Posts Tagged ‘denver improv festival’

NaNoWriMo – Day 11 (Morning Update)

Day 11 of NaNoWriMo has arrived and these numbers do not bode well:

Goal NaNoWriMo Word Count: 18,333/50,000 (36.6%)

Actual NaNoWriMo Word Count: 2,338/50,000 (4.7%)

Word Count Difference: -15,995

Writing Sessions: 2

My Story: Inching forward, but wow, what a start!

My Outlook: Optimism is not my strongest emotion right now.

Essay and test grading, as well as a few personal and work meetings and my trip to the Denver Improv Festival may have culminated this week in order to spell certain doom to this novel writing month. Can I eek out the word count I need? Let’s see what my update looks like tonight…

HEY: If you’re attempting NaNoWriMo this year, feel free to post your own update in the comments section. You can use my format or invent your own.

ALSO: If you wanna buddy up, I’m on NaNoWriMo here.



Denver Improv Festival – My Trip, Day 5 (Part II)

We’re heading out to the airport. If anything ridiculous / amazing / tragic happens, I’ll do a final update. Otherwise, that’s my report from the fourth annual Denver Improv Festival.

Famous last words at the end of yesterday’s blog post. Of course, I went and tempted fate…

Kelly and I had three hours between our hotel check-out time of 11:00am and car rental return time of 2:00pm to chill out in Denver before our flight home at 4:15pm. We spent the first hour chatting with Jill Bernard, Joe Bill, and Jon Lannen in the hotel lobby. I told Jon that if I’d known it the festival was so close to his birthday (it’s today, by the way, so happy birthday, bro), I would’ve dragged him onstage and plucked out ‘Happy Birthday’ on the uke. After hugs and photos (photos to come), we bid farewell at around 12:00pm.

Then we drove to the northeast side of town to find a gas station and somewhere to eat. We decided to go with lunch first and then took the next hour trying to find a gas station. I do not exaggerate when I say there were no gas stations around at all. Shopping complexes? Sure. Eateries? You betcha. Gas stations? Nope. When we finally saw one, we were on a highway going in the opposite direction and couldn’t find an exit. We even asked a trucker for help and he looked up gas stations on his laptop for us. By the time we finally found a gas station, it was 2:30pm.

We dropped off the rental car at 2:40pm (no late penalty, what a relief!) and took the shuttle to the airport. We arrived at 2:55pm and made our way through check-in (3:00pm), security (3:15pm), the light rail (3:20pm), and all the way down to our gate (3:30pm) just in time to use the restroom (3:31pm) and wait for a mere fourteen minutes until they began boarding our flight (3:45pm). That was not a very fun hour. I think I truly understand the “arrive two hours early” rule. It’s not because of tightened security taking longer – it’s so you don’t end up all panicked and end up looking a sweaty, suspicious character.

The flight took off on time, more or less, but they had to announce over and over to remove coats from the overheard compartment bins to make way for larger pieces of carry-on luggage. Truly, this is the unfortunate (and likely unanticipated by Frontier) side-effect of Frontier Airlines’s new policy of charging $15 per checked bag. That charge is both ways, so we paid $60 for our luggage plus, when my bag tipped the 50-pound scale (I guess those extra books and my new DIF t-shirt added up to over two pounds) they threatened to charge the overweight fee on top of the $15. We rearranged Kelly’s bag and got both bags checked for the low, low cost of $30 total. People don’t want to pay this fee to solve the airlines’ financial woes. Instead, they’re overloading the overhead compartment bins and there’s not enough room for people’s stuff. Hey. Airline industry. Maybe if you ran your industry in the competitive freemarket nature every other American-based industry runs themselves so that the last thing your customers worried about was price over quality, you may not be in this stupid mess and passing the cost on to the consumer. Jerk airline industry.

My tirade is over, as is my tale. We made it back home, sound and safe. I’ll get our final photos up on this post later today. Thanks for reading.


Denver Improv Festival – My Trip, Day 5

And that’s a wrap.

