ColdTowne is proud to support Acton Children’s Business Fair

Acton Children’s Business Fair

Mark your calendars for October 27th for the Austin Acton Children’s Business Fair, a one-day market that gives children theopportunity to discover their inner entrepreneur and showcase their very own businesses.

ColdTowne is a proud sponsor of this year’s business fair.  The free, family event is organized by a team of passionate entrepreneurs, teachers, mentors, and parents, who want our children to learn about entrepreneurship in a practical and fun way, and is sponsored by Acton Academy, the Acton School of Business, and the generous support of donors and volunteers.

The children participating are divided by three age groups: 6-9 years old, 10-12 years old, and 13-16 years old. The program is a unique opportunity for children to launch their very own startup business and build confidence in their capabilities.

Many of our ColdTowne Conservatory Level 1 improv students are business professionals who have to interact with clients and present projects and pitches. Our corporate offerings help build speaking and listening skills for business professionals, but ColdTowne also has a kids program too!

Excused Absence Comedy is the youth program at Austin’s ColdTowne Theater, offering a wide range of improv training and performance to kids and teens. Sure, Improv is a lot of fun. Creating characters and situations on the spot can be hilarious both for the performer and for the audience, and performing with others creates a bond and provides an opportunity to become a better communicator. However, the benefits of learning and practicing improv go far beyond unexpected laughs and a louder voice.

Learning to Listen
How often do you witness a child (or an adult!) who waits for another person to stop talking so they can express their own idea, rather than responding to what was said? Learning to listen and say yes to our collaborators allows us to build entirely new ideas together and to let go of controlling outcomes. For many, making our own ideas heard feels like a winning or losing situation. Improvisers learn that building an idea with collaborators doesn’t take away from their own creations, it’s an exercise in making something bigger than ourselves. Even when it’s silly. Particularly when it’s silly! Once we have learned to do this in class and onstage, it becomes easier to apply the same principles to our lives.
Conquering Perfectionism
In life, we want to be smart, interesting and, often to our detriment, correct. But this self imposed need to be right can create anxiety and, for many children, can lead to simply withdrawing rather than risk being wrong. We don’t just learn to listen we also support each other’s offers unconditionally. When you practice being wrong and meet with an enthusiastic “Yes, and!” it becomes much easier to take risks and to just get the words out.
Creating a Flexible Mindset
In an improv scene, we take whatever we find and we agree that it’s exactly as it should be, then we build a story together. It’s not always easy for people to let go of their sense that things must be only one way, but improv’s insistence that we take a flexible approach when creating together helps performers begin to instinctively look for new ways to do old things.
Learn more about Excused Absence here: https://excusedabsence.com/

Don’t miss the Acton Children’s Business Fair!

Date and Time

There are two events, the Acton Academy Open House and the actual Acton Children’s Business Fair.

Acton Children’s Business Fair

Saturday, October 27, 2018. 10:00am – 1:00pm

Acton Academy’s Open House

Thursday, October 18, 2018 6:00pm – 7:30pm.

Location

Acton Children’s Business Fair

Pease Mansion Lawn
1606 Niles Road
Austin, TX 78703

Acton Academy’s Open House

Acton Academy
2201 Alexander Ave
Austin, TX 78722

The 25th annual Austin Film Festival kicks off on October 24!

 

ColdTowne Theater is excited to continue our partnership with Austin Film Festival at this year’s Austin Film Festival & Writers Conference!

The 25th annual Austin Film Festival kicks off on October 24th with our Film & Food Fundraising Party. Come enjoy cocktails and cuisine with filmmakers, producers, celebrities and foodies from Austin and beyond at the historic Driskill Hotel! The live auction will be hosted by Will Cleveland and all proceeds benefit Austin Film Festival’s Young Filmmakers Program, which aims to improve creativity, literacy, and communication skills through the arts of screenwriting and filmmaking.

On Thursday, head to the Driskill’s Victorian Balcony for First Three Pages, Live! featuring Will and Erica Lies. Join host Dave Buckman and AFF for an afternoon of live readings featuring the first three pages of works-in-progress, forgotten screenplays, and a few other surprises.

Back by popular demand, we’re offering morning improv workshops during Friday and Saturday of the Conference to help you “rise and shine” throughout the day. Join hosts Dave Buckman and Rachel Madorsky to learn techniques that you can utilize at the Conference to pitch your script or approach your screenwriting idol with confidence.

Dave Buckman will host this year’s Awards Luncheon (tickets are sold out – call to get on the waitlist 512-478-4795)! Dine with panelists, awardees (Roger Corman, Tony Gilroy, Daniel Petrie, Jr., and Larry Wilmore), and hear inspiring speeches from this year’s honorees and winners.

You won’t want to miss these incredible events. Check out the promo codes below and get your tickets for the fest today!

coldtowne25 – $25 off all badges – you will need at least a Conference Badge to participate in First Three Pages, Live! And the Friday session of Morning Improv if you are interested in Morning Improv on Saturday and checking out films you can purchase a Lone Star Badge

 

coldtownefp – $15 off a Film Pass – for access to all 8 days of film and the Film Pass Party in partnership with Do512

Here is some information about some of the comedies we are screening this year!

Travel back to 1989 for a special retrospective screening of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure presented by Ed Solomon on Sunday, October 28 at 7:00PM at the Galaxy Highland – screen 9!

Check out this year’s Comedy Vanguard Films:

Simple Wedding

Nousha might have finally found the one in Alex, an eccentric bisexual artist. But when her parents find out about the blossoming relationship, she’s pressured into tying the knot before either of them are ready. The thrust-upon wedding becomes a runaway train as cultures clash and families collide.

Filmmaker Interview

Thursday, October 25 | 7:10 PM | Alamo Drafthouse Village

Tuesday, October 30 | 8:30 PM | Galaxy Highland screen 8

Original Sin (Pecado Original)

In partnership with Cine Las Americas

A sexually-frustrated woman, her uptight husband, and a freewheeling artist form an unlikely love triangle.

Trailer

Filmmaker Interview

Thursday, October 25 | 9:45 PM | Bethell Hall-St. David’s Episcopal Church

Tuesday, October 30 | 5:30 PM | Galaxy Highland screen 9

Antiquities

Walt moves back to his hometown in hopes of learning more about his recently deceased father. After accepting a job in a local antique shop, he ends up not only finding out who his father really was but learns more about himself than he ever thought possible.

Trailer

Friday, October 26 | 4:00 PM | State Theatre

Tuesday, October 30 | 2:30 PM | Galaxy Highland screen 7

In Reality

In partnership with Something More

In order to reclaim her bearing on reality, newly heartbroken Ann confronts her overgrown fantasies by making a film about the experience.

Trailer

Saturday, October 27 | 8:30 PM | Galaxy Highland screen 8

Wednesday, October 31 | 1:00 PM | Alamo Drafthouse Village

The Dancing Dogs of Dombrova

Estranged siblings Sarah and Aaron arrive in Dombrova, Poland with a singular mission: to fulfill their dying grandmother’s wish to find, dig up, and bring home the bones of her favorite childhood dog.

Saturday, October 27 | 9:30 PM | Bethell Hall-St. David’s Episcopal Church

Wednesday, October 31 | 9:30 PM | Hideout Theatre

Lost & Found

Seven different stories interconnect around a lost-and-found office at an Irish train station. Even though they each have their own journey, they all stumble upon something they weren’t expecting.

Trailer

Sunday, October 28 | 1:00 PM | Alamo Drafthouse Village

Monday, October 29 | 4:00 PM | Hideout Theatre

Friends From College Season 2 Premiere–FREE and open to the public!

Creators Francesca Delbanco & Nicholas Stoller in attendance

Season 2 of Friends From College follows six Harvard alums in their 40s living in New York City and the complicated relationships they have with each other. It’s been a year since Ethan & Sam’s affair was exposed to the 4 other friends – including Lisa, Ethan’s wife – and the friend group is still fractured. No one has heard from Lisa, Ethan has been living a repentant year of writing a YA novel, and Sam has been trying to repair her marriage with her husband Jon.  But with Max’s wedding coming up, the friends won’t be able to avoid each other much longer. Between the engagement party, bachelor party, and wedding, the six will have to overcome the destruction in their past and figure out how to function as a friend group again. Will they be able to move forward or will they regress back to their old destructive patterns once again?

Friday, October 26 | 7:00PM | State Theatre

To purchase a Film Pass or Badge visit austinfilmfestival.com or call 512-478-4795. Film Passes are also available for purchase at The Long Center and The Paramount Theatre box offices.

An Uncomfortable Woman: Read, Relate, Donate

Meghan Ross is a writer, producer, and comedian, and the host of the women-run late night show That Time of the Month (Teen Halloween episode is this Saturday at ColdTowne, featuring an all-teen girl lineup!). We sat down with Meghan to talk about her upcoming film, An Uncomfortable Woman.

 How’d you get to ColdTowne?

I moved to Austin 2 years ago from New York, where I had started performing comedy and completed my improv/sketch training at UCB, and ColdTowne was kind enough to give me a monthly spot on the schedule when I wanted to adapt That Time of the Month here (I’d previously been co-hosting it for 2 years in New York with Liisa Murray). This fall, I’m also directing and producing An Uncomfortable Woman, a dark comedy short film I’ve written with Sam Stepp.

You’re currently in pre-production mode for An Uncomfortable Woman. Can you tell us what inspired you to write and produce this project?

Every year, I make a resolution to film something I write, and every year, I procrastinate on that goal (does this make me relatable???). About a year ago, Sam and I started meeting up as writing accountability buddies, keeping each other in check on our own personal projects. During one of these meetings, Sam had just finished watching a disturbing amount of Lifetime movies on YouTube and we started discussing how they all have one theme in common: show women in pain, as a form of entertainment.

We were both drawn to the dark comedy genre, and it seemed natural to use that tone to depict someone going through some real shit, while using humor to cope with it. I’d found myself in one of those shit moments last year with the passing of my Aunt Dawn, who was like a second mother to me. I continue to use comedy to help me ride the ups and downs of the grief rollercoaster (which sounds like a failed idea for a Six Flags ride).

Our idea developed further when we honed in on a woman dealing with her own personal trauma, and at the same time, experiencing the everyday behaviors of a patriarchal society. We thought it’d be interesting to show what seem like trivial moments in the script (ex: a waiter putting his hand on her waist to brush past her) as much more eerie and exaggerated through cinematography, to convey the discomfort a woman feels internally, but might not be as obvious to others externally. And on top of everything that’s already happened to this woman (her mother passed away, she had to move back into her childhood home after the end of her engagement), she still feels like a third bad thing is lurking around the corner.

