The Nina Paley Show! Sunday, November 7, 2004

Nina's animation retrospective PLUS her 1997 appearance on the Jerry Springer Show. At the Two Boots Pioneer Theater, November 7th, 2004... 7:00pm

Monday, November 28, 2005

Tuesday, December 6 animation screening at Kodak

My film Pandorama will be included in a screening of New York animation at Kodak. I drew and scratched Pandorama directly on 15-perf 70mm ("IMAX") stock, but I have a nice 35mm print to show. It looks much better on film than on my DVD. Of course it looks best in an IMAX theater, but it hasn't graced one of those in years.

Lots of other great animation in the lineup, including work by John Dilworth, Signe Baumane, Jesse Schmall, Pat Smith, Debra Solomon, George Griffin, Bill Plympton, and Aaron Augenblick.

When: Tuesday, December 6, 2005
Reception: 6:00 pm
Screenings: 7:00 pm

Where: Kodak
360 W. 31st Street (between 8th & 9th)
Take 9th Avenue elevators to 2nd floor

RSVP a must: 1-800-863-5787 by 11/30/05

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Vive la RĂ©sistance!

For those of you who love the "Holiday Season," it's time to have fun, go crazy and Buy Everything!

For everyone else, fortunately, there's the Christmas Resistance Movement.

Rap on the knuckles

Although my own posterior wouldn't earn me a ride in Sir Mix-a-Lot's Mercedes, I dig his rap classic, "Baby Got Back." This is old news on the 'net by now, but only yesterday I learned that, in the grand tradition of Whitey stealin' from the Black Man, unemployed genius Jonathan Coulton has given the world this Baby Got Back cover. Reading Coulton's listener comments led me to a few other gems, such as this Yes/Mix-a-Lot mashup Owner of a Lovely Butt, and (an L.A. face if there ever was one) Nina Gordon's folksy Straight Outta Compton.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Master Classes make Masters from Masses

I've been teaching animation for over three years now, at Parsons School of Design, for UNESCO's "Africa Animated" program in Nairobi, and informally for friends. Now that I live in mid-town Manhattan, and still need money to support my Sita Sings the Blues habit, I'm thinking: howzabout I offer private instruction for paying individuals?

My ideal "class" would consist of two students at a time. Each student would get specialized instruction geared to their personal projects, while observing the other tackle their own animation challenges. Paired students could assist each other outside of "class," answering each other's technical questions (instead of being dependent on me) and reinforcing their learning in the process. Plus, 3 people in my studio at once would minimize uncomfortable lulls in conversation. Students would use the lessons to complete their own animated short film. Software would be Flash and Final Cut Pro (hence Mac-based) and, for the truly intrepid, Synthetik Studio Artist. Depending on students' needs, major techniques could include full (traditional) animation, cut-out animation (the technique I'm using for Sita), rotoscope (derived from live action), freaky-weird experimental techniques, and combinations thereof. Students would have to bring their own laptops and acquire their own software. I'm experienced teaching absolute beginners to advanced geniuses; students would be matched according to experience, ability and interest. (I'm better suited to teach advanced/professional level, but I love beginners who are smart and driven.)

Cost would be $75 per student per hour, two student minimum/maximum per lesson. Yeah, it's more than the one-on-one guitar lessons you can get for $40 an hour on Craigslist, but it's a lot less than $40,000 grad school tuition. I offer no degrees or certificates; all I care about is the work itself, and that's all you should care about, too. Interested parties should email me and, if sufficient interest is generated, I'll make it happen.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Fantasy Ramayana

I've been reading - and immensely enjoying - the Ramayana fantasy-genre books by Ashok K. Banker. They're bestsellers in India, but pretty much unheard-of in the US, due to Penguin India's US publishing affiliate's utter cluelessness.

Banker re-interprets the ancient epic, sometimes veering away totally from Valmiki (his Sita is a sword-wielding, independent-minded warrior princess who slaps Rama at one point), sometimes adhering loyally, and most often echoing older versions in unique ways. His Kosala is an egalitarian society where women have full rights under the laws of Manu (it is fantasy, after all) and Rama's mother is awarded temporary regency. Vishwamitra, who always read like a cardboard throwaway in other Ramayanas, is a staff-wielding magic wizard who can shoot blue bolts of light from his eyes. Ravana, whose "evil" was never really convincing to me, is deliciously described in full science fiction/horror style: in one fabulous scene he assembles a multi-headed body from a dungeon-full of corpses and then asks, "do you like my flesh scultpture?" Other demons are thrillingly rendered in exquisite, grotesque detail, and the good guys are given much-needed depth, never becoming the bland goody-two-shoes that make traditional Ramayanas so, uh, sleep-inducing. The books really do "bring the characters to life," as trite as that may sound. But they are AK Banker's characters, not Valmiki's - American readers, most of whom have never heard of Valmiki, should not mistake them for "the" Ramayana, any more than they should consider Sita Sings the Blues an authoritative translation. With that caveat - go read them!

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Sita Sings the Blues screening & talk, featuring lots of animation I haven't posted online.
Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Gallery
594 Broadway, suite 401, between Houston and Prince, NY
FREE admission! FREE snacks and booze! Plus I get to blather on and on and answer questions.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

FPS Magazine

Amidst the stress of moving, I neglected to post about this! Big thanks to Emru Townsend for doing a cover story on Sita.

Sita sings a happy tune

Sita Sings the Blues won an "Indian Diaspora Award" at the IAAC Film Festival last weekend! I've been really surprised and touched by the support I've received from desis. It was a joy to screen the work-in-progress before an audience already familiar with the Ramayana (they get more jokes!), and the post-screening discussion was feisty and fun.

Another thing making me happy is my great new neighborhood, Hell's Kitchen. Especially the food. I may start writing more about that here.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Upcoming Sita Screenings!

See the latest and greatest Sita Sings the Blues episodes, including lots of new animation I haven't posted online.

Anthology Film Archives, 2nd street at 2nd avenue, NY (near F and V trains)
Filmmaker Q&A after the screening. Please come and say hi - "Sita" could really use some support at this venue.

Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Gallery
594 Broadway, suite 401, between Houston and Prince, NY
FREE admission! FREE snacks and booze! Plus I get to blather on and on and answer questions.