Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Junk Food Dinner Podcast: Episode #43

Fans of crazy adult animation rejoice, because Junk Food Dinner Episode #43 is finally here! This week we explore the seedy, gritty, surreal animated world of artist/director Ralph Bakshi.

First, we take a look at his 1973 semi-autobiographical tale of a young virgin cartoonist who draws inspiration from his inner-city surroundings and the wacky characters who inhabit it in 1973's groundbreaking Heavy Traffic. Then Bakshi focuses his lens on race relations and the black experience in America when we take a look at the controversial satire Coonskin from 1975. And finally two young men come of age against a backdrop of gang violence in 1950's Brooklyn in Hey Good Lookin' from 1982.

Also, we have Nerds News, this week's DVD and Blu-Ray releases and much more!

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2 comments:

  1. Great episode, guys. Kevin, In an issue of The Comics Journal, I recall reading an essay or interview that discussed some of Bakshi's films. After some searching I can't find the issue I'm remembering (or rather forgetting). If I ever come across it, I'll pass it along for you to read. However, in an attempt to locate the article, I did find this interview which you may or may not have already read.

    http://thedailycrosshatch.com/2008/06/23/interview-ralph-bakshi-pt-1/

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  2. Yes, great show. Bakshi's filmography is truly unique and fascinating. I’ve always loved his colorful animation style and unique rhythms of conversational animated sur-realism. I think the key to Bakshi is that he is not only presenting risky and aggressive social satires, as well as riffing on his own personal experiences growing up in a raw multi-ethnic environment, but that he is using the classical styles, traditional uses and exaggerated/caricature trappings of the “cartoon” medium to do so. He’s drawing on both influences from real life growing up, as well as the history of cartoons and animation.

    At the same time, to agree with Parker a little bit, I also think that there is a gleefully excessive and perverse element to Bakshi’s work that sometimes borders on questionable or pointless artistic masturbation, no matter how much you try and attribute it all to artful social commentary. I think you would be missing something to completely overlook Bakshi’s preoccupation with drawing exaggerated racial and sexual stereotypes as sometimes something other than just that.

    It’s that fine line between the two and the way they blur to abstraction that makes his work so fascinating. You find yourself watching and asking questions like, “Does an anthropomorphized Nazi cat giving a BJ to a blackface man’s machine gun penis have some sort of hidden social commentary...or is it just Bakshi fucking around, like a little kid drawing perverse doodles?” Of course, I could be completely wrong about all of this.

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