Friday, September 30, 2005

friday pseudo-drinking game!

i've never...
*moved more than once in a year
*given someone cpr
*grabbed an electric fence

stories pending if necessary. remember - drink (post) if you have!

...that was the year i got attacked by red ants

in dire need of changes, i went to get a haircut and new reading glasses. i now look like a whip-smart internet start-up guru. my 20/20 vision has been strained just recently by strange kryptonite - but i look temporarily adorable, just like playing dress-up. yeah, change!

the haircut is pretty dope, too - well done, milio's. i have gone to milio's for nearly every haircut i've had in this city. not because it's a liberal place (it is), and not because they're friendly (they aren't), but because it's cheap, cool, and close-by - and everytime i go, i get a new stylist. i like the service from every one, but i switch because they are all the best slice of life you'll get.

yesterday was no exception - lars. lars, y'all. lars is slender, has dark shaggy hair, and wears those kareem abdul-jabbar basketball goggles. lars and i were fast friends; i told him i was in comedy, and he seemed excited, and quickly told me he was a vent. no idea. a what? "i have four vents," he said. "i'm a ventriliquist." you bet you are.

so time passed, he snipped away, and he vented all his venting stories (see what i did there?). he does kids parties and goes to the conference each year in KY (road trip!). we talked about all the places he's been; he's traveled extensively to Czech Repub, about to go to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. he mentioned how he grew up in the midwest - Kansas City - and left there when he was fifteen for LA because he got an "itch", just like we all do at 15. we do? he asked if i'd been to Austin. i told him i'd been through it, but that was all. "That's okay. I had bad luck there," he muttered, then went on to spew the story attached with the title of this entry.

"It fucking hurts," he said.
i have no doubts.

thanks, lars.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

in light of things...

there's a lot of difficult things going on for me right now.

an honest admittal, but here's something: i like blogs that are pensive and reflective, but when it comes to disclosing real things, i kind of made a promise to myself that i never wanted to say here what i wouldn't say out loud to a close friend. does that break some blog code of ethics? i hope not. during this time, i may not talk about the things of much relevance or importance - but i want to stay communicado because i love a lot of people who read this everyday. thanks for reading.

and thanks for bearing with, friends.

...if you add a -d to bear, you'd be to our next subject.

in the tradition of keepin' it light, i ran across this news article the other day. my friend from australia had forwarded me a news link, and within that news link was a random stock photo of a man from the world beard championships.

a., i didn't know they had world beard championships, but of course they do!, and b., i am now obsessed with learning about said champeens. they even have a blog of their journey. please consider looking at these pics for hours - this is just a taste, below.

not a bit - these terms are thrown around in some of their blog entries:
*moustache controversy
*facial-hair superstars
*full beard freestyle

take any of those terms, put me with 7 people, and we have a new improv team. scene!

this also goes to show that anything can have scandal tied to it. the competition? - it's not until october, so you have time to place your bets. if i was back at one of those casino gigs, i'd consider putting money on Karl-Heinz Hille in the simulcast room. he's the frontrunner - just look at him! his beard laughs in the face of gravity! take that, newton!

(additionally, man, you can bet on anything.)

thank you, beardies, for making life hilarious in the interim.

Friday, September 23, 2005

poll: the sound and the fur-y

hey, it's friday. good job, day-jobbers, doctors, lawyers, and the like. you did it.

it's too late to play the FP-DG, plus, i wonder if we technically need that at other times that aren't fridays in your life. i'll throw one at you mid-week and see how it goes.

it's fashion week here in chicago, and romantic flair is in for the ladies. lace, blazers, long flowy hair, beads, natural colors, rich prints.

another thing that's in? fur.
i've always been repelled by fur coats (and animal prints, for that matter). my mom had a detachable fur collar on a coat when i was in high school, and i made her take it off. i couldn't have been madder at the time, and looking back, my poor momz felt so bad. what a teenage a-hole move - but at the time, i felt a lot of conviction towards the matter. when i was a vegetarian, these things made sense, but now i acknowledge that i eat meat and that's senseless too... blahblah. i can't keep up, but want to make as many kind decisions as i can while acknowledging that the food chain is real and ok for most.

in addition, i don't know that i think i like the way the fur coat looks. i mean, it looks good on things that have fur, but not on old ladies with old money and pedigrees.

but now, as i'm seeing all these items crop up, and faux fur is out there in droves, i kinda like it. i think it's not due to trends, but nearly all due to the italian princess in me wanting to slum around in a shabby-chic badass bronx coat; newer obsession with the sopranos, just being in jersey, and thinking about my relatives has brought this out in me. also, a fran drescher-esque voice is fun to imitate (until your throat bleeds), and i can do that in said coat.

so, america, i leave it to you: do you think i can pull this off?
is it too much? or delightfully too much?
it would be a short-coat, like this.
it wouldn't be an everyday, it'd just be a sometimes.
and, i promise to act as trashy as possible while wearing it.
hoops, nails, and catfights - a defran guarantee...

