Saturday, July 26


When I first moved to NYC I was shocked by how many couples you see making out in the street, in bars, on subways. Just so much public displays of affection! Why didn't these people find somewhere private?

Of course because there really isn't somewhere private. This isn't Los Angeles where you can go make-out in your car. This isn't Minneapolis where... well, where there just isn't that much displays of affection. (I kid, Minneapolis! ... sort of.) Personal private spaces just don't exist outside of folks apartments... and often not outside of one's room. Yes, everyone could hold off until they got to their apartments before they kissed, but then you are suddenly in a place where you have the option to do more than just kiss... and sometimes you just want to kiss and not go beyond. At that moment at least.

We spend a lo of time creating personal bubbles in NYC, private zones where the rest of the your is not allowed to intrude. It is entirely imaginary but it is how we survive ALWAYS being surround by other humans. That whole ignore-the-outside-chaos-while-on-the-subway thing. It's healthy (in moderation, of course).

There are are special moments when you create a bubble with someone else. Suddenly you find yourself in a very private and intense space with one other person in the middle of the masses of New York. Everything else just melts away and and it is just you and them, deep in conversation or eyes or whatever. I think New Yorkers are particularly good at this skill and it is no surprise that they can slip into the intimate right then and there.

It used to shock me. Now I see a couple kissing under a street light, in front of a stoop, on the subway, I find it sweet. Yes, sweet.

Friday, July 25

And, yet again, I sing about sex

Veal was in CageMatch at UCB last night. Damn good fun. CageMatch audiences are pretty darn good. They want to have fun. Which is slightly weird because you'd think the competition thing would undercut the fun. I think kudos should go to Charlie Todd and all of UCBW. Comedy professional wrestling, with all of it's over-the-top-ness and riling up the crowd both gets the audience excited and makes the whole competition portion of the "improv division" just that much sillier. It's a good combo. Like cheddar cheese and cracker Combos (and not like the pizza ones... those are disgusting).

I'm pretty proud of Veal. We put on a good show. I can nitpick (because it is my nature to nitpick... I love to nitpick) but won't. I am particularly proud that we did a musical harold. They're tricky, especially to get in at 25 minutes. A lot of the editing is taken out of the hands of the backline. Once a song starts, there's not a lot that can be done until the song is done... and that's up to the singers and the accompanist. You an help and support the song but the singers have to find their own end. Luckily (if done well) song naturally end on a heightened note. The audience will clap after a song and things natural edit there.

(I would never say musical improv is full of cheats – there is a whole set of skills and instincts you must learn to do it well – but by the very structure it fits naturally into a lot of the "rules" of long form improv. In fact, it has informed a lot of my non-singing improv. Heighten like a song. Get to what really matters. Find the game and play it.)

Anywhozits, we managed to do a musical harold and one I'm very happy with. I think I played to my a lot my strengths. More and more I've realized that I'm pretty good and playing games once they've been established. I love structure and patterns and finding unexpected ways to follow those patterns. I had a few last night. One was particularly meta. (I love meta when done well and it doesn't take over the show.) We had a game of an echo in a cave coming from the backline. The echo kept being more and more irregular, sometimes repeating the last word said and sometimes calling back to a line 30 seconds before. In the 2nd beat, I was about to do an echo of the chorus from the 1st beat ("jackpot") but just as I was about to do it, Doug said it. (Man, I love those moments when you and a teammate are thinking the exact same thing and they beat you to it. Often it feels better than doing it yourself.) I tossed in "Why didn't you do the dishes," echoing a scene we never saw. It was a fun heightening from the first scene. My meta move came when I called out "Can we have a suggestion of a location... location... location," calling back to before are show even started. The improvisors in the audience seemed pleased. (I love that a lot of my closest friends have distinctive laughs. When I hear them laugh I feel supported. It's nice to have people who "get you.")

I did fall back on my standard of singing about sex. Man, why is that? (Nevermind. Please don't answer that.) I ended up with the tagline "...jack me off." I feel like I found an interesting take on the subject... and an audience loves a heartfelt hand job song... but I need to broaden my topics. Not everything is a metaphor for sex. Yes, it can be but it doesn't have to be. I would say that if it was happening to me I might not sing about it as often... but I know me better than that. I think about as much if not more when it is actually happening. Perhaps I need to thing about baseball or dead puppies before I perform.

There were really only two people I wanted to impress yesterday: Veal's coach/director Stuart and my musical improv teacher Eliza. Those were the two people (beyond my fellow Veal-ies) that I was playing to. They both seemed to enjoy it so I'm glad I did well by them.

