The Massachusetts congressional delegation - save for US Senator Scott Brown - has made its own “It Gets Better” video to encourage youth encountering uncertainties and difficulties as they realize they are homosexual.
This is amazing and hilarious… since NYPost ISa Murdoch publication, you will never see this, BUT if they covered the news the way they cover other news, this is what you’d see… click through to early and weekend editions as well. Now, my day is made!
“In the safest, most boring country, the worst lone gunman shooting happens. The worst in the world, in history. But it will not make our country worse. The safe, boring democracy will supply him with a defense lawyer as is his right. He will not get more than 21 years in prison as is the maximum extent of the law. Our democracy does not allow for enough punishment to satisfy my need for revenge, as is its intention. We will not become worse, we will be better. We lived in a land where this is possible, even easy. And we will keep living in a land where this is possible, even easy. We are open, we are free and we are together. We are vulnerable by choice. And we will keep on like that, that’s how we want to live. We will not be worse because of the worst. We must be good because of the best.”—
“Pretty sure you’ve always wanted to see me naked.. Well.. I’m feeling pretty adventurous today so go to datelink5(dot)com (switch [dot] with .) then sign up and find my profile under the username ‘lolsummer69’. I hid my face in the pictures. but I want you to guess who I am and then hit me up on Facebook lol. Good luck.”—Oh, look! I got one of these! I was starting to feel left out! Tumblr, time to stop the spam, what do you think?
My friend Fred posted this to his FB profile and I decided t go the Tumblr route instead for wider distribution… this is remarkable (Merci Fred, je t’aime!). Some excerpts:
“On this wonderful day when we are gathered together to celebrate your academic success, I have decided to talk to you about the benefits of failure. And as you stand on the threshold of what is sometimes called ‘real life’, I want to extol the crucial importance of imagination.”
“So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive.”
“So given a Time Turner, I would tell my 21-year-old self that personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a check-list of acquisition or achievement. Your qualifications, your CV, are not your life, though you will meet many people of my age and older who confuse the two. Life is difficult, and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control, and the humility to know that will enable you to survive its vicissitudes.”
“One of the many things I learned (…) was this, written by the Greek author Plutarch: What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.”
“And tomorrow, I hope that even if you remember not a single word of mine, you remember those of Seneca (…): As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what matters.”
What people don’t understand about curly hair is that it’s not straight, it’s not ‘fro, it’s in between. Mine is way curlier than Sam’s (my curls are tight gurl - many times I was told I have “white girl ‘fro” whatever that means), and it took me a WHILE to be able to manage it…. I had the same problem though, growing up, my mom would cut my hair into a short SHORT cut. My hair never grew - I learned that my hair doesn’t actually grow beyond a certain point. Oh well! That too, I have learned to accept and I love my curly hair that I wash every other day or twice a day - depending on how warm it it - moisturize thoroughly, and let air dry as much as possible. Crazy hair? So WHAT??
My hair has been a thing for my entire life. At the start, I didn’t have any. My parents lovingly called me cue ball until my curls finally began to come in when I was 2 years old. I could walk, talk and read(!) before I had hair. During my early years with hair, it mostly grew in the back and…
Not only at the exact same time (I couldn’t believe it was happening - it was seriously magical) but the exact same way, tone of voice and gesture included - I mean, we were matching each other PERFECTLY. It was … WOW! Words cannot express how great it felt!
On Sunday night, my duo partner and I did a show at the Parkside Lounge. We went up second and as I was listening to the first stand-up go on, I noticed that the audience was basically half a dozen white dudes. Oy. Talk about women in comedy. It didn’t surprise me from an audience’s standpoint to see a male-heavy audience, but when we took the stage, I tried not to let it rattle me as a performer. (It helped that the lights blinded us from seeing into the audience.) If you read my previous post on being super nervous in front of my improv heroes, you can imagine the potential for my heart exploding from fear and anxiety.
I won’t recap the whole thing, but I did want to note a particular scene. We practiced with Morgan Phillips the night before and incorporated some exercises and notes that he worked on with us into our set. It made for cleaner transitions and freed us up to play multiple characters. I really enjoyed working with Morgan. It was the first time he coached me and it was probably one of the easiest practices I’ve ever done. Even though I did a practice immediately before that and may have just lost my inhibitions by then, Morgan is undoubtedly a great coach. And he really worked for us.
This particular scene didn’t exactly begin with a strong initiation, but it built up slowly and organically. We eventually learned that the two people in the scene seemed to be two friends. I walked on as a character to clarify that we were at an ice cream parlor and the 2 main characters were being indecisive about what to order, holding up the line. My character began gesticulating wildly with my arms and Poupak matched me physically. Morgan had told us during practice to play the relationship and not the scenario, so I tried to focus on the energy between our two characters. We seemed to have a kind of combative dynamic, but without being pointlessly argumentative.
