P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2003
November 18, 2003
Sundance Grand Jury Prize-Winner American Splendor to Play at MASS MoCA
(North Adams, Mass.) Harvey Pekar has developed a cult following for his autobiographical comic books about his own perceived oppressive mediocrity as a file clerk in Ohio. His series, titled American Splendor inspired the film by the same name. In the film, Robert Crumb, the father of underground comics, adds animated elements to the live action, Pekar himself narrates the film and Paul Giamatti stars playing Pekar. MASS MoCA will screen American Splendor on Thursday, December 18, at 8 P.M, in a co-presentation with Images Cinema. Pekar himself will attend, introducing the film and answering questions from the audience afterwards.
"Harvey is extraordinary – by the way, so's the movie," The New York Times said of the Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize Award-winning film and its subject. Loosely based on Harvey Pekar's comic book series and his book, Our Cancer Year which was cowritten with his wife and fellow comic book artist, Joyce Brabner, the film follows Pekar's early relationships with Brabner; friend and mentor Robert Crumb, and longtime friend and co-worker Toby Radloff. The pace of the film increases as it moves into Pekar's battle with cancer and the now legendary Late Night with David Letterman episode where he was kicked off due to his outspoken political commentaries. Directors Shari Springer Merman and Robert Pulcini combine elements of drama, documentary, and animation by mixing file footage and interviews with Crumb's animated cartoon versions of characters and dramatized scenes with Paul Giamatti playing Pekar, Hope Davis playing Brabner, James Urbaniak playing Crumb, and Judah Friedlander playing Radloff.
American Book Award-winner, Harvey Pekar, has published his comic book American Splendor almost every year since 1976. The book covers the ordinary and mundane through his own eyes as file clerk at a Veteran's Administration hospital for 35 years in Cleveland, Ohio, where he has lived all his life.
Robert Crumb has shocked, titillated, and challenged inhibitions for nearly three decades. The acknowledged father of underground comics is often also considered the grandfather of alternative comics. Mr. Natural, Angelfood McSpade, Flakey Foont, and the hedonistic anthropomorphic version of Crumb's childhood cat, Fritz, have become cult icons reaching fans around the world. His acid-inspired work of the 1960s gave way to sober, introspective dialogues and biting indictments of American culture which only grew through the 1980s neo-conservatism.
Tickets to American Splendor are $5.50 (members save 10%) and are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 11 A.M. until 5 P.M. Wednesday through Monday (closed Tuesdays) or over the phone by calling 413.662.2111 or online at www.massmoca.org.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings. MASS MoCA focuses on the work of visual and performing artists charting new territory.
For Immediate Release