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I Have a Question Priit Tender

In which Chris Robinson asks animators profound and inane questions that have little to do with animation. This week's guest is a deeply troubled Estonian person allegedly named Priit Tender

The great Priit Tender is the man behind many popular Estonian country hits including: “Hoian unustades, et ma unustasin teile” (I Keep Forgetting I Forgot About You) and “Ma olen nii õnnetu ilma sinuta. See on nagu sa oleksid siin” (I'm So Miserable Without You; It's Like Having You Here). He also made some funny cartoons (Kitchen Dimensions, House of Unconsiousness, Mont Blanc). He is also a noted tuba player.

Equipped with 26 mini bottles of Viru Valge, Mr. Tender and hooked up on the Estonian island of Saaremaa during a particularly a humid April evening.

I get the greatest pleasure from....

On days where I have no plans and start to feel restless, no matter where I
am living at the time I step out of the door and take long walks. I have no 
plan for the walks, no destination or route in mind, I just go. Having no
plans allows for the serendipitous. Maybe the sky will be a color I have
 never seen it before. Maybe a strong and freezing gust of wind will hit me
in the face and make me feel alive. Maybe I’ll see a family of deer and 
share a moment with them. One day in particular when I was taking one of 
these walks, I discovered my entire neighborhood was swarming with birds.
 The college campus I lived by at the time must have served as a rest stop
during a migration, because every tree in the 30-acre wooded area was
filled with these birds, for just that one day. There was cacophony - I
 couldn't even hear the sound of the cars passing because the calls of these
birds seemed to absorb all other noise. It was Hitchcockian, it was 
unexpected, and although I feared slightly for my life it was somehow glorious to see so many of one thing, to witness this ritual of mass 

If I could have – assuming this is your real name – a nom de plume, what would it be?

I think that to obtain a nom de plume you have to have an obtrusive
personality, and as it has been my goal so far to take up as very little
space in life as possible, I can’t think of any nickname that someone would
be inclined to give me. Sorry.

The sport I do or would like to play is...

When I was in high school I ran cross country. I was on the junior varsity
team, and by a decent margin I was the slowest member. We were the Redwood Giants, and by “giants” I mean trees - I grew up in was a well forested
coastal county, and we were so proud of the giant Redwood trees native to
our lands that we made them our mascot. I loved to run but I hated the
competition. During the meets, where we would compete against other high
schools, I always pretended I was the only one on the mountain paths we
ran. That way the steep hills, the loose and rocky ground beneath my feet,
and all the winding trails between the trees became something pleasurable
for me, rather than an obstacle. I paid no attention to all the people
passing me, and used the 6 mile runs as a time to meditate.

A (non-family member) person I idolize is....

Louise Bourgeois - one of my favorite artists of all time and an icon for
any woman who has to navigate the art world. She carved out her own space
in it, making groundbreaking work. As a woman, it is extremely difficult to
push your work past the notion that it is just “woman’s art”. Louise
managed to take charge of her own narrative while remaining somewhat
elusive to the public. Her work, which is often made from sturdy industrial
materials like steel as well as materials that are often viewed as
feminine, such as fabric and yarn - speak to an inner contradiction found
in the woman. Beneath the veneer of softness is violence and anger. The
sharp, jagged, domineering silhouette her spider sculptures create is as
just as much a part of her, a part of US, as are the woven sculptures of
the pregnant female figure. I look up to her because she has found a voice,
and speaks it without holding back.

The song that makes me tingle is....

“I’m New Here” by Bill Callahan. Not too long ago, my sister and I drove
four hours away from our home in San Rafael to a venue in North Fork called
“Bandit Town”, which was a recreational space made up to look like an old
west style town; complete with a barn, saloon, and general store. We
pitched tents outside the barn. Bill was the headliner that particular
evening, and the reason why we drove so far from home. Me and the other
members of the audience were seated cross legged on the floor, and Bill
only had an acoustic guitar to accompany him. When he started to play I
felt imbued with a feeling of true comfort, the feeling I get when I am
seated around a table with my closest friends, talking about nothing in
particular but enjoying the warmth of the atmosphere, the softness of the
light, and the simplicity of our conversation. When he played “I’m NewHere”, a subtly poetic song that to me is about feeling untethered in life,
I fell in love a little bit, maybe just for a moment where he sang the

“No matter how far wrong you’ve gone / you can always turn around / turn
around, turn around, turn around / and you may come full circle / and
be new here again”

My sister laughed at the expression on my face as I looked up at him - and
then I laughed too. Maybe it’s best not to be so captured by musicians.

The funniest thing that happened to me….

Two years ago I was in a relationship with a manipulative, narcissistic
man. The relationship was short but it made me miserable for a very long
time. Having sex with this guy was never enjoyable, but at the time I
didn’t know it and just went along with everything. One evening, things
were “heating up” between us, and before we started making love he asked if
I was still on my period, because it was around that time of month. I
didn’t think I was, so I just said “No.” We proceeded, and after about two
minutes he pulled out, making a sound of disgust. I had bled not only over
him but also all over his expensive high thread-count bedsheets. I spent
the rest of the evening in the shower scrubbing those sheets with soap. At
the time I was mortified, but in hindsight it’s quite funny because that
asshole totally deserved to get menstrual blood on him, at the very least.

Chris Robinson's picture

A well-known figure in the world of independent animation, writer, author & curator Chris Robinson is the Artistic Director of the Ottawa International Animation Festival.