Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Hammerspace Exitement and my Burned Vampire Eye

Last Friday Hammerspace performed at New Roads High School in Santa Monica. We did two Harolds in the sort of technical iO West style structure. They went very well and the high school kids loved them. They were completely amazed that we hadn’t memorized lines or blocking… that we were truly improvising. It is really satisfying to give young people a great improv experience. Perhaps we inspired somebody. When I was in high school the only improv people who came to perform were fundamentalist Christians who basically did onstage public-service-announcements about Jesus, being saved and the Rapture. I wasn’t inspired, not by that anyway. Nikki Muller performed at the high school with TJ, Brittany, and me. Then in the evening TJ left and Kelly joined us and we did a really cool long form piece in the ADT about dinosaurs. Nikki, TJ, Brittany and I are all in Craig Cackowski’s level 6 class together. That’s very cool. Kelly and I are in Ed’s Friday class together and doing our 2-person improv-radio show as well. This is a very exciting time for Hammerspace. We are making deep discoveries together and really beginning to come together as a group. It’s nice to have Nikki joining us. She’s very passionate about the artistically revolutionary side of what we’re doing and she has great energy and intelligence.

There are 3 November Hammerspace Improv long-form group performances (5 person show) in the Andy Dick Theater. We also have 3 November Hammerspace Mystery Radio Hour performances (2 person show) in the Upstairs Black Box. Kelly and I will be doing the Mystery Radio show in a regular timeslot beginning in December. The Hammerspace Mystery Radio Show will be at 11pm the 1st and 3rd Sat. of the month in the iO West Upstairs Black Box Theater. That is super exciting!

I played a vampire in some pictures for Sick End films this past weekend. It was pretty cool, except… that I totally got what felt like a chemical burn in my eye from a white vampire contact lens. It was so awful and my eye was red and swollen and wouldn’t stop watering. I got a big bottle of Clear Eyes Redness Relief and that totally helped.
I am happy and I’m excited. I was really depressed recently, but now that is over. I am feeling so inspired about life and art and adventure. This is a super cool time to be me.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Hammerspace Mystery Radio Hour

Saturday night (10-18-08) at 11pm Hammerspace performed an improv show in the iO West upstairs Black Box Theater. The theme of the evening was “radio night”. At the House of Blues on Thursday night I got the idea that we (Kelly Chase and myself) should perform a completely improvised, old fashioned radio mystery drama. We talked about it more on Friday and both were in agreement that it was a good, experimental, risky idea and that we totally wanted to do it… and I am SO glad we did!
The Hammerspace Mystery Radio Hour is truthfully the best improv show I have ever been part of. It was amazing and it was so much fun. We didn’t hold back. We were both fearless and risked it all and just completely swung for the fences the whole time and it paid off beautifully! I am in love with our new show and the new team!

The show was: The Hammerspace Mystery Radio Hour Presents- The Strange and Amazing Case of Lumberville, brought to you by Go-Away (an imaginary household product). The show had teenage lovers trapped in a pickup truck, an artistic and vain Colonel/Doctor and his feminine and soft young male assistant in their military astronomy center, a volcano mysteriously appearing in the center of town, a family of hungry pterodactyls, and a mysterious and drunken hobo who was secretly the greatest ditch digger in the world! It also had the occasional station identification and commercials for Go-Away.
The audience consisted for the most part of two very talented improv teams, The Dollhouse and Whiskerfish, as well as some other people. It was great to have a nice sized house and they loved the show and laughed the whole time. Afterward we got a ton of praise and compliments and felt like rock-stars. It was really cool.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately (and blogging about) improv and creative, artistic exploration. I have been craving new forms of creation and expression. A beautiful discovery was made in the show tonight and it feels incredible. Kelly and I discovered a magnificent comedy treasure and it happened to be inside of us. There is so much more to discover and that is so exciting. Now we can practice and rehearse and just get better, more fearless and take even bigger risks! I love the limitless potential of wonder and glorious magic there is to play with. A genuine breakthrough was made and I’m so happy and thrilled about it. The show was one of the best performances I’ve ever done, anywhere. I’m in love with my experimental two-person improv group and our awesome new mystery radio show!

