Spike & Mike’s Sick & Twisted Festival Of Animation
20th Anniversary, La Jolla Museum Of Contemporary Art, spikeandmike.com
The internet has disrupted so many reliable institutions, it looks like Sick And Twisted Festival of Animation is one of them. Back in the early to mid 1980’s was when I first heard about this annual event called Spike & Mike’s Festival Of Animation in La Jolla. It was a novel thing, like CAD drafting and computers that allowed you to type words on a screen. They were saying that computers would replace artists but here was proof that artists and their work was still relevant in the 1980’s – they had a FESTIVAL of ANIMATION! Then by some time in the 1990’s a Sick & Twisted version of the Festival was added and it was proof the apocalypse was upon us.
This 20th anniversary iteration of the S&T FoA was no disappointment, although there were some slow spots, notably after the intermission (glad they had those inflated balloons for the crowd to occupy themselves with), and the on-site stars didn’t seem to disappoint. John K, the creator of Ren & Stimpy, was signing merch in the lobby and answering questions from the stage during the break. Like a good stand up comic arranging the order of his jokes, lining them up with the best one in front, the second best one in back and the third best one in the middle with all the others strung out in between, it was hard for the after-intermission cartoons to compete with the first half, or the first one’s impact.
Daisy, by Rohitash Rao (USA), was the first selection and it absolutely killed. It had everyone shrieking. It was a great start.
Meow was also awesome, but for more sophisticated reasons. It’s musical syncopation and kittens-turned-zombies subject matter had everyone tapping their feet or nodding their heads or simply grunting their approval. This one by Cyriak (UK) was mesmerizing.
Hellbenders, from Chris o’Neil and Zack Hadel (USA & Ireland) was really demented and fit the sick and twited theme better than many of the others.
Dumb Ways To Die is listed as a winner at Cannes and is one of the post-intermission bright spots.
Hut Sluts seemed to have been replaced by some funny clip of Satan helping a little kid with his math homework. Maybe the La Jolla matrons took offense at the classic cartoon by Miles Thmpson (USA) in which their popular Wind an’Sea landmark was the target of sick humor. I don’t know. But bring back the sluts, please, guys.
In all, the 20th Anniversary show was entertaining but crowd-wise a disappointment for Spike & Mike’s promoters. They cited slow word-of-mouth and “the internet” for the decline in the sell-out attendance of over a decade ago.