Thursday, April 26, 2007


There's some bug going around the students at Columbia and I think I've got it. Been very achy and nauseated-y. SO, today's blog will just be a mini-recap of Wednesday. Wednesday, like Mondays, tend to be long days. In addition to my Columbia schedule during the day, I have WNEP Dada rehearsals at night.

MOM UPDATE - The doctors have delayed catheterizing her heart. Apparently, it's an exploratory procedure to see if she needs more stuff done. What they did do is put a stent in one of her carotid arteries. I spoke to her in the afternoon after the operation and she sounded fine. Although, I think during her stay, they have taken her off her Alzheimer's medicine. She didn't remember speaking to me the day before nor did she recall having the operation on her neck earlier in the day. She's very aware that she has Alzheimer's. When my brother reminded her she already had that operation, her response was simply, "Oh, okay."

IMPROV 1 - The semester is winding up at Columbia, which means I'm going into overdrive to have a lasting valuable impact on my students. I wasn't quite sure what to do today and I picked up Jimmy Carrane and Liz Allen's book Improvising Better for inspiration. It's a great book. Very pragmatic. Especially sound advice for improvisers on and off the stage. There's section entitled The Improv Committee Resides in Your Head. It addresses improvisers who tend to be performing for someone other than themselves or their scene partners, like trying too hard to make the audience like them or playing to other "cool" improvisers in the audience. The advice to the improviser who does this is to simply serve your scene partner. Be in service to your scene partner. That was my focus for the class. We did three person scenes and I saw the best work I've seen out of this class. They were listening to one another, taking gifts and building on them with emotional investments, they were wanting something important from one another. They were working together and discovering things together. I saw some very interesting scenes, like a guy who invites his ex-girlfriend over to watch a Jimmy Buffet concert at Wrigley Field from his rooftop and she brings a friend because she knows he's just trying to rekindle their failed relationship. There was also the scene where a couple is celebrating their anniversary by going spelunking in a cave and the husband brings along his best friend who's more than just his best friend. Really cool stuff. Thank you Jimmy and Liz! If you are at all serious about improv, or at least tell people you are, prove it and check out their book.

COMEDY WORKSHOP - These guys are brilliant. They have really exceeded my expectations of a group of college students putting together a sketch revue. Smart, funny, vulgar, ridiculous, cruel and silly. And there are dancing vegetarian zombies! The name of the show is "Savage Breast." They will be performing for one night only at Donny's Skybox at 7pm. The show is free. Come early to get a seat. There are some real rock stars in this group that you will hear from again in the future.

DADA WORKSHOP - Always a gas. We're in writing sessions, right now. I love writing Dada material because you can't do it wrong. It's very freeing. Writing a Dada poem or scene is like collaging the universe. I've been churning out a lot of material. My only disappointment is that we ran out of time and didn't get to it all. It's much more fun to read the pieces with a group.

Sorry, I haven't figured out how to embed YouTube videos in my blog, yet. The following appalls me for three reasons; Celine Dion, American Idol and the appropriation of a dead guy's image without his consent. However, it's really fickin' cool! Check it out!

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