Friday, October 17, 2008

My Undead Junkie, Experimental Improv, and The Tomorrow Show!

Friday night (10-10) we had a Hammerspace show at the Studio (experiment) in Highland Park. It was sort of a part of a big party/event. The only people who actually performed were Kelly Chase and myself, and our only actual audience was a very supportive Juli Crockett. The door to the room was open and a loud party was going on right outside in the hall. People were walking in and out of the room to get beer and it was distracting and difficult to focus. That being said… it was very fun and a pretty solid and well played little piece of improv. It was a nice long scenic look at marriage and relationships, independence, personal differences within individuals, commitment, family, contractual obligations, and lack of communication. It was the first time Kelly and I had done a 2 person show and it went well. Later on Juli taught me how to do a cartwheel. I had wanted to learn how to do a cartwheel all my life. We went to the iO West Jam on the Main Stage after that and it was really fun.

Saturday night we had a Hammerspace show in the iO West Upstairs Black Box. The show was okay... it felt like it had so much potential and just never actually took off toward what it could have been. We haven't been practicing or rehearsing enough lately. I also don't really know for sure who is a member of Hammerspace and who isn't. I'm never entirely sure who is going to be there to perform with me. Those things are very important and worth putting some thought and work into so that the group doesn't feel so disconnected. I feel so excited and adventurous about the artistic exploration of long-form improvisation. Playing with super intelligent and high reference level scene, character, and environment sounds so exciting and I would love to start getting my hands dirty taking huge risks and failing gloriously onstage. I just know that there are limitless abstract, surreal, spiritual, and philosophical discoveries out there in the infinite expanses of improvisational performance and creation land. The fearless and thorough honest experimental excavation of thoughts, beliefs, ideas, and feelings is going to be necessary in order to start getting to the deep artistic heart and soul of long form improvisational theater. The journey is going to be magnificent. I need to assemble a fellowship of players willing to embark on this quest with me. It is going to be a grand thing indeed to attempt to live and breathe this fantasy vision of truth and beauty and I now begin my search for the creative and insightful comedy warriors I need to join me.

After we left iO West we went to the Steve Allen Theater for the Tomorrow Show. Ronald Lynch (Mr. Lynch from Home Movies) hosts there. His co-host for the evening was Janeane Garofalo (that was a big surprise). My favorite burlesque theater-performance-art-clown, April Hava Shenkman, was there performing a very cool surrealistic gibberish piece that seemed politically themed (I think).
On Sunday Kelly and I went to the 3 dollar movie theater in Pasadena and saw “Ghost Town”. I totally recommend it (Ricky Gervais is so awesome). Then we saw some scripted sketch comedy at iO West that neither of us really responded to.
On Moday we went to the LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art). The LACMA is an incredible museum with lots of Picassos. I need to go back soon. We went from the LACMA to Dave and Buster’s for Travis Dixon’s birthday party and played a ton of ski-ball.

Tuesday was an incredible night. I did some actor/model work with Sick End Films doing promotional pictures for their new horror website. Brittany Disston is a really incredible special effects make-up artist (and I totally mean it when I say artist). She is brilliant and I absolutely love working with her. I love being in the chair and having the blood and gore make-up applied. Bleeding sores, oozing, bruises, scars, grizzly track marks, lesions, open wounds, and puss… I just love it. It’s a very sensory (somewhat erotic) and meditative experience holding still while someone puts their hands all over you creating a thing of terrible and horrific beauty. In the first set of pictures I was an undead junkie. Sana Etoile was playing my evil and sadistic wife. She and I have the same birthday, November 2 (Dia De Los Muertos, we were born on the Day of the Dead, also All Soul's Day). Next I had my eyes gouged out. For the gouged out eyes look I was wearing a prosthetic piece that required my eyes being taped shut. I had to be led around by the hand, helped up and down the stairs, and given water. That was very cool and weird and an extra-sensory experience. Sci-Fi, Horror, Comics, and Fantasy have always been genres I have been a big fan of, ever since I was very young. Thank you so much Bruce Campbell. It is really sweet to be doing so much work in these kinds of projects and it makes me that much more excited to be doing film work in Los Angeles. Sick End Films is quickly becoming an entity that I am always excited to be in collaboration with. I will have the pictures to post soon and that is very exciting.