I walked on as another customer, who decided to order from the back of the line. This obviously pissed off the 2 main characters. Poupak and I looked at each other in frustration, threw up our hands, and - I swear - in tandem said, “This is all YOUR fault.” Edit.
I’m calling this the best improv moment ever because it demonstrated how in tune we both were to the scene and how much we were on the same page. We were matching so closely that we were inspired to say the exact same line at the exact same time. Pure improv magic. I couldn’t believe it happened and I’m pretty sure Poupak was equally surprised. I just knew that that moment was the perfect time to edit the scene.
Improv friends - has this happened to you before? I’ve felt other kinds of improv magic during scenes - where it’s like you’re looking at your scene from the outside in, reading a road map of where it’s going to go next and playing the game so easily because everyone is on the same page. I’ve never had a scene where my partner and I say the exact same line at the same time. Lightning?
This was an incredible show! I always learn so much by watching people play and I was lucky to be on stage with some incredible improvisers (those Nicole names below, but also Keisha Zollar & Cathryn Mudon). I also just LOVE watching Neil Casey who is one of my all time favorites and the king of Anding (he adds so much relevant and fun information to a scene, and is just a force of nature), and Chris Gethard who is the king of Yes (he just makes you feel great to be on stage by taking all ideas coming from everyone and making them the reality of the scene), and Shannon O’Neil who is the queen of initiations… every one of them has something to add that is unbelievable and they teach us, beginners, how to get better and what to aspire to.
Tonight I got to play in an awesome edition of the Kaleidoscope show at The Creek, which is already an amazing show to begin with. I love Kaleidoscope and have always treated it as an opportunity to play with people I wouldn’t otherwise get to play with and people who are my favorite improvisers to watch (ie: my heroes). But this show was especially themed around our improv heroes.
Our host, Cathryn, took submissions from improvisers asking to play with their improv heroes. I sent in a list of about a dozen names. I’m lucky enough to say I’ve played with people I consider my heroes: Betsy, Risa, Kate, Tim, Brandon, and, well, you can read my other Kscope recaps. This time around, I sent in names of people I’d previously asked to be on my Kscope team, but who were busy at the time, and people I admire and haven’t had the chance to play with. I figured Cathryn would be the best person to bug them again on my behalf.
I was stoked to see the list of names she pulled together. I didn’t ask who I was paired with because I wanted to be surprised. Of my list, Shannon O’Neill and Megan Neuringer were both on and confirmed for the show. I was excited at the opportunity to play with either and assumed I would be paired with Shannon because she was at the top of my list.
The first set was amazing. It was so fun and everyone seemed to be very comfortable with each other. I was scared shitless at the thought of having to follow them. I realized then how nervous I actually was. Prior to that, I was pretty relaxed. But when I heard Shannon’s name called up for the second team, my heart skipped a beat and I was actually dreading the thought of hearing my name called to play with her. I’m glad I wasn’t because I’m pretty sure my play would have been worse than the set I actually did.
I got called up to play with Megan (and Poupak!), Erik Tanouye and Tim Martin (as well as their 2 fans…whose names escape *slaps self on wrist* me). I’ve played with Erik and Tim before, and obviously Pou is my duo partner. I’ve also been coached by Megan, so I was completely confident that she could carry me (regardless of how bad I was) and that I could play with anyone in the group.
I didn’t do much during the set. My first move was a walk-on as a body mentioned in the first scene. It was probably a very blue move that I would roll my eyes at as an audience member. I realize my position was sexually (ie: date rape) suggestive. And I was so super wired on adrenaline that my eyes twitched as I kept them half closed, trying to pay attention to what was going on around me, but pretending to be dead. I did another few walk-ons. I realized the longer the set went on, the less I actually did. I pushed myself to finally initiate a scene at the end.
I had no clear idea of what I wanted to do. I was so consumed by my own nerves that I used that to inspire the scene. All I knew is what I was feeling - and that still pretty much scared shitless. I came out, hands literally shaking, and spewed lines about how nervous I was. I made the asshole move of saying, “I can’t do THIS.” THIS is an improviser being polite and letting his/her partner do the work in deciding what the fuck we are talking about. In my case, THIS was me telling Megan, who thankfully walked out to save me, that I had no idea where this was going and needed her to help me. She endowed me with being the first teacher to enter space. I did not get the reference (side note: Megan gave me the Wikipedia link to the story about Christa McAuliffe - ooooh, THAT’s why we got such a huge laugh. There I was thinking everyone could see the waterfall of sweat pouring from my face and my petrified expression.), but I did my best to work with what had been established. I tried to show rather than tell my emotions, acting woosy and scared (which, by the way, wasn’t that hard), but I let my proclivity for verbosity get the better of me and talked a lot through the end of the scene. I don’t even remember what the hell I said.
