Tag Archives: improvcity

Thanks to 2015 and everyone who made it great

Crow on the lake

This was quite the year filled with many fun activities. It seems like a nice time for some reflection. I went to Michigan, which was beautiful, with Duncan. I’d never been that far north or east.

Niagara Falls

On that same trip, I left the country for the first time to visit Niagara Falls.

Lee's Palace

I also visited Toronto! It was an awesome city.

Holland Tayloe Gedney as Elsa

I went to San Diego Comic-Con again. Here I’m dressed as an Aquabat with Holland Tayloe Gedney’s Elsa.

The Aquabats!

It was also my first year cosplaying – not counting the Aquabats costume I’ve worn to SDCC previously for concerts. This is Professor Monty Corndog from the Aquabats (with the Aquabats)!

Snapchat magic by gem

And let’s not forget Fix-It Felix, Jr.

Bay Area friends

I visited friends in the Bay Area when I went to San Francisco for a conference.

SoCal Paddle Yoga

I did a lot of yoga, including paddle yoga. I started practicing yoga in the summer of 2014 and continued in 2014. Starting in June, I did yoga daily, never missing a day. I took over 130 yoga classes in 2015. My wrist is still healing but is feeling much better. I think the glucosamine sulfate (thanks to the pianist from Intergalactic Nemesis for the suggestion) and vertical mouse is helping quite a bit. I also hurt my knee, so for the past few months I’ve only been doing restorative or yin yoga. Honestly, I can see the good in this. I’ve learned to appreciate yin and restorative so much more, which helps give me a deeper understanding to my practice and myself.

dancing

Speaking of hurting my knee, I’ve also been dancing a lot more. I took 40-something dance classes this year. While I tried a lot of different areas, I like Balboa, Argentine tango, and Lindy Hop the most. I’m glad I have fun friends who like to go dancing.

Ooey Gooey Berry PieI baked an ooey gooey berry pie for Anela to celebrate the fact that she passed the bar. I also got to attend her bar admission ceremony and law school graduation. Folly at Dapper Day

gem and I went to the Dapper Day expo at Downtown Disney and to Folly, the afterparty.

gem on stage with Suburban Legends!gem and I were extras during the filming of The Big Day, and gem got this great photo of her with Suburban Legends. Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

I saw so much talent in my friends. This is Free Comic Book Day show at ImprovCity with my friend Alex Bower front and center. Besides some regular shows, I saw him in Scary Pants (which he wrote), Millennial Falcon at Second City, and HIStory/HERstory.

UntitledSpeaking of talented friends named Alex, I saw Alex Foster clowning around and got pulled on stage for more participation (just like the last clown show I saw before this one). Little Jimmy the Robot of the Aquabats

I painted a little Jimmy the Robot.

Adventure Time mug painted at Color Me Mine! Idea by reddit user /u/Just-Another-Teenage in a post by /u/Corrupt_CoreI also painted this Adventure Time mug. Adventure Time mug painted at Color Me Mine! Idea by reddit user /u/Just-Another-Teenage in a post by /u/Corrupt_Core

You have to see both sides.

That’s not to mention the cool Christmas gifts and cards I made this year. I haven’t given them all to their recipients yet, so I don’t want to show anything.

IMG_3833gem took me to a sushi class where we prepared sushi rolls! She’s the best 🙂Coup de Comedy 2015

We also saw Kindred Throats, an amazing musical comedy duo. She liked them so much, she baked them cookies. Twice.

Anela's graduation

I attended Anela’s law school graduation from Chapman.

bar admission ceremony

…and her CA Bar admission ceremony.

Kurios

gem and I saw Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS! Amazing!

Me and Anela at the Bellydance IDOL presents Om Kalthoum Tribute Show

I saw Anela dance a number of times, including the really fun Bellydance IDOL presents Om Kalthoum Tribute Show.

watson adventures

I helped solve a mystery at the Watson Adventures.

Blacklight Run

I ran (jogged/walked) a Blacklight Run with these two fun people.

Snow photo shoot with gem and Anela

I even got to see snow for the first time.

Heck, the year even started with my friends getting engaged.

I did so many other cool things too such as…

  • Reading all surviving plays by Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides that I hadn’t read previously.
  • Having agents draft social media responses for me at work
  • Participating in a behavioral study
  • Becoming friends with Bryan Lackey, awesome ska trumpet player
  • Wakeboarding
  • Watching my brother perform in the Spectacles Improv Engine’s Student Showcase
  • Seeing a meteor shower
  • Attending a sand sculpture festival
  • Jogging/walking a Blacklight Run
  • Running the Walking Dead Experience
  • Seeing bands such as the Aquabats, the Interrupters, Starpool, Suburban Legends, LA Swing Barons, Imagine Dragons, Metric, Halsey, the LA Philharmonic, and Scott Bradlee and the Postmodern Jukebox
  • Vacationing with my roommates and friends in Vegas
  • Swing dancing in Downtown Disney
  • Visiting the OC Fair and OC Night Market
  • Watching Rocky Horror Picture Show
  • Lots of blogging (see my earlier post)

And I’m sure I’m forgetting to mention a thousand things. Thanks to everybody who helped make 2015 such an amazing year.

ImprovCity’s Comic Book Day show and Free Comic Book Day

Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

Friday night was ImprovCity’s Comic Book Day Show, and it was a lot of fun. The cast all dressed as comic book characters. There’s Alex in the center in his Rocket Raccoon costume. It’s definitely not Bark.

Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

They gave out free comics too! I got Legendary Star-Lord #5 and Star Wars: Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir #1.

Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

The show was hosted by Lumpy the Space Princess Lumpy Space Princess, and she did a good job as her too!

Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

Here’s another shot of the performers. I wanted to ensure one with Speed Racer’s helmet got posted too. After the show, a lot of us went to BJ’s. I got a nice low calories salad, a martini, and then a delicious and unhealthy pizookie.

Free Comic Book Day and ImprovCity's Comic Book Day show!

Today’s actually Free Comic Book Day, so I headed to Alakazam. I got the Jurassic Strike Force 5 one-shot, Terrible Lizard, Bodie Troll, Fight Club, and BOOM! Studios Ten Year Celebration 2015 Free Comic Book Day Special. I’m excited to sit down with these later, but I have plans tonight. I just finished preparing food for the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight potluck. Hopefully Pacquiao wins!

HIStory/HERStory and the OC Improv Fest 2015

ImprovCity's HIStory/HERStory

Last weekend was full of improv (as any good weekend should be). First, I saw HIStory/HERstory at ImprovCity again as well as their Thursday Night BS (Basic Scenes). The Thursday Night BS was one of the best improv sets I’ve ever seen. I felt like I was lagging behind, like I was still cracking up at the last funny thing when the new one came along. So. Good.

I saw the premiere of HIStory/HERstory on April 2, but gem didn’t get a chance to see it. I decided to see it again with her. This time it was shorter as they’d cut some skits. It was still great, and I understood why they cut what they did. You can see the Sasquatch family above. It still has a performance left at Second City Hollywood on May 6, so you can still check it out!

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

On Friday I went to the second night of the OC Improv Fest, hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine. I missed the first night because I wanted to see ImprovCity. I went with gem to this too, and we ran into James while we were there.

The night opened with Well-Behaved Villains, a team from La Habra High School. Following that was CIA – the Center for Improv Advancement. These were two teams I’d never seen. Next was IFL, which is always good.

After that was Big Yellow Taxi. I’d seen them before but was glad to see them again. They had Josh as the guest driver.

My favorite Spectacles team, The Mechanicals, played next. Who knew Alex would make such a good princess?

Jetzo.

Jetzo was amazing. They’re a two-man team performing kabuki-inspired improv. There was a lot of music and interpretative dance, and it was freaking hilarious.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

There was also strange grinding on Michael.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

He seemed just a tad red. I assume that he meant he was having a good time.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

I don’t really remember why they got undressed at the end, but, yup, they did. I would love to see Jetzo more in the future.

Following Jetzo was Kind Strangers from iO West performing Tennessee Williams, and after them was KanYay! West. I called them “the cutest team” when I saw them at the OC Improv Fest 2013. Then there was White Women, comprised of seven very funny black men.

And then Rococo. Rococo was an improv troupe that included former Live Nude Lilan Bowden. I kind of stared in disbelief before looking over at gem. She just looked back and then said “Is that Lilan?” I was hoping to say “hello,” but I couldn’t find her later. I messaged her on Facebook the next day to tell her how excited I was to see her perform and that was a fan of LNP. I later messaged Alex and gem. “Lilan responded to me and I feel like a teenager girl who can’t. Even. Which is also how I felt when I first met you, Alex, so there’s that.”

