Last night I attended the 6th Tom Stathes’ Cartoon Carnival, a periodic cartoon festival with a 1930s theme and a penchant for naughty old animation. Skipping the god awful commute to Queens (I wrote out all the directions for the M train but stupidly decided to take the 7 instead and got lost) the location, Attic Studios, was gorgeous. A vast white loft with two full walls of windows showing a view of the bridge (ONE of them anyway) and the Manhattan skyline. Many white plastic chairs and a big screen for the 16mm film projector. And a small roped off area where you can buy drinks, get free popcorn, and flirt with the cigarette girls who offer raffle tickets, ciggs for $1 and candy ciggs for a $1. I was super excited for the raffle and they wouldn’t tell me in advance what the grand prize was. It turned out to be a 16mm print of an Oswald the Rabbit cartoon, and I was sad I didn’t win it because I would have digitally scanned it and attempted to restore it. The runner up prize, in case you didn’t know what to do with a print, was a kiss on the cheek from the cigarette girl. I raise my eyebrow.
Down to the cartoons themselves. Out of the collection of Terrytoons, Felix, Mickey Mouse, and various old-men-visit-savages, my favorite was “Felix in Two-Lip Time.” Many people have told me that exclamation points and question marks are cop outs, but Felix wrangles punctuation and ties it up with his flawless acting. Imagine Charlie Chaplin meets After-Effects puppet tool. Two intermissions gave me a great chance to wander, socialize, and explore, and the whole thing was wrapped up by a raucous sing-a-long of “Minnie’s Yoo-Hoo.” HEEEEE HAAAAW! I noticed a new story genre in animation that I think should be revived: a conscious interaction between animator and his creations. Usually the cartoons give the artist some lip but he gets them back by animating them in outrageous circumstances.
The festivals float around on notorious email-lists and semi-private Facebook events, but you can just Google it and sign up. Cartoonsonfilm.com