Cartoon Camping

Except we probably won't actually show Totoro

Animation Sleepover
Saturday, February 8
9pm until 9am

There are several possible explanations for this event:

It could stem from a certain sort of childhood nostalgia, of when Saturday mornings seemed as if they would never end, of how we wished they wouldn’t. Oh, Gummi Bears, how you amused us, with your bouncing, here and there, and your high adventures, beyond compare. And maybe that is combined with a little bit of that child-like wonder about the wee hours of the night. Staying up late, surreptitiously, illicitly, the whole world crystalline and still, dreamlike.

Or perhaps it is more about family trips to some seemingly distant, foreign land? A forest or a park or some such nonsense. Your parents, your siblings, and yourself stuffed into a station wagon, gear in the back, going to a place of bugs and dirt — and no television whatsoever. Blech! Perhaps it is time to right that wrong?

Or maybe it was conceived one night when Swap Meet (remember Swap Meet?) had stretched out super late, as it can do, maybe around 3 or 4 in the morning, maybe this was conceived as a sort of Betalevel version of a chill out room? Because what chills one out more than a cartoon skunk sexually harassing a cartoon cat? (Perhaps a maudlin Russian puppet?)

Yet it could just be intellectual curiosity. Were the programs many of us watched as kids, were they as entertaining and educational as they were meant to be? Or were they somewhat disturbing relics of a bygone era? (See above re: cartoon skunk.) And how about cartoons these days? Can we see past our temporal blinders and locate their biases as well?

It might even be a joint CIA-Disney experiment into how much sleep deprivation is required for “the arty crowd” to think watching Beauty and the Beast is a good idea.

But, most likely, it’s the convergence of a suggestion that we host a cartoon night and inspiration drawn from some friends’ annual Halloween movie marathon. Yeah, that sounds plausible.

Whatever the case, we’re doing it… We’ve gathered a selection of childhood favorites and bona fide masterpieces (sometimes the same thing), big studio fare and oddball obscurities, features and shorts, the serious and the silly. And we’ll be open all night, watching cartoons by (relatively) democratic decision. Have a favorite you want to throw in the mix? Bring it along! (But what we watch depends on the preferences of the audience and Betalevel curatorial caprice.) We’ll have a little nap corner, in case you need to conk out for a bit. We’ll make some s’mores up in the alley. We’ll have a good time!

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PAQ (Possibly Asked Questions):

Do I have to stay all night?

Um, no. This is not your church lock-in. We are neither your parents nor your religious superiors (though, if you’re interested in the latter, ask!). You may come and go as you please. Come for an hour! Stay for the night!

What should I bring?

Pillows, mats, blankets, snacks, and whatever else will make you comfy.

Are you going to try to make me watch Gummi Bears?

We actually (probably) won’t watch Gummi Bears. Honestly, we’re (probably) going to be aiming a lot higher, aesthetically. We will have Beauty and the Beast on hand, though. Just in case. You never know what might seem like a good idea at 5am.

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Special thanks to animators Joanna Leitch and Fran Krause, who were kind enough to recommend/lend many cartoons for the event.