Saturday, December 31, 2005

the suggestion was puppy, right?

thanks, rattlesnake, ff5, merman (my team), and audience at (former) improvOlympic, for about the most fun i've had onstage there in months.

that show ruled. really, really awesome.

Friday, December 30, 2005

fpdg: it's a sign

uh-oh! back in chicago, just in time to catch something bad before three big shows this weekend. i sneezed very quietly at the columbus air-p on the way back, and an elderly woman cutely said "well, that's a souvenir you don't want to take home". i laughed, then i decked her.

so, after a rough night of (no) sleep, i finally passed out and woke with no voice (yikes!), but with no more pain. the voice robber was merciful. i guess i better not talk 'til i gotta.

but, the real reason i set the scene, there, was to let you know what melodious strain woke me in my gorgeous bar corridor:
"let's get (clap, clap)
let's get (clap, clap)
-three dudes

all fine and good, except it was 10:20 am.

okay, so those dudes know it's friday, and it's time for the FRIDAY-PSEUDO-DRINKING GAME! it's multi-themed, since so much is afoot.

i've never:
missed someone i "shouldn't" on a holiday
lost my voice at a precarious time
worked a strange seasonal job that not many know about (on college breaks, or in adult life)

(remember, you drink if you have. get to comments and get b-l-a-s...ted!)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

cath girls start much too late

last night, my mom let me borrow her car while she was working. first off, i want to note how huge this is, because my parents have - almost as long as i've been alive - driven mercedes. for me to get to take this car was a true rite of passage. also, it put the fear of god in me, and i didn't do much with it.

i went and saw the producers (opinions?), worked for a bit on upcoming sketch show at caribou, and speaking of fear of god, went to my old high school.

it started out as a drive by.
bishop watterson was a place i never thought i'd go - not because i had any ideas about it, but because once as we passed it on our sunday outing to my great-granparents, my dad told me he'd send me there over his dead body. my dad went to the school, and was severely pressured by his parents to be a priest as he was the only son of a very catholic italian family (remember, these were different days). my dad was INSANELY intelligent, and though he was smart as a whip, he started acting up to rebel against seminary - thus, catholic school and air force were in his cards.

cut to me, around 8th grade. i was public school all the way, and my brothers had gone to worthington before me. (sidenote: worthington high school is what the movie "Heathers" is based on.) following a path close to my father's, i was also in advanced placement courses, but didn't want to be a nerdbot after some grizzly elementary days, so started morphing into what we see now (endlessly cool). my parents got worried about this behavior, so they pulled me from worthington and sent me to watterson.


yep, dad DID say i'd never go there. but, my sweet grandpa nicky was dying in the hospital, and had a wish - a wish for me to go to watterson.


by the middle of 10th grade, i loved it there. it took a lot of getting used to, as it was a bizarre world, but i was awestruck and couldn't believe it was mine. the building was old, ominous, and... catholic. a tiny chapel with confessionals, bad tile floors, 60s design, the gym was our church, you name it. every stereotype you can think of pretty much fit - the italian boys wore italian horn necklaces; the girls were tough, unbibbed their tops and rolled up their skirts each day after school, and ran off-campus to smoke.

my class of 202 ruled, though, and many people have still stayed in touch from that class. i have no regrets about the switch. i loved high school. i also think - and i can't believe i'll say this... i hate myself in advance - that uniforms made a difference. i certainly know, though i don't agree with the catholic faith, that going to mass may have made us a much kinder class to one another. it's just fact - any meditation to make one more reflective and less judging in teen years probably helps.

still though - it was hard to be there, because the same things that bothered me about that institution are still very much in place. it's so, so very antiquated. and comparitively, to me and my political beliefs, we are just unaligned. re: faith - it was the one downside - that i began to question my faith in my teen years and no one there seemed willing to debate the answers. well, there was one exception to that... the best religion teacher ever (yep, i took religion all four years) was a woman named kathy kane. she had tried to become a nun, but they told her she wasn't ready. instead, she then became a theologian and teacher. she bucked the system my freshman year, and taught world religion instead of catechism... then she told us we had to decide if we still thought we were catholic.

