This summer, there is wave of exciting video projects coming out of the comedy community in New Orleans. Many of them star or sprout from the brains of artists and comedians at The New Movement.
Perhaps it’s a stage in our growth as a theater and comedy community. First, you build a theater. Then, you build an audience. Eventually, the talented people who congregate there meet each other and create their own beautiful things. Once such thing is the web series Least Favorite Love Songs.
Produced by my friends and fellow performers, The Hachery Media, LFLS follows the misadventures of a young writer as she searches for love and a good story in New Orleans.
They are raising funds for a second season, and are already half-way to their Kickstarter goal. You can pitch in online or come to a live fundraising event they are having TONIGHT at 9pm The New Movement.
Live comedy, storytelling, ice cream - the event sounds great. Most importantly, you’ll be supporting local filmmakers and comedians who are doing something cool.
Spring is fundraising season in New Orleans.
Our local arts scene is suddenly aflood with Kickstarter Campaigns. While at first this may seem overwhelming, the Kickstarter-mania is a welcome marker of the renaissance that is happening in New Orleans. It feels like we’ve reached critical mass. With so many theater companies and artists setting roots in New Orleans, we are seeing a record number of amazing projects blooming right before our eyes.
Over the next month, I’ll post some projects in which I believe (including a new web series I’m working on). At the least, I hope you enjoy hearing about these great things happening in New Orleans. At the most, I hope you find something that moves you and helps you put that extra $25 on your nightstand to good use.
PLAY/WRITE: Youth Playwriting in New Orleans
A local theater company, Goat in The Road, teaches playwriting to children in schools. They then help these students put on their very own plays. This culminates in a showcase in which a number of student-written plays are selected and staged by professional theater companies in the Play/Wright Showcase.
I had the pleasure of attending the showcase this week. I have never been more inspired. Here’s what it was like:
Before a packed audience of friends, family, and local theatergoers, a student would take the stage. Met with thundering applause, this beaming young playwright would take a seat in a thrown-like armchair on the side of the stage. The lights would drop, and all of us would watch the student’s play - unfolding on stage with the lights, polish, and acting chops of the city’s best theater companies. This went on for two hours leaving me and the rest of the audience elated and breathless. It is difficult to describe the type of magic that filled the theater that night. I am still reaching for the words.
In general, students - especially those in New Orleans - do not have a voice. In the eyes of adults, they are just kids - someone to be ordered around, told to behave, walk in straight lines. However, those of us lucky enough to attend this week’s Play/Write showcase were witness to something incredible: students transformed into playwrights. Professional playwrights.
It is something to which every youth arts program hopes to aspire. Give students a chance to see their potential. Give them an identity as an artist. Give them something to call their own. Give. To this project.
• June 17-21: Session 1 (Ages 14-17)
• June 24-28: Session 2 (Ages 10-13)
I’m running this camp along with friend/improvisor/teacher Joel Flachsbart. We couldn’t be more excited. Improv with young people is as good as it gets. When kids are in that long awkward age range (10-17), self-consciousness and peer pressure just eat away at their creativity, imagination, and confidence. Improv is a way of telling kids:
“hey, you’re great, and brilliant, and funny, and unstoppable.”
How you (casual reader of this blog) can help:
• PASS IT ON
Pass along the camp info to anyone (families, schools, community centers, bookstores) who might be interested or have access to stage-hungry youth.
• SUPPORT A SCHOLARSHIP
We have a scholarship program to make sure that ANY kid can go to this camp. If you want to help make this camp accessible to all kids, you can throw a few bucks toward our brand new scholarship fund.
Here are some cool things I am doing in the next week. I hope you come to one.
TUE 4/23 @ 10:30pm
Comedy Catastrophe @ Lost Love Lounge
I’ll be doing standup tonight on a show with Kyle Kinane and Sean Patton. These guys are very funny and have done things people know about. Come.
WED 4/24 @ 8:00pm
Moontower @ The New Movement
Tomorrow morning, I hit the road for Austin. I’ll be performing at The Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival. The Megaphone Show, The New Movement stage. 8pm. Get it.
SUN 4/28 @ 9pm
NOLA Comedy Hour @ HiHo Lounge
On Sunday, I’ll be driving back in time to perform on the NOLA Comedy Hour. This is one of The New Movement’s new showcases for standup talent in the city. Gonna be great.
This is a story about me and my dad. I told it at a January edition of this wonderful live storytelling event and podcast called Shipwrecked! The show recently released the story as it’s own “satellite” piece of audio. I hope you - whoever you are - enjoy it. If you like stuff like this, you MUST check out Shipwrecked!
Someday soon, long before we are ready, we will be old.
