Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Comedy this weekend!

Asheville's going to be a funny place to be again this weekend!

From Wednesday until Friday Karen & Mondy will be doing their thing at 35 Below (I'm hoping to make it to the Friday show). They're great improvvers, I've seen a few of their pieces and this is going to be something different and very funny. Shows are at 8pm and are $10.

Then on Saturday we're back! The Feral Chihuahuas show #6 for the summer season, and it's going to be another week of out-there sketch comedy, and another musical contribution from the songwriting house of Calloway and Bastard. All this and three epic film pieces. Shows are just $10 and are at 8:00pm and 9:30pm - get your tickets online at the Asheville Theater Company's website. There's a new Feral Chihuahuas show every Saturday in August, and these will be the last Asheville shows for a while.

Monday, July 28, 2008

BlogAsheville get-together

It was good to see a bunch of people on Friday night at the Wedgie brewery. What hit me the most was the number of people who were just there hanging out, not necessarily blog people. That made for a bit of confusion - Gordon from Scrutiny Hooligans and I got there at about the same time, and Gordon's idea of having the two of us wear nametags and seeing who we could go up to and convince them that they were a blogger worked.

Wedge brewing have the Bastard seal of approval. I'd had their Iron Rail IPA before, and it was tasty, hoppy but not a mouthful of hops (if you want to try a mouthful of hops have a suck on a Bittersweet Lenny's R.I.P.A.), and I'd had their porter (at the Bruisin' Ales tasting at the tourists game). I had not tried their Pale Ale, which tasted almost exactly the same as Asheville Brewings Pisgaish Pale. There was a high-gravity beer that I don't recall being blown away by, but it wasn't too sweet. Their wheat beer, however is a stand-out! Awesome color, very easy to drink, highly recommended.

In the time-honored tradition, blogging about bloggers...
  • Jodi from My Life in Cake is a scream, and her cupcakes were delicious, even if they were vegan. I had to console myself that at least the coffee component in them was a raping of the earth. More ox blood!
  • Zen had a particularly stylish entrance, until he left his bike's light on
  • Arratik was wearing a hysterical t-shirt, and I think we need to bring back wearing t-shirts from dead websites.
  • The guys from Asheville Now (looking like the Woodfin Mafia) were there looking slick and pattery. I might have pissed them off, since there's no listing for the Feral Chihuahuas show this Saturday (8pm and 9:30pm, buy tickets now) on their site.
  • AM from My Weaverville is good for a laugh. I hope she branches out and starts the sites My Forks of Ivy and Their Reynolds Mountain
  • I can't remember the name of the person I bullied who runs a Carl Mumpower site, but I hope you're recovering from our conversation
  • It was good to see other random people I haven't caught up with in a while - Rev Johnny, Felicity, and the Freeborn chap.
If you weren't there, you didn't spend money on beer.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bastard of the Day

The first of a probably never-starting series, let's see who today's Bastard of the Day is...

John C Wilson, step on down.

I have got to start writing letters to the Asheville Citizen-Times. It appears the most inane goes up on the website, presumably to drive advertising revenue from the message board. And Johnny C, if he is lucky enough to own one of them new-fangled computer thingys with the identitythefternet, is smiling in his porridge - you're a star of the tubes.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Weekend of bastardry

Caught the OxyMorons show on Friday night, another strong outing with a lively audience.

Saturday was a trip - filming downtown for the next Feral Chihuahuas show with Wyman and Andrew. When you're filming ridiculous stuff on the street people stop and watch. For one scene we were skipping down the street arm-in-arm, and got challenged by some guys to a skipping arm-in-arm race. We only did one take, so I hope it was a good one.

I'm working on a sci-fi epic "Future Present Time Cop from the Past" (based on a random idea you might have seen in a film piece at the last show), and based on reactions we got downtown, it is going to have to be filmed in downtown Asheville on a weekend in crowded places. Hmmm, maybe I will go to Bele Chere (look for Monsieur Shinyhead and I to battle against Future Present Time Cop from the Past).

Friday, July 18, 2008

Happy trails, Tim

Looks like Tim Rawal is checking out of the Citizen-Times (or at least writing his columns for Take 5).

