Tag Archives: Comedy

Big Week

When I worked for Apple we had these little ‘credo cards’ with a sort of retail division manifesto inside.

One of the lines included was:

“At Apple, our most important resource, our soul, is our people.”

Outside of Apple this is something that has stuck with me. I think it’s a really great perspective to have honestly. I value people over things. I say it often, but not everyone understand it about me: the most important thing in my life is my friends.

I truly believe that if you go through life with this perspective it’ll come back to you in spades and you’ll make the world a little bit better for everyone.

I’m very fortunate to have amazing and talented friends in my life. I’m really proud of them.

This week my good friend Zoran left Chicago behind to pursue his filmmaking career our in Los Angeles. I’m extremely sad to see him go but I’m really excited at what lies ahead. I know he needs to do this for himself and I have no doubt he’s going to do big things out there.

Zoran’s final project in Chicago was a music video for our friends’ band: Common Shiner.

The project has been going on for months and included just about everyone I know who logically could be included, actors, musicians, photographers… you name it. The final project is a true labor of love under Zoran’s direction that I’m incredibly proud to have been a part of.

The video will debut on Wednesday night here in Chicago at Mayne Stage.

You can get the details here.

Incredibly, that’s not all going on this week or even that night. At the same night, at the very same show, my very good friend Jeff Brown will be releasing his new EP. While I didn’t have a hand in Jeff’s EP, I know this has been a long process for him as well and I’m excited to have the chance to be there.

As if that wasn’t enough, we’ll be saying another goodbye on Thursday night as well. My friends Charles and Emily, better known as Duck and Goose, will be releasing their long awaited album. The duo funded the project through Kickstarter and spent countless hours in the studio working with some amazing people to release an album, that if it’s 1/10th as beautiful as their live shows, will leave people in awe. Unfortunately this will be Duck and Goose’s final show as Emily will be leaving Chicago soon to pursue her education further in Seattle.

Finally, the incomparable Xoë Wise will be opening for Duck and Goose. As far as I know Xoë doesn’t have anything special going on for this show but she’s a wonderful human being and a heck of a musician.

Details here for Duck and Goose with Xoë Wise and others.

August was really hard last year and this year seems to be shaping up to be pretty tough as well. I’m really proud and really excited for all of my friends and I’m extremely grateful to have such amazing people in my life.

A Prologue?

Every adventure has a beginning. Some start slow and build into the excitement. Others kick right into action within the first few moments. Either way there is still a setup, some pretext that the story is founded on. My training from iO and Second City has taught me that it’s better to start a scene in the middle and to dispense with the back story things tend to be more interesting that way as we can watch the story unfold in front of us.

At this very moment my heart is starting to slow down from a rapid pace. My brain and endocrine system are finally starting to relax from the rush of adrenaline that pumped through me earlier. I’m just happy to be here in my aisle seat electric chair typing away and listening to my favorite Mountain Goats record.

I’m heading to Austin for South by Southwest Interactive where, for the next week, I will indulge in copious amounts of learning, networking and imbibing. When I return from Austin I will only have 8 more days of work at my job of the past 6.5 years. There is a mixture of excitement and discomfort in the fact I am willfully joining the ranks of the unemployed during a recession.

My heart rate continues to slow as I sip my complementary apple juice and snack on my peanuts. I just took a minute to revised the first paragraph. “Lovecraft in Brooklyn” just came on. I love this song, I don’t really even know why, I just do.

I could tell the story about nearly missing my flight this morning, being told they were booked through the weekend and how someone I’ve never met volunteered to give up her seat making her my personal, yet thankless hero. But aside from me running unshod through Midway airport, the story really doesn’t have that much anecdotal value.

I’m looking forward to the next few days in Texas, catching up with old friends, making new ones and eating amazing food. That said, I am not quite sure what to expect. I did this once before and it was extremely enriching, even life changing, will it be again?

We’ve landed in Nashville to refuel and swap passengers before continuing on to Austin. No more Mountain Goats, moved on to Gaslight Anthem now. Stop, revise. I am fully relaxed now. Another revision.

I’ll be back in Nashville a month from yesterday if only for a day. It feels like an eternity away.

The problem with the aforementioned storytelling lesson is that it’s one of the few things from improvisation that can’t be mapped directly to life. We don’t get to just cut to the action, we’re forced to endure each beginning as even the smallest detail can be a catalyst that ripples through all of what follows. In life it’s the transitions that shape everything. The blur before something ends and another begins is arguably the most interesting moment, anything could happen that will affect the future and how we perceive of the past.

I ponder my own situation as I rewrite, revise and delete. I’m mildly frustrated that this, like many pieces I write, may sit in “drafts” forever awaiting a perfection that may never come. I switch the music again to Streetlight Manifesto to get a lyric trapped in my head out.

