Roaaaaaaaaaaaar. Howllllllllllllll. Screams of darknessssssss.
It's here. Do you hear it? It’s looming in the darkness, just waiting to consume you…
(JAN-tuh-feb). January + February. It’s that bleak eternity following the holidays that feels so endless it fuses into one extra long double-headed month. The temperatures are low, the days are short, there’s slush on the streets and in the heart. A few years ago my friends and I started referring to this stretch of time as a beast of mythic proportions. JantoFeb. “Uhhhh, I can feel it coming…” “How am I gonna make it through JanToFeb this year?” And we started organizing activities -- nothing all that special, just dinners, or little outings -- to help us get through it.
Now, like any mythic beast, it turns out JanToFeb has one weakness: your good cheer. The teensiest bit of velocity in your heart will cut through it like the sharpest of swords. So here's my plan: each week for the rest of JanToFeb, I will post an offering -- a reading, a poem, a musing, a fact, a mission -- that I hope will arm you in the fight against it. Something to ease the darkness, to distract with laughter, or fill with purpose (however temporary). We would love it if you use the comments section to share your own!
So now, without further ado…
This week’s ammunition: PES.
No, not the candy (though they may as well be)... but the tiny stop-motion films by animator Adam Pesapane -- aka “PES” -- which are nothing short of glimmery-tinged portals to another world. Relief from the grief. A magical universe composed miraculously of consumerist crap. For starters, take a look at "Western Spaghetti," a feast of nostalgia and the perfect gateway into his films:
According to the book Animators Unearthed, by Chris Robinson, PES got his start while basically hating his job at an advertising agency in New York. There, he’d procrastinate the day away by escaping into music videos and film shorts, until eventually he quit to pursue something more creative, just like the films he was watching. But the ad world clearly left an impression on him. His films are punchy, clever, and to the point in the way that ads are. They have plot, however miniscule. They build. They fill you with suspense. And a punch line slaps you across the face before you even realize it's over. He is one part dreamy dreamer -- animating the inanimate world into a delicate thing of beauty -- and one part frickin' goof.
A whole wonderland awaits you at The Twisted Films of PES. Make sure you watch Roof Sex (though it's a little racy, so turn that volume down if you're in public...) and otherwise enjoy the bipolar experience of clicking links in his long list of dazzling and peanut-filled films.
For more on PES’ creation story -- from ad agency to animation -- check out this chapter in Animators Unearthed. Viva la procrastination!
Lulu makes radio, pie, and stories in the hills of Charlottesville, VA. She first heard Radiolab when she was working as a woodworker's assistant in Brooklyn. And that changed everything. She thinks it is Miracle Gro for the mind and hopes to be making the stuff till she is blue in the hair. You can read and listen to her stories at LuTimesTwo.com.