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And I Am Not Lying! At Under St Marks, June 5th & UCB East, June 6th

June 2nd, 2013 by Cyndi Freeman

We got two amazing shows this week! And Jeff is getting married so if you are like “Where is Jeff?!”
- Well he is off getting hitched and we wish him well!

In the meantime the show must go on…or shows as it is. We got two of em!
Two separate line ups!
Two different days!
Two different times!

And I Am Not Lying – Deluxe Version
Under St Marks Theatre
94 St. Marks Place, New York, New York
9pm – Wed. June 5th
$10 – for tickets go to http://smarttix.com

Two hours of the mightiest variety show in New York City. This is the epic power ballad of Burlesque, Storytelling, Stand-Up and Sideshow held every month at Under Saint Marks.
This month’s line up features:
Story telling by Brad Lawrence, Cyndi Freeman and Kevin Allison
Burlesque by Cherry Pitz and Bunny Buxomm
Comedy by Matt Koff

And you are not seeing double!

And I Am Not Lying – The Quick Jab To The Solar Plexus
UCB East 153 East 3rd Street
11pm -Thur. June 6th
$5 – for tickets go to http://east.ucbtheatre.com/shows/view/3447

The fast jab, one-hour Ramones set of the powerhouse variety show, featuring storytelling, burlesque, comedy, and sideshow that you recently saw listed in the New York Times. Live at UCBeast

This show features:
Story telling by Brad Lawrence, Cyndi Freeman and Diana Spechler
Burlesque by Cherry Pitz and Melody Jane
Comedy by Matt Koff

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I’m Doing a **BUNCH** of Shows February 5th – 10th

February 1st, 2013 by Jeff Simmermon

I just checked my calendar and realized that I’m doing a blur of shows next week, lined up like a long row of shots. The process is likely to be equal amounts of fun and exhausting, enough to leave me whimpering on the floor – just like a long row of shots. But if you’ve been reading this thing wondering when you can see me perform, consider yourself told.

There’s some really exciting stuff in here – an appearance with Michael Showalter, the monthly installment of And I Am Not Lying, and I’m the only white dude in a tribute to Richard Pryor at BAM. Check out these listings, and if you come to any of these, come up and say ‘hi’ afterwards!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 8:00 PM (doors at 7:30) – I’ll be appearing on Kerri Doherty’s “Geeking Out,” with headliner Michael Showalter
at Union Hall, Brooklyn, NY. I’ll be joined by my friend Juliet Hope Wayne and Carolyn Castiglia
Get tickets here

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 9:30 PM (doors at 9) – will be the monthly installment of And I Am Not Lying with Brad Lawrence, Cyndi Freeman, burlesque by Magdalena Fox, comedy from Sasheer Zamata and sideshow by Abigoliah Schamaun.

The show will be at UNDER Saint Marks’ Theater, 94 Saint Marks’ Place (between 1st and A). Click here for tickets (then click the blue 6 in ‘February), and check out the fun poster below:

FEB_2013_FLYER_web

Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 9:00 PM – I’ll be telling a story in Caroline Creaghead‘s ‘Get It Out There’, a monthly comedy series at BAM, sponsored by IFC. This month’s show is a tribute to Richard Pryor.

Let me just bear down on this a little here: I am the only white dude in a Richard Pryor tribute show at BAM. This is a colossal honor, and a little intimidating as I’ll be sharing the stage with Jeffrey Joseph, Jermaine Fowler, and Hari Kondabolu – all incredibly gifted, hardworking and funny comics. Jeff and Hari both appeared at ‘And I Am Not Lying’ when we were at Union Hall, too.

The show is free, in the BAMCafe – doors at 8PM.

Friday, February 8th, 2013 at 8:00 PM – I’ll be telling a story in “Sharkbite Sideshow,” a bimonthly sideshow featuring some of the finest storytellers, burlesque performers, sideshow artists and pole dancers in New York City. The show will also feature performances from Cherry Brown, Ember Flame, Kryssy Kocktail, Lucille Ti Amore, Moxie Sazerac and fire dancing from Sasha the Fire Gypsy.

Get tickets for Sharkbite Sideshow here.

