Hobo Moon (2022)

Nightmare

After crawling through the muck and the mire, I collapsed on the muddy bank of the swamp gasping for breath. Suddenly the most frighteningly bizarre creature I had ever encountered approached me with a look of curiosity. I recognized it as my cartoon character Nightmare, created during a spell of the most ferocious writer’s block. Unlike my other characters, I knew very little about Nightmare other than its unpredictability, having been created during a bout of alcoholic depression and severe writer’s block, as I have mentioned. But something was telling me I was in a great deal of danger. I had to run.

George Carlin & Bob Kurtz (1985)

Animated versions of George Carlin’s wacky “news items”.

In the spirit of George Carlin’s birthday, born on this day in 1937, I present to you this cartoon — I mean, animated film Drawing on My Mind narrated by George Carlin himself.

RIP George Carlin

Richard Rich (1996)

A youthful Leonardo da Vinci studies art under his master Andrea del Verrochio in Florence, Italy in 1473. While working as an apprentice Leonardo learns about color, shading, sculpture, and painting. In 1498, Leonardo is under the service of the Duke and Duchess of Milan. He is commissioned to sculpt a statue of the Duke’s father and paint The Last Supper. The Duchess asks Leonardo to produce a play about stars, planets, and space. During the play, Leonardo sees a young boy, Salai, steal some money from the stagehands. Salai tells Leonardo that he is homeless. Leonardo invites Salai to live with him and teaches him how to paint. Leonardo then meets a young Michelangelo and it becomes apparent that their thoughts about training in the arts are very different: Passion and creativity versus discipline and rules.

Leonardo da Vinci was a painter, draughtsman, engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor, and architect. He was a true genius who graced this world with his presence from April 15, 1452 to May 2, 1519. He is among the most influential artists in history, having left a significant legacy not only in the realm of art but in science as well, each discipline informing his mastery of the other. Da Vinci lived in a golden age of creativity among such contemporaries as Raphael and Michaelangelo, and contributed his unique genius to virtually everything he touched. Like Athens in the age of Pericles, Renaissance Italy is a summit in human history. Today, no name better seems to symbolize the Renaissance age than Leonardo da Vinci.

Hobo Moon (2014)

Oh, tell me what you see oh wanderer of wanderers
As you happily stroll into town with nothing but an eagerness for adventure
And a coin in your pocket.

Oh, how the wondrous pastel shops line the cracked and broken streets of the village
Full of precious objects patiently crafted by the townspeople, 
The pleasant scents of fresh baked bread wafting from a nearby bakery,
And pies cooling in windowsills,
the warm smiles of strangers as I saunter pass,
The curiousness of children and the queer games they play,
The hot coffee and home-cooked meals,
The beautiful women planting their gardens,
The books in the library,
The sun casting shadows in the street,
The community of strangers working for a common goal,
A friendly conversation,
And a ride on a horse and buggy
Are the things that I see that have brought me to this village.
I have had a great adventure across this land,
And I have seen the vast wilderness from here to there,
For I have been everywhere,
But now I long for the touch of another,
To reach out to someone,
And to be heard,
For a life on the road is much too lonely,
And I wish to make my home here.

Oh, I see oh great wanderer,
That a life on the road is much to painful and hard,
But I too hope to find my own road of misery to the happiness I seek.

Hobo Moon Cartoons & Bunny in the Hat (2016)

A reclusive movie projectionist obsessed with female celebrities finds himself trapped in a realm between imagination and real life.

Based on the character Lily Moon Stylez and the story Diary of an Aging Drag Queen created by Hobo Moon.

Directed and co-written by TJ Leutz

Produced and co-written by Hobo Moon

Hobo Moon (2022)

An excerpt from A Nightmare Come True!
Those hands that once pointed
in every direction
Have failed to move since she gave it away,
And though the band is much too tight,
He still wears it every day.
It helps him to remember
that moonless night.
That night he tried to make her stay.
Losing himself in his own reflection,
He remembers the words that she used to say,
The sweet reverberation,
Trembling from her lips in exasperation.
Eyes lost in a distant fading memory,
Like fog dissipating
with the arrival of the day,
He stares at his watch,
Waiting,
For those hands,
Hoping,
To continue,
Stuck in the past,
Their ritualistic dance.
Those hands.

