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Martha Colburn, “Western Wild…or how I found wanderlust and met Old Shatterhand” (2017) (all images courtesy the artist)

Martha Colburn uses myriad analog and lo-fi techniques including stop motion, puppetry, collage, and found footage to create her boisterous and frenetic animated films. Emerging from Baltimore’s experimental art and music scene in the mid-90s, Colburn’s early films reflected a gritty, trashy DIY sensibility that also characterized zine culture and underground music of the period. Music has played an important part in her work, and she has collaborated with or made videos for such influential musical artists as Jad Fair, Deefhoof, Daniel Johnston, and Ian Svenonius. She has also brought her singular vision to explore a wide range of themes, from environmental degradation to the sex lives of animals, all with her signature satirical surrealism.

Martha Colburn, “Myth Labs” (2008)

This Friday, the Echo Park Film Center will host I Can’t Keep Up with Martha Colburn!, a retrospective featuring over 20 years of her short films. Organized by Los Angeles Filmforum, the program includes early works like “What’s On?” (1997) a hand-painted critique of the evils of television, and “Cats Amore” (2000), a humorous celebration of feline exhibitionists, to more recent socio-political films like 2008’s “Myth Labs” about the meth epidemic, and “Stand with Standing Rock” (2016), produced in support of the Standing Rock protesters. Also included will be her latest film, “Western Wild…or how I found Wanderlust and met Old Shatterhand” (2017), an animated documentary about German author Karl May, whose wildly popular turn-of-the-last-century tales of the American West serve as a vehicle to explore her own Appalachian heritage.

When: Friday, February 8, 8pm (tickets: $10 general; $6 for students/seniors; free for Filmforum members)
Where: Echo Park Film Center (1200 N. Alvarado St., Echo Park, Los Angeles)

More info at Los Angeles Filmforum.

Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he is a frequent contributor to Daily Serving, and Glasstire.