Bill Plympton’s Mutant Aliens; Cancer Conspiracy Recovers from Queens Bandits; Swank Events at Orensanz, White Columns and Puck Bldg.

Written by Ned Vizzini on . Posted in Miscellaneous, Posts.


Plympton
is at the forefront of this new wave, or the back, depending on whether you
like his childishly simple line drawings, bizarre sex scenes and characters
that morph from one disgusting thing into another. His new opus is about a group
of animals, spawned under frightening circumstances in outer space, that returns
to Earth to kill the nasty government figure who got them created in the first
place.


"The
original concept for this film occurred to me when I was looking at a magazine
and I saw a picture of Laika, the Russian cosmonaut dog," Plympton explains.
"I wondered, ‘Is that dog still up in space circling around the Earth
in some tin can? There must be a lot of other monkeys and mice and rabbits that
are circling the Earth and they’re probably pretty pissed off.’"


Mutant
Aliens
runs a bit long for my taste, but Plympton fans will be happy to
know that Bill’s archetypes are all accounted for: the Reagan-esque villain,
the horny and visually imaginative young man and the babe-with-oversexed-voice
(as cute child and slammin’ adult). There’s also some man-on-alien
action that’s not for the squeamish.


"I
started out doing sex cartoons for Playboy and Penthouse and Hustler
and Screw, so I still like to, y’know, put sex stuff in my films,"
Plympton says. "I think that’s kind of a unique quality to my animation,
going up against DreamWorks and Disney and Fox."


Mutant
Aliens
has its American premiere ("as soon as my films are finished,
they go immediately to [France and Korea] and I make money on ’em")
this Friday at Cinema Village (22 E. 12th St., betw. University Pl. &
5th Ave., 924-3363). The show runs at 2:20, 6:20 and 10:10 and anybody who sees
the movie that night will be allowed to attend an after-party for Plympton fans.
(The location is secret; you’ll learn it when you get out of the theater.)


Oh, and
keep in mind as you’re watching Mutant Aliens–Bill Plympton
wrote, produced, animated and directed it. It took two and a half years and
ate up $300,000 of his own cash.


…Speaking
of lost wages, talented instrumental band the Cancer Conspiracy went
through some serious crap last month when their van, full of equipment, was
stolen in Queens. "We lost a total of over $21,000 in gear and merch,"
writes bassist Brent Frattini on the band’s website, "as well
as a porno mag and a jar of peanuts." It’s never a good time to have
your shit jacked, but it was particularly bad for the Cancer Conspiracy–they
had just released one of the most ambitious, interesting albums of the young
year and they were slated to play Mercury Lounge. They did what any band would
do; they sent out an e-mail about the theft, got stupid drunk at a bar in Queens
called Gussy’s (20-14 29th St., betw. 20th & 21st Aves., Astoria,
718-728-9418)–Gussy himself took a liking to them and added their debut
The Audio Medium to the jukebox–and flew home to Burlington,
VT.


This week,
Cancer Conspiracy returns for a show at Knitting Factory, where their uncompromising
post-prog chops will be respected. Basically, The Audio Medium (January
2002) plays like an even denser Don Caballero with saxophone and keyboards.
Along with bassist Frattini, guitarist Daryl Rabidoux and drummer/multi-instrumentalist
Greg Beadle have no respect for any of the norms of rock music, going
from Floyd-inspired horn parts to riffs cribbed from Rush to piano interludes
like they’ve been smoking dust with RZA. It’s amazing that
something like The Audio Medium ever even got made, let alone released
by Big Wheel Recreation.


As for the
name Cancer Conspiracy, it might refer to an alleged plot by members of the
medical community to suppress oncological research or it might refer to the
way pop music spreads through American minds, depending on how you interpret
the cryptic writings that come with the CD. "[I] tried to understand why
a culture which supposedly values individuality and variety is content to tune
in to what is essentially a static and repetitive signal," writes "Dr.
Travis John, Ph.D." in a "letter" that fits in the album sleeve.
Rock on.


Cancer Conspiracy
plays Saturday at Knitting Factory (75 Leonard St., betw. B’way
& Church St., 219-3055). They open for Lake Trout; Kill Me Tomorrow
is also on the bill; doors are at 8:30 p.m. so Kill Me Tomorrow should be
on at 10 with the Cancer Conspiracy following at 11. Tickets are $12.


…If, instead
of $12, you feel like spending a couple hundred this week, you’re in luck:
the swank spring events are in full swing. Something about daffodils and cherry
trees just makes people want to spend cash in New York, and our auction houses/theaters/community
organizations know it.


First, on
Thursday, the Friends of Grand Street Settlement present their second-annual
Taste of the Lower East Side. I always thought the L.E.S. tasted like
beer, but when you reflect on it, there’s one single block that has Katz’s
Deli
, Bereket Turkish Kabob House and Famous Original Ray’s
Pizza
(Houston St., south side, betw. Orchard & Ludlow Sts.), so that’s
not too shabby. The Taste of the Lower East Side is bringing in yummy samples
from 25 restaurants and refreshments from 12 beverage distributors, including
Korand/Alize Cognac, for a night of ingestion. Proceeds benefit youth programs
at the Grand Street Settlement.


The best
thing about this event is that it’s taking place at the Orensanz Center
for the Arts
(172 Norfolk St., betw. Houston & Stanton Sts., 529-7194),
a synagogue-turned-party-space that is gorgeous front-to-back. If you’ve
never been there, you owe it to yourself to drop by; it’s like the downtown
Cloisters. Tickets can be obtained through www.grandstreet.org/taste or by calling
674-1740 x211 for $75-$300.


Next on
the list, White Columns is a nonprofit exhibition space in the West Village
that’s been hosting a Benefit Silent Auction for the past two weeks.
(Whom does the auction benefit? White Columns, of course! They’re nonprofit.)
If you want to bid on any of their art, get on www.whitecolums.org now. If you
just want to party, shell out $150 for their gala this Saturday.


The hoo-hah
takes place at White Columns (320 W. 13th St., betw. 8th Ave. & Hudson
St., 924-4212) starting at 7 p.m. Be aware that despite what you might think
from the address, the entrance to the gallery is on Horatio St., one block south
of 13th St.


Finally,
it is Shakespeare’s birthday this Monday and Theater for a New Audience
is celebrating with its 23rd Anniversary Gala. Shakespeare is famous
for writing some plays in England. The Theater for a New Audience is famous
for putting these plays on. And John Turturro, celebrity MC, is famous
nowadays for this weird cultural blip O Brother, Where Are Thou? that
has gripped us since 2000. Cocktails start at 6:30 p.m.; dinner and entertainment
(including auctions for Broadway evenings) start at 7:30; it all takes place
in the Puck Bldg. (295 Lafayette St., betw. Houston & Prince Sts.,
398-1133 x11 or x12), New York Press’ old home, where I spent many
a rockin’ evening. Tickets are $450 and up and are available through the
number above.


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