Let's Twist Again

Those of us who believe that had Beavis and Butt-Head and the South Park gang never made the scene, American culture would be worse off, not better, owe Spike & Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation a debt of gratitude. The 1999 edition of this cult-fave fest, conceived by Californians Spike Decker and Mike Gribble, is upon us again--it opens Friday, February 19, at its usual Phoenix area venue, Valley Art Theatre.

The big draw again this year is the uncensored version of Matt Stone and Trey Parker's early South Park short Spirit of Christmas; but this time it's joined by a second South Park rarity, Frosty, in which the pint-size scatologists take on an evil snowman.

Among the other nauseating, frequently tedious, but just as frequently quite entertaining works on the Spike & Mike bill are new No-Neck Joe adventures by Craig McCracken; Bob McAfee's The Secrets of Flirting; Nica Lorber's Floss; Breehn John Burns and Jason Johnson's Beyond Grandpa; Boris the Dog from Mad Dog Films; a public service announcement by Germany's Gil Aklabetz entitled How To Use a Tampon; Chris Romano's Dreamboy; Pete Metzgar's Coco, the Junkie Pimp; Brian Bress' martial-arts spoof Karate Dick Boys; Liam Hogan and Trevor Watson's Below the Belt; and Animalistic Times by Steve Margolis (of last year's memorable offering Sloaches Fun House) and Craig Valde's Stupid for Love.

Greg Ecklund and Steve Fonti's hapless hero Lloyd makes another appearance this year, in a work entitled How To Get Pronged. And somehow inevitably, the most famous White House intern in history turns up, in a film called Monica Banana.

--M. V. Moorhead

Opening screenings of Spike & Mike's Sick and Twisted Festival of Animation are at 7 and 9:30 p.m. and midnight Friday, February 19; 7 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, February 20; 4:30, 7 and 9:30 p.m. Sunday; February 21; 7 and 9:30 p.m. Monday, February 22; and the same times Tuesday, February 23; and Wednesday, February 24. The run of the adults-only fest continues daily through Thursday, March 11; Friday-only showings continue through Friday, May 7. Tickets, available at Ticketmaster and Valley Art Theatre, are $6.50. 509 South Mill in Tempe. 829-6666, 784-4444.