Gary Baseman isn’t the sort of artist who has no truck with pop culture. He designed the board game Cranium and created the hit ABC cartoon series Teacher’s Pet. Characters from his cheerful menagerie, most notably the fez-wearing Toby, show up all the time in paintings, Instagram snaps, and as collectible figurines. Last year he collaborated with South African art rappers Die Antwoord to make a trippy music video featuring his creepy-cute Buckingham Warrior creation. All of that comes on the heels of 2013’s The Door is Always Open, a sizable and well-received retrospective of Baseman’s work.
For his next project, the man who recreated his childhood bedroom inside the Skirball is once again mining his history. For two years, the L.A. born and bred Baseman has been working on Mythical Creatures, a documentary that recounts the odyssey of his mother and father, both of whom survived the Holocaust. (His father was a partisan who fought the Nazis, was captured, sentenced to death, and escaped.) With the help of filmmaker and graphic novelist David Charles, Baseman plans to reimagine his parents’ story using animation, stop-motion, and theater. And he needs money to do it, which is where Kickstarter comes in.
Baseman is aiming to raise at least $75,000, significantly less than the $2 million Zach Braff raised to fund his feature, Wish I Was Here. But it’s not small change. Tonight (July 21) from 8 to 10 p.m., Baseman will kick off the fundraising campaign for Mythical Creatures at the Kibitz Room at Canter’s, where his mom worked for many years. The event, which includes a set by Moby, requires an RSVP to attend.
[UPDATE: An earlier version of this story contained inaccuracies. The story has been updated throughout.]