Earlier today, NPR officially premiered the brilliantly playful and poignant video for Shovels & Rope’s “Mary Ann and One Eyed Dan.” The stop-motion video was imagined, produced, and directed by the Business Company, a.k.a. local creative/musician Kevin Hanley, using dolls from Finkelstein’s Center, a local toy business owned by Charleston’s Michelle Jewell.
Mary Ann, a circus waitress serving up specials like candy corn on the cob and jelly bean salad, meets newspaper writer One-Eyed Dan when he orders a plate of Swedish fish. They fall in love while watching shooting stars and then get married by a furry witch-doctor. Adorable humor reigns throughout, like when the officiant asks, “Do you like her? Do you like him?” Or when a plate of circus popcorn served up at the circus diner turns a cute “lion thing” into part of the “pretty wack crowd.”
Meanwhile, the circus show goes on. Finkelstein’s Center’s dolls form a crowd to see the real circus freaks: Shovels & Rope. Camera phones in the crowd record videos as Cary Ann Hearst and Michael Trent perform. Afterward, One-Eyed Dan gets his headline, “Proof that Humans Exist,” accompanied by a photo of the sloppy-tonk twosome.
A close inspection of the multi-layered, four-minute video reveals subtleties that could only be appreciated by the Charleston community, to whom the duo and Hanley clearly wanted to give a nod to. The walls are decorated with posters of local (or one-time local) acts like She Returns From War, B. Carson (Bill Carson), Teenage Eagle, The InPaws (a cute animal version of InLaws), and Sadler V. (Sadler Vaden), while the distinctive emblem of Folly Beach bar and venue Jack of Cups is affixed to the wall, too.
Other gig-poster spotlights went to more of the pair’s pals, like Lucero, Lucius, Caroline Rose, the Felice Brothers, John Fullbright, Hurray for the Riff Raff, Hayes Carll, Jonny Fritz, and Parker Millsap.
Charlestonians who contributed include glass painter Jason Petitpain, handletterer Cara Levy, script supervisor Aldo Littlejohn, and camera assistant Anne Chandler.
Behold the awe-inspiring cuteness here or below: