Live at ColdTowne 7th Anniversary

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Your favorite standup comedy show, Live at ColdTowne, is celebrating its 7th anniversary with a Lucky 7 show on 7-7-17. ColdTowne has been the shows home since birth, so we’re pretty proud to help throw this party. We talked to the show’s amazingly talented host, Carina Magyar, who is also celebrating 7 years as an Austin standup. The whole event is perfect timing.

19114057_10213351853339476_5871513082504877850_n.jpg-oh=0335581c561ce9acc04873a5bcb08c34&oe=59C9A9BDMagyar has seen the Austin comedy scene grow almost as rapidly as the city’s population. She says Live at ColdTowne is a great show for oddballs and drop-ins. “Just last week we had Matt Ingebretson (Comedy Central) and Nick Rutherford (SNL). Every week, there’s a small but real chance that a big-time comedian will show up and do a set in an intimate venue,” Magyar says.

The anniversary is particularly special, as many Austin-based comics who’ve performed at “Live” over the years have since taken their acts to bigger stages across the U.S.

“It’s a great place for a performer to feel their material is alive, to encounter new responses to it,” Magyar said of the ColdTowne stage, which lives underneath the second floor of I Luv Video. “The audiences are always engaged because of the nature of the room and the beauty of our time slot.”

18835605_1364182306991816_8625556161600311567_n.jpg-oh=8067f98c91df98136f322c1af577f14b&oe=5A11F13918447376_10158638995305075_6411762103374165823_n.jpg-oh=df5bedf93c7ff68393336b35c469ddd9&oe=59D7C8FBOn July 7, the show will feature comics who are all 27 years of age including Austin comic, Allen Butt and singer/songwriter, Arielle LaGuette.

Celebrate the birth of our baby, Live at ColdTowne. Friday, July 7. ColdTowne Theater. 10 p.m.

ColdTowne Theater Summer Improv Intensives, July 7, July 28 and August 19

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Are you ready?

Get ready for immersion in the principles and training methods that make ColdTowne the home of the next big thing.  After eleven+ years helping performers hone their craft and realize their potential, we’ve built a national r12045718_962224210466930_968500777405351776_o copy (1)eputation for training the best and brightest long-form, improv comedy talent. Soak it all up in our weekend intensives this Summer!

What should students expect?

In the mornings, we’ll focus on the acting skills we believe reliably create quality scene work: deep listening, honesty, character-driven relationships. In the afternoons, we’ll hone our comedy skills, working on games and heightening, as well as explore organic forms that encourage fast thinking and unconditional support of our ensemble.

Who are the instructors?

The intensives will be taught by a cross-section of our seasoned, award-winning faculty. Class enrollment will be limited to maximize individual instruction and stage time.  Each intensive will conclude with a final class performance.

Social stuff? Yes’m!

All students will receive a free pass to all shows during their intensive enrollment and are encouraged to hang with the other students and performers at the theater.

Smaller CTIs it for me?

Whether you’re relatively new to the game, or looking to brush up on years of experience, you’ll walk away with new tools for your tool belt, a sharpened comedic sense and fun memories to spare.

We’ve built a national reputation for training the best and brightest improvisers in the South and our Summer intensives provide a great opportunity to hang in Austin, swim in Barton Springs and uplevel your improv skills by learning the ColdTowne approach.  A minimum of one year of performance or training experience is required, and graduates of other programs are welcome.

How much does it cost?

$250.00

Ready to sign up? Pick your session!

July 7

July 28

August 19

Questions?

Contact John Ratliff.

Join us for Austin Sketch Fest, May 22-28 at ColdTowne and Spiderhouse Ballroom

WHOA. Austin Sketch Fest Lineup.

So, you’ve got your Austin Sketch Fest All-Fest Access Badge and you’re trying to figure out which all-star comedy shows to see. You’re thinking, I have an all-fest pass so I can see them all! Not true, dumb dumb! Austin Sketch Fest is pulling out all the stops this year by doing something they’ve never done before — holding the festival in TWO venues at the same time. I’m pretty sure that makes ASF the BIGGEST Sketch Comedy Festival in the entire world, much less Austin, Texas . . . right?

Festival headliners this year are James Adomian (Comedy Bang! Bang!, Trump vs. Bernie) and Reductress LIVE! featuring Taryn Englehart and Jasmine Pierce, so those are a given. Both shows have an amazing lineup of opening sketch and standup acts.

