Apr 27, 2017

John Canemaker is blogging. You should read him.

The banner for Canemaker's blog, with self-caricature

If I always seem to be writing something about John Canemaker on this blog, there's a good reason-or  rather, many, many reasons: the Academy Award-winning filmmaker, NYU professor and author is always busy producing, hosting or posting something worth taking note of. So shoot me!

The last time I saw him, a year ago at the opening of the Pinocchio exhibit he curated at the Walt Disney Family Museum, he mentioned he was thinking of starting a blog. "Do it!" I burbled, I'm sure he heard the same thing everywhere he voiced the thought, and so he did. I have several favorite authors of nonfiction-luckily for me, one of them also happens to write about animation, and now he's writing regularly-no waiting years for the next breath of clean, crisp narrative air. And boy, do we need it now. He's called it John Canemaker's Animated Eye, and it's off and running with great stuff.

Just since February Canemaker has covered evenings with artists Floyd Norman, Jules Feiffer and Suzan Pitt-as disparate as they are fascinating; a piece about the unproduced projects compiled in the Disney studio's 1944 book release Surprise Package (in particular the Dick Huemer-Joe Grant original story "The Square World"; a reminiscence of a special conference on story in 1988 that gathered an incredible array of artists from Frank and Ollie to Joe Ranft to discuss the craft; a post about, of all people, Gertrude Lawrence and Walt meeting backstage during her run in the brilliant Kurt Weill/Moss Hart musical "Lady In the Dark"-with a surprising connection involving a champion of the work of Canemaker subject and animation genius Winsor McCay.

Gertrude Lawrence, Bob Brotherton and Walt Disney in 1942. To read more about this encounter and the young man in the middle-and his other animation connections-go to John Canemaker's blog.

This week, he writes of attending the premiere of "Dear Basketball", Kobe Bryant's animated collaboration with Glen Keane, John Williams and an elite group of animators assembled by Glen-one of whom is a recent graduate of Canemaker's NYU animation department, Aidan Terry. Terry joined the team after a recommendation by John in response to a query by the project's producer. 

The above is just a bit of what he's put online to date, and all of his posts are as much fun to look at as to read. Like one of his many books the accompanying photos and artwork in each one are rare, historic and fascinating. Going through them, it's remarkable how many connecting threads there are between the decades, cities, people and of all things, the art of animation and just art in general. And as for that last-make sure to look at the page of his own paintings. They're as colorful and graceful as the writer himself.

Be sure and bookmark his page and have a look through his animated eye.

"Ivy Wall", a painting by John Canemaker, from his website.

Artwork for a card, from Canemaker's website.

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