The evening ended with Ranger Danger and the Danger Ranger, one of my favorite teams. How can two people be so funny?

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

I didn’t get a lot of pictures on the third night, but here’s one of Dr. God. I’ll get to them. I came with gem again, and we also ran into James.

The first block consisted of The Lobby, Galapagos, Holiday Road, Pick and Roll, and Now Improv. I particularly enjoyed Holiday Road.

The next block opened with Paul Vaillancourt’s Man Vs. Movie. It was a one-man, long form improvised action movie, and it was pretty great. Red Door followed, who I saw at last year’s Coup de Comedy and liked a lot. Pawn Takes Queen was third before Dr. God performed.

Dr. God has an interesting formula. After getting a suggestions, they monologue on the suggestion based on something from one of their lives, and they do improv based on that. I saw them last year and enjoyed them even more this year. If my memory is correct, it seemed like they did less monologues and more improv this year, but regardless, awesome stuff. Derek Mears was with them, an actor and stuntman who also performed at ComedySportz.

In the photo above, there’s a visit to the gynecologist.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

Derek Mears must have been talking about something large.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

And then he joined the scene to play the part of a tennis net.

That plank seems to have bad form… haha it was great.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

Here’s an interesting twist. For most of us, the festival had a fee, but not for gem, who won $50!

The last block of the night opened with FlySpace. He spent an entire scene getting pet there.

Orange County Improv Festival 2015 hosted by Spectacles Improv Engine

After FlySpace, The Lusty Horde perform a long-form scene as an improvised sci-fi/fantasy scene. They were awesome, but it was getting too late for me. We left after The Lusty Horde, unfortunately missing Outside Dog and The Illegitimate Stage.

It was a great weekend for improv, and I have more tonight and this coming week. Woo!

Hello, 2015

Last year was a pretty fun year. I was pulled on stage during a clown show, went stand-up paddleboarding, and went wakeboarding. I attended Katie and Matt’s wedding. I started doing yoga this summer and have stuck with it consistently. I switched to a bodyweight workout routine and have been doing that regularly. San Diego Comic-Con was a lot of fun, and for the first time, the roles were reversed; people asked me for pictures. (I was in my Aquabats costume.)

I attended a ton of concerts, including but not limited to Reel Big Fish, The Maxies, The Originalites, The Aquabats, Koo Koo Kangaroo, GOGO13, Half Past Two, Sugar Stems, The Interrupters, The Holophonics, The Skatalites, Suburban Legends, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra, Los SuperSpies, and so many more. I watched a bunch of improv, mostly at ImprovCity and Spectacles. I attended some Risk! Live. I went to a Teenage Mutant Pizza Party and the Scott Pilgrim Picture Show with CinemAttack! There was Dapper Day, Walking with Dinosaurs, a Civil War reenactment, The Great Gatsby party, the OC Fair, and LA Kiss. There was some Yadi Presents burlesque, a performance of Wizard of Oz, Chicago, Big River – The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Man of La Mancha, and other performances. Lots of fun stuff.

Edit: Oh, man, how can I forget the Tall Ships Festival or being a guest on the Twisted Nether Blogcast?!

Work continues to go well. I cleaned out my closet. And yes, that’s worth mentioning. I attended Henley’s first birthday party and gave him a big smile with his present. I finished off Mists of Pandaria and started Warlords of Draenor. Sorry, but a little video games had to leak into this too. I got my backlog (my list of games, books, movies, etc.) that were purchased but never finished down to 340, which is pretty good. When I started counting in April, I had 471 items that needed to be beat/watched/read. I got rear-ended while driving for the first time. That’s not really much of an accomplishment, but I handled it at least. It was my 10-year high school reunion a few months back, and that was a lot of fun. I also cooked a bunch – stuffed bell peppers, pizzas, calzones, salads, salami wraps, pork chops, steaks, a cake, lemon bars, brownies, and more delicious things. I, a straight man, went out for a drink with a man I met on a dating site. I got stung by way too many bees.

It was a cool year.

2015 started with a party with close friends. Just a minute or two into the year I got to witness a friend propose to his girlfriend.

We’re off to a good start.

ImprovCity’s Thursday Nightmare performs four hits

Thursday night I saw ImprovCity’s second Thursday Nightmare. They take a name and short synopsis of a B-movie horror films and improv a performance of it. It’s pretty hilarious! My friend Alex Bower came up with it, and I was super excited to see it, especially because I missed the first one due to being sick (stupid bees).

