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Wednesday
Aug202008

New Video Wednesday

Andrew 'Cannonball' DeWitt, non-traditional Chicago 2016 Olympic athlete (inspired by the 2016 Chicago Olympic bid):

The final version of the Breeders "Walk It Off" video, directed by Bryan Bedell and Steve Delahoyde, starring Joe Janes, Paul Thomas, Denae Friedheim, and Justin Kaufmann.

Bastion Interview with Dan Telfer:

"Mandy," featuring Lauren Bishop and Brady Novak, directed by Paul Thomas:

Summer Neville at Beast Women After Dark:

Jeb Cadwell at the Laffhole:

Bill Murray skydives for the 50th Annual Chicago Air + Water Show:

Bernie Mac Tribute Video:

And the AP video report on Mac's memorial celebration:

Tuesday
Aug192008

Mike Stanley and Danny Bevins To Tape Comedy Album at Lakeshore Theater Aug. 20

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The Lakeshore Theater is again the backdrop for another hilarious night of comedy, to be filmed and edited for posterity and available to future generations to come. Danny Bevins (Jameson Comedy Tour, Comedy Central's Premium Blend, 2006 US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen) and local area workhorse-roadster-all-around-great-guy Mike Stanley will perform their comedic stylings, in conjunction with Stand Up! Records, tomorrow, August 20, at 9 p.m. In addition to the show tomorrow, we're especially excited to check out Bevins' recent project, We Love You, Mrs. Bevins, a documentary about a comedy tour through Iraq during the current conflict.




Mike Stanley on Rooftop Comedy

Kristy Mangel

Monday
Aug182008

Report from the Road: Buscemi in DC

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The Bastion wasn't able to make the rollicking DC Comedy Fest this year, so we asked one of our favorite performer correspondents, Robert Buscemi, for some details about his experience there. After recovering for a week or so, he was able to put together this fantastic little piece for us. And if you're Flickr friends with Joselyn Hughes, you can peep some of the behind-the-scenes nonsense that she captured for posterity.

Buscemi is fresh off this summer's Rooftop Aspen Comedy Festival, is filming a cooking show with Steve Delahoyde based on their hit mayonnaise commercials, and is posting batches of his legendary Facebook status updates on his blog, LittleFishPants.

++++++

The Chicago talent at the DC Comedy Festival was THICK, boy. Just as Rooftop Comedy and the Rooftop Aspen Comedy Festival sees lots of our work through their partnership with Chicago Underground Comedy, The DC Fest has eyed our talent pool for years now, and founder Blaire Postman manages Kumail Ali (formerly Nanjiani) and Jared Logan, and (I'm told) was very, very impressed at the audition showcase upstairs at the Beat Kitchen a few months back. So I would say to the newer comics who felt they did well that night, it probably registered. Sometimes it just takes a couple of years to keep turning in good work and auditions before they book you. By all means, keep the powers that be apprised of what you're doing. The Internet and online video have closed the communication and exposure gaps beautifully, so take advantage.

So. The fest itself. (Deep sigh.)

The whole ship ran very, very, very smoothly, in my observation. The Onion and Rooftop Comedy were two of several sponsors, which was way cool. We all stayed at the coolio Hotel Helix, which had free wine and Champagne 5 to 6:30 every evening. Venues were all pretty close. I saw an excellent panel (which was packed with fans and all-star panelists) on politics and comedy, and the big awards show. And I have to say it: Industry* were everywhere. (*"Industry" usually just means regular, friendly comedy people who happen to occupy positions with entities that employ or broadcast performers and writers. People in LA and NYC know they're approachable and relatively ordinary folk in general, many with their own writing and performing resumes, since they see them around at shows, but it can be a tougher lesson to grasp in Chicago, since TV and film aren't as pervasive.) In general there was a huge sense of camaraderie and of being taken excellent care of as a performer.

For me, far and away the highlight was hosting Friday's sold-out, prime-time "Chicago Comedy" show at the famous DC Improv. Hannibal Buress, Joselyn Hughes, Jared Logan, Brady Novak, and Team Submarine shook the rafters. The buzz afterward was that it was among the best shows of the weekend. I have DC connections and had five civilians in the audience, and they all raved.

To continue the roll call of Chicago talent who performed at the festival … Brooke Van Poppelen, Cayne Collier, Deb Downing, Greg Mills, Hey You Millionaires, Kumail Ali, Pete Grosz, Pat O'Brien, Pete Holmes, and TJ Miller. Not to mention films by auteurs Jordan Vogt-Roberts and Steve Delahoyde. Some great non-Chicagoans I saw perform: Tig Notaro, Todd Barry, and Andi Smith. A few personal faves I've seen before but didn't manage to see at the fest: Myq Kaplan, JB Smoove, Reggie Watts, and Baron Vaughn.

The festival did one thing which I've never seen before, that I loved. They had a rough-and-ready upstairs bar ("Solly's") booked for all three nights from 7 to 11 PM for informal sets by festival comics, run by a couple of local DC comics. Like a Schuba's for the festival, and they'd put you up when they could and according to when you had to scram for a showcase. You could use notes and do newer stuff and noodle around and shoot the shniz with other comics at a casual, clubby show. Nice non-comic crowds when I was there too. Other fests would do well to copy this, since it meant you could get in an extra, looser show under your belt before your bigger showcases.

