Yet Another Brief Mention
Though this one could be a poster pull-out quote: "Newcity's 5 shows to see now." ("Surprisingly well"? I'll take that as a compliment...)
Though this one could be a poster pull-out quote: "Newcity's 5 shows to see now." ("Surprisingly well"? I'll take that as a compliment...)
Erica says: "I just talked to mom, and they got their electricity back this morning, which is quite a relief. They had a couple of rough nights--mom slept outside last night and dad has been sick from treatment and the heat. One of the people staying with them is leaving today to stay with one of her kids; the couple staying with them may be there for a while, cause they don't have a place to go home to. But they are staying strong. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers--they do work!"
Confidential to Liu Kang: happy now?
I've got a half-written post trying to catch y'all up on our first four Neutrino Project shows, so I'll just add last Friday's to that list and make it five. (Which means we're officially more-than-halfway through the run. Four shows left in Chicago. A few weeks ago I'd tell people they had "plenty of chances to see the show". Now it's, "hurry, we close soon!")
Anyway, I really want to mention two other shows that took place this weekend: both in front of really light holiday-weekend audiences, but both really excellent. On Saturday night, KOKO did a show at the Playground. Normally a 5-lady ensemble, conflicts meant that they were down to 2: Erica and Andrea Swanson. They thought about bowing out, but went ahead and did the show and I'm glad they did. They did one long scene with two college roommates talking in a bathroom, with some hilarious delayed reactions. Really strong, patient, funny stuff.
And at midnight we did our penultimate Documentary South (also at the Playground, as part of DSI's Afterparty show). We were also light - down from 8 to 5, and we've previously had energy problems with that midnight slot and our rather thinky form, but Saturday we just brought it. We presented the ultimately-interlocking stories of an elderly couple and a ratings-hungry cooking show. I, personally, finally broke out of the weird shell that has kept me pretty light in these shows. Modesty aside, it was a really good show. There's only one show left (next Saturday, September 17), which will be your last chance to see this very strong cast do an innovative improvisational form.
Time Out Chicago says (sandwiched between Robert Klein's headshot and a plug for his show) "Don't Miss! Neutrino Project (See Fri 9) This improvised movie's run at the Improv Kitchen won't last forever. In fact, it won't last past the end of this month. Do yourself a favor and check it out while you can."
Over at the Chicago Metblog I talked about our new season of locally- and loosely-organized kickball. My suspicions of looseness were confirmed tonight when out of four nominal teams we had enough people show up to make two teams. But out of all the things in my life I'm uptight about, kickball is not one of them, and most everyone else in the league feels the same way. We divided up odd-birth-month and even-birth-month and played some by-god kickball. They (the cursed odds) should have won at the bottom of the fifth, but there was still light, so to a chorus of "one more inning!" we played on and we (the glorious evens) came back to... well, to either win or tie. No one was really paying attention to the score. It is, after all, only kickball.
So... the London Metrobloggers were mentioned and quoted in the mainstream press for their street-level coverage of the London bombings. The New Orleans Metrobloggers are currently getting the same sort of attention for their personal coverage of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Today on my lunch break I was interviewed by CBS 2 Chicago for a piece they're doing on... spiders. Well and so. The piece should air sometime next week and you can be sure I'll post more information as I have it.
Some notes from the interview:
As we were setting up for the interview, me sitting on a park bench, the producer, Lisa, to my left and Aleph(sp?) and the camera directly in front of me, an old man came and sat down very close on my right. We all three just stared at him for a moment and he gave us a look back like, "it's OK, I'm next." (When dumb-founded staring didn't work, Lisa asked him to move and he was happy to do so.)
I've been feeling bad lately that all I have for my video camera is a plastic white-card for doing white-balancing -- I know I should get one with shades of black and grey to help with color correction later. Until Lisa scrounged in her purse to produce a folded memo that Aleph white-balanced off of.
I'm not sure how much of what I said they'll use (if anything) -- it's a short piece. But let me confess, even if they never air them, to two things. Erica pointed out, when I was recounting the afternoon to her, that I mangled the words to "Itsy-bitsy Spider". When I reference "according to the comics I read as a kid, Spiderman is so strong because he's got the proportional strength of a spider," it's an accurate statement, but I am, of course, fronting -- I still read comic books.
And another confession: the above photo is staged. We were done with the interview and Lisa offered to take some shots with my little camera. Thanks, Lisa.
