Learn more about the wacky antics of The Queen's Cartoonists!
In April I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with bandleader and pianist of The Queen’s Cartoonists Joel Pierson! The jazz ensemble will be performing on the Elm Street Event Green on July 18th as part of the Lantern Series! Playing note-for-note transcriptions of classic and contemporary cartoons alongside the original animated films, this group is full of fun that we cannot wait to experience live! It’s a completely new and entertaining environment in the world of animation. Here’s how they started incorporating different elements into their shows:
Joel: Yeah, well you know we started just playing – I was kind of just thinking Like here’s cartoons with some really fun musical numbers or whatever and let’s just, you know, transcribe those numbers and play them. But pretty soon I was like, I think this might be like a stage show, you know? Maybe we could show the cartoons, we could interact with the cartoons. And so we started just…little by little saying, Well how could we do that? You know, Are you not playing right now?
Maybe you could pick up a whistle or something if a character on stage does a whistle, you know?
And so some of these cartoons we actually recreate all the sound effects and some, you know, we’re able to leave sound effects and pull the music out and we can just play music. So every number has its own little solution. So there wasn’t a single moment where we started doing it. It was kind of like – I think the first thing we did I had this idea of playing every theme from every Star Wars movie in like three minutes. You know, just do some really fast, cra– and go through every Star Wars theme. And then I thought it’d be funny when we got to like the main Star Wars theme, which is kind of an obvious thing to play, to play it on kazoos, you know? And kind of [laughs] just subvert the expectation of– or what if someone’s listening to it, you know? So I think that was really the first thing where we were like
Hey, let’s like get off our main instruments and do something ridiculous.
And then it kind of just like, you know, [moves hand up] ‘cause then it was like Oh can we do all the laser sounds? [laughs] Or like can we do – can someone do Darth Vader sounds during the song? Could someone do this? Could someone do that? And I realized that the guys in the band were just super keen to it, like they weren’t like the pretentious jazz musicians that are like No, I went to Juilliard or whatever. I have to play the trumpet. You have to hear me play the trumpet. I have this amazing thing I have to tell you with the music. These guys are like, Yeah, sure, I’ll like whatever – solve a Rubik’s Cube, play, time an alarm clock to something that’s happening or you know, whatever.
How COVID-19 impacts The Queen's Cartoonists
The safety and health of the artists, staff, patrons, and volunteers is a top priority. Elm Street plans to continue presenting The Queen’s Cartoonists’ concert as part of the Lantern Series on July 18th while observing social distancing guidelines set out by national, state, and local authorities and encourages all patrons to take the necessary steps to protect their health. While we would love to see you at the concert in a few weeks, please stay home if you do not feel well!