Tell us about the leading lady.

Robin Beltran as Dylan in An Uncomfortable Woman

The role of the lead character is played by Robin Beltrán, a Houston-based actress who also happens to be an amazing vegan chef and an all-around wonderful woman being! Our goal was to cast a WOC as the lead, because we wanted to flip the trope of an ethnically-ambiguous sidekick who serves a white lead character’s storyline and instead focus the story on the WOC, with support from the fantastic Haley Alea Erickson (Say Uncle Improv) as the lead’s childhood BFF.

I met Robin through casting and quickly learned the obstacles she’s had to overcome in her personal life, from a tragic incident where her husband was shot (propelling her family to adapt a plant-based diet, since it was the only way he could process food), to a former news station employer criticizing and wanting to change everything about her appearance, including her natural hair. Her resilience has been so inspiring to me, and she’s been incredibly supportive of the project since the day she came into auditions.

 

Why was it important to you to have a crew made up entirely of women and POC?

It’s taken a long time for the TV/film industry to realize the importance of diverse casting when it comes to telling stories from the perspective of POC (see: Matt Damon, Emma Stone, Scarlett Johansson, someone probably auditioning for Aladdin 2 right now) and we still have a lot more work to do to improve it. But booking a diverse crew and staff (anywhere from the writers’ room to showrunners, gaffers to directors) continues to be an afterthought for many studios and networks who boast about their “woke” content.

That’s why another priority on this project was to have a crew that reflects the inclusiveness of the cast. And for me, that extends to booking women in roles that are often exclusively filled by men on set. I’ve witnessed this gender inequality in previous work experiences in the TV industry, as well as in the comedy scene with show lineups. I may not be a rich and powerful TV/film executive, but I can still implement the kind of change I’d like to see, even on a smaller level.

How can folks support the project?

We’re currently raising money to fund our film (most importantly, pay and feed our amazing cast and crew). If you have the means, please consider donating to our Indiegogo campaign where in exchange, you can get some cool-as-hell prizes from local women-owned businesses, women artists, and women professionals.

If you can’t donate, please share the link with anyone/everyone you know! We’re also looking for businesses who are interested in donating meals for craft services during our shoot days, so if that’s you, please email us at uncomfortablewomanfilm@gmail.com.

Where can we follow for updates?

You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@uncomfwoman), and Instagram (@uncomfortablewoman). This is the one scenario where it’s appropriate to follow around “an uncomfortable woman.”

You can see Meghan Ross in her monthly ColdTowne show, That Time of the Month, and on Saturday, Nov. 3 at BettyFest at the Historic Scoot Inn.

Destroy the self. Replace it with comedy. Pendulum Presents: The Ascendant

Pendulum Presents ascends expectations of typical sketch comedy.

Pendulum Presents: The Ascendant is a sketch comedy show about the world of cults, running Oct. 6 through Nov. 3 at ColdTowne Theater. On the eve of their Ascension, the members of The Ascendant gather to reminisce about their experiences in the cults of their past. You’ll come along with them on a trip down memory lane as they discuss the downsides of using jorts as a cult uniform, the perils of being a boy prophet, and the tricky politics of ritual suicide.

At this point, Pendulum is an established voice in the Austin comedy scene, with many of Austin’s top comedians and writers counting themselves as writers and performers. “Pendulum has created dark and hilarious sketch comedy shows at ColdTowne every month for the past three years,” says Will Cleveland, Artistic Director, ColdTowne Theater. “They have a fearless approach to humor that splits the audience into cringers and belly-laughers.”

The members of Pendulum have performed at theaters and festivals all over the country, including the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, SF Sketchfest, Out of Bounds Comedy Festival, Austin Sketch Fest, and Houston’s Trill Comedy Festival.

Pendulum members are James Fernandez, Dylan Garsee, Emma Holder, Lane Ingram, Yola Lu, Brian May, Griffin May, Meredith Newell, Tevis Paxton, Kyle Romero, Nicole Russell, and Steven Smith. In addition to Pendulum, you can see them in many of Austin’s beloved comedy shows like Stool Pigeon, Movie Riot, Frankenfriends, The Gayme Show, and Y’all We Asian.

“We here at Pendulum have a reputation for putting together shows that are overly ambitious, kind of frightening, and filled with lots of detail about fantastic and horrible invented worlds,” says Pendulum cast member Kyle Romero. “So we set out to write a show about cults and cult leaders, and then we liked it so much we accidentally became a real cult in the process. Whoops!”

Pendulum Presents: The Ascendant runs at ColdTowne Theater (4803 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751) Saturdays at 7:00 pm, starting October 6th and through November 3rd. Tickets are $12 at the door and $10 online. For more information, contact coldtowne@coldtownetheater.com, call (512) 814-8696, or visit www.coldtownetheater.com.

About ColdTowne Theater

ColdTowne Theater is Austin’s main stage for alternative comedy. Running shows 7 nights a week and featuring the smartest, brightest, and hardest-working comedians in Central Texas. For phone reservations or more information, call (512) 817-TOWN, or visit www.ColdTowneTheater.com

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pendulum-presents-the-ascendant-sketch-tickets-49694748330

MEDIA CONTACT
Lilli Lopez, Marketing Director
ColdTowne Theater
lillianallopez@gmail.com

B. Iden Payne Award-winning cast, Prima Doñas presents an all-new live comedy telenovela

You may or may not have gotten a chance to see a Latinauts show at ColdTowne in the last year and a half. If you did, you know that the cast (known as improv troupe Prima Doñas) is made up of Latinx improvisers who have spent most of 2017 and 2018 making up shows on the spot with a telenovela twist. After three sold out main stage show runs at ColdTowne Theater and after bringing home three B. Iden Payne Awards in 2017 including outstanding cast in an improvised play, the group is taking their highly conceptual theater-prov to a White House setting in Latinacional.

The all-star cast of this comedy explore the relationships and trials you might see in a telenovela, all the while maintaining their character’s duties as part of the the President’s Cabinet. The show features some of Austin’s most talented performers, including: Yamina Khouane ( nominated Best Actress in the Chronicle’s 2018 Best Of Austin), Carlos La Rotta of Movie Riot (ColdTowne) and Laura de la Fuente (Martini Ranch & Loverboy, ColdTowne). Prima Doñas also just finished headlining at FuturX: A New LatinX Festival and Out of Bounds Comedy Festival here in Austin this past August.

The idea behind bringing this new iteration of Prima Doñas’ signature telenovela improv format to the White House is heavily inspired by West Wing and HBO’s Veep. If you’re yearning to see literally anyone else in the White House, even just for an hour, Prima Doñas will take you there with a promise to make no references to today’s political disarray… if they can help it.

Directed by Ben G Bazán and Lilli Lopez, Latinacional runs at ColdTowne Theater (4803 Airport Blvd, Austin, TX 78751) Saturdays at 8:30 beginning September 29 through Nov. 17, no show on Nov. 3. Tickets are $15 at the door and $12 online. For more information, contact coldtowne@coldtownetheater.com, call (512) 814-8696, or visit www.coldtownetheater.com.

About ColdTowne Theater
ColdTowne Theater is Austin’s main stage for alternative comedy. Running shows 7 nights a week and featuring the smartest, brightest, and hardest-working comedians in Central Texas. For phone reservations or more information, call (512) 817-TOWN, or visit www.ColdTowneTheater.com

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/latinacional-improv-tickets-49992183968

MEDIA CONTACT
Lilli Lopez, Marketing Director
ColdTowne Theater
lillianallopez@gmail.com

Monday Night Mash is bringing something new to Austin Improv – Teams

By Will Cleveland

Webster’s dictionary defines a troupe as a company, troop; especially a group of theatrical performers that tours to different venues, while it defines a team as a group of animals such as A: a brood, especially of young pigs or ducks B: a matched group of animals for exhibition.

An improv team is like a an improv troupe, but instead of a group a friends performing together and managing themselves by submitting for stage time and organizing their own rehearsals, they are sanctioned by a theater’s artistic staff through auditions, are coached regularly, and are given a dedicated time slot to perform.

Earlier this summer I went to New Mexico in search of UFOs (because I want to believe!) and Colorado in search of legal weed (because I want to believe!), but before that, I sent a performer survey to about 120 regular performers in the ColdTowne community from recent graduates of ColdTowne Conservatory to 10+ year veterans. I asked them about their practice, their goals, and their interests in programming at CT. A lot of things stood out to me, but most of all, people wanted more shots to get on the stage and be part of something that was consistent and frequent. Once they had graduated level 6 in our conservatory, a lot of people were asking “now what?”

As Artistic Director, my major responsibilities include giving performers stage time while generating revenue for the theater. This had me looking at Monday Nights. The Monday Night Mash has traditionally been, as are many of our time slots, an avenue for troupes who are just starting out to get performance opportunities on the ColdTowne Stage.

Here’s a brief history of how the Mash started from it’s first showrunner, Courtney Hopkin: “It started in 2008 at Kick Butt Coffee. They still made smoothies during our shows so we had to shout over the blender. We moved to ColdTowne in May of 2011 and ran it for a while with a troupe called No Chaser… and then ColdTowne took it over. We started it because we were having a hard time getting scheduled and there were no other shows happening on Mondays.”

10 years from its start, the show has been a target slot for troupes who just want to have some dang stage time! That’s fantastic! We need those avenues to help people develop their craft. However, I was feeling that Mondays needed a little boost to help build its draw. I was also feeling that the stakes of a Monday night show were often low for the people performing, and wasn’t as prioritized as other shows later in the week. Not by all troupes, no, but by many. Heck, a few times, troupes didn’t even show up, (LOL, what?!) while others would sell out. I could reward troupes that promoted and brought a house with more Monday slots, but then there’s fewer vacancies for younger, hard-working troupes to perform. Dilemma!

After some thought and feedback from owners and staff, and gauging interests of coaches and faculty, I decided it was time to introduce a team system for Mondays. At other theaters in larger markets like UCB or iO , it’s called “Harold Night”, only we’re not necessarily doing The Harold. We just want to provide a space where trained, capable improvisors can do the work, rehearsing and performing for an audience, that makes them great and pushes their art forward.