"Shuffle songs" on the ol' iPod was really great to me this morning, fashioning a great mix for bike riding:
If you only go to one comedy show this weekend, it should probably be one of the Laughing Matters: Katrina Relief shows.
If you go to two shows, well then you should hit up the special Saturday midnight Don't Spit the Water show, which is a fund-raiser for their planned trip to New York to do a show at the UCB Theater. Rumor has it that a certain Ms. Cutie Bumblesnatch will be performing.
If you see three shows, my goodness that's a lot, and I'd be pleased as punch if the third show were the Neutrino Project tonight. We've only got four shows left. I think I'm going to wear a tux tonight. How could that not entice you?
The show he got to see was, modesty aside, pretty darn good. Greg, who sees all the shows from the control booth, said it was the best one yet (of the run or ever? I forgot to ask).
I've been following my own advice for the last couple shows. That is, when the question of "what to wear?" had come up with previous casts, our answer has always been that, since the Neutrino Project restricts you to the reality of what kind of body you have and what you're actually wearing, that cast members should either dress neutrally, so that they can play a variety of characters, or make bold choices with costuming and then come prepared to back them up. Last week, I wore a cowboy hat and shirt but it didn't affect my character much beyond an accent.
This week, I wore my new $10 yard sale tuxedo (with a $40 tux shirt from H&M). On the way to the show, I was trying not to plan ahead, but I was thinking of the possibilites that a tux includes: on my way to or from a wedding? An awards show. And, I was going to be on a team with Bob Ladewig and Brian Goodman, so I'd be the odd-man-out in my fancy duds.
When I got to the show, I was reminded that Ben Taylor was out of town, so Bob was going to be taking over DJ duties. So it was going to be just Brian and me. And Shaun assigned our team the "location" of his motorcycle. And then, in the theater, our audience-supplied object was a Mayor of London business card holder stuffed with business cards from "Scott Wild". So, naturally, we became international action heroes Scott Wild and Hank Savage. Done and done.
I've been told that that spider thing will be on the CBS 2 News tonight at 10 PM.
Well, Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks has gone gold (that means, it's done and been sent to be manufactured and shipped to your favorite games store) and so the endless interviews with Shaun and Ed and previews of the game are giving way to reviews. And so far they're coming in pretty good. Playboy Magazine gave the game four rabbits. Need I go on?
The game is due in stores next Tuesday, September 20. I pre-ordered the game so I could get my lil' Jin figure. I only wish it were a talking action figure so it'd be like having Jin with me at all times. Forever.
Shaun had been planning on taking some time off once the game was done and maybe just riding his motorcycle around for a few weeks. But things changed in the world and as soon as the game was finished, he filled Ol' Crumple Zone up with water and power bars and headed for the Gulf Coast to help however he could. He txted me yesterday that "NO really is a mess... Basically martial law. Headed to baton rouge red cross." Wish him well.
Life is precarious when you're #5 of Newcity's "5 Shows to See Now". Something knocked us off the list last week, but now we're back. Three weeks left, kids, so hurry up if you wanna see the show!
I just got back from Guest Coaching at Open Court. Calling it "coaching" is generous -- you have about 5 minutes to warm up your randomly selected team and introduce them to whatever "form" you've come up with, and then you play with the team. ("Giving pointers," Bob Ladewig says. "How, if I'm in the show?" I asked. "By doing good work," Bob says.)
Regardless, my team, "Dickless Dickprov," embraced my ridiculous rule and I had a blast and I think everyone else did, too. "Dickprov," because our team was 10 guys and one woman. "Dickless," because of my rule -- editing could only happen from within a scene -- no one could be a dick and edit a scene before the players in the scene felt they were done with it. And when a scene was edited, by one of the players breaking character and telling the audience, "well, that's enough of that," the rest of the team applauded from the sidelines and yell, "good scene!"
Thanks, Dickless Dickprov, you made me proud.
The only mouse to use whilst downloading all yer warez and pirate booty -- the official Disney Pirates of the Caribbean USB Skull Mouse. (PC and Mac compatible, you scurvy knave!) Available for five doubloons and two proofs of purchase from specially marked boxes of Kellogg's® Apple Jacks®, Kellogg's® Froot Loops®, Kellogg's® Rice Krispies®, or Kellogg's® Tony's Cinnamon Krunchers™.
