Saturday, July 5, 2008

The Oregon Trail

July 12-13 & July 19-20
Hollywood Theatre
4122 NE Sandy Blvd.
Q and A with Naomi after screenings

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Michigan - Talk to the Hand

TWISTED screened at The Michigan Theater this weekend. Our biggest venue so far, the theater had 1700 seats, though we kept a few empty (ok - at least a few). As usual, we were really pleased with the response from the audience. Ann Arbor is, as Michiganders would have you know, approximately in the palm of the hand. Of course, Michigan is not a hand, it is a state. But that doesn't stop those meshugenna Michiganders from insisting otherwise.

We were originally supposed to have a screening earlier in the week, but the theater had a problem with our screener and never told us until a few hours before the show. We tried everything, to no avail. We thought we'd finally figured it out when our DVD distributor sent a digital file of the film. But a thunderstorm at the theater knocked out the power and let us know that the universe simply did not want us to play that night. We're sorry to those who showed up on Thursday - especially to the wonderful local twisters who worked hard to create sculptures at the theater. But we were happy to find the sculptures still in good shape for the weekend and we were appreciative to the twisters who came back to support the film.

All was well by Saturday, and Sara made a quick trip to Ann Arbor to do Q and A. Host/ former Eliot resident Lauren put up fliers around town and several people we met that morning had already heard about the screening. We were mentioned in some local papers and a few people heard about us on the radio and on The Today Show. One guy at the theater told us that his friend is a DJ who mentioned the film. A few callers complained that the film was filthy. If only they complained on air, perhaps we could have filled all 1700 seats. We don't know if the callers have seen the movie or just read about it, but we continue to be surprised by the attention given to adult balloons, such a small part of the film.

The rest of the weekend was spent eating (Lauren is a baker at the world-famous Zingermans - which is seen below with a balloon dog by the always busy cash register) and getting a quick tour of Ann Arbor.

On Saturday night, we went to Top Of The Park, an outdoor music fest and twisted all of the remaining balloons from that day's screening. Lauren had never twisted before, but made balloon dogs for kids like a champ. She sported the balloon dog T all weekend, though wisely chose to cover it up at home, so her bird would not decorate it.

Thanks to all those who made it out to the screenings. As has been the case in every city, it was great to see friends from childhood and college, and random people we've met along the way, at the screenings.


Last week was probably the busiest and most exciting week for TWISTED since South By Southwest. Naomi came to town on Wednesday night and on Thursday we went to NPR to do a piece for The Bryant Park Project.

It was the first time we were ever in the same room for a radio interview, since we're usually on a 3-way phone call. It was fun to be in the studio, despite Sara being a bit loopy from cold meds. Naomi made "NPR" out of balloons and we filmed a segment on their 19th floor "balcony" (read: ledge that you must climb out a window to reach), a direct violation of Sara's personal pledge to never be in high, scary places. Since we did not die a free-fall death, Sara considered it a success. As we made our balloon dogs for the camera, Naomi's balloon popped (as balloons sometimes do) and a curse-word slipped out, to the delight of the producers, who chose to keep it in the final piece.

That night we met up with our great street team to place fliers and balloon dogs all over the East Village. This would later come back to bite us, as it turns out the city of NY frowns on public postings, rewarding us with a $75 ticket (TWISTED's first run in with The Man). It was all worth it, to see our sweet balloon lady finally taste the joy of public transportation.

We also continued our tradition of Balloons On Parade, placing sculptures in various locations throughout the city.

On Friday, we did The Today Show where we achieved our life-long goal of teaching Kathie Lee Gifford how to teach a balloon dog (it was as sweet as we dreamed it to be). Kathie and Hoda couldn't have been nicer, and they loved the life-size balloon versions of themselves as well as the balloon peacock Naomi made.

As we sat down for the interview, Kathie Lee and Hoda turned to each other, "I didn't have a chance to see the movie, did you?" "No, I didn't see it." But, despite that glaring omission, the ladies managed to act like they'd seen it and loved it. The magic of TV. Sara still was not feeling well and was afraid she would throw up on Kathie Lee. Despite the fact that it would make a great viral video and do wonders for the movie, Sara selfishly decided to do her best to keep it down. The highlight of the day was when we got hair and makeup done the morning of our NY premiere. Did we mention they gave us make-up? Lots and lots. We're talking inches thick. Eww. Matt, Naomi's fiance (aka our entourage), said he didn't recognize us at first and reminisced for a time when he could see our pores.

The premiere was wonderful and kicked off a fantastic run. Friends and family came out to support us and lots of blogs covered the run. On opening night, there were faces familiar and new, and all of the responses were just great. Sheree Brown-Rosner joined us for the Q and A, with her bird puppet on her arm the whole time. It was a great way to start off NY.

Each day provided a new surprise. One night, a woman named Roberta walked in. Matt, one of the guys who worked at the theater, became excited and told us that she was the star of a documentary called "Cinemania". She travels around the city watching movies full-time, and we were told that it was a big honor if she chose your film, as she considered it to be the best thing playing that day.

Another day, Silly Billy, the most famous children's entertainer in NY showed up.

At another screening, an adult balloon twister we'd never met showed up and delighted audience members with some of her special creations.

One night, we saw two women leaving the theater with balloons and asked if they liked the movie. "No, it sucked." Oh really? "Yeah it was terrible." We were a bit puzzled because we were at all the Q and A's, and were surprised by their harsh response. What movie did you see? "We saw ______" (other movie playing at theater). Phew.

We were lucky to have both of our Executive Producers, Lauren Versel and Nick "The Balloonatic" Rotondo attend screenings in NY. Nick made balloons for everyone, including Isabel, one of the staff members at the theater. Isabel wouldn't take off her balloon outfit all night and vowed to learn balloons. She was especially thrilled to have balloon cigarettes, which she temporarily lost when she put one in her real cigarette box by accident.

Thanks so much to everyone for all of the love and support. We absolutely felt it. And thank you to Lee and the wonderful staff at The Pioneer Theater. If you live in New York, SUPPORT THIS THEATER. It is really one of the last truly indie theaters around in NY. Even though we did not have a distributor, they took a risk on our film, and we are so appreciative and glad that it worked out well for everyone.

(drawing done by subway artist who captured us on the way to a screening)

Opening Night in NYC

Thanks to Herschel Rosner for the great photos of opening night in NY!