We opened auditions and the response from the community was passionate and lively. 58 performers auditioned while even more reached out to say they were unavailable, but were interested and excited for this opportunity created. After a full day of auditions and coach’s drafts, these 4 teams spurt forth from behind the vintage video store:  

Lemon

Amy Labashosky
Ashley Blom
Dalton Allen
Ellen Pizarek
Erica Lies
Jon Bender
Paul Carrubba
Spencer Bloom
Coach – Tauri Laws-Phillips (Damn Gina, ColdTowne Faculty)

 

Identity Crisis

Adam Weightman
Austin Howell
Jessica Soos
Kevin Anderson
Kim Roche
Matt Shirley
Ronnita Miller
Wendy Salome
Coach – Nat Miller (ColdTowne Faculty, iO Alum)

 

Hawkeye

Bill Hoffler
Haley Chamblee
Joseph Juarez
Preston Pentacost
Shane Gannaway
Tracey Rideout
Coach – Stephanie Thoreson (Loverboy, ColdTowne Alum)

 

Hunnicut

Adam Protextor
Audra Schroeder
Betsy Harper
Emmy Silak
Jason Burnet
Kareem Morgan
Michelle Cook
Nicholas Marino
Coach – Katie Stone (Stool Pigeon, Martini Ranch)

I am very excited by this new format and am pleased that so many students and performers are excited about it too. If you are interested in getting involved or auditioning for the next round of teams, come see the show on Mondays at 8:30 and ask me how. I’ll be emceeing the night. Until then, watch the skies, because there might be some crazy shit up there, who knows, and if weed were legal, well, wouldn’t that be cool!

 

Out of Bounds takeover starts Aug. 28!

ColdTowne Theater is proud to sponsor the 2018 Out of Bounds Comedy Festival! The Out of Bounds Comedy Festival (OoB) is a live performance festival that showcases the best in improv, sketch and standup. OoB is Austin’s longest-running comedy festival and the largest multi-disciplinary comedy festival in the south.

You can catch OoB shows all around Austin, Aug. 28 – Sept. 2 including at ColdTowne Theater. Don’t miss some of ColdTowne’s best performers at OoB, performing at ColdTowne Theater, Fallout Theater, Hideout Theater and The Institution Theater.

ColdTowne Shows at the Festival:

Big Shed, Bric-a-Brac, Glam Fam, FBurg, Latinauts: improvised telenovelas by Prima Doñas, Mediterranean Avenue, Midnight Society, Missed Connections ATX, Oakdale, Roundhouse Comedy, Say Uncle, Secret Mountain, Shattered Dreams (and Other Positive Experiences), Tattie, Y’all We Asian

Appearing at ColdTowne:
Big Bang Improv (Boston), Big Shed (ATX), Cardinal Redbird is SO LA (L.A.), Brooke Cartus (Columbus, OH), Carlton Wilcoxson (ATX), Death Hammer (Minneapolis) Diskount Klowns of the Greater Austin Metro Area (ATX), Eenie Meanie Beanie Babies (ATX), Fburg (ATX), Forward Slash (Portland), Garage (ATX), Hot Pot Comedy (ATX), Kenny/Rogers (ATX), Lisa, Frankly (CHI), Missed Opportunity (San Antonio), Oakdale (ATX), Rook (ATX), RoundHouse Comedy (ATX), Run The Fools (ATX), Sugar, Water, Purple (ATX), Tattie (ATX), Terry Thigpen (ATX), Two Kids In A Trench Coat (CHI), Watermelon (Dallas)
STANDUP LINEUPS
Wednesday (8/29): Slime Time w/ Christina Parrish
Lineup  Allen Edwin Butt (ATX), Andrew Clarkston (ATX), Gara Lonning (NYC), Lindsay Lucido (CHI), Courtney Peterson (L.A.), Audrey Stewart (L.A.), Carlton Wilcoxson (ATX)
Friday (8/31) Live at Coldtowne w/ Carina Magyar
Roxxy Haze (Stafford, TX), Teresa Lee (L.A.), Gara Lonning (NYC), Lydia Manning (Portland), Gabe Stoddard (Brooklyn), Cooper Williams (NYC), Norah Yang (Shanghai, CHINA)
Saturday (9/1) Spitballin’ w/ Ky Krebs
Brendan Gay (CHI), Lydia Manning (Portland), Allison Mick (Oakland), Pamela Ross (Boston), Lynn Stein (L.A.)
For tickets, schedule, lineup and location info, visit OoBFest.com

It’s 2023 and Weed is Legal In Texas

Dream Shake Productions’ Alex Ybarra and Carl Stoneking first started making comedy videos together 10 years ago as students at Texas Tech University. After college they pursued more traditional career paths, but their passion for filmmaking reunited them three years ago in Austin. Alex and Carl immediately got involved in the local comedy scene including taking classes with the ColdTowne Conservatory, enlisting dozens of comedians and actors in their award winning short comedy films.  

Last year they took on their most ambitious project, a web-series written by Christina Parrish called Toddumentaries. The science-fiction teen dramedy has been an official selection at SeriesFest in Denver, Melbourne WebFest and HollyShorts Festival in Los Angeles and is making its debut online this month. After the success of Toddumentaries, Ybarra and Stoneking decided for the first time to seek outside funding for their next project, High From Texas, which is live on Kickstarter until the end of August.

We sat down with Ybarra and Stoneking to learn more about their new stoner comedy. 

Tell us a little more about Dream Shake Productions.

Stoneking: Alex and I started making dumb comedy shorts when we were in college, it was just for our own amusement.  Then about 4 years ago I decided to move to Austin and pursue filmmaking more seriously. Alex was already living here working as a PA.

Alex: I was just soaking up everything on set, or I have been for a while now. I worked on independent films, TV series and had a stint in the post production office for Terrence Malick. I wanted to be an assistant director before deciding to jump into the camera department, and that’s where I’ve been the most comfortable. Filming comedy is what I want to do, and I’m eager to continue improving my skills behind the camera. I’ve always thought Carl was a natural director, and I’m a natural facilitator, so we continued to grow our relationship and here we are, still making things.

Stoneking: We both graduated from ColdTowne Conservatory. We met Christina Parrish through the theater, and she wrote the last web-series we produced (Toddumentaries). We also met Cody Dearing, who helped write our new project High From Texas.

Some of the cast and crew at the first High From Texas table read.

What is High From Texas about?

Ybarra: High from Texas is set in the year 2023 when weed has been legalized nationwide. It follows a small town couple as they attempt to open the lone star state’s first marijuana dispensary despite concerns from a collection of interesting locals. 

What made you want to combine weed and Texas? 

Stoneking: I spent a lot of time in Denver and found the whole marijuana scene very hilarious. I didn’t really see any shows that represented it accurately, so I wanted to write one. When I moved to Austin, I felt like I was really living in Texas for the first time. You go to Barton Springs or Zilker, you see the capitol, living in this city really made me feel like an actual Texan.  So it felt natural to me to combine these two cultures that I’ve spent time in.  

What is your goal with this web series? 

Stoneking: The first thing we want to do is make people laugh. Cody Dearing and I have spent almost a year working on the scripts, and we are very proud of where they are now. The cast is made up of some of ColdTowne’s most talented performers, so with them the scripts are taken to another level.   

Ybarra: Beyond the comedy of the show, we really want to shed light on the issues of federal prohibition on marijuana, and to show that it’s not that big of a deal. Life in Texas will go on, there will be so many people who are for it, and the state would be better off, period. Texas is so far behind the rest of the country, we honestly just want to create a world where that’s not the case. It’s fun to ask the question, “What if Buc-ees had a small marijuana dispensary section by the Yeti coolers?” There’s a lot to lampoon here, and we intend to do that without restraint. 

Why should people support and back this project?

Stoneking: The scripts are hilarious. The cast is extremely talented.  There are 40 million Texans and like 3 billion pot heads, so the audience is enormous!  We just need a little help to get it out there.

Ybarra: This is a collaboration with so many funny Austin improvisers and comedians, who are working together on a unique idea. The list of actors is incredible, and you can find all of them on stage in Austin any given night. Not to mention, there are a lot of shows about weed, and there are a lot of shows about Texas, but we have created the only show about weed AND Texas. Apparently, Willie Nelson is a fan of the whole idea, too. He agreed to sign some posters as Kickstarter rewards, and three have been bought already. We’re extremely grateful for his interest, it’s amazing.

If you’re into the idea, believe the state of Texas doesn’t want us to CHILL or just love throwing your money at the arts, you can back the project here: https://goo.gl/m9KXXH

You can also check out other work by Dream Shake Productions here: https://goo.gl/w1BhEo

Dynamite Summer Bogo Deal – FREE COMEDY!

Any good blog post about an awesome Summer buy one get one deal should begin with a list that might start something like, “The 5 best ATX summer deals,” … you know, something with a little lifestyle research tied in. Then the blogger cleverly ties said cliché summer suggestions to a sweet deal with a rhetorical twist.

We’re not lifestyle bloggers though, so we’re going to cut right to the chase.

This summer (now through Labor Day), you can get into any late night show (i.e. the last show of the night) at ColdTowne Theater for FREE if you attend an earlier show that same night***. Start AND end the night at ColdTowne Theater. When you come in for a show earlier in the night, present your ticket stub at the counter for free admittance to the late performance.

Sounds cool! Please explain more.

Want to check out Pendulum Presents on a Thursday after Frankenfriends? We got you covered. Want to check out Movie Riot, go to the Grand for a few hours, and come back to see Everything’s Fine Mom at 11? Got your back! Want to see the 8:30 Saturday mainstage show, then come back in December for a free ticket? Get lost. This is only cool for the summer (Not associated with #1 hit music maker, Demi Lovato’s summer hit, Cool for the Summer™) while the city empties out due to the oppressive heat!

Plan your night by checking out ColdTowne’s calendar or Evenbrite page.

Okay, final review of what you gotta do.

Buy a ticket to any show and get that sweet ticket punched at the bar. Return later, present thine holy punch and enjoy a free late night show. BYOB optional.

But wait! There’s more!

If you’re like us – in a perpetual state of financial panic – you’re always looking to stretch your entertainment dollar. As always, we have a variety of completely free events each and every week.

IMPROV 101 – Our weekly free improv class!

DREW’s GYM – Pay what you want improv rehearsal at our Conservatory!

STAGE DIVE – Our Monday night stand up comedy open mic!

STOOL PIGEON – Our Sunday night all-star improv show!

*** Offer subject to seating capacity. Unclaimed tickets will be released at showtime for people presenting their ticket stub. Offer not good for nights with only one show.

That Time of the Month celebrates its 3rd birthday!

First impressions aside, That Time of the Month is actually a late night show hosted by a woman that your heart has long desired, but broadcast networks have never delivered! Once a month, Meghan Ross showcases all types of talented comedic acts including music, stand-up, characters, sketches, and general weirdness from women beings, with improvised commercials in between.

Before relocating to Austin, Meghan produced the show in New York for 2 years with co-creator Liisa Murray, featuring past special guests Aparna Nancherla (Corporate), Jo Firestone (The Tonight Show), and Akilah Hughes (Genius Kitchen). She adapted the show at ColdTowne Theater shortly following her move.