Get yours before Talk Like a Pirate Day (note: "Allow 60 days for delivery," so it's not actually possible to get yours before Talk Like a Pirate Day. Also, "actual item may vary," so you might actually get a happy clown or something. You never know.)
Erica's brother Christopher has started a blog.
We have a lot of Threadless t-shirts at FuzzyCo HQ, but this is the coooooolest ever. For every $10 Regrowth: Katrina tshirt that they sell, they're going to give $20 to the Red Cross (up to $50,000). As I write this, they're on a second printing of the shirts and are up to $34,540. (And which also means you should likely be patient as they deal with 2000 orders in one day.)
Update: They're over $50,000, which means that from now on it's just the $10 per shirt going to the Red Cross. Which is still excellent. As I write this, they're up to $76,390.00, which, by my quick calculation, means 5139 t-shirts. Good job, Threadless.
Update: So close! They've decided to cap it at $100,000 (7500 shirts) and they're at $93,240 right now. Why don't you just click on over and order the last 676 shirts?
Sounds dirty, but it's all perfectly innocent. Steev has posted a video clip of Cutie Bumblesnatch's (and Sasha and the Noob and Kelly Paynes) appearance on the Nude Hippo: Your Chicago Show on his videos page.
(Originally posted on the Chicago Metroblog)
Shaun and Jin just got back from Baton Rouge, where they were volunteering in an impromptu food bank. They were organizing incoming pallets of donated food into a grocery store-style arrangement (they were, in fact, in an old grocery store space). They were receiving donations collated from individuals, like when you put food in that pile at the grocery store that they say will be shipped to the Gulf Coast, and came back with some gentle suggestions for people donating in that fashion:
Don't donate single servings. Many boxes of food seemed to be packed on the assumption that they would be handed to a single family. They're not -- someone is going to have to sort your box out into general categories of food. And a single pack of peanut butter crackers is, at best, going to end up crushed at the bottom of a pile of snack foods or, at worst, just be thrown away. A single Slim Jim or a tea bag? WTF, my friends, WTF?
Don't donate "fancy" foods -- Trader Joe's Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Roasted Red Peppers are much less useful than peanut butter or mac & cheese. Which segues into -- people may not be able to cook the food -- so microwave popcorn is pretty useless. Shaun says, "I found dry lasagna noodles. I love lasagna, but good luck finding hamburger, sauce, ricotta cheese, etc here at the food bank."
Don't donate your left-overs. That half-bag of popcorn may be "perfectly fine" but we don't know where it's been and volunteers are told to just throw away opened containers.
Oh, and don't donate your unopened leftovers either. There's a reason that pumpkin pie filling is still in your cabinet, so no one else is going to want it either. The same goes for canned sliced carrots and lima beans.
This would seem obvious, but don't give perishables. Shaun opened up a pallet from California that was half-full of bibles (OK, sure) and filled the rest of the way with bread. Well, it had been bread when it left Cali but was a bunch of bags of mold by the time it got to Louisiana.
And, dear god, do not donate prescription medication. I'm looking at you, Mr. A. Pena of Houston, TX.
Do give in bulk. And things that can be eaten straight out of the can and that make a full meal are encouraged. And do donate -- I snark because I care.
Getting my act together to take real screen grabs from the TiVo is not going to happen any time soon. So I just pointed my littlest camera at the screen and took some shots the old fashioned way.
Update: Of course they have the story on their website. Duh.
Well, I wish I lived there, just so I could vote for Kinky Friedman for Governor.
Good job, Threadless.
From Austin, Mum Gerdes reports that the town is full of Austin City Limits attendees and Houston evacuees, and so the town is out of food and gas, but that otherwise everyone is fine.
From Vicksburg, Momma Reid reports, "I'm here in Chicago!"
(Thanks to Noah for taking pictures of me.)
We start out gross in the next paragraph and talk about the funny stuff in the one after that, dear friends, so skip ahead if you're squeamish.
I'm typing a little slow tonight. In the photo above you can see the yellow band-aid on my left index finger -- after a long day with the Reids around Chicago, I chopped a healthy chunk out of my finger trying to cut up an apple for a pre-show snack. Boo. So my "show preparation" time became "apply direct pressure to stop the hideous flow of blood" time. I meant to take pictures before I put a bandage on to send to Show Me Your Wound, but I forgot in the heat of the moment. (Though really my little chunk doesn't hold a candle to the bloodfest on that site.)