Oh, Veal lost to Death By Roo Roo, 79 to 109. That actually puts us in 6th place since it is the most votes by a team that did not actually win. We are very very unlikely to stay in 6th unless Roo Roo manages to continue winning all the way through October. But it's nice to be there for now.

(Note: If you missed Veal last night, shame on you. You'll have more opportunities. We are in the Del Close Marathon... of course our show is at 11:15am on Saturday, Aug. 9th. We will have other shows in the near future. You can also catch my 201 Musical Improv class at UCB this Sunday at 5:30pm. It should be a magical musical la ronde.)

Christopher Scott Emmett

Last night at 9:07pm (two hours before I took the stage to perform musical improv), Christopher Scott Emmett was pronounced dead. Convicted of the April 2001 killing of his co-worker (murdered him in his sleep for his wallet), Emmett was sentenced to death by lethal injection. After the standard lengthy appeals, last night it was carried out.

Why have I followed this whole thing so carefully? Because he kept popping up in my Google Alerts because I am vain and Google Alert myself.. It is a strange thing to follow almost daily the progress of your name steadily towards death by the state. Yes, he has an extra last name but still it is disturbing to read
"Christopher Scott Emmett, who had been sentenced to death for the April 2001 murder of John Fenton Langley, 43, was executed at Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, Virginia, said Department of Corrections spokesman Larry Traylor."
I don't want to go on a whole capital punishment thing here – even though go knows I've been thinking about it a lot this week. I think it is wrong, etc.. I also understand the appeal, etc.. Christopher's final appeals were based on lethal injection being cruel and inhumane. I don't know about that. Putting someone to death is pretty cruel and inhumane. Once we have decided that, yes, we are going to execute people, I am kind of the mind that you shouldn't try to sugar coat it and hide it. Seriously, how many people (who haven't listened to me talk about this for the last two weeks) knew that Virginia killed a man last night? Televise it or something. Not as specticle but as facing up to it. "So, we all voted that we are going to take a man's life. We should witness what it is like." Of course, it would become specticle. Somehow humans always turn things into The Running Man. (I've been reading about pirates and Shakespeare and the broad time period between 1500 and 1800 lately. It makes me think we are actually genetically geared towards watching reality television.)

I've been joking about this whole thing a lot in the last week. Because that's how I deal with uncomfortable topics. I think I have offended (or at least disturbed) some of my friends. I was some pleased with Christopher's last words though:
"Tell my family and friends I love them. Tell the governor he just lost my vote. You all hurry this along, I'm dying to get out of here."
Okay, not the most original material but I appreciate the effort.

Wednesday, July 23

Damn it! Rain!

I can feel the pressure in my head and joins. When did that happen? When did I become the old man in his rocker on the porch of the town's general store? Seriously, it feeling like what I imagine the bends feel like.

I thought about going to see The Dark Knight on IMAX but it is of course sold out. That's probably or the best. Too much stimulation for too long. WALL•E. That's the key. That will sooth my head.

1am Improv Quick Thoughts

Just two observations about seeing shows tonight.

The Brothers Hines is a perfect example of how much you can get from having characters with clear points of views/philosophies.

Hot Sauce is about Yes And-ing the shit out of everything. Step by step, yes and yes and.

Tuesday, July 22

"Duckie Has Leveled Up"

So Paramount is getting into the video game business. The first three games they have announced in development: Pretty In Pink, Mean Girls and Clueless.

Seriously, I should have more to add to that, but for the life of me I can't think of anything.

I would, however, have gone with Some Kind of Wonderful.

(via Variety)

Monday, July 21

The Line

Funny people, many of whom I know. That isn't name dropping. Just saying I am sometimes in awe of the talents of those around me on almost a daily basis.

Parents taunt dinosaur with tasty children

Extinct, my ASS! from The Original Joe Fisher on Vimeo

Children, be warned. When your parents say "Let's go to the museum!" they really mean "We want to give you nightmares."

(via Boing Boing)

People I've Been

My RPG post a few days back got me thinking about the characters I've played (grouped by game).

