Back in motion - Spike & Mike return to La Jolla


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If Spike & Mike did an animated short on life in La Jolla, what would it spoof?

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Staff Writer

If you walk down Prospect Street and see people toting full-size refrigerators with fliers attached, it’s because Spike & Mike is back in town advertising free tickets to fans bringing in their fliers — refrigerators and all.

After a nearly three-year hiatus, the producer is premiering “A New Generation of Spike and Mike Animation” at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego in La Jolla, starting Feb. 13.

Meeting the middle ground between Spike & Mike’s “Classic Festival of Animation” and the “Sick & Twisted Festival,” “A New Generation” promises a variety of high-quality shorts that are fresh and humorous.

“It’s very sophisticated, and there’s artistic merit in the show,” said Craig “Spike” Decker, producer and one of the co-founders of Mellow Manor Productions Inc. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

He added that for years, he’s had animated shorts that didn’t quite fit into the “Sick & Twisted” category, and he felt that the time had come to put together a new generation of films.

“It’s not just another film (festival), it’s a cultural event,” Spike added.

To obtain the shorts, Spike traveled around the world and sifted through numerous submissions. He wanted to ensure quality, with humor being the No. 1 criteria.

It took a lot of time, money and effort to acquire the rights to the films — hence the long wait — but Spike said he is excited with the results.

“There’s lots of new talent and new creators,” he said, in addition to a few animators who are already established.

The 19 shorts are presented in a variety of mediums, including stop motion, traditional cel format and computer-generated graphics.

Many of them have already been noted at film festivals for their excellence; for example, there’s “Western Spaghetti” by PES, winner of the Short Film Award at Sundance ‘09, and “Key Lime Pie” by Trevor Jimenez, winner of Best Cinematography at the Toronto International Film Fest.

There’s also “Oktapodi” by Julien Bocabeille, 2009 Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Short, and “Eleven Roses,” an official selection at the Cannes Film Festival.

Spike cited a number of the shorts as personal favorites, including “A Town Called Panic: Cake” by Vincent Patar and Stephane Aubier, “Missed Aches” by Joanna Priestly and Bill Plympton’s “Santa: The Facist Years.”

“Some of them (the animators) will go on to be huge,” Spike predicted.

A number of well-known artists have had their works premiered by Spike & Mike at MCASD La Jolla over the years. Their names read like a Who’s Who in animation: Tim Burton (of “The Nightmare Before Christmas”), Andrew Stanton (of “Finding Nemo”), Peter Docter (of “Monsters Inc.”), John Lasseter (of “Toy Story”), Mike Judge (“Beavis and Butthead”) and Matt Parker and Trey Stone (“South Park”) are just a few.

Because of his history with the museum, it seems appropriate to debut a new festival there, Spike said.

Spike, along with his business partner, Mike Gribble, started promoting animated short films full time in 1977. Although Mike passed away in 1994, Spike continues to keep their dream alive.

Their company, Mellow Manor Productions, is based in La Jolla.

“I loved the beach,” Spike said. “And I found a home at the museum. It’s a nice facility, and it lends itself to what we’re trying to do.”

“A New Generation” lasts approximately 90 minutes, and as in previous years, Spike is planning a pre-show presentation to create an atmosphere, but details are still being worked out.

And even though “A New Generation” isn’t as extreme as “Sick & Twisted,” the minimum age recommended to attend the festival is 15.

‘A New Generation of Spike and Mike Animation’

  • When: 5, 7:15 and 9:30 p.m. Feb. 13; 7:15 and 9:30 p.m. Feb. 20 and 27 and March 5, 13 and 20
  • Where: Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, 700 Prospect St., La Jolla
  • Tickets: $15, available one hour before the show; $10 Valentines matinee 5 p.m. Feb. 13; $10 for college students with current I.D.
  • Rating: Not recommended for children under age 15
  • Information: (858) 459-8707,