Support Live Local Theatre

This weekend, I had the pleasure of watching my Dad perform in a production of Mary Poppins put on by the Port Colborne Operatic Society; an organization in which he’s been involved for 39 years!  The production was spectacular. The costumes, the singing, the FLYING! I mean, come on!

864b0f2f-e218-41f2-b1d6-8f078a1a4725.jpg

Re: Flying.

It hit me this year, seeing the PCOS’ productions every year since I was a kid is likely responsible for my desire to perform. I remember watching the plays and thinking: “ One day I want to be up there!” Although that’s since changed to “I want to be up there, but like…by myself with a microphone… or with a small group of people making things up on the spot… or performing something I’ve written myself… likely with less singing, like WAY less singing.”

My parents put me in performance from a young age. Dancing and playing the piano. I can’t begin to imagine a childhood without live performance, or without art.

So, consider this is a plea from me to you. No matter where you are, or who you’re with, go see live performances of plays, of comedy, of music of whatever you can! And bring a friend, a child, a niece or nephew, a parent or aunt or uncle, a Tinder date, ANYBODY.

You never know whose life you might inspire.

marypoppins56- dad.jpg

See: acting.

Advertisements

Connecting with the Masters

The past few days have been very improv-heavy, a few days ago. I feel, right now, that I’m advancing but also not going anywhere simultaneously. The Big City Improv Festival began last Friday. This festival is the biggest improv festival in the country and after two years of unsuccessfully applying, I finally got in. If at first you don’t succeed and all that.

BCIF has workshops. Sweet, glorious workshops. And despite the variety, I signed up for only one, because it was pretty expensive and I knew I was likely going to be out of town the following weekend. So, I took the one led by Scott Adsit. It was called “Keeping it Real.” He did not name it.

The structure of the workshop was pretty simple. Warm-up, duo scenes. After each scene, Baymax himself gave us notes. Except the notes he gave were the best, most effective notes I’ve received. To give you a comparison, the last class I took, the INSTRUCTOR, the person who gets PAID, to TEACH & GIVE NOTES on performance, had us perform a montage. Before we began, he threw away his notebook and pen told us SPECIFICALLY he would not be taking notes. Which to me says: “Do your thing, I’m going to check out for the next 20 minutes, see ya.” Scott Adsit, someone who has VERY little invested in a few improv nerds from Toronto, took extensive notes, and dropped them like bombs on those of us who listened. Some of the notes were simple, yet brilliant; “There is no should’ve, there’s only could’ve!” Some were EXTREMELY personal (I’m looking at you divorce attorney’s office scene,) but all were incredibly helpful. You know it’s been a good workshop when the thing culminates in a group hug, is all I’m saying.

I learned how I feel as though I am accepting offers, sometimes, but am not really acting on them. I justify in my mind that I have accepted the offer, but often delay actual action, which is what the scene actually needs. After tamyhe workshop, I reviewed one scene in particular of Exit Pursued by a Bear‘s, which we performed in Halifax, where bridesmaid Gill asked male store
clerk Brie to zip up her dress. I found a million ways to not zip up her dress, and justified the shit out of all of them, when all I really needed to do, was just zip up that mother flippin’ dress!

<—— REMINDER

I then watched the masters, Adsit & Lutz, in action on Sunday. They performed a mind-blowing set together in which not a single offer was dropped. They were both in such synch. After a weekend of thinking a LOT about improv, it was great to see it done so well. But it was also fun to see how pros dealt with mistakes (see: gifts) – like that moment Adsit mentioned something about his mother doing something, after previously stating that mother was in fact dead. He loved it. We loved it. Love your mistakes. Embrace the fuck-ups. It’s the only way!

Speaking of masters in action, I was fortunate enough to acquire a ticket to see Sir Paul McCartney‘s show last Saturday evening, (thank you Martha.) I saw the real-life, actual Beatle, Paul McCartney. It was this wonderful feeling of being at the same moment fully present, but also strongly connected to a time before your own. Just seeing all these people, mostly around Paul’s age, singing along to songs we’ve heard for years but, let me assure you, there is nothing in the world quite like singing Let it Be with almost 20,000 other people, one of whom is the ACTUAL MAN singer/songwriter of that very song! It’s incredible. I feel like the main descriptor I can use to quantify the night is: goosebumpy. He sang a song honouring John, mentioning things he wishes he’d said to him before he died, and we all sang Something together in George’s memory. It was super powerful stuff. The grade 5 in me, who watched The Beatles Anthology over and over again for months over that one March break my parents went on a cruise, came out and sucked on the gracious apple juice that was this concert and she liked it very much indeed.The grown up in me was blown away by how talented a singer/songwriter he is and how fantastic it must be to have a career span so long doing something so awesome that people everywhere adore.

