Friday, February 22, 2013

The Inspirational Work of Sally Cruikshank and Quasi at the Quackadero

Once upon a time, a long time ago, there was something called independent animation. To see it, a friend had to have the secret stash of 16 mm film or you had to go to a university screening, or a screening of an animation collection at a repertoire theatre. You couldn't just bring up a low quality version on Youtube but actually had to go somewhere to see it, on film at the correct frame rate and the actual colors.  At first you would have to see it on film, then later on as time passed, you could see it on video with weird interlace and wrong color, and then, finally, today, the lowest of the low, on the Internet.  In this way, the artform is degraded by the decadence of the society it is embedded in.

Oh well, quality doesn't matter, we all know that. Not when it comes to making money!

But making money was not the purpose of independent animation. Far from it. In fact, Gawd only knows what the point was, or is, or might be, but not money. A labor of love, perhaps? A struggle for acceptance amongst ones' biped peers? Perhaps just a hint of obsession or even obsessive compulsive behavior? There has to be some organic cause of the willingness to sit over a hot animation stand and draw frame after frame, each one just slightly different from the other, inflicting paper cuts and the smell of powdered graphite on your long-suffering body.

One day, perhaps at Filmex, perhaps at LACMA, I saw "Quasi at the Quackadero" by Sally Cruikshank.

I was stunned and amazed to see the Quackadero, some sort of deranged midway of amusements, with "Your Shining Moment", the "Hall of Time Mirrors", "Roll Back Time", "Think Blink Paints Pictures of Your Thoughts", "See Last Night's Dreams", "9 Lives 2 Live", and last but not least, "Time Holes"! Each of these would make a fabulous theme park / carnival attraction. And all of them drawn perfectly in Sally's very distinctive semi-psychedelic style.

Out on the town!

Our Master of Ceremonies

But as they say in another theme park attraction, "Its a small world after all, its a small, small world". A friend Rene Daalder, artist and filmmaker, introduced me to his friend, Jon Davison, a really nice man, graduate of the Roger Corman school of filmmaking, and the originator / producer of the Robocop movies. Jon, of all people, was married to none other than the lovely and talented Sally Cruikshank. For some reason they invited me to a benefit event at Jeff Bridges' house in the Palisades so I got to meet my hero, Sally. I don't remember what I said, I probably made a total fool of myself.

Recently I came across Sally's page on Youtube. Quasi was just as brilliant as I had remembered it, or more so. I wish the "youtube" quality was higher, but this is probably deliberate on her part.

I am out of touch with Jon and Sally but I hope they are doing very well.

Sally, your films are an inspiration.

Sally's page on Youtube:

Quasi at the Quackadero

Make Me Psychic

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