By Andy Khouri
One of the coolest traditions in American television animation is of course the Simpsons “couch gag,” whereby Matt Groening’s famous family of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie perform some sort of skit before properly settling in to watch the names of their show’s creators appear on television. Over the years the gags have developed from something amusing but relatively mundane to hugely ambitious productions that sometimes eclipse the very episodes they’re intended to introduce.
Guest directors push the envelope further, with some including filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, street artist Banksy, and legendary animators Bill Plympton and John Kricfalusi, who create what amount to animated cover versions in their own idiosyncratic styles. It’s a glorious thing to behold.
This week, The Simpsons adds another auspicious guest director to its list of achievements with this latest couch gag by French animator Sylvain Chomet, the Academy Award-winning director of The Triplets of Belleville.
This is great….
I love this story. Finding a donkey for the New York City Ballet. An excerpt:
In January, a few hours before the season’s first performance, Diego, a donkey, arrived for a dress rehearsal. “It didn’t work out,” Mehler said. “Diego entered O.K., but he would not leave the stage.”(via Ian Parker: Donkey Auditions at the New York City Ballet : The New Yorker)
Martins—sixty-seven years old and lean, wearing a zip-up black sweater—now appeared at Mehler’s side, and took up the story of this recent disappointment. “He went like this,” Martins said, and, miming stubbornness, he bent at the waist, pushed against the edge of a desk, and held the position. “There were four people pulling him,” Martins recalled. Diego’s two-minute appearance stretched to fifteen. His handlers eventually decided that the donkey would be able to leave the stage only by walking backward. “So he did a Michael Jackson,” Martins said. “He moonwalked off the stage.” To demonstrate, Martins moonwalked.
“I mean, I had to fire the goddam donkey. We couldn’t take a chance. Because there’s a whole dance happening” —he snapped his fingers—“right afterward, the whole stage filled with dancers, and you couldn’t have a donkey standing there in the middle of it.”
Union Square, Saturday Farmer’s Market
Trailer for Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar”, starring Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Matt Damon, Ellen Burstyn, and Michael Caine.
X, covering Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited
Abe said, where you want this killing done?
God said, out on highway 61
True Detective is a compelling show. People love the acting and are thrilled by the mystery. No arguments there. But two recent interviews with people who worked on it highlight another reason the show works: the petrochemical landscape of Louisiana.
Empire State lurking
Empire State purple