March 16th, 2005

Tom Lehrer is Smug

...yeah, the bunny bites.

The best part of the Incredibles 2-disc DVD set isn't the absolutely hilarious "Mr. Incredible & Pals" short (buried in the 'Top Secret' section) done in Clutch Cargo style, featuring extremely limited animation using every shortcut and cheap cop-out in the book, including that ultra-creepy use of live-action mouths superimposed on the faces for speech.

No, the best part is the "Mr Incredible & Pals" short, done in Clutch Cargo style blah blah blah, with optional commentary from Mr. Incredible and Frozone--neither of whom, the conceit goes, have seen the piece in question before. It's not improvised, as the Spinal Tap commentary, but still so well-done that "Yeah, the bunny bites" will be a favorite phrase of mine for hours to come. The short stands on its own as a lovely piece of Saturday morning satire (you can just tell Brad Bird & Co. had a field day doing this) but the in-character commentary just puts everything right where it needs to be. And it's done far better than the embarassing publicity "interviews" featuring live-action Hollywood reporter-types and CG superhero-types, available (and well-avoided) elsewhere on the DVD.

Also quite notable is Sarah Vowell's video essay where she shows off her Lincoln memorabilia and discusses how great it was to spend half the day writing about the assassination of James Garfield, and the other half saying things like "The robot lost its claw!" She also shows some test footage Pixar made in courting her for the role -- they animated part of an NPR piece she did about shooting a homemade cannon with her dad. Finally she receives a Violet action figure ("Violet and Invisible Violet!") and introduces them both to her Lincoln figurines. It's adorable.

Neatest thing I learned from the extras? Bud Luckey, animator who designed Woody from Toy Story and who also did the "Boundin'" short, did some stuff for Sesame Street a long time ago. The Ladybugs' Picnic song? Yeah, that's his. Makes perfect sense...

Maybe tomorrow night I'll get around to writing about the 1964 World's Fair, as I had meant to do tonight. But you know how things can get around here.
Ken Nordine

Poor Eloise!

The Plaza Hotel in New York City will be closing in April for an 18-month renovation project. When it reopens, it will be as private condominiums and a mini-mall. The irony is that while the exterior of the hotel has National Landmark status, the interior has no such protections and, as such, the hotel's new owners can do what they see fit to it.

Of course there's movements in place to save the Plaza, or at least keep the famous portions, like the Oak Room, the Palm Court and the ballroom, but from what I've heard the Plaza Oyster Bar has already closed. I wonder what will happen to the Eloise mural.