So I was the "guest comedian" at Don't Spit the Water tonight and I tried out a new character -- stand-up comic Kevin Higgins (I'm fascinated lately with character names that sound absolutely ordinary.) I was a little nervous about the whole bit, because it was basically a one-note bit, repeated with variations, but it seemed to go well. And afterwards some people who are actual, successful stand-ups said they liked it. So, yay! And Cutie debuted a new bit called Jackets that went over really well, too. She wears, get this, jackets!
Just trying to close some open windows, as they say. Gapers Block did a profile of FuzzyCo friend and burlesque dancer/choregrapher Michelle "Toots" L'Amour.
If you haven't gotten your fill of Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks reviews yet, you can find links to tens of them, and a composite score, at GameRankings.com: MK:SM for XBOX and Playstation 2 (many of the reviews are platform agnostic, but some are not).
I'm also, umm... happy?*, to report that with the release of his game Shaun is out of "working 100 hours a week" mode and into "sleeping in until 10 am, then heading into the office to send Fuzzy 'Bare should go to this festival' emails," so you should see Bare performing out again soon.
* I'm happy for him, but it was kinda nice having the place basically to myself for half the year. When's your next game start production, Shaun?
That $10 tux is serving me well. Last week I got an email from Phillip Mottaz asking me to come be an extra in a wedding scene. He and Chris Vander Wal were making a Vidiocy entry (and I had blown off being an extra in a court room scene the weekend before). I emailed him that I had a tux and asked if that would be too dressy to be an attendee at the wedding. "A tux? You're the groom!" he replied.
So Saturday I stood around a gazebo in a park at Western and Montrose and got 'married' to Phillip's wife, Rachel, who had pulled her actual wedding dress out of storage. Actually, all we did was stand around and do the best man's toast over and over. We nearly ran out of sparkling grape juice.
The good news is that the film, Long After, is one of 8 semi-finalists (out of 31) for Vidiocy 9. The 8 films will be shown, judged by judges, and then the finalists will be voted on by the audience, this Wednesday (September 28) at 8 pm. If you happen to be at the showing, maybe the splendor of my tuxedo will hypnotize you into voting for Long After?
You got your books in my meme! You got your meme, etc... It's the American Library Association's 100 most challenged books list. How many have you read? Mine in bold.
Huh, I've only read 32 of them, which makes me want to run out and read a bunch of these books. (I gave myself credit for a series if I'd read even one book in the series.)
Well, I was going to gear up to try and guilt you into seeing Neutrino Project this Friday, if you haven't already, because it was going to be our last show of the run. But then we went and extended. So, the clock is reset. You only have five more chances to see the show, and this time we're serious -- it's gonna start getting chilly and we've vowed never to do the show in winter again, so we're not extending past the end of October. Ooohh... that's Halloween. Maybe we'll do a special costume show or something.
The last time I was at Hothouse was also to see a big band - Antibalas. With Antibalas the energy is "this thing could fly off the rails at any moment" (in a good way). Pink Martini also has twelve people on stage, but the energy (and there's tons of it) always felt 100% under control. In any case, it was an awesome show. Click the picture about for a few more shots from the show.
I rarely talk about the media I consume (and consume I do -- just finished Thud! It was great! 30 books in the series and it's still awesome.) but this is important. We're in the fifth cycle* of, as I like to say real fast and like I were just a little buzzed, "'Murica'sNeshTupMidel". So, hey, last night they made that pageant girl cut her hair! They said they were doing it for a new look*, but we all know they were doing it just so she'd freak, which she did on cue. But what I really wanted to mention from last night was James St. James. I did a little mid-show googling when they said he was an author... he wrote Disco Bloodbath, which became the documentary Party Monster and then the movie Party Monster (actually, it also became the paperback Party Monster as the book was renamed, too). And of course he has a blog... where he of course talks about being on the show.
And speaking of blogs, we tided ourselves over between
Seasons Cycles Four and Five by watching the Seas Cycle One DVDs. The singular standout that (dammit I'm going to say it) season was the intelligent and articulate Elyse. Erica did some googling her own self and discovered that she has a LiveJournal. Evidently, she didn't go off to medical school, as she proudly proclaimed when she was eliminated, because she's working as a model in, right now, Hong Kong. Her LJ is every bit as cool and funny as I'd have expected from her on-screen personality.