At the request of another friend who couldn’t be there because… well, the poor woman is being forced to live far away from home in some strange land known as “Paris, France,” away from ImprovCity and… well, it’s just so sad that I can’t continue. But she asked me to record it so she could watch! Here they are! And don’t forget to change the quality setting so it doesn’t look too blurry.

First there was Night of the Leapest. Watch out!

Next was Ice Scream with a very strange premise.

C.H.U.D.? This is pretty great and should be the official version.

The night ended with The Host. And no, it’s not the the Stephanie Meyer title.

Stand-up paddleboarding, the beach, yoga, and more

stand-up paddleboarding

On Sunday I went stand-up paddleboarding with Kaylin, gem, and Anela. I’d been wanting to do so for a while, and I’m glad I had the chance. It was a lot of fun and not very difficult at all really. However, my toes really wanted to grip the board! I managed to avoid falling in the water not that there’s anything wrong with that… I didn’t even hit the water when attempting L-sit practice on the board.

Beach day and stand-up paddle boarding

One house near the beach kept a bowl and dog treats outside near their gate! It was a pretty cool idea. They must be dog lovers!

Beach day and stand-up paddle boarding

After we finished stand-up paddleboarding, Kaylin had to leave, but gem, Anela, and I had lunch at Bear Flag Fish Co. Delicious as usual! Afterwards we headed down to the beach. It was a great day.

Beach day and stand-up paddle boarding

These two got scared by a ghost (or possibly thought it was bright). Who can know for sure?

Afterwards we did hot yoga at Purple Yoga because gem’s been raving about that instructor. She was right; he’s pretty great.

When I got home, I wanted to collapse, but I also wanted to eat, so I ate/collapsed.

Beach day and stand-up paddle boarding

And then gem showed up to drop off some blueberry bread she baked. It was thick, so she told me that it was basically two slices. I had already brushed, flossed, etc., but it was warm so I had to try some. And then I ate the whole thing. It’s a good thing bread doesn’t make you fat (otherwise Scott Pilgrim would be fat).

BONUS!

I did a couple other things over the weekend too. On Friday I went to ImprovCity with Jessica, and we saw Alex host. Woo! He’s a great host. On Saturday I went to the Dub with Collin and Niki and met Mimi there to watch the World Cup. Jamie tried to get by with just shaking my hand, but I wouldn’t allow it. He’s a good hugger, too!

Now I need another weekend.

Spectacles and ImprovCity

I saw some more improv this weekend! Friday after going dancing, we went to STAGEStheatre to watch Laugh Chance and The Friday Society. They were both really funny. Laugh Chance is the team that chooses games randomly. It’s a pretty great way of making the show different than other improv teams without really having to change much. I also wonder how much knowing what games you’re about to play helps a player. Maybe it’s a bigger change than I think. The Friday Society was very entertaining as well. I was pretty sleepy the first time I saw them, so it was nice to stay awake for it. gem didn’t drink coffee, and she struggled a little. Hopefully I’ll be back for more Spectacles in two weeks.

Last night I saw ImprovCity’s Cubed Comedy Matches. The night consisted of three teams of three with each team consisting two ImprovCity members and one of their high school students. The students were definitely talented! It seemed like a really great opportunity for them. I’m starting to get a feel for more of the players, which just makes it funnier as I learn their personalities. They had a particularly great town meeting, but I also liked when one performer decided to be the Bible’s Joseph for an advice game.

There was also a raffle for various prizes such as bread, games of bowling, passes to Boomer’s, and ImprovCity tickets. The biggest prizes were signed artwork by local artist Ryan Eduad. Guess who won? Well, quite a few people because there were a number of gifts, but what I care about is that I won as well! I won a print called The Soul Collector. Feel free to click the link to check it out.

OC Improv Fest night three

With the third night being on a Saturday, there was no rush to get to STAGEStheatre for the third and final night of the first annual OC Improv Festival. We ate at Don Carlos Mexican Restaurant a block down from the theatre, picked up some Starbucks, and then headed to the theatre. Once again we managed to snag front row seats.

The Orange County Improv Festival

The night began with two family-friendly sets starting with May Contain Nuts. I saw their Halloween improv show back in 2011, so it was nice to see a team I knew again. Honestly, I have no idea if any of the performers this time were the same I saw previously or not, so maybe that didn’t really matter anyways.

