The Night I Fell off a Bridge

Night Fell off Bridge

So on March 30th, I’m scheduled to do Testify again at the Spider House Ballroom. You should totally come! (ahem, doors open at 7pm)

But anyway, as I was looking through photos for the Boom Chicago post below, I happened to find this photo too, which is actually referenced in the story I’m working on for the show now.

You’ll have to come if you want to know how things turned out (assuming I’ve remembered the details by then) but this photo was taken just a couple of hours before I fell off my bicycle on the Queensboro bridge, which connects Manhattan to Queens.

Yes, you read that right.  I fell OFF MY BIKE on a bridge that’s over 340 feet tall! (at its peak)

I seriously thought I was going to die and drown in the East River. I fell off of the pedestrian bridge and landed on some kind of span between it and the car bridge, with my bike falling on top of me. All while still wearing the fancy duds you see above at 2 o’clock in the morning.

But hey, the party we’d been at was cool, and that’s a caricature artist you see there sketching me, Valerie and Brendan (from left to right). We kept it for at least a year. It was THAT GOOD.

See you on the 30th!

Me and Jordan Peele

Boom Chicago

A photo we took when we arrived in Amsterdam. That’s Val by the sign.

I’ve seen the movie Get Out twice now (paying not only for the movie tickets, but for the accompanying beers each time too).  It’s entertaining, poignant, scary, funny, thought-provoking and–cinematically–incredibly assured.

I was listening to Terry Gross’s interview with writer/director Jordan Peele last night and thought to look up some of his background on wikipedia.

That’s where I saw this listed in his Career section:

Peele regularly performed at Boom Chicago in Amsterdam and The Second City in Chicago. He and Nicole Parker were well known for their musical duets at Boom Chicago. He portrayed a popular character called “Danish Supermodel Ute” during his time at Boom Chicago and hosted MTV‘s Comedy Weekend in 2002.

And I was like holy crap! I spent an entire summer at Boom Chicago back when I was 24 (turning 25). Back then the club had just been open for a year or two, and they were doing good business, but I had no idea how important they’d become. My friends Brendan and Valerie and I played in a band together every night at the club after the comedy shows.  We were paid mostly in tips and pizza (which we had for dinner every night for three straight months).

I remember earning some extra money by handing out flyers advertising the comedy shows to people standing in line to visit Anne Frank’s house. Nothing like schilling comedy shows for cash while people are pondering the holocaust.

Anyway, Boom Chicago is big now. And going through some old photos from our time there earlier today, I came across shots of Tami Sagher too (who was excellent in last summer’s Don’t Think Twice, and writes for Inside Amy Schumer). I knew she looked familiar!  What a crazy time that was.

I also remember founders John, Andrew and Ken eviscerating Valerie, Brendan and me (especially me) in a comedy sketch about our band one night. I was the drummer who refused to ever say anything.  Ouch. It hurt to be made fun of at the time, but you know, I’m almost over it now.

Anyway, guess I’ll just go ahead and use all these connections to get a role in Get Out II. Check your messages, Jordan!

March Madness

shirt with raffle ticket

Lots of big decisions coming up this month.

The kids each need to make a decision about where they’ll be attending school next year.

I need to make a decision about what kind of car I’ll be driving the next few years (go practical, go electric or go Car2Go?).

I also need to figure out if I have the energy to finalize the rest of the steps for the Peacock show. I gotta get that sorted pronto.

Then I need to decide what kind of phone to get (iPhone, Android, Nokia, nothing?).

Other big decisions too about various work stuff.

Fortunately, March is one of my favorite months of the year in Austin, so the pleasantness helps in a big, big way.