oh captain, my captain.

last night, as i was circling the building, i noticed there were a bunch of parked cars around back. i parked, and a man came out the back door. it was wide open - there was an men's alumni game going on inside the school. as soon as i hit the door, everything came flooding back. the smell, the tile, the hallways, the trophy cases, all of it - it was all just the same. slight changes, but generally - the exact same. i felt like i had stumbled into a wormhole and morphed back to being 14, laying eyes on all of it again for the first time.

the door was not only open because there was a game, but because they were doing renovations on the place, adding a wing to the school. this is good news for them, since typically, catholic schools close down pretty frequently in this day and age. i had access to everything - senior hall, freshman hall, the "dungeon" (where you go for detention), the gym, the theatre.

i walked out front and looked at the building for a bit. it was still huge, still homey, still scary. i got quiet as i walked around it, and wondered where all the reverence came from within me. was it reverence for really loving high school? or loving something so flawed, and knowing i did?

there was a sign out front of the building explaining what renovations were to come. on it, top right, it read the following:

"Bishop Watterson High School - Embracing the Future."

hmm. we'll see.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

special dedication

someone, please kill delilah.

wait, wait - you still here?: truth or d... TRUTH OR D!
if truth, you have to tell me if you'd do delilah.
(if dare, actually do delilah.)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

simply speaking

had a fun, columbus-y fam day today. hung out, got new sneaks and went to tommy's pizza. tommy's pizza is like an old italian family's house from 1961, that just happens to cook pizz and invite people inside to eat it for nearly 0 dollars. it's delicious, and it's where my mom and dad used to go on dates. parent dates make me happs.

also, i saw walk the line with my brother vince and mom. it ruled. johnny cash rules. june carter rules. they rule together. couples are neat. best friend couples are neater.

one of my resolutions this year at the coffee table was to get over my severely limiting fear of relationships. can't build rome in a day, but maybe it'll come with new day-s.

i want to be someone's june carter.

Monday, December 26, 2005

stay alive '05 becomes get your fix '06

since about 1999-ish, my hs pals and i have met up for a round of resolutions at the coffee table, in the short north of columbus. long ago, we had about 10 days at home or more for break. for me, i had even more, because OU was on quarters. now, we have much less, and we've made this a staple of the shorter time we have.

we met on christmas eve morning to make resolutions. every year, this is super fun, and generally fruitful. not only do we make our resolutions, but we also address the year before and how we did, giving ourselves arbitrary percentages and grades on how badly we've done (weirdly sating). more fun comes with resolutions that are somewhat average ("learn to knit"/"take african dance"/"go to gym 3x week"/"read more") morph into the unaverage ("dry clean 10 lb coat"/"stay perfect, '04"/"major in judging"/"don't be dead inside").

looking back on 2005, i realized how many difficult things have happened to friends, but how well so many of them are doing. it's really something. resiliency, y'all. i'd also like to note, that even with tough times - how much better my 2005 was than 2003-2004, an abombination. remember that? tough span, america. real tough span.

you never know what's in the cards for you, huh? i certainly don't.
but for the most part, i am so happy.
and thankful.
and each day is a gift.
and anything else that belongs on a trivet.
and z.

the columbus crew

my beautiful friend veronica and our friend (her husband) mike had a christmas party, just upon columbo arrival at their gorgeous first home. it was a perfect night, shared with friends from high school whom i've never lost touch with. there are about 15 of us, and i still see many about two or three times a year. not bad, considering i'm 29 and we're all over the country.

still, people fall in and out of touch in that time - things change, people break up and get together, get married and get divorced, get sick and get well. my homecrew - these friends - are beautiful people who are forgiving of all of it, the falling in and out, and because of that, we've stayed closer and WANT to see each other more. there's no pressure, because we know we'll always come back.

