Hot air Sunday


I’m a little late with this one but when I read John Rockwell’s NY Times story from May 28 on the online animated shorts featuring dour playwright August Strindberg and fantasy sidekick Helium I had to check it out. (I’m sorry the article is no longer free to read at the NYT site.)

I can’t say I’m a fan of Strindberg, but I’m a big fan of animation online — and this is just a great little package. Written and “performed” by members of a San Francisco comedy troupe “Killing My Lobster” and animated by Eun-Ha Park of Milky Elephant, a computer graphics collective once in San Francisco but now in Brooklyn, the four shorts (each takes no more than a minute) are like reading the Sunday funnies in a smart alternative paper. View them here. And check out Milky’s flash-y site, too. (I want to say the collective had some work at Space 1026 a couple years ago.)

Helium, who Rockwell likens to Hello Kitty, hovers near the ponderous playwright. While I couldn’t tell if Helium is male or female, its role seems to be that of animated thought bubble gone kerflooey. Helium, in a falsetto voice, echoes Strindberg’s sledge-hammer heavy words, like “decay,” “rotting” and “hell,” letting them soar and hover over the scene like mournful bird chirps.

The script is taken from a Strindberg novel, “Inferno,” and while I wouldn’t necessarily want to read it based on this introduction, I could take a whole lot more of Helium.


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