Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Playhouse Soap Opera Trailer

Yesterday we wrapped principal shooting on The Playhouse Soap Opera.

And today, we have the trailer.

Biting my fingernails until September 13,

P.S.  I love living in the future.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Well. That was cool.

"I would like you to pay attention to what happens on August 16-17... As I mentioned just now, various parts of your life are likely on fire. If your birthday falls on June 15 (mine is the 16th), you are feeling massive change." - Astrology Zone Gemini Forecast for August 2011

For giggles, I sometimes check out my astrology forecast.  You know.  Just so I have something to blame when all heck breaks loose and I need a good excuse.  Everything is in the shitter?  Darn you, Mercury in Retrograde!  Saturn is crossing paths with Uranus AGAIN?  (*note:  I have no idea if that is a real thing)

But, there have been some huge changes this month, each deserving of their own blogpost. The culmination of all these changes has been a general push towards, "Get off your arse and do something.  Anything.  Anything at all!  Time is ticking!"

(*Please note the August 16th date.  There will be a quiz at the end of this blog post.)

One such wake up call was actually in the form of a phone call last week.  I started training last year at The Groundlings.  I got through their Beginners and Intermediate and, after nine months off, got the call that I'm getting close to the top of the list for the writers lab.

For those of you outside of the Wonderful World of Sketch & Improv, this is probably the most panic inducing call you can get out here.  Your brain becomes aswirl with thoughts of, "Crap!  What have I been doing with my nine months!"  It's like your SAT test.  You knew since you were a freshman you should be boning up, but unless you had a tiger mother dragging you away from Night Court reruns every afternoon, The Day of the SATs probably left you thinking maybe you should have spent a few more evenings cramming and a few less nights trying to figure out if McGuyver REALLY could have freed himself from that underground vault with a stick of bubble gum and a shoelace.

But this was just the "Pre-Panic" call.  I would have plenty of time to panic later.  Unless... *as the thought formed itself*... unless one could proactively invest one's self in one's own future and CHANGE TEH COURSE OF CAREER SELF DESTRUCTION.

The Groundlings, for you folks who worry about things like building rocket ships and saving cancer babies instead of fretting over being able to make up songs about proctologists* on the spot (*for the love of god, if you ever go to an improv show, do not shout out "proctologist"), is a theater here in Los Angeles.  It is the Yale School of Drama to the sketch and improv world.  Phil Hartman?  Groundling.  Pee-wee Herman?  Groundling.  Will Ferrell?  Groundling.  Kathy Griffin?  Jon Lovitz?  Lisa Kudrow?  90% of the cast of Saturday Night Live*?  Groundlings. (*not sure if that is a real statistic.  But it FEELS like a real statistic) 

But more importantly, they don't just have this reputation because of a reputation.  They are achingly funny.  Their shows will hurt your face.  Their brains will make you feel like the village idiot.  You will DIE* from laughing so hard. (*you will not actually die)

But because of their Reputation Of Where All Things Funny Come From (please see: "People Ignoring That The Main Company Is Actually Insanely Talented And Not Just Automatically Famous), everyone and their sister tries to get into their classes.  And you get one shot.  That's it.  One shot and then you are cut and you are NOT ALLOWED back into the Clubhouse to try again.  EVER.  Because there are 12.2 million kids in the queue.  So you had better be ready.

So... I decided yesterday it was time to get ready.  Not that I'm fooling myself into thinking I'm good enough to ever be a part of them, but because I started the classes last year because I really and truly wanted to know what they know.  My entire sketch/improv journey these past four years at the Acme and UCB and The Groundlings and Theater Asylum and Impro has been because of a quest for the answer to, "How?"  Once I get into the lab, if I fail, I can't go and take their special workshops on writing and singing and characters.  The opportunity to learn "How do they do that?" will be over.

So, I decided to dip my toes back in with going to a show - their Lottery show.  As a graduate of Intermediate, I was eligible to put my name in a bucket and, if chosen, get up on stage and improvise with their main company* (*See:  The Chosen Ones of Comedy. Gladiators of The Gauntlet of Funny. Honored War Survivors.)

I arrived and sat down in their gorgeous theater.  It was completely sold out.  I struck up conversations with the folks around me.  They were just people there to see a show.  They weren't students... they didn't know anyone in the cast... they were actual... audience members... just coming... to see... a... show... *brain malfunction*

The lights dimmed. 

The director, Mitch Silpa, comes out with the buckets.  Puts his hand in. 

And pulls out my name.

I ran down the aisle like I just got called on the Price is Right.

Because I kind if did.