Ub Iwerks (1935)

Flora and fauna come out to celebrate the beginning of summertime, but old Man winter just doesn’t want to let go yet.

The sun gathers its strength to shine bright and melt the ice of Winter so that Spring may begin. However, Old Man Winter is unwilling to go quietly. He tricks the groundhog into believing that he has seen his shadow so that Winter can be prolonged. The other creatures of the forest ban together to ward off Old Man Winter, with fauns and centaurs leading the battle.

Ub Iwerks was an American animator, cartoonist, character designer, inventor, and special effects technician, who designed Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Mickey Mouse. Iwerks produced alongside Walt Disney and won numerous awards, including multiple Academy Awards.

Animated by Steve Bosustow, Jimmie Culhane, Al Eugster, Grim Natwick, & Berny Wolf.

Jack Kerouac (1958)

In honor of Jack Kerouac’s birthday, born on this day in 1922, I present to you a segment from The Subterraneans, a fictional account of a short romance. Please enjoy.

Jack Kerouac Reads From The Subterraneans

The Subterraneans is a 1958 novella by Jack Kerouac, beat poet and author. It is a semi-fictional account of his short romance with Alene Lee in Greenwich Village, New York. Kerouac met Alene in the late summer of 1953 when she was typing up the manuscripts of William Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, in Allen’s Lower East Side apartment. In the novella, Kerouac moved the story to San Francisco and renamed Alene Lee “Mardou Fox”. She is described as a carefree spirit who frequents the jazz clubs and bars of the budding Beat scene of San Francisco. Other well-known personalities and friends from the author’s life also appear thinly disguised in the novel. The character Frank Carmody is based on William S. Burroughs, and Adam Moorad on Allen Ginsberg. Even Gore Vidal appears as successful novelist Arial Lavalina. Kerouac’s alter ego is named Leo Percepied, and his long-time friend Neal Cassady is mentioned only in passing as Leroy.

“Because of the objections of my early publishers I was not allowed to use the same personae names in each work.”

Jack Kerouac, Visions of Cody

The position of jazz and jazz culture is central to the novel, tying together the themes of Kerouac’s writing here as elsewhere, and expressed in the “spontaneous prose” style in which he composed most of his works.

“Making a new start, starting from fresh in the rain, ‘Why should anyone want to hurt my little heart, my feet, my little hands, my skin that I’m wrapt in because God wants me warm and Inside, my toes—why did God make all this so decayable and dieable and harmable and wants to make me realize and scream—why the wild ground and bodies bare and breaks—I quaked when the giver creamed, when my father screamed, my mother dreamed—I started small and ballooned up and now I’m big and a naked child again and only to cry and fear.—Ah—Protect yourself, angel of no harm, you who’ve never and could never harm and crack another innocent in its shell and thin veiled pain—wrap a robe around you, honeylamb—protect yourself from harm and wait, till Daddy comes again, and Mama throws you warm inside her valley of the moon, loom at the loom of patient time, be happy in the mornings.'”

Mardou Fox
Jack Kerouac

Jean-Louis Lebris de Kérouac, known as Jack Kerouac, was an American novelist and poet of French Canadian ancestry, who, alongside William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, was a pioneer of the Beat Generation.

Brian Henson (2022)

Welcome to the town of Bland, where a not-so-little girl is about to change the way we see ambition forever.

Tall Poppy is a 10-minute short film produced by the Jim Henson Company and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop for Australian company CGU Insurance. The short was directed by Brian Henson.

CGU Insurance partnered with the Henson Company to develop a short to address the cultural phenomenon wherein people hold back, criticize, or sabotage those who achieved notable success — commonly referred to as tall poppy syndrome. A 2021 CGU Insurance study found that “one in five Australians have either passed up an opportunity for fear of being seen as a ‘tall poppy’ or been a victim of the tall poppy syndrome.”