So I’m inspired now. I’ve seen some pretty rockin’ stuff in the span of one short weekend. And we’re about to begin another one already. Let’s see what it brings.

CRkqYMJUkAA-0M_

For those interested parties, this was Paul’s set list Saturday night at the ACC:

  1. Eight Days a Week
  2. Save Us
  3. Got to Get You Into my Life
  4. One After 909
  5. Temporary Secretary
  6. Let Me Roll It
  7. Paperback Writer
  8. My Valentine
  9. Nineteen Hundred and Eighty-Five
  10. The Long and Winding Road
  11. Maybe I’m Amazed
  12. I’ve Just Seen a Face
  13. FourFiveSeconds
  14. We Can Work It Out
  15. Another Day
  16. And I Love Her
  17. Blackbird
  18. Here Today
  19. New
  20. Queenie Eye
  21. Lady Madonna
  22. All Together Now
  23. Lovely Rita
  24. Eleanor Rigby
  25. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
  26. Something
  27. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
  28. Band on the Run
  29. Back in the U.S.S.R.
  30. Let it Be
  31. Live and Let Die (SO MANY PYROTECHNICS!) 
  32. Hey Jude
  33. Another Girl <— ENCORE
  34. Hi, Hi, Hi
  35. I Saw Her Standing There
  36. Yesterday <–— ENCORE 2
  37. Mull of Kintyre (with a full Pipe band!)
  38. Helter Skelter
  39. Golden Slumbers
  40. Carry That Weight
  41. The End

 

Struggling On

logo1On a day like today, the first day this month that I’ve had to work full time hours on the weekend (just Sunday this week, in the coming weeks it’ll be expected of me Saturdays and Sundays), more than ever I feel the need to promote the latest episode of Nick & my podcast; The Constant Struggle:

http://www.podbean.com/media/player/a28d3-56ed11

This episode was taped on Father’s Day, and we discussed the grind of getting your creative work done under not-so-ideal circumstances. I have a feeling the next episode is going to talk about more of that because this month I will have even less time to do the things I love, which is pretty crazy disheartening.

It’s getting more difficult to manage the balance of work and passion. Work seems to be weighing more heavily. Too bad I’m not a millionaire, y’know?  Anyway…

In this episode, we give shout-outs to:

  • Drop & Give me 20 stand-up show (Marc Hallworth)
  • Robert Ariss Hills (improviser, graphic designer)
  • Dan Dingwall (a dude)
  • Susannah Kiernan (triple threat)
  • Ken Hall (improv guru)
  • Alexis Bernstein (networking queen & creative expert)
  • The bird clock
  • Porter Airlines

Books & Movies

  • Save the Cat (Blake Snyder)
  • Whiplash (2014)
  • Inside Out (2015)

Podcasts

  • The Moment (Brian Koppelman)
  • WTF (Marc Maron)
  • The Crimson Wave (Jess Beaulieu & Natalie Norman)

***

#StruggleOn friends!

It’s Latin so it’s Gotta Be Good

1795788_10152181047711203_664192455_n - Copy

Last night I had the pleasure of hosting a fantastic comedy variety show at Musideum; that word, that name… you know any venue with a Latin suffix is bound to be awesome!  This amazing little space on Richmond St. was filled with hundreds of musical instruments, a beautiful grand piano and, in this case, a bunch of hilarious performers and a super-supportive audience.

The weekly show is put on by The Sandbox,  comedy troupe formed in the Second City’s Conservatory program, who’ve stuck together to continue their comic journey.  Damnit, now I’m describing the Conservatory program as a journey.  What have I become?

Anyway, The Sandbox kicked off the show with some great fun and lively improv.  They were followed by a musical comedy troupe called The Sour Keys, who were super impressive.  They performed songs ranging from adorably punny to really disturbingly cute.  Next on the bill was 2 Humans, a great little sketch duo set to perform at this year’s Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival (so go check them out!)  Finally, closing the billed show was a solid and hilarious improv set put on by well-known troupe Sneak Attack.  The night wrapped with an improv lottery jam, in which yours truly was invited to participate; and I was a dinosaur and a horned-up old lady at the LCBO hitting on a 19-year wine salesman.  Playing within my range, y’know.