Thursday, September 22, 2005

casinos: the new caste system?

thank g.
the week of corporate comedy is over.
i have time to reflect a bit; won't you come with, dear reader?
all week i stayed at caesar's.

<--- here's the place in question.

it was a good week. i saw a lot of good things. here's some:

<---this is the boardwalk. pretts!

--->this is a creepy guy with a marionette on the boardwalk. he is dressed in a spandex suit (gggrrowl!) and the marionette is dancing to tom's diner, repeatedly. NIiiiiiGHtmAres!

<---this is the sign for a new outlet mall district. this mall kind of ruled. i walked around it a few times, snagged a cashmere sweater from b repub for 14 bucks, and got a coach purse and wallet for 40. by "coach", i probably mean "fell off a truck".

this is a group of people who met each evening in the outlet mall area i strolled to do capoeira. it was super cool and they taught me some nice moves. watch your backs. capoeira is a brazilian dance, i think. or brazilian fight? brazilian wax.


<--last night, i went to the gym. this is a list of rules that was posted on the wall. one of the rules states that service animals are permitted in the pool. what is said service animal? an otter?

and finally, this is the view to my north at night. to my east was the vast atlantic, which was beautiful. --->

i had a great time this week. i'm sure i could go round and round with even myself on this for hours, but i do think this stuff makes a difference - even if it just makes someone's job more tolerable for a short time. these guys are implementing all these games into pre-shift meetings. that's what i'm teaching them, the games to do so, the ones to use. i teach 7 a class/3 times a day, play with and do bits, then explain and give a little moral for each game, or what it's practical use might be in work enviros. i like it, for the most part. it pays the bills, and people laugh a lot. so do i.

part of the time, i felt a little dead inside. here's why: i hated the guy i worked with, the CSD (customer service director). he was a dynamic speaker, a generally fine guy, but i didn't buy for second that he actually cared about the people he was speaking to. that bugged me. i don't know i'd feel that way if i worked for him, really. but since i had a naked eye, i thought he was smoke and mirrors. at one point, people asked if they'd be on the clock for these warm-ups, because sometimes it's hard to get the doubting thomases to play for free. fair. totally fair. what did this guy do? he told me privately it was a touchy matter, even though every other property is doing it on the clock, and said he wouldn't answer. i felt like leading a revolt. way to tend to your devoted family, f-face.

i had great classes. some were more engaged than others, but for the most part, the 30 people per session had ridiculous amounts of fun. get this - believe it or not, are REQUIRED to do these games several times a day before they hit the gaming floor. hilarious.

i've noticed this week that the message of the casino is new. for instance, the message that i don't like that they are spreading is this: in order to get better customer service ratings, they will split their visitors up by a system. that system, for our purposes, is gold, platinum, and diamond. diamonds are the sh*t, y'all. they spend at least 62 grand a year at the casino. holy. because of this, they get quicker service, are treated specially, and have less wait time (WT). the casino i'm working for this time is actually devising a system where people will be scanned and they can tell who you are when you play or even walk in the door. they will always, always take a diamond member in line over a gold, even if there are 55 golds in line. why? because 55 golds "equal" a diamond... well, at least in revenue.

sounds like a caste system, kind of. a million times in class, i heard the word "worth" thrown around, and i cringed every time it was said. the golds aren't worth as much, the casino people said. uh-oh. of course they are just dealing with monetary worth, but i always felt like it was delving into scary territory. they then went overboard in saying that no one was treated differently when it came to friendly-helpful behavior (FH). meaning, you're nice to everyone, but you treat someone with money more quickly. hmm. can i get behind that? ...i...guess...?

i guess you get different treatment everywhere you go or invest. if you go to a restaurant regularly and tip well, maybe get treated with your favorite table. if you fly all the time, maybe you get first-class or upgrades. i get it. i totally get it. but since it's all tied up with your monetary "worth", is it bad? i don't know. i don't know! i guess rewards come to those who invest in product... but whatever happened to treating people best across the board?

the argument can be made that this is a business, i suppose. it's not a friendship, or a

relationship of traditional sorts. still, my mind is somehow repelling this way of thought.

don't tell corporate janey over there. --->

seasons chaa-aaange

all of this i write now from the philadelphia airport. a client of csz's is out of their minds when it comes to getting things in, so i have time here to work.

it's a beautiful night here - i waited for standby as the day wrapped earlier than my flight was scheduled; i waited and the flight i desired was full. no big. at least i have the amenity of floor to ceiling windows to watch the sunset in. it's gorgeous.

happy first day of fall, by the way...
fall's my favorite.
here's hoping it doesn't pass in a day; that we carve pumpkins,
watch leaves change,
and drink a helluva lotta (spiked?) cider.

who's with me?

coming home; a 9/12ths story

i've taught 9 of the 12 workshops by today - 3 more to go, then i head home. happy.

becoming a better flyer with all this travel, but generally, i'm not the best. i get nervous a litts. maybe i shouldn't have repeatedly watched jet blue last night.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

eternal wandering

great post over at my pal eric lindberg's blog, followed by some convo on my end (and hopefully more to come). this is a voyeuristic look inside what it feels like to do what we do - at least on the regimented corporate side of things. go if you're interested. plus, he's dramatic, so it's good reading.

