So far, Carson Mell is just that guy whose clever, weird, hilarious, rude, richly literary short animated films have been justification enough for your subscription to Wholphin, the McSweeney's DVD magazine.
Very soon, however, he may become a household name -- even beyond the hipster-thicketed cores of major American metropolises. He may become a cult of personality.
Mell writes with such surety of voice, and such imaginatively odd imagery, that his prose alone would beguile. But he has visions too, which add a whole other(worldly) layer of surreal, sometimes slowly creeping irony to whatever he creates.
So you'll want to see Mell and his work at the SF360 Film + Club event at Mezzanine on Thursday, August 28, if for no other reason than to later boast to your slower-uptake friends that you were there when word of his genius finally, fully broke.
Also, to possibly get a sense of what he's actually like.
Judging by the films, whose various self-examining narrators he portrays, Mell might strike you as a character from a Wes Anderson movie, quietly toiling away on meticulously imagined, probably autobiographical epic fantasies whether or not the world wants to see them.
There he is as the confessing raconteur in The Writer, who introduces himself through his observation of a rare weed on Saturn, which, when rustled by the wind, "makes a sound identical to a full grown woman having an orgasm."
"Ever heard of it?" he asks. "Neither had I, until I made it up."
And again, as the aging erstwhile rock star Bobby Bird, who has carried several short films of his own and is the hero -- if that word applies -- of Mell's new illustrated novel Saguaro: The Life & Adventures of Bobby Allen Bird.
And certainly Captain Fred T. Rogard, the astronaut protagonist in Field Notes from Dimension X, Mell's latest, must be a version of him too. And of me. And of you.
Yes, what really makes Mell's work so compelling is that, for all its singular strangeness, it can also be so universal. You'll see.
Carson Mell: Dispatches from Dimension X, Thursday, August 28, 2008 at Mezzanine in San Francisco. For tickets andinformation visit sf360.org.