SHADOWRUN - Cyberpunk/magic and elves and such.
The Woz: This was my first ever character - She was 19 years old. And elf, with all of the elf snobbery. A "decker" which was Shadowrun's term for hacker. Fascinated with 1980's culture except she never quite got it right. Named herself after Steve Wozniak. Dressed punk/new wave. Once got into a fight with a boy in some bar, stormed outside and was assassinated by some corporation she'd ripped off.
PC: Ah, good ol' PC. Eco-terrorist dwarf. He wore tie-dyed shirts and bandannas. Preferred weapon: a gyro-stabilized chaingun. Had a schizophrenic best friend (whose name escapes me). Never died, just got sick of the death and destruction of Seattle.
Suicide Jack: Totally psychotic assassin. Used a mono-filament whip mounter in her finger (but wasn't all that good with it). Killed half her team once because it would make the money split easier.
WORLD OF DARKNESS - Our current world but with vampires, werewolves, mages, fairies, all that jazz... but in secret.
C.A.Scott: Myself as a Sabbat vampire. Sabbat vamps were the really cruel/messed up ones. During their "birth" they are buried in graves and have to dig themselves out. Apparently that screwed with me because I was kind of crazy and died in one session. Later, to fix the plot whole (see below), this turned out to not be me but some sort of weird clone experiment/art piece/joke made by another vamp.
Chris Scott: Hermetic mage. Me playing myself again. This version of me never moved to Minneapolis in 1992. Instead he just drove across country, has some weird vision of the world ending in the desert of New Mexico, and ended up in New York City. Within 24 hours he ended up trying to escape Sabbat vampires and drove his car straight into Central Park. Really pissed off the werewolves that lived there. Soon after he was taken on by a mage as an apprentice. I played this character for over six years. I managed to piss off a lot of people (in the game world). Became the reluctant leader of a bunch of teen aged mages of all types. Was accused of help a Nephandi (a type of demon... sort of)... well, actually I did. Got married. Had a kid. Spent an eternity in a Time Paradox realm after freezing a tac-nuke explosion in Times Square in front of hundreds of witness. Worked through the pain of Shane MacGowin's life after he died. (In our world, Shane died. This happened because we thought he had died. Remember, this was really pre-web.) Got married, had a kid, watched his wife die. Good times. Epic story. Started like Books of Magic (pre-Books of Magic) and turned into the last season of Buffy (pre-last season of Buffy).
Anruth a Awen aka Moss: Wolf-born werewolf (as opposed to a werewolf who was born a human). Oh, I loved playing Moss. He was generally just nice. A bit touchy-feely mystical. Very devoted to his friend Silvertongue/Matt (the character my friend Matt played). A storyteller. Had one of my favorite deaths. Made me cry but was right.
Elf Character: Man, I can't remember his name. All I can really remember is that he ended up directing a production of the King and I.

There were others. A Xena-type in Rune Quest. Myself in a great fantasy during college (ah, the days when you could play for 10 hours straight). A really dump orc. A thief character in one game that lasted only one night for me because my character decided everyone else was crazy so he just took the Book they had all been fight over and ran. (Back story is that the GM and the two players had partaken in a three-some (the actual people, not the characters) and it they weren't all cool with it. I had no idea what was going on until later.

And then there are all the characters I've played as GM. So so many.

So much to see, so little time

This is going to be one of those weeks. Actually, I never have anything BUT one of those weeks lately.

Tuesday, July 22nd. 11:00pm.
Hot Sauce / The Brothers Hines at Upright Citizens Brigade.
Two shows, five of my favorite performers. Both teams are just, well, fun. A crap load of fun. Weird, crazy, kinetic. Intelligent and silly. Fast and slow. Hard and touching. Okay, I have now actually described a one night stand I had two years ago. This show won't leave you feeling dirty and make you break out in hives.

Wednesday, July 23rd. 9:30pm.
The Spin / As The Diamond Burns at Upright Citizens Brigade.
The Spin is a daring show that explores a current event in the news. And two of my teammates/friends/favorite people are in it. If you listen to NPR or read the paper or at all give a crap about the world, see it. Because the world is funny.
As The Diamond Burns is an improvised soap opera. Another of my teammates/friends/favorite people is in it. "Sublimely ridiculous" would be my quote in Soap Digest about this show.

Thursday, July 24th. 11:00pm.
Veal vs. Death By Roo Roo in CageMatch at Upright Citizens Brigade.
In case you didn't know yet, CageMatch pits two improv teams against each other. Each team gets 25 minutes. The audience votes. The winner comes back next week. Veal is my musical improv team and I adore them. This is a big night for us. Big audience, big(ger) stage, bigger stakes. Death By Roo Roo has been on an absolute tear lately. 10 victories. They have been doing amazing work in CageMatch. So Veal could use all the support we can muster.

Friday, July 25th.
God willing, nothing related to improv... and certainly not at UCB. No offense, UCB. But in less than 3 weeks, I'll be spending WAY too much time with you. I think it is okay if I don't see you on Friday of this week.

Saturday, July 26th.
Class/practice... then at...
I Eat Pandas at Upright Citizens Brigade.
Ah yes. IEP is like being whisked away on a candy cloud to a land of broken glass castles. I'm not saying it is all sweetness and things you can cut your feet on. Words fail me sometime. Let's try, "Two person musical improv of the highest/most fun order. Yum."
Then, later, a party.