That Time of the Month 3-Year Anniversary Show is on Saturday, March 17th at 11pm and features performances from Andie Flores (Muy Excited), improvised commercials from Say Uncle (The Say), a Strong Female Lead(er) interview with Tiffany Lopez (OH TIFF!), stand-up from Avery Moore (Moontower Comedy), plus free champagne along with treats and giveaways from sponsors Zucchini Kill Bakery, Adamo Nail Bar, and OH TIFF! GET TICKETS HERE!

We spoke to That Time of the Month host and producer Meghan Ross about the past 3 years of That Time of the Month!

What was the inspiration behind That Time of the Month?

My fellow improv teammate and sisterwife from another misterwife, Liisa Murray, and I started scheming for our own variety show in New York. We came up with the insane premise of hypothetical TV network executives giving two women their own late night show (there are no women late night hosts on broadcast networks – Full Frontal with Samantha Bee premiered a year after our show, and that was on cable). Since these “TV network execs” clearly didn’t trust us to do a good job, we called each episode a pilot, and at the end of each show, we’d receive ridiculous notes from them on what we should change about ourselves and the show (written by us – shoutout to internalized sexism!).

In between our self-deprecating womonologue jokes that poked fun at stereotypes placed on us, we featured comedic and musical performances from humans who happen to be women, along with late night-style couch interviews. It was important for us to provide more stage time to women, since then, and still today, you often see a lack of diversity in casting and show lineups – both in the comedy scene and in the TV and film industry.

How has the show evolved or changed over the last three years?

Shortly after I moved to Austin, the 2016 Elections happened, so I took some time off from comedy to sit shiva for the country, and to get my shit together for the next iteration of the show. That’s when I decided to incorporate a Strong Female Lead(er) segment, where I interview an activist or entrepreneur doing kickass work in the community. It’s been one of my favorite additions, and I’ve met some incredibly inspiring ladies that have helped restore my sanity and faith in humanity.

Hosting the show solo versus leaning on my co-host Liisa for emotional support and general Stevie Nicks witchy vibes was also a new challenge, but it’s forced me to gain confidence in my ability to run a show by myself in a new city. Or at least pretend I’m confident for 60 minutes.

Also, for the first year and a half, Liisa and I would start the show by dancing to a song (for a while it was Whitney Houston’s “I’m Every Woman”) for the entire length of it (upwards of 5-6 minutes). We’d end up out of breath for our monologue, and when we kept running over our 60-minute slot, we’d be like, “Well, what unnecessary thing could we possibly cut to save time?” and proceed to include the entire dance intro for 20 episodes. It was inspired by how Abbi and Ilana used to start their Broad City Live show at UCB (gotta point out that this was pre-TV show, post-web series, because I’m a recovering comedy snob), since they looked like they were having so much damn fun together, and we wanted to convey that up top. I’ve retired that bit, and accepted that no one wants to see me dance alone on stage for that long.

Any memorable moments or stories?

During the third pilot episode, which was also my birthday show, our late night desk (a cheap folding table from the props closet) collapsed on one side right after one of us said, “Legalize pot,” causing everything to go flying into a puddle of champagne. It was the funniest, dumbest visual ever for our low-budget show and the best comedic timing I’d ever witnessed.

About a year after that, I got the brilliant idea to host a dog wedding on the show, and since no one could really tell us no, we did it. During the desk bit segment, we had a barkelorette party for the dogs, because dog toys look a lot like sex toys. We had a real ordained minister, comedian Lauren Brickman, lead the ceremony and we married off comedian Lily Du’s puppy Jacuzzi to singer Jessica Rowboat’s dog Frodo. The dogparents even read beautiful vows on behalf of their doggos, and afterwards, Jacuzzi ate a doggie cupcake to consummate the whole thing. It was pretty weird of me to force these dogs (neither of which are mine) to marry, but even weirder was when I ended up fostering and adopting my dog Dreidel just a week after the wedding. Second best comedic timing.

My Aunt Dawn, who was like another mother to me, passed away suddenly this past May. I thought about cancelling the May show, but realized she would have wanted me to still do it (not via some Field of Dreams voice, but more because she’s that kind of selfless person and was very supportive of my comedy). I dedicated the show to her and tried to include as many details in her memory, like baking funfetti cookie sandwiches for the audience, which were her specialty, and making a show playlist of her favorite songs. I wrote about her for my monologue as I was flying back to Austin, but didn’t have time to prepare a written desk bit. I decided since it was right around Mother’s Day, I would do an improvised “Call Your Mom” segment where I ask if anyone would be willing to call their mother on speaker at midnight in the middle of a late night show. Improvisor Laura de la Fuente volunteered, and her amazing mom answered the phone and casually chatted with us (in front of our audience) while rushing to catch a plane, and indulged us with an embarrassing story about Laura that had everyone in tears from laughing so hard. After experiencing a family tragedy, that episode really helped me use humor to cope.

What are you looking forward to – creatively speaking – in the next year of the show?

I’ve started partnering with women-owned businesses to showcase and promote women entrepreneurs and business owners in the Austin community, and in return, they generously provide the audience with treats and prizes. I’m also investing a lot of my time and resources to growing the show in 2018, turning it into more than just a side hustle. If given the opportunity, I’d love to make some real TV network executives uncomfortable with my presence.

 

Girls Girls Girls Holiday Spectacular!

Girls Girls Girls celebrates 15 years as an improv troupe this year and is performing their last show of 2017 5:00PM Saturday, December 9 at Coldtowne. Bring your funny holiday story and laugh along as GGG turns it into a mini-musical! GET YOUR TICKETS HERE.

Beginning as Austin’s only all-female improv group, GGG soon added improvised singing and dancing to become Austin’s only musical improv troupe. From there, they started Ladies Are Funny Festival in 2007, the first comedy festival in Austin featuring only female comics and performers.

In many ways, GGG paved the way for all the talented, all-female groups, musical improv groups, and women thriving in the Austin Comedy scene.

“Being an all-girl group used to be quite the novelty act. No longer! Now there’s a ton of all-female groups all over Austin. I like to think we had something to do with that,” says founding troupe member Shana Merlin.

“It’s like Survivor. GGG has outlasted so many tests and treacheries of life to stay together continuously. It helps that we rehearse weekly and have seen each other through marriages, divorces, online dating, health scares, and the births of 6 babies during our time together. We aren’t just performers anymore. We are a tight-knit sisterhood with all that comes with that,” says troupe member Cynthia Oelkers.

“We do it because we love stepping outside of our daily lives and just PLAYING. And it wouldn’t work if we didn’t support the hell out of each other. One performance note we often get is about how well we support each other on stage. It’s because we support each other like that in real life. We babysit for each other, listen when someone is struggling, call to check in, and drop off groceries if needed. We call each other out and hold high expectations of ourselves and our troupe mates. We expect everyone to bring themselves fully to the process, do their troupe jobs, and show up every week. We also respect each other’s limits. Sometimes you can’t make rehearsal because you were up until 2 am with a sick baby or you have a huge project at work or your in-laws are in town. We have a running phrase: ‘I’ll allow it.’ We each have blanket permission from the group to do what we need to do to make it work,” says Amy Averett.

GGG has performed in many theaters around Austin: Salvage Vanguard (rest in peace), The City Theatre, State Theater, The Paramount, Dougherty Arts, The Hideout, The Institution, The Spiderhouse Ballroom, The New Movement, ColdTowne, and ZACH, among others.

“We have loved working with so many iconic Austin theaters – headlining at cozy improv theaters, performing between runs at the City Theatre, and singing at the historic State Theater with the Out of Bounds Festival,” says Sarah Doering.

Girls Girls Girls Improvised Musicals has been an artistic collective since September 2002. They have performed in festivals in New York, Minneapolis, Seattle, Honolulu, Atlanta, Dallas and, of course, our home of Austin, Texas. GGG is the 2012 recipient of the B. Iden Payne “Excellence in Improvisational Theater” award.

Groundhog Indicates: It’s a Good Year for Improv!

Wondering if you or your loved one will enjoy taking classes at ColdTowne? Check out this blog post from Megan Mowry from this past March: she started in our free 101 class (every other Monday at the theater) and hasn’t looked back since.

Want to go ahead and snag that holiday class pass?

 Purchase the pass!

By Megan Mowry

Groundhogs Day 2015: Me, my birthday, and a free improv class at ColdTowne Theater. It didn’t feel significant at the time, but in retrospect, it was honestly the best gift I have ever given myself. I sat down next to Laura de la Fuente  (now a fellow SHESHESHESHE troupe member and BFF) and I remember us being like two chihuahuas in a handbag, both extremely excited and kind of neurotic nervous, but happy to be in the same purse. Flash forward one year later, and we’ve done countless shows together, both performed in mainstages at ColdTowne,  and most importantly, we’ve met so many amazing people in the improv community!

ShePoster-Frank-Mills-optAfter graduating from college over a year ago, I felt like everyone I knew had left Austin, and I was determined to find new friends. I tried intramural kickball, but I don’t really enjoy group sports. I tried a doodle meet up, but it turns out all we had in common was the fact that we all loved our dogs. And then there was improv! Improv class is this magical place filled with humans that come from many different background, yet are somehow all kind, open, honest, and creative individuals playing make believe together. Seriously, what is more fun that that? 

ColdTowne should rename Improv Level 1 to Therapy Level 1. Nat Miller was an amazing teacher. He cultivated a safe and trusting environment for my class to express ourselves in ways that most of us had never done before. I’m not sure about most of you, but I sit at a desk all day in my head, in a car for an hour in my head, even at a workout or yoga still in my head. Improv class feels like the first big stretch after being in a confined space all day. It’s the off leash dog park for humans, it’s standing on a chair in front of room full of people and throwing a full on temper tantrum because it’s  “your character”. Happy freaking birthday to me, it’s been a damn good year!


Megan Mowry performs with her all female Cagematch champion troupe  SHESHESHESHE.  She is in the cast of Fuck This Week, exploring your shit ass week every Monday night at The New Movement. She recently the  joined resident cast of Tarantula, an organic, odd, vibrant web of collective consciousness type of improv, happening the second Saturday of every month at The Institution Theater. Outside of the comedy world, Megan enjoys Karaoke, tiny coffees, and watching improv.

Express Yourself is a Wrap!

The ‘Powerz That Be’ at ColdTowne Theater have asked the cast and directors of ‘Express Yourself’ to write some sad-sack sappy shit about the show. What follows is said sad-sack sappy shit.