good job, trigger.

they's got gold fever!

these gigs can get very lonely, so you become an expert in the art of being alone, rather than letting yourself get lonely. i'm the only one from chi out here this time, and so far, i've been okay. thank goodness i've been making out with half of the people i've been teaching! (this is partly true.) tonight, i had a moment when i needed one of you here.

when i run from caesar's (where i'm staying) to the workshops in bally's claridge (where i'm teaching), the walk is about the length of four football fields, and all wind-y and twisty. on this run, i have to go through several connected casinos. one is called the wild, wild west. it is ridiculous and outdated and relatively small in comparison to the monsters one would see out here.

in the middle of the wild, wild west, i found the best gift i have been given this week: a huge constructed fake canyon, equipped with an animatronic prospector and mule, looking for gold.

lightning crashes above in fake canyon. i sprint by.

"oh, i didn't see yas there!", he screams above din of waterfall.

i laugh and think of every improv cliche ever. i stop. this voice is exactly the voice you think of when you think of old prospector. i wait.

"well, me and my fleabag been looking for gold for dayssss now."

i look burro in eyes. i feel bad for burro. i audibly "aww". burro's ears flip. burro brays as retort to a-hole.

"we're lucky though - some of them fools up there been looking for much longer. they don't know what in tarnation to do! they don't know they'll never find it! hee - HEE- hee- hee- heee!" (this laugh should be nearly identical to a bad guy in a scooby-doo cartoon.)

i am speechless. my mouth is now agape. it is perfection.
"y'see, they don't know what to do. they's got GOLLLD FEVER!"

at this point, cut to me rolling on the ground, howling.
man... why aren't you here, everyone?
this is to you, who would laugh with.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

from the WTF? file

there sure are a lot of slot machines in atlantic city.

i've decided i want a new job: thinking of slot-machine names and concepts. seems limited to you? it shouldn't. come here and see. understand why:

many of these machines are average, and have average names (double diamond, wild cherry, the like). many of these machines are very average and have great names (cleopatra's revenge). some of these are new-fangled and have hugely exciting gimmicks, based on things we like (wheel of fortune, jeopardy, the price is right). some of these are based on ridiculous premises or products that are outdated (Men In Black, Spam).

these are all real, just like my love for keno*.

*i still have no idea what keno is.

newsies, i love you!

major shout out to the newsies of MFs this fashion week!
if anyone is downtown and you wanna see improvisers in compromising positions, swing by state and randolph.

hang in there, guys!
you're making illinois happy, one frango at a time.

Monday, September 19, 2005

back in the high life again

atlantic city, y'all.
that's where i am now.

rode in with style from philly ariport, in this limo. these things should be luxurious, but all i can think at every turning point is "man, i've got THEM duped. who AM i?"

this thought is nearly constant.

speaking of luxury, tonight i went out to dinner after a long day of workshops with the VP of Customer Care for all of Harrah's, National. he's a great dude, nice guy jones. another woman who joined us is a rep for the Horseshoe in Hammond, IN, and man, she's a talker. not just a talker, which is fine, but a talker like - hey, i'm alienating you and talking about how boring my job is for hours - that kind.

during this lavish dinner at Morton's Steakhouse, we ate and gabbed, and then that woman yammered on and on about training and service and blahblahblah *hic*.

that's me getting drunk while i zzzzzzzzzzz-ed to her talking.

337 dollars later, here i am. not my 337 dollars, just someone's.

while dollars swirl down the pipes and words are spun into oblivion, i sit in places like morton's and try to be kind and invest somehow. tonight, though, i could feel the shiraz kicking in about halfway through dinner, and since i've been doing a lot of this, it just struck me as hilarious. uh-oh, i thought - you're going to say something dumb. then i thought: you know what, i probably won't. i'm just going to sit here and nod, then interject - something that's just enough. you know enough jargon and corporate-ease to get you by, girl! moreover, these people trust you - you've done a magic trick -remember all those guards you got people to put down earlier in those improv workshops? they laughed! they loved it! td, you are charming as fuck.

i actually thought this for around 10 seconds. that's how drunk i was. let the record show (insert heathcliff huxtable voiceover: oh lord, the record's showing!), i don't think this way (at least 85% of the time). gheeef! time to get meeee outta here! i'm so thankful for the work - not only for me, but for the theatre. it rules. aaaand, i believe in the work of making all jobs better, truly... so doing that through improv - or any artform - rules too.

however, as a side-note, if i ever begin talking this corporate shit for real, punch me in the face.

...screw that; i'm coming home with a tattoo of a Successory.

Friday, September 16, 2005

friday pseudo-drinking game (FPDG)!


ever played "i never"?
sure you have.
you step forward (or drink, lush friends) if you HAVE done something. (opposite of what you'd think.) in this case, you'll post if you have done any of the three things below. don't be nervous - we're all friends here. plus, you can explain or not explain as much as you like.

in the vein of spirit and admittal, i have to ask questions about things that have happened to me.

