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Friday
Jul252008

Friday Free-For-All

It's time for another installment of Claire Zulkey's brainchild Funny Ha Ha at The Hideout. This one's next Wednesday, July 30th, and it's Ladies Night, featuring readings and performances from "Amy Shearn, author of "How Far is the Ocean from Here", Wendy McClure, author of "I'm Not the New Me", renowned blogger Mimi Smartypants, Megan Stielstra, 2nd Story reading series curator, Cameron Esposito, local beloved comedienne, Chicagoist and Time Out Chicago's Margaret Lyons, and filmmaker Steve Delahoyde (who will only show films featuring ladies)."

Speaking of Cameron Esposito, she has been tapped by Seth Thomas to take over producing duties at Fourth Fridays at Town Hall Pub (3340 N. Halsted) starting with tonight's 9:30 show, which features Adam Burke, Andrew Dewitt, Brendan McGowan, Beth Stelling, and Seth Thomas. Free to get in, $7 pitchers, lots of laid-back comedy camaraderie. If anyone goes and takes photos, send us links!

Dan Telfer on AST, encapsulating the stand-up advice he is frequently asked for:

"Since I took over producing Chicago Underground Comedy, I get emails every day from people who want advice on doing stand-up in town. So I thought I would post a thread here specifically dedicated to it...First of all, as many ASTers will tell you, some of the best general stand-up advice out there is on Paul F. Tompkins' MySpace page. Read it now!...Go up before you're ready. Fail. Learn. If you "wait until you are ready" you will never go up, and you will die and that will be it...Go to open mics. Get on stage. Sit through rough sets and stand through rough crowds. Lose your nerve. Nothing is an indicator you shouldn't do it. You'll be great. Not great? Get back onstage. Do something that challenges you. Do something that makes you focus on your material. Do something the audience wants to see. But don't sit offstage pondering what goes wrong. Get back onstage and do something else...But back to Paul F. Tompkins' advice on his MySpace... Advice is stupid. Who the fuck am I? You can't do things that I did. I did them already. You going out there and finding yourself and your own brand of confidence is more valuable than anything another comedian can "give" you. So just go out. All the time. And find out what it is you want to be doing by just doing something and keeping the good parts."

Thursday
Jul242008

Time Out Chicago: "Painful Punchlines" Piece

PhotobucketThe new issue of Time Out Chicago, on newsstands now, includes a story, "Painful Punchlines: When it comes to sexist humor, 'jk' isn’t cutting it anymore."

Local comedians Carrie Callahan, Victor Marinier, Dave Odd, (and yours truly, Bastion editor and Chicago Underground Comedy producer) are quoted, and some hot topics are touched on.

"It’s no secret that sexist and misogynistic jokes run rampant in the Chicago stand-up scene: Blow jobs and bitchy girlfriends seem to be topics of choice among male comics...Yet eradicating such quips requires navigating the blurry line between artistic freedom and social sensitivity—which might be an impossible thing to pull off."

"...the recent influx of up-and-coming, male-run stand-up nights—Comedy House and CYSK among them—has swung the spotlight onto the boys’-club vibe, and most comedians admit that the open-mike circuit is a breeding ground for the worst offenders: rape jokes, the casual use of derogatory terms and antifeminist rants."

"Among the small but vocal group of women comics speaking out against sexist jokes, Carrie Callahan was shocked when a performer she introduced while hosting a show said he 'would fuck' her."

So far, no comments have been published on the TOC post itself, though several people have entered some thoughts (perhaps comments are being reviewed before publication), and so far the Chicahahago board is mum on the article, meanwhile lots of private emails and IM's are flying, so we thought we'd open up a conversation here.

Dropping the editorial "we" for a second, I have some thoughts. I'm sure you do, too. The original context of the story, as presented to those of us who were interviewed for is, was a more general "women in stand-up, why are there so few, and how could that be changed?" and the focus of the final story is very different.

What do you think? An unfair generalization about the scene? A lack of opinions and quotes from other female comics on the scene? Too obvious a topic for a story? Let's talk.

Thursday
Jul242008

Commercial Acting Opportunities for Chicago Comedians? Yes.

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A chat with Matthew Miller, casting director with TP&R Casting.

What does TPR Casting do, what kinds of clients does it serve, and what does your job involve?

TP&R is one of the biggest casting houses in Chicago; we cast everything from print ads to major feature films. A casting director’s job is essentially three-fold: 1) After talking with the director of the film or commercial project we’re working on about the roles and how he or she might be thinking about those roles, we decide--based on our knowledge of the Chicago talent pool--which actors we want to have in to audition. 2) In the first round of auditions, the casting director directs the actors in the absence of the director. 3) After the director and the producers/ad agency have met the actors at callbacks and have made their choices, the casting director hires the actors and negotiates the terms of the contract with the actor’s agent if necessary.

What sort of commercial acting opportunities exist in Chicago for local comedy talent?

Quite a lot, actually. One of the primary reasons ad agencies cast in Chicago is that they want character actors who have improv training.

Would someone who is a stand up comic or improviser but never acted, per se, be a viable candidate for some of this work?

Sure. However, a well trained actor will always have an edge. If you have never taken an on-camera class or a basic scene study course, they are highly recommended form where I sit.

Do people need agents, headshots, reels, and so on, to be considered for opportunities here?

No, not as much as in LA or NYC. Certainly being represented with a talent agency will help a lot as will good headshots, but increasingly there are many opportunities posted on Craigslist or Chicago Improv boards that are very good gigs that don’t require an agent or a fancy reel.

How can people keep aware of these opportunities, and what do they need to do to prepare themselves?

Keep an eye on those public callboards. Subscribe to PerformInk. Go to as many general auditions for the bigger theatre companies as you can. Gets your name out there.

Are their any classes or training you would recommend for people interested in getting on-camera work? I hear you teach classes yourself.

I generally teach at The Acting Studio Chicago; they have a nice range of courses. But there are many good schools in town like Act One and The Green Room.

Wednesday
Jul232008

New Video Wednesday

Sarah Haskins, who's the official favorite thing of the Jezebel girls, does it again with "Target Women: Feeding Your F---ing Family":


Seeder and Lee, "GayBalls - Episode 1":

Feverberry, "Big Ballers":

OneTwoThree, "Dunt-Dun-Done":

Look At Rubbish, "Klondike Commercial":

Lauren Lapkus gets bonked in the head for ChicagoTribune.com:

The "Friendly Conversations" preview from We Rock the Games:

Monday
Jul212008

Monday Morning Photo Post

Joselyn Hughes in Macho. Photo by Andrea Wallace.

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Brooke Van Poppelen
and Joselyn Hughes in Macho. Photo by Andrea Wallace.

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Pix from "Gerta" at the Skybox at Second City, July 18, 2008, featuring Elizabeth Bell, Sherra Lasley, Megan Yeomans, Adam Schwartz, John Sviokla and Christopher Jablonski. Photos by Elizabeth McQuern:

Chicago Underground Comedy, July 15, 2008, pix by Bryan Bowden.

James Fritz:

Chad Briggs:

Brendan McGowan:

The audience:

Kate James warns against the perils of the Cock Noogie:

...and then receives one from Robert Buscemi:

Cathcart and Olson get friendly:

As always, feel free to join the Bastion Flickr pool or email us here. Links are preferred to pictures. Thanks!

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