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Animation Weekend reveals the, er, genius of Dirk the Daring.
courtesy of John Bluth Films

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If, back in the '80s, you poured out hundreds of dollars in quarters trying to save Princess Daphne from the evil Singe in the coin-op classic "Dragon's Lair," you've likely accepted one of two lots in life: Either you're an insanely introverted geek still waiting to meet, in person, his online fiancée of three years, or you were so inspired by Dirk the Daring that you actually stopped hanging out in the arcade -- and tried your hand at the kind of animation that created the bumbling but noble knight.

If your career goals include the latter, you're in luck, because the geniuses behind "Dragon's Lair," The Secret of Nimh and Finding Nemo share their creative wisdom at the first-ever Animation Weekend, taking place this weekend at the Art Institute of Phoenix and Phoenix Art Museum. (If you're that other guy . . . uh, it's time to download yourself a new girlfriend.)

Gary Goldman and Don Bluth -- Valley residents and co-creators of "Dragon's Lair," The Secret of Nimh and An American Tail -- present a two-hour workshop on "The Art of Storyboarding," followed by a Q&A session from 2 to 4 p.m. Friday, March 26.


Animation Weekend 2004

Art Institute of Phoenix, 2233 West Dunlap, and Phoenix Art Museum, 1625 North Central.

Runs Friday, March 26, and Saturday, March 27. Two-day passes range from $35 to $125. To register or for more information, visit www.anima or call 602-678 -4300.

"We're often surprised by the number of people -- almost every day -- who tell us that they decided to get into animation because of 'Dragon's Lair,'" says Goldman, who, along with Bluth, is still trying to get a distributor to pick up the long-awaited feature film version of the groundbreaking video game.

Also on the Animation Weekend agenda is a presentation by Pixar Studios animator Dylan Brown -- "A Fish Story: The Making of Finding Nemo" -- from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 27. A special screening of the film, followed by a Q&A session with the Pixar filmmakers, closes out the weekend's events.


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