The main character is Poppy, who represents the positive aspects of ambition and retains and shares it. Tabletop puppetry (using dozens of puppets) was combined with visual effects, provided by Stargate Studios.

Tall Poppy is about celebrating ambition and facing the feelings of uncertainty and vulnerability that can get in the way of living to your fullest potential. The ambitious team that came together to create this film, brought together by our incredible partners at CGU Insurance, definitely saw the magic and innovation that can happen when everyone feels free to share their own unique talents. We hope that Poppy’s story will inspire Australians to celebrate their own tall poppies.

Brian Henson

Jan Švankmajer (1982)

Dimensions of Dialogue is a 1983 Czechoslovak animated short film directed by Jan Švankmajer. It is 14 minutes long and created with stop motion.

The animation is divided into three sections. “Eternal conversation” shows Arcimboldo-like heads gradually reducing each other to bland copies; “Passionate discourse” shows a clay man and woman who dissolve into one another sexually, then quarrel and reduce themselves to a frenzied, boiling pulp; and “Exhaustive discussion” consists of two elderly clay heads who extrude various objects on their tongues (toothbrush and toothpaste; shoe and shoelaces, etc.) and intertwine them in various combinations.

Terry Gilliam selected the film as one of the ten best animated films of all time.

Lou Reed (1987)

In honor of Lou Reed on his birthday, born on this day in 1942, I present to you Lou Reed on Guns & Ammo, an interview with Joe Smith in 1987.

“I write a song called ‘Heroin’, you would have thought that I murdered the Pope or something”

Lou Reed

Here we bring you a rarely heard interview Lou recorded in 1987. It’s vintage Lou. Salty and sweet. Earnest and cocky. Grouchy and kind of endearing. Reed (and his legendary band The Velvet Underground) were those musicians who never got the extensive accolades or awards–nor the riches many of their contemporaries found. Yet he never seemed to waver in his search for the perfect sound and his quest “to elevate the rock and roll song and take it where it hadn’t been taken before.” Here we present some interview outtakes that give a taste for this iconic American musician. Lou Reed died of liver disease on October 27, 2013. He was 71.

In this animated film Lou Reed talks about chasing off nosy college kids on his porch with his shotgun, how he dreamed about writing the great American novel while at Syracuse University, “how savage the reaction against” the Velvet Underground was, the intention of taking books and putting them into songs, writing rock and roll you could grow old with, not thinking The Doors or the Beatles were up to the level of his band, and how he hoped to elevate the rock and roll song to where it hadn’t been before.

Lou Reed (1983)

In honor of Lou Reed on his birthday, born on this day in 1942, I present to you My Name is Mok, sung by Lou Reed in the Canadian animated film Rock & Rule.

My Name is Mok is a song performed for Mok by Lou Reed. The song is abridged in the film and has never had a wide official release, but copies of the complete song are circulating in fandom.

Lou Reed was an American musician, singer, songwriter, and poet. He was the guitarist, singer, and principal songwriter for the rock band the Velvet Underground and had a solo career that spanned five decades. The Velvet Underground was not a commercial success during its existence, but became regarded as one of the most influential bands in the history of underground and alternative rock music. Reed’s distinctive deadpan voice, poetic and transgressive lyrics, and experimental guitar playing were trademarks throughout his long career. After leaving the band in 1970, Reed released twenty solo studio albums.

Rock & Rule is a 1983 Canadian animated musical science fantasy film featuring the voices of Don Francks, Greg Salata and Susan Roman. It was produced and directed by Michael Hirsh, Patrick Loubert, and Clive A. Smith with John Halfpenny, Patrick Loubert, and Peter Sauder at the helm of its screenplay.

David Ehrlich (1989)

Here is an animated short film compiled by David Ehrlich, in which 27 animators from different parts of the world define themselves through their own unique animation.

Directed by Jiri Barta, Sally Cruikshank, Borivoj Dovnikovic-Bordo, David Ehrlich, Kihachiro Kawamoto, Renzo Kinoshita, Pavel Koutsky, Candy Kugel, Mati Kütt, Nikola Majdak, Josko Marusic, Bill Plympton, Priit Pärn, Maureen Selwood, Jan Svankmajer, Osamu Tezuka, Riho Unt, Hardi Volmer, and Dusan Vukotic

Johnny Cash (2010)

In honor of the Man in Black and to celebrate his birthday, born on this day in 1932, I wanted to share this interesting community animation project with you that I really enjoyed watching. I hope you do too.

A UNIQUE COMMUNAL WORK, A LIVING PORTRAIT OF THE MAN IN BLACK

This unique animation was created by participants from various parts of the world who drew their own portrait of Johnny Cash to be integrated into a collective whole. As people all over the world contribute, the project will continue to evolve and grow, one frame at a time.

This animated work is strung together and relayed in sequence with fans art, paired with Johnny’s haunting song. It becomes a living, moving, and ever changing portrait of the legendary Man in Black.

A hand-drawn, animated, music video with each frame drawn by a different person. Participants are invited to create a drawing that is woven into a collective music-video-tribute to Johnny Cash. Set to his song “Ain’t No Grave,” the project was inspired Johnny’s central lyric “Ain’t no grave can hold my body down.” It represents Cash’s continued existence, even after his death, through his music and his fans. The work continues to grow and evolve as more people participate. A collaboration with director Chris Milk.

George Harrison (1970)

In honor of my favorite Beatle’s birthday, born on this day in 1943 in Liverpool, England, I present to you George Harrison’s It’s Johnny’s Birthday, as well as some other great songs. Enjoy!

From the album All Things Must Pass, released November 27, 1970.

All Things Must Pass is the third studio album by English rock musician George Harrison. Released as a triple album in November 1970, it was Harrison’s first solo work after the break-up of the Beatles in April that year. It includes the hit singles “My Sweet Lord” and “What Is Life”, as well as songs such as “Isn’t It a Pity” and the title track that had been overlooked for inclusion on releases by the Beatles. The album reflects the influence of Harrison’s musical activities with artists such as Bob Dylan, the Band, Delaney & Bonnie and Friends and Billy Preston during 1968–70, and his growth as an artist beyond his supporting role to former bandmates John Lennon and Paul McCartney. All Things Must Pass introduced Harrison’s signature slide guitar sound and the spiritual themes present throughout his subsequent solo work. The original vinyl release consisted of two LPs of songs and a third disc of informal jams titled Apple Jam. Several commentators interpret Barry Feinstein’s album cover photo, showing Harrison surrounded by four garden gnomes, as a statement on his independence from the Beatles.

“It’s being here now that’s important. There’s no past and there’s no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can’t relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don’t know if there is one.”

George Harrison

George Harrison was an English musician, singer-songwriter, and music and film producer who achieved international fame as the lead guitarist of the Beatles. Sometimes called “the quiet Beatle”, Harrison embraced Indian culture and helped broaden the scope of popular music through his incorporation of Indian instrumentation and Hindu-aligned spirituality in the Beatles’ work. Although the majority of the band’s songs were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, most Beatles albums from 1965 onwards contained at least two Harrison compositions. His songs for the group include “Taxman”, “Within You Without You”, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Here Comes the Sun” and “Something”.

Music video by George Harrison performing This Song.
Taken from George’s eponymous 1979 album, BLOW AWAY was the lead single released on 14th February, 1979.
George Harrison – When We Was Fab
Official Music Video for George Harrison’s “My Sweet Lord”
George Harrison – What Is Life
George Harrison – Got My Mind Set On You
2021 Remastered Edit: Tom Petty, Jeff Lynne, Steve Winwood, Dhani Harrison & Prince pay tribute to George Harrison at the 2004 Induction Ceremony.

Happy Birthday, George Harrison!

Nina Simone (1976)

Watch Nina Simone perform a medley of Stars and Feelings live at the Montreux Jazz Festival, 1976

In honor of Nina Simone’s birthday, born on this day in 1933, I present to you Nina Simone!

