Jun 222010
Authors: Matt Miller

A stick figure sits in a café. She is reading a sappy romance novel, but only to annoy the pretentious customers around her — hilarity ensues. 

This is one of the moments of genius in Parker St., a half hour of almost animated, stick-figure, storyboarded shorts that were born in the mind of CSU alumnus Noah Besser, 34.

 The series, which is shown at the Lyric Cinema Café every other Thursday, combines crude drawings and inspired comedic commentary into an experience like never before.  For Besser, Parker St. was just a way to share his art; for others it’s a half-hour of pure enjoyment.

 “I don’t have thousands of dollars to make a big Hollywood movie,” Besser said.  “Parker St. is a way to get ideas out of my head and share them with people.” 

In late 2008 Besser began premiering his show at the Lyric on Mountain Avenue, where he works.

 Besser graduated from CSU in 1999 with a degree in Art. All work done to create Parker St. is by Besser alone, with the exception of the music that he gets from his friend FR Hilbun in Chicago.

 “It’s quite a bit of work for something that looks thrown together,” Besser said. Each episode has about 500 drawings and can take upward of 80 hours to create.

 “The biggest challenge is life getting in the way when Parker St. is so time consuming,” Besser said. “I’m balancing marketing and actually doing the show.”

 The show was inspired by NPR radio personality Joe Frank, who is a great storyteller, Besser said. 
Besser originally made the show for public access and has hopes late-night TV will pick it up.  People will just be flipping around late at night and be drawn in, Besser said.

 “It’s a collection of music, images and stories,” Besser said. “The last part of the creative process is for people to see it and put it together.”

 The independent show, like many independent films, is not something that may appeal to everyone, but Parker St. attendance has been steadily growing. The show, which is now on episode eight, draws more and more people every week.

 “The feedback I have gotten has been really positive,” Besser said. “People keep coming back and bringing friends.”

 The style of Parker St. may not be something that fans are used to, but they are drawn in by its creativity. 

“I feel like what I’m doing is a little retroactive,” Besser said. “It takes more time and involvement to watch.” 

He added that many cartoons these days are fast paced and made for the Internet.  His show is slower and requires more thought.

The show provides a feel that is laid back and approachable for everyone. It’s something that’s different, but at the same time intriguing and comical.

 “I want them to enjoy themselves and hear a good story,” he said. “Not something over their head and snobby, but also not dumbed down and for the masses.”

 Since it’s premier, Parker St. has gathered a series of dedicated fans, and new fans alike.

 “Parker St. is not like anything else I’ve ever seen,” said Scott Mowery, 42, who has seen every episode. “It’s one of the most innovative and funny things I’ve seen in a long time.”

Mowery, who is a fan of animated film, began watching the show online by suggestion of a friend. “I wanted to see something new,” he said.

 After watching a few episodes online, Mowery was instantly hooked and started going to the Lyric to watch them on the big screen.

 “You think you are looking at still pictures, but it has a fluidity to it,” Mowery said.
Mowery, like Besser, has watched the attendance at Parker St. steadily grow as the weeks go by.

 “It’s interesting to see who is coming and how they got there,” Mowery said.  “I think there is something in each episode for everyone.”

 Mikhail Twarogowski, a junior CSU graphic design student, heard about Parker St. much like Mowery did and has seen every episode at the Lyric.

 “It’s like someone sitting down and telling you a story,” Twarogowski said. “It’s not quite a comic, not quite a cartoon and not quite spoken word, but the best of them all.”

In the weeks he has been watching Parker St. he has seen attendance bolster with all types of people of all ages.

 Parker St. shows every other Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at The Lyric Cinema Café, 300 E. Mountain Ave. in Old Town. Admission is $2.

Entertainment Beat Reporter Matt Miller can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:12 pm

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