I was first up for Saturday’s shows at the Denver Improv Festival and I was pumped. Here’s some thoughts on my show and the rest of the shows that evening:

The Uncle Ukulele Show – I left the stage feeling good about my show. I had a fun crowd who seemed into it, and that’s the most important thing to me. I did seven songs including the two brand-new pieces I’ve been working on. I haven’t performed The Uncle Ukulele Show since the Milwaukee Improv Festival in August, and my show in Denver admittedly had a few hiccups in terms of smooth transitions and a fumbled chord or two, but the audience stuck with me, as far as I could tell. It was nice to have a mixed house of improvisers and non-improvisers, too, and they surprised me by singing along to choruses several times. One thing I would take away from this last show in terms of how to improve my show is to just memorize my set list. I wrote it down and I think because of that, I tended to rely on it too much. If it’s only in my head, it forces me to remember it or at least deal with it if I forget what’s next. I had fun, so thanks, DIF! Standout Moments (to me as the performer): The audience spontaneously singing along to one of my new segments (that was so cool!), the pleasantly surprising moment during my pop song when the horse I was riding sprouted wings and a horn to become a Pegasus Unicorn (the look of surprise and delight on my face was, apparantly, pretty hilarious), and Bat McCain biting Obama Goat and making him Vampire Obama Goat (I think we all remember that debate).

Curds Only – Ryan Williams (from last night’s solo show, Kumate) and Chris Woolf (who provided tech for the show at the Impulse last night) reunited for their longform duo, Curds Only, and it was obvious these guys were excited to be working together again. Both actors got really physical with their improv, something I love to see, and their attitude was a sort of faux bravado that set a laid-back tone for the show. The first suggestion they received was “bus station,” one of the most cliche improv suggestions in the universe and I thought, “Oh, no,” in my head, but I was so glad to see them do something cool with it; in their structure, they establish one or two characters apiece and then switch off and play each other’s roles. The connected listening required for this was commendable and a half. Standout Moments: An argument between friends over the best knapsack ever, a good cop / bad cop game of a dude named Larry tied to a chair being worked over by Casbury and Murphy, and a kid in love with ice cream promises to sell ice cream at his school whose vendor / supplier asks, “You’re not going to get high off your own supply, right?”

After the show, we loaded up all of my gear into the car and had dinner at the Rock Bottom Brewery. The camera got put in the car, too, so no more photos from me, unfortunately.   Burger: The Bourbonzola. Parking ticket: validated. Post-show feeling: Awesome. Back to the Bovine? Yep.

A.C.E. – Featuring an American, a Canadian, and an Englishman, A.C.E. has been improvising in Denver for a long time and I remember seeing some fantastic improv from them during my days frequenting the Improv Hootenanny. They had the audience laughing last night, including me, and yet in all honesty their set was loose, distractingly loose (missed gifts, silent moments of actors staring at each other and not knowing what’s going on, constant corpsing ((“Corpsing” is breaking character by laughing in a scene.)) ). And I know their set was loose because I’ve seen them do some tight, solid improv. Also, I’m surprised every scene was a three-person scene; if that’s an ensemble’s specialty, great, yet without a single one- or two-person scene in the set, some third-person entrances run the risk of feeling forced. I want to be honest to my impressions and I think mine come from a place of wanting more, having seen them be so great. Standout Moments: Jamie Krutz provided phenomenal electric guitar background music for the entire show, including some improvised songs. Jamie is like the Warren Zevon of the Denver improv scene and it was a pleasure to see him again. Also, I loved the line, “Don’t take away my chipmunks! I’m addicted!”

