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January 16, 2015     Post-Gazette
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January 16, 2015

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Page 8 POST-GAZETTE, JANUARY 16, 2015 North EndWest End Neighborhood Service Center Bring Cheer this Holiday Season / / U.S. Coast Guard spreads holiday cheer with Adopt a Family Program. NEMPAC Holiday Recital. The ABCD North End/West End Neighborhood Service Center has overseen a series of initiatives that have allowed us to bring cheer to this Holiday Season for the seniors and families that we serve in the North End, West End, Beacon Hill and Greater Boston neighborhoods. We could not have done this without the heartfelt par- ticipation of local commu- nity-based organizations, our elected officials, and members of our community. We kicked off this season of giving with Thanksgiving, where we distributed 130 turkeys to North End and West End families. At the Thanksgiving Day Celebra- tion at the NSC, we served a full-course turkey meal to over a hundred people and were delighted to have a visit from President/ CEO of ABCD, John Drew, who greeted the participants with sincere expressions of support and best wishes. December has been a month filled with celebra- tions and providing a joyous holiday to the families we serve through several pro- grams to bring gifts and ne- cessities to those in need. We had the pleasant visit of the children of the North End Music and Performing Arts Center (NEMPAC) who per- formed the annual Holiday Musical Recital for the delight of the gJSC clients and staff. The new ABCD program "Adopt a Family" was a tre- mendous success, allowing us to obtain substantial relief to more than a half- dozen families with toys, food, household items and vouchers for essentials. The sponsors of the "Adopt a Fam- ily" included companies and organizations such as Sperry Top-Sider, the local Coast Guard, Strada Apartments, and private donors. On the morning of December 23 rd three divisions of the Coast Guard came to the NE/WE NSC with their families to personally hand out the gifts from the wish list that the families had presented. One of the gifts was a laptop computer for a young mother of two children who is study- ing to get her accounting degree at Bunker Hill Com- munity College. In addition, we gave out dozens of toys as part of our annual ABCD toy drive. My most profound thanks go to all who contributed to making all these events successful and memorable, especially at this time of the year. The connections made through these events will allow us to identify and assist the needs of the communities that we serve and connect families and seniors to other resources, including basic needs as- sistance and recreational activities. I want to express special gratitude to the volunteers of the ABCD North End/West End Neighborhood Service Center, without whose tire- less and selfless hard work make it possible for the NSC to operate. We will continue our work of contributing to reducing and eliminating poverty in our neighborhoods. Thank you for being a part of our work and our mission[ Happy New Year and All the Best in 2015, Maria Stella Gulla Director Representative Aaron Michlewitz with seniors. 978-453-7484 3cd www.frankzarbam Ad Here For information about advertising in the Post-Gazette, call 617-227-8929. THOUGHTS BY DAN ABOUT THIS & THAT with Daniel A. DiCenso THE HISTORY OF ANIMATION: The Crazy World of Tex Avery Droopy If there is one name that captures the essence of the Golden Age of animation in all of its anarchic glory, from the wacky violation of phys- ics to the stylized violence to the rapid fire gags it belongs to the man who started at Warner Bros., left after a dispute with the studio boss, and became a legend at M-G-M cartoon studio. Tex Avery essentially monopo- lized his adoptive studio's cartoon shorts outside of the Tom & Jerry and Barney Bear series. His most popular reoccur- ring creation was Droopy, the dreary sad-eyed pup that, like the Road Runner, could not be brought down, usually by a bullying mastiff (who became a minor cartoon star in his own right, notably in the classic The Magical Mae- stro). The Droopy cartoons revolved around one joke, Droopy was an infallible pro- tagonist that always defeated his enemy without doing very much, almost as if he carried some invisible pro- tective shield be it to the Canadian north in Northwest Hounded Police to the Wild West in The Shooting of Dan McGoo to the countryside of jolly old England in Out- Foxed. Screwy Squirrel, Avery's other cartoon star, proved less enduring in the long run, but in the 40s he was the embodiment of Avery's cartoon anarchy in such classics as The Screwy Tru- ant and Lonesome Lenny. It's a pity Screwy Squirrel is not better remembered as the extent of cartoon lunacy in his cartoons rank them among the very best of the period. But Avery's best work was largely based on one-hit won- ders, albeit with the use of many recognizable faces. In- terestingly, his best work involved cats, especially the masterpiece The Cat That Hated People (1948), about a cantankerous feline that becomes fed up with life on Earth and takes off for the moon, only to find that it's just as nerve-wrecking. A similar looking cat appears in The Ventriloquist Cat (1950) and in my personal favorite Tex Avery cartoon The Cuckoo Clock (1950), a surprisingly smart spoof of Poe about a tortured cat driven to murder (if that's what you call a feline eating a bird) by a zany cuckoo- clock bird. Among Avery's other stars were George and Junior, the tiny short tempered bear and his overgrown oafish son who started out as Henpecked Hoboes in 1946 but then tried and failed at a number of different jobs such as Hound Hunters and Red Hot Rangers. Probably, however, Avery's work is best symbolized by the flashy lecherous Holly- wood wolf ( a variation of which was first seen in Avery's nominated WWII cartoon The Blitz WolJ). This city slicker dressed in a zoot suit was both a product of Avery's complete and blessed disregard for the physics of the real world (his eyes would famous pop right out of his head at the sight of a pretty girl) and the sug- gestive edge in his work, completely shattering the myth of cartoons as kid's stuff with Swing Shift Cinder- ella and Red Hot Riding Hood. And then, of course, there was Tex Avery's specialty, the miscellaneous classics spoofing a particular subject such as Batty Baseball, a spin of old myths or fables as in The Slap Happy Lion, and the softer approach of Little "Tinker. As the '50s carried on and Americans made their way to the suburbs, Avery's work began reflecting the na- tional shift. His new titles spoofed contemporary Amer= ican life with The House of Tomorrow (1949), T.V. of Tomorrow (1953), Farm of Tomorrow (1954), and Field and Scream (1955). There isn't an easy way to categorize the work of Tex Avery, one of the most pro- lific animators of the classic era. He spoofed literature, modern life, and even me- chanics with Little Johnny Jet and One Cab Family, and brought Droopy to the world. Perhaps the surest thing to say about Tex Avery is that classic animation would never have reached its most anarchic potential without him. D m ,on t Adve00ise: Post-Gazette, call 617-227-8929.