After the show, Paul Welsh was super kind enough to say, “Good job, Nicole,” as he walked out. This made me geek out inside for two reasons: A) No matter how experienced you as an improviser (and I’m speaking in part from what I’ve heard more advanced players say in conversation), you never tire of hearing someone compliment you or express kind words of encouragement. As someone who is insanely out of practice and still very much a novice, that was a huge boost to my awkward diffidence after the show. And B) He knew my name! I know that’s school-girlish of me, but hey, I still squeal (and panic) inside when Shannon O’Neill says hi to me. So thanks, Paul, for being super nice to me when I probably needed it. I’m pretty sure I’ll never shake off my tendency to get starstruck. Erik was also nice enough to say, “That was fun,” which I think we actually said in tandem. Again, super kind.
All in all, it was awesome to see so many improvisers I admire and love watching in one room, on the same stage. Cathryn said it best - as young improvisers, we put our heroes on a pedestal and think that they are so beyond our reach. In reality, 99% of them are super nice and super encouraging. Without their support and their skill as improvisers, we wouldn’t admire them so much, we wouldn’t want to do improv, and we wouldn’t aspire to be as good as they are. I’m so glad I’ve had the opportunity to share the stage with some of my improv heroes. Hopefully I’ll get a few more.
It made me really happy to read this. Morgan is only 20 and he understands a lot about feminism - for people who don’t, read this. There’s much more to be said (for example how Feminism is not about eliminating men, but about parity between men and women; it’s not about waiting for things to happen but rather about making things happen for yourself, etc.) but this is pretty insightful.
I’d like to preface this Tumblr post by first stating that it didn’t need to be written, and I understand that my voice does not need to be heard as loudly or as often as some other very smart people regarding these issues. So if you’re offended for whatever reason I apologize but i’m just a guy using the internet.
This wasn’t intentional. I didn’t set out to be a guy directing a lot of female driven shows, but now I’m happy I am that guy. When people ask ‘why?’ my answer more often than not is because these people are really fucking funny and i’m honored to be working with them. End of story.
But the question is not totally amis as I am swiftly becoming a feminist. But I didn’t intend to.
Hello. My name is Morgan Evans and I’m on the fast track to becoming a card-carrying feminist. If the feminist club does not provide cards, I’d also accept a badge or commemorative plate.
Being an upper-middle class white male from Mesa, Arizona it probably goes without saying that I had a lot of misconceptions about feminism, and in fact, without invalidating myself as one of these pro-women people, must admit that this a quite recent development in my life (but I’m only twenty so you should give me some leeway as my frontal lobe has only recently just solidified itself like this disgusting jello thing my friend found).
In Junior High, while hormones were raging, I had my first of many encounters with the opposite sex, most of which really shaped the way I viewed womankind upon my arrival in college. I was cheated on, lied to, called a “fag” numerous times, was met with laughter or annoyance upon my many, many confessions of immense love, devotion, DEVOlution, etc. Basically, I went to public school and it’s probably like this for a lot of people. Suffice to say, because I struck out with women so consistently and so often, and because of the way this certain focus group of females treated me, I began to develop a sort of general mistrust/anger towards the whole gender. It’s like cooties came back full force except now instead of giving yourself a “shot” with a marker you’d go cry in your room for a week straight. Who could blame me? Women fucking sucked! They were mean! Sure, guys were mean too and they called me a “fag” just as often, but I didn’t want to kiss them! I wanted to kiss the girls! And the girls were pretending to like me and then being mean when I’d say I liked them too! What was I supposed to do? Well, if you were 14-year-old me, the answer was obviously “hate all women forever” and that’s sort of what started to happen. Sure, I’m being slightly hyperbolic, but the point still stands, I carried this all with me until now. Instead of someone saying “Morgan, don’t be a fucking idiot. Sure, your current slew of girlfriends and love interests haven’t been too kind but that in no way shape or form represents the population in general,” I would meet my asshole friends at the lunch tables and they would talk about “fucking” or how much Becky sucked.
Then, in High School, I underwent a change. I pretty much dropped my faculties in terms of like, ever wanting to have sex, and I created my High School’s AV Club. I still was in love with girls constantly, and pretty much always wanted to get married, so I was still angry at certain women but my general distrust for the gender seemed to have died down. I got really into Slavoj Žižek, Lacan, Judith Butler, etc. I read “Gender Trouble,” blew through Gloria Steinhem’s Wikipedia page, and my friend Tim and I even fought over who would get this cool Hillary Clinton pin we found when she was running for the primaries. I thought I knew what was up. I started to realize girls weren’t just there for me to kiss. I felt I understood the struggle of the female working class in 1968! This was naïve, of course, but still, I was sixteen years old and on the right track.