Drum Machine – I think I always knew, but have finally figured out how to articulate, why Jill Bernard’s improv shows are so endearing, captivating, and successful: they’re based in emotion or more precisely, love. She gets suggestions to set the scene, including a topic and a historic backdrop, but really it’s the emotional relationships revolving around love that drives her improv. Jill ditched her drum machine in favor of live keyboardist and former Minneapolis improviser, Seymour Muchmore, and he definitely added some talent to the already excellent show. Her tale of two brothers and a new lover for the older brother accidentallly inventing beer had the grand scale of many of the Drum Machine tales I’ve witnessed, and Bernard’s crowd was nothing less than satisfied, if not downright giddy (all one needed to do was listen to them gush in the lobby after the show). Standout Moments: “People in love don’t drown!”, a brother named Trigg, a father happy to be rid of his idiot daughter, a floating corpse, and “Love is all the scuba gear I’ll need.”

After the 9:30pm show, Kelly and I went back to Sam’s No. 3 and had the same server. She was even more flabergasted that we were back two nights in a row. ((“Well, back again?! Deja vu, huh?! Deja vu!!!))

Dishwater Blondes – There’s been much written and said about women and comedy, women and improv for that matter. And in a way, even mentioning how improv is mostly populated by white men when talking about an all-women ensemble bows to the cliché. And still, maybe it’s because most improv I see is performed by “people who look like me” that I’m left amazed by strong female improvisers, and this group of five are talented. Characters were great, relationships were funny, and I’m always a fan of a callback-heavy set, especially when it doesn’t feel forced (which it wasn’t; everything was highly organic). None of them succumbed to the “look how crazy and/or sexy I can be” trap that some female improvisers fall into (I could say the same about men falling into the “look how aloof and/or weird I can be” trap) Standout Moments: a persistent informercial that reaches out of the TV and turns itself back on, a psychic who bases her readings on whatever movie she saw the night before, sudden baby births and absent-minded physicians, and “I see the future in spaghetti noodles… I keep a dream diary.”

SCRAM – Joe Bill and Jill Bernard teamed up for a two-person Scramble, a longform structure Joe told me about in the car on Friday which got me pumped up to see it. Actors create two two-person scenes running concurrently, interacting with an absent “ghost” character until they switch off and enter the other person’s scene, taking on that “ghost” character and fleshing out the scene further. This book-ended the show which only comprised of one single scene – an estranged father and daughter waiting for a long-lost daughter (who may not even actually be his daughter) to arrive. This structure was a breath of fresh air, having some of the most tender, emotional moments of the festival. Five minutes would pass without a laugh because the audience was so caught up in the relationship between a depressed daughter and her ungrateful father. Again, Jill does well with scenework revolving around love, and the relationship she and Joe created was captivating. Standout Moments: Guessing what brand of pudding the last pudding cup is, “Listen up, because I’m rarely going to say this: ‘thank you.'” and this exchange: Father: “Do you know what the last line of the telegram was?” Daughter: “Was it ‘stop’?”

We didn’t stay for the afterparty; we were just wiped out. We said our goodbyes to Joe, Jon, Jean, and many others, and headed back to the hotel. Sleep called us to bed and I did not protest.

Kelly and I caught every single DIF show this Friday and Saturday, choosing to pony up some cash for her tickets (I had free admission as a performer) and immerse ourselves in the festival all weekend. I’m surprised by how few improvisers, especially DIF performers with free admission – came close to this feat over the course of the festival. Now, let’s get hypocrisy out of the way: I’ve been out of town or getting married during both of the improv festivals in my neck of the woods, so perhaps I’m off base here and just don’t understand what it’s like to be an improviser when a festival is being held on the home turf. But this is my ninth festival appearance and the first I can remember when it really felt like some local improvisers were picking and choosing when to be there, as opposed to most festivals I’ve attended where it seemed most local improvisers made it a point to be there as much as possible.