Here are eight more shows that you don’t want to miss. Eight because it’s the 8th Annual Austin Sketch Fest, see?

  1. Monday, 5/22 — I Didn’t See You There: The Show of One-Person Shows. Oh hello, I didn’t see you there! This solo sketch show is curated by local king of comedy, Mac Blake, and features monologues from comedy vets and rising stars. The ASF classic is always weird and hilarious.
  1.  Tuesday, 5/23 — Shelby Quinn and Reilly Willson are Jim & Melissa,and that’s already hilarious. Watching this Chicago-based sketch comedy duo is like watching a throwback to Vaudeville with edgy commentary and over-the-top performances. They’re kicking off the night with Maria Pond (Loverboy) in Someone Has To and Sketch Fest favorites Your Terrific Neighbors.
  1. Wednesday, 5/24 — The Back Pack. A couple of years ago, Katie Kohler, Pete Betcher, Justin Morley, and Jeremiah Rosenberger graced Austin with their presence all the way from Montana. With their unique style of hushed comedy, dance, and clowning, they’ve gone on to create their own performance space in East Austin and have been recognized by the B. Iden Payne Awards Council for their excellence. This speechless sketch show will make you LOL. The slot is headlined by Haymaker from LA’s Pack Theater.
  1. Thursday, 5/25 — UCB Characters Welcome. This solo sketch showcase from Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre NY features writers from Above Average, TruTV, Comedy Central, Adult Swim, and more. You’ll be quoting its quips for years to come.
  1. Friday, 5/26 — Los Angeles sketch powerhouse Tantrum is paired up with ColdTowne Theater’s senior sketch troupe Pendulum. Two UMs for the price of one! Tantrum is a house team at the Pack Theater in LA, and its members have trained at UCB, iO, Second City, and the Groundlings. Sounds like a Voltron of comic genius to me.
  1. Saturday, 5/27 — This Is (NOT) the Gayest Show You’ll Ever See is fresh off of a sold-out run at ColdTowne Theater. You don’t have to be gay to see the dead-on satire in this biting revue, but it may (or may not) help.
  1.  Saturday, 5/27 — Definition of Knowledge. You’re already planning to see James Adomian headline, but this show is so stacked it’s worth mentioning again. Definition of Knowledge is probably the most unique act in the festival because they’re a slam poetry duo that doesn’t do comedy. Just kidding, it’s straight up comedy. Plus stand-up from Austin favorite Vanessa Gonzalez and the winner of VidTowne’s May Video Challenge. Hey, this isn’t a film festival! How’d that get in there? It’s funny, that’s how!
  1. Sunday, 5/28 — Master Pancake Theater. This audience favorite always closes out the festival with night of butt-gusting laughs. And a little birdie told me that James Adomian will be guesting with John Erler and the panel of Austin’s Funniest. (The birdie was James Adomian. [Cool bird!])

For more info and tickets, visit www.atxsketchfest.com.

Will Cleveland, Artistic Director, ColdTowne Theater

 

La Frontera Finál: Latinx in Space

The cast of La Frontera  Finál

Latinauts: La Frontera Finál is ColdTowne’s newest MainStage show. Set aboard the L.S.S. Edward James Olmos, the crew explores new worlds, seeks out new resources for their home planet Earth, and passionately goes where no Latinx has gone before. Carlos LaRotta and Lilli Lopez (co-producers) and Ben Bazan (co-director, alongside Mical Trejo) got together to discuss the show amongst themselves, their background and the genesis of the show in this chat. 

Where are we all from? And where is your family originally from?

Carlos LaRotta, Co-Producer. Photo by Steve Rogers

Carlos LaRotta, Co-Producer

CARLOS: I’m from Houston, Texas. I’m a first gen dude. My family is originally from Colombia, South America.

LILLI: I’m from Edinburg, Texas. A lot of my family is from Mexico, specifically Monterrey. My mom’s parents were first generation Texans.

BEN: I’m a sixth generation Texan from Garciasville, Texas. My grandparents and great-grandparents were from Mexico.

What do telenovelas mean to you?

