old improv comedy shit

One of my deepest passions is my work in the improvisational theatre, specifically improv comedy. I’ve been doing improv since 1991, first with Yale University’s Just Add Water, then independently as stand-up comedy and improv in Pittsburgh and New York City. While I was in Boston, I chiefly used improv as a unifying technique for theatre work (GREAT for auditions and group building, guys…), but didn’t perform with any regularity other than the occasional jam and/or open mic night.

In Tokyo I performed with the Tokyo Comedy Store, who has regular performances every 4th Thursday of the month at Bar, Isn’t It in Roppongi, Tokyo. They also offer a great weekly “class” every Wednesday night. Until personal issues broke us up, I enjoyedperforming with a little group, The 32 Oba-sans (literally, “The 32 annoyingly old female biddies”). Sadly, I haven’t performed publicly in about a year, though I still use improv in team-building exercises and private entertainment. I’d like to change that soon.

Previously in New York City, I worked with some great groups, like The Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre, YesAnd (most recently at the YesAnd First Annual Improv Comedy Festival in New York City — a smash success!), and other assorted groups yet to be named or credited here. My most exciting work was with a fantastic known as
Yellow Man Group, a 4-person ensemble from Tokyo who is able to “yesand” and commit to characters like I’ve never seen before.

I highly recommend sponsoring your local improv and comedy shops (especially if you live in Tokyo!) Stop by for a nice cheap evening of fun (Y1000 including one free drink here in Tokyo — cheap plug), a few drinks, and even get up on stage if you feel prepared. Improv is all about connecting across a common experience . . . and Yellow Man Group has shown me that this is possible, even across vastly different cultures. Support us, and we will continue to “…give you lifelong enjoyment and service.”

Photos of my work in Tokyo are now online.

More from Frank Lloyd Wright himself

And here I was, thinking I had discovered something new. The following comes from The Japan Advisor, February 26th, 1913: “Frank Lloyd Wright Noted Architect Here.”

“The time of awakening must come sooner or later,” continued Mr. Wright, “And then the country will be face to face with the costly necessity of getting rid of all these modern architectural monstrosities and evolving a style more in consonance with Japanese traditions and really characteristic of the people. The ugliness of the new Japanese buildings in so-called foreign style is equaled only by their redundancy.

“It is not as though Japan had no art canons, no architecture of her own, and was therefore compelled to borrow from us. On the contrary, I deem the original Japanese culture to have been as perfect in its own way as that of the ancient Greeks, exemplifying as it did the finest and most fastidious taste in matters of detail. So I say there is no reason whatever why the Japanese style of architecture, as seen both in the temples and private dwellings, should not be adapted to the needs of modern Japan. The country possesses all the essentials to that end it has the models and it has the craftsmen. It is simply a question of substituting more lasting materials for those now used in the majority of Japanese style structures. Comfort could be considered as well art, for there is nothing fundamentally irreconcilable between the two.”

So much activity!

Everyone seems to be posting so much to their LJs these days. On Monday, I literally had to go back two pages of 20 entries each on my friends list to find the last post I had read on Friday!

The sakura in Tokyo are really overrated. In fact, I would hazard a guess to say that pretty much everywhere in Japan, the blossoms are dwarfed by giant columns and cubes of concrete, steel and glass. Japan’s economy has a need to be productive, and if the only bang it can get is by fueling itself with ridiculous construction projects, then it’ll do it. Kyoto itself barely has any traditional housing left . . . what all of you who have never been here imagine as a quiet city of small, antique homes and gorgeous mansions is really just another sprawling urban wasteland with a few boring blocks of uninteresting architecture. Any country that willingly tears down a Frank Lloyd Wright hotel that managed to survive the great 1923 Tokyo earthquake in the 1960s while his widow is giving a protest speech in front of it just to prove that they’re “modern” truly has some issues it needs to work through. Even though the hotel was built partially on unstable marshy ground, authorities chose to demolish the gorgeous building to proceed with the march on modernism. Cultural bankruptcy is extremely damaging, and I’ll probably keep talking about it the longer I stay in this country. Look at more pictures of the Imperial Hotel and revel in the few photos of it that still remain.

I’m looking for a banner that says “This LiveJournal/Website is Drama-Free(tm)” — anyone care to Photoshop one up for me? :)

This week

…has felt so long, even though I got yesterday off.

Kudos to for taking Mercy and I out to celebrate her GED. Hurrah!

I was pretty hung over this morning, having not drunk enough water, so I had a Berocca (the only good thing the Australians ever did for me, excepting Steve Cook). These things are really good, the equivalent of a Japanese genki drink without the caffeine. And they come in fizzy tablet form, so all ya need is a glass of water.

But then (names withheld) I heard a giant row at the office, where someone who I thought just had his head in the sand really had his head shoved up his boss’ ass. Sometimes it’s important to rock the boat, to perform due diligence and discover that what you’re about to do might be bad for you and your company. He refuses to do so, and it’s at his own peril. I just hope it doesn’t bring the entire company down around me. The Japanese seem to be really good at hiding and forgetting about their mistakes. The problem with this, of course, is that they never learn from their own history. :( It took my grandmother a while to convince me of that one, and thank goodness she did!

Ah, spring.

finger pads

So today I also feel like my finger pads are less sensitive for some reason. Like I’ve been handing lots of sharp objects or have big callouses on my fingertips, and I can’t feel as well. :( Nothing is going right today.

Absolutely frustrated

Talk about waking up on the wrong side of the bed! For no good reason this morning, I am incredibly pissy because:

  • my hair is frizzy beyond compare
  • I couldn’t figure out what to wear
  • anything I tried on felt uncomfortable
  • once I selected something it turned out to be nastily stained (nice white pants, nearly ruined, I wore them anyway)
  • my stomach was upset
  • everything my GF did just frustrated me
  • everything I did just frustrated me