Tag Archive: a-ron


let me start by being perfectly honest here, i am not an artist… not in the drawing, painting, nude sculpture making sense anyways…

when i was in high school i somehow managed to end up taking art as one of my choice subjects [i copied a monkey face pretty well back in standard 5/grade 7 and got accepted in art at westerford somehow that way] for grade 8 and 9 but very quickly found out that the teacher didn’t so much teach art as assumed art and so if you didn’t know how to do the type of art he held up you were pretty much screwed… which led to me and ray wright largely spending two years just mixing paint colours and unintentionally blocking up drains…

i was not allowed to choose art for grade 8 to 10 and so effectively i like to think that i was kicked out of art… academically at least.

til i heard about this thing called First Friday in Philadelphia where i currently live and move and have my being. our summer intern and friend Beth took a bunch of her really good art to the streets and came back with money – lots of it.

so i schemed with monkman aka A-Ron aka Aaron, another housemate, to make some art and take it to first friday and take irony for a joy ride cos surely if i could make some art and someone could buy it for real money then that would just throw art on it’s head…

last saturday i spend the whole day painting on a window within a frame that Jamie from across the road [one of the original members of the simple way] gave me and came up with something some people would call art, at least until they looked at it. Monkman came home after being out the whole day, took about thirty minutescreating his minimist art piece [also on a window frame] and it looked 1000 times better than mine.

there were bits of mine i liked. tbV liked at least two parts of it and i think i liked three of the four corners or at least ish. but as a whole it was going to take some irony walking by.

two things happened tonite at first friday which made me happy. the first was two quite trendy girls walking past [and we had my painting next to monkman’s and a bunch of t-shirts and patches he was selling so a decent amount of stuff] and the one turned to the other one having indicated my painting and said ‘that’s good’ or ‘i like that’ or something to that effect. job done.

the second thing was that i sold my painting for 20 dollarbucks. like money. real money. that you can buy things with. oh irony, your head has been bruised by this ‘art’ this nite… or something. this girl really dug it and i didn’t know what to charge her for it and she said twenty bucks? and i said sure [i’m a kick-ass haggler] and she gave the twenty bucks and walked off [and is theoretically going to claim it later – she had just arrived and wanted to check out other things – pretty trusting in these parts]

so all said and done i think that makes me officially an artist.

so last nite A-Ron and i joined Steve and Kristin and friends for a 10pm showing [what a great time!] of Comedysportz, Philadelphia’s longest running [similiar to us, 18 years i think they said] improv show.

and had a really good time.

Kind of a cross between Whose Line Is It Anyway?, TheatreSports and Stellenbosch’s Ad Lib show and with a little more emphasis on the sports than we have the show starts with the Voice [one of the players who does voiceovers, some announcements and friendly banter with the ref] welcoming the ref [in full ref gear] who did a great job of mc’ing the show, making sure everyone knew what was happening all the time, collecting suggestions and enforcing penalties.

They began with a familiar game of what we call story, story die altho every time the person pointed at could not continue the story exactly, it prompted a double clap and reverse hitch-hike [two thumbs backwards over your shoulder] ‘he’s/she’s outta here’ – a lot more intense than ours normally are with the ref making some brutal switches and with the players literally taking up words mid-syllable – getting a movie someone had recently seen [Die Hard] and a book someone had just read [Anna Karenina] the story they told was called ‘Die Karenina’ and an audience member was nominated to shout out the title every time he was pointed at and so every time a player was “outta here” the ref would move the story forward a few chapters to chapter 7 of [point at audience member] “Die Karenina” and so you would be reminded of the title the whole way through which was nice… as a whole they were really brilliant at this game.

Two teams of four players were brought on to stage with a hand clap that started at 0 [hands moving toward each other but not touching] to 3 [little bit of clapping] to 7 [lots of clappin g] to 10 [clapping, foot-stamping and screaming] and ran around high-fiving audience players and just generally being energetic until they were introduced one by one [as they were introduced they came to a painted square front centre stage and did some mimed action so a huge golf drive or a stage roll or award receive or whatever] with a lot of fun and energy.

the two ref penalties they introduced last nite were the groaner for when someone makes a really awful lame pun or joke on stage and the ref throws a fluffy thing type piece of material on stage and they keep playing the game til the end, but then the offending player has to stand in the square at the front of the mat and apologise to the audience and if the apology is not received their team loses a point [sadly we didn’t see this] and the other one is the brown paper bag over the head for a player or audience member who says something foul [sexual innuendo, something racist or sexist or otherwise inappropriate] and an audience member who suggested sex as a sporting activity got the treatment while the ref continued the explanation of the game – all done with much fun and a tsk, tsk type “shame shame” from the audience…

one thing this show had that was a bit different to ours back home was a lot more audience participation – not on stage playing games so much [altho they brought a rather mute chap on for a game of sound effects which the players handled really brilliantly] but a lot of call and response so when the ref says “loyal” the audience responds with “fans” and the ref often called for a 5 or 10 count clap to welcome the captains or the teams to the front to hear what game they are going to play – a variety of suggestions for game elements were taken from different sections of the audience [left hand side, back two rows etc] and it was a pretty suggestion-filled show with a prize of two free tickets to the best suggestion of the nite [well the one they thought was best cos i didn’t win – possibly cos they didn’t use my golf dimple ball guy or noose tester when they were asking for unusual jobs during intermission]

yes, intermission, cos that was a different thing to our show but it completely worked – they had a half time halfway through the show where you could go buy snacks or merch and sign up for the lucky draw comp [slash get email addresses for the database scam, the winner got a water bottle with comedysportz on it, great idea cos they got thirty to forty entries] and then all the ads we try sneak in at the end happen here [school shows, improv classes, upcoming auditions, corporate events etc etc] before the players return once again with high energy high fiving and performing until the serious competition continues…