 

Linzy-optLinzy Beltran:

‘Express Yourself’ is THE most meaningful show I’ve ever done. Not only was I able to improvise with some of the most talented and supportive comedians in Austin, but we collaborated to speak honestly about issues that truly mattered to each of us conveying true moments and emotions that often made us feel our most vulnerable.

 

I joined because there was going to be another Salvadorian in the cast and I wanted to brag about it to my mom. The result was creating a show that made all others seem like they were missing something.

 

Kenah-optKenah Benefield:

‘Express yourself’ was a show where I could make fun of all of my peers in high school while also talking about real issues that affect us all.

 

Ryan-optRyan Darbonne:

A wise, and totally stacked, man named Ryan Darbonne M.D. once said, “The revolution will not be televised but rather hidden under the guise of a dick joke” Ok, fine. It’s some dumb shit I made up but it’s a sentiment that I firmly believe in. Comedy, as an art form, has always been an important tool to address sociopolitical issues in an all-inclusive way. If you’re laughing with someone a ‘message’ or unique point of view is much easier to digest than the bullshit didacticism found in drama (‘Do the Right Thing’ vs. ‘Crash’ anyone?). When Frank asked me to help co-direct ‘Express Yourself’ I was elated. An opportunity to work closely with an improviser/director I have an immense amount of respect for? Fuck yeah! A chance to subvert racial stereotypes and make a live, predominately white, studio audience uncomfortable with some comedic real talk? Frank, you had me at ‘Hello Kunta’ (btw please stop calling me that. It was funny the first time…).

 

From the get-go the show felt like something special. Once the groundwork was laid out, the tone set and the cast assembled I knew we had something great. Every week our cast of insanely talented players pushed themselves and managed to tackle serious topics (some more heartbreaking than others) with a comedic professionalism that never belittled the subject matter. They forced themselves to be vulnerable, played deplorable characters and fucking killed every single (sold out) performance. ‘Express Yourself’ would NOT have been what it was without them. I’m insanely proud to have been a part of it.

 

Will-optWill Cleveland:

I’m going to remember this show for a long time. This cast was so open, warm, and funny. There should be more comedy shows that take these kinds of risks.

 

 

Abby-optAbby Lincoln:

The show was a dream come true for me; I mean who doesn’t want to work a demanding fulltime job then spend the weekend pretending to do that same exact thing in front of a room full of strangers? In all seriousness though, ‘Express Yourself’ was a dream come true for me as an educator. It was very refreshing to use my first love, acting/performing, to explore and improve my second love, educating low-income students. I’m very proud of the work that our cast was able to accomplish and excited at the prospect that the show broadened some minds and opened some hearts.

 

Laura-optLaura de La Fuente:

Deb and I are two twin bastion baked beans in a bean pod, which is to say that Deb is what my heart looks like. I think it’s like that for most of the players in the show. Each of the characters we played were personal extensions of ourselves. Deb is basically my heart with legs, a Boston accent, and a Red Sox baseball cap. I think ultimately what I learned from the show is that the feelings of adolescence – the angst, the pain, the confusion, the heartache, the yearning – never really go away. Check the internet sometime y’all. It’s filled with inspirational quotes aimed at adults on self-doubt and soul-searching… those “adolescent feelings” are really just human feelings. I still wish I could go back in time and tell my adolescent self “it’s ok – you are not your emotions. You’re bigger than them, and you’ll learn what that means some day. Please be kind to yourself.”

 

‘Express Yourself’ taught me how important it is to bring awareness to what matters to you. You don’t need to be perfectly articulate. Just be brave and talk about it from your heart. Just talk.

 

Oh my gawuhd I miss this show so hard already.

 

Love,

Laura/Deb

 

Lilli-optLilli Lopez:

As an improviser, this show pushed me to create goals beyond getting laughs. Being funny almost became irrelevant. Performing in a show that ignites conversation around topics I deeply care about felt like a responsibility. As a person of color it was empowering. We were able to evoke emotion through scenes touching on topics that, too often, hit home personally but may never cross the minds of many of our audience members. That was truly cathartic for me.

 

Maggie-optMaggie Maye:

‘Express Yourself’ was an interesting and fulfilling experience for me. Every show we dealt with subject matters that weren’t inherently funny (sometimes they were downright tragic) while still being able to put on a hilarious show. I enjoyed working with and learning from the cast members and directors, as well as opening my mind as a performer and as a human who lives in a world riddled with the issues we addressed.

 

Nat-optNat Miller:

‘Express Yourself’ was one of the most challenging and rewarding improv shows I’ve done and featured an incredibly smart and talented cast of players. We didn’t go too deep into the issues on every show but when we did you could feel its impact on the audience. I’m grateful to Frank and Ryan for having the courage to do this show and I hope it inspires more work like it in the Austin improv community.

 

Ronnie-optRonnie Miller:

My whole reason for getting into improv was to have an outlet for self-expression. So when the opportunity to be in a show called ‘Express Yourself’ came up it seemed like a no-brainer. After all, performing for an audience of people who are at least somewhat interested in what you have to say is a lot healthier than getting into arguments with random strangers in the comments sections of Austin American Statesman articles. In everything I do I try to approach it from a place of truth and love…this show was no different. In particular, ‘Express Yourself’ forced me to get out of my comfort zone of quick wit and banter and required me to really dig deep and be more vulnerable on stage. I also had to quiet my inner contrarian. Instead of just vocalizing an opposing viewpoint I really had to strive to show or understand how that viewpoint came to be. I think that is where the impact comes from and why the show has been so popular. It has allowed people to experience points of views they don’t regularly get to see.

 

Frank-optFrank Netscher:

‘Express Yourself’ has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Going into it, I was terrified. Coming out of it, I don’t know how I’m ever going to improvise again. First of all, I’ve never had a co-director like Ryan Darbonne. In any improv project, I’m the one who’s always way too committed to putting effort into the show. Ryan was right there with me, excited and exhausted. He’s smart and playful and just a comedy genius. But, so was everyone on the cast (Suck it, Ryan!). I have never directed a cast that was so willing to meet the high standards that I set for them. For the show to work, they had to be completely vulnerable about their identities for seven weeks straight. The bar was really high, and they went way over it. Nobody involved was just looking for stage time; they all wanted the show to be really good. When you have so many people committed to making a good show, it’s hard for me to accept any credit. It just felt so much bigger than me.

 

Sanjay-optSanjay Rao:

‘Express Yourself’ was such a fun and exciting show. I loved the polish the directors push so hard for. I loved the characters we got to create. I loved the subject matter we tackled. I loved how the show wasn’t afraid to “go there”. I loved the moments of vulnerability that people had. I loved the wild, crazy, and silly moments that were earned. I just loved this show and will always remember it as something unique.

 

Kim-optKim Tran

Racism, police brutality, gentrification, etc – these are topics that we should all learn and talk about more but don’t because it can be uncomfortable. The show gave audiences, and myself, a way to explore a hard topic while making it personal, palatable and funny at the same time. And people liked it. There are probably elements of this show that could be used in real-life conversations to discuss these issues. ‘Express Yourself’ was special to me because it was the first time I wasn’t one of the few brown people on stage. In a way, and maybe just for me, it was relieving to not have to feel the burden of representation and be among players who, in some form or fashion, take part in the shared experience of being a minority. We just came to have fun, be real and express ourselves.

 

Javi-optJavi Ungo:

This has absolutely been one the most gratifying experiences I have had in improv. To play with a cast that was primarily people of color and to tackle difficult topics was enormously rewarding. The fact that I was able to get on stage and make jokes about pupusas (Google it and then go get you some) was so rewarding in the sense that I was able to bring so much of my own identity to the stage in a way I had never been able to.

Letters from the Garden – Gardenalia Opens Tomorrow!

Arian Brumby Dear Matilda,

gwendolynI’m so glad to hear that your husband was hospitalized for exhaustion! He’s been a thorn in your side for too long. Perhaps now you’ll have more time to play the rain stick. The Garden Party is this Saturday and I’m hoping to make a special connection with Ruby. She and I were very friendly in school. Very friendly… But I digress. The business is doing splendidly. I’ve cured three cats of schizophrenia and a fourth of sad thoughts. Hoping you can bring Muffins by soon. I miss you both terribly. Toodaloo, Gwendolyn

Kim Lowery Dear Diary,

DorthyI’m counting down the days until the Garden Party. Vivian is hosting this year, and I simply can’t wait to see what the girls will be wearing. Oh Diary, I cannot admit to anyone else how aroused I am by the thought of all the possibilities. I feel the electricity in the air as the day nears when our spirits will coalesce. Oh, I promise I’ve been good all year long. I’ve followed the rules and done what was asked of me, but now it’s almost that time when I can finally find my freedom again. Yours truly, Dorthy

Kristen Samuelsen Dear Journal,

MillieHarry Houdini died today. I’m extraordinarily shaken up about it. Growing up, he was the one person I could count on to defy the constrains of life as we know it — to make the impossible possible, if you will. When I was a little girl, Isaw his act when he escaped from a milk can filled with water. It mesmerized and excited me. If he could escape death, perhaps I could, too! Now that he’s passed, the impossible seems impossible again. I am filled with woe. I don’t know how I’ll be able to go on. Oh, there’s that Garden Party this weekend. Perhaps that will lift my spirits. Here’s hoping. Until next time, Millie

Emma Holder Dear Lenoire,

VivianI hope sea bathing in Greece is the cure all we hoped it would be for you. That Psoriasis will clear up in no time, I’m sure! The Garden party is this Saturday and it won’t be the same without you, but we must carry on. It will be nice to see all of the ladies. I see Millie and Frankie quite regularly but I haven’t seen Georgia since her New Year’s Eve party. Hopefully no one will bring up the champagne fountain incident. I do wish you would be there to help me stay grounded but I am afraid in your absence I may just have to get wild! Your Sister of Dionysus, Vivian

Lindsey Moringy Dear Diary,

GeorgiaWhy why why wasn’t I chosen for the lead role in our community theater’s rendition of “Showboat.” It doesn’t make any sense. I am the gem of this town. Everyone knows my name. Why. In response to the foolish director’s protesting of my destiny, I will be counter-protesting at each showing of “Showboat.” I will march with signs, sing songs of my own, and I expect the entire community to join in my noble cause. I’ve already thought of several chants: “SHOWBOAT, NO BOAT – WE WANT GEORGIA!”


Find TicketsGardenalia_Poster-opt

Directed by Kristin Henn/Produced by Kristin Henn & Erika May McNichol

Gardenalia is a Bachanalian garden party. A yearly ritual clandestinely celebrated by women for over 3000 years. Secrets revealed, powers unleashed, patterns observed. A garden party in the 1920’s where the “rituals” heighten to absurdity and release. An experiential comedic and weird experience about the small, strange things people do to navigate the world and the hidden practices of the people you think you know.