1. i never had an imaginary friend.
2. i've never questioned my own religion.
3. i've never been arrested.

(* i could go on about mine for a while, but this isn't about me, it's about you - so briefly: 1. her name was sandy. lasted about a year, she was great. my brothers tortured her, later we ended everything in a very brief but collosal fight. 2. i was raised in the cath church, and i'm italian, have lots of roots there, but... garg, and 3. yep. later post. mYSteRy!)


fall guy

i'm not ready for fall yet.
yesterday in chicago marked the first cool day of the upcoming season. i LOVE FALL! i love it. but i feel like i didn't get - nor never get - enough of chicago summers.

can i get an amen?

it's gloomy outside, but the kind of gloomy that is near ideal for a nap. today, i'm pretty sickpants - so that may be what i should be doing. for the first time in days (maybe weeks?) i have no shows, no rehearsals, and nothing corporate until tomorrow. so nap i may.

but before that...

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

lock-in, lock-out / sunrise, sunset

on monday night, the four people to your left had a show for the hillel house at northwestern university, here in evanston.

peops: self, robyn, heat, and martin.

the show?: stellar. near dirty, probably InnuendoSportz, but the perfect crowd for that kind of thing. brown-bags were flying and bits were hot. we broke about 93 times.*

(*for anyone not in comedy, i blew it! i just realized this paragraph makes no sense, so here: brown-bag = foul called if something said is dirty within mostly clean CSz show; bits= jokes, "breaking"= laughing at someone in the scene by accident while in the scene.)

but the aftermath was even better than the show. window: on "remotes", we meet on-site at csz (or other theatre) and leave together. you then drive to the location, meet the contact, do the sound check, eat "light snacks" (i.e. slim jims and melonballs), and wait in a green room until you hear jock jams start playing (all theatres use jock jams). (this is a joke.)

our green room was a pretty conference room that was fully windowed on campus, overlooking lawns and part of lake michigan. we loved it a ton. i implied that it'd be fun to have a lock-in on-site. might be fun. you know, a slumber p! like old times! at a place we shouldn't be at! just like from the mixed up files of mrs. basil e. frankweiler! please! someone! do! this! with! me!

everyone was in.

that never happens - at least, doesn't usually happen. believe me, i try to do things like this often, mostly because i am admittedly dumb (see: "make it count" theory as of late). why would you want to do this? heather (pictured right) and martin (below) both have day jobs. but get this: they were both game. our plan? to hide in the conference room and get left in the facility, so that we could run around all night, play dancedance revolution, spin the bottle, have a goodoltimenightjam. we finished the show (again, fun), which made us want to stay even more. so we stayed.

problem? a Lady in Pink (LiP) and another henchwoman came around with keys and told us they had to lock the room. why didn't we plan for this? you should've seen this team crumble. we didn't expect it (school sessions aren't in), and we basically muttered "okay" and pouted our way to the lobby. when we got to the lobby, second search begun of where to hide. in that nook? behind that wall? in the snack store?

again, another encounter with LiP + hench. we knew as she was kicking someone out of the studysnack area that we were doomed. we ushered ourselves out of the building, and at this point noticed the HUGE vice-locks on the door that lock from the inside - essentially, they looked like "the club" for a campus building. we then felt relatively thankful that we weren't inside.

at this point, we considered sleeping next to a bike rack all night, but after consideration, finally figured we'd just make the best of it and have a good time for whatever time it lasted. we threw our things in the car, and heather took us on a whirlwind tour of campus (she went there).

highlights beyond this point:
*going to hillel house for ice cream (we were invited) but showing up an hour too late; cowering outside and feeling like nerds, then being seen through window
*hopping on campus shuttle and asking to essentially be dropped off where we started
*martin writing note to college hot girls at front of shuttle (pictured right), throwing it at them at exit, then all of us running. note read: "Meet me at 1800 club at 3am. I'm a virgin. r u?" --->
*sitting on rocks by lake for long while talking late, during nearly perfect night

i know, we're all adults, and we have real jobs and priorities... zzz!
letting go of that for a little is the best there is.

slumber p?

later, alligator!

went on a remote saturday for csz that was easily one of the most slap-happy car rides i've ever had. text messaging inside the same van is about the funniest thing in the world, when it equals playing extensively secretive truth or dare. try it.

we should go on a road trip. just you and me. no, no, i'm talking to you. this blog is for you. wherever you want, baby. make it count.


this week, the past few days, have been full of birthdays.
my nephew, my roommate, a few pals, and my dad.

one of my nephs turned twelve on saturday. love you, nicholas! my nephew rules at all sorts of stuff. he's super good at music, and has a great ear and can just pick things up. he also rules at kid stuff, like comic books and video games. i have another neph (anthony) and a niece (sophia). they all rule a ton. i miss them all the time, and hate that i'm the only one in my family who isn't home in columbus. the good part of that is that when i go home, they are there, and always have been.

