Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Latest Jeff the Cat: Merchant of Darkness Episode

Awhile ago I introduced you to Jeff the Cat.

In the first episode we saw how poorly Jeff treated my dear friend Jim. In this episode, we'll get to meet Stacy, who broke Jim's heart.


This is a foul, foul, and highly inappropriate episode. If you offend easily, you really shouldn't watch this. It you have a deep, dark, twisted sense of humor, this is for you.

Click here to know more about Tricia Pierce, and here for Jim Hanna. Hire them. They are some funny, talented people.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Vote For Stephaine!

My friend Stephaine Boltjes is a fantastic stage manager. She's also a fantastic photographer. She's entered a contest for the magazine Popular Photography, and she needs your help!

It takes but a minute to register and vote for her photograph. You only have to do it once. Here's the link for Steph's picture: http://www.popphoto.com/photo-contest/2011ReadersContest/photos/cities-and-architecture/180803
It's a beautiful black & white of and old bridge. Here it is:

2011 Popular Photography Readers Photo

I came across this closed bridge on a back road off of Highway 126 near Piru, CA. A wider bridge had been built and is the background. I love the idea of old bridge and the new bridge side-by-side. I also thought the lines were incredible in this shot.
Just so you see some of her other work, I'm gonna share a couple of pics she took when we went to the San Diego Zoo last Wednesday. She really got some AMAZING pictures. She's ridiculously talented. 

Great shots, right? So go click the link above for Steph's photo in the Popular Photograpy Magazine's contest! She'll win some cash, and most importantly, her photo would be the cover for their 2012 January issue! Do it, do it! Vote for Steph!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Young Storytellers Foundation

The Young Storytellers Foundation is just about my favorite volunteer organization ever. I think I've been involved for about 2 or 3 years now. What is it? Here's a blurb from their site:

In all of our programs, students are given guidance as they envision and write their own original short screenplay. At the end of the program, professional actors perform the students’ scripts in front of an audience comprised of their classmates, teachers and parents. Young Storytellers does this with the efforts of an active volunteer base of over 2,500 people from the entertainment industry. We bring professionals into the classroom, giving students an experience that they can build on through the remainder of their academic careers.

What does that mean for me? It depends on whether I'm a mentor or a performer for their end of the program Big Show. As a mentor, over a period of 8 weeks, I and 10 other mentors meet once a week for an hour to help guide students into writing a screenplay for the first time ever. Here, more than any other aspect of life, you learn how powerful the word YES is. We never tell a child 'no', we always say, "yes, and then what?" There are no bad ideas. We show them how to take a simple idea and make it into a 5 page screenplay. We encourage outrageous, silly, and original ideas. While in the process of learning how brilliant and creative they really are, they learn how to format a screenplay. It's pretty fun and always remarkable.

At the end of the 8 weeks, they have a Big Show. It's where their screenplays are performed by real life Hollywood actors! This is how I first found YSF. Several friends from The Hothouse volunteer as mentors and performers and asked if I'd like to play too. YES! I don't think I've ever had more fun onstage. Not only do I selfishly bask in the silliness and fun I personally get to have, but it's fantastic to know I've helped a child see how fun it is to be creative. The Big Show let's the students bask in a terrific glow. They get to walk down a red carpet, pictures are taken, and they get to feel like a treasured celebrity. Oh, they get so excited and nervous! It's adorable and wonderful to see them glow and bask in the joy they receive.

This Sunday, YSF is having a picnic for all mentors and performers alike to gather and have some good times. People who are interested in volunteering in any capacity are encouraged to come! Here's the link: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=239237829431965 Unfortunately, I have to miss it. :( I'm working on a short film that day, (cool!), so I'll miss the fun.

This coming Fall, I get to be a Head Mentor. That means I'll be leading a classroom for one hour a week. Yikes! Exciting and nerve wracking to be sure. This program is great though, I may be leading the talks, but I won't be by myself. Knowing that there are 10 mentors to back me up is a huge relief. This Fall is gonna be some good times.