C: Telenovelas make me think of my abuelita in Colombia. She, and later with her nurses, would always watch telenovelas in her little house in Bogota. They were Mexican telenovelas. If you know your geography, Mexico and Colombia are pretty far apart. But still, Colombians consume and enjoy a lot of Mexican culture – from food and music to television. However Colombians will always claim to speak better, more eloquent Spanish. Colombians, whaddya gonna do?

Kate del Castillo from la Reina del Sur.

Kate del Castillo from la Reina del Sur.

L: Telenovelas make me think of when I was really small and our babysitters would have novelas on. I remember watching the telenovela Luz Clarita, and thinking the little girl was so cute and wanting to know what she was saying. A few years ago I got really into watching La Reina del Sur with my mom on Netflix, and again, I remember thinking “I wish I could watch this without subtitles.” Soy pocha.

B: Telenovelas remind me of the times when I got stuck having to watch them with my mom, sister, and aunt. Mari Mar was one of their favorites. It also reminds me how passionate and dramatic we can be.

Ben Bazan, Co-Director

Ben Bazan, Co-Director

What are your thoughts on the two genres becoming one for your show?

C: I know from when we first started talking about this idea of mashing a sci-fi show with a telenovela, some of the cast didn’t feel too strong about their sci-fi knowledge, which worked for me because I didn’t know much about telenovelas. If I’m honest, I’m not a huge sci-fi buff either. I don’t know what I’m doing here!

Edward James Olmos, from Battlestar Galactica.

Edward James Olmos, from Battlestar Galactica.

L: I was a little worried leading up to our run that not knowing much about sci-fi was gonna be difficult for me, and some of the others on the team who weren’t into sci-fi specifically, perhaps creating some roadblocks. But that hasn’t been the case, because we work great as a team to create the space around us and understand it for the show. And we made it a goal for the show to focus on relationships and that very much informs how the show is laid out. And it reminds me of just being around a bunch of people who understand me. I feel very confident that everyone is gonna support me, and that scenes we do together are informed from the common cultural background that we all share.

Why is it so weird to see a crew of Latinos in space? What does that say about the people of Latin American and the way they’re treated in history or technological fields, or how they have been portrayed in film and tv?

CARLOS: When Dave Buckman asked us to think of a concept that doesn’t put latino/as in a stereotypical setting, the first thing I thought of was “Latinos in Space!” – which, you know, made me laugh a lil bit. Adding “in space!” to anything is already kinda fun in a cheesy way. But for some reason it was weirder because astronauts and other space-faring sorts are typically caucasian folks in real life (big ups to the Chinese Space Program) and in fiction. And while it’s humorous to me, the fact that it’s a stretch kinda bothered me. Will I or my children ever see a mostly POC space crew in real life? Probably not, right? And that’s when the idea started getting really exciting: Fuck it, we’ll see it on the ColdTowne Stage.

How did we start planning and how did the cast get chosen?

Lilli Lopez, Co-Producer

Lilli Lopez, Co-Producer

Lilli: Okay so that takes us a little back in history. There was an all female Latina troupe called Prima Donas and at some point they asked the latinos in the scene to join together and we had our first show at Say It Loud! Produced by Ryan D.

We were invited to play where all the performers of the night were POC. I submitted us for the upcoming ColdTowne schedule, then Dave asked me if we were interested in a run. NO DOI!

That’s when Carlos messaged me with the “Latinos in Space” idea and I loved it! I really wanted it to be like a telenovela as a nod to our roots. Also, I really wanted the opportunity to get *~dramatic~*.

The cast was chosen from the original Prima Donas lineup and then we added another couple of ladies and now we are here living our best lives.

What do you hope the show will accomplish?

C: Me personally, I hope that more young latino funny people will see the show and see us up there and think, “Yeah, there’s room for me too.”

L: I agree with that, I grew up watching and listening to white actors and artists. I never 100% related to any of my available “role models.” I think that makes confidence and self-love hard. I want to see more America Ferreras and Gina Rodriguez’s on TV. If someone sees themselves in a character at a local improv show, that could be the beginning.

B: I hope it inspires and encourages other Latinx artists to continue to push the boundaries and tell stories that usually don’t get told on stage.

The cast of La Frontera  Finál

The cast of La Frontera Finál

CAST!

