Roof and Courtyard
220 36th Street, Brooklyn, New York, 11232
Take the D, N, or R trains to 36th Street
|8:30PM||Live performance by Maddelynn Hatter and Pusse Couture|
|10:45PM||Q&A with filmmaker David McMahon and subjects|
|11:30PM||Live performance by cast members of "Skanks in a One Horse Town" and after party sponsored by New Amsterdam Spirits|
Skanks (David McMahon | 84 min.)
When men playfully model baby bottle nipples taped to their chest (in order to give the appearance of “tiny little titties dried up from drug use”) and dance to a song that goes, “get into the groove...stick it up your duke” you know this isn’t your average behind the scenes film. Skanks, a one-of-a-kind documentary, follows a wildly talented and highly inappropriate band of misfits as they rehearse for a drag musical entitled, “Skanks in a One Horse Town.”
Their venue is “Theatre Downtown,” a small community theater and a haven from football, Christianity, and the town’s conservative beliefs, stuffed inside an old antique store in bible-belt Birmingham, Alabama. Though their city is often unwelcoming, the cast bonds to form a family of sorts and never lose their raucous sense of humor.
The musical itself is about three women, played by men, who accidentally travel from 1978 Studio 54 to 1878 Deep Hole Texas via a disco ball time machine. Along with fellow time travelers Anita Bryant, Conway Twitty, and Meatloaf, the skanks must stop a local baron from demolishing the town to make room for the new railroad before they return to 1978 and New York City.
As uproarious and ribald as the musical is, the onstage histrionics in Skanks might be overshadowed by the real lives of the amateur performers, especially the writer, producer and director of the play Billy Ray Brewton’s seriously concerning addiction to soda. Director David McMahon takes us on an intimate and wildly hilarious journey into the world of Theatre Downtown, inviting us behind the scenes of the show and also into the unique cast and crew’s homes. Ultimately, Skanks is about the redemptive power of theatre. As one of the actors says, “When I’m on stage, and the audience is right there… it’s bliss.”
- Jeffrey Bowers