I'm going to include a video from a couple years back. It's actually covers a Big Show that I got to perform in and there are many a familiar face in there. At least to me, anyway. Ha. (You'll even see me in some snippets!). But here's a great way to learn about YSF and what they do. If you want to know more, don't hesitate to ask, or contact them here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Adventures of Dude and Bro

From time to time, you'll hear me mention The Hothouse. The Hothouse is a magical place for the actor/director/normal person alike to learn about improvising on stage. I have met many a fantastic person through my playful studies. There are lots of people to brag about from that corner of the world, let me tell you!

My friends Nate Messina and PJ Myers-Chase have gotten together with their friends to make their own webseries, The Adventures of Dude and Bro.  No, I haven't seen it yet, but below is a NSFW trailer on what's to come. It looks like we can expect some over the top fun. My favorite part of the trailer? The last moment involving some keen driving skills.

They've launched a Kickstarter Campaign to help them finish the last three episodes of their series. If you see something you enjoy, please spread the word and contribute as you see fit.

You can find their Kickstarter page here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/richardkeith7df/the-adventures-of-dude-and-bro

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Theater You Want to See This Weekend

It's closing weekend! I want you to see my show! I also want you to see another show. See some theater, damn it! It's good for you.

First the show I've been proud to be a part of,  The Insidious Impact of Anton, is closing this weekend. I'm part of a wonderful ensemble and we have just been having the best time performing in this show. I would tell you more about the show, but I think this will do all the talking for me.

To find where you can buy tickets and read the reviews go to Absolute Theatre's page here.

The other show that I think you need to see before it closes is The Gospel According to First Squad.
From their site:
The highly anticipated third installment of Tom Burmester’s War Cycle, Gospel According to First Squad, takes place in the Theatre of War. On the brink of civilization in Eastern Afghanistan, deep in the deadly Korengal Valley, the men of First Squad walk the tightrope between boredom and terror everyday. In a valley lit by firestorms of chaos, courage can be proved by a casual walk to the burn-shitter.  As First Squad navigates the human terrain, winning hearts and minds from the Taliban, a new addition to their team threatens their mission, the populace, and their dreams of home.  Gospel According to First Squad will take you on a tour of duty -- as an American -- that will shine a light on our mission, our morals, and asks what you will do -- or won’t do -- to keep your freedom. 

My favorite aspect of seeing a show from the Los Angeles Theatre Ensemble, is that it is usually the most engaging theater I get to experience in this town. No matter what the piece is, I can see that everyone involved poured their blood, sweat, and tears into a show to give the audience a night of theater they'll never forget. Gospel is no different. The writing is engaging, the directing is flawless, and the acting is brilliant. Tickets can be purchased here: http://www.latensemble.com/2009/Tickets.html

I wish I could find a video to post here, but I'll leave you with this excerpt from a review from LA Weekly:

Director Danika Sudik (aided by Burmester) controls the pace while allowing for necessary outbursts of the tightly coiled emotion and energy inside each solider, all of which are scary in a primal way. Which is, after all, the point. The army, like all fraternities, encourages herd mentality. It doesn't elevate man; it reduces him to his most animalistic instincts -- or so the military hopes, because only when men stop reflecting can they do what must be done to win. The entire ensemble is terrific, but special mention goes to Jonathan Redding's calm-before-cracking sergeant. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fight Class The Series

Imma gonna brag about my friends Kim Turney, Jan Bryant, and Dan Speaker.

They are all partners and teach at the Academy of Theatrical Combat, and coincidentally enough, that's where I've been studying how to wield a sword for camera. Trust me, it's super fun and so far, it's the closest I've come to living my childhood dream of being a pirate.

They've taken it upon themselves to create a webseries. This isn't your typical webseries, oh no, they're breaking down fight scenes from movies and teaching you how to do them yourself! Jan and Dan teach their charming host Kristen Nedopak how to perform the scene, while Kim directs from behind the camera and gives great life to fight scenes. Each episode runs about 10 minutes and so far they've recreated fights from Army of Darkness and Game of Thrones.

Here's their latest episode, where they break down the fight scene from Hook, between Peter and Hook. Just to let you know, Jan and Dan were the swordmasters behind Hook - lucky them! Can you imagine how fun it must've been to work with Steven Speilberg, Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, and all those great kids? And on that set, too? So fun, so jealous.

Without further ado, here's Episode 3:

If you enjoyed that, here's their first two episodes, Army of Darkness:

And.... Game of Thrones!