Best wishes on whatever you're doing next, Tim - if you're staying in Asheville, let me know and I'll buy you a beer sometime. I really wanted to get Tim on to the writing team at the Feral Chihuahuas but things never quite worked out. Tim's writing was sarcastic, self-deprecating and glorious to read, and the way he brought the anger of readers brought tears to a Bastard's eyes.

Bonus points for getting Jason Bugg in a dander!

Writing a monologue

I've been trying to write monologues lately. It's not my forte, I like to work a lot of jokes or puns into sketches, and if you have two characters this is easy, but with one character, set-up followed by punchline comes off as contrived. It's amazing how much more difficult this is to write than stand-up, since straight-out jokes are expected when you're doing stand-up.

The world lost one of the great deliverers of monologues recently in Ronnie Barker. He had this great delivery of monologues, and I believe most of them were written by him and Barry Cryer. I'm trying to write a Ronnie Barkeresque monologue for a later Feral Chihuahuas show, here's a taste of what he could do.

Late birthday

Sorry, lack of life, I forgot to acknowledge that you turned 1 yesterday. You're just an unreadable blog, you don't have feelings.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Things to be excited about

Having two weeks off means I can do stuff and see stuff. I try to get to as much as I can, but rehearsals have been cramping the old style. Asheville has a lot to do, sometimes it takes some gumshoeing. Let's see what's on the Bastard agenda.

Friday night the OxyMorons are back at 35 Below. Their shows are always funny, and energy-laden. They ask the audience at the start if they want a clean show or a more racy show, so if you're there on Friday, join with me in asking for the true OxyMorons experience.

Saturday I'm going to make a second attempt to see Henry VIII at Montford park. Every time I try to head down there it rains.

Sunday is Summer Cooler Beer Fest at the Garage on Biltmore. It's a fundraiser for a pretty decent nonprofit - Clean Water for North Carolina. I haven't seen a lot of advertising for this, I hope they get a decent crowd.

Bele Chere is next weekend... and for the first time I'm not that excited about Bele Chere. Moving the ticketed shows to Memorial stadium means I won't be able to hear them from casa del Bastard. The only act there that I'm really interested in seeing is Nikki Talley. I might head to the BlogAsheville get together on Friday and then skip town.

Back to the pile of half-written scripts - the last four Feral Chihuahuas shows for the season are going to kick ass!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Feral Chihuahuas take an all-star break

Show #5 is in the books!

This week was the week of awesome audiences. The two people who kept laughing while I picked on them in my stand-up, you were terrific! I need to work more audience participation into the Bastard stand-up.

As for the shows themselves - Katie Baker is really coming along as a strong writer. She wrote the camp counselor monologue that Andrew sweated his way through to some great laughs, and also wrote "DVD", where audiences got to see a lot more Bastard than they ever wanted to. Andrew's magnum opus of the disintegrating family got us to end the show with an "awwwww" and you got another Calloway/Bastard musical production. The shows are getting better, tighter and more terrific, and we're going to take a two-week break to rest up and prepare for the last four shows.

It was nice to see some Oxymorons at the second show (hope you guys had fun).

Our next show is August 2 - 8pm and 9:30pm. Make plans!

Bastard movie review: Wall-E

There's some utter awesomeness in Wall-E.

Good ideas:

  • Make a movie and have Fred Willard be the only person in it. He appears to be either President or CEO of earth in this movie, and I would feel much better knowing that Fred Willard is in charge of my life.
  • Restrict the big-name voice actors to saying the one line over and over "Hey, Sigourney, can you say "Wall-E" with three different inflections, and we're good to go", and have the main speaking role be done by Jeff Garlin.
  • Have a robot love story, therefore leading to oily, gear-grinding robot sex
Bad ideas:
  • No robot sex
  • Repetitive beeping noises. Couldn't you afford Einst├╝rzende Neubauten for the soundtrack?
  • Floating somewhere between an uber-preachy ecosploitation movie and a sexless robot love story
Overall it was OK. The short film before it was worth seeing, and I liked the air conditioning.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Feral Chihuahuas on Saturday - season mid-finale

Get your tickets for this weeks shows - they're going to be wild and dangerous! After Saturday we're taking two weeks off to breathe before coming back with four more new shows in July and August.