I had my final level 5B class on Wednesday with Miles Stroth. He said I was a sniper because I wait on the sides for the perfect moment to pop in and do and/or say the perfect thing. He says that I need to start risking not being perfect and be willing to come out at the wrong time, do the wrong thing and fail. I am in total agreement with him. After class I saw an incredibly amazing King Ten show and Laurel Coppock proved once again that she is a comedy genius! I love what she does onstage! She is also so nice. I was also able to confirm that I had in fact seen Jennifer Lutheran (iO West box-office intern and a very sweet girl) playing a prostitute in the Gem Saloon on Deadwood in season 3. That is so freaking cool! I love Deadwood.
I went to the House of Blues for the first time Thursday night to see Ballentine (led by Heather Ballentine). I know Heather from doing outdoor musical theater in Oklahoma at Discovery Land. She sent me free tickets in the mail and the envelope had a PETA sticker on it (good for her).
So much is going on right now. Every day is a new discovery. It is time to get this show on the road. It is time to go for it! I feel full of magic and promise. I feel like a crusader and I seek new creative adventure and want to explore all of the artistic opportunities this bizarre and wonderful city has to offer. Improv continues to get better. Working in film and meeting fellow artists is just so cool. The less I hold back and the more fearless I am the more outstanding the discoveries will be in art, in love, onstage, and in life. This is frightening, fun, groovy, and grand.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Universal Studios, The Eyegore Awards, and 2 Person Long Form!

On Thursday evening Juli and I did our first extended 2 person long-form improv experiment. It was somewhat rough, and somewhat raw, but also very cool. There was no audience there to see it. Kelly came in about halfway through and thought she was watching us have an actual conversation at first (in a weird way we were). It was a very thoughtful, patient, and subtle piece. The reactions were genuine and the moves all seemed to come from a place of emotional and creative authenticity, especially our third scene. It was a very flirtatious job interview between two spies. It was cute, and very real. It wasn’t ever really about espionage. It was about how well you can ever know a person, and how much that ultimately does or doesn’t matter. The excitement of secrets versus the security of believing you know the truth, and how willing we were to embark on the voyage of a meaningful relationship knowing full well we didn’t trust one another at all. The piece felt really good and totally a style and way of performing and relating that I hope very much to explore further in the future. It was really cool and felt good and full of discoveries. It was interesting because I had been having a really raw and emotional day. I didn’t feel like doing improv. I was emotionally exhausted and feeling pretty edgy and strange. Doing the piece though had a weird, somewhat wonderful, and kind of cathartic effect. I felt liberated and had a lot of fun and like an artistic cleansing of the spirit set me right with my sea legs again. I am still searching for the inspired spirit animal of improv to join me on an artistic, philosophical adventure filled vision quest of honesty, comedy and performance-creation-energy. That will be grand and I’m enjoying the quest.

