Monday, January 14, 2008

bad blogger, i am one

hello, internets. i have been pretty bad at updating this since august. ugh. a bunch of stuff did happen in that next month... and in the months following. my not-entirely-successful excuse follows.

in early august, i got an interview through a connection from a friend of mine for a new, REAL job. one that required actual professional work, and not just sitting at a computer answering the phones like a little bitch. which i ended up getting offered and subsquently accepting. i really like it alot, despite it requiring actual work which consumes my thoughts and energy, and paying a little bit less than my old bullshit job. it feels goo to do something where i am gaining tangible career skills. i have mixed feelings about devoting energy to NOT-comedy, but i feel good about it most of the time. my parents are very supportive of my performance dreams, but sometimes i feel like a crappy adult, and at least this job gives me a tangible, non-comedy angle from which to view my life and future.

basically, as a result, i have had significantly less time to fuck around on the internet... yet i somehow manage to keep with various forums... unfortunately, forums are easier to keep track of and make a quick comment on than trying to consistently work on well crafted (or not) blog entry, while at the same time being generally less constructive.

also, improv totally and completely ate my life. RECAP MOTHA UCKAS!
my improv practice group became an improv PERFORMING team! and promptly afterwards we had two people decide they couldn't devote the time to a performing team, then a line up addition, and then a few weeks after that, a line-up detraction. however, we've a hit a great stride with the 6 members in the group: kim ferguson, patrick clair, jess wyant, brett white, melanie hamlett and myself. we are known as 'Bad Data', and have been performing regularly mostly around the independent (non-theatre) nyc circuit since september. we've had good shows, and a couple great shows, and fair few shitty ass shows. the good and the bad (and the very good and the very bad) seem to even out though. if we were to chart the quality of our shows, and eliminate the exceptional outliers, i would still say we are pretty good, and getting better. brett actually informed me that our show last night was actually our 18th show. not bad for a buncha n00bs, huh? we even applied to be a cagematch team this year! fancy!

additionally, i finished level 301 with the amazing Joe Wengert and enrolled and completed level 401 with the infamous Charlie Todd. i am set to start 501 with insert adjective here Anthony King in february, cause apparently i just can't get enough reuben williams in my life. i don't know why i said it like that, it's true. RW 4 lyfe, amirite? 301 ended well, although our class show was not nearly as fun as the class as a whole had been. i wasn't too pleased with my scenes, but i made some good moves in the show over all that i liked... the show never really came together though. 401 was tough at first, i was pretty overwhelmed being a class with 15 other loud and agressive players. i had gotten really used to my little 6 person team, and being one of the more aggressive players there. however, it really smoothed out after the 3rd week. i started being more proactive when i felt overwhelmed, and taking the notes i was given and HAVING FUN. we did a 4 minute harold structure that really pushed us into having as much stripped down, fun game play as possible and it was AWESOME. really drove home that improv is supposed to be fun, and i vowed to always 'play' and have fun on stage. and both class shows were both a blast as well, especially the last show where the great cory brown pimped me into being a retarded elf, which i had already stared playing like a 30's mobster. it was obviously awesome. i even got to use the line 'i don't have the mental capacity think that i'm drowin!' onstage. funk yeah.