The Orange County Improv Festival

ImprovCity was second, and I actually was familiar with the performers. They were generally very funny, but certain parts were a little hit or miss. They normally perform Friday and Saturday evenings close to my house; I really need to see them more often as I enjoy their performances.

The Orange County Improv Festival

After the family-friendly hour, Dr. God Revival with Dave Holmes performed a double-length, hour-long set. They actually featured Dave Holmes! Okay, I honestly had no idea who he was, but he totally has a Wikipedia page, which makes him Officially Famous. My friend Stephanie pointed out that he was VJ on MTV. I assumed she didn’t mean my high school friend VJ so I quickly guessed a VJ is like a DJ but for music videos. MTV was definitely not in my TV rotation.

Anyways, I don’t intend to belittle Dave Holmes. I only knew him as the guy performing improv, and he did a great job. In fact, they did things a little differently, and I always appreciate an improv troupe that has something unique. Dr. God used a lot of monologues by Holmes supposedly based on his own life. He would perform a monologue for five minutes or so, and then the team would perform scenes loosely based on the monologue. I really enjoyed the monologues. I’d love too see an hour of just monologues. I realize lengthening a five minute idea to an hour might be a lot of work, but it’s seem conceivable that it could be done if a group of four or five took turns telling monologues, each person beginning when he or she had something to say related to the previous monologue.

After Dr. God was the The Reckoning. I don’t remember disliking them, but I don’t remember much of anything, and I didn’t any photos either. I jotted down that they performed longform. They were decent enough, but I don’t think they were great.

The Orange County Improv Festival

At 10:00, Ghostlight performed. The Spectacles webpage described them as “a blend of hilarious and spooky,” so I was really looking forward to seeing them. Honestly, they didn’t live up to my expectations. However, I feel like it might have been due to time constraints and the luck of the draw. I’d really like to see them again in a full show.

During their set, they asked the audience if anyone had ever had a supernatural encounter. One person said he had, and they asked him to come tell them about it. He eventually came down to talk, but it took him a while to do so. As he told the story, he seemed to stall a lot. I get the feeling he was joking when he raised his hand and didn’t mean to volunteer for it. I guess that’s fine, but it also ate into their short half hour allotted time.

The Orange County Improv Festival

“Strange religious harmony what”

I wrote that in my iPhone to describe USS Rock N Roll as soon as their set was finished. I don’t mean religious in the sense they were spoke about religion. It’s more than they seemed like a strange cult. They were either far more artsy than me or pretended to be for the laughs.

USS Rock N Roll performed longform scenes, but their transitions were very odd. Let’s say that in a scene, a person said “no, no, no.” Someone not involved in the scene would stick their arms and circle around the people in the scene as if a child pretending to be a plane. They’d repeat the word “no” as they did so, and everyone else would follow until there was a circle of people chanting. Some would say a different word related to the scene or the feelings of the last scene’s characters. Eventually they would all be chanting loudly together until breaking apart into a new scene. They had a couple other ways of transitioning as well, but this is the basic idea. It was the oddest improv I’d ever seen. That said, I really enjoyed it. They were also able to perform what was effectively multiple scenes at the same time. It was funny and very entertaining. (But again, what? Odd.)

The Orange County Improv Festival

Mission IMPROVable, from Santa Monica, was one of my favorite teams. I’m fairly certain they were a team of secret agents sent, in secret, to perform a comedy. They performed a lot of the staple improv games with high energy. I wish they didn’t normally perform so far from home, because I’d love to see them more.

The Orange County Improv Festival

The festival ended with Laugh Chance, another Spectacles-produced team. Laugh Chance decides what games to play randomly. They had three categories of games – A, B, and C. When it was time for a new game, Lloyd, the host, would pick a category and then get the audience to roll inflatable dice. The letter combined with the number of rolls determines the game based on a board. You can see it (through the terrible blur) in the picture. The games themselves weren’t different than games I’ve seen before, but I appreciate putting a different spin on the normal. It’s nice for an improv troupe to have something that makes them unique. They were funny, but strangely I’m fairly sure not everyone who came on stage with Laugh Chance actually performed. What the heck?

It was a terrific third night, but it felt weird for it to end. After three nights of non-stop improv (except for when they stopped at the end of the nights, of course), I felt like I was improv-crashing. On the other hand, I learned that using the magic of Starbucks I can actually stay up late, so I suppose the festival also taught me that I can always come back on Friday or Saturday nights for more improv!