Tortured Cels

From Betty Boop to Beavis and Butt-head, from Fritz the Cat to the lads of South Park, animation has long proved a conducive setting for off-color and off-center characters. (Yes, we know that R. Crumb birthed Fritz in underground comix.) Bad behavior — otherwise known as free thinking and nonconformity — is somehow more entertaining and less threatening when the “offenders” aren’t flesh and blood. The looser boundaries of the medium have expanded even further in recent years to accommodate peripatetic artists more attracted to complex stories, structures, and social commentary than to raunchy comedy. Other Cinema’s “Extreme Animation” show serves up a synaptic tornado of eye-popping shorts, jumpstarted by the local premieres of cutout animation dynamo Martha Colburn’s Electric Literature and Triumph of the Wild Pt. II. Dense, ambitious, and witty, Colburn’s work sets the stage for Kelly Sears’ animated collages; Nate Boyce’s shape-shifting, otherworldly abstract; and John Jota Leaños’ pointed 2005 “Xicano docu-animation,” Los ABCs. The pulsing, pounding heart of the program is a 20-minute blast of Jacob Ciocci’s Pop Art–informed pyrotechnics. Take a ride to the land inside your mind.
Sat., March 20, 8:30 p.m., 2010

 
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