USC Visions and Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative and the USC School of Cinematic Arts, in conjunction with the American Cinematheque, invite you and a guest to attend An Evening with Ralph Bakshi and Fritz the Cat (1972) at 7:00 P.M. on Thursday, March 26th, 2015
A screening of the groundbreaking X-rated animated feature Fritz the Cat will be followed by a discussion with Ralph Bakshi about his exceptional career.
Hosted by SCA Director of Programming Alessandro Ago.
FREE ADMISSION. OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. RSVPs REQUIRED.
Bakshi Productions will sell artwork before and after the event in the George Lucas Building Lobby.
About Fritz the Cat (1972)
Sex-obsessed tomcat Fritz drops out of NYU and embraces every new experience that crosses his path, including easy sex and drugs. But Fritz ends up holding the dynamite that will detonate the ultimate 1960s statement when he joins a group of radical hippies. Based on underground comic-book artist Robert Crumb’s revolutionary character, Fritz the Cat became the first X-rated cartoon.
Written & Directed by Ralph Bakshi. Produced by Steve Krantz.
Provided courtesy of Park Circus. Rated X. Running time: 78 minutes.
About Ralph Bakshi
Blasted into public consciousness – and controversy – by the first X-rated cartoon, FRITZ THE CAT (1972), legendary writer-director-producer Ralph Bakshi’s career in animation spans an astounding 50 years. He channeled the freewheeling spirit of underground comics in such films as HEAVY TRAFFIC (1973) and COONSKIN (1975), battling protests and censors to open the doors to cartoons with adult situations. He tapped further into the zeitgeist with WIZARDS (1977) and THE LORD OF THE RINGS (1978), catching the mid-70s wave of interest in sci-fi and fantasy that broke with STAR WARS. Bakshi’s work was adventurous visually as well as thematically; RINGS and AMERICAN POP (1981) are landmarks of rotoscoping, a type of animation where live-action footage is traced onto cels.
While these features solidified Bakshi’s stake in animation history, he has never been content to rest on his laurels. He re-invented Saturday morning cartoons with “The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse,” a show that proved to be a precursor for irreverent fare such as “The Ren & Stimpy Show.” And in the latest turn to a brilliant career, Bakshi has taken up the paintbrush; his work can be viewed at www.ralphbakshi.com.
About the Moderator
Alessandro Ago is the Director of Programming and Special Projects at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where he programs film screenings, festivals, guest speakers and special events. Ago curates Outside the Box [Office], a screening series dedicated to bringing new international, documentary and independent cinema to USC, often followed by conversations with filmmakers, which Ago moderates. Ago has produced festivals celebrating the work of Dino De Laurentiis, John Wayne, Roger Corman, Costa Gavras, Maurice Jarre, Dennis Hopper, Albert Broccoli and the James Bond franchise, as well as world cinema showcases focusing on Japan, Italy, Bollywood, South America and the Middle East. In 2013, he produced a major retrospective of the seminal ABC television series Twin Peaks, featuring panel discussions with 50 members of the cast and crew.
With a special interest in Italian cinema, Ago has hosted events with Roberto Saviano, Mario Monicelli, Lina Wertmueller, Gabriele Salvatores, Claudia Cardinale, Pupi Avati, Enzo G. Castellari, Marco Bellocchio, Dario Argento and Franco Nero. Ago lectures about Italian cinema at the Italian Cultural Institute in Westwood, California and has taught undergraduate film courses at USC, including Transnational Nightmares and Filmmaking, Italian Style and, most recently, Italian Genre Cinema and Society. He co-produced the 2006 & 2007 editions of Los Angeles – Italia: The Film, Fashion and Art Fest at Mann’s Chinese 6-plex, as well as the 2006 Capri-Hollywood Film Festival in Capri, Italy.
Ago is one of the curators responsible for selecting the films that comprise the U.S. State Department’s American Film Showcase, a documentary film diplomacy initiative, and has traveled with AFS film envoys to Cyprus, Mexico, Egypt, China, Tajikistan, Bolivia, India, South Korea, Vietnam, Panama, Bangladesh, and Turkmenistan. Ago is also the Executive Producer of USC’s annual First Look Festival.
Check-In & Reservations
This screening is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring a valid ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M.
All SCA screenings are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.
The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $10.00 at USC Entrance Gate #4, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & Royal Street. We recommend Parking Structure D, at the far end of 34th Street. Please note that Parking Structure D cannot accommodate tall vehicles such as SUVs. Metered street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.
