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Report from the Road - Buscemi in NYC

One of The Bastion’s “Men on the Street” reported in yesterday morning from New York City, where he touched down Wednesday evening for what was supposed to be a ten-day stint. Chicago/NYC comedian Robert Buscemi got word that the Daily Show is currently holding auditions, so yesterday morning he went to TDS HQ and hand-delivered his seven-minute DVD, filmed at Chicago Underground Comedy this past March. Can’t wait to hear the news from that!

He also informs us that our very own Hannibal Buress “is mentioned today on page 85 of the brand new Time Out New York as having "scored" at Montreal." Buscemi points out that "The author saw billions of performers over the entire festival and singled (Buress) out...and they claim him as 'NYC's' Hannibal Buress, not Chicago's, which is whack. But for Hannibal to get singled out is a pretty big deal, since TONY’s comedy pages are like a who's who of American headliner and alt-scene superstars.”

Chicago ex-pats Mike Burns and Brad Steuernagel hit Eugene Mirman and Bobby Tisdale's Invite Them Up last night, according to Buscemi. He also had a chance to catch Judah Friedlander at (Chicago ex-pat) Brooke Van Poppelen’s room Wednesday night ("though BVP herself wasn't there this week"). “I REALLY like Friedlander. Good and goofy and very understated. Enjoyed him a lot.”

Sadly, Buscemi has to cut his stint short due to a death in the family, and will be canceling his scheduled weekend appearances.


Aide to Ald. Dick Mell Sees Dicks Everywhere

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingThe Sun-Times is reporting that Gary Medina, an aide to Ald. Dick Mell (33rd), is concerned about a lotus flower sculpture that will adorn the front entrance of the new Kimball Brown Line Station.

"Call me simpleminded. I appreciate art," Medina said. "But when I see this, that's what I see [a penis]. I certainly don't see a flower." (The Bastion wonders if Mr. Medina has ever considered that penises look like lotus flowers, rather than the other way around.)

Ravenswood sculptor Josh Garber designed the ten foot tall aluminum sculpture, which met the approval of community leaders and local art experts and community leaders several months ago. Some think that a rendering of the sculpture makes it appear more phallic than it actually is, which may be contributing to the numerous concerned phone calls the alderman's office has been receiving.

The community representative Mell placed on the panel, John Friedman, said "It didn't look like a phallic symbol to any of the nine committee members (who approved the design). Anyone who sees a phallus here has a very sick mind."

It is Medina's hope that the sculptor will modify the design somewhat, specifically to "soften it up a little." Ahem.

While The Bastion is trying hard (ahem) to avoid the obvious jokes ("hey, does he see the world through dick-colored glasses?"), we invite you to contribute your own dick jokes in the comment section of this post. Let 'em fly.

(Link via Reddit)

-Elizabeth McQuern


Funny Ha-Ha Made Us Forget the Heat

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingIt's a testament to the quality of funny that Claire Zulkey and friends packed into the Hideout last night that so many Chicagoans were willing to hang out in such a hot space. Nobody left until John Green was done reading the last excerpt from his books, including An Abundance of Katherines and the soon-to-be-movie Looking For Alaska. (And when we say "hot," we mean "shamelessly jockeying for space by the walk-in fridge" hot, and "the ice in the bottom of the cup of what used to be your pop is melting so fast you can take a sip of water every ten seconds" hot.)

The Bastion was late to arrive and therefore missed Schadenfreude, and well as Eric Spitznagel's phoned-in reading from his novel Fast Forward: Confessions of a Porn Screenwriter, about which Amy Sedaris said: "Like most pornography, I found Fast Forward to be a relentless and indecent assault on the traditional family values that Americans find most sacred. Makes a great stocking stuffer." Oh, and by "phoned-in," we don't mean lazy or uninspired, we mean Eric was unable to be at the event, and participated by way of telephone.

Andy Ross then proved that an intentionally bad moustache can add more to a funny character than the real one underneath:

After that, Schadenfreude's Justin Kaufmann performed his frenetic "Perry Farrell's life story in sixty seconds" bit, as a warmup to the troupe's upcoming shows at Lollapalooza (more on Chicago comedy's involvement with Lollapalooza coming soon), and filmmaker Steve Delahoyde entertained with several of his sharp and twisted short films.

And last but not least, The Bastion was glad to have a chance to tell Chicago blogger and author Mimi Smartypants that as much as we've enjoyed her in print, we found her even more hilarious onstage. As Sir Laurence Olivier told The Birmingham Repertory company in 1926, there is no mocking of Nicolas Cage and Elisabeth Shue that can't be made funnier with handpuppets:

-Elizabeth McQuern


Visitors Locker Room Turns One Year Old; Internet Radio Gets a Little Louder

In about a half an hour (3 p.m. CDT), the Visitors Locker Room will be celebrating its one year anniversary on-air at Fearless Radio. Their anniversary was actually yesterday, but only two of the four VLR members (and Chicago stand-up comedians) were in studio for a demure little tete-a-tete.

The Bastion is anticipating a rollicking conversation today about late night shenanigans, chasing tail, yelling at taxi drivers, whether Adam Kroshus is or is not "back on the team," rebuffering stream technicalities, and, oh yeah, some sports stuff, too.

VLR is the perfect afternoon break for those of us who need a daily dose of comedy to get through the rest of the afternoon in the office while we mindlessly enter data into a computer. No, we LIKE our jobs. Just don't bother us weekdays from 3 to 4 p.m.


i.O.'s New Media Projects Hit Your DVD Player, Laptop, and iPod

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingOur inside man on North Clark, Baz, has informed us that i.O. has just released a "25 Years of Improv" DVD: "...(i.O. alumni and) cast members and writers of Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, MADtv and Upright Citizens Brigade perform in a gala show of improvised comedy as well as tributes to Chris Farley and innovative improv teacher Del Close."

Also, they've added two new blogs to their blogroll: Last Call with Crago - a blog from student/bartender Jim Crago, and a team-written effort from The Chorus, who are still a little dazed from their amazing experiences at the Del Close Marathon in New York.

i.O. has also launched their podcast project, i.O. To Go, which kicks off with a sketch from the Cupid Players, and then entertains with Susan Messing taking on MADtv's Ike Barinholtz in some energetic longform improv. The two are seen below in a funny clip, which is NSFW due to potty-mouthedness.

-Elizabeth McQuern