Last night, for a blessed forty five minutes, I got to improv with the insanely talented Edi Patterson, Jeremy Rowley, Christen Sussin, and Taran Killam.  I was directed by Mitch Silpa.  I've been watching these guys for years.  And I was on stage.  WITH.  THEM.  *cue Elvis fangirl swoondom*

I can't even describe what it was like sharing a stage with them and watching them work.  The ease.  Their ability to delve into details.  To sit there and trove the moment for truth and nuance.  And I gotta say, I held my own in our Neighbors Feuding Over The Merits of X-Men 2 vs. X-Men 3 scene. 

I've been replaying the night with "should have/could have/would have"s, but not in the beat-yourself-up way.  In the, "OH! This is how you can make it better!" sort of way.  Answers!  I got ANSWERS!  I walked out feeling so inspired and in awe and honored... and hungry. 

The whole night feels like a dream - but it was one of those things where no matter what happens in my life from here on out - once, just once, I got to be on The Groundlings stage.  And I got to play with The Groundlings.

*cue quiet moment of reflection as we sit, staring at the sun rising over the Hollywood sign on August 17th*

Friday, August 12, 2011

In a Fairy Tale

So way back in 2002, I was working at an arts high school here in Los Angeles.  My cube mate and touchstone of sanity was a fantastic gal named Katie Thompson who, at the time, was a struggling artist just like me. 

One day, out of desperation, I decided to remount my one woman show and asked Katie if she'd like the second half of the evening.  And she said, "Sure!"  Which, as a sidenote, is how I met Adam-Adam - as he hauled a piano up two flights of stairs to a theater on the 2nd story of a strip mall.  Sorry Adam-Adam.  And Katie.  You are good sports.

So the show maybe had six to ten people in the audience a night, which, having lived in Los Angeles for awhile now, actually isn't too shabby.  Right?  I know.

But it was a hoot and a project to keep ourselves from losing our minds.

Flash forward to today, Katie's got a couple Broadway contracts and if you watch "So You Think You Can Dance", you've seen a bunch of her songs on there.

But there is this one little song that she sang in our little two woman, one woman show night that has always stuck with me.  So, last night, I decided to bust out some of the trinkets I've got lying around and put together a little piece.  What can I say?  Some people watch TV.  Some people take 500+ pictures of plastic toys they got out of blind boxes and set them to music.  Don't judge me.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Catching Up

I have been remiss in my blogging.  It was made painfully aware to me that I gotta get caught up this when Sunday I spent a glorious afternoon with this crew:

Convergence of AWESOME!

From left to write (I'm PUNNY!) are bloggers Out of Character, Giddy Girlie, and Rocky Time Warp.  Not pictured, but also a part of the party, was Leah Peah.  This weekend was the annual Convention Of All Things Female Blog Related a.k.a. BlogHer.  Out of Character had flown in to San Diego and Giddy Girlie and I decided to hop in the car an make a run for the border (of a really great Mexican restaurant in the Gas Lamp district) and meet her, Rocky Time Warp, and Leah Peah for some seafood served in buckets.

Such a great group of people and, seriously, we sat in the restaurant for FIVE HOURS and the conversation never stopped flowing.  One of the topics was how blogging really and truly changed our lives.  Out of Character and Rocky Time Warp had never met in person before, but knew each other through their blogs.  I met Giddy Girlie and Out of Character through our blogs.  Out of Character and Rocky Time Warp met Leah Peah through her blog and at blogger meetups.  Some of the smartest, wittiest folks I know are all because we spent a few minutes to dash out some our innermost thoughts and post them on the world wide webs.

So, yah.  I gotta get better about this.  Just because blogging has become a whore-y meat market of book deal commercialism and Google Ads doesn't mean that there aren't still some really awesome people still out there.  And I will find you.  Oh yes.  I will.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Acme TNT

Well, I'm officially a member of the Acme Company at the Acme Theater.  And tomorrow, Saturday, it appears I am going to be making my grand debut in Acme TNT. 

I haven't done sketch in... a year...? 

I just checked my records

Yah.  June 26, 2010.  It's been over a year. 


Time flies when you're... not doing sketch...?  That doesn't quite have the right ring, does it...


Acme TNT
Saturday, August 6th at 8:00PM
The Famous ACME Comedy Theatre in Hollywood
135 N. La Brea Ave
Hollywood, CA 90036
Buy Tickets Online for $10
$12 at the door
Come out!  There are some good folks in the show and some funny sketch.  And, if I stay true to the pattern, you won't see me do sketch again until September 2012.