Dinner and a movie, courtesy of Moore College of Art and Design

photo: Kara Crombie's cartoon for grown ups, "Suffering Heroes," will be screened on Friday.
Kara Crombie’s cartoon for grown ups, “Suffering Heroes,” will be screened on Friday.

Moore College of Art and Design is giving us all the chance to get seriously local. In their first ever Film al Fresco, Moore entices Philadelphians with two of the things we love most: movies and food. And not just any old flick and fare, here, either. The emphasis is on local, independent, and well-crafted pieces.

Each Friday in June and July (excluding July 5), the college welcomes everyone to sprawl out at Aviator Park and watch screenings of films created by some of Philadelphia’s finest artists. This week you can feel like you’re a grown up doing kid things.

One of the films to be screened on June 28 is “Suffering Heroes” by Kara Crombie. Her animated movies are no stranger to the Philadelphia art world, with previous showings at Vox Populi and the Rowan University Art Gallery. These cartoon flicks aren’t necessarily for kids, though.

“Suffering Heroes is the sixth installment in an animated series called Aloof Hills, which revolves around the adventures of characters on a civil war era planation,” explains Crombie. “This episode focuses on a musically gifted slave named Alphabet Soup who is forced to perform for a camp of Union soldiers. To me it is an updated version of the story of Job.”

To go with all this grown-up animation are food trucks, which will serve adult versions of childhood favorites. This is your chance to double down on local flavors with both food and art. The Lil’ Pop Shop truck will be there, so instead of sucking the dyed slushy sugar out of a plastic freeze pop casing, enjoy a thoughtfully crafted popsicle. Also in attendance will be Don Tacos Memo and Little Baby’s Ice Cream.

“This series seems like a great way to bring people together, activate an underused space in the center of our city, and offer a nostalgic summer pastime in the great outdoors,” says Pete Angevine of Little Baby’s. “I’ve personally had my eye on this since they were awarded the Knight Arts grant to make it happen, and we’re excited to be involved.”


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  1. against / see Manya Scheps / http://the-st-claire.com/0613/0613_thing3.html

    The video that was on view is part of a larger series of works which chronicle the feisty and libidinous inclinations of a plantation and slave-owning family. Weaving in appropriated footage and grungy music, the animations feature wealthy characters in neon colors who flaunt their despicable power by having sex with slaves and abusing them. But it’s funny, because they have problems too! We can laugh at the things the white people do – oh, it’s irreverently awful! The family is an MTV kind of broken, filled with teenage pregnancy, charming alcoholism, and a relaxed acceptance of sadism and chauvinism.

    The video disguises its actual racism as parody — the white characters are so despicable and idiotic that one cannot possibly endorse their actions. Except, unfortunately, that doesn’t quite work out. They are horrible in a way that is utterly mundane. There isn’t anything satirical about it, and so the video just becomes a hip animated comedy about slavery, which is never hip. It is apparently successful in that: when I watched it at its Vox opening, it inspired giggles and guffaws from a packed audience of enlightened art viewers. I mention the audience’s reaction merely to return to semiotics: the message is not one of self-loathing or critical inquiry. It is jest. It is ribald. It demands nothing of the audience, save for a stoned aesthetic and a penchant for offensive renditions of ebonics.

    The animation, the bland attempt at humor – it is a juvenile go for shock at its most pathetic, its most banal. And here’s the thing about banality: it is evil. By fuzzing everything down into a cartoon universe of outlandish comedy capers, Crombie actually invites us not to think about anything. There isn’t anything in her video that is inherently different from an episode of television: it’s another mind-numbing universe where jokes at the expense of historical trauma and powerlessness are comfortably accepted. The meager satire is so utterly normalized that it fails. It fails to have any style, it fails to have any modicum of a message, it fails to be the vulgar joke that Crombie wants it to be.