|8:00PM||Doors Open and Reception courtesy of Red Stripe and Tito's Vodka|
Between Myrtle and Park Ave, South of the BQE
143 Waverly Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11205
G to Clinton/Washington
A harried New York mother struggling as an artist searches for a happy (if slightly unhinged) hybrid of the two. In her debut feature, Shannon Plumb’s charming Chaplin-like characters light up the screen with visual playfulness.
Towheads (Shannon Plumb | Brooklyn, NY | 86 min.)
Pink slippers on her feet, fuzzy snake in her hand, Penelope counts the minutes till she needs to collect her kids from school, her adventure for the day. The mission is fraught with challenges, navigating traffic, litter and blue vagabonds. She handles the journey with a lively focus and comedic flair, but her energy is sapped. After quelling a food fight between the little “animals,” it’s all she can do to stay awake for her unseen husband who comes home late buzzing about his busy day and making passive aggressive comments about the lack of milk.
Writer / director / star of the film Shannon Plumb is playing the antithesis of the Brooklyn “Power Mom,” the woman who easily juggles career and motherhood, homemaker and artist. Instead, Plumb’s Penelope struggles to make sandwiches and make art, to fulfill her duties but also find creative outlets. Her failings are cleverly marked by constantly building, interconnected strings of physical humor: from the broken umbrella to the chain on the jacket to the couture wedding cake dress... The house around her is falling into disarray, but when a mirror tumbles, that’s just a sign your outfit is fine. After bizarre attempts to perform new characters result in strangely successful results outside the home but unfulfilling results at home (from pole dancing to toilet plunging in one afternoon), Penelope gives in fully to a second childhood. Her kids think she’s a fun (though inscrutable) new playmate, but her husband tells her to come back to “the real world.” The “real world” isn’t what Penelope needs.
Towheads is clearly addressing a challenge faced by many modern women, here made intimate by the fact that Plumb (acclaimed as an artist who performs as slightly askew characters in her videos) continues and extends the arm’s-length-introspection of her work by bringing her real children in to give adorable and charming performances as the blond-mopped trouble makers of the title. The film, therefore, is a self-reflective journey and a triumphant achievement, treated with an understated humor and dashing charm that belies the depth of the emotions. It’s clear Plumb’s Penelope loves her kids and loves her art, and here she’s wrapped them up in a bundle and shared them with the world.
- Mark Elijah Rosenberg
Whale Belly was formed by Todd Bogin and Nick Smeraski in 2010. What started as two friends' experimentations in songwriting and recording has turned into a debut album called ...The Smile at the End of the Slope, an intense, raw mix of determined folky-blues-rock which has been receiving enormous praise. In their short existence, Whale Belly has toured as a supporting act for nationally-known bands, been featured on various radio stations, and gained a cult following around Brooklyn with fun and rollicking live shows.