Find Tickets

A Brief History of Magic

Returning to the ColdTowne mainstage on the heels of their sold-out 2015 run, sketch team Comedy Bazaar is back in February with A Brief History of Magic.

Exploring everything from wizards and enchanters to the supernatural and the occult, the new show is sure to delight those who like magical themes as much as those who simply enjoy tightly-written sketch comedy.

ABHOMagic_poster_400x600We asked Comedy Bazaar to answer some questions about the new show.

What inspired the magical theme?

CB: “We like a theme that’s narrow enough to focus our writing but broad enough to go in a lot of directions and carry a lot of possible interpretations. Magic seemed like such a fun and natural choice.

With magic, you have the usual tropes of sorcery and knights and dragons—and those are great, of course. But then you have hypnotism, the occult, paganism and wiccanism, trickery, deception, conspiracies, and how people control and deceive each other. It’s quite interesting, when you dig into it.”

What makes this show different than previous ones?

CB: “We found ourselves writing shorter, punchier material this time. So, we embraced that and ended up with 15 sketches in the span of a 45 minute show. Expect a faster show, with many sketches clocking in at 1 or 2 minutes. Plus a few longer ones.”

What makes Comedy Bazaar itself different?

CB: “We definitely have a style. It’s a mix of zany and silly alongside cerebral and intelligent. You could say we embrace high-minded cultural satire as much as we embrace giant animal costumes and throwing food on stage. We’ve always thrived on a mix.

We’re also huge fans of the editing process. We take every sketch draft and mold it, until it reaches a higher potential. Working with a group writer’s mind—where everyone makes a sketch incrementally better with a cut here or a new phrase there—is one of our strong points.”

Thanks, Comedy Bazaar! It sounds spellbinding. Be sure to join Comedy Bazaar at 7pm on Saturdays in February.

BONUS: Want to win tickets to see the show? Plus some great magical swag from Half Price Books, including a $10 gift certificate and a 15% off coupon?

Enter the ticket giveaway by Friday Feb. 13 to win. Thanks to Half Price Books for sponsoring!

Comedy Bazaar is Alejandro Garcia, Alex Baia, Ella Gale, Matt Needles, and Nicole Beckley. Directed by Eric Rutherford.

Hill Jones Worshops and Show!

Hill-Jones-Improv-Los-Angeles-Left-Matt-Jones-of-Breaking-Bad-1Hill Jones are heading to ColdTowne for workshops and and a live show! Catch them along with Brain Trust, on Wednesday, October 28 at 11pm. Tickets are available now!

ColdTowne Theater is proud two offer two workshops with the amazing Hill Jones. Both workshops feature the Driver’s Seat with  Matt Jones and Dave Hill. Then you’ll continue on with either Matt or Dave for a solo workshop.

WORKSHOPS ARE SOLD OUT
Please e-mail buckprov@yahoo.com t0 get on the waiting list.

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 1 – 2pm – 5pm @ ColdTowne Conservatory, 6929 Airport Blvd. #131, ATX

Driver’s Seat 2:00-3:30 w/Hill Jones

Too often, the improv “rules” get in the way of enjoying ourselves on stage.  “Don’t” becomes “can’t” and it kills the fun!  In this workshop, Dave Hill and Matt Jones (“Hill Jones”) will tag-team teach the principles that guide them in their work together to get you past the rules and back into the driver’s seat of improv!

And then you have the choice of either:

Milking the Relationship 3:30-5:00 w/Matt Jones
The basis of every scene is the relationship between it’s characters. Learn how to recognize that relationship and all it can do for the scene. Then, milk that relationship for all it’s worth!

or

Just The Facts 3:30-5:00 w/Dave Hill
Do you find yourself lost in improv scenes? Not sure which pieces of information are important and which aren’t? Tired of ending your scenes grasping for anything and leaving scenes feeling like they were about nothing? “Just the Facts” will help you develop the ability to zero in on what is most important in your scenes so that you can enjoy the fun that is possible in every scene.

NOTE: Do not sign up for both workshop unless you own a time turner as they both happen at the same time.

WORKSHOPS ARE SOLD OUT
Please e-mail buckprov@yahoo.com t0 get on the waiting list.


HILL JONES
Since they first performed together (and won) the 2007 iO West Duo Competition, Hill Jones has performed regularly around LA at the UCB, Second City and their usual home, the iO West.  In the time since, they have traveled the country performing in multiple cities and festivals including San Francisco SketchFest and the Out Of Bounds Fest.  Playing with a high-energy and character-driven style, Dave Hill and Matt Jones have created shows about everything from a zombie apocalypse to a ninja quest to the recording of a blues legend’s last album.  Sometimes inhabiting multiple characters in the same scene they employ genres and old-fashioned storytelling in an attempt to create weird, wonderful worlds full of unique people in every show they perform.

davehill-200x278DAVE HILL
Dave Hill is an actor, improviser and writer from Chicago where he trained at the iO and Second City.  Now in LA he improvises with Hill Jones, King Ten and The Armando Show. His work can be seen in the Hulu original series QUICK DRAW and the Comedy Central classic RENO 911.  His voice has been heard on such animated series as SQUIDBILLIES, AMERICAN DAD and BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD as well as numerous video games.  He co-wrote, co-directed and co-starred in the up-coming feature film THE NIGHT IS YOUNG.

mattjones-200x278MATT JONES
Matt Jones has performed improv and sketch comedy since the age of 17 all over LA as well as with the famous BOOM! Chicago theatre in Amsterdam.  Since his return to LA he has been seen in the recurring role of ‘Badger’ on AMC’s BREAKING BAD and is now a series regular on the CBS sitcom MOM.  He can be seen in the films COOTIES, RED STATE and HIGH ROAD as well as the upcoming THE NIGHT IS YOUNG; which he co-wrote, co-directed and co-starred.  Jones has voiced the characters for animated series like KICK BUTTOWSKI, ADVENTURE TIME, THE CLEVELAND SHOW, SANJAY AND CRAIG, BEWARE OF THE BATMAN, and many more.

Know Your Troupe: After Midnight

After Midnight started on a whim when some Level 1 students decided to enter the ColdTowne CageMatch.  They went on to win that series and have kept performing together regularly at ColdTowne while still taking classes.  Now in Level 5, Chelsea Bunn, Vickie Dinges Grier, Kim Lowery, Brian May, Lance Nealy, Frances Nguyen and Bobby Stover tell us what it’s like to play shows while still learning the basics.After Midnight

Before we get into the nitty gritty, can you all explain what exactly the ColdTowne CageMatch is?

Lance: The CageMatch is like a bracket-style tourney.  Each Wednesday night at 10, two or three troupes will each play twenty minute sets with the audience voting on who they liked best.  The team that wins that night advances.  There are usually a few weeks of preliminaries, then the semifinals and then you’re ultimately left with two teams.  The troupe that wins that final round are made CageMatch champions and get to sign their name on the chump chucker, this barbed wire-wrapped 2×4.  It’s bad-ass.  They’ve also recently added a four-show run to the deal.  Since Raw Power won the last series, they get to host the current one and close out every CageMatch show.  But the best part is that anyone can form a troupe and enter.  The commissioner can only take so many troupes, but pretty much everyone has an equal shot.  That’s how we got in, dumb luck.  Part of winning is putting on a good show, but an equal part is marketing it, so you get all your friends to show up and vote.

Bobby: For me Cagematch epitomizes what I love about Coldtowne: that everyone, regardless of experience level, is eligible to perform and participate. It just makes the improv community seem so open and inviting.

How long have you all been performing improv comedy?  What made you start?

Brian May

Brian May

Brian: I started in January along with most of these people.  I had recently gone to NYC and seen some amazing stand-up that got me really into the whole comedy world, and I had always watched “Whose Line” growing up.  Then I had a friend from forever ago that tried improv to get stage experience for Blue Man Group, and he loved it.  I took his suggestion and ran with it, couldn’t be happier he told me to go for it.

Kim: My husband sent me a text one day with a picture of a ColdTowne poster someone had hung up in the break room in his office. (Thanks Sarah Coker!) His message said, “You could do an improv class =)” So I went to the free Monday night class with Cody. It was so exciting, and I was happy for the challenge.

Bobby: I saw a rap battle show at another improv studio in town and thought it looked like a lot of fun. Then Frances and I wound up in the same free class with Kim and, BAM! Next thing I knew I was standing on stage, blinded by bright stage lights. Nicely done Cody!

Vickie: A friend did an interview with Sam for the my husband’s podcast and I fell in love with the idea. The hubs got me Level 1 classes as a Christmas gift.

Lance: My neighbors took me to see The Frank Mills and Midnight Society at ColdTowne and I had a blast.  I kept that ticket stub with the free class info on my desk. I was working from home at the time, and was new to Austin so I really needed to get out and meet people.

How did you all meet?  How did After Midnight happen?

Brian: We all just met through classes at improv.  Bobby just asked who wanted to try to enter the CageMatch, and then a Facebook chat was born, and eventually we got to the CageMatch.

Bobby Stover

Bobby Stover

Bobby: I became aware that Level 1’s can participate in Cagematch on the eve of the deadline so as Brian said, I just asked everyone in my class and signed us up that night. Luckily you can change rosters before the first show because we lost about half of the people who originally said they were interested. So between those few brave remaining souls and a couple free agents we picked up as late as the evening of our first show – Kady and Vickie I believe? After Midnight became a thing!

Vickie: I believe Bobby is right. I asked if they had enough people and Bobby said “come on.” When we advanced the first night, I didn’t even realize they said our name.

Lance: Yeah, Vickie was totally “What just happened?”  That first show was so much fun and just crazy.  At this point I feel like we need to pour one out for our dead homie Kady Ferris.  She’s not dead, but she moved to Portland after we won the CageMatch series, which basically makes her dead to us.  But in a nice way.  Hi, Kady!

Where did your name come from?

Frances: Bobby signed our group up for the CageMatch, but he did so after the deadline which is at midnight. Hence, After Midnight.

Lance: I used to really hate the name, but it’s totally grown on me.  It definitely fits the material we did in that first run of shows.  Very perverted.  Very blue.

Brian:  I’m with Lance, I really didn’t like it, but it is growing on me, plus some one found a theme song with our troupe name, so that’s not a bad thing.

Bobby: I stand by my late-night, half-thought out decision on a name. Glad ya’ll finally came around!

Are you nervous before you go on?  What’s the mood like in the hallway?

Frances Nguyen

Frances Nguyen

Frances: Excited mostly. A little nervous. And just trying to keep the momentum from warming up going as we’re waiting. My favorite part is right before going on when we all pat each other on the back and say, “I got your back.” It’s slightly cheesy and totally sincere.