Until then, I want to live hungry for experiences and mistakes- hungry for life. Instead of spending my time avoiding pain and failure, I want to run right through them. Fearless. The good stuff is on the other side.
Here are some cool things I am doing in the next couple of days.
You should come to one:
TONIGHT (4/12 @ 9:00pm): PRESS PASS
@ The New Movement
I’m taking part in this great new show at The New Movement. The brain child of Sophie Johnson, Press Pass combines comedy and journalism. Plus, there’s a bunch of other cool elements: improv, a news panel, and a live band (this week: Other Aunts and Uncles). I’ll be on this baby doing a character I drafted for the Character-a-Day Project. For those of you who followed the project, I’m using shows like this to refine some of the characters generated in February.
TONIGHT (4/12 @ 10:30pm): THE LANGUAGE
@ The New Movement
I perform in a supergroup with three of the other TNM Founders: Chris Trew, Tami Nelson, Derek Dupuy. This is one of my favorite things I do. You should see it. We are performing in the Friday night showcase slot, The Franchise.
TUESDAY (4/16 @ 7:30pm): BEST v. WORST II
@The Shadowbox Theatre (2400 St. Claude)
Oh man. This only happens once a year. And you will like it. Me and a cast of TNM character performers (Addy Najera, Mike Spara, Alex Jennings) suit up as faux spoken-word artists and take on the very real and very excellent Team Slam New Orleans in a slam judged by the audience. Best Poets in New Orleans v. Worst Poets in the World.
See you there. Somewhere.
Friday night at 8pm I’ll be opening for Comedian Christian Finnegan. In preparation for an upcoming DVD special, Christian is coming to New Orleans to do two shows (March 22nd and 23rd) at The New Movement. The first thing you may notice is how different he looks now from back in the day, when we came to love him on Chappelle’s Show. May we all be blessed with such a face that gets ever-more handsome and angular with the years.
Christian is very funny and has been working his ass off in the scene for years (Comedy Central, Conan, Best Week Ever, The Late Late Show, more). We couldn’t be more pleased to have him in the city. NOLA defender has a great interview with him that you should check out.
As an opener, I will be performing my patented routine where I bring a hot pot and cooking ingredients on stage and spend the entire 5 minutes preparing a really nice roux.
Don’t be dumb. Come to this show. Grab tix here.
I love to bike at night. There is something wonderful about slipping through the the shiny neon streets, the sounds of New Orleans bars buzzing by. Whenever I find someone biking in front of me, I like to speed up and yell “Hey, get the fuck back here!!”
We are all familiar with the popular t-shirt slogan “Kiss Me I’m Irish.” Amongst the crowd of Saint Patrick’s Day revelers streaming by outside my window, this shirt is almost an unofficial uniform. And so, let me take this moment to propose some new t-shirt slogans that put a fun n’ flirty spin on our old favorite, “Kiss Me I’m Irish.”
- Kiss Me I’m Jewish.
- Kiss Me I’ve got the window seat.
- Kiss Me the plane is going down.
- Kiss Me we’re alive. I don’t know how, but we fucking survived!
- Kiss Me I finally found the group something edible on this goddamned island.
- Kiss Me I almost drowned diving down to the plane wreckage to salvage the emergency medical supplies that brought you out of that fever.
- Kiss Me Goddammit. I’ve saved your life twice now, you ungrateful bitch. What more do you want from me?
- Kiss Me I’m sorry. I wasn’t myself back there. That was the fever and the hunger talking.
- Kiss Me I’ll use this rock to bash in Carl’s head if he takes another look over here at the small pouch of berries we’ve been hoarding.
- Kiss Me I killed Carl. For you.
- Kiss Me it’s just us now.
- Kiss Me I’ll find you; I swear to god!
This is an island, Justine! There are only so many places to hide. It doesn’t have to be like this. We have so much in common. Remember? Remember how you once laughed about my t-shirt? How we shared stories of growing up Jewish? How I let you sit in the window seat when all the turbulence got to you? Remember? We were so beautiful then. So right for each other. You’re willing to throw all that history away?? Show yourself! SHOW YOURSELF or I swear to god I’ll send you to where I sent Carl. YOU’RE the one losing YOU’RE mind, Justine. JUSTNE!!???
- Kiss Me there’s only enough berries left for one of us. I’m leaving them here for you on this tree stump. One last tribute to what we have. Had. Goodbye, Justine. I hope you’re out there somewhere in the trees. Surviving. Just keep doing that. Stay alive. You have to. Someone must live to tell our story.
- Kiss Me I’m dying.
- Kiss Me-
That’s just a taste of the super cutie t-shirt designs I’m thinking of. They can be printed in both men and women’s sizes. So, if you are interested, email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can get one screen printed for you.