I’m not trying to take away from those improvisers who showed up to a bunch of shows – there was a healthy handful, and they rock for supporting the festival. But showing up only to perform your own show and immediately leaving afterward? To me, that 1. doesn’t build community, 2. doesn’t foster the festival, and 3. comes off as pretty snobby. Pardon me for being frank on this matter (hey, at least I’m not naming names), but after experiencing festivals that brought local improvisers together (Milwaukee immediately springs to mind, as does Miami), it was unfortunate that, to this non-local, it didn’t necessarily feel like the majority of local improvisers were choosing to consistently show up. Double-kudos to those local improvisers who made it their business to support this festival which ultimately supports the local improv community. It’s a symbiotic relationship that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

But that’s a small mark on what was otherwise a fun, well-run festival. Jon Lannen and Jean Schuman, thank you. Joe Bill – it was great to see you again, hope it’s not another year before we meet again. Jill Bernard – I think I saw you more this weekend than I have in the last six months, which is a bummer; let’s change it up! Matt Fogel – thank you for the amazing tech. Howard – your hosting skills were top-notch. Carl Wedell and Frank Haas – your hospitality was truly appreciated (as well as the tip of grinding cinnamon with my coffee beans). Good to see so many familiar faces again: Ryan Williams, Chris Woolf, Eric Farone, Adrian Holguin, and many more.

We’re heading out to the airport. If anything ridiculous / amazing / tragic happens, I’ll do a final update. Otherwise, that’s my report from the fourth annual Denver Improv Festival.


Denver Improv Festival – My Trip, Day 4

This post not only describes the rest of yesterday’s Denver Improv Festival events, but features the very first FOOTNOTES to appear here at The Scrawl! ((yay!))

Kelly and I ate at the Rock Bottom Brewery on 16th Street and Curtis for three reasons: 1. the food is okay, 2. it’s a block and a half from the Bovine Metropolis Theater, and 3. if you bring in your underground parking garage ticket and order something they’ll validate your parking. Back in the day when Rick and I would come and do some improv, this was standard operating procedure and, after checking in with a few locals, it’s still the preferred parking method of choice for Denver improvisers.

It’s neat to return to a venue I used to frequent so often, yet had been away from for three years. We attended all of the shows last night, so here’s a brief breakdown of who we saw:

Convention? (Denver, CO) – This large ensemble (at least 13 people) portrayed what appeared to be the final act in a running series running parallel to the national election, with last night’s show focusing on three candidates and their teams reeling in their defeat. Each team was focused on for several minutes apiece, followed by a moderated Q&A session featuring all of the characters. There were some funny moments and many of the characters established themselves as well as their relationships with each other, even across party lines (nice to see improvisers reach across the aisle). I honestly felt like I was clearly watching the finale of a show I never saw, and that left me feeling like I was missing something, but there were laughs to be had, anyway. Standout Moment(s): a clueless VP candidate (Amanda Kennedy) spouting off a slew of non sequiturs, a felonious husband and a campaign manager (Mark Shonsey) singing a cut from their new Christian rock CD.

The Sanscript Players with Joe Bill (Denver, CO / Chicago, IL) – This is the house team for the Bovine Metropolis, one of the two host theaters of the festival. This was also a large ensemble and they asked Joe Bill to play Armando for an Armando Diaz Experience. ((Named for the inventor of this longform structure, one person steps forward as “Armando” and asks for a suggestion. They tell true stories from their own life to “fill the pot” with ideas and the ensemble creates scenes inspired by the stories. The Armando steps in few scenes to fill the pot even more. A very callback-friendly, organic, and symbiotic form.)) Kelly’s a big fan of the Armando (she’s seen me do a few) and this group is clearly comfortable working with each other, getting physical, using the space, etc. Standout Moment(s): a man trying to climb out of a window over and over to avoid getting married with his friends at a triple wedding, a woman who bottles her emotions – personified by another actor popping up in a window as a disembodied head screaming to be let out, and Joe Bill on conspiracy theories: “I think conspiracy theories are natural because keeping secrets is natural. That’s why I’ve been divorced twice.”

After the show we went around the corner to Sam’s No. 3 and had malts. I had an extra malty cookies’n’cream malt while Kelly created a chocolate / mint / strawberry concoction which left our server flabbergasted. I don’t think I’ve ever used that word to describe someone, but trust me, it’s quite appropriate for her reaction. ((“In all my time here I don’t think that combo’s ever come up! That’s something unique!”))

