I am fascinated by the semantics of things. Right now my issue is with improv. There is a pile of vocabulary that we use to discuss improv but everything is poorly defined. Or at least diversely defined. This is a problem with with discussing most art (like trying to define the word "art"). For example, there is a concept of "game." The simplest definition is "what is funny in a scene," but that of course opens a whole other can of worms. Often the nuances of what made a line or situation "funny" is ambiguous. Or it can be for me at least. There was line said by my scene partner in my class show yesterday that killed. It was one of those audience can't stop laughing moments. I had bite the inside of my cheeks to keep from laughing. And I am not 100% sure why.
There are tons of words in improv that everyone has there own definition for. "Relationship." "Pattern." Some words are things that supposedly mean a very specific thing. For example, there is an exercises/warm-ups called Categories. Actually there are three separate games I have heard called Categories. And I have seen each of those games played many different ways.
The worst, I think most would agree, is the term "Organic." This can either refer to a type of opening to an improv set or to an entire set style. I have NEVER had two teachers describe it the same way. It has weird connotations in a lot of students heads. This is partly due to the fact that when you are first learning about it it is similar to an exercise call Follow the Follower (which some of us refer to as Woosh-Woosh) but as you go along you add more layers and options to it. In my mind, an organic opening (or an organic styled show) is about accepting everything you are given by everyone but it is also about making choices. Choices inform choices. It is about not judging yourself or others and letting the whole lead your impulse... but it also means allowing those impulses to come out. Thank You, Robot mostly does "Organic" openings but we have started calling it the "Anything" opening, which is more accurate.
Anywhozits, how people communicate with a flawed or ill-established vocabulary fascinates me.
I may have very well used "semantics" incorrectly here.
David Foster Wallace hung himself on Friday. As stated before, I had just started to reread Infinite Jest last week. Saturday night on the subway I was reading a chapter dealing with a woman talking about how depression made her feel and the difference between attempting suicide to hurt oneself and attempting suicide to end oneself. When I got home I found out he was dead. It hit me harder than I would have expected.
I don't know if I have more to say about it.
I bought the video game Star Wars The Force Unleashed. As someone pointed out, it is a ridiculous title. I've only had a chance to play for half an hour. Hack, slash. Good fun. I am sure I will have more to say on it when I have played more.
Someone farted on the subway a few days ago and it smelled like waffles with maple syrup.
I've been re-watching the tv series Angel lately. Such good goofy fun. Season four is all over the map. I really liked season five. For a show that ended on a picture perfect note, I wish it would come back. And not as a movie. I liked it because it was a series.
I actually thought I was going to write more about Angel but now I realize I don't want to.
Thank You, Robot has a show on Friday at Under St. Marks (94 St. Marks Place). 10:30. You should come to it (especially if you didn't come to be class show yesterday). It's only $6 and the other teams are Old Enough (which I believe is made up of all improvisers over 40) and Bangs (which is an UCB house team that I am really enjoying watch grow).
If you came to my class show, thank you. I know at least three of my readers were actually in it so they don't get actual thanks for showing up. They do get thanks for being awesome.
I am more excited to see the Presidential (and Vice Presidential) debates than I have been... well, ever. And I am pretty sure I will be disappointed all around. Much like watching sports, they are only interesting when things get crazy or just go horribly wrong.
You would think with ever increasing power of computer and game systems that art direction would become more and more important. That appears to not be the case. Few games have used these new tools and abilities to do anything new. Just more realistic shades of brown. There are exceptions (Bioshock for one). What HAS been pushing art direction forward has been casual gaming and Flash games. It is yet another example of how having limitations can actually push people to do things creatively. Fiest is a good example. Not a Flash game but it is just a simple 2D platformer (for the Mac). Using silhouette and light, they have taken the "simple" is better model and come up with a wholly original look. I have no idea how it plays but it is just pretty. And adorable.