Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween everyone

, originally uploaded by snailbooty.

I hope it was safe and candyfull.

This is why I love the Internet

It allows you to find stuff you like that you wouldn't otherwise know existed. Case in pint, this little track excerpt from a dude going by the moniker Nonloc. I love it, and found it becuase I'm listening to the station dedicated to tracks like the ones Paige Maguire from the Austinist listens to.




I' now I am horribly behind the times, but this silliness is just great. Why did it take me so long to find out about it?

Find more photos like this on fingerstache


Monday, October 29, 2007

Backpack Picnic: Ghost Hat

My old character from No Shame, making a little appearance today.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007


As satisfying as that poor chick killing Star Wars on the trumpet. But these guys are pros. Heh.


The Cute Show

This is going out to Kaci Beeler and Memory Harker. Enjoy. It will make you feel momentarily happy.


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Onesie: Imps

Mitch and Dustin are weird. I think Mitch's voice is sped up a little--I've never heard him do that voice before. Enjoy.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Popeye, Volume 2

Man, I cannot wait! Licks lips and twiddles fingers.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Here's where I would be if I didn't have a wedding to attend tonight

Seriously, go check it out if you have the chance. Details are here. Fortunately the New Music Coop guys are making a recording. Already saving my pennies for this one.


What is the definition of stupidity?

The same man (me) being stung on the same hand by the same wasp for engaging in the same activity (accidentally chopping up said wasp's home with a hedge trimmer) twice across a ten minutes interval.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I have been tagged! By a meme!

By Kaci Beeler to write down 10 things that recently made me happy. OK, here goes.

1. The recent 3 For All shows and classes here in Austin.
2. Getting the most recent issue of Comic Art Magazine
3. Brenner's strange party for his girlfriend with "adult" sodas.
4. Julies Lucas and her family.
5. Walking by Emmett today standing proudly in his room holding up a yoga ball announcing in his best theatrical voice, "You Would Be Entertained!" to no one in particular.
6. Finding my brother's old Captain America painting from ten years ago or so.
7. Spaghetti night at the Egerton's.
8. Lining up a ton of acts for MakerFaire Austin.
9. Recent Get Up rehearsals.
10. Being pleasant to my family, for a whole week!

It is amusing to me

to watch people being passive aggressive and then deny it, but then of course that's passive aggressiveness, is it not? It is also amusing to watch people struggle with the logos. I am amused today.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Improv Spectrum; or, the local nature of our taxonomies

The 3 For All visit has got me thinking a lot about improv philosophy and technique recently. That combined with John’s post over here and the ensuing discussion made me realize something and then Kareem’s observation here reinforced the little epiphany I had. Rather than clutter up John’s comments any further, I thought I’d start this conversation over here.

John somewhat convincingly details a spectrum of improv approaches that range from longform narrative that clones some other narrative media (more about that in a subsequent post) to the other end, an improv for improv’s sake approach, where the narrative fetters don’t exist—I’m not doing John’s philosophy justice here, it’s just that I’m saving my unpacking of what John might be talking about for another, more detailed approach because I don’t think I quite have the elevator pitch for it down yet.

Anyway, I buy it to a point, but I think if you expounded on this spectrum to someone outside of Austin, the responses would range from “Hmmm, I’d never thought of that before,” to “What the fuck are you talking about?” In most other places, the spectrum lies between short form and long form, or between improv more generally and sketch, or even standup (a dynamic that pops up here only when anonymous snarksters hate on improv any time we get a good mention in the Austinist).

Whence those “what?” reactions I talk about above? Well, as far as I can tell, narrative improv as a discipline doesn’t really exist much outside of a few centers—here, San Francisco, Los Angeles to a certain degree, and again to a certain degree in Atlanta. But where else? I’m not talking about groups here and there who stumble into narrative formats like the cats in Omaha, whom Kareem points out are mostly working in a vacuum. There are narrative groups here and there throughout the country. I’m talking about places where there is a real cluster of people working on narrative as an approach and philosophy and building a body of shared work and techniques.

The narrative people here have obviously been heavily influenced by people from the BATS and LATS scene, but without the work of people like me and Shana and Girls and Sean Hill and the various Heroes genre shows and Jeremy and the WHJ guys and later the Cupholders and now the Pgraph guys, I’m not sure there would be the spectrum John talks about to even debate.

