Radio Dead Air

Rotoscoping in Time and Song

September 26th, 2010

I’m still in the depths of Editing Hell; working on the remaining Dragon*Con videos as feverishly as possible. Not sure if all of them will be ready for tomorrow, but some will; we should have them all tied up before the end of the month (fingers crossed). There’s also some other stuff about to hit I’ll be able to talk to you about in a little over a week, which should be pretty impressive for you crazy cats. In the meanwhile, in mining through all of this footage I hit a pocket of nostalgia and I thought I might share.

Back in the late 90′s, my collegiate life was pretty decent. I did have some very good friends, something resembling a social life, and a relationship here and there (screwed up as they were). I spent more of my time out of the house than in, usually over in a little apartment one of our friends had. It was across the street from a 24-hour K-Mart, and some weekends we’d grab some beers and wine coolers and sit down to watch whatever we’d picked up at the local Hollywood Video. It was this strange Bohemian time for us, but it was something like heaven when I was in the moment.

While I was taking a break from battling with Premiere, I was reminded of one of those offbeat movies we’d found. Ralph Bakshi was one of the great mad animators of the 20th century. Lots of you know him for his attempt at adapting The Lord of the Rings, but he also had his hand in some other films, like Wizards and Fritz the Cat and (sadly) Cool World. But in between all those, he put out an impressive movie called American Pop, nearly forgotten these days except by fans and collectors.

It’s not a film for everyone, I’ll say that up front. It follows several generations of musicians in their quest to make music their legacy, looking for a chance to take their songs all the way to the top. It’s brilliantly animated with Bakshi’s signature rotoscope style, coupled with a stunning array of music that crosses nearly a hundred years of popular song. It’s sometimes uneven, sometimes inscrutible, but it’s definitely worth experiencing at least once in your life.

If someone asked me where theY cOUld find This Unsung BEauty, well, I dunno. You’ll just have to cross the t’s and dot the i‘s.

See it, at least once. I remember it for what it meant to me in my time; see what it means to you in yours.

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