Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Animated Events: the 50th Annual Annie Awards

Well, the nominees for the 50th annual Annie Awards have been announced by ASIFA Hollywood. The following are the nominees for the three main categories that I'm most interested in:

Best Feature

  • Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio
  • Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
  • The Sea Beast
  • Turning Red
  • Wendell & Wild

Best Indie Feature

  • Charlotte
  • Inu-Oh
  • Little Nicholas, Happy As Can Be
  • Marcel the Shell with Shoes On
  • My Father's Dragon

Best Short Subject

  • Amok
  • Black Slide
  • Ice Merchants
  • Love, Dad
  • The Flying Sailor

Sadly, due to the lingering travel restrictions preventing me from attending animation festivals, this is the first time in recent memory that I haven't seen any of the nominees. On the bright side, I do have Netflix, so a private screening of Wendell & Wild and My Father's Dragon is in my future.

The awards ceremony will be held on Saturday, February 25, 2023 at 7 p.m. PST.

Congratulations to all the nominees. I look forward to seeing who wins in February. You can see a full list of the nominees and watch the ceremony streamed online at: https://annieawards.org.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Animated Events: Van Gogh at the DIA

The DIA's own "Vincent Pop-up Cafe"

Well, I finally made it to the DIA's Van Gogh exhibition before it closed out. After watching the Van Gogh animated installation in Grand Rapids it was time to see the real thing in Detroit. I have to say that I was left awestruck by the breadth of the man's ability. So often in the books and classes, all you get to see are Vincent's paintings like The Starry Night. However, in addition to his paintings, this exhibit showed examples of his drawings with ink, charcoal, and crayon. And it was in those pieces that you really started to grasp the tremendous amount of skill and talent that Van Gogh was blessed with. What really struck a chord with me is when they mentioned how Van Gogh studied pointillism. Then, as you looked at his paintings, you saw how Van Gogh expanded upon the technique and made it his own before incorporating it into his own style.

The following photos really aren't the best examples of Van Gogh's diversity of talent, but these were the paintings that really spoke to me, the ones I spent more time observing (and appreciating) than all the others.

Landscape with Figures, 1889

Sheaves of Wheat, 1890

Grapes, Lemons, Pears and Apples, 1887

Roses, 1890

Vase with Carnations, 1886

Peach Trees in Blossom, 1889

I'm not much of a fan of the television show Doctor Who. To be honest, the show is just not to my tastes (excepting the season with Christopher Eccleston, of course). But there was this one episode in the later seasons where the Doctor takes Vincent Van Gogh forward in time to the Musee d'Orsay and has a chat with a curator. Probably one of the most poignant yet beautiful scenes of science fiction out there. And while I related to it on an emotional level since it was a very well written, well produced scene of television, after seeing the breadth of Van Gogh's skill on display, the curator's monologue made so much more sense, on an intellectual level.

The Doctor: "Between you and me, in a hundred words, where do you think Van Gogh rates in the history of art?"

Curator: "Well... um... big question, but, to me Van Gogh is the finest painter of them all. Certainly the most popular, great painter of all time. The most beloved, his command of colour most magnificent. He transformed the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty. Pain is easy to portray, but to use your passion and pain to portray the ecstasy and joy and magnificence of our world, no one had ever done it before. Perhaps no one ever will again. To my mind, that strange, wild man who roamed the fields of Provence was not only the world's greatest artist, but also one of the greatest men who ever lived."

It was after this exhibit at the DIA that I truly began to grasp the above statement and both how and why people hold Vincent Van Gogh's artwork in such high regard.

I'll end this post with the obligatory foodie photo of the lovely meal that I had at the Vincent café before going on to enjoy the exhibit.

Beef Bourguignon and Chocolate Pot de Crème

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