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Defeating JanToFeb

Tuesday, January 08, 2013 - 03:00 PM

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!

Watch a making of “Roof Sex” video to learn about awkwardly crouching behind family heirlooms.


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Comments [3]

Max Hittesdorf from Colorado

Thank you, LuLu. This was a visual treat. Here is my contribution:

This is a short film of a reading of a poem that is a musing on love and fits with Radiolab's style and is just damn beautiful and helps get through the JantoFeb syndrome:

Jan. 17 2013 08:21 PM
tim from nyc

Lulu, this is amazing. I'd still rather skip the months of January and February, but thanks for this!

Jan. 10 2013 10:23 AM
Elias from Sweden

PES just got an Oscar nomination for Fresh Guacamole.

Jan. 10 2013 09:26 AM

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