Sunday, February 10th at 5:00 PM - I’ll be telling two stories in Miz Stefani’s House, Live. This streams live, over the Web – so click this link at 5PM on Sunday if you happen to be ignoring the Super Bowl.

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Found Art Nostalgia: I Miss My Old Brain

November 26th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

I found this painting that I made in college on the wall at some old friends’ house in Richmond, VA this weekend. I haven’t seen it in years.

I actually got into writing and storytelling through visual art – when I was majoring in painting, I was obsessed with comics, Southern folk art and outsider art, Congolese power figures and sacred Voodoo and Santeria art. In voodoo and Santeria (as I understood it at the time), practitioners go into a trance and become the spirits they’re communicating with, and create altars in the home that are both doorways to a particular orisha and a living representation of the orisha itself, made from found objects.

I got really into writing stories on my work, making comic book pages out of junk I’d find in the woods and getting into a sort of trance-like state in the studio I had in my barn and letting whatever voice was talking take control of my hands until the thing was done. Eventually the words took up more and more of the the work and I just started writing. Then, telling a story wasn’t necessarily a craft so much as a thing that came out of a state, like a ship sliding out of a rip in the universe.

I think this was done on an old road sign that I found deep in George Washington National Forest. I know I got that image from an old comic, and I definitely recall writing all of this in one go, with a Sharpie. No drafts, no revising, crossing out, no wondering what the audience would think or trying to be likable. Just moving forward.

Here’s the piece:

sarah_painting

The text reads:

“On that dark day when the Sun rises in the West and decides to set in the East, these gargantuan striped giants will appear suddenly from ??Elsewhere?? and set to the business of devouring the earth. Neither animal, vegetable, nor man-made machine, they are insatiable, and know no reason or moral code. They only know that they must perform the impossible: fill their ravenous GUTS.

The Fantastic Four and the entire Marvel Universe subscribe to the belief that GALACTUS is the eater of worlds, but I tell you with the straightest of all straight faces that GALACTUS is a mere DUST MITE compared to these black-and-white beasties.

We could, and probably will, head for the hills or lie screaming in storm cellars with paper sacks over our heads during that fateful time, but it will only make our moment of consumption more frenzied and embarrassing.

We may as well die picnicking as pleading to a recently discovered God. Mankind will finally realize what the insects knew all along: Nature knows no right or wrong.

Our constant struggle with good and evil set us apart from the animals, but on that day, we will finally be free from that boring struggle and I just hope that more people than just me have the sense to enjoy it.

This used to have two bicycle fenders painted to look like the creatures in question, glued to the top. They broke off pretty quickly, though. When I look at this, I feel a blast of nostalgia for a time when I could disappear into a barn for several hours, sure. But I also miss having that degree of concentration, and that practiced flow. It’s take me about 90 minutes to write this post, and half of it is simple transcription.

Mostly, I miss my old brain: the one that knew when to think and when to get out of the way and let the art fall out.

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Michael Che at Caroline’s on Broadway, Tonight. I’m hosting, he’s headlining

August 9th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

All of a sudden, I’ve got the opportunity to host/open for Michael Che at Caroline’s on Broadway tonight, at the 10PM show. I kind of can’t believe it. I’ve been wandering around for months thinking “please, can I just catch a break,” and all of sudden here it is in my lap. That place is beyond legendary.

Michael Che’s one of my favorite comedians who will actually engage with me in person and online. One time we were drunk at the bocce courts at Union Hall and he started telling everyone that I was a professional bocce player, sponsored by Monster Energy Drinks. He got people to bet on us and then we lost HORRIBLY.

He’s a recurring cast member of “Bunk!” on IFC, and was one of Time Out NY’s three “Comics to Watch” this year.

Here’s a set that he did at our show at Union Hall last winter:

I’ll be there, telling stories and jokes in between professional comedians that people actually pay to see. It should be magnificent.

You can get tickets to the show here: Michael Che at Caroline’s on Broadway

Entering the code “COB10″ will get you $10 tickets.

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The Fistfight During ‘The Avengers’ At Union Square Was So, So Satisfying

May 18th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon


The general consensus is that The Avengers is one of the most massively entertaining and satisfying summer movies ever. I’m right there with the Internet hive-mind on that one, but my screening was extra-special — it featured a live brawl right there in the jam-packed theater.