Kumate (Chicago, IL) – This was the first of three solo shows at this year’s DIF, the others being mine and Jill Bernard’s Drum Machine. Ryan Williams took the stage in kung-fuitized wardrobe and asked his audience for a location they’ve never seen in a Kung-Fu movie; he got “Antarctica.” After a mood-setting, and funny, pan-flute song, Williams then displayed some of the most patient improv I’ve ever seen. For three minutes or so, he established the setting – a ship at sea – and three characters – a deckhand swabbing the deck, the first mate at the wheel, and the captain in the crow’s nest, all through fluid, kung-fu inspired spacework and sound effects (think of that “Sh!” “Schuh!” type of noise you hear in the kung-fu movies when someone swings a fist in the air). The first words of the show were “LAAAND HO!” and we were off. Williams created an adventure journey, a love story, and a penguin-hunting tale in his time on stage and it all came to a satisfying conclusion by the time a second pan-flute song closed the show. Standout Moment: “I’ve been eating nothing but penguin for three weeks!”

The Drinks (Denver, CO) – Mark Shonsey took the stage for a third time (he was also in Convention? and The Sanscript Players) with fellow Sanscript Player Nanna Ogburn for a duo longform structure. They established their characters, setting up their relationship of a tension-filled semi-marriage, ending with the Nanna’s character explaining, with a big grin on her face, that if he ever tried to leave she would kill him. The rest of the show became a cat-and-mouse game to see if the husband could push the seemingly goody-two-shoes woman over the edge so she finally killed him. There were plenty of laughs, though while I fully embrace John Gardner’s theory of the importance of delay in fiction, I think the audience was really just waiting for her to kill him. I wonder if part of the reason that moment (spoiler!) never came was the aftermath of that moment was because that wasn’t something they had anticipated ever happening, but man, a duo show between one live character and one dead body character could be interesting. At any rate, both players’ characters were top-notch, their interaction was the stuff you hope your students will create in your improv classes, and I laughed plenty. Standout Moment(s): After establishing his life was in danger, the uneasy lover squeaks out, “What do you want to play for game night?” and near the end of the show, after going down on one knee to beg for his life, Nanna’s character screamed in delight that he was proposing marriage (“You did the knee thing!” “No, no, a lot of people go down on one knee for a lot of reasons! Tying a shoe! Picking up a dime!”)

After this show, Kelly and I went back to the hotel and took a nap. We had over an hour and seriously, we were both pretty flippin’ tired. Hooray for king size beds with fancy-schmancy blankets and sheets!

The rest of the night was at the Impulse Theater. This is where my old improv partner, Rick Simineo, got some of his training so while it always came highly recommended, this was unfortunately my first time actually going there. It’s a cool space, a very night club / comedy club feel in the basement of a local brewery and plenty of cabaret-style seating and what looked like a well-organized list of tech candy (well-placed tech booth, solid lighting, large backstage, multiple entrance locations, etc.).

Impulse Theater (Denver, CO) – A house ensemble did a round of short-form games including Rewrite (a.k.a. Take That Back, a.k.a. Ding!, a.k.a. Should’ve Said), Forward/Reverse, and Styles Replay. They played a game similar to World’s Worst in that they’d get a suggestion for a topic of a song (dogs, cars, etc.) and would switch up a real song with lyrics pertaining to the topic. I’d never seen that game before and it killed; definitely something I’d like to try sometime. The ensemble was great, really working together well. That may be because it was their third set of the night, according to Adrian Holguin, whom I know through and have met in-person at least one or thrice before. It’s always cool to see YESand friends in the flesh and performing, and Adrian did a super-awesome job. Standout Moment(s): Michael Solomon repeating “Noooo, noooo!” ad nauseum in Forward / Reverse, a Steven Spielberg-style scene in Styles Replay featuring Adrian Holguin as Indiana “Manuel” Jones, Liberty Gordon as a ridiculously-wigged preggers secret lover, and wow, Sara Vandas can sing!