“We’ve all been there once before and it looks like we’ve returned once more. So is this the beginning or the end?”

I don’t know what will happen, I just know we’re landing and it’s almost time to close my MacBook.

Batterymouth: It Burns opens TONIGHT!

Hey folks, we’ve been working on this for a while and I’m very pleased to announce that Batterymouth: It Burns opens tonight at the de Maat Theatre at Piper’s Alley. For the unintroduced, Batterymouth is a two man improv team made up of my good friends Dave Urlakis and Zack Whittington. You may have seen either of these gentlemen before in Best Church of God and Long Pork respectively.

The guys take on a daring form rarely attempted and even more rarely successful: They take one audience suggestion and use that to make a single, half hour, two man scene in real time. They’ve spent a lot of time working on their craft with the magnificent E.J. Scott and the show promises to be a blast.

It’s been an honor and a lot of fun working with Batterymouth to refine their brand and promote this show. I can’t wait for you to see it.

Also, Long Pork fans, if you missed the Gentlemen’s show at Sketchfest you should notice that they are scheduled to perform on closing night. I highly suggest you come sooner than that but you may want to buy tickets in advance for that show as it will likely sell out.

Here are the show times:
Fri, 1/21/11 at 7:30PM with Honor Student Breakfast
Fri, 1/28/11 at 7:30PM with Electric Lunchbox
Fri, 2/04/11 at 7:30PM with Wildcard
Fri, 2/11/11 at 7:30PM with Tina with the Weather
Fri, 2/18/11 at 7:30PM with Long Pork

Tickets are $12 at the door or $10 for students and can be bought online or at the Second City Box Office.

See you there!

This week in thankfulness

To start with I want to wish everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

I’m visiting NY for the weekend to see my family and reflecting a bit right now I’m thankful for a lot. I’ve switched to part time at my retail job and I really have started to find a good work / life balance. I turned 29 on Saturday and had an awesome party with awesome friends. I can’t express enough how important and awesome my friends are. Thank you everyone. This has been a great year. What I am thankful for going forward though are exciting projects. If you know me, dear reader, I’m not happy unless I’m doing a million things at once, here is what is going on right now:

  1. I’ll be working with dynamic improv duo Batterymouth to promote their upcoming run Fridays at DeMaat Theatre at Second City from Jan 21st – Feb 25th. So far we have one publicity photo ready but there are more on the way. In my eyes Batterymouth is one of the best kept secrets of Chicago theatre and I’m very excited to be working with them.
  2. Speaking of comedy… Long Pork is still going strong. The Gentlemen are hard at work on their next show which is set to debut at the Chicago Sketchfest on January 13th 9:30 pm. Also they’ve been invited to preform in the Charleston Comedy Festival for which they are super excited and honored.
  3. Still doing the ChicagoNow thing. Yesterday I published a photo set of Wrigleyville during last Saturday’s Northwestern vs. Illinois Football game. You can check that out here. Tomorrow I’ll be publishing a holiday gift guide for photographers so check back then.

That’s all for today friends. I hope you all enjoy your turkey dinners!

Diving In…

Three years ago I moved to Chicago in what seemed to many like a random decision. I had gone through a rough patch in NY where I realized I had been doing the same things in the same places with the same people night in and night out since 7th grade. The weird part though is I had a job I loved working for Apple, but I could not get past the fact that I was working in the mall that I had been going to every day for as long as I could remember living in suburbia. I needed to change something and Chicago offered the perfect opportunity to make a clean break.

I was able to move out here and not only keep my job with Apple but get promoted as well. In the last three years I’ve grown immensely, made amazing friends, traveled extensively, started taking improv classes, started working with Long Pork and really started to build my photo career with the launch of my ChicagoNow blog and a few new clients.

The only down side? It worked too well.

Moving out here has been liberating beyond my expectations, but I find myself so busy pursuing my passions that sleep and friendships suffer due to it. I also find myself turning down photo and design work I’d like to be doing due to conflicts with my full time hours. Three years into living here I once again have found myself in need of a change.

Effective next week I’ve decided to step down from my full time role and leadership responsibilities at Apple and into a more limited part time hours.

This will allow me to pursue my passions even further, recover a semblance of a social life and maybe, just maybe start sleeping again. There is a lot of traveling planned, for starters Long Pork and I are driving to NY next week for Sketchfest NYC at the UCB Theater. I am also going to finally get certified to skydive this year.

Last week on Friday Sydney Owen and I head out to the Chicagoland Skydiving Center to go for a tandem jump and enroll ourselves in the certification program. It’s going to be an interesting summer.

While I’ll admit I am nervous about what I’m leaving behind I am really excited about the road ahead. More to come soon.