Somebody sparked a blunt about halfway through the movie and smoked the whole fricking thing, Cape Fear-style.


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Pre-Show Nightmares and Andy Ross Singing

April 2nd, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

It’s gotten down to this: now I have nightmares about the And I Am Not Lying show.

They said we were going to be in a big basement theater with ampitheater seating. Then we get there, and the floor is a solid concrete slab, two-thirds of which tilts toward a flat part at a 40 degree angle. There are no seats except for a pile of folding chairs in the corner.

People are filing in, not enough people to fill the room or even have a decent crowd – just enough to make it so that we can’t cancel.

I’m running around the room setting up folding chairs on the slanted part and Cyndi’s trying to make change for people that are paying at the door but her makeup’s not even all the way on. Then people actually sit in the chairs and start sliding down the concrete ramp, sparks shooting from the chairs’ metal legs until they hit the stage part of the concrete with a jerk and fall forwards.

Still, the show’s got to go on so we get started. But while I’m telling my story, right when I’m getting to the hard part, some guy in a baseball hat with two kids walks right up to me and says “excuse me, how do I get to Bryant Park?”

I’m stunned. I tell him and he leaves, and then some woman says “does this thing go uptown on weekends” and I realize that we are not, in fact, in a basement theater. We’re on a subway platform.

Then I wake up and it’s 4:30 in the morning and I stare at the sparkly things floating in my eyeball fluid until 7, when I get up and go to work.

So yeah, we’re having another And I Am Not Lying Live show tomorrow night at Union Hall in Brooklyn. Show’s at 8, ten bucks, tickets are here.

I’m really excited to have my friend Andy Ross on the show, reading and performing some of his short comedic pieces. This is a video of a story he told at Union Hall one time, about the time he sang both parts of “I’ve Had The Time Of My Life” at a talent show. And the amazing thing is, he gets the whole crowd to sing along with him. It’s both hilarious and oddly uplifting.

Hope we see you there.

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Schedule of Events for And I Am Not Lying Tent at SXSW

February 22nd, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon


party park

Originally uploaded by greggrestonva

Via Flickr:

UPDATE – 3.9.2012

The tent at Palm Park is flooded out – there’s a whole ecosystem in there underneath the folding chairs. We are moving ALL of the And I Am Not Lying events scheduled for March 10th at SXSW to the Hilton Garden Inn in Downtown Austin – just a few blocks from Palm Park and the convention center. The hotel is at 500 North IH-35/Frontage Road, Austin, TX. Here’s a map.

Our stuff is now going to be on the 18th floor of the Hilton Garden Inn in Downtown Austin in the Colorado and Red River rooms. The content and times will stay exactly the same.

Last week (I think) I may have mentioned that we’re putting on a whole tentload of activities at South By Southwest Interactive this year. If I am completely honest, it’s all I can do not to tear my shirt off and swing through the streets of New York screaming about this like a somewhat flabbier Tarzan.

We’ve finally gotten some stuff locked down with the tent and the order of events, and I just wanted to use this blog post to detail everything so you, me, and airbody else can hose down the Internet with this thing.

First of all: all of this takes place on March 10, 2012 in a tent in Palm Park, adjacent to the Austin Convention Center. Map here.

We’ve got a Tumblr blog set up especially for news about this which you can see here: And I Am Not Lying at SXSW. You can follow us on Twitter at @andiamnotlying and/or by using the hashtag #notlyingSXSW.

The And I Am Not Lying tent will be next to a tent sponsored by Miller. Miller will be giving badgeholders 2 free beers apiece. So there’s that to look forward to.

We’re going to be offering programming based around standup comedy, improv, and storytelling from 11 AM to 6PM, all day long. That programming is predicated around this one simple concept:

Stories are ancient and awesome, everyone loves to laugh, and Web conferences – even the best Web conference in the world – can get SO. FRICKING. BORING.

It’s not really the fault of the programmers. It’s just that … sitting there with a bunch of people while looking at a Powerpoint presentation is not that inherently exciting. Sitting around and pretending to be fascinated while someone guy in a blue dress shirt says “we’re going to leverage the API to drive traffic into out key niche markets, improving ROI and capture metrics” is exhausting. Doubly so when it comes from someone that works in marketing.