After the improv the Evangenitals all had a band practice, so Kelly and I headed out to the iO West to catch the Dasariski show. Cackowski wasn’t there but it was quite hilarious anyway. I’m glad Kelly got a chance to see them.
Friday was opening night of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios. That not only means that the coolest movie magic filled haunted houses and mazes open up, but also that the Eyegore awards happen as well. The Eyegores are an awards ceremony (or scare-a-mony) honoring celebrities who have achieved special status within the horror movie community. I was able to get on the guest list and scored VIP passes too. Last year I played Freddy Kreuger in the commercial. My part wound up on the cutting room floor but I have some sweet connections to this event now. We watched famous folks on the red carpet for a while. Roger Corman, Kate Flannery, Julie Benz, and Bill Moseley were all the people on the red carpet I recognized. Roger Corman is totally awesome and I’ve been a big fan of his since I was a young kid and first saw Death Race 2000. Corey Feldman was the host this year. Tobe Hooper (Texas Chainsaw Massacre director) got an award and the original Leather Face did too. There was a great all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet and an open bar. The only thing vegan were some little fried crispy vegetable spring rolls. I had 5 plates of them (they were delicious, especially with spicy soy and sweet and sour sauce drizzled over them). I also had quite a few cherry cokes with lime. Since it was a special event with free food and drinks I let myself get a little crazy with the portion control. I talked to Kate Flannery and she was thrilled to run into a fan of the Lampshades while out at Universal. I love the Lampshades!
The haunted houses and mazes were so cool. We got to cut to the front of every line with our VIP passes. The tram tour of terror is always a treat. The Dr. Seuss Whoville area was populated with rotten zombie face fuzzy white bunnies wielding chainsaws. It was a pretty nightmarishly bizarre sight. The Nightmare on Elm Street haunted maze was probably the creepiest in my opinion. We were at the park over 6 hours and had an amazing time. It was a really sweet experience to have kicking off the Halloween season.

Saturday night I had an 8:00pm Hammerspace Improv show in the Andy Dick Theater at iO West. Nobody currently performing with Hammerspace was going to be able to perform with me so I made some calls and got Ryan and Ken to show up. Kelly Chase arrived at the last minute and the four of us did a pretty funny little piece of long form that involved plenty of gay scenes, cock and ball torture, the Grateful Dead, family road trips, and Army recruiters. After the show I saw Kate Flannery in the iO bar and she recognized me from the night before (very cool).

Juli and I discovered the 2 dollar movie theater in Pasadena today and saw Pineapple Express (it was hilarious). That theater was so freezing cold. I totally think I’m going to start seeing movies again. I really only stopped because the price became so outrageous.
I got an agent on Friday. She says before she can start getting me anything I will need pictures. That makes sense. It is still nice someone wants to represent me. I’m glad I sent those emails out. I need to get about 4 looks shot. The handsome young dad, a rough and scruffy criminal type, a detective, and a well dressed lawyer/business man. Also a good basic head shot that looks like me.

I am in love with Los Angeles and also very lonely. It’s a weird and conflicted way to feel. I am feeling so passionate about so many things right now. I am bursting with the desire to express myself and I hungrily need to create. My life is currently in a crazy state, and I don’t only mean California.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Insomnia, Mo Collins, Disney, Improv, and Me in a Magazine

Last week I stayed awake for 41 hours. I was just too busy and when I had time available to sleep I wasn’t tired. It had been quite a while since I’d been up that long. Thursday Juli and I had a good “Laughter for a Change” meeting with Ed, followed by a Hammerspace Improv workshop-rehearsal-performance with Ed and Shaughn. The topic was weird (the definition of “is”?), but we did a decent little awkward piece about Santa Claus running for president. It was fun, funny, and strange. Keith and Henry (both Evangenitals) were there to see it. Nobody showed up for our improv/music jam, so the Evangenitals decided they would just have a fairly straight forward band practice and I took off to the iO West to see Dasariski. The Dasariski show was quite incredible and those 3 guys definitely lived up to all the hype. They were really smart and hilarious and I’m so glad I saw them. I had been having something of a weird and somewhat uncomfortable evening and I really appreciated the extreme cheering up that I got during that show. While in the balcony audience, Katie Ward (of the Dollhouse) and I got to talking about how funny we both find one another. We decided that it made perfect sense for us to form a new group and that the next step was recruiting our dear friend and fellow improviser Allegrah Hollenbeck to join us. We will begin performing upstairs in the iO West Black Box in November (thanks to Maggy Keegan). Soon I expect to be in at least four or five really great improv groups (perhaps more).