A new game [to me] called four corners where the four players stood on the four corners of the mat and each pair [front two] got a suggestion [a country, relationship, mystical place like Narnia or Hogwarts – they got Istanbul – etc] and then the front two start a scene and whenever the ref feels like it she buzzes and calls rotate and everyone moves one corner across and starts or continues that scene – so each person is involved in two different scenes and the four scenes keep switching clockwise – much fun…

Then came historical replay where they asked for a historical event [civil war] and played a scene [some poetic licence as they made the whole war about race, but a running race] and then replayed it in two of the three suggestions of tarentino, romance and hate that they got.

Joyride saw four chairs set out and the teams alternated – they got the initials JO from the audience and then one team sat in the car and the other team would shout the line “hey those [insert word starting with J for the one team and O for the other team] have stolen our car” and then the team would do a couple of lines as whatever they had been endowed and then the buzzer would go and the other team would take the car – we saw Jalopy dealers, Old people, Jonas Brothers, Jurassic Park scientists and Olive oil salespeople among others – quick and fun and a little hit-and-miss…

5 things was a crazy energy game that kinda combined our long chain murder with environment and possible scandal… one guy leaves the room and a five to ten minute suggestion taking time happened [altho didn’t feel long and boring cos of the energy of the ref and taking suggestions from different parts of the room and the voice involvement] they got 5 sporting activities so rugby, american football, surfing the net, jiujitsu and kayaking and then made each one weird by adding two elements so for example there was playing rugby on meatsteak with the muppets [they actually used the real muppet band name which is Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem which i have never heard of and which the dude guessed exactly] or kayaking on cream wearing google [yes the internet search engine, they did not make it easy] and jiujitsu in the circus against johnny cash…

an audience member went out with the player to make sure he could not hear any of the suggestions and when he came back the team had to get him to guess all five things [made it through three and a half but they were really tough] in four minutes [timed by the ref] – only thing is the whole thing is done in gibberish and the players can’t act out the actions but have to get the guy to do it… the team could choose the order they did the suggestions in and both teams had them written down on whiteboards so every time he went to the next suggestions they would write it out and show the audience to remind them… very fast paced frenetic game and as i said he only got three out of five but got a bonus point for knowing the muppet band name and it was a fun game to watch…

during the intermission the voice came and got some suggestions for events, occupations and products from various people around the audience which they used in some of the later games – one of the coolest things of the show was the energy and the variety – so they had three judges with a blue card and a red card [blue and red team] and after three of the game rounds they held up blue or red and team with the most got five points [which they scored on an electronic scoreboard behind them] and for two other games the ref got the whole audience to clap for which team they thought did better and scored them on her clapometer… for the last game the voice tallied the good jokes from each team and added them in afterwards…

after the intermission the teams returned and sang an impromptu song to the people whose birthdays it was [if it’s your birthday month and you’re on the mailing list you get a free ticket to the show] and then continued with the ‘fierce competition’.

They played a game called Laugh Out which is like our corpse challenge and our stand-in-a-line exercises we do in class – so a player from each team starts a serious game [they did a funeral for a pet] and anytime someone laughs they get “laughed out” with the buzzer and someone else takes their place – team with least laugh outs wins the points…

They they played the sound effects game and took a team photo with the volunteer after the game which was really cool – hand held point and shoot, quick pose and photo for the web.

Then thay played what i’m sure will cause eyes to roll back home but which i thort was pretty cool a game called spit take which is like double take excepting that each of the four team members had a bottle of water and at any point of the game would take a swig of water and someone else on stage would say something like “i have pictures of you” at which the person would spit take [oh yes!] – was very funny cos the one dude filled his mouth with water and then looked up and saw that his team member had already filled his mouth and so did an actual spit take which wasn’t intended – very cool – and the audience got a “don’t worry, it’s only water” if they got sprayed during the game…

Last up was a game of world’s worst like they play on Whose Line? as Scenes from a hat. So the ref reads a world’s worst suggestion “things to say at a Christening” “events to compete in at the olympics” and when someone has an idea they step forward and give a one liner and get either a whistle for good laughs or a honk for dead silence vibes and score points for the whistles…

the show ran for 90 minutes but with the intermission and a lot of ref/audience banter and some longer games or explanations it seemed about the length of our shows back home, if not shorter [no long game to end off with, most games 4 min on the clock] and ended with everyone on stage just vibing [sword fights, high fives, wrestling, rolling on ground, celebrating victory etc] in slow motion and as their names were announced they would come to the front and wave and head out until just the two captains were left and finally the ref – really cool way to end the show

no light person [so constant lights], no music [except played by the voice in between games or occasional sound effects] and yet it didn’t feel empty and the endings to games didn’t feel forced… very much looking forward to auditioning end of the month [not sure i’ll be able to play schedule/time-wise but would be nice to know if i can] – got a special deal 8.50 for this show but normally $15 or $12 for students so don’t know how often i’ll be able to go as we don’t have a lot of extra cash… but definitely a worthwhile evenings entertainment…

all of the actor peoples were decent with four of the eight standing out for me as really good/fun to watch…

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