Volume 80, Number 14 | September 2-8, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Above, Oscar-nominated director and cartoonist Bill Plympton will show his latest short and feature film at IFC Center next month. Below, Image from “Idiots and Angels”, an animated feature film by Bill Plympton.

A Life In Dark Humor
Bite, wit & mayhem make Bill Plympton a funny guy

By Janel Bladow

Almost from the time he started drawing, Bill Plympton has been making light of mankind's heaviest, darkest moments. Like Jules Feiffer and Edward Gorey before him, this Oscar-nominated artist is drawn to angst, murder, mayhem and satire.

Animator, filmmaker, political cartoonist Bill Plyptom credits his hometown of Portland's rainy weather to developing his drawing skills. After graduating Portland State University, Plympton moved to New York City in 1968 to attend the School of Visual Arts. His career took off when his Soho Weekly News political comic strip, Plympton, was syndicated in more than 20 newspapers. His works have appeared in magazines and newspapers from the Village Voice to Vanity Fair.

His fascination with animation also goes back to his childhood – he even sent Disney cartoons and offered his services as an animator at 14.

But his big break came in 1983 when he was asked to animate and direct his first feature film, based on Jules Feiffer's song ''Boomtown.''

A short film, ''Your Face, '' with his fantastically contorting visuals and Maureen McElheron score and vocals slowed to sound manly won him an Oscar nomination in 1988. He started playing festivals, winning prizes and wowing MTV viewers.

This summer, Plympton, 64, started screening his newest prize-winning short, ''The Cow Who Wanted To Be Hamburger.'' You can catch it when it opens an exclusive two-night run of his current feature film, ''Idiots and Angels,'' at the IFC Center, 323 Sixth Ave. (at Third St.), Wednesday, Oct. 6 and Thursday, Oct. 7. ''Idiots and Angels,'' which debuted at Tribeca Film Festival, is darker and more mysterious than most of his other films. It's black comedy about a man's battle with his wings and his soul, featuring the music of Tom Waits, Moby and Pink Martini. Q&A with the filmmaker will follow the screenings both evenings. For more information and tickets: www.ifccenter.com or call: 212924-7771.

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