Monday, September 22, 2008

Visions of Frank

One of my current side projects is helping put together a day-long conference in November that focuses on the use of comics, graphic novels and cartoons in a collection for teens in libraries. Among other things, one of the duties I ended up with is tracking down a good dvd of Japanese animated shorts to have playing in the background as people check in and get settled into the day. It's turned out to be harder than I thought. While there are a bunch of good collections out there, most can't be played on a US dvd player (yes, I know there are ways around that, but not with the equipment we'll be allowed to use at the conference).

One of the few that can be played on a US player I found through Netflix; it's a crazy collection called Visions of Frank. Basically, Japanese animation teams join forces to create cartoon shorts based on the Frank comics by Jim Woodring. If you don't know Woodring, just imagine Felix the Cat falling into a Salvador Dali painting and ingesting a big pile of acid tabs. It's twisted, surreal, often non-sensical stuff that ranges from complete idiocy to sheer brilliance.

The animation collection runs the full gamut of techniques: hand drawings, computer animation, stop motion photography....even magnetic sand paintings. The one I linked to at the bottom is my favorite off the disc, probably because it seems like an old-style cartoon gone completely awry.

As wonderful as this stuff is, I can't imagine using these to set the tone with 50 librarians. I think they're expecting something more along the lines of Pokemon, not something plotless and brilliantly nuts like this stuff is. It might work, but I think I'll keep looking for some alternatives that aren't quite so far out.


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