In other news, I’ve been asked to do a story at Testify at the end of the month for their On the Road theme (I’ve gotta decide if I can get that together soon), and this is the flyer draft that Ryan put together for Peacock (I’ve gotta decide what do with the text at the top and bottom, but otherwise dig it!).Peacock_23

My last big decision is how many shirts to get for my new office environment. I think I have to step up my wardrobe at least 10% to make a decent first impression, and ever since I ruined this shirt (above) with a raffle ticket back in October, I’ve got to fill the gap. One shirt, two shirts, three shirts; it’s just so hard to make up my mind…

 

YNA & DDG & PTM

DDF defy gravity

Just catching my breath after this year’s FronteraFest. Feeling happy and honored (and lucky, really) to have had two pieces in the final week.

Your Neighborhood Association (YNA) was smooth and well-oiled and everyone (Lana, David, Roxy, Jenn and James) was so professional and easy. A real dream (even if it the play itself ends with a meteor taking out the planet and a peacock hurled down a hallway).

Duck, Duck, Goose (DDG) was an intense and surprising experience, which I didn’t think would actually come together in the end.  We ended up having three different people play the goose over the course of about a week, with Nhaila finally ending up in the role with less than 24 hours to get it together. She was brilliant, and I can’t quite believe it worked out, especially with that dancing stuff.

Everyone involved from the start (Noah, Hannah, Martha, Cassadie, Suzanne and Nhaila) was really wonderful, and the fact that we were able to get the show up repeatedly is a real testament to everyone’s commitment and flexibility in the face of sometimes very painful personal circumstances. I’m so grateful to all of them for making it work.

(and if this Peacock show comes together, I’m hoping we can maybe do it one more time there)

I’ve had this idea that I’ve wanted to do for a while, Pong: the Musical (PTM). It makes my kids laugh (good sign #1) and I’d like to see if I can get it together for next year’s festival.

It’s hard to imagine writing anything these days which doesn’t have political overtones, so maybe there’s symbolism in the chasm between the Pong characters representing a wall (Mexico & US? Israel & Palestine?). And then what does the ball represent? Hope?

See where it goes.Pong image

Boing-boing.

Jackie Kashian as the Witch

Napervillains Wendy cubicle

Napervillains producer Jen is one of the most persistent (and nicest) people I know.  After a couple of years of off-and-on recruiting, she convinced one of her favorite comedians, Jackie Kashian, to record the vocal part of Wendy the Witch for an installment of our work-in-progress animated web series.

They spent time last weekend recording for a sketch which we’ll now ask strapped-but-committed animator Ryan to work on when he’s not doing a million other things to pay the bills.

Big pat-on-the-back (in a non-patronizing way) to her for keeping at it, and for building up a great cast of characters one funny person at a time.

Yay. Watch this space for more!

Showerhead, etc.

new shower head 2017Due to overwhelming demand, I wanted to give a quick update on the year’s goals to this point, as we’re about a third of the way through the 12-month period:

October through December: everything is done with a couple of caveats:

  • It was an inurnment at Arlington, not an interment (I only recently learned the term) and the date was bumped later
  • I’m barely hanging onto my sense of humor after the election; it’s been harder than I thought (mostly because I didn’t think the result was a real possibility, ugh)
  • I decided NOT to do the Seattle fringe this year, partly because it requires a regular presence at meetings before the festival itself, and partly because I didn’t really have something completely ready for it
    • BUT there’s some interest in doing the Billy/Teena piece up there next year (and by “some interest” I mean I’m intrigued in the possibility (check next year’s goals when they’re ready!))

So overall, the past four months have gone as expected (nice job).  And now for the big news you’ve all been waiting for…

  • We have a new showerhead in the kids’ bathroom (What??? I know!!!) which is roughly 12 inches taller than the previous one
    • Thanks to Tim for the brilliant suggestion
    • It’s not beautiful but it was done for less than $100
    • That wraps up January with a nice little bow (I guess)

February’s goals are going well.  There’s a storytelling event in March that hopefully will come together, the peacock benefit in April seems on track, the Tour de Lopez bike loop has been registered for, and I’ve got travel plans in the works with my dad (for June now, not May).

Take that, pretend-boss-who-gives-me-a-review-based-on-personal goals. 3.5 stars!