Oh, did I mention there was a gigantic, awful, miserable snow storm yesterday?  And yet,  the Musideum was packed to the brim for the show with a warm and very supportive audience of people who just seemed happy to be there and were rewarded and delighted by the night’s hilarious performers.

What a fun night of comedy!  Even better, there’s a new Comedy Night at Musideum every single Wednesday, so next time – you can be there to experience the fun for yourself!

 

Take a Stand

2013-11-22 21.22.01

Weezer @ Rama 2013

Ever seen a rock concert at Casino Rama?

Either that place is really tame or I’m getting old to the point where the bands I like are only performing venues where the fans can’t/don’t move anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, Weezer totally killed it last night. They were really tight and the hits kept on coming and coming, I didn’t want it to end.  What I did want to do, was stand-up and rock out.  But, given the nature of the venue, apparently the only people who stand up are the few people on the ground level that charge to the stage within the first few seconds of play.  The rest of the audience sit back, bob, and that’s about it.  A few people sing.  A few drunk people try to impress their significant others by dancing terribly, but everybody else is all about the bob.

It reminded me of Bluesfest in Ottawa.  No offence, Ottawa.  But when people get pissed off at you because you’re standing in front of their lawn chair, 15 rows into the crowd of a fargin’ rock concert, it’s time to take the earplugs out and listen up.

Rock isn’t supposed to be comfortable.  It’s supposed to make you stand up, dance, punch the sky and air-drum until your arms go numb.  I don’t want to sit down at a rock concert.  I want to charge the stage and shout my head off along with drunken fools and people who’ve kept cocaine in necklaces to avoid being caught by security on the way in.  I want to flank the crowd and sneak my way to the front, like I’ve been doing for years.  I want that slight, tiny, minuscule chance that the people performing on stage will reach out and give me a high five, or at least, make eye contact and, if only for a second, acknowledge my existence.

Or, if I get tickets in the stands, I at LEAST want to stand up and sing along to the hits, without worrying the people behind me sitting down’a experience will be compromised due to my, God forbid, desire to have some fun.  For Pete’s sake world,  get off your asses!  It’s a rock show.

You sit on your ass all day long at work (well I do, anyway.) How does something like this not make you want to stand up and just have the time of your fucking life?

Arcade Fire Likes to Laugh

I think I forgot to mention the total crazy excitement that happened last Sunday at work.  The Arcade freakin’ Fire (Win & Rejine anyway) came to see a show at the Second City.

I didn’t get to take a photo of/with them or anything because, I’m a total profesh at my job.  Obvi.

But the cast got one, so I’m gonna steal it and live vicariously through it.

No big deal, but I brought them to their seats and told Win to use the ladies washroom by accident.

Yup.

 

Say Goodbye To Your Case of the Mondays!

There’s always been a bit of a challenge getting people to show up to the Comedy Bar on a regular Monday evening.   But for The JokeBox Comedy Lounge, by Impulsive Entertainment, produced by Deanna Palazzo and James Dalzell, it’s: “Challenge Accepted!”

Every Monday, the JokeBox Comedy Lounge plays host to a variety of comedy performances.  I attended last night, and there was a good mix of some stand-up, both booked and lotterized, improv and sketch comedy to entertain all the senses.  And, despite an off-night for the Comedy Bar’s famous mac n’ cheese, I’d say it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

The night kicked off with host and noted bartender/IT Asian, Jim Kim, who always brings forth funny observations – in this case, about the Olympics and his mixed feelings towards attractive athletes, both male and female.  After which, the line-up consisted of:

  • Jordan Foisy  (Stand-Up Lottery Spot)
  • The Winston Zeddesmores (Improv)
  • Natalie Norman (Stand-Up)
  • The Reception (Sketch)
  • Mischa Cheeseman (Stand-Up Lottery Spot)
  • Ron Josol (Stand-Up)
  • Good Game (Musical Sketch)

It was a good mix – I’d never seen Ron Josol perform before, but he was really great!   He was just home from Just For Laughs and was certainly still on his festival-game because he was hilarious!  And the headliners, Good Game, with their mix of deadpan musical comedy, were a real treat to finish the night up!

All in all, you can’t go wrong for such a variety of talented comics for $5 on a Monday.  Get off your butts and check this show out!

 

The JokeBox Comedy Lounge, every Monday at 8pm, Comedy Bar – $5