in the midst of 401, i happened to be selected to be on one of the 3 on 3 wild card teams. my teammates were the bombastic ari scott; musician, photographer and improvisor extraordinare, and the joyous josh, one of my 401 classmates! it was thrilling to say the least. we warmed up back stage, and decided to use our 7 minute slot to do a monoscene, which is just one long scene, with generally the same characters and location throughout. it was a pretty bold choice, considering i was the only one of the three of us who had ever done it before onstage. however, i must say we ROCKED it. performing to a packed house at the UCB theatre, and hearing a real roar of laughter at you or your teammate's move is a sensation that i won't ever forget. as the pugilistic ben schwartz wisely told me 'yeah, you're going to chase that.' and he's right. our show was a fucking BLAST, and i was really proud of what we had done. the most notable highlight was probably josh pulling out an actual douchebag after i had been calling him a douchebag the whole show, and demand stridently that we look at an actual douche bag. to which ari and i both nonchanantly acknowledged before discussing the danger of douching and the ph-balance affects of the process on the lady parts. it was really fun. we were one of 4 teams that night to move to the semi-finals on the saturday after thanksgiving. we were up against some huge names that night, and while our show wasn't as good as our first show, we still pulled it out and had fun and ended well. we didn't move to the finals, which were later that night, but that's okay, it was a really fun night. i felt proud that we were the only wildcard team to advance to the semi-finals that had no UCB harold team people on it, and, in fact, one of the few teams in the tournament that wasn't comprised partly or wholly of ucb or other theatre's house team members. again, not bad for a bunch of n00bs.

bad data also started hosting a free monthly show with two other groups, L, D & the scientist and 'thank you, robot'. it was the gossip-mongering ben whitehouse's ( idea back before we even started performing, because the three of us have nerdy team names, so the show is called SYSTEM ERROR (binary optional). it's really a lot of fun. we switch off hosting and producing duties (not true, but in theory someone else will book one someday), with two hosting teams and one guest team. we've worked hard to give the show a relaxed, fun vibe, which i love. i've done a lot of event and show production, and a professional yet relaxed vibe is something i try hard to maintain. plus we all perform better in that environment.

so that about wraps it up for improv + my life. one of my few resolutions this year is to not neglect my writing and stand up, which i definitely had been in the last quarter of 2007. i love stand up a lot, i just need to work harder at it, and push myself more. however, late one night at some bar, the interminable will hines and i were discussing comedy (shock) and comparing stand up and improv, and he said something to the effect of 'stand up is better for your career [sic], but improv is much better for your personality', which is a sentiment with which i whole-heartedly agree! har har har, more brandy for the gentleman! and more moustache wax, on the double!

non-comedy news: the formidable takacs, my old roommate and one of my best friends from college moved out to chicago to get his ph D and be smart for a living. i am really excited for him, and i miss him. we had a lot of excellently retarded conversations in our east harlem pad. if you don't have someone in your life who can and will take any silly conversation or comedy show to it's intellectual extreme with little to no provocation... well, i highly recommend you find someone like that, because it's great. fortunately he came to nyc for xmas ans new years, so we were able to hang out and catch up. i see other hamilton people a lot less with him not around, which is too bad, but i am trying to be better about it.

but that means i got a new roommate! the incredible, edible tay moved here from kansas. he's a former arena football player and looks it. for 2 months, he was looking for a job, but finally he found a job working the door and merch for the new bowery venue, terminal 5. that led to him PA-ing on a couple music videos, and now working full-time on the production staff for a full-length feature. he has loooong hours, and only has one day off a week. it's quite the difference, he used to be home all the time and now i am lucky if i see him twice a week. tay's pretty great, and is a big comedy and music fan, which, of course, we discuss ad naseum. it's pretty fun.

i am going to try to push myself to 1) be more frugal (i've alread cut WAY back on starbucks starting in august; two lattes during the week and one each on sat and sunday), 2) write a lot more. i am working on some sketch shows write now, and i am trying to get back into the swing of writing intelligently on a semi-regular basis. 3) date. i actually dated a teeny bit in 2007, so maybe i might actually become a somewhat normal adult in say, 2-3 years. i am still not totally sure if all that relationship stuff is for me, but i might as well try, right? 4) be nicer and more positive. also, somewhat counter-intuitively, be more direct about stuff that bothers me. i have been 1-1 for this year. i almost got into a bar fight because i felt the need to explain to some barwhore exactly how rude she had been to a friend of mine, but i also didn't stick up for myself when i was being treated without respect (to be as obfuscatory as possible). so i am going to work on that.

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