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Western Civilization is an animation adaptation based on a poem by the same name written by Peter Jay Shippy. It was one of many short films to debut at the 2014 Motionpoems premier and was selected as a vimeo staff pick that same year.

Produced By

Todd Boss

Egg Creative

Jennifer David

Directed by

Alicia Allen

Stills & GIFS from the film

Behind the scenes and making of content

FULL Credits

Directed by

Alicia (Reece) Allen

Executive producers

Todd Boss

Egg Creative

Jennifer David

Title Design

Emory Allen

Additional Animation

Val Lockhart

Make up

Ashley Burke

Production Support

Susan Duncan


Based on the poem
'Western Civilization' by

Peter Jay Shippy

Lucas took one of those trips
That Americans of a certain rage

Must take—to find themselves.
In Utah Lucas found himself marooned

In the wilderness, 50 miles
From society, covered in flop sweat

And Cheetos dust, perched on the roof
Of his teenaged Pinto as it neighed

A swan song. His cowed cell phone crowed:
Out of range, where seldom is heard

A word. Should he hike back to Moab?
Should he wait for his satellite  

To synch or should he scream like Job
And curse the day he was born? 

To keep awake he stared at the sun
And sneezed. After a week, he came to

Believe that snakelets were zagzigging
From his brain to his heart so that

He felt what he thought. That was enough
To move Lucas from hood to the earth.

He mimed building a fire and cooking
A can of beans. At dusk, Li Po,  


Came down from the foothills, looking
For Keith Moon. Lucas offered regrets  

And faux joe. They discussed The Who.
“’Substitute’ is their best song,” Lucas said.  

The poet disagreed: “‘Magic Bus’—
The version on Live at Leeds.”  

From the arroyo Steve-the-saguaro
Plucked his mesquite ukulele  

As he sang, “Thank My Lucky Stars
I’m a Black Hole.”Lucas joined on  

The chorus and Li Po shadow waltzed.
Later, over spirits, Li Po cupped  

His ear and whispered, “Do you hear
The hoo-hah of hoof beats? The great herd  

Is here to lead Old Paint to that
Better place ‘where the graceful whooper  

Goes gliding along like a handmaid
In a blissful dream.’ Lo siento.”  

Then Lucas submitted to gravity.
When the highway patrol found him  

He looked like a dried peach. They emptied
Their canteens over his face until  

His skin sprung back, like a Colt pistol,
To the lifelike. On the bus ride home  

Lucas slapped himself silly, chanting:
I want it, I want it, I want it . . .