roomie megan o'neill turned 24. 24 was a good one, as memory serves, but 25 wasn't. i really freaked on that one, because i actually started feeling like i had to have answers for "what are you doing" questions, and that flipped me out since i knew i wouldn't have a good answer for many years to come, job-wise at least.

back to megan. she's great. that's her to the right, and us to the bottom. a year ago, i hardly knew her. she was my good pal melewski's roommate at a place (not) called the partydome, a pretty awful apartment that has been passed from improviser to improviser - complete with indoor outdoor carpeting and above a loud, unattended bar called the blarneystone. it was awful, but there were some historical parties there. anyway, in the fall of last year, melewski, abd and i wanted to move in together, and we naturally wanted melewski's cool room-bo to come with. we found a four-b just down the street, and it has been super perfect ever since. megan is a super close friend now - lovely, fun, smart, cute, true. she's moving out in about a month to live by herself for the first time. it'll suck for me, but now we're on two of the same teams in improv stuff, so i trust we'll see each oth all the t. and i can appreciate the growth involved, so i'll support it. nothing is the same as living with someone, but it'll have to do.

in addition to all the other wonderful birthdays out there, i mentioned my dad. it would've been my pop's 63rd on friday. i thought about it a ton while i was in vegas. the night i took the red eye, i flew over all those lights and wondered if my dad had ever been to vegas. i had no idea, and i'm guessing no. there's all sorts of things to hate about losing a parent early; the thing i hate most about losing him is that i don't have the chance to know him as an adult. we were great pals, me and my dad. all the memories i have still serve me well, but the things i don't know i don't get to ask, and if he hasn't been to vegas, we can't just go.

if any of this stuff has taught me anything, then it's to do something. do something. stay up late, wake up early, hang out with friends, see your family. have as many good relationships as you possibly can. everyone knows those things, right? - but i'm saying it out loud to remind me, too - to take a time out, to not be scared, to do. to do.

another lesson here? take your dad to vegas.

Monday, September 12, 2005

everybody cut

just got home, currently revisiting footloose.
i'm almost getting choked up.
is it me, or is it the movie?

maybe it's john lithgow.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

acqua de NO (get it?)

our sense of smell is our strongest sense for recall, people say. great! great when it comes to christmastimey baked goods, puppy/kitty breath, or the way a friend's sweaters smell like dryer sheets. sweet perfection. but what about when a smell makes you sad, annoyed, or even recoil in anger?

twice in the past week, i have been on a plane where the guy directly next to me is wearing this cologne, acqua de gio. both times i have felt personally attacked when i have encountered this smell. and what am i supposed to do? confront the guy? no, i gotta sit there and take it.

here's a list of things i'd rather do than ever smell this smell again:
*live in a turkish prison
*punch a baby in the face
*cough up yarn
*writhe in a pile of glass

please entertain me and name smells that make you angry, sad, or if you must - delighted. also, generally? - don't wear cologne on planes.

now that you're near, now that you're here

i took a red eye here because i have some work to do tomorrow...just got back to chicago. almost wrote "the city of justice", but then realized that meant gotham according to r.kelly.

my mind is fried. fried! i am going on a half an hour of sleep in 42 hours. yeah! there's a fun point to that, and i'm all wired and nuts, but it's too late to do any fun junk because people i love are sleeping now. other people i don't love (although, sure, world-scope, i suppose i do love them too) are raging outside my window even though it's 2:39 - was there a night game tonight?

i walked into my apartment unaware of how i appeared. our summer subletter, philip, was on the couch, and laughed "whoa, vegas!", then i became cognizant of what a risky business a-hole i looked like. i had just staggered out of a cab, ipod on listening to like, some jagoff electronica; black jacket, torn jeans, burned out from no sleep, sunglasses on. come on, corey hart! where's the coke party?

me as that guy is hilarious to me. i don't think i've ever looked that serious in my life! LESS than ZE-ro (clap clap clapclapclap)!

so, since i'm up, here's a hodgepodge of things i forgot to post about while in vegas:
a. i don't think the weirdness of this is captured in my little phone cam, but here's something i'd never seen... they have these machines right when you hit the airport of flowers. they're in casinos, on the street, wherever. i guess it's not that weird, it's just a florist with no florist. but, the flowers rotate and the machine blinks. it's just a lot. something about it to me captures quite a bit of the false sentiment vegas has, and how something really organic still manages to be creepily material - hey, better grab these 93 dollar daisies for your call girl!

b. guess what was in my hotel? yep, that weirdass ceiling parade, you're right.... something else. yep, penn and teller too, good guess. but it's something else. don't know? you sure?
here's your answer, friend:
yeah, chippendales theatre. did you know that these were still around? i did, i guess, but only in theory. it was pretty surreal to walk downstairs to the lobby each morning and have these guys and their respective jocks in my face as i'm grabbing a smoothie. looks like they're grabbing THEIR smoothie in this pic. ha HA! still got it!

but there was something even better than having this theater in the building. seriously, there was. the answer to what that is? this wall on the outside of the theater. this wall, america, made me feel pure and unadulterated delight. to me, it is nothing if not a near-exact replica of the wall in the 1980 classic vehicle, Xanadu. please know this film. Xanadu was my favorite movie for probably 4 or 5 years of my life. i loved rollerskating, i loved ON-J, and i CERTAINLY loved the idea of skating high speed into a brick wall to hang out with some muses. you bet i did. the Rio Hotel recreated this knowingly. i have to believe it! chippendales, something i have about 1.2% interest in, then made me it's biggest fan. well done!

and speaking of the 80s - seriously, where's the coke party?