About USC Visions & Voices: The Arts and Humanities Initiative
Visions and Voices is a university-wide arts and humanities initiative that is unparalleled in higher education. The initiative was established by USC President C. L. Max Nikias during his tenure as provost in order to fulfill the goals set forth in USC’s strategic plan; to communicate USC’s core values to students; and to affirm the human spirit. Emphasizing the university’s commitment to interdisciplinary approaches, the initiative features a spectacular array of events conceived and organized by faculty and schools throughout the university. The series includes theatrical productions, music and dance performances, conferences, lectures, film screenings and many other special events both on and off campus. Each program invites students to dialogue and interact with artists, writers, professors and special guests. These interactions provide a dynamic experience of the arts and humanities and encourage active exploration of USC’s core values, including freedom of inquiry and expression, team spirit, appreciation of diversity, commitment to serving one’s community, entrepreneurial spirit, informed risk-taking, ethical conduct and the search for truth.
For more information, visit www.usc.edu/visionsandvoices
The Ray Stark Family Theatre: SCA 108
George Lucas Building
USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007
Ralph Bakshi will return to Animazing Gallery in SoHo for a reception where his altogether new series of fine art paintings will be debuted in an exhibition entitled The Streets. This bold series of mixed-media construction/paintings was inspired by the gritty and colorful neighborhoods of Bakshi’s youth in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.
MoCCA, New York’s Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, and Bill Plympton will present a lifetime achievement award to Mr. Bakshi at the opening reception on Friday, March 19th, from 6-9PM (by invitation). A public meet and greet reception takes place on Saturday March 20th, 2-5PM. Admission is free and open to the public. Exhibition runs through May 15th. Animazing Gallery is located at 54 Greene Street at Broome in SoHo. Hours of operation are Mon-Sat 10AM-7PM and Sun 11AM-6PM. For more information log onto www.animazing.com or call 212-226-7374.
Throughout an artistic career spanning more than half a century, Ralph Bakshi’s secret passion has always been fine art. Although he has become a renowned film director, Bakshi has remained a sedulously dedicated self-taught painter, and this body of work is as sophisticated as his films are outrageous. The Artist has created multi-media pieces that are emotionally layered works, and clearly a departure from his past figurative works. Bakshi builds up his surfaces with elements of wood, nails, and other found objects. The artist deconstructs the sculptural elements at some point during the process, and then uses the ravaged sculpture as a canvas, continuing to paint and repaint the accumulating textures, going deeper and deeper into what he thinks he sees. In this ongoing process of building up and taking away, Ralph transforms his reality into sculptured abstraction. Inspired by every single memory of his life in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, the Artist produces work that is as gritty, colorful, and dynamic as New York. Bakshi’s paintings are derived from a lifetime of loving the artistic peeling of the paint on old Brownsville walls; the play of sunlight on their surfaces that changed them every few minutes. These paintings are the closest thing to realism that Ralph can imagine, although they appear to be abstract.
Ralph Bakshi is a legend in the world animation. His controversial and cutting edge films have secured a place in the historical archives of many museums, including the Whitney and MoMA, because they raised a generation’s social consciousness with the raw, creative and artistic genius that was larger than life on the big screen. Bakshi was raised in the Brownsville area of Brooklyn, and displayed artistic talent before he was old enough to go to school. Graduating high school with an unprecedented “Award in Cartooning,” at eighteen years old Bakshi was given an entry level position at the Terrytoons animation studio. He promoted himself quickly to animator by commandeering an empty desk, and by the time he was 28, Bakshi was Creative Director of the studio. He created shows like Mighty Mouse, Heckle & Jeckle, Deputy Dawg, and later Spider-Man for Paramount Studios. After this, Bakshi produced his first theatrical animated feature, a down-and-dirty X-rated adaptation of Robert Crumb’s “underground” comic strip Fritz the Cat. Bakshi’s next feature, Heavy Traffic was even more outrageous, but won acclaim from both film and art critics. Next was Coonskin, a savage attack on Hollywood racial stereotypes. In 1977, Bakshi released Wizards, then Lord of the Rings. In 1980 he animated jazz music with American Pop, and afterwards Hey, Good Lookin’; a nostalgic glance at 1950s street gangs. After Fire and Ice in 1983, Bakshi retreated to his studio, painting every day for nearly 10 years, before resurfacing in 1987 with the brilliant TV series of Mighty Mouse, directed by Bakshi’s protÃ©gÃ©, John Kricfalusi (of Ren & Stimpy fame). In 1992, Bakshi returned to the Big Screen with Cool World, a combination of animation and live action starring Brad Pitt and the voice of Kim Basinger, among others.
ABOUT ANIMAZING GALLERY | Since 1984, Animazing Gallery has showcased a unique collection of original and limited edition works, including animation, great American illustration art & fine art that indulges the senses and emotions with color, playfulness and beauty. For more information about Animazing in New York or France visit animazing.com.
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Animazing Gallery, SoHo | 54 Greene St. NY, NY 10013 | 212.226.7374