Phoenix 2006, Saturday

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Saturday morning brought some pressing news -- Lo-Lo's Chicken and Waffles, my annual Phoenix after-show dining spot -- was now only open until 10 pm, so if I was to get in some chicken AND some waffles, it was going to have to be now. Troops who were conscious (I guess the second poker game went until 7 am) were rounded up and breakfast was had. Man, I love those waffles.

We got back from Lo-Lo's just in time for me to go teach my workshops. Originally, the workshops were scheduled to be taught by Shaun and I together, but we decided that it would make more sense for both of our careers if I concentrated on teaching workshops and Shaun concentrated on hanging out by the pool. Well, it made sense the way Shaun explained it.

In any case, I had a great time. The first workshop was full - 12 students - and we cranked through the mass of information I was trying to jam into their heads about making bold character choices. Of course, I have no idea how much value any of them got out of it, but it felt really productive. For the next workshop, I guess I had lost some students to the Bingo Jam, so I only had 3 people. Intense would be the operating word for this session, as we went the full two hours, meaning everyone was up for 2/3 of the time.

Post-workshops, I had to run back to my hotel and change to get over to the venue for our Bare show.

The Phoenix Improv Festival spoils the performers unlike any other festival I've ever been to. They pay for all the performers' hotel rooms, which, frankly, is the best you're do financially from a festival unless you're a headliner at a huge festival. Every group is assigned a "den mother" - a local person who can drive you around and help with any questions or problems. And they're incredibly patient with our unreasonable requests and last-minute changes. This year, for example, Shaun jokingly asked for two custom t-shirts for Greg and Starcevich, and they produced them. And when, on Friday afternoon, we decided that our show would be a combination of Hotel and Screwed (our version of Michael Delaney and Andrew Secunda's Nailed Down) and so we would need two pairs of extra-large shoes and a drill, Jose just said, "I think I know where we can get those."

"Jose," I said after Shaun was done with his laundry list, "if I was running a festival, I wouldn't take that kind of crap. That's a ridiculous list."

But, Jose produced, and so half of the show was slow, patient near-us conversation between two characters, and the other half was a frentic, absurd mass of at least a dozen characters, each running off their own suggestion. We ran back and forth between the two sides of the stages, occasionally occupying both sides of the stage at the same time. That, Shaun and I agree, was the only part of the show that didn't work. It was easy enough to be by yourself on the Hotel side of the stage, but on the Screwed side it was really difficult to get into the rhythm of our conversation alone. Anyway, I give the show a B+.

And then we were getting ready for our second Neutrino Project show. I do feel a little bad that I didn't see more of the other groups, but it really did feel like I was always getting ready for- or recovering from- a show of my own. So, I missed all the groups between Bare and Neutrino Project. Sorry.

During this break, Shaun blithely told Kristen and Chuck, as though we did it all the time, "Go knock on some neighborhood doors and see if we can film in someone's living room." Well, they went wandering around the immediate neighborhood of the theater and found a house where they were holding public garden tours. Zing, and yay for Shaun's chutzpah.

I did my set of scenes with Alison and with Matt Martin. Matt is now an Air Force Major, but back in the day he was already a part of National Velveeta before I joined that group, and he introduced Shaun to improv at a summer camp they were both counselors at. He also co-founded, with Shaun, Bare Essentials, the group that eventually transformed into Bare. So it was cool to be back performing with Matt.

Greg, as usual, was the only one of us who got to see the whole show and he said it was even better than Friday's. So yay.

Here's how you know I was really busy all weekend -- I hardly took any photos. Selections of the ones I did take are in a Flickr set.

Kristen Freilich also has a Flickr set of 65 photos.

And Kevin Patterson has posted an astounding 656 pictures from the festival (there's also a smaller set of his best 65 shots). He even took pictures of the Neutrino Project while it was being projected.