But then came college and I found myself slipping back into my Junior High state of mind. After moving to New York and enrolling in art school, I became very disenchanted. The feminism I seemed to have known, this sort of classic 1968 mentality seemed to have shifted to something just terrible. Namely; girls calling themselves feminist, brunching, living off their parent’s money and then not doing anything but talking about boys and how much they love cats. I thought everything I knew was wrong, I thought I was an idiot, because here I was new to a big city and everyone around me seemed to think feminism was essentially a bunch of art school kids liking Lady Gaga because she represented a strong woman without pants on. This wasn’t entirely incorrect, I did know people like this, and I’m sure in a way they were feminists, we just had very, very, different definitions. I was basically taking a very small group and blowing it out of proportion and assuming “well, this is America now” which is the EXACT same thing I had been doing my whole life.
But then I joined the Upright Citizen’s Brigade and started taking classes, and started meeting funny badass ladies. Sure, there are even sects of this hilarious community whose sole contribution to the struggle of women is to just do constant jokes about being a woman and trying to get boys but there’s also this incredibly rich and vibrant section of girls being funny for no other reason than because being funny is great and fun. I have my own reasons for doing comedy, mostly feelings of inadequacy and loneliness due, in part, to these prior Junior High experiences, but now I’ve started coming to terms with that (through therapy, stand up, etc.) and can now differentiate between the girls who hurt me and girls in general and that’s a thing I’m proud of. That isn’t to say however, that my prior bigotry and distrust of women doesn’t creep in and effect my decisions/relationships/what-have-you sometimes, it’s just to say that I’m finally aware that this is a thing that happens inside even the most liberal, Murphy Brown/Diane English-loving, skinny white boys currently living in a blue state. Only upon realizing how deeply this shit is engrained in people can we take the proper steps to extract it and prevent it from occurring in future generations of young men and women.
It’s this sort of ripple-effect bigotry that is probably where cooties come from, but I could be wrong, I’m not a scientist. I just like comedy.
Seriously - I’ve been here for a little over a week, and it’s been great. I know people keep complaining (but that’s the most important French trait - we are complainers and revolutionaries), but honestly, the country has held up so well since the economic downturn. I’ve been walking around - a lot - and people are much less stressed than they are in New York, there aren’t as many closed stores (always a shocker for me since 2008), and the terraces at the cafés and restaurants are packed. I went to the movies, and that was packed too. It’s a lifestyle I guess that I had forgotten about: you take your time to relax, to chill, to enjoy life… and eat amazing food, stinky tasty cheese, and drink great wine. Ads talk about how “you don’t mess around with your pleasure (yep, yep)” or how “it’s important to focus on your pleasure (yep, yep, yep)”, and things are not as hard as I remembered. I had some administrative paperwork to take care of - always a burden in France - but with digitization, things got much better.
Above all, and I know it’s because I’m visiting so my view is skewed, but I’ve been spending a lot of time with family, friends, childhood friends, and new friends, and I realized how big a network and support system I have here. I realized that I actually know a LOT of people. It might be surprising that I came to that realization, but I’ve probably come to appreciate it more. I grew up here, so I know people I grew up with. In New York, I have a lot of friends, but for some, they are new (improv community) and for others, I got to know them once I was already an adult (college and grad school friends, and work friends, and people I met in Boston, or at random parties, etc.). It’s not people I grew up with. I love them dearly, but they don’t know baby Poupak and teenage Poupak. I guess that’s important for me, because I realized how much I missed them all.
I come to Paris every few months because I need it. I’ve been living abroad, and mostly in New York, for the last 10 years. Now, for some reason, I’ve come to the realization that it’s not only the city (which I love beyond words) I need, I need the people, I need my family, I need my support system.
So like Jeanne Moreau in Jules et Jim, or like Miriam Hopkins who refuses to choose between Gary and Frederic in Design for Living, my heart is torn between the cities I love, between the people I love… and I refuse to choose. But then again, at some point, I am going to have to - it’s too hard to be in love with two cities that are so far apart.
First time I’m using the new Tumblr for iPhone platform for a post to tell you about an incredible movie I saw this afternoon in Paris. It’s an Iranian movie called A Separation that won first prize at the Berlin film festival (and a number of other prizes). Amazing movie visually and emotionally poweful, with really great actors. Don’t miss it if it’s released in your city. It’s been on the screens in Paris for over 5 weeks and it still plays to full houses.