Peacock Brainstorm

Mayfield Park Map

Some notes on next steps for April’s show:

  • 3 or 4 main sections where we could put stuff on (see red in diagram)
    1. Entry way for opening bit
    2. Then long hallway for some theatrical stuff
    3. Then an outdoor patio for musicians
    4. Possibly the garden area for something else
  • Start in entry way with musical skit
    • Ask band to participate in some “mistake” bit, thinking the benefit is for peacocks, not people; they protest
    • Lead audience over to story-telling location
    • Walk through a room where actors are changing; cause a ruckus; drama!
    • Later, emerge outside to see full band performing
  • Maybe a tiered pricing scheme like:
    • $20 to come and get a seat
    • $15 to come but bring your own folding chair
    • $10 to come and stand only
    • Will require audience to move from space to space during show; any mobility issues with this to consider? Or just ensure it’s in promotional info?

Continue reading

Your Neighborhood Association is a Hit!

YNA tech rehearsal

Tech rehearsal a few days before the show

Okay, not necessarily YOUR neighborhood association.

But our FronteraFest piece got selected for Best of Week last week, and Saturday’s performance was a real step up from our original Wednesday night’s show.  The audience was warm and in synch with the performers.  The pacing, timing and chemistry was just right.  Still amazes me how much can change from night to night.

Anyway, I’m grateful to Lana, Roxy, Jenn, David and James, and all the hard work they put into the production.

We don’t find out until February 11th whether we get to do it again for Best of Fest, but if we don’t, I’m glad we went out on a high note.

There were lots of other good shows Saturday too, and it’s all up to the judges’ tastes at this point (political statements, improv comedy, dance numbers; how do you choose???).

Spring Benefit?

Mayfield Park

Okay, so I’ve booked a space in April for a fundraiser.  I had no real inclination to go through the work of doing something like this right after A Night of Squid (exhausting!) but maybe the churning and burning of having inauguration day around the corner has spurned some sense of activism, or at least activity.

The Mayfield Park Cottage & Gardens seems like a gorgeous spot to do another themed event with storytellers, musicians and maybe even dancers.

We’ll see how it goes.  If you want to be involved, you know what to do.

Tentative date: Sunday, April 23rd

Tentative tile: Night of the Peacock

Am thinking of doing another fundraiser for the ever-underappreciated Autism Society, but maybe this year, here in Texas especially, we should do it for the oft-misaligned, politically misunderstood Planned Parenthood.  Thoughts?

More details when they come….

A Confession

So I haven’t told many people about this, but a couple of months ago I took part in a terrible, terrible activity.

I let myself get talked into running the Austin Beer Mile.

What’s a Beer Mile?  You probably don’t want to know.  Maybe best to turn away from the screen now.

You drink a beer and then run a quarter mile, then drink another beer and run another quarter mile, then another and another.  And you’re supposed to do this as fast as humanly possible.

If you look on Wikipedia you can find these facts:

In the women’s race, American Beth Herndon set a new world record with a time of 6:17.8. In August 2015, Lewis Kent of Canada ran a 4:55.78, becoming the fastest recorded beer mile ever. His beer of choice was Amsterdam Blonde.

I just want to say for the record that there’s no way in hell I could drink 4 beers WITHOUT ANY RUNNING INVOLVED AT ALL in 6:17.8.

These people are certifiably insane.

So why did I do it?  I’ll be trying to figure that out for years.

But I will say, not without some pride, that I came in dead last.  Like so far behind every other runner that I tried to get away without running the last lap.  They were already handing out awards at that point so I didn’t think anyone would notice.

But I did run it, and I didn’t puke, and I only felt sick for approximately 18 hours.

I trace my failure back to my childhood refusal to ever learn how to make myself burp.  Man, that carbonation while you’re running is a killer.Beer run happy smile 2

This photo was taken of me while I was the last one left on the track.  I was happy about losing, I guess, and not a little bit tipsy, and glad the race was almost over.

I’m being heavily recruited to try to improve my performance in 2017, but I just don’t see it happening.  Please punch me in the gut (gently) if I end up there again.

Burp.