Brian: I’m always really excited before and not nervous at all before we get into the hallway, then it’s like game time and the mood gets more serious, and we do the got your back thing, Frances hit the nail on the head, if you read this I applaud your dedication to the interview.

Kim: I’m not always nervous until I get in the hallway, then I’m pretty much immediately giddy and sweaty and unsure. It’s like being strapped into the seat of a Roller Coaster ride. There’s no turning back, and I almost always regret my decision to put myself in these situations. But afterward, I’m so excited and proud that I did it.

Vickie: Love Fest!

How do you get pumped up for a show?

Brian: I love warming up, it’s just a great way to shake everything out and get psyched for whatever is about to happen.

Kim: Warming up in the parking lot is so fun. We play games and run through our opening. It’s pretty incredible being able to play with friends like I did when I was a kid and know that they won’t make fun of these stupid and sometimes vulgar things popping out of my mouth.

Vickie Dinges Grier

Vickie Dinges Grier

Vickie: Usually, Kim says something about poop or Lance gives a character the attribute of having one leg shorter than the other. I also love the addition of Chelsea, who brought Bunny and Froggy into our lives.

Lance: There was some Yelp review online that complained about shows not being improvised because people were rehearsing in the parking lot.  To the uninitiated, we’re not rehearsing lines or anything, we’re mentally stretching.  Getting loose.

Is it weird taking classes, but also performing?  Has one helped the other?

Brian: I don’t think it’s weird, it’s so helpful to have both sides of it going.  Currently we’re doing some coaching as well, which is extremely fun and helpful.  We have class which we really break stuff down and play less, but learn SO much.  It’s nice to be able to play in coaching, and then get down to the nitty gritty the day after, let our minds go over it and then we play again.

Kim: It was weird at first. I sort of had the thought, “Who do we think we are, we don’t know anything yet!” But I think that’s what made us decent. We were learning and we were excited. It still feels that way most of the time.

Vickie: I think they go hand in hand. Classes are the hard work and preparation that make performing fun. And, yes, some of the Level 3 sessions were difficult for me, but I learned a lot. Thanks Dave!

Lance Nealy

Lance Nealy

Lance: It’s actually funny how quickly we all moved from being terrified of being on stage to being absolutely addicted.  Most of us are in multiple troupes now because we just love playing.  There’s Loverboy, Side Hugs, Sorry For Your Loss, GameTowne, Grounded in Harmony, Save By the Bell, Replacement Mark and probably a few more by the time you read this.

What’s it like coming off stage?

Brian: It’s always a little strange, it never feels like it was 20-30 minutes, it goes by in what feels like 5 minutes every time.  Sometimes I get so caught up in watching the troupe that I almost forget that I am supposed to get up and play too.

Bobby: Oh man, I always feel in a daze and can barely focus on anything people are saying right after a show. It’s an adrenaline rush being under the lights in front of a room full of people. I love it!

Kim Lowery

Kim Lowery

Kim: After a good show where we each got a few laughs, coming off stage is exhilarating. But we recently experienced coming off stage and sort of staring at each other in disbelief. We all knew we hadn’t had fun out there.

Vickie: It’s a feeling of exhilaration and relief all at the same time, but then we start talking about what was good and what could’ve been better. I love it when our coach, Emma, is there because we can get notes right away. I am glad she didn’t see the show Kim described though. It was craptastical.

Lance: Yeah, that one show.  We had a run of shows we had really enjoyed.  I think part of them was “Wow!  We did it.  We got up.” And we were inexperienced enough that we didn’t see things we should have done better.  I think the longer you’re doing it, the more likely you are to find fault with something you did on stage.  Well, we finally hit that show that was just craptastical, as Vickie said.  It just wasn’t fun.  We had weird energy going in, lots of people had crappy days, etc.  But, two days later we had a great show.  So much fun.  For me it was very much like, “Well, nothing could be worse than that crap fest that just happened.”

Do you all hang out when not in classes or practice?

Frances: No. We all actually hate each other. Sometimes I pass Kim in the hallway, and we try really hard not to make eye contact with each other.

Brian: There’s some animosity in the group, so it’s best to act like we get along on stage.

Bobby: Occasionally we’ll show up to the same bar by accident and it’s super awkward. Lance usually gets buzzed on fruity drinks and then things just get weird!

Kim: Lance sometimes sends us nude photos. Of course, they’re unwanted but it’s nice that he’s reaching out, trying to keep us all connected.

Vickie: The troupe has kind of made me the mom figure, which means we are horribly dysfunctional.

Lance: Can you feel the love?  Seriously though, we do hang.  After Midnight is very fond of happy hours and day-drinking.  Except Chelsea.  She doesn’t like to drink.  So never offer her a free beer.

After Midnight

After Midnight

Is there something you feel you still struggle with?

Brian: I feel like I struggle with keeping it slow and not jumping to something for a crazy statement.  Characters are also not my strong suit I feel, but now you guys all know what to look for and to point out how terrible I am at them, GREAT.

Vickie: Impulse control and remembering to develop relationships with the other characters. I like playing with Frances because she is really good at both.

Bobby: So many times in a show you wind up just jumping up on stage at a moment’s notice which makes it very difficult to truly internalize a character and be able think and act like they honestly would in the various weird obscure scenarios we create. Thank goodness for practice time!

Frances: Aww, thanks Vickie! Something I struggle with is just going with my gut and having confidence in what I have to say, which is something I think a lot of members in our group, especially Vickie, are great at.

Lance: Holding onto a character.  Although I recently took a character workshop with Dave Buckman and I’m definitely working on that  And I agree with Brian, slowing things down and working on developing characters, versus just doing bits.  Also spacework.  Good lord do I suck at pantomiming.

Now that you’re way past the halfway point in classes, is there a tip you’ve learned that you’d pass on to other students/performers?

Chelsea Bunn

Chelsea Bunn

Chelsea: Sit in on classes with different teachers to see what kind of coaching best suits your learning style.

Lance: Try not to be hard yourself.  The thing you hated that you did, someone else thought was hilarious.  I’m still pretty bad at this one though.  It’s good advice but hard to follow.

Brian: Listen, listen, listen.

Vickie: I second all of that. Learning to be open and just letting go can be harder than you think. Turn into the skid!

Bobby: Go to jams early and often! Doing this helped my understanding of what we were learning in classes immensely.

Frances: See shows! There are times when I get in my head about how I’m doing in classes or performances. And then I force myself to go see a show and am reminded why I started taking classes in the first place: when you see a great show, it’s brilliant and funny and inspiring.

Lance: Also if you have the time, try to intern.  You get a discount on classes, but more importantly, when you’re doing tech you get to watch shows.  You learn so much from just watching shows.

Favorite drink.

After Midnight

After Midnight

Chelsea: There is a fierce “beer v. liquor” debate within AM. I think we all know which is better… it’s beer.

Lance: Meh.

Brian: I got Lance to say he liked a beer, and of course he denied it afterwards.  But I’m a huge imperial stout fan, I used to mainly drink liquor, but this whole craft beer goodness is too good to me.

Vickie: Vodka and ginger ale—not ginger beer, not coke and sprite mixed together, not soda with bitters in it—ginger-freakin’ ale! Lance and I are the liquor hounds!

Lance: I’m a big American whiskey fan, almost anything brown.  But I’ve also been digging on the Mezcal lately.

Favorite movie.

Brian: Wet Hot American Summer, I have watched the first half of that movie drunkenly and passed out at 3:30 am than any other movie.  It’s my I-have-people-over-and-we’re-all-drinking-we-have-to-watch-this-movie-right-now-and-then-I-pass-out-halfway-through movie.  And there are so many small gems in that movie that you have to watch multiple times through, or at least I did.

Kim: I like all the movies. Especially from the 80s and 90s.

Vickie: The Big Chill, Best in Show, Caddyshack, Dogma, Toys, and A Fish Called Wanda.  I also have to watch Snakes on a Plane and Deep Blue Sea any time they are on. Hilarious!

Favorite moment in comedy.  Ever?

After Midnight

After Midnight

Brian: That’s a tough one, I honestly can’t say.  Maybe watching “Whose Line” growing up with my dad.  That’s such a hard question though, there’s so many new moments, definitely doing improv now, every time you play there’s something that is so funny that it blows you away.

Kim:

Clark: Whew, it’s warm in here.

Mary: Well you have your coat on.

Clark: Ah yes I do, why is that?

Mary: Because it’s cold out.

Clark: Yes it is, it’s a bit nipply out. I mean nippy out, what did I say, nipple? Huh, there is a nip in the air.

Vickie: I love watching classic stand-up, especially George Carlin, Steve Martin, and Richard Pryor. The Original Kings of Comedy has me in tears every freakin’ time and John Leguizamo and Eddie Izzard are pretty genius. Yes, I know I didn’t answer the question.

Lance: I can’t pick a favorite moment in comedy, but the hardest I’ve ever laughed was during the Happy Fun Ball SNL commercial.  Something about it just tickled me to the point where I started hyperventilating and I passed out.  I woke up and my friend Chris was standing over me laughing at me.  I then started laughing again and almost passed out.

Favorite thing about improv?

After Midnight

After Midnight

Brian: The ability to do whatever you want and it’s always right.  No matter how ridiculous it comes out of your mouth, it always just works.

Kim: With very few exceptions, I go home feeling inspired and encouraged. The audience is ready to laugh and support us. The best improvisers, the ones I look up to, have been so great to give a pat on the back or an encouraging word. My troupe and classmates have become some seriously awesome friends.

Vickie: I think it’s the unpredictability that comes with playing with other people. I’ve done some stand-up and this is a totally different vibe. You have no idea what’s about to happen, but you feel fearless because you know the others are there for you.

Lance: Totally sappy, but I really love making up stuff with my friends.  It’s not always gonna be funny, but it’ll always be fun.  Also, I love being in the wings cracking up, watching my friends on stage and I look across at the other wing and I see people there laughing too.  That’s the best.

What would you say to someone who has thought about taking classes, but hasn’t signed up yet?

Brian: Either try a free class on the first Monday of the month, or maybe wait until there’s a deal if you’re looking to save some money.  I can tell you it’s been worth every penny and I can’t think of anything better to spend it on then learning more and playing with these fine people.

Bobby: Stop hesitating! It’s worth it. And who knows, you may just find out a thing or two about yourself; like that your go-to dance move is a pelvic thrust.  Lance!

Kim: DO IT! Seriously, you won’t regret it. I’m always surprised that I am doing this. I love that I’m attempting to learn how to do something that I admire in other performers.

