Saturday, June 10

Boy Scouts of America Memorial Fountain

Be prepared.
This came to me way of Papa SixSider. This seems, um, inappropriate, at least in the context of the Boy Scouts stance on homosexuality.

Not that there is anything weird about a naked man standing over a Boy Scout.

The Patriots at P.S. 122

I want to write a review of this show, but I am not sure were to start. But in case anyone is planning to go see it tonight, I thought it was my duty to post something. So here is the letter I sent to P.S. 122 about the show The Patriots.

After seeing Schoolhouse Roxx's The Patriot on Friday night, I myself fill with questions. That is of course what great theater does. I am hoping perhaps you can help me with them or at least forward them to Adam Dugas.

-What sort of criteria does P.S. 122 use to book shows? I can imagine that The Patriots looked interesting when it was a one sentence idea scribbled on a cocktail napkin.

-How much lead time did this show have before opening? Three days? A week? I am assuming it was not more than that. But I am very curious how the company puts together a show so quickly.

-How much money (if any) did P.S. 122 spend on this production? It appears to have gone to flag purchase, which is wise as the flags can be used in the future. 4th of July is coming up!

-How do you set prices for performances? $15 for 45 minutes seems a little steep, but since I was relieved when it was over, I understand that these things are hard to balance.

-I absolutely loved the idea of drawing the entire text from historical documents and records (honestly, I do). I am curious as to the decision to use so few sources. It seemed to me that the Gettysburg Address, Washington's inaugural speech, the Day of Infamy speech, our declaration of war into World War 1, any of a hundred Vietnam era speeches, etc etc, would have fit well in with that idea. But as it appears that it was difficult to creatively use the pieces that were used, perhaps other less obvious choices would be too much to ask. It also would have made the show longer which might have caused the audience discomfort.

-I have no questions about the band as they were quite talented.

-Were the songs drawn from historical documents? I mean beyond the ones that were old chestnuts. It was hard to tell as the lyrics were so simplistic that they may have come from just about anything. Say like a cocktail napkin.

-Was the show supposed to be campy? Or serious? Or both? I am unclear as it didn't seem to achieve either. For example, I couldn't decide if the smoke machine was being used in jest or because it just happened to be lying around.

-I like that the show's message was about as deep as an inflatable kiddie pool. This made the show easy to digest as its viewpoint has been stated simpler and clearer in a thousand other places. Once I got the show's point (after about five minute) I didn't have to pay attention anymore. Bravo!

-The idea to "borrow" the Rumsfeld poetry... ( ) ...was that a commentary on America's consumer culture where ideas are perpetually repackaged... or was the show running short (at 35 minutes) and was used to fill the show to a robust 45 minutes?

I still have a hundred other questions. Thank you for putting on a show that made me think so much in so little time for $1.66 for every 5 minutes. Looking forward to a response,

I want to restate that the band was very good.

UPDATE: P.S. 122 sent me a very nice response. They are good people.

Thursday, June 8


On Tuesday I hit another one of Freddy's Bar & Backroom's fantastic nights: Diorama Lodge! And it was, as is to be expected, fantastic. My friend Emily (who could be heard of This American Life a few weeks back... how much does that rock? a lot, is how much). She has a diorama team. Very intimidating. But I was pleased with my first time efforts. Sadly I didn't bring a camera. I thought about it, but couldn't find my flashcard as I was trying to get out the door. I did leave my diorama at Freddy's, so if no one has taken it home yet it should still be there. The Fall of Lucifer (the theme was of course 666). I had good composition, but I realize the was to make a trully great diorama is to think outside the box... as it were.

Anywhozits, I have a big ol' blister from the glue gun. No jokes about me and glue guns, please. I am still traumatized.

Monday, June 5

Mentos & Diet Coke

Mentos and Diet Coke react strongly with each other. Not sure of the science. Probably involves pH balances and half-lives and elves. But that isn't important. What is important is that you get a crap load of it and two guys in lab coats, you can create art. Or at least of backyard version of the Bellagio fountain.

Yes and Stephen Colbert

Colbert gave the commencement address at Knox College. Good all around but he ends will a bit of life lesson that I am trying to live by lately. And, yes, it relates to improv.

"But you seem nice enough, so I’ll try to give you some advice. First of all, when you go to apply for your first job, don’t wear these robes. Medieval garb does not instill confidence in future employers—unless you’re applying to be a scrivener. And if someone does offer you a job, say yes. You can always quit later. Then at least you’ll be one of the unemployed as opposed to one of the never-employed. Nothing looks worse on a resume than nothing.

So, say “yes.” In fact, say “yes” as often as you can. When I was starting out in Chicago, doing improvisational theatre with Second City and other places, there was really only one rule I was taught about improv. That was, “yes-and.” In this case, “yes-and” is a verb. To “yes-and.” I yes-and, you yes-and, he, she or it yes-ands. And yes-anding means that when you go onstage to improvise a scene with no script, you have no idea what’s going to happen, maybe with someone you’ve never met before. To build a scene, you have to accept. To build anything onstage, you have to accept what the other improviser initiates on stage. They say you’re doctors—you’re doctors. And then, you add to that: We’re doctors and we’re trapped in an ice cave. That’s the “-and.” And then hopefully they “yes-and” you back. You have to keep your eyes open when you do this. You have to be aware of what the other performer is offering you, so that you can agree and add to it. And through these agreements, you can improvise a scene or a one-act play. And because, by following each other’s lead, neither of you are really in control. It’s more of a mutual discovery than a solo adventure. What happens in a scene is often as much a surprise to you as it is to the audience.

Well, you are about to start the greatest improvisation of all. With no script. No idea what’s going to happen, often with people and places you have never seen before. And you are not in control. So say “yes.” And if you’re lucky, you’ll find people who will say “yes” back.

Now will saying “yes” get you in trouble at times? Will saying “yes” lead you to doing some foolish things? Yes it will. But don’t be afraid to be a fool. Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying “yes” begins things. Saying “yes” is how things grow. Saying “yes” leads to knowledge. “Yes” is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say “yes.”

And that’s The Word."

(Originally pointed out by bourbonsoul)

Sunday, June 4

Project Improviser: The Last Update

Well, I didn't make the cut, but that was no surprise seeing the talent that was there. I was definitely out of my league. But it was good fun. It should be an entertaining show. The first episode should be up sometime between the 12th and 16th (they are aiming for the 12th). There may be some of me in there (although there were 22 people trying out so I probably won't get a lot of air time.

Anyway, I thought my scenes went well, but our games were a little lost. We weren't really going anywhere.

It was all good, but I do have that post audition exhaustion right now.