i didn't drive home this time, i flew, so amy brought her parents minivan out to my mom's and picked me up with muenz. immediately, it felt like we were 15 again (wait, 16 - we wouldn't be driving, right?), because we're riding around town in a parent's car, looking mostly the same and acting all the same. everyone has their stereotype: amy's the politician, tara m. is the sentimentalist, nicole the artist, rennick the goofball, claudia the hippie, me the hambone. nothing changes, except for the good; we get older and wiser (?), funnier and kinder. we multiply with partners and new friends. these new friends also rule, because some play the fiddle (see left).

a big surprise for us this winter was our friend megan's return. a few months back, megan had contacted me and told me of some hard times she's had this year. she was sad that she had fallen out of touch, but wanted to reconnect. she did, and she came to the party. everyone caught up quickly, and then things felt comfortable and the same, as they always do.

as years pass and my friends everywhere seem to only get better, i recognize how many of the old things that i love about each of them stay the same. megan was still wistful and wore the same simple silver bracelet she wore when she was 17; nicole still dropped things constantly and never noticed. those things that breed familarity, plus the new things - like growth they've experienced on their own - has made these people even more enjoyable and interesting.

to the homecrew, and to all of you.
those who couldn't make it, miss you; especially you, chrissy & trace.

Saturday, December 24, 2005


at home, where the heart is.
for some reasons, christmas seems a little sad this year.

but, no heart grew three sizes a few minutes back;
my favorite movie, it's a wonderful life was on, and santa's doing a fly-by in columbus, so says nbc and their hilarious graphics.

if i was little and awake right now, i'd hate myself! go to b! santa is here!!!

christmas seems better all the sudden.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

a study of evidence

apparently, someone was drunker than they thought. no naming names.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

'twas a night off, and all through the house

it's wednesday night, and weirdly i had nothing to do past 7pm; was busy all day with a big audition and filming a hilarious parody with friends. pictures of that parody - the best blackmail shots ever - are on their way.

it was a long day, so here i am, with a night off. what do people do with their evenings? i watched project runway with my roommate jon, and that proved to be a nice dose of reality town. otherwise, i'm tying up loose ends, wrote letters, talked to pals on the phone, and now, i'm relaxing.

nighttimes are neat.

holiday parties = debauchery

last night was the annual c-spo holiday party; man. these people are so wonderful.

so wonderful, in fact, that getting wasters with them seemed like the ideal thing to do. yoing!

i look forward to this party all year, apparently so i can just forget it the next day. what a dumb-o!

nevertheless, here's some mile-markers of the evening.

pictured in no particular order: me and marto wilson - "angry about c-mas"; dr. jim, the wackiest man in comedia; dj mary nisi (not dj-ing); rance rizzutto with the electric light orchestra; and - a possible favorite - kiki, zach, and chids, together at last. super cute.

i know others were taken, but they were also lost. life is hard. these mekanicle thangs aren't easy, dagnabit!
love you, holidos.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

mr. pibb + red vines = crazy delicious

last night, i was talking to a friend of mine who screen-tested (along with some of our other friends) for snl this fall. he mentioned the guy who knocked him out of the running, andy samberg - a stand-up. though i'm personally not crazy about the direction that snl is going in (hiring stand-ups over ensemble performers who actually train & do that kind of work each night) - i always root for them... and i gotta say, i'm a fan of this clip that chicago is abuzz about.

camera shy

this is what i look like in half-whore's makeup off the headshot-clock. thank you, friends at remote show/wolfson's bar party, who kept taking pictures with my razrphone. you can tell in pic 1 that i'm pretty into it (sike; opposite), or that i'm shooting a bad mtv2 video.

sidebar: in pic 2, i was tying my hair back. now i think i should get a bowl cut -maybe it would be alterno.

shot to the head, and you're to blame

got a quick round of headshots taken yesterday by the dashing rance rizzutto. it was way fun. you should go. apparently, chicago is following suit and going color, so i got 'em taken for agents that way. it's like pleasantville up in this piece.

still, black and white is for theatres. check it!

want a referral? hey! tell him i sent you, and you'll get a punch in the jock.

did SOMEbody say comedy?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

your host: kathleen turner, everybody

this weekend, my voice was wrecked from a run-of-the-mill cold. it's the busy season, so i had five various shows. i imagine i sounded like i'd smoked 83 packs of parliament lights, then sanded down my vocal chords.