Friday, September 09, 2005

just another day

i think it'd be fun to have a coffee table book of showgirls around town, caught doing mundane things.

of course they did

the last people i saw last night were these two guys in the hotel's store. the guy on the left just bought a box of condoms and a charleston chew.

[grandma's voice:] i'll have what he's having!

the harvard of hilarity, vegas

got a chance to go see SC vegas tonight. i finished a workshop and booked it, and made it by 5 'til. yeah!

shop talk, for those who are interested: the cast did very well, despite the blow of having to go from a scripted show to a completely improvised one. the show is very similar in format to some chicago things... they have a structure that isn't completely gamey, but relies on structure in order to move from one gamish scene to another. it's only an hour long. it's blue, something i don't necessarily feel one way or another about - but when i see games i think csz-ily, and can't help but want to clean it up. it obviously works either way, but vegas crowds screaming out blue suggestions gets pretty old pretty quick. it made me thankful. something wonderful is you can feel the cast (and director liz allen) really work hard to find creativity in what they are doing, even though it may have "been done" already in theory. for instance, even though the show is improvised in content, they do five improvised blackouts based on some characters you met throughout at the end of the show. it does a good job of tying the show together; that is wonderful because it's cleaner, crisper as a product. i wish i could've seen the scripted show, but it ended just two weeks ago.

hung out late with abd & martin garcia... it was lovely. we just sat around at their apartment and talked. it was perfect. it was interesting to imagine living here. generally, i think the most well adjusted person in the world could lose their mind in a place like this. these guys, our pals at SC, have mentioned at length what a lack of community there is here (in several ways). for everything there is to do here, there is just nothing to do. where does a real person go to meet a friend for coffee? really live, day to day? they seem frustrated by it. this town is big and empty, and a place for visitors. so how do you make a home in that? be well adjusted? feel sane? i imagine if you're the slightest bit lonely, this city would swallow you whole.

sleep when you're d

ah, dirty vegas.

this trip is way too short, but i'm psyched about all the time i've been able to sneak for extracurriculars - off and on campus - with abd. quality time, y'all.

some kids had quuuite a night last night, and our cameras (and camera phones) show for it. apparently tonight was quite a night, too - it's 3:58am veg-o time, 5:58 chi-time.

good morning, dears.

only three more 2-hour workshops to go today for the harrah's peops.

make it count, defran!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

oh, what a feeling!, OR, "anything to feel again"

there are downsides to performing... there aren't tons really, but there is a major one for me. my fourth wall has been broken whenever i watch anyone else perform. maybe it's just me, but watching plays and movies - well, everything is affected. it's like having the curtain pulled back on Oz, and you see how all of it can't stop thinking about the process instead of just enjoying the art (or spectacle) all the way.

this brings me to the RIO PARADE! OF! LIGHTS! and! SHOWGIRLS! and! CEILINGS!; here at the rio, there's a parade "ON THE CEILING" every hour or so five times a night. i walked into it, not having any idea what the hell it was, so i stuck around for most of it. pretty much, it's like an electric light parade with floats hung from the ceiling instead on a track, all while dancers shimmy to "she bangs" or "hot,hot,hot" or "fill in that song here, you know the one". people ooh-ed and aah-ed and really were very interested in the whole thing, for the most part. i watched them more than i watched the show, because these poor entertainers looked like the characters in Polar Express (read: dead inside).

keep them in your hearts.
she bangs.

sin city

i'm in vegas, and it is insanity.
i've only been here once before.

back in '98, i went on one of those i-just-graduated-from-college-and-now-my-friends-and-i-go-out-west-to-reflect-like-ethan-hawke-might trips (tm). it was great - it was with high school pals, and we had been camping for three weeks prior to hitting vegas, a place we knew we'd spoil ourselves in after living off the land for a long while. because we had been camping, this place seemed even more uber-gluttinous. for instance, my friend tara was really concerned with aquafers in the desert. i remember by that point, talking about aquafers (or really, anything) after 3 weeks in a suburban full of gear made me wanna punch someone in the face - but she totally had a point, plus she went on to be an ecological researcher. so, that's something. i remember thinking that this city was wasteful and awesome.

now i'm here for a bunch of workshops at the rio (just bought by harrah's). it's sheer gluttony, camping preceeding it or no. i can't help being caught up in it, though. i walked into my hotel and was given a seizure by all the dinging machines and blinking lights... and keep in mind, i've been in more than my share of casinos in the past few months. all that manmade machinery is artificially beautiful. shiny. pretts.

