a big prize at the Sundance Film Festival earjier this year, and a funky sci-fi short called "Herd," which stars Kent Osborne, host of TBS' "Movie Lounge." The children's program includes an Academy Award nominee titled "Doctor DeSoto" and two short films by Larson's O'Plenty Animation studio, a critically acclaimed adaption of the children's book "Officer Buckle and Gloria" and a brand new cartoon, "Daniel the Daydreaming Mouse." C.The festival offers more than films. On both days of the event four professional animators will talk about their work and the state of animation. ; The festival's keynote speaker is Tom Winkler, creator of "doo-die.com" a hugely popular animated Web site that takes potty humor to a new high, or low, depending on your point of view. "The other animators are Teddy Newton, who worked on the new Warner Bros.' animated film, "The Iron Giant," Mark Colangelo, whose credits include six seasons on-"The Simpsons," and Norland Tellez, who has drawn for "Space Jam," "The King & I" and "Family Guy." Larson calls Tellez an "animator-philosopher." A Greek philosophy major in college, he thinks there is more than Baby Boomer nostalgia behind the current cartoon craze. Hi' sees animation as a powerful link to the myths and archetypal stories that are deeply embedded in the human psyche. The classic stories popularized by Walt Disney are more than visually entertaining, Tellez says. They also connect us to an ancient way of seeing the world, through talking animals and thinking trees and so forth. "They are compensation for our mechanicized, industrialized, tech-riicized world," he said in a telephone interview from his studio in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, Tellez says, animation itself is becoming "mechanicized, industrialized and techni-cized," too, and increasingly driven more by commercial interests than a coherent artistic vision or the heed to express something important. Instead, he says, most major animation projects reflect "a businessman's vision," which is basically about finding "the right formula" to make a ton of money, a la "The Lion King," which reportedly has earned more than a billion dollars. Opposition to that trend is one reason "The Iron Giant" has generated such a buzz among animators, says Teddy Newton, who worked on the film. Warner Bros, spent about half fiHat recent animated films from OJJier studios have cost, but it gave dJtrector Brad Bird an unusual amount of artistic freedom, and his erew was determined to see Bird's vision for the film realized on the Eg.screen. T&rad was so inttf what he was tfStng," Newton said in a telephone tnterview from his studio in Bur- bank, Calif. "When you work with ii 1 1 1 1 THE O'PLENTY SHORE THING ANIMATION FEST The festival takes place Aug. 16 and 17 at Loews Monmouth Mall, Eatonton TICKETS $8 daily for adults; $7 for senior citizens; $6 for children 1 2 and under. Seminar and panel discussion tickets are $1 0 each. Tickets are available at the Monmouth Mall customer service desk at the entrance nearest Zany Brainy . INFO: Call (732) 542-0333 or visit the festival's Web site at www.shorefest.org. someone that enthusiastic, it's contagious." The result, says Larson, is a film that, while not as technically sophisticated as "Tarzan," touches its audience on a deeper level. Similarly, the films featured in Larson's animation festival faithfully communicate an artistic vision, quirky as that vision might be. "They may not be as fancifully rendered," Tellez said of these shorts, "but they have that soulful element that we expect from these big films, and don't often get." This is precisely the sort of festival Larson first dreamed about when he was a cartoon-crazed "fan-boy," or aspiring animator, growing up in Spring Lake. There were a couple of animation festivals in California back then, as there are today, but nothing similar in the New York-New Jersey area. Now there is. Larson expects several thousand people will attend the two-day event, enough to make it the third largest animation festival in the United States. He intends to make the festival an annual affair. The proceeds from this year's festival will benefit two local charities: The Center, an Asbury Park organization that helps those with AIDS and HIV with meals, housing and other essentials; and the Monmouth County Arts Council, which fosters access to and appreciation of the arts in central New Jersey. If !L z ", to....w,,-jzz : : -: 3 !....,,,',:,. ' , CWfe par ir m dm I I tall )M, kpf IC I f I ili) in a scene from Warner Bros.' EDITOR'S NOTE: Cover animation art courtesy of Warner Bros., O'Plenty Animation and CEL-LE-BRAT ION Fine Animation Art Gallery, Red Bank. J , rt' - f ' & I 14 I r1- Ml SI St lite fmih dill cpi p From Page El appears to be in his 40s, has long blond hair and wears a black T-shirt and black jeans or black shorts. No one remembers to ask his name, because they're usually flabbergasted. Look out for the Man in Black. It could happen to you. "Everything was timing," said John Giancola, who got tapped by the Man in Black at the July 18 concert. "We got a beer and then my friend wanted a T-shirt, but we passed it by at first. Had we not gotten the beer, or had we stopped to buy the T-shirt, who knows?" Giancola, of Point Pleasant Beach, attended the concert with his friend Geralyn O'Marra. She had come up from Washington. They were running late and were supposed to meet up with two other friends in Section 201. But the Man in Black intervened. " 'Hold on folks,' he said, just as we were about to climb the stairs," Giancola said. "We saw our friends up there giving us the 'What's up?' sign and we were like, 'We got an upgrade!" When Giancola and O'Marra reached their new seats ("Section, nine, row A, seats nine and 10," Giancola recites, with reverence), they discovered that everyone in the first two rows was wigging out for the same reason. "Everyone's high-fivin' and talking to each other," Giancola said. "A family of four, couples, single people. A young girl near us was crying." . When Giancola and O'Marra tried to express their gratitude, the noble Man in Black waved away their praise. '"Don't thank me,' he said, 'Thank Bruce,' " Giancola recalled. "We saw the Man in Black ' V Y -SV-Fn. C d ii-V Y.. - W -v. ; I: V 02 0 1 I I r I I k lbs;; t John Giancola, (right), of Point Pleasant Beach, and Geralyn " O'Marra toast their good fortune in the parking lot outside tha Con-1; tinental Airlines Arena, where the pair had their Buce Springsteen ' concert seats upgraded thanks to the mysterious Man in Black. ( later; he's part of the lighting crew. He told us this was the best part of his job he gets to make Christmas morning happen." Apparently, this is a nightly tradition. On assignment from the Boss himself, the Man in Black scopes the crowd for deserving fans. Sometimes, his choice isn't random. Brad Wolf of Manalapan attended the Aug. 2 show with his wife", Joan, and Andrea Blinn of Pittsburgh and Stephanie Weiss of Manhattan. They were supposed to sit in section 235. "We were perfectly happy with our seats," Brad Wolf said. Blinn approached a security guard and asked him to deliver a thank-you note to Springsteen, who had sent her an autographed copy of "Born to Run" earlier this year. A friend of Blinn's had worked on a photo shoot with Springsteen and told the rock star that Blinn was a big fan and was going through a lW km Mm. rough time, suffering from brain cancer at the age of 36. The security guard gave the note to his supervisor and so on and so forth 'til it reached the Man in Black. He upgraded all four of them, to second row center. "When we got down there, ah usher told us the same thing hapr pens every night," Brad Wolf said. "He said there are all these totally stunned people up front who immediately reach for their cell phones and call someone to say, 'You would not believe where I'm sifting.'" ; Wolf and his party were very taken with the Man in Black. "Bruce definitely picked the right guy to do this," Wolf said. "You should see how he operates." Giancola, too, said he appreciated the Man in Black's sense of theatrics. J "He comes walking up like he's the Grim Reaper," Giancola said, "but he's actually St. Peter handing tickets to heaven." ,. Sftow schedule subfect to change. MM MS

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