Nina Simone was one of the great female vocalists of the 20th Century. She was equally at home singing jazz, blues, soul, gospel or pure pop. Hugely prolific throughout the fifties, sixties and seventies, she recorded only rarely in her later career, but remained a major live performer until well into the nineties when, becoming increasingly frail, she retired to France where she died in 2003 at the age of 70.

Nina Simone made four appearances at the Montreux Festival between 1968 and 1990. This clip features a segment of the performance from 1976 as the main feature.

Nina Simone was one of the most extraordinary artists of the twentieth century, an icon of American music. She was the consummate musical storyteller, a griot as she would come to learn, who used her remarkable talent to create a legacy of liberation, empowerment, passion, and love through a magnificent body of works. She earned the moniker ‘High Priestess of Soul’ for she could weave a spell so seductive and hypnotic that the listener lost track of time and space as they became absorbed in the moment. She was who the world would come to know as Nina Simone.

When Nina Simone died on April 21, 2003, she left a timeless treasure trove of musical magic spanning over four decades from her first hit, the 1959 Top 10 classic “I Loves You Porgy,” to “A Single Woman,” the title cut from her one and only 1993 Elektra album. While thirty-three years separate those recordings, the element of honest emotion is the glue that binds the two together – it is that approach to every piece of work that became Nina’s uncompromising musical trademark.

By the end of her life, Nina was enjoying an unprecedented degree of recognition. Her music was enjoyed by the masses due to the CD revolution, discovery on the Internet, and exposure through movies and television. Nina had sold over one million CDs in the last decade of her life, making her a global catalog best-seller.

Happy Birthday, Nina Simone!

Nina Simone (1976)

Live At Montreux 1976

In honor of Nina Simone’s birthday, born on this day in 1933, I present to you Nina Simone!

I wish I knew how
It would feel to be free
I wish I could break
All the chains holding me
I wish I could say
All the things that I should to say
Say ’em loud say ’em clear
For the whole round world to hear

I wish I could share
All the love that’s in my heart
Remove all the bars
That keep us apart
I wish you could know
What it means to be me
Then you’d see and agree
Everyone should be free

I wish I could give
All I’m longin’ to give
I wish I could live
Like I’m longin’ to live
I wish I could do
All the things that I can do
Though I’m way overdue
I’d be starting anew.

I wish I could be like a bird in the sky
How sweet it would be
If I found out I could fly
I’d soar to the sun
And look down at the sea
And I sing ’cause I know

Nina Simone (1958)

In honor of Nina Simone’s birthday, born on this day in 1933, I present to you Nina Simone!

My Baby Just Cares for Me is a jazz standard written by Walter Donaldson with lyrics by Gus Kahn. Written for the film version of the musical comedy Whoopee! (1930), the song became a signature tune for Eddie Cantor who sang it in the movie. A stylized version of the song by Nina Simone, recorded in 1957, was a top 10 hit in the United Kingdom after it was used in a 1987 perfume commercial and resulted in a renaissance for Simone.

Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Her music spanned styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel and pop.

The sixth of eight children born to a poor family in Tryon, North Carolina, Simone initially aspired to be a concert pianist. With the help of a few supporters in her hometown, she enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. She then applied for a scholarship to study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she was denied admission despite a well received audition, which she attributed to racism. In 2003, just days before her death, the Institute awarded her an honorary degree.

To make a living, Simone started playing piano at a nightclub in Atlantic City. She changed her name to “Nina Simone” to disguise herself from family members, having chosen to play “the devil’s music” or so-called “cocktail piano”. She was told in the nightclub that she would have to sing to her own accompaniment, which effectively launched her career as a jazz vocalist. She went on to record more than 40 albums between 1958 and 1974, making her debut with Little Girl Blue. She had a hit single in the United States in 1958 with “I Loves You, Porgy”. Her musical style fused gospel and pop with classical music, in particular Johann Sebastian Bach, and accompanied expressive, jazz-like singing in her contralto voice.

Happy Birthday, Nina Simone!

Nina Simone & Lilian Terry (1968)

“I feel more alive now than I ever have in my life. I have a chance to live, as I’ve dreamed.”

