Monday, September 08, 2014

Tom Waits For No One Kickstarter campaign

A press release about the 35th anniversary of the release of Tom Waits For No One has details about  a Kickstarter campaign, starting September 19.

The campaign will fund transferring the original live action footage and the video pencil test to a contemporary format,  restoration and framing of original animation cels for display; and restoration of the Lyon Lamb Video Rotoscope used in the film’s production.

There will also be a scrapbook with a bevy of miscellanea created, drawn, doodled or collected during the film’s production, including inspired character studies, character turnarounds, storyboards, and set concept drawings.

The press release:

A pioneering American music video, nearly forgotten, gets new life. 

“Tom Waits For No One” likely world’s first rotoscoped music video, expert finds
Los Angeles, CA September 8, 2014 

In 1978, animation director John Lamb brought together a group of unknown animators to create a short film using the latest in analog technology, the Lyon Lamb Video Rotoscope and the Lyon Lamb Video Animation System. The team, made up of animators and artists, were at the very beginning of their careers. Tom Waits, the musician chosen for the film because of his eclectic style and performance, was also at the beginning of his career. 

Completed in 1979, too early for MTV, the film had no commercial release and no distribution. The film opened to immediate acclaim, winning top prize at a Hollywood film festival, but lasted just one night with “Spike and Mike’s Festival of Animation” because it was “too racy”. 

Without distribution or a ready market, the film slipped into total obscurity. In 2006, it was uploaded to YouTube by Lamb’s technophile son and it went quietly viral, being posted and reposted on animation blogs and music fan sites around the world. 

In 2013, Lamb ran into one of the animators, David Silverman, whose next job after “Tom Waits For No One” was on The Tracey Ullman Show as the first animator for The Simpsons. Even now, Silverman remains a key animator for The Simpsons series, also directing The Simpsons Movie and co-directing Monsters, Inc. 

Silverman got Lamb thinking about all the other animators involved, and he was astonished at what he found – a list of accomplishments that included Academy Award winner for Technical Achievement, Academy Award nominee in animation, one of CalArts’ now famous “Kids from A-113”, a renowned Plein Air painter, a designer and animator for Electronic Arts, a member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences, and animators on The Iron Giant, Pocahontas and American Dad, among many others. 

A Kickstarter event begins on September 19, 2014 to fund the 35th Anniversary Celebration of “Tom Waits For No One”, to take place on March 20 and 21st, 2015, in Hollywood at Catchlight Studios (in the former La Brea Stage building). The Kickstarter campaign will fund: transferring the original live action footage of Tom Waits and the video pencil test to a contemporary format to be projected throughout the gallery; restoration and framing of original animation cels for display; and restoration of the Lyon Lamb Video Rotoscope used in the film’s production. 
All these elements will be seen for the first time in thirty-five years, perfectly showcased at the original filming location where the live action footage was filmed – the old La Brea Stage! 

A Tom Waits For No One Scrapbook is part of the Kickstarter campaign and will feature a bevy of miscellanea created, drawn, doodled or collected during the film’s production, to include the inspired character studies, character turnarounds, storyboards, and set concept drawings rendered in hardback and soft cover. The book will feature a foreword by the leading expert on the subject of animation and music video, Gunnar Strom. Author of “The Two Golden Ages of Animated Music Video” (Society for Animation Studies, 2007), Strom is a professor at Volda University College in Norway. After seeing the film, Strom wrote “’Tom Waits For No One’ is not only a pioneering American music video, it is also probably the first ever rotoscoped music video”. 
Larry Cuba, experimental animator and executive director of The iotaCenter in Los Angeles, stated “’Tom Waits For No One’ should be considered a significant part of animation history”. The iotaCenter, a non-profit which aims to foreground experimental and underrepresented animated works, has honored the short film by welcoming “Tom Waits For No One” into its film archive for preservation. 

The 35th Anniversary Celebration of “Tom Waits For No One” will host the animators and all the elements of the film, as well as Gunnar Strom flying in from Norway. But that’s not all! Both nights will bring extraordinary music to Los Angeles with the musical talents of New Orleans’ finest: pianist Tom McDermott and jazz singer phenomenon Meschiya Lake. In 2012, McDermott and Lake released the CD “Live at Chickie Wah Wah”. In the same year, Lake was featured in a biographical documentary, True Family, by Danish filmmaker Tao Norager. Don’t miss this event – it’s going to be a blast!

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Tom Waits For No One scrapbook

Tom Waits for No One, the Facebook page dedicated to the short film of the same name, has some interesting news:
What could be better than a Tom Waits For No One Scrapbook, featuring all the art, drawings, doodles, goofs, newspaper clippings, ticket stubs of concerts attended by the artists DURING the making of the film? 
A Kickstarter campaign to lift the book off the ground - and to fund a 35th Anniversary Celebration of the film's release! 
Oh yeah - there's lots more coming - though you heard it here first! More to come over the next 72 hours...
Tom Waits For No One is a rotoscoped 1979 short film directed by John Lamb starring Tom Waits, singing The One That Got Away to an apparition.

You can find plenty of  info about the project on John Lamb's website.


Monday, September 01, 2014

Update on the Mitchell Rose book

A slight update on the new Tom Waits picture book A photo session with Mitchell Rose: author Mitchell Rose will be making some slight changes to the book for the first edition (rearranging the pictures and adding a photo of the Tropicana Motor Hotel) and adjusting the price of the book: ($275, $110 & $50).

Later editions might include a shot from the original shooting used for a standup poster.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Uncut's Tom Waits Ultimate Music Guide giveaway

As you might have heard, UK magazine Uncut has dedicated an entire edition of its Ultimate Music Guide to the work of Tom Waits. The result: 120 pages of Waits material with a new look at every album, interviews that haven't been seen for years and other rarities.

The magazine is available in shops now or you can order a copy at Backstreet-merch.

Digital copies are available for iPad/iPhone (UKUSARest of world) and various othher digital devices.
And the good news is that the kind people at Uncut are prepared to give 2 copies to readers of The Eyeball Kid blog.

Send an e-mail to with UNCUT GIVEAWAY in the subject line. Don't forget to include your name and postal address. If you're one of the two lucky winners, Uncut will send you a copy.

Deadline: Monday Aug. 4, 11.59 pm.

UPDATE: We've got 2 winners, Dave and "L.", both from Illinois... Enjoy!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Greg Cohen on Tom Waits: ‘I hope we can do something this year’

In an interview with Bob Baker Fish, published by Cyclic Defrost, bassist Greg Cohen talks briefly about working with Tom Waits. And he hints about a possible new collaboration:
‘We are looking for a new project now. I hope we can do something this year.’ 
Cohen talks more extensive about his earlier work with Waits in an interview with Paul Leslie. The Waits part starts around the 5:13 mark.

(hat tip Jeremy)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tom Waits in 8-bit

The strangest Waits covers/adaptations I've ever heard: TOMW8S - the Donkey Kong Variations by Buddy Peace.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Paul Charles on Tom Waits

The Irish Times carried a nice piece on Asgard agent Paul Charles, last week. Charles represents Tom Waits in the UK, if I am correct.
 “Oh, he [Tom Waits]’s totally brilliant. He’s a great storyteller on and off the stage, which is why he’s such a great interviewee. I mean, where does fact and fiction start and finish? His imagination is amazing; he’s there in the story, making you cry one minute and laugh the next.”