FORK (Denver, CO) – DIF co-producers Jean Schuman and Jon Lannen took the stage for their duo show and were clearly having a fun time. They opened by getting two separate suggestions and took a seat on opposite sides of the stage, creating character monologues running concurrently and every once in a while, taking inspiration from one another – a very cool exercise in listening to your partner (I might have to take this as a workshop exercise). The show featured a series of relationship-driven scenes and musical interludes provided by LA-based guest Stephen Wilder and a keyboard accompanist, Seymour Muchmore, who worked at the Brave New Workshop around fifteen years ago. FORK’s set was fun and what I usually might call “loose” but I’m going with “playful” as a show ending after 1:00am by the producers who’ve been running around for weeks getting last-minute details done shoudl be. As I said, they clearly were enjoying themselves and that sensibility carried over to the audience. Standout Moment(s): Jon going off on a Milli Vanilli diatribe, Stephen as public defender singing about what a shrew the judge (Jean) was, and Jean actually making herself out-and-out cry for her judge character.

Due to camera battery issues, the only show I got to take photos of was FORK, but here they are:

After the show, Kelly, Jill Bernard, and I headed back to the Hampton. I dropped off the ladies and had an adventure in parking. Then, sleep. Sweet sleep.

Unfortunately, the workshop I was scheduled to teach today didn’t fill, so today we’re playing it low-key. Some writing, some essay grading, some ukulele practice, some blogging, some napping, and some mindless TV watching. Tonight I appear with Curds Only (Denver, CO / Chicago, IL), then we plan to catch the rest of the shows this evening. I’ll keep you posted, dear reader.


Your Friday Recommendation #29

Come see my show!

Is this recommendation a cop-out? Eh, maybe.

Is this recommendation a shamless plug? Spluh.

The Denver Improv Festival presents The Uncle Ukulele Show and Curds Only
Saturday, November 8 @ 7:30pm, $15
The Bovine Metropolis Theater
1527 Champa Street, Denver, CO

Run, drive, fly, burrow, or teleport your way to Denver this weekend, dear reader! And if you can’t make it, well, I understand.


Denver Improv Festival – My Trip, Day 3

Our travels took Kelly and me beyond the Denver metro area to Castle Rock to shop for jeans and books at their famed Outlet Mall. While the Vans outlet store apparently no longer exists (it’s where I bought all of my shoes from 2002-2005, including the shoes I’m wearing now… which says a lot about how infrequently I buy shoes, now that I think about it), they had a Borders outlet store with a lot of closeout books. I picked up The Great Gatsby unabridged on CD for a dollar, a $20 book of over-sized posters from The Simpsons, and a copy of Best American Short Stories 2007 (edited by Stephen King), and now have a copy of nearly every year’s volume going back to 1999. Kelly picked up an autobiography, Multiple Bles8ings by Jon & Kate Gosselin (with Beth Carlson who, with apologies to Jon and Kate, probably did quite a bit of the writing). It’s the story of a couple who had twins and sextuplets and who are the subject of Kelly’s new “favorite” TLC TV show, Jon and Kate Plus Eight. I call anything Kelly likes her “favorite” thing, even if it’s not. That’s how I roll.

I also saw a new anthology of 70 short stories since 1970 that looked interesting (it has a lot of the Scribner Anthology in it), as well an older edition of the Norton Anthology of Short Fiction for only $2.99. I was really tempted to pick it up, but my luggage is already pushing the 50-pound limit at 48 pounds (mostly thanks to my ukulele amp), so I left the heavy tome on the shelf. Frontier’s already charging $15 per checked bag, one-way, and I don’t feel like having it jump up to $25 by surpassing the 50-pound mark; that would make the Norton book $13 and at that price I might as well buy it at home or online (addendum: a quick Amazon check lists Norton as $44 and up, so maybe I missed out).