Nina Simone

Lilian Terry had a national radio show in Italy–everyone from Ray Charles to Duke Ellington appeared on her show–and there was one person she always wanted to interview: Nina Simone. But Lilian had heard Nina didn’t enjoy speaking with white people. Thankfully Lillian had a confidant in Max Roach, the legendary jazz drummer, who introduced Lilian to Nina at the Newport Festival in 1968. “Lilian Terry comes from Egypt, ” Roach said. This was true; Lilian was born in Cairo to a father from Malta and a mother from Italy. With that simple introduction, Nina waved Lillian over. Soon they were talking about nefertitti and the pharoahs. Nina even told Lilian she thought she’d been in Egypt in a previous life. A few days later Lilian went to Nina’s house in Mt. Vernon, New York. They sat by the pool, the tape recorder was turned on, and the conversation continued.

Executive Producer: David Gerlach

Animator: Patrick Smith

Audio Producer: Amy Drozdowska

Colorist: Jennifer Yoo

Nina Simone (1982)

Animation brings Color Is a Beautiful Thing to life, off of Nina Simone’s rediscovered album Fodder On My Wings

In honor of Nina Simone’s birthday, born on this day in 1933, I present to you Nina Simone!

Fodder on My Wings is an album by singer/pianist/songwriter Nina Simone. It is part of her later works, and can be regarded alongside Baltimore (1978) as one of her better achievements of that period. It is, however, a rather obscure album and not widely distributed. The album is one of Simone’s most introspective and personal works, with songs about her father’s death and her stay in Liberia, Trinidad, and Switzerland.

Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Her music spanned styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel and pop.

The sixth of eight children born to a poor family in Tryon, North Carolina, Simone initially aspired to be a concert pianist. With the help of a few supporters in her hometown, she enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. She then applied for a scholarship to study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she was denied admission despite a well received audition, which she attributed to racism. In 2003, just days before her death, the Institute awarded her an honorary degree.

To make a living, Simone started playing piano at a nightclub in Atlantic City. She changed her name to “Nina Simone” to disguise herself from family members, having chosen to play “the devil’s music” or so-called “cocktail piano”. She was told in the nightclub that she would have to sing to her own accompaniment, which effectively launched her career as a jazz vocalist. She went on to record more than 40 albums between 1958 and 1974, making her debut with Little Girl Blue. She had a hit single in the United States in 1958 with “I Loves You, Porgy”. Her musical style fused gospel and pop with classical music, in particular Johann Sebastian Bach, and accompanied expressive, jazz-like singing in her contralto voice.

Animated video directed by Sharon Liu and Aaron Lampert.

Animated by Nicolette van Gendt & Duncan Gist.

Happy Birthday, Nina Simone!

Nina Simone (1964)

Watch the visualizer for Riton’s Remix of See-Line Woman by Nina Simone from the album Feeling Good: Her Greatest & Remixes

In honor of Nina Simone’s birthday, born on this day in 1933, I present to you Nina Simone!

Originally known as Sea Lion Woman and popularized as See-Line Woman by Nina Simone, is a traditional African American folk song originally used as a children’s playground song.

Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Her music spanned styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel and pop.

The sixth of eight children born to a poor family in Tryon, North Carolina, Simone initially aspired to be a concert pianist. With the help of a few supporters in her hometown, she enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. She then applied for a scholarship to study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she was denied admission despite a well received audition, which she attributed to racism. In 2003, just days before her death, the Institute awarded her an honorary degree.

To make a living, Simone started playing piano at a nightclub in Atlantic City. She changed her name to “Nina Simone” to disguise herself from family members, having chosen to play “the devil’s music” or so-called “cocktail piano”. She was told in the nightclub that she would have to sing to her own accompaniment, which effectively launched her career as a jazz vocalist. She went on to record more than 40 albums between 1958 and 1974, making her debut with Little Girl Blue. She had a hit single in the United States in 1958 with “I Loves You, Porgy”. Her musical style fused gospel and pop with classical music, in particular Johann Sebastian Bach, and accompanied expressive, jazz-like singing in her contralto voice.

Animated video directed by Sharon Liu and Aaron Lampert (2022).

Happy Birthday, Nina Simone!

Nina Simone (1965)

Watch the visualizer for Hot Chip’s Remix of Be My Husband by Nina Simone from the album Feeling Good: Her Greatest & Remixes

In honor of Nina Simone’s birthday, born on this day in 1933, I present to you Nina Simone!

From the album Pastel Blues (1965).

Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Her music spanned styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel and pop.

The sixth of eight children born to a poor family in Tryon, North Carolina, Simone initially aspired to be a concert pianist. With the help of a few supporters in her hometown, she enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. She then applied for a scholarship to study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she was denied admission despite a well received audition, which she attributed to racism. In 2003, just days before her death, the Institute awarded her an honorary degree.

To make a living, Simone started playing piano at a nightclub in Atlantic City. She changed her name to “Nina Simone” to disguise herself from family members, having chosen to play “the devil’s music” or so-called “cocktail piano”. She was told in the nightclub that she would have to sing to her own accompaniment, which effectively launched her career as a jazz vocalist. She went on to record more than 40 albums between 1958 and 1974, making her debut with Little Girl Blue. She had a hit single in the United States in 1958 with “I Loves You, Porgy”. Her musical style fused gospel and pop with classical music, in particular Johann Sebastian Bach, and accompanied expressive, jazz-like singing in her contralto voice.

Animated video directed by Sharon Liu and Aaron Lampert (2022).

Happy Birthday, Nina Simone!

Nina Simone (1965)

Watch the visualizer for Sofi Tukker’s Remix of “Sinnerman” by Nina Simone from the album Feeling Good: Her Greatest & Remixes

In honor of Nina Simone’s birthday, born on this day in 1933, I present to you Nina Simone!

Sinnerman is an African American traditional spiritual song that has been recorded by a number of performers and has been incorporated in many other media and arts. The lyrics describe a sinner attempting to hide from divine justice on Judgment Day. It was recorded in the 1950s by Les Baxter, the Swan Silvertones, the Weavers and others, before Nina Simone recorded an extended version in 1965.

Sinnerman is one of Nina Simone’s most famous songs. She recorded her definitive 10-minute-plus version on her 1965 album Pastel Blues, on which the credit is simply given as “Arranged by Nina Simone” . Simone learned the lyrics of the song in her childhood when it was used at revival meetings by her mother, a Methodist minister, to help people confess their sins. In the early days of her career during the early sixties, when she was heavily involved in the Greenwich Village scene, Simone often used the long piece to end her live performances. An earlier version of the song exists, recorded live at The Village Gate, but was not used on the 1962 Colpix album Nina at the Village Gate. It was added as a bonus track to the 2005 CD release.

Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Her music spanned styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel and pop.

The sixth of eight children born to a poor family in Tryon, North Carolina, Simone initially aspired to be a concert pianist. With the help of a few supporters in her hometown, she enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. She then applied for a scholarship to study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she was denied admission despite a well received audition, which she attributed to racism. In 2003, just days before her death, the Institute awarded her an honorary degree.

To make a living, Simone started playing piano at a nightclub in Atlantic City. She changed her name to “Nina Simone” to disguise herself from family members, having chosen to play “the devil’s music” or so-called “cocktail piano”. She was told in the nightclub that she would have to sing to her own accompaniment, which effectively launched her career as a jazz vocalist. She went on to record more than 40 albums between 1958 and 1974, making her debut with Little Girl Blue. She had a hit single in the United States in 1958 with “I Loves You, Porgy”. Her musical style fused gospel and pop with classical music, in particular Johann Sebastian Bach, and accompanied expressive, jazz-like singing in her contralto voice.

Animated video directed by Sharon Liu and Aaron Lampert (2021).

Happy Birthday, Nina Simone!

Nina Simone (1965)

Watch the visualizer for Rudimental’s Remix of “Take Care Of Business” by Nina Simone from the album Feeling Good: Her Greatest & Remixes (2022)

In honor of Nina Simone’s birthday, born on this day in 1933, I present to you Nina Simone!

