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Food Party: Food as Art

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Filed under: Art Pranks, Culture Jamming and Reality Hacking

Asian Pop: Candy-coated chaos
by Jeff Yang
SF Gate
July 1, 2009

Fake cooking show with puppets in a surreal cartoon landscape? It’s IFC’s ‘Food Party.’

ba-foodparty_1_0500325366-200On a rainy, otherwise miserable day in Brooklyn, N.Y., Thu Tran is happily contemplating Jell-O.

Ever since the June 9 debut of her deliciously weird series “Food Party,” a series of hilarious 10-minute shorts that airs as part of the Independent Film Channel’s four-hour “Automat” block of music, comedy and animation (Tuesdays, 10 p.m.), Tran has been inundated with requests to participate in food-related activities. Today, she’s preparing to serve as celebrity judge for a local gelatin-mold design competition.

“We’re judging entries based on visual appeal, structural integrity and also, edibility,” she says, although she admits the last category is probably the least important of the three, which makes the event one that plays to Tran’s strengths — it’s about food as art, rather than the art of food.

Besides, as a Vietnamese American from Cleveland, Ohio, Jell-O and Jell-O analogues played a profound role in Tran’s upbringing.

“In Cleveland, Jell-O is basically the fifth food group,” says Dan Baxter, Tran’s longtime boyfriend and partner-in-crime. “Everyone eats it, even Thu’s family. We had it the last time I visited her house, although I’m not sure that was Jell-O, exactly.” (more…)