We continued south and visited the Garden of the Gods, one of my favorite geological anomalies I’ve ever visited. I haven’t been there since I was in high school, but it was as beautiful as ever.Here are some photos we took:

Finally, we headed to see my cousin, Kris, and his wife, Janette, in Colorado Springs. We had some dinner, looked at photos from their trip to China, gossiped about the family, and played the terrible, terrible Wii video game that is Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? I’ll tell you who I am smarter than – the programmers who decided this product was finished and ready for consumers to plunk down money to buy (luckily, it was merely a rental). We forgot to bring our extra Wii-motes and our copy of our latest Wii game addiction, Boom Blox, but maybe that’s not a bad thing. Remember, 50-pound luggage weight limit.

This morning I graded essays (yay!), Kelly slept in (yay!), we drove the Charger north (meh), and ended up back in Denver. I’m writing this in our room at the downtown Hampton Inn where Joe Bill is also staying; I know because we bumped into each other in the lobby, where handshakes and bear hugs were to be had. Joe’s one of those guys who’s been around the Chicago improv scene forever, plus the national improv scene for as long as I can remember. His classes will change your improv, his shows will inspire your improv, and his down-to-earth personality really helps eliminate any perceived “guru status” stigma. I’m looking forward to seeing his shows this weekend.

I did tech rehearsal at the Bovine Metropolis for the Denver Improv Festival and saw several familiar faces from back in the day. Ryan Williams and Chris Wolf are Curds Only, the group I’m sharing the bill with for tomorrow night’s 7:30pm show. Ryan’s been in Chicago for a year and it sounds like good things are happening, while Chris served as tech for the Improv Hootenanny back when Rick and I were doing regular shows here. I’ve improvised with both of these guys before, they’re cool and talented. I also re-met Jean Schuman and Jon Lannen. I say re-met because I know I met them, albeit briefly, way back when they were in a high school improv troupe called Spontaneous Combustion. They’re producing the festival and these two are far more pumped and charged up than anything, and that feeling is both palpable and infectious. Finally, I bumped into Eric Farone, owner of the Bovine Metropolis Theater. Eric and his wife, Denise, have done a lot to put Denver improv on the map and his theater space appears ready for some insane improv action this weekend.

That’s it for today. Kelly and I are heading out to dinner and an evening of improv. I’ll keep you posted.


Denver Improv Festival – My Trip, Day 2

Last night’s flight on Frontier Airlines into Denver went without a hitch, which is approximately 1700 less hitches than the last time we flew Frontier (our honeymoon) and ended up in Denver (unexpected) and its airport (overnight, on the floor). We picked up our rental car, a 2007 Dodge Charger, and headed to out to crash at my friends’, Carl and Frank. Carl Wedell hosted the Improv Hootenanny at the Bovine Metropolis Theater for years and only just recently bowed out to start grad school, while Frank Haas is tech director at the Bovine. Already, it’s been cool running into pepole from the past and talking about old times.

See, when I lived in Cheyenne, Wyoming for three years, Rick Simineo and I brought our improv duo, Puny Humans, down to Denver every once in a while between 2004-2005 for the Improv Hootenanny (Denver’s equivalent of Minneapolis’s Improv A Go-Go at the Brave New Workshop). Carl was our point person for performances and I so dig on seeing “blasts from the past.” Rick and I performed at the inaugural Denver Improv Festival, and it’s cool to be back for this, the fourth year of the festival.

A quick note – we’re not a fan of the Dodge Charger. Silly me decided a full-size car at the same price as a mid-size car would be a good idea. Not so much. First of all, it’s sucking gas like a little kid slurping away at the striped straw stuck in his first milkshake – gleefully and as fast as possible. Second, it’s unresponsive. I have to really push on the gas to go, so precision parallel parking is not super fun. Finally, it’s unwieldy. The front is huge, the trunk is a monster, and it’s difficult to determine its footprint when merging. It’s everything that’s the opposite of my new Mazda5 (I’ll have to make my new vehicle a Friday Recommendation soon ’cause I looooove it!).

We aren’t catching the Denver Improv Festival youth showcases tonight, because today we head down to Colorado Springs for the sites and fun with relatives.