Nina Simone, was an American singer, songwriter, musician, arranger, and civil rights activist. Her music spanned styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel and pop.

The sixth of eight children born to a poor family in Tryon, North Carolina, Simone initially aspired to be a concert pianist. With the help of a few supporters in her hometown, she enrolled in the Juilliard School of Music in New York City. She then applied for a scholarship to study at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she was denied admission despite a well received audition, which she attributed to racism. In 2003, just days before her death, the Institute awarded her an honorary degree.

To make a living, Simone started playing piano at a nightclub in Atlantic City. She changed her name to “Nina Simone” to disguise herself from family members, having chosen to play “the devil’s music” or so-called “cocktail piano”. She was told in the nightclub that she would have to sing to her own accompaniment, which effectively launched her career as a jazz vocalist. She went on to record more than 40 albums between 1958 and 1974, making her debut with Little Girl Blue. She had a hit single in the United States in 1958 with “I Loves You, Porgy”. Her musical style fused gospel and pop with classical music, in particular Johann Sebastian Bach, and accompanied expressive, jazz-like singing in her contralto voice.

Animated video directed by Sharon Liu and Aaron Lampert (2022).

Happy Birthday, Nina Simone!

Bob Clampett (1942)

Bugs Bunny thwarts Elmer Fudd’s efforts as he prospects for gold.

The Wacky Wabbit is a Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Bob Clampett in 1942 starring Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd.

Although Bob Clampett had already started making cartoons of his own with Tex Avery’s old unit, you get the impression that Bob’s first color cartoons have sequences which are very similar to Tex Avery’s animation style, in gags and timing. Bob’s 1942 cartoons were rather silly before he completely took a different route later in the year; with edgier-paced cartoons like The Hep Cat or A Tale of Two Kitties. The shorts still contain a lot of Clampett’s style of humor, except that each short gradually builds up from the previous short.

Produced by Leon Schlesinger.

Matt Groening (2022)

Dive in. Drink Up. Dream on. Disenchantment Part 4 is now playing on Netflix as of February 9th.

Princess Bean’s misadventures this season include the discovery of an underwater castle containing secrets that could change the history of Dreamland.

Disenchantment is a satirical animated fantasy sitcom created by Matt Groening. The series is Groening’s first production to appear exclusively on a streaming service. Set in the medieval fantasy kingdom of Dreamland, the series follows the story of Bean, a rebellious and alcoholic princess, her naïve elf companion Elfo, and her destructive “personal demon” Luci.

Disenchantment stars the voices of Abbi Jacobson, Eric André, Nat Faxon, John DiMaggio, Tress MacNeille, Matt Berry, David Herman, Maurice LaMarche, Lucy Montgomery, and Billy West.

Animated by Rough Draft Studios, the same studio that worked on Futurama.

Charlie Brooker (2022)

In this edgy, over-the-top, interactive trivia toon, answer correctly to help Rowdy the Cat evade Peanut the Security Pup to steal some prized paintings.

Classic cartoon craziness meets an interactive quiz in Cat Burglar. In this Tex Avery inspired toon from the creators of Black Mirror, the viewer helps Rowdy Cat vex Peanut the Security Pup and break into a museum with the goal of making off with a priceless prize. With an average runtime of ten minutes, and over an hour and a half of animation to choose from, the viewer could play Cat Burglar a hundred times and never view the same cartoon twice!

The project is billed as “classic cartoon craziness meets interactive trivia.” The goal of the viewer is to help Rowdy Cat break into a museum, get past Peanut the Security Pup, and steal a priceless artwork. It takes around ten to fifteen minutes to get through a viewing of Cat Burglar, but there’s dozens of different routes a viewer could take and over an hour-and-a-half of animation to discover, meaning that each time you watch it, you’ll have a different viewing experience.

Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker created Cat Burglar. Animation veteran Mike Hollingsworth, supervising director and producer on Bojack Horseman and Tuca & Bertie, is supervising director on the project. Hollingsworth co-wrote the project with James Bowman, animation director of Tuca & Bertie.

Cat Burglar premieres globally on Netflix Tuesday, February 22.