Some events are doomed from the start. It is not really anyone’s fault but a culmination of events that simply take the excitement out of what could have been a truly momentous night. That was certainly the case at ‘MTV’s Liquid Television’ event this Friday night at the Regent Showcase Theater (part of the Los Angeles Animation Festival).
A part of the Los Angeles Animation Festival, the night was created to pay tribute to the avant-garde visionaries that created Liquid Television, a popular program on MTV in the early 90’s. In its prime, the show aired groundbreaking animation like Aeon Flux, Beavis & Butthead and others that would go on to define a generation.
Knowing that, it was surprising to see the lack of effort put into the night. With a special presentation of the movie Iron Giant happening beforehand, there was bound to be some overlap in festivities but the Q&A went so long it nearly cancelled out MTV’s event. By the time MTV’s festivities actually started, it was well after 11 p.m., nearly an hour and a half late.
Once the presentations started, the mood changed entirely. A good mix of Liquid Television’s best work, both new and old, brought nostalgic cheer back into the audience. Many in the audience had grown up on the twisted shorts created by the station, so having the opportunity to see things like Mike Judge’s original ‘Milton’ animation, the inspiration for the movie Office Space, was a once in a lifetime experience.
It was an entirely flawless experience. More than once, the digital projector jammed and ended up ruining whatever short was currently on screen. At one point, the projector itself busted and the entire screen went black for more than a couple of minutes, making the crowd extremely restless.
Time was not on their side either. Once the presentation finished, it was just after midnight and there were still two more things to get through before the party could begin. Opening up the bar and providing the audience with free beer was a bit of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it made everyone much happier about the situation. On the other, no one really seemed to care about the panel going on at the same time with the animators.
The animators themselves didn’t seem to be making things any easier. The Regent is a great place to show movies- the screen is big and it is beautiful on the inside. Unfortunately, when it comes to having interactive panels, it is next to impossible to hear the speaker without the use of a microphone. Many of the animators seemed to be having their own personal conversations on stage and more or less forgot about the microphones. The result was a sporadic question and answer session that only the people in the first five rows heard.
What started out as a relatively full audience had been nearly cut in half by the time the band came on. You could feel people’s energy drain throughout the room as they realized that not only did they have to sit through a full set from a band but there was also a comedy act on after them before the party, one of the main attractions of the night, could even begin. As the minutes ticked by, more and more people seemed to lose their patience and leave. This was hardly the fault of the band or anyone else on stage. They were doing their best with what they were working with, but by having the event start so late, a new plan should have been made and wasn’t. The entire momentum of the night was lost.
Liquid Television deserves far more respect than it received at the festival. The station played an integral role in shaping Generation-X and, with a new wave of shows on the way, it is hoped to shape a whole new generation. While the night did not go as planned, at least fans were able to get an up close and personal taste of a truly revolutionary moment in time.
Visit, for more information on the Los Angeles Anination Festival.