really psyched i'm here because i get to see great-fri/ex-roomie abd out here while i'm here, and catch all my pals in the second city vegas show. abd and i went to dinner and caroused around slot machines and club f-face last night, all within the bounds of the hotel, then we fell into slumber-p mode. more on second city peops later if you know them - it's going to be tight, but i'm going to run from my workshops directly to their show and see what i can.

p.s., the pool rules. i haven't been able to swim in it yet, but i'm about to head down there in just a few just prior to my first workshops. it's a 100 degrees today. i guess people just sweat out all the free alcohol they drink in the daytime hours.

p.p.s. when i walked in here, the song "night in my veins" was on. remember that song? it seemed crazy approp. wait, is that song about drugs? or sex? bad sex? probably still approp. i also called my brother nick and right when i hung up, his wedding song -"here and now" - came on (rip, luther).

i like soundtracks to life. keep it up, world!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

seabreezes. bazookas. trach-punches.

today, csz pallies and i did one of the infamed "newsies" gigs for a well-known chicago department store (sounds like, uh... partial wields). it was a blast, and very simple. usually, we are stationed on street corners (state and randolph) or notable places (the art institute, millenium park) for a number of hours and pass out info or cando as people come by. we get great money for it - they trust our company a lot, mostly because we like being uber-friendly and all that.

this one was an easy time - we had to hand out frango mints for their 75th anniversary. people generally mobbed us, and our day was significantly shortened by the mobfest since we only had a certain number of items. my friend robyn and i were adorable and tore through 11 boxes of collateral a piece in about 18 minutes. YES! because of this, we had time between two shifts to go see a failure of a movie, red eye.

see this movie. moreover, see this movie with a discerning audience. it was super fun because this movie was somehow likeable and laugh out loud awful at parts. AWFUL! - and it was exactly what we wanted at the time. well played, red eye.

if you think cillian murphy is attractive, you've got a screw loose, because you like sociopaths.
if you think rachel mcadams seems nice and cute, conversely, you're human.

props to shad kunkle - my nemesis - who tried to scare me from a row behind during a "scary" part. it didn't work all the way, but it worked some. stupid shad. i got kunk'd!

laguna beach, pt II

this show is dumb.
jessica has reached new heights of dumb.

it that was "a rough breakup", so help me god for where i've been.


if you can... oprah today. i know, it's oprah. but, this is a good slice of what was really going on when we were down there. it's pretty real and gives you a good handle on where people are ACTUALLY at in new orleans, with an accessible host. she's talking to the mayor, the chief of police, and with several evacuees. skip the oprah (sometimes lovable, sometimes angering) platitudes and watch for the facts.

Monday, September 05, 2005

text = bringing america together

had a totally fun sundo night, fully powered by the power of the text message (tm). my roomie megan and i texted several improv pals to see if we could gather the masses for a little pre-labor d hang. it worked! some were itching for an outing, and about 15 of our pals gathered at an outside patio to hang, drink, and laugh the beautiful summer evening away.

not as beautiful: the jimmy buffett fans surrounding our tables. at wrigley this weekend, jimmy "fins to the left" buffett played twice to a mass of drunk, idiotic fans. i like it, though. something in me loves watching drunks. oh, the spectacle! these wasters were really hilarious, and dolled up as if it was jimmy buffett prom night: blinking earrings, parrotheads, leighs, coconut bras, and our favorite, the palm tree hat. YES! you look like a-holes! live it up! i hate you so much that i've come full circle back to liking you!

labor d!
thanks to those who made it out.

flight of fantasy

some people have money, y'all.

on the train of weirdo gigs, i've got another: on saturday, a bunch of us took a motor coach up to wisconsin to help with a 40th birthday party and do improv bits. she's really made it, you cry! wait, wait - before you lose your mind, you should hear how insane this all really was.

first off, you should know that the theme of the evening was "flight of imagination: welcome to funtopia (barf)". (barf shouldn't have been inside the quotes - that was me.) secondly, you definitely need to know that i was dressed in uniform as a hot airline flight attendant all evening. not a shoddy one, either- the real deal, ordered from a uniform catalog. reason? we were the guides of the evening, pushing the crowd of 450 from site to site, merrily doing airline bits like stopping people in "security" and passing out nuts (make jokes here).

as the guests arrived the compound - "Funtopia Airport (barf)" (that was me again), they were welcomed to a replica of an airplane hanger designed specifically for the party. there were three bars inside this structure, and people blissfully waited there as we did our bits.

on the guest list, you ask? republo Jim Oberweis (yes, the owner of the ice cream shop, too), and dreamy possible up-for-ores-candidateship dem Barack Obama. we saw neither of these people, even though we ran out like children every time we saw a motorcade come in. doesn't matter i suppose, because even bigger things are coming, dear reader.