winter makes us hotter by the second.
call me.

a christmas carol

everyone has a go-to; you know, a thing you do in idle gear that is your natural instinct. on bad days, improvisers certainly have our fair share when it comes to performance gimmicks and the like. but here, here i'm talkin' 'bout my christmas go-to.

someone says to sing your favorite christmas song. guess what? mine certainly isn't this, but i immediately run like the dickens to "sleigh ride".

there's several perks:
*trumpet "whinny" of horse
*x-treme key changes & even more orchestra featurettes (see above)

in 2003, friend hans holsen and i were on a gig with a few pals. we were singing carols and got stuck on how funny the very end of this song is. "lovely weather for/(high pitched voice) lovely weather for/(low voice) lovely weather for/ (normal) lovely weather for"... and so on. we giggled about this for several hours in the backseat of a freezing van - and christmas was bright, indeed.

what's yours?


Thursday, December 15, 2005

chatty kathy

been in this wonderful place lately where everyone around me seems like a new opportunity. today, while on my quest for a new phone, i recovered from my hangover with soup from panera. it was packed because chitown is currently freezing, and chicago apparently had the same fantasies about soup i had.

i sat right next to these two older ladies, both slowly munching on their sandwiches and talking about minutia. one of these women had a cane balancing delicately on my table, and i quickly noticed that they were talking about me as i sat right next to them. where's your cane, joan? / it's right there, on her table. / she doesn't mind it. / no, no, it's fine right there. / look at her soup! / it looks delicious. / it's potata. / what? / potata. / actually, it wasn't, so instead of being a bystander in my own transcript, i decided to lunch with them and see what happened. it's broccoli and cheddar, i said, and their faces lit up. one: that sounds delicious! / other: i've had it, it's sublime.

i read my paper and listened in on a lot of what they said. casually, they would ask my opinion on something just as i'd begin to tune out, so i learned to just stay engaged enough. they were oohing and aahing at the lights outside even though it was 1:30pm and nowhere near dark enough to show any particular magic, then i thought about how maybe these women went to bed at dusk. they talked of shopping to be done and cards to finish.

just as these women could be no cuter, the strangest woman entered. she shuffled in, and was remarkably younger than the other two; she was dressed sort of like Ouiser from Steel Magnolias - a little too much rouge, pastels and rich colors wildly mixed. uh-oh, one of my girls mumbled, here we go. Ouiser came in and immediately made one move their bags, demanding to sit down to tell her tales of consumerism. the woman closest to me complied, and i took her bag and moved it across the table from me. you're very kind, she said to me, and then looked like the weight of the world was on her shoulders. Ouiser launched into a diatribe of where she'd been, what she'd bought, then immediately started unloading bag upon bag of clothing items one by one and saying why she bought it, what the make was. "I got this for my son," she'd say. "Perry Ellis!", then she'd step side to side hugging the cardigan, sort of swooning into her dance. Jesus, one of my girls mumbled, what is this? a floor show?

then it hit me, as it has hit me several times for the past few months: we never really change from the time we are - let's say, 6 years old. i think this consistently, every single time i teach a workshop. a man, the strongest ceo of company x, when faced with the challenge of improvising, a task out of his comfort zone, will revert back to the meekness he had in the form of apology or anxiety. it may not be the same as cowering behind your mother's knee, but there's similarity. do we always show our truest selves when faced with adversity? in this case, it wasn't adversity, but it was peer pressure and commiseration that brought out an adolescence. i'm sure there are exceptions to this rule in some ways as we develop and grow, and you bet we get great at fighting whatever our demon may be... but as it stands? these women had regressed to the lunchroom politics of a middle school, and i wasn't going to miss a minute of it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

i'll give you a place to drop that pin

sprint sucks. for anyone who has called or texted me within the past month - if you haven't received anything back, it's because i never got it. people stood next to me last night, wrote me, and nothing happened. today, sprint kindly let me out of my contract, and i am switching service. usa.