The dynamic we have here is unique in the country. Please tell me if I’m off base, but I can’t think off another scene around that so tangibly offers such a wealth of narrative and non-narrative approaches in equal strength and so closely intertwined in their personnel and casts. That dynamic colors the nature of the debate here, but I’m not sure if anyone outside Austin sees the same rainbow.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sansho the Bailiff

On the other hand, we watched Kenji Mizoguchi's Sansho the Bailiff recently and were pretty much blown away. At least I know I was. I know it wouldn't impress some people out there, but if Shana and I could improvise a story as good as this one, we would be very happy. Kept me continually guessing as to where the plot was going to go, and the scene at the end is really powerful. I'm still trying to figure out why it's named after Sansho, and also what the film might have been saying to post-War Japanese audiences.

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Stalag 17

Lacey and I watched Stalag 17 over the past couple of nights. It's about 60% a good movie. The stuff with William Holden and the mystery in the barracks is really compelling. Nice riveting stuff, and the resolution of who's really the stoolie is well done. But the broad overacting in the comedy bits is really really insufferable and almost ruins the film. I much prefer the "subtle" comedy in Hogan's Heroes, which obviously copped a lot from Stalag. That's not all that flattering of a comparison.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Backpack Picnic: Cruel Irony

This sketch came from an actual conversation we all had on set the round before this one. Enjoy.

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Oh my god

According to Eden Kennedy Onassis at Fussy, this is the greatest .gif ever created. I would have to agree.


Oh boy

As this is now the second time in as many days this has been forwarded to me, I feel obliged to post this. Good grief.


This was up on my browser today for some reason

I think Lacey opened this and was looking at it. Who sent it to her I don't know, but enjoy.


Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Thing Quarterly

On Friday, Emmett and I hung up our vinyl shade from Miranda July, the first thing from our subscription to, well, The Thing Quarterly. I have to say, 30 bucks per art work over the course of the year is a great deal.

It was great seeing Owen last night and loaning him a copy of her book and talking about how we both have art crushes on her.

It was good seeing friends today and last night, and it looks like we have some other parent/party things coming up on the horizon.

Pretty sweet Get Up show on Friday.


Thursday, October 11, 2007

What the Hell People

That this year's edition of Best American Comics doesn't nod, even in the notable comics of the year back pages, to Chris Onstad's The Great Outdoor Fight sequence (keep readying through March 30, 2006) in Achewood is a bloody shame.



Flashback, originally uploaded by Neko.neko.

How I spent last Sunday night.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I like this song

It's not a great video, but it's fun.


Monday, October 08, 2007

One of many things I learned this weekend

After a nice late night meal Saturday with some of the people at the show and with Tim and Stephen, what I came to realize is that as an improviser, I'm not really a Johnstonian at all. I'm a Rafe Chasist. Why he doesn't get more props from the world of improv for his contributions are beyond me, and probably the subject of a much less optimistic post.

Then in class on Sunday, this was all brought home by Rafe's portion of the class, which dealt with acting and longform starts. We only had an hour, but I could have done those exercises all day. he started the class with his a "A Longform Improviser's Oath,' modeled on the Boy Scout Oath. Here it is:

A Longform Improviser is...


And then to continue the Boy Scout thing, the motto of a Longform Improviser instead of "Be Prepared" should be "Be Present."

What a great weekend.


What I Like

Getting two random emails from people today about how much they love Backpack Picnic, especially since one was from someone I don't even really know. But what I really love is what said random person wrote:

Your comedy is interesting and refreshing, without all the snarky, cynical elements that can sometimes make comedy troupes annoying. So keep that positivity up and good luck!

And that in a nutshell is what I like in comedy and performance, not the "snarky, cynical elements" that are becoming alas all the more prevalent on the ground here.

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So much great stuff from the 3 For All guys this week, which I'll be unpacking over the next couple of of days via the blog. But one of the best lessons learned for me this weekend as a producer is that it is possible to make this kind of non-festival gig work for out of town troupes. With almost no marketing and almost no turnout from certain corners of the community, we still had houses over 70 both nights. With some more strategic planning and fundraising, this is totally a workable thing.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Backpack Picnic: Sojourner Truth

For some reason, I was having a hard time playing this onFirefox, but it works okay on Explorer. Maybe I need Marcus to look at my computer.

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