so, 7:15 rolls around. that means the airport bit is over, and we are to usher all 450 guests through a replica of a plane, in order to go to the entertainment cabin. we do this with spunk and vigor, clamouring to the next bit ourselves; we knew what was coming, but not many else there did. part of our cast was pre-set onstage to pose as a phony american idol show. two of our people sang songs very badly to purposefully get awful ratings, posing as friends from college of the 40-year old (now referred to as "FYO" for rest of post). the FYO's wifey then got up to sing the last song. she said something preceeding her songs about how if you knew her, you knew she would never sing to FYO for his birthday, but that he loved "Fire and Rain"... so instead, she brought the real thing. james taylor himself walks to the stage. no, not schmames mailor (tribute band?)- i'm talking the real JT, james taylor.

tayls proceeds to give about a 75 minute private concert to the guests. he sang a bunch of classics - you've got a friend, carolina, and personal fave close your eyes. i grew up on him, so it ruled for me, and i thought about my mom being super angro at me from afar (hi mom!) - if she could marry a gent of her choosing, it may be james himself.

so, the concert ends. JT sings a nice happy birf to FYO, and we get ready to usher the people to another venue. there's more? you bet there is. we scoot all the guests to the next location, the biggest part of the compound. outside, there is a huge cast-iron gate that has been constructed that says the words "Wonka Land" at the top. after the crowd gathers and forms a respectable mob, they stand together as music pipes through the sound system. a Willy Wonka look alike (Wilder, not Depp) comes out of the gates. he sings a parody song of world of your imagination, then welcomes several "kids" to the front to let those with golden tickets inside. the big reveal? everyone's got a golden ticket, silly! so everyone can see his factory! the mob is pleased, and they shuffle indoors.

remember -this ain't some hack outfit - and they proved it here again. the set? a total recreation of the set of the new movie, complete with chocolate river and a sugar mountain. a dance troupe that we befriended earlier in the talent tent did a 5-10 minute oompa loompa routine, which we caught during dress rehearsal - it ruled.

guests feasted on a seven course meal, then were treated to a birthday cake that was probably near 10 feet tall and 4 feet wide. we snuck glances at all this stuff, then headed back to our tour bus to do a lot of bits and feast on our own pirated snacks (thank you kat and zach).

pretty funny way to spend a saturday.
on my fortieth, i'll expect a 90's cover band and totino's pizza rolls.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

"that guy is hot!"

my first day back, and friends rich, sara, and claire had luckily pre-purchased one of the hottest tickets in town for me. body worlds is on display at the museum of science and industry in hyde park until labor day, and is currently sold out even though it's remaining open 24 hours.

for those of you not here or who haven't heard of it, inside this exhibit you learn about the body by viewing real human bodies that have been plasticened. yep, it can be pretty gross-out - there's a muscle-exposed man carrying a suit of his own skin [pause for "she puts the lotion in the basket" jokes] - but the likelihood that you'll ever be able to conceptualize it being real is pretty low. mostly, it's just cool. how's that for a heady description?

there were two funny elements:
a., often the reproductive cavity/organs were left on, which i applaude, because it's part of the body. why is everyone so dong-phobic? we did well with this at first, but as we went through, became more and more judgemental. one woman on second dong-display actually said the words in the title of this post to her friend, completely seriously. around that point, sara and i lost it, and were not able to get it back. it wasn't our fault, though! the woman said that a dissected running dude was a dreamboat! low standards? well, at any rate - play on, playa'.

b., there was a guest book at the end where people could write comments about what they thought. overwhelmingly positive for the most part, some were just insane. one nice sentiment read "if i were a dead guy, i'd wanna look like that"; another dreamt big by lamenting "i wish there were alien bodies". we read said book for quite a while. an interesting part? one person wrote, in shaky cursive "what a wonder our bodies are! who can deny the existence of god?". directly below it was written "what a wonder our bodies are! who can deny the existence of evolution?". turf war!

i smell a remount of inherit the wind.

Friday, September 02, 2005

labor day = opposite!

oh my g, with my freelancin'-freewheelin' lifestyle, i forgot it was labor day monday!

who wants to hang?
let's HAAANG!
sunday's gonna rule!

Thursday, September 01, 2005

whew, this checkout is a-w-k-w-a-r-d!

we also have unlimited movies in our rooms here at the hotel. rance and i, for instance, watched kung fu hust in my room the other night. after, i dared rance to get an "adult desire" movie, but he was too skittish. i told him i would, just to see what they'd say to me at the front desk.

on the tv when you go to order one of these movies, it soothes you gently with a little reminder at bottom - "titles are not displayed on your bill on receipt of payment". it's okay, says the hotel, we're not judging you! we're not even looking!

what they fail to tell you, dear novice, is that each of these types of movies are assigned a different price so that they still know what you watched (porno blast=13.99, garfield the movie =$8.95). i have enough friends* who've been around the block to know these things.

i'm trying to choose the least titillating thing i can that still counts as adult, so i don't look like a total pervo. top choices include "key party", "real orgies"; low choices include "really older women", "latex housewives".

i pussed out (bits here... sure, sure) and am about to hit enter on the choice of "blind date, uncensored". what can happen on there that's so bad?

*friends = friends. get your mind out of the gutt!

Web Site Counter
Web Site Counter
« chicago blogs »
<-- ? In MY Opinion # -->