last week, we did a show for sprint. while i was wearing a mic in the holding-tank hallway, i went in this bit-diatribe of how much they ruin lives, and that their customized info should be that they're failures. wait, the mic is on? yoing!

i don't know where i'm going yet, but i'm going someplace.
you bet i am.
communication: missssss yoooooou.

hark, the Harold angel sings

last night was the iO holiday party, and it was a smashing time - just smashing. and smashed. funny people are funny, and charna makes me laugh, and drinking can be fun, and life is pretts in the winter.

the end.
or IS it?
it's only one party down in the season of parties.
hang in there, liver.

sidebar: see those kids to the left? it's in a series of pics of kids who are terrified of santa. i bet these kids weren't as scared as they were with brian dennehy santa from saturday. want more? go.

(thanks, eileen.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

open letter to danza

dear tony,
you tap dance.
you sing.

we get it.

santa files

this week at MFs, i was with sam super. he was great.
our santa sucked.
he had a voice very similar to brian dennehy's.
to nearly 45 children, he also said, "what kind of cookies are you going to leave me? oh yeah? i never met a cookie i didn't like!" could've been cute, but when you sound like krusty the clown, it's not. it's the stuff nightmares are made of.

verdict: AWFUL!
verdict: Z!
c-mas longing: where is real santa?!

breakin' 2: electric boogaloo

csz shows, y'all.

my apologies for anyone who attended the 10:30pm show on saturday... boy, to be in that show was one of the most fun things out there, but nearly one of the most unprofessional moments of my life. i know that nearly everyone onstage broke at least once. "breaking", non-improvising friends, is when you laugh at something within the scene that isn't scenically sound as your character. really, it just means you get the giggles. it's cute if it's done sparingly, like, when you can tell that someone really didn't mean to laugh, and couldn't help it. it's not cute, in my opinion, when someone laughs at themselves masturbatorily. ours was the first, but still - since it kept happening, the show as a result was something i'd nearly ask my money back for. people seemed to like it, though. funny. highlights: wolfson accidentally telling everyone that richard pryor was dead, the band not being ready and doing a bunch of "5-6-7-8"s that were laughable, norris and i breaking so hard at each other that we had tears streaming down our faces (i actually walked offstage), and bland holding an improv gun to his head after the bucket round that only the players could see. most of the laughs came from us being incredulous at the show quality. ladewig, within the first half, drew a chart of how the show was going... it was a sloped hill going down and a tiny x that was at the bottom; the x was like a mall map - you are here. we knew it, but couldn't stop it. i suppose those have got to happen once in a blue moon.

on the flip side, no apologies for the 8pm, which was one of the best home shows i've seen/been in lately. it was everything it was supposed to be. improv won in those hours. i reffed that one, and when i asked "who's your favorite celebrity?" for a suggestion, a guy in the front row yelled out my name. it was sweet and though he had probably just heard my name at the beginning of the show or read the program, i was flattered. these are the things that get us through.

improv is a funny animal - obviously, when you have friends as talented as those i have, it's often hit rather than miss, but you truly never even know sometimes when you're even hitting. this is the busy season for us - we get hired for quite a few holiday parties, so the past weeks have been remote after remote for ol' freelance here. on friday, we did a show downtown - 3 person cast, a ref and keys - and this show was... oookay. you know, just ok; not because of our efforts, but because of the scene. nothing seemed perfect. the crowd laughed but was generally unresponsive - the kind of show where maybe a comedy show in general wasn't the right fit for a dining financial firm. this morning, upon wake-up, i received an e-mail of praise from the office. "Rave review from the Client!!! Liana said that she was beaming today because some people told her, 'this was the best holiday party ever!'."

what were your other ones like?

sometimes you just never know.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

the angriest man in lakeview (tm)

on the way back from an appointment and bally's this morning, i stopped to get coffee at chain-chain-chainersons. the line was immense even though it was 11am, so i waited happily because it was warmer and lovelier than chi-beria.