What else? Of course lots of shuttling around to happy hours and then late shows and late parties with lots of good booze and good people, and 2 AM would come and go with no one paying much attention, which was fun, until breakfast the next day with your non-Festival friends, of course.

Ah well. It's the price you pay. All around a wonderful time, a very, very well done affair, and a glorious showing from the Windy City. Did my heart good to see my friends kicking such massive boo-tay.

XO BUSCEMI

Kristy Mangel

Friday
Aug152008

Friday Links Round-Up

Afternoon! We are slacking it up today. Here are some links for your Friday afternoon perusal.

Uber-blogitrix Claire Zulkey chats with David Pasquesi, too.

Time Out Chicago chats with Thomas Middleditch and about his online video project, The Line.

Sean McCarthy of the blog The Comic's Comic talks about his experience at the DC Comedy Fest; lots of familiar names dropped in this write-up. He also alludes to a rumor we've heard from a few places unofficially -- TJ Miller recently auditioning (or pre-auditioning?) for Saturday Night Live. More once we get a hold of that guy. He's pretty busy.

Paul Thomas's solo show and latest project (because he needs yet another), "Comedogenic", opens tomorrow at Donny's Skybox.

Kristy Mangel

Thursday
Aug142008

Inside With: David Pasquesi, Actor and Comedian

PhotobucketFirst, we have to thank today's interviewee, David Pasquesi, for indirectly being the reason The Bastion was born. When we were studying comedy writing at Second City awhile back, we blogged about seeing him at Nookie's after class one day, and the Apiary's editor saw that blog entry and contacted us about starting The Bastion. So thanks, Dave, for being at Nookie's that day.

When did you first become interested in acting and comedy, and how did you go about getting started?

I was a fan of comedy as a kid. Loved The Marx Brothers, had heard of The Second City, but had never been on stage. When I was in college I tagged along with my older brother to the Players Workshop of the Second City. I had Judy Morgan (Second City alumna) as a teacher, and she was wonderful. I got hooked right then. For the first time I really had great fun doing something. I then read the book, Something Wonderful Right Away, by Jeff Sweet, and that cinched it. And Chicago improvisation has this great tradition of really cool people. Then I finished college and along the way, I met Joel Murray and we performed a bit, then I went with him to Del Close’s workshops when he was coming up with The Harold. Just happened into it.

We first noticed you as Stu the Meat Man on Strangers with Candy. How did that gig come about, and what was the most fun part of doing that show?

Like many things, it came from friends. Paul Dinello, Stephen Colbert, Amy Sedaris and Mitch Rouse all worked on Strangers and were friends from Second City in Chicago and had brought me out to work on their previous show Exit 57. The most fun was that I got to work with friends. It is always better to work with people you like.

Can you confirm and\or share your impression of the awesomeness of Amy Sedaris?

I am not at liberty to either confirm or deny her awesomeness.

No, she is great. She and the rest of the group are really fun to be around.

As you may know, you and your iO performance partner TJ Jagodowski are regarded by Chicago improv students as sort of living legends. How did you meet him and what do you think is unique about your relationship with him that makes it possible for you to do what you do?

TJ and I first performed together in a group that was cobbled together for one performance at the Chicago Improv Festival many years ago. I thought, “Hm, that guy’s really good.” Also, he has a great spirit and he and I seem to believe that improvisation can be wonderful. After that show, we started to discuss what we’d want to do on stage. And Charna Halpern gave us a stage at the iO and we started doing the show we still do. Now about the relationship. It is strange that we seem to communicate quite well, which is very helpful for improvisation. There’s really no reason for it. I had a similar thing once before, with Joel Murray. We improvised very well together and knew one another’s unusual logic or perspective. But we had been roommates in college and had spent a great deal of time together and in many weird situations. So it makes sense. But with TJ, it has been the same since day one…. But with no explanation.

Pasquesi stars in the Steve Delahoyde joint, Regrets: Hobbies.


You spent time earlier this summer in Italy shooting "Angels and Demons." What is your role in that movie like, and did you enjoy your time there?

I played a Vatican cop who speaks Italian and English with an Italian accent. Very little comedy. Had a ball doing it. Are you kidding? It was a great time. And it was Rome. I love Rome.

There seems to be an opinion floating around the Internet that you look like you could be Adrien Brody's equally hot older brother. Any thoughts on that?

I have not heard of the similarity before.

Equally hot? Really? We’re equally hot? Hm. Me. And Adrien Brody. Is he even hot?

We've been seeing your face on CTA buses this summer, in ads for your new show Factory. How much improv goes on in a show like that, and do you prefer roles that allow you to be a little more flexible like that?

The show is improvised. We write outlines and then we shoot. So we know what has to happen within a scene. I love it. It is great to have the freedom to say what you want. Also, the entire cast is made up of people from Second City or iO from Chicago, so it is great fun to goof around with old friends.

Photo of Pasquesi, right, with comedy partner TJ Jagodowski, lovingly snagged from the Villager.

Related: The Apiary talks to Pasquesi in 2005.

--Elizabeth McQuern

Special thanks to Rachael Mason for arranging this interview.

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