Sunday, July 27th. 5:30pm.
Musical Improv 201 Class Show at Upright Citizens Brigade.
My class show for my musical improv class. Should be a total hoot in your snoot. Sadly, I won't be hanging out afterwards because I have to run to a class at 6:30pm.

Monday, July 28th. 8:00pm.
Gravid Water at Upright Citizens Brigade.
I've pimped this before. It is still one of my all time favorite shows. So I shall continue to push it on all of you until you finally go see it. Stephen Ruddy keeps presenting it as an "experiment." I'm not sure when experiment stops being an experiment and you can call it a success. I suppose all improv is an experiment. Maybe all art is. Maybe I just need more coffee.
Farebeater/Improv Verté at Upright Citizens Brigade.
Farebeater starts by talking to a real NYC cabbie and then improving scenes from that. All of the scenes take place in taxis. It might sounds claustrophobic, but it actually shows how much can be explored when you give yourself restrictions. And my friend is in it.
Improv Verté is an improvised documentary. Because real life is funny, damn it. More friends in this one.

Note to friends: Please stop being in shows that I want to see. Of some of you would please start doing some crap, it would make my life easier.

EDIT: Actually, I probably won't be at Gravid Water. I'll be at another event. More details when I have them.

Sunday, July 20


For some reason I can't quite peg, I've been getting compliments about my looks lately. Nothing major, just little things. (Except for Rob who said I was looking skinnier...if anything I've put on some needed weight). I'm not great about accepting compliments. My overly logical mind that believes everything needs a qualifier doesn't help. "There is no black or white, only gray." I'm trying to get better at it, learning to just say "thank you."

I'm not 100% sure what has changed about me. Someone mentioned that I wear shirts that are to big for me so I've been trying to wear shirts that fit. Problem is that I have a lot of shirts that ARE too big, so my choices are limited. I have 3 plain black t's that fit well... but then I worry that every time people see me they think I'm wearing the same darn shirt. But I do get complimented when in those black t's. Odd that.

I've always been self-conscious about my stick figure of a physique. I've dressed it it in larger clothes in an attempt to cover up. That of course just makes me look like a scarecrow.

People seem to like the hair. I know that my hair is at this magical period right now where it looks good. Actually it just passed through it. Now, I can tame it with gel but that won't last much longer. Soon it will be become un-containable, like a cloud of toxic gas pouring from a Union Carbide explosion. But my curiosity about what it will look like is too hard to pass up.

I could (and will) go in the get the sides and back trimmed, but I don't think people quite realize the complexity of the entity that is my hair. In all my years I have had ONE (and only one) barber and/or stylist that has been able to really do anything with it. He worked up in Westchester, NY. It even took him two months to figure my hair out. You see, at a certain point it passes into non-Euclidean geometry. Parallel lines that meet. Curves that are also angles. Three points that don't form a triangle or a straight line. So I have little hope.

But it has been nice to be complimented. In general, boys don't get complimented about their looks. When we do, it is often delivered with an unintentional tone of surprise. "Hey, you actually look nice today!"

Of course there are things about my aging body people don't see. Like The One Hair. I have always been bare chested (something I'm grateful for). But in the last six months The One Hair arrived. Every two weeks it grows, in the center of my chest, like a lone tree growing on a bared desert plane. I'll feel it before I see it. I'll rub my hand across to chest and feel it. Then I must wait a week until it grows enough to get purchase with the tweezers. Defiantly, it seems to have the ability to dodge my attempts at removal and it turns into 15 minutes of me swearing at the mirror as I play a reverse miniature version of grabbing a stuffed frog with a robotic crane.

It is hard to feel attractive after moments like that.

The Late Night/Weekend/Brooklyn Train Paradox

Tonight I played MTA Shuffle. Apparently it was impossible for me to take a subway home tonight. I could come somewhat close but never quite get there.

Are you familiar with Zeno's Paradox? Basically, it says that the reach a destination you must first cross half the distance to the destination. But then you must cross half the distance from your new position to the destination. And so on. For example, if point A is 100 meters from point B, you must first go 50 meters first. And then you must go 25 more meters first. And then 12.5, 6.75, 3.375, and so on. By that logic you can never reach point B because you must always cross half the distance first.

That was my subway ride. Except add the corollary that at any time that I began to consider just leaving the subway, a train would arrive, stand with its doors closed for 5 minutes, open its doors, let us wait on the train for 6 minutes and then announce that the train was out of service. The closer one got to my home, the longer the waits would be.

I also lost 155 lbs tonight in sweat. Leaving me at negative 10 lbs. I do, however, now have the ability to pass through solid objects.