the dude in front of me, who was a buzz-cut clad jude law, was not so happy. he began exhaling loudly, tapping his feet, and frantically looking around as if he just pulled off a bank heist. there were suburbos in front of us - two women, you know - those women, buying the store from soup to nuts. everything. this is no exaggeration - i mean, at least one thing from each possible category. ground coffee beans, the "nice list" cd compilation, a mug, 8 forms of strudel/schnitzel/whateverthefuck, and 3 specialized drinks (one hot, one cold, one just right). i still haven't figured out the drink orders, because as stated, there were two of them. anyway, this proved too much for our friend jude, and after 18 spin-arounds, stomping, and several eye-rolls, he exclaimed

"j*sus f*cking chr*st!"

people were startled, and i just laughed, because i didn't believe that jude "small wang" law would do anything to me. jude then stepped to the counter, and i made a bet with myself. i bet myself that he would order a tall coffee. i was wrong - he got a grande.

why did i know this? i used to work at intelligentsia, and inevitably, the people who got maddest quickest at other customers were coffee of the day-ers or americano-drinkers. this guy goes everywhere and gets mad that people are deliberating at coffeehouses. to him, coffee is one thing- fuel, sweet efficient fuel. now, i get it, because sometimes we rush. but dude, i hate to tell you this, but you're at starbucks. who did you expect to see here? it's a suburban-lady wonderland! let these ladies lunch! you're wrong on all accounts - you wanna be a coffee snob, try another place; you want speed, go to dunkin' d-s.

now dunk these d-s!

boys II men, abc, abd (mmm-hmm)

for chicago folk, amanda davis is in town tonight. if you'd like to meet up, please call and join us for some chatski. we'll meet around our place, i'm sure.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

emf: rolling in their graves - their MONEY graves

Here's the commercial that woke me up this morning:
"You burden me with your groceries, you'd have me buy no eggs
You're always asking what it's all about, now listen at the dinner table
You say to me I only eat enough, but when I do, I'm a fool
These times I've spent with the crumblings, I'm going to crumble through and eat the cheese
The things you crave, that big cheese taste that blows you away
The things you crave, that's what I eat them more
The things you crave, that big cheese taste that blows you away
The things you crave... they're crumbelievable (oh!)
They're so crumbelievable..."

Worse yet? It was probably someone like me that wrote it.

Monday, December 05, 2005

you're welcome

christmas wouldn't be christmas without breakfast with santa.

each year, for easter and christmas, some of ye olde workin' actors do a gig as characters for holidays. we're lucky, because we get paid decently, and we do little skits and bits as generally unrelated characters to anything told to you as children.

this year, one mr. shad kunkle and i are (wait for it....) rocky the reindeer and tammy the cowgirl - natch.

here we are...

shad kunkle was my partner last christmas as well, and we fill the very early mornings laughing and talking, and then mocking shad for how ridiculous he looks in whatever get-up we're in. i should be one to talk - this year, i'm wearing chaps (semi-hot; unpictured).

the story? well, i own a ranch, see, and rocky is leaving to attend flight school to learn to be one of santa's reindeer. yep. kinda cute, until kids are like, why is Jessie from Toy Story 2 here? - but we deal with these things as they come.

every year i dread this until i'm doing it, and then every year i leave thankful that i've done it. it is the only chance to feel like you completely believe as an adult in the wonder of christmas when you see these kids react to santa. there's really nothing like it, and when i say kids, i kind of mean me.

last year, we had the santa known to some csz-ers as "real santa". Real Santa is a man who only makes his living doing santa gigs in the months of november and december. he has his own beard, long and white, and his wife comes with him on every gig and looks identical to mrs. claus. she wears holiday sweatshirts and our santa - even when off the clock - wears things that look like a santa on his own time: flannel shirts and suspenders, that sort of thing. RS tells us he's from arizona, that he has retired there. his children live here, and he works solely in illinois to check in on them, and flies back on weekdays. we don't believe him, for he is the realest santa.

the beard helps a bunch. our santa today (pictured, with kunks above) complained about how there is a league for real-beard santas out there that pisses him off. i can put a beard on that you can't tell where my face ends and it begins! he loudly exclaimed, as shad and i snuck who's-this-guy? glances to each other. RS would never complain. RS is one of my favorite things.

call me a beardist, but it does matter. i've been through some santas - and they have all been good. the real bearders, though? you're acing it. here's why: RS is very good with kids. he has them all sit on his lap and the cutest part about him is that he has a quiet exchange with each of them, one by one. i like it because it's not showy, and the kids really believe that he cares for them. he listens to all their requests, and smiles to their parents, and never gets upset if they're scared. one year, a child walked up with me who was developmentally delayed. he was scared and mostly confused, and if you think about it, in his favor - we all should be. we tell kids not to go near strangers, and then on high holy days, we fling them at old men and mascots. the kid walked slowly to RS, and with some encouragement, sat on santa's lap. he stared at him and appeared as if he had some questions, but remained quiet. after some chatter from santa, this kid looked up and yanked on the beard. it wasn't hard, just firm - a test. the beard didn't move of course, not one inch. the child gasped, and his eyes were like saucers. all the sudden, every doubt he had was gone - for some reason, he believed. there wasn't a dry eye in the house.

still don't believe, doubting thomas?

RS came around the corner last year, dressed in his garb from head to toe. shad and i (then dressed as snow white and prince charming... storyline '04: couple's quarrel; nearly an everybody loves raymond episode of SW & PC) wait in the kitchen to pop out and do our play for the kids. RS walks in, and in addition to looking super santa-y, he's wearing a golden key on a chain around his neck. "what's that for?", i asked, holding the key in my hand. "well, some little boys and girls aren't lucky enough to have a chimney, so this key works for everyone," he said. then he winked and walked away. shad and i barely muttered, "oh," because both of us had turned away with our eyes welled up.

you can say it.
we're pussies.
i don't care.
what are you getting for c-mas, you coal-knobs?

debatably, the most important part of the morning is the sneak out. we're pretty careful about it. what's the point of anything if you walk out half-costumed to your mazda miata as gretchen, the christmas dinosaur? that makes no sense. because of this, we do the sabotage sneak-out or we commit-to-the-bit, but nothing in-between. today, we snuck out, but other years haven't been as easy. two years back, bob ladewig (dressed as willy wonka) and i (dressed as mrs. claus) walked out to my xterra because the mall was swarmed with kids that had just been at breakfast. we got to the parking lot and started to disrobe, but then a little kid walked outside. bob said we were "just waiting for santa to bring the sleigh around!" well, the kid stuck around for a bit, until we told him we were pulling santa's "city car" around back to load up some reindeer feed. it was too late to change though, so your pal mrs. claus here drove from woodfield mall all the way back to chi-town on 90/94 to the sound of america honking, with an additional embarrassing walk from car to old belmont apartment at 11am.

this one's for the children.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

hilarious weekend - check.

this weekend was full of ridiculous.
thursday night i had a show at io. there was ONE pAyINg cUStoMeR! there were still about 30 people there, students and performers, but i was so over it by the time we began. everyone was. it was freezing out, and people were in foul moods. kind of funny, but this is what we call a low point in impro. also, a low point in impro is calling it "impro".

thank god the weekend got better. first, i had newsies on friday. have i talked about newsies before? it's the best/worst thing out there. i will get to that in another post someday, because it's a hilarious thing to do; it's a promotional event for marshall field's that we do around the calendar. more on that later. i had two remotes (away shows) this weekend for csz that basically ate the whole weekend away. friday's call time was 3:30pm, and the show didn't start until 9pm. saturday's show - the call was 2pm, and the show was at 8pm. you see where i'm going? usually, this kind of thing could be annoying, but it's not to me - that kind of down time just equals insane amounts of time for paid bits between friends. i love it.

friday's show was in lisle, IL. we were the entertainment for MKS Software's holiday party. it was really fun - they were a great crowd, and the green room fun was lovely. two friends of CSz, players from the rebuilding NOLA, went on the gig with us and had tons of fun - rich and i got to know them much better on the drive out to the burbs. on this gig, we played the CSz-devised pseudo-apples-to-apples game, where we get to know each other better via scraps of paper and hypothetical questions. mary nisi and i played dress up - she did my makeup before we went onstage. i'm not the kind of gal that slaps a lot of shit on her puss, so it was fun to do. then, the show was wonderful - which of course, is the best.

