The act of telling personal stories about one’s own life takes a certain amount of a certain type of nerve — mostly the “who the hell do you think you are” variety. Seriously: why should anyone give a whoop about my feelings about my feelings?
That feeling gets even weirder when I’m using the Internet as a megaphone to get people to my shows. “Who the fuck do you think you are telling everyone to come see whoever the hell it is you think you are” is pretty much the refrain that runs through my head every time I bathe my face in the cool glow of one rectangle or another.
But screw all that, we’ve been busting our asses to pull together a HELL of a week of shows this week in Brooklyn and Austin, TX for SXSW and I want to pull ‘em all together in one place, then crop-dust the whole Internet with ‘em all damn week.
First: We’re cock-rocking the NPR crowd with And I Am Not Lying – Live, NYC’s only comedy storytelling burlesque sideshow on Tuesday, March 6th at Union Hall in Brooklyn. You’ll see stories by me, Brad Lawrence, and Cyndi Freeman as well as magic by Albert Cadabra, burlesque by Cherry Pitz and Little Brooklyn and comedy by Wil Sylvince.
Cyndi Freeman is a storyteller and burlesque performer here in New York, and she’s the person that got me into seeing burlesque shows. I didn’t really get it at first (beyond the obvious) but when I saw her side of it, I was sold.
Our friends Ben Lillie and Erin Barker run a spectacular science-themed storytelling show. podcast and online magazine called The Story Collider. A few weeks ago, they ran a version of Cyndi’s transformation into brassy burlesque performer after a breast cancer scare on their site.
The thing is, not only can you hear the story from the podcast, you can also see a great comic inspired by Cyndi’s story, drawn by Tammy Stellanova.
Made this on my iPhone on the train this morning – started with this photo of a Robocop action figure on my phone and ran it through the usual bash of filters. I’m trying not to obsess about the upcoming show at Union Hall and the SXSW tent – after spending a weekend navigating the murky, weird world of Facebook advertising I just need to create something instead of promote stuff for a little while.
This classy-as-all-get-out ad was spotted by @Juliaem, in the 59th Street subway station in Brooklyn, taped to a trash can:
DATING – ONE NIGHT STANDS ONLY
MEANING SODA DATE
CAKE & ICE CREAM DATE
MEANING A WALK DATE
MEANING MAYBE ROMANCE
A CIGARETTE MEET DATE
We’ve just added bullwhip and lasso artist Chris McDaniel to the show at Union Hall on February 7th. This guy’s an incredible treat – I saw him whip pasta noodles out of his own mouth at Sharkbite Sideshow a few weeks back and I couldn’t get enough.
Here’s a video of Chris doing part of his act:
AS always, the show is the first Tuesday of each month at Union Hall in Brooklyn, 8PM.
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:
We’ve been real sometimes-y about these And I Am Not Lying live shows over the past year – a show here and a show there, spattered around Brooklyn and lower Manhattan and DC and Philadelphia in a series of one-offs that are always exciting, but hardly consistent. Considering that the show’s based on a blog that is updated really infrequently, that kinda made sense.
Starting February 7th, we’ll be cock-rocking the NPR crowd with the And I Am Not Lying live show at Union Hall on the first Tuesday of every month. Doors are at 8, show’s at 8:30 and tickets ain’t but ten tiny dollars for the finest comedy, storytelling, burlesque sideshow you’re going to get anywhere.
Be honest with yourself: stuff like this is part of the reason you moved here. It’s worth a headache at work on Wednesday.
We pulled together this cool trailer about it, too. It may be NSFW, depending on your job:
I wanted to start this show for a very, very good reason. I’m doing this thing so that I don’t go completely numb, and I’m trying to bring as many people back to life as I can right along with us.
I spend a lot of time hunched over a glowing rectangle starting and mediating petty squabbles about nothing, breathing shallowly through my mouth and reading tweets about television. I’ve been doing it for years. When I’m not getting paid to do it I sit around my apartment in my underpants and do it for free, apparently.
Sometimes I think we’re all using computers to row this numbing boat towards a black wall of depressing distraction. I want to do my part to get as many people into one room and feeling something great together for a little while. And maybe if we get together often enough and pool our collective energies into something funny and weird, we can live a little outside of our bottomless pockets filled with lotus petals.
The entire purpose of life is to get as excited as possible. I’m so, so excited to have a reason to hose the town down with excitement once a month. So it’s like a Mobius strip of recursive excitement for me.
Sometimes storytelling shows can get a little sweater-vesty, comedy shows can be too bitter and detached, and burlesque too much, all in a go. This way we can cross-pollinate the best of the best and no matter what, if you’re not into what you’re seeing you can see something else really soon.
I want this thing to be a rock show without instruments, to just cram an entire aircraft carrier’s worth of fun into the basement of Union Hall. So far, we’ve been doing pretty okay on that front, I think.
D.Billy and I collaborated on this cool poster (I think it’s cool, anyway) to announce the residency:
I saw these doorways on the subway at the 4th and 9th streets in Brooklyn – with layers and layers of paint chipped away so that workmen could get to the padlocks holding them shut. I thought they were just breathtaking, like a micro-geologic event in slow-motion action. The paint looks like steppes or a canyon slowly eroded by wind and time, doesn’t it? Kinda like another planet where people have to hike down those paint layer steppes into this treacherous valley with a gigantic ceremonial padlock in the center, like some sort of ancient alien ship.
And like, every million years a giant hand yanks the ship away and rips the planet apart, shaking everyone off to drift into their deaths in the cold wilds of the outer atmosphere.
In case you were wondering, I was, in fact, late to my destination. And yes, I do find psychedelic drugs to be redundant. Enjoy the pics:
Creaghead and Company is pretty much Caroline Creaghead. And Caroline Creaghead is pretty much awesome. She helps to book and produce the And I Am Not Lying Live show, in addition to a bunch of others. One of the other shows in Caroline’s stable is “Heart Of Darkness” with Greg Barris. According to Flavorpill, Heart of Darkness (with the live band the Forgiveness) is a
psychedelic stand‐up show … a visceral experience from the downtown comedy underground. Accomplished thinkers, authors, poets, and artists join Barris and his band to become one seamless, improvised comedy freak show.”
I caught the sold-out show at Union Hall last Saturday. What I could see of it was really, really awesome, when I could see around a pillar. Everything sounded great, though.
Reggie Watts dropped in at the last minute and did a hilarious set, improvising all kinds of hilarious music and completely surreal standup that made perfect sense and told right-on truths as long as you didn’t listen too closely. If you did, you’d realize he was riffing on the kind of played-out onstage cliches you hear from most hip-hop and rock ‘n roll stage banter.
Here’s a pretty sweet clip. In it, Reggie Watts covers Maroon 5′s “Moves Like Jagger,” freestyles and improvises, and raps like the lead singer of a Cookie Monster death metal band: