15 August 2001
There is something
unnamable a person gains from surviving a force of nature. Return
from a storm at sea or witness the Northern Lights, and you leave
with deep feelings of faith in the human spirit while at the same
time feeling profound humility for the puny space you actually take
up in the universal scheme of things. Such is the experience of
attending the Electronic Theater at the Shrine Theater Tuesday night.
The sights seen on that silver screen were products of such artistry
and imagination that you must marvel and give praise to the capabilities
and determination of the human spirit. At the same time these works
give us a glimpse of just how much we have left to experience, or
may never have the power to experience. They remind us how much
we as creatures love to explore, to learn, and to feel. In fact,
we're suckers for anything that makes us feel something. A large
number of selected works shown run a similar theme: that they touch
us, make us laugh, or lend us inspiration.
You should have
seen the audience react to Pixar's "The Internet Star: Alien
Song". As soon as the first three intro notes to Gloria Gaynor's
song "I Will Survive" played, the audience instantly acknowledged
it and greeted the familiar tune with a collective chuckle and applause.
The cartoony alien gets up from its spotlit seat and sings the song
with such attitude that, disco fan or not, virtually everyone was
clapping out the rhythm. The ultimate reaction is reserved for the
last seconds of the film, when the shiny disco ball falls on the
alien, who ironically does not survive. Such raucous applause there
was then! Why is there an alien belting out a disco song in the
first place? No one seemed to question that - that's how much the
audience loved it. Similarly, Animusic's "Pipe Dream"
had the audience deeply immersed. For three and a half minutes an
arrangement of pipes and tubes spew balls at carefully positioned
musical instruments, performing music that is quick, lively, and
brimming with audio depth. Forget that it was rather synthesized
and a bit dated in sound, and the look was altogether in that simple,
classic "glossy everything" CG style. The rhythm was tremendously
catchy, and the machinations fascinating to watch at work. Even
with its complete absence of humans onscreen, "Pipe Dream"
is very human with its use of music.
This was one of those times
the crowd roared the loudest with delight. "Ice Age" from
Blue Sky Studios truly gripped the crowd in anticipation for the
tiny furry hero and all laughed at its quirky, jerky behavior. Plus,
Blue Sky really had us where they wanted us, when the mammoth foot
came down. We never saw it coming. "Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project"
also had people delighted and entertained, as well as the goof-off
aliens from the Budweiser "Come Home" piece and the be-yoo-tifully
rendered bug-catching hero of SZM Studio's "Chameleon."
Finally, "Monsters, Inc." was just one laugh after another
rolling through the audience. The perfectly synched voices and animations,
the endearing little girl, and the hilarious punchlines are definitely
very promising signs of yet another highly anticipated film from
Theatre, aka the Film Show or just ET.
activity of most people, most years.
of pieces in the CAF and ET
There is a
selection of animations on the Electronic Art and Animation