saturday's show was in goshen, indiana - and it was just me, rance, deanna, and jay olson, friend of CSz from now-defunct CSz Austin. we had a two hour car ride there and back, and i took that opportunity to apparently become a total knob. i was in chatty mode because of the day before and how fun it had been, and knew right away i was in a car of non-chatties. thankfully, they all gave in and played along with dumb-o, and we had a super fun time all day long. apparently, my conversation starters often go something like this:

you Guyyyyyyyysss,
what are your DREAMS?

i would fight this, but i think it's probably nearly accurate.
so, this remote was at a dude's HOUSE, where our greenroom was a den. mmm, i smell disaster!, except, there really was none. this show was killer, and the time with friends was even moreso. after the show was done, we drove back, and snow sprinkled down during the ride. just perfect kind - lots of it, fluffy and diamond-like. it was perfect.

friends are great.
december rules.
...and i haven't even introduced you to rocky & tammy yet...

Thursday, December 01, 2005


for those of you who have curiosities about the process of comedy/what we really do, this entry is for you. three friends and i are currently in process of writing a (yet to be titled) sketch show. it's been a while since i've done a sketch show, since i primarily focus on improv and $ketches for biznass, so i am more psyched than ever to do the thing i actually came here for.

rich wants to dip into directing, so he asked four of us to put a show together: joey bland (hall of pres, csz, baby wants candy), rance rizzutto (johnny roast beef, csz), marla caceres (cougars, whirled news tonight), and self (you know me). i've just met marla, and she is so fun and wonderful. joey and rance i obviously just love to bits. it couldn't be better.

today we had our second meeting and brought some homework to the table. we each wrote down ideas or a starter scene or two. this stuff made me laugh a LOT.

a goal of a lot of sketch writers here is to do something new or innovative with a scripted show. that's an honest, noble goal, yet in a city of talented creatives, it's hard to do something cutting edge. because of this, we decided our goal was just to be funny. as funny as possible.

we'll see where that leads.

i don't own emotion, i rent (barf)

saw rent last night with the blands. i was psyched to see it, because most of the cast of the movie is the same cast i saw on broadway many moons ago. honest critique?: i liked it more than not. let the record show - i am a sucker for musicals. pretty much a sucker. i think that overacting is one of the worst offenses out there, but in musicals, it just reads differently with prose in song. so, mild offenses go undetected, and i am still satisfied.

things that bugged me:
*beginning of "rent" song, with rapp riding bike down street. during this point, joey and i both thought uh-oh, worrying the whole thing would be this much cheese (it wasn't)
*some dialogue is directly transcribed from song, so, if you're a dork like me and memorize musicals, then you might be annoyed at first when song-banter becomes plain banter that sort of rhymes (most notable in benny ripping on mark re: maureen at building)
*holy god, the santa fe montage in "what you own (america)" is among one of the worst movie moments i can think of. what is this, a dodge durango commercial? awful. it also reminded me of one of the things i hate about this musical - how much they drive the title home. "rentrentrentre-ntrent!/ we're not gon-na pay rent!/ 'cause ev-ry-thing is rennnnnnnnnnnnnt!"/

everything is rent?

things i liked:
*rosario dawson and new joanne were good, i thought. note, here: in the play, both women were much curvier, and though i think rosario dawson is super pretty, i liked that about the play.
*i get why they chopped songs and had to remix things. i thought for the most part, it worked.
*i loved "santa fe", the song. this is a good example of giving a song a new movie setting that really works, unlike above.
*jesse martin, if i could marry anyone, would be my first choice in the world right now. joey said something like jesse martin for president! as we walked out of the theater. amen.

on a related note, today is world aids day. man. i've lost someone dear to me from aids, and i'd like to remember them today. in the comedy world, weve gotten to a place where aids is tossed around as an easy punchline. i certainly don't believe in censorship or judgement of anything onstage, so that's not my point at all; just out there, on real time, please remember how serious this epidemic is before you toss it around.

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