Sunday, March 25, 2012

story collider

I am so excited to be doing the Story Collider on Tuesday, March 27th at Union Hall, hosted by the talented duo Erin Barker and Ben Lillie.

Story Collider is a science themed show yet you'd be surprised how many of the stories have so much heart and emotion. You should check out their videos and podcasts. And come to the show, duh.


storytelling



My storytelling class taught by the amazing David Crabb is in The New York Times!!!

Yup, them's my feet. Thank god, I didn't wear open toe shoes.

Read the article here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

interview: sue smith, writer/performer of Minimum Rage



I'm so excited to share an interview with my friend Sue Smith, comedian and writer/performer of the hilarious one woman show Minimum Rage, currently playing at the Upright Citizens Brigade--if you've ever had to babysit bratty kids or waited on obnoxious customers or just have a lot of pent up anger in general, then you'll definitely identify and looooove this show.

I asked Sue about the process of creating a one woman show and was happy to see that Julia Cameron's The Artists Way played a big part! Love me some Julia and some Sue!

Enjoy!

1. What inspired you to write your show?
I'd been at the UCB since 2007 and nothing was happening for me. I was
rejected from Harold teams (4 times and counting) and Maude (3 times)
so I knew I couldn't count on the UCB structure to get attention. I'm
not trashing the UCB--it's my home. I just couldn't wait for something
to happen to me any more. I had to start writing for myself. I wanted
to do my own show but I was scared (just me up there?) When I took
Becky Drysdale's One Person Show class, I started to feel comfortable
with myself, my sense of humor, and what I thought was funny, which
gave me the confidence to do a solo show. It's a Cinderella story,
really.


>
> 2. What was your writing process? How did you figure out the characters and structure of it?
About a year ago, I was taking Becky's class and doing the Artist's
Way. I had to write three Morning Pages for the Artist's Way every day
and a piece a week for Becky. The two started  to overlap. Characters
would form in my Morning Pages. These people would just come out of
me. We only had to write one a week for class but sometimes two or
three would be in my head, pushing their way through. (My writing
process, I've found, is very much like giving birth and taking a
dump.)

As far as subject matter is concerned, I would say to myself, "Isn't
this thing fucking ridiculous?" or "People do this thing like that and
it's weird!" And then a character would form. Sometimes a few
characters. When they were similar I'd combine them to heighten the
piece. For example, the child in my show is an amalgamation of all of
the kids I've ever babysat. I was like, "I want to write one
babysitting piece about NYC brats and the shit that they do." And then
I included the most ridiculous specifics about each one.

Structurally, I got a lot of help from my director, Laura Grey.
Basically, at the end of Becky's class I had like 20 pieces and I sat
in Laura's living room and performed them all for her (super scary!)
and then she fanned the scripts out in front of her and chose the ones
she liked the best. Of course, she chose the most personal and
vulnerable ones. (Shakes fist.) Then, over the course of several
weeks, we fit them all together to make the show.


> 3. What were you looking for in a director?
Becky taught us that good direction is important--lighting,
choreography, all of that. It can get lost in the shuffle when you're
busy focusing on laughs. I'd seen Klepper and Grey and loved the way
that looked, so I asked Laura to help me out. Also, I wanted a woman
because, for me, it's important work with other women whenever
possible. I needed to feel safe while creating such an emotional,
vulnerable show. I needed that support. She said to me, "Yes, okay,
maybe you're crying right now, but you are funny and this is going to
be so great! I know you can do it!"

>
> 4. What I really like about your show is that it's really funny and you also
> have some really vulnerable and personal moments. How did you balance the
> two? Were you ever scared or hesitant to talk about the personal stuff?
Oh for sure! I freaked out when I did some of the pieces for the first
time. My hands would shake. Becky's class ended up being about 20
weeks long and even though I felt comfortable with the group, I'd been
too nervous to perform the piece about my dad dying until the very
last week of class. The last week! Now I still get nervous before
Minimum Rage but doing the pieces so often has lessened their
emotional intensity for me.







>
> 5. What's the hardest part about doing a one person show?
Being in the green room by yourself beforehand! There's no one to pat
you on the back and tell you good luck! It all has to come from
within.


