|7:00 PM||Live Music by Shenandoah and the Night|
|8:30 PM||Film Begins|
on the grass along the water
Long Island City
3134 Vernon Boulevard, Long Island City, NY 11106
Take the N or W train to the Broadway stop in Queens and walk eight blocks west on Broadway (toward the East River) to the intersection of Vernon Boulevard.
In this gutsy and sidesplitting self-examination, conflicted ventriloquist Nina Conti takes the bereaved puppets of her mentor on a pilgrimage to the resting place for deceased performers’ puppets. Nina and “Monkey” will appear live!
Filmmaker Nina Conti will be in attendance for a Q and A following the screening.
Her Master's Voice (Nina Conti | USA | 60 min.)
You may think of ventriloquism as a stale vaudeville art: wooden dummies and even more wooden jokes. But Her Master’s Voice is not your grandfather’s ventriloquism. Nina Conti’s act is more off-broadway avant garde than Catskills comedian. Her intelligent (and hilarious) performances offer a kind of meta-theater examination of personality, humanity and reality—from the perspective of a fuzzy hand-sized monkey.
Conti had taken up ventriloquism years earlier as a means of creative expression that opened up strong new aspects of her personality. As the prodigy of legendary British theater instructor Ken Campbell, Conti became one of the leading lights of a modern ventriloquist movement. Though now, after years with her simple but charmingly outspoken puppet Monkey by her side, Conti is on the verge of giving up her career. But when Campbell dies and bequeaths to Conti his collection of puppets—including one eerily bearing his own bushy eyebrows and beaked nose—Nina is forced to reconcile her art form and her sense of self.
Amongst droves of other ventriloquists, the impressive array of clever puppets, vocal feats and behind-the-scenes tricks is endlessly entertaining. But the film is driven by Conti’s astonishing introspection, split among the several personalities of her puppets. Her conversations with her furry little alter-ego are startling for their honesty, as things Monkey says genuinely make Nina laugh and cry. Monkey even reveals intimate facts about Ken and Nina that the supposed puppet-master might rather have kept secret. The serious soul-searching and borderline tragedy is balanced by the droll absurdity of the adorable puppets, and in the end Conti’s personal journey and the resulting routine are charming and fascinating, giving voice to the inner life of a daring and unique artist in a story that will delight kids and adults.
- Mark Elijah Rosenberg
Sacha the Bear (Henri Desaunay | France | 12 min.)
A bear finds refuge from a hunter by a pretty girl who lives in the woods. This fun and well-crafted film utilizes archetypal fairytale characters, but their well-ordered world lapses into confusion, as the naïve girl starts acting like a seductive woman, the lord starts acting like a beast, and the beast seems surprisingly human.
Burt Talks to the Bees (Isabella Rossellini | USA | 2 min.)
Meet the bees—the queen, the workers and the drones—in this wonderfully fantastic and wildly educational series of short films created by Isabella Rossellini, actress, director and uncanny Burt impersonator. Once you meet them, you’ll want to save them too. Visit www.wildforbees.com to see how.
Shenandoah and the Night
Shenandoah Ableman has the rare ability to turn any genre into a voluptuous experience. Comfortable singing in front of styles ranging from German cabaret to doo wop, her quintetShenandoah and the Night are bringing sexy back... one sultry style at a time. The band's new self-titled debut EP showcases this sensuality with deep confidence through a series of songs steeped in the tradition of American folk, but featuring a very un-American, almost overwhelming, nostalgic power - in the most literal and decadent definition of "romanticism". These songs ("So Fine" and "All The Beautiful Ladies" deserve a honorable mention) make us flirt with "dangerous" thoughts like the fragility of love, the desire for the lost past, the unreachability of perfect happiness, our vain but primary quest for beauty. They might not make us jump or feel happy - but the do make us feel alive. Can you afford to ignore it?