A lot of panelists are there to sell you something, to flog their book or promote their startup. We’re not. The only thing we’re trying to sell is our skill as storytellers and comics, and maybe get some better shows out of it in towns that we’d like to visit.

We’re going to sell that to you by being awesome at what it is we do: telling stories and making people laugh.

I know a lot of people come to Interactive for work, and are under some pressure to demonstrate what they learned and justify the expense. We think you learn more when you’re having fun – and honestly, what’s the better learning environment? The dim and stuffy conference room with flickering fluorescent lights, and a guy droning on about “leveraging the power of digital storytelling in a Web 2.0 environment” — or the people that do this on stages, in boardrooms and in burlesque bars 5-20 times a week? This stuff applies to pretty much any discipline, really.

Here’s a breakdown of what we’re offering, hour-by-hour. This is the copy I submitted to the folks at SXSW, anyway, but it’s not on the official schedule or the SXSW app yet, so you may have to write it down on your hand or something:

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Great Standup Set from Michael Che at Union Hall

January 27th, 2012 by Jeff Simmermon

I first met Michael Che at Hannibal Buress’s free Sunday show at The Knitting Factory. I saw him perform 3 or 4 times, and man – he killed it every time. He did the And I Am Not Lying Live show back in December, and my friends called me the next day to tell me that they’d been quoting some of his lines to each other on the long drive back to Virginia the next day.

He was kind enough to let me share this video of his set:

The guy’s good, huh? You can catch him on Twitter at @chethinks, and on Tumblr here.

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Reverend Al Sharpton Vs. Royal Quiet Deluxe, Chicken Band at The Moth

October 5th, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

I just got some video footage from a Moth show that I did back in September that I’m extraordinarily excited to share with you. I’ve mentioned my stint in Royal Quiet Deluxe, chicken band, on here before, but as a refresher: I used to live in Richmond, Virginia and play the typewriter as a percussion instrument while a few chickens improvised keyboard pieces in toy pianos. For real. It was extraordinarily difficult to build a fan base, and I can say with great certainty that the Reverend Al Sharpton was not a fan AT ALL.

It’ll make more sense in the video, I swear.

I have told this story in various incarnations over the years, but I happen to feel that this performance at the Moth at Southpaw in Brooklyn on Labor Day this year really nailed it. Hope you enjoy it:

If you’re interested, you can actually hear two tracks that we recorded at practice here:

Royal Quiet Deluxe, April 1998
Exotic Newcastle Disease, by Royal Quiet Deluxe

If you happen to see this today, and want to see more like it live in person, I’m putting on a show with my awesome and talented friends tonight at Union Hall in Brooklyn. There will be stories like this, burlesque striptease and a sword-swallower. For real.

Click here for show info and a cool poster: And I Am Not Lying Live at Union Hall

You can get advance tickets here.

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Crystal Meth Unicorns From the San Bruno Jail

January 31st, 2011 by Jeff Simmermon

My friend Tim Gordon (of Royal Quiet Deluxe) was released from jail out in San Francisco last Friday. He had been locked up in there since late September on a false testimony for crimes that he definitely did not commit.

That’s the justice system for you. They tried to break him, tried to get him to plead guilty to crimes he didn’t commit, and he stood strong. Now he’s out and I couldn’t be happier about it.

We have been writing back and forth like teenaged lovers at two different boarding schools since sometime around Halloween. As happy as I am that Tim is out, I am going to miss writing so often. I looked forward to opening his letters at my office. I’d shut my door and read them over and over throughout the day, keeping them in my pocket until I got home at night.

He’d send me little stuff from time to time, stuff that showed he was thinking about me — stuff that showed he was keeping his soul alive, too. He said it was okay to share some of these here, and I will be over the next few months.

I was supposed to be the one keeping Tim’s spirits up, but the picture and letter below really made me smile. My friend Xeni coined the term “unicorn chaser,” and I doubt she’s seen one as bittersweet as this one.

Before reading, you should know this: Tim actually did used to hammer a pen up his nose and make drawings for all takers on the streets of San Francisco. Trust me, it’ll make sense later.

Crystal Meth Unicorns

(See the letter explaining this after the jump.)
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