I got caught in the huge rainstorm early yesterday afternoon - I'd walked downtown, and had to get back to casa del bastard. It looked like there was going to be a short break in the rain, so I went for it, but about 5 minutes later it was torrential downpour time and I was soaked. Figured I wasn't going to get any wetter, my clothes were drenched and I'd plod on. You get some really interesting looks from motorists when you're walking outside in driving rain looking happy. I was disappointed in the anti-abortion protestors outside Femcare, they had retreated to their SUVs. Saw two accidents (I don't think I caused any) on the way home - the cop directing traffic around one didn't seem to pleased when I told him that it was a nice day for a walk.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Show #4 wrapup - we're nearly halfway there

Thanks to Rapid River for the write-up in the July edition.

Saturday's shows were quite the trip. I had to bolt back from a wedding in order to make the first show, and we were scrambling, but things came together at the end.

Petulant came to the first show and had a good time. I was pleased with my writing getting a share of laughs and groans, and a chance to try out those clogging lessons I took a few years ago.

The second show was intriguing - where in the first show the biggest laughs seemed to come from the last sketch (the stripping teddy bears), the crowd at the second show really got into Briyan and his graduation ceremony. We wave farewell to Briyan, two sketches is enough for you, old friend - back into your room to work on that Masters.

This week is the official half-way point of the season, and after this show we're going to take a few weeks break. So get your tickets for the mid-season extravaganza - shows are on this Saturday at 8pm and 9:30pm and tickets can be bought in advance at the Asheville Community Theatre site.

This week we've got 9 brand-spanking new live sketches, a musical guest, stand-up from George "the" Bastard and more filmed goodness.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Discount sushi

Sleep does not come easy to a bastard. The night is there for drinking and plotting evil schemes. Unfortunately some activity is occasionally being required of me in mornings, so I've been trying to get some sleep.

With absolutely no success.

Last night it was suggested that I try taking a herbal supplement to get to sleep. It's like drugs, but not drugs, and you can buy them at stores that have "Green", "Earth", "Whole" or "Maaaan" in their names. I got out of Feral Chihuahuas a few minutes before Greenlife closed, so I figured I'd give it a go.

At Greenlife, at 9:30pm, they mark down all the unsold sushi.

Herbal sleep pills + discount sushi = guaranteed all-night insomniac delusion.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Show #3 wrap-up

Where does the time go? Week #3 was the show I was dreading the most, having to try to hold a tune (or at least a harmony), and some long acting parts that I was having a tough time in remembering.

I have this thing against conventional sketches (though I write enough of them), where there's either a set-up person and a funny person, or there's one character that is the focus of the piece, or the "general" of the piece so that everyone else works off them. I get more enjoyment out of writing pieces that change direction, and have different characters lading the action at different times.

This makes anything I wrote a pain in the ass to memorise.

But everything came off well, and both shows were much better than I expected. If you weren't there (shame on you), you missed the writing debut of Drew McDermott, who you'll be seeing a lot more of (and probably more in unitards), a fascinating flight into scatology by Kevin Anderson the writing machine, another of Katie's insights into why men are the inferior race (next week, look for me in one of Katie's bizarrest offerings yet), and another George "the" Bastard/Tommy Calloway musical production. Forget John and Taupin, the next generation of rock superstardom is going to be Calloway and Bastard!

I'm enjoying immensely the "cringe" reaction from people in the front row to my stand-up, particularly the set-up lines. Come for the hysterical sketch comedy, stay for your chance to be made to feel uncomfortable.

More guerrilla filming on the weekend. It's a lot of fun to sneak into buildings and alleys, set up a camera, grab a few shots and leave, particularly in outrageous costumes and wigs.

This week's show is going to feature a little something for everyone, and a new one for me - most of the time I write a self-contained sketch and leave it at that, but by popular demand, I've penned my first sequel to a sketch. So if you liked the Holistic Omniversal Learning Experience sketch from last year (a home-schooled boy's visit to an alternative learning academy), make sure you get a ticket this week to see the further adventures of Briyan.