Last Night Review: Twisted: A Balloonamentary

Categories: Arts

"Once you make a balloon dog, you can do anything" earnestly promised several balloon-twisting members of Twisted: A Balloonamentary on Wednesday night.

The documentary features the lives of eight, semi-pro balloon-twisting competitors, including a religious fanatic, a few shrewd entrepreneurs, a medical student and a cancer survivor. Balloonamentary follows their participation in ''The Twist and Shout,'' an international balloon-twisting convention in Cerritos, California.

The final showing is Thursday (tonight!) at the Tivoli.

The Tivoli on Wednesday was equipped with a balloon-twisting promotional booth in the lobby for moviegoers to try their hand after the show, as well as a handful of playful balloon sculptures.

Kristy Wendt
Balloon
A balloon animal butterfly.

One hour (and about four balloons) later, I’d stopped smirking at what I'd perceived to be their “you can do anything” naiveté.

It turns out that twisting a balloon into the shape of a dog, or at least their featured dog, a purple poodle-ish contraption, requires a certain sensibility (not to mention patience, diligence, a gentle touch and an enormous sense of fun).

Kristy Wendt
Capt. Hook
Captain Hook
As for twisting balloons for a living, now that takes the lunacy of love. Washington University students Naomi Greenfield and Sara Taksler lead moviegoers into a realm of real-life Napolean Dynamites who all find their groove (and their subsistence) twisting balloons into something unlikely.

To see these gloriously absurd characters prevail life's tribulations -- not just the mundane, but poverty, poor health and even death -- is to be unexpectedly reminded of life's infinite possibilities. And that's exactly the sort of thing Greenfield and Taksler say motivates them to create more.

While the 7 p.m. show Wednesday night was sparsely attended, I may have laughed long and loud enough for the whole theater.

- Kristy Wendt

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