I got home from iO West late and was wired on yerba matte and pomegranate green tea. I watched “Extras” on DVD, read some "Writing Down the Bones", and never actually went to sleep. I did lie in the dark for a while with my eyes closed and drank valarian tea but it didn’t work. Once it was officially morning I had to go to my improv class at PCC. After a 4 hour class I had a Hammerspace workshop-jam in Highland Park at Studio (experiment), and then Kelly and I went out to Hollywood for our 8pm Hammerspace show in the Andy Dick Theater. It was okay, but honestly I was just too tired by then. We had done some great scene improv during our workshop and I would have liked to bring more to the show. Juli and I are really wanting to do some inspired hard core 2 person long-form improv and get to the heart and soul of the spiritual and philosophical possibilities of abstract, honest, dark, light, scary, lovely, and pure comedy-theatre-performance. The surrealistically human honesty and intimacy that we have gently touched upon together so often. We need to bravely plunge headfirst into the swirling improv abyss and hold up our fists together, open our eyes wide, and say "FUCK YES WE ARE READY". There are some beautiful discoveries being made and I feel I’m on the very edge of unlocking a magnificent and mysterious treasure of majestic and artistic improv revolution, revelation, and beauty. I just need to look closer, dig deeper, and be fearless and truthful in the face of all danger and terror.

Kelly Chase and I stayed to watch "Opening Night the Musical" at 9pm, and “Heather and Miles” in the ADT at 10pm. Both shows were very awesome. Heather and Miles both step into the puddle of vulgar and tasteless brilliance every Friday night. I should see that show every week, it's extremely educational. Then we chilled at the bar for a bit and stayed to join in the big Improv Jam (hosted by Pat Keys) at 12am. It was pretty fun but I was delirious and exhausted at that point. I was quite happy that Kelly got to play on the main stage. Everyone who played got a free candy bar (Butterfinger), but I’m a vegan so I gave mine away.
On Saturday a talent agent wrote me back. I had decided to email a few agents last week and see about getting representation. I don’t know much about that though (only what I see on Entourage). I looked up 3 talent agencies with an email address and sent them my resume and picture, and actually heard back from one 2 days later. Not only did she write me back, but she also had a job for me to submit for. I took my package (pic and resume) to drop off at a casting office in Hollywood for a Disney Channel TV show. They are looking for a mime. I took the train to Hollywood on Saturday evening and the security guards let me on the lot with a walk-on guest pass. Nobody from the show was in. I went back on Sunday, and there was still nobody from casting there. Monday was much better. The office was open and people were inside working. I dropped off the envelope containing my resume as instructed (with the agency name, agent’s name, and agent’s phone number as my contact info). She said she’ll call them and call me. Now I’m waiting. I am optimistic and excited. It would be pretty amazing if this worked out... Oh this would be so cool!

Monday night I saw Mo Collins do the Armando show and Inside the Improviser’s Studio. She had some very inspirational advice and kind words of wisdom (she was pretty damn funny too).
The "Best of LA City Beat" magazine featured a pretty fantastic picture of me doing an improv performance on the dance floor while Juli and the rest of the Evangenitals rocked the house on stage (see image above). It is from last Tuesday at the Mr. T’s Bowl Evangenitals show. When I wasn't performing improvised movement art I was filming the band play. I'm posting the super cool "Bad Town" video below.
I also just booked a modeling gig. I will be playing a fashionable zombie (in full gruesome make up) posing with a femme fatale/noir vixen girl in a photo shoot (Hot Women and the Men they Loved and Murdered). It's for a "Sick End Films" promotion for the new horror web site they are launching. Last time I worked with them they gave me a bag of vegan cookies. I will be wanting more of those cookies.

I feel like all these little signs and signals (and some big ones I guess) keep happening and showing me that I am on the right path. The universe is telling me that I am doing a good job, and to keep at it. Enjoy the journey and don’t give up or lose sight. Keep the faith and believe in yourself and the goodness of other people. Love life and take part in the magic the world is offering up.
Thank you…

The Evangenitals Video for "Bad Town" (filmed by me at Mr. T's Bowl).