> 6. Who or what inspires you right now?
The Cindy Sherman retrospective at the MoMA. Oh god, that woman gets
me. She's so fucking funny. Ugh, I can't even. She's amazing! I'm
trying to formulate a coherent sentence about why I love that exhibit
so much. Okay, here goes: She examines gender roles in a way that no
one else does. She makes you be like, "Women, what the FUCK are you
doing?"

>
> 7. What do you hope to do next?

I LOVE performing Minimum Rage so hopefully I can keep doing that. I'm
performing it in LA next month. I also have a tumblr
(dancemomsdrama.tumblr.com) where a friend and I do recaps of Dance
Moms every week. 

It's funny. I was taking a Klepper improv class when I got my Spank
for Minimum Rage and it was really stressing me out because my head
thinks everything I do is garbage. I ran into a friend on the elevator
who's been in the UCB community for awhile and he said, "I think
everyone should just stop taking classes for a year." And that sounded
like such an insane idea to me! I'd been taking them for four years
straight. I've been tempted but haven't taken one since then, which
was in October. I ran into him recently and he said, "People need to
move forward in their careers. They need to stop being students at
some point."

This whole experience has helped me think about my comedy career on a
larger scale. I'm writing a pilot and a screenplay, maybe another solo
show. I love writing for myself now. I learned in therapy that when
you're afraid of something, what you gotta do is walk through that
fear. Now I see fear as a challenge. 


Thank you so much for doing this interview, Sue! You can catch Minimum Rage at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater TONIGHT. Reserve tickets here. 

something to write home about




Last night, I was coming home around 10:30, and feeling feverish and exhausted, I desired nothing but a bowl of warm soup and a comforting embrace from my bf. When I got to boo's place and opened the door, imagine my excitement when I was greeted not only by my boo's handsome face, but a hot container of spicy green curry from our favorite neighborhood Thai place waiting for me on the table. Hollerz!

Both were equally heartwarming but I think the sight of my boo's face could comfort me even in the fiercest of cold temperatures. I mean, look at that cute fache!!!

Yup, I don't let my boyfriend read my blog.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

gone fishin'

Over the past few weeks, I've been trying to meet the demands of my full time day job while rehearsing, writing and performing for comedy stuff, and after an intense work week that ended with an intense comedy weekend, I'm burnt out.

I knew I was truly at my wits end when I went to the bodega last night after an exhausting work day, and tried, unsuccessfully, to find a bag of  pita chips, and when the store employee gave me the vague directions of "check the back", I circled the store twice, and actually said outloud, "I AM SO TIRED". I may have teared a little. Okay. A lot. How do I have friends???

I decided I'm going to give myself a break this week and not make any commitments. Because as much as it's great to feel like you are capable of doing anything, sometimes there is nothing better than to do nothing at all.

ps i clearly need to stop whining as my friends juggling work, comedy and families seem to be managing! 

Monday, March 12, 2012

sketch cram

via

This is a photo from Saturday's Sketch Cram writers meeting and yes, I am totally geeking out cus we got to work out of The Onion office!!!

Just to give you some background on Sketch Cram: writers meet at 9 Am to pitch and write sketches, then we rehearse with the performers, and at midnight we perform the show in front of a live audience. Yes, people, we put on a whole show with only 15 hours of prep.

When I've fully caught up on sleep I will have to write about this awesome, intense, fun, canker sore inducing experience.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

bishes

Hey mariposas, it's been foreeevs! I was actually kinda self conscious that the last thing I posted was on self affirmations and that in the event I like died or something, those affirmations would be the last thing you ever heard from me. But I think I'd be okay with that. I just love affirmations, you know?

Anyhoo, it's time to move on from affirmations to talk about something more dear to my heart: Lunch. Can I just tell you about this lunch place near my office that I am OBSESSED with? It's called Dishes and my friends and I like to call it Bishes :). It's one of those salad/hot food bar type of places where you pay by the pound. I'm embarrassed to admit that I started out buying 8,9 dollar lunches and now they've increased to 12. PS never buy cauliflower or chicken. They are heavy!

Bishes has the most AMAZING sesame noodles that I get everyday and I'll throw in some veggies and lettuce in my plastic container to conceal the fact that I"m just here for the noodles, but maybe I should stop cus it's adding up the price. It's okay, I get all my essential vitamins from everything bagels. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

affirmations




I'm a sucker for some positive affirmations and I think these just might end up on post-its around my bedroom.  If there was an etsy store that sold wall paper with just daily affirmations printed on them, I would totes buy it!
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