C: I sincerely believe this cast is full of the funniest improv/sketch folks performing in Austin who at the same time are Latinx –  and that was important to me from the get-go. Sure, we all had to be brown, but we also all had to be funny and talented improvisers. Growing up, I always saw Latinxs being portrayed so cartoonishly – slurring, farty, horny, sleepy characters – or they were violent drug dealers. Or one dimensional Latin lovers. That’s about it. But dammit, we’re capable of everything under the sun – from being hilarious comedic actors to working for NASA to just being regular old people with hopes and dreams and Old Navy giftcards we don’t care about.

And I want you to see all of that. But I gotta admit, I’m most concerned with you seeing how funny we are. (It’s a lot.)

Experience new frontiers in comedy with Latinauts: la Frontera Final every Saturday at 8:30pm through May 6th. Advanced tickets highly recommended due to show popularity.

 

Airport Blvd. Showdown(e): #teamtysons vs. #teamgrand

Tyson's sign by Gia Marie Houck
As comedians, we can get embroiled in dumb bits and running jokes that are only entertaining to those on the inside. In this case, nothing could be more important to the well-being of humanity and necessitate public debate than the ColdTowne rivalry between those who are #teamtysons (tacos) or #teamgrand for pre and post-show hangouts. In this blog post, we get takes from those on one side or the other of the Airport Blvd debate, as well as those who champion a new hero [insert echo effects: (hero) (hero) (hero)].
Please note: The views expressed are each respondent’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of ColdTowne Theater, because we’re partial to both.
Caitlin McNally, #teamtysons

Caitlin McNally, #teamtysons

Caitlin McNally
A #TeamTysons haiku:

I like to drink beer
Tacos are important too
Tyson’s has both though

Emma Holder
Tyson’s is great. They make good tacos, they have beer they are friendly. I like going to both places, but if I had to choose one, it would always and forever be The Grand. The Grand is more than just a dive bar/pool hall, it is a home. I joke that it is my Cheers but it’s true. Every bartender there knows my drink order and my name. I have been going there after shows and rehearsals since I started improvising at ColdTowne in 2008. The smoking ban had been in effect or was just going into effect but the servers at the Grand didn’t give AF and would bring you a little plastic cup of water for an impromptu ashtray if you lit up inside. That was 9 years ago and they (thankfully) don’t do that anymore. The Grand is now clean and renovated and has a great patio for smoking (not that anyone should smoke but I am not your mom), but that history is still there for me and the drinks are still as cheap as they were when everyone was smoking inside. I love that I have never played pool there but don’t feel out of place in a bar that is 70% pool hall. In fact, the pool hall gives you space you rarely find in a bar. The Grand is expansive, it is its own little universe, a microcosm of chill. You can always find a quiet spot to talk with friends, you can hide from people you don’t want to see but easily see anyone you do want to run into.I love that the Grand is at least partially female owned and operated. Rachel is one of the owners and she is awesome. TBH I don’t know exactly who else owns it because everyone who works there is so chill they could all be owners and I wouldn’t have any idea.

Emma Holder headshot

Emma Holder, #teamgrand

I only know Rachel is an owner because it came up in conversation when I was complimenting all the really awesome changes she has made. I like supporting a female owned business, but it’s more than just that. The servers and bartenders all hang out there when they aren’t working. This speaks to how great a place it is. The staff seems to like each other and like their place of work. That makes me happy. The Grand makes me happy. Whenever I do a cleanse and am not drinking, I still go to The Grand. Alcohol is great but honestly I just love this weird giant bar with an even bigger heart. They also have tacos and other food now and it is pretty good but you can still get a Digiorno pizza cooked in their legit pizza oven. #teamgrand

Ashley Blom, Food Writer
From a purely culinary lens, without question, Tyson’s is the clear winner. I feel confident in my authority to declare this as I am a local food blogger and published author (forkingup.com and “How to Eat a Lobster and Other Culinary Enigmas Explained” Quirk books 2017). So, trust me when I say this is no contest. Let’s break it down.

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Ashley Blom, Food Writer and author of “How to Eat a Lobster” #teamtysons

Tyson’s: While the jury’s out on whether or not their tortillas are made in-house, they’re definitely of a higher quality than price-comparable taco joints in the city. The breakfast taco selection is the clear star of the show, taking up the majority of the real estate on the board. And the expertly crafted Austin favorite is certainly worth a bite. However, their lunch and dinner tacos are equally unique and tasty. What other place in town can you get a crispy duck in any form for under $5? I challenge you to try. You’ll be hard-pressed to find any meat on their menu that isn’t deliciously cooked to perfection.

Their sides deserve a mention as well–the street corn and queso are both top notch. For those who don’t trust their house specialties can build their own, and as an added bonus, if you order enough of them they’ll name a taco after you. Even better, if you’re a troubadour of sorts they’ll allow you to sing for your supper–a taco a song.

Alcohol is purely secondary in my review, but their new selection of draft and canned beer has something for everyone. I recently found the new Austin Eastcider’s Blood Orange (they happen to be sponsoring Not the Gayest Show You’ll Ever See if you’d like to try a sample!) in their display. The crisp, light flavor of orange and cider pairs wonderfully with their braised beef cheek Barbacoa taco or perhaps a Diablo Shrimp.

Overall, Tyson’s provides some of the most unique and tasty tacos in town, and are the only option for hungry theater-goers either before or after a show.

The Grand: The markup on grocery store frozen pizza should be enough to keep any food-conscious person from even considering this place as a viable option for post-show snacking, or food consuming in general. They make no effort to hide the fact their offerings are Dijorno’s pizzas and, occasionally, a hastily thrown together taco or “nacho” akin to what you’d find at a movie theater, after being dried out under heat lamps for hours. And for about the same price.

I will give them credit for their alcohol specials–I’ve enjoyed a pitcher of cold draft beer many times while in their “Mafia Room.” This review is purely about the food, which comes off as more of an afterthought and quick buck than a solid attempt to appeal to anything more than a tipsy bar patron who forgot to hit In-n-Out on his way in.

But while their beer drafts and bottles are decent, the cocktails are definitely not their strong suit. They did not have the ingredients for an Old Fashioned, a popular cocktail, on at least 3 occasions, and anything beyond a simple gin and tonic seems a bit out of their range. No offense intended to the bartenders, the bar simply does not cater to those wanting something more than a simple beer.

One simply does not visit The Grand for food. If you have $10 in your pocket, go get three tacos from Tyson’s and then head to The Grand, if you must, to play some pool and sip some draft beer. #TeamTysons.

michaels-face

Michael Perkins, #teammcguiresclocks

Michael Perkins
Perhaps, the cognac is speaking for me and so I will be brief. My concern lies not with the space we inhabit but rather, with the time allowed us to do so. For those with interests akin to my own, please know that there is a place where they may be discussed. The space is secret. The time could never be for those who would blaze it with Grandfather Time.

Everything you need to know to find us is in this message. #teammcguiresclocks

Xaria Coleman

Xaria Coleman, #teamtysons

Xaria Coleman, #teamtysons

The Grand is dope, I’ve had my past couple of birthdays there and have hung out in the Mafia Room quite the bit. Pun intended. Buuuutttt Tyson’s is the bees knees and real OG’s remember when they had delicious burgeeeerrss!!!  Which, I will try to convince them to bring back. It’s better because they are a somewhat young growing business, they have been stepping up their game recently and you can tell they mean business, but they’re also about love. Their logo is literally a heart and the food fills mine with meet, cheese and love. Here’s my breakdown…

Xaria's comparison chart

Xaria’s comparison chart

Danielle Gonzalez

Danielle Gonzalez, #teamtysonsbutkindateamgrandnow

Danielle Gonzalez, #teamtysonsbutkindateamgrandnow?

A small but hopefully valid point. As someone who is new to the ColdTowne community with heaps and bundles of social anxiety, I felt (and feel) much more comfortable going to Tyson’s after a show. The Grand definitely has that “everyone knows your name we come here all the time” atmosphere, but only if that’s true. I remember being very nervous my first, 10 times?, going to the grand because it felt like a space with a history I wasn’t a part of. Tyson’s like that, which feels great for a dork like me. It’s a place where everyone can go, there’s no special things you should know. It’s just a place where you can eat and exist, never worrying if you’re out of place.

At the end of the day, it matters less to us which business you prefer frequenting before or after the shows at ColdTowne (not mentioned here: Sweet Ritual, Omelettry, Juice Peddler, Kome, Sala + Betty, House Pizzeria or ESP): what matters is that we’re in this love together and that locally-owned Airport Blvd businesses are our friends and neighbors and what makes Austin great.