Vickie: It’s a gift to yourself. For two hours a week, you can play and be totally in the moment. Work, traffic, bills, and anything else that’s stressing you out gets pushed completely from your mind.

Best thing that’s happened during a show? Worst?

After Midnight

After Midnight

Brian: There are so many good things that have happened, I can’t remember the best thing, they all blur together after a while.  Each CageMatch show we have had had a main point to it that we kept hitting on, and we were going through learning what we were doing, that may be the best part, but that’s just the experience on the whole… Worst thing, I can’t even think of anything bad, anything that feels rough you just forget about and move on, go through the rest of it and it all works out.

Kim: I’m not sure how this qualifies, but in one of our first shows, Bobby’s character made me get on a donkey. Everything in the show had been leading up to seeing a Donkey Show. I was thinking, “If he makes me fuck a donkey, then it’s on like Donkey Kong.” Thanks Bobby for having my back and taking our donkeys on a sunset ride on the beach.

Vickie: I have had some really funny scenes with Brian where I have gotten all up in his personal space. I also liked when I was Lance’s mom and gave him electro-shock therapy. Bobby and Frances invariably make me play the mom in scenes, which can be best or worst. (Remember our trip to the brothel, Bobby?)

Bobby: I had my improv mom, Vickie, meet my real mom once…it wasn’t awkward until Vickie said “so I took your son to a brothel last week…”. Not a bit.

Lance: There was moment on stage where Bobby and I were father and son and we were working at an Arby’s.  I said something about beating the meat and I could see Bobby almost start to break, at that point I knew it was gonna be a good night.

When people come to an After Midnight show, what are they going to see?

After Midnight

After Midnight

Brian: Honestly, who knows.  Our shows tend to have some dirty subject matter, I feel like Vickie, Kim, and I help to really drive that, maybe unintentionally, but it always happens.  We’re testing out formats, and as of me writing this we haven’t even decided what we’re doing yet, we might just make it up all on the spot.

Frances: A group of people having fun! We like performing with one another and are still learning. I feel like I’m getting up there and laughing along with my troupe and the audience.

Kim: They will see a bunch of grown ups playing on stage. We usually have so much fun, and I’m always proud of my troupe mates when they’re up there.

Vickie: Hopefully a high-energy, totally random, completely inappropriate event that’s a hell of a lot of fun.

Bobby: What Vickie really means is: donkey stuff.

If your troupe entered the Hunger Games, who would win?  Who would die first?

Frances: I think we talked about this over drinks once, but I can’t remember who we decided would win. I’m pretty sure Bobby and Lance decided to form an alliance to kill everyone else. Typical.

Lance: I don’t know, I’d probably try to form an alliance with Vickie.  She always seems to have the skinny on what’s going on in Austin. She’d probably know where all the good knives are buried and which bush is the most flammable.

Brian: I would probably talk a lot of trash and then die about halfway through, but I also haven’t seen the Hunger Games or read the books, so I don’t even know what I’m talking about.

Chelsea: Kady would definitely die first.

Kim: I would win. Because Kim gets Hangry.

Bobby: Guys, I think Chelsea killed Kady!!!

Vickie: Lance is right! I’d put your money on me. I mean, I am the person who sent out pictures of corn dogs and vodka to the entire group. I wouldn’t count Frances out either. She makes a mean cupcake and she will cut a bitch.

After Midnight

After Midnight

Besides After Midnight, who should people check out at ColdTowne Theater?

Brian: I enjoy those Miller and Purselley boys.  I’m also partial since I did graduate from high school with Pierce, and we had a very touching moment in my first improv class that we both forgot we were in class, and it stopped cause he “had to keep keeping class” or whatever.

Kim: Miller and Purselley. Anything with Juliet Prather or Sarah Coker. There are so many people to stalk… I mean watch… on stage from a safe and respectable  distance.

Bobby: The Frank Mills are awesome, Patio Talk is always hilarious, and pretty much anything involving John Ratliff leaves you wanting to become a better improviser; especially Ratliff’s Church of Indeterminate Divinity show every 3rd Sunday of the month at 5:30pm! (shameless plug, anyone??)

Vickie: There is such a variety: Frank Mills, Wink Planet, Glamazon. The jams are always a chaotic mish-mash of awesome. I also like the Triple Threat shows that combine improv, sketch, and standup.

Lance: Oh, Science! on Sundays is great and if you get a chance, catch Dervish!


All photos by Kim Lowery.

You can see After Midnight perform Wednesday, November 5 @ 8:30pm – tickets available now.

Check out the next FREE Improv 101 Class,  the first Monday of every month at 7pm.

ColdTowne 8th Anniversary Lock-In Weekend

ColdTowne Theater celebrates its 8th anniversary with a lock-in weekend, featuring a marathon run of shows this Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.  Each evening following our amazing regularly-scheduled shows, come back and enjoy as much comedy as you can handle — a $5 ticket will get you access to a night full of reunion shows, odds bits and mystery shenanigans.  Tickets are only available at the door.  

Thursday 10/23

  • 10:00pm – Array
  • 10:30pm – RUSH
  • 11:00pm – I Gotta Be Honest
  • 11:15pm – The Poster
  • 11:30pm – Improv Royale Finally Graduates

Array: Arthur Simone, Naomi Perryman, John Brewster, Matt Needles and guests.

RUSH: Luke Wallens, Steve Moore, Juliet Prather, Tevis Paxton, Matt Vaught, Jon Bolden, Kim Dilling, Matt Stoner, Emily McDonald and Ricky Oliphant.

I Gotta Be Honest: Justin Soileau and Ian Townsend.

The Poster: Matt Needles, Sanjay Rao, Ian Townsend, Eli Eidson, KC Harvey-Taylor, Matt Stoner and Alejandro Garcia.

Improv Royale Finally Graduates: John Ratliff, Jericho Thorp, Cody Dearing, Lubu Roberts, Brett Tribe and Lance Gilstrap.

Friday 10/24

  • 11:30pm – Big Marinara
  • 11:45pm – Because I Said So
  • 12:00am – This Really Happened To Lance & Jericho
  • 12:15am – Sorry For Your Loss
  • 12:30am – SpareFoot Presents The SpareFoot All-Star Players *Presented by SpareFoot
  • 12:45am – Matt and Sarah Present a Compliment PowerPoint
  • 1:00am – Mirage Machine
  • 1:15am – Ctrl-Skutch-Delete
  • 1:30am – Improvised Warp Speed Sarah Coker Show
  • 1:45am – Brothers (Recreate the Movie Speed)

Big Marinara: Tre Fuentes, Frank Netscher, Katie Thornton, Carlos LaRotta, David Jara, Ed Reed, Emma Holder and Curtis Luciani.

Because I Said So: Joseph Dailey, Margot Evelyn and Charlotte Evelyn.

This Really Happened To Lance & Jericho: Lance Nealy and Jericho Thorp.

Sorry For Your Loss: Stewart Chow, Kim Lowery, Lance Nealy, Brian O’Neill and Benjamin Babcock.

SpareFoot Presents The SpareFoot All-Star Players Presented by SpareFoot: Nathan Sowell, Jake Millward, Chris McKeever, Quinn Gaunt, Tevis Paxton and Brett Tribe.

Matt and Sarah Present a Compliment Power Point: Matt Stoner and Sarah Coker.

Mirage Machine: Theo Daley, David Fruchter, Chance Garcia, Kenny Madison.

Ctrl-Skutch-Delete: Jessica Marpe, Nathan Sowell, Cody Dearing, Carlos LaRotta, Naomi Perryman.

Improvised Warp Speed Sarah Coker Show:  Frank Netscher, Sarah Coker, Matt Stoner and Julet Prather.

Brothers: Byron Brown, Kirk Johnson, Sam Eidson, Eli Eidson and Carlos LaRotta.

Saturday 10/25

  • 11:00pm – ColdTowne
  • 11:15pm – You Okay?
  • 11:30pm – Bring It Jones
  • 11:45pm – Channel 69 Nightly News with Peverly Brothers
  • 12:00am – The Founding Fathers
  • 12:15am – Improv vs. Sitcom Laugh Track
  • 12:30am – Old Stever
  • 12:45am – Tequila
  • 1:00am – Mustache Reunion Show
  • 1:15am – Ratliff and Eric Smoke Cigarettes Out at the Picnic Tables
  • 1:30am – Two Man Adam Sandler Movie
  • 1:45am – Where Are They Now? (Improvised Scenes as People Who Have Moved Away)

ColdTowne: Justin York, Michael Jastroch and Arthur Simone.

You Okay? Courtney Sevener, Nathan Sowell, David Hess, Ben Bazen, Carlos LaRotta and Juliet Prather.

Bring It Jones: Lots and lots of ladies from the AIC.

Channel 69 Nightly News with the Peverly Brothers: Drew Wesely, Eli Eidson and Sarah Coker.

The Founding Fathers: Jericho Thorp, Michael Jastroch, Lance Gilstrap, Bob Nichols, Arthur Simone and John Ratliff.

Improv vs. Sitcom Laugh Track: Sanjay Rao, Steve Moore, Eric Rutherford and KC Harvey-Taylor.

Old Stever: Drew Wesley, Caitlin Baumgartner, Kristin Henn, Amy Carpenter, Arian Brumby, Kenah Benefield, Steve Scott, Luke Wallens and Adam Oestrich.

Tequila: Ian Townsend, Jared Robertson, Steve Wright, Amy Wright, Javier Ungo.

Mustache Reunion Show: Ed Melendez, Josh Gill, Frank Netscher, Kristin Henn and Shea Scott.

Ratliff and Eric Smoke Cigarettes Out at the Picnic Tables: John Ratliff and Eric Rutherford.

Two Man Adam Sandler Movie: Ian Townsend and Alejandro Garcia.

Where Are They Now: Cody Dearing and Guests.

Slam Team Six – FINAL SHOW!

Imagine: a Saturday morning cartoon gone wrong, where a fantastic foursome of America’s most beloved professional wrestling superstars use their athletic prowess and “powers” outside of the ring to fight crime, help children, and protect the environment. At least they mean to.

Each Saturday in April at 8:30pm, Slam Team Six (professional wrestling heroes Pyschobilly, Prince Craig, Lady Liberty, and Tesla “the Dad Scientist” Maxwell) will take an audience suggestion of a problem threatening the youth and set out to help a child overcome that issue under the watchful eye of their caretaker, Bosworth. Along the way, they will face nefarious plots from villainous evil wrestlers and do their best to resist the temptations that all professional wrestlers face. Will they save the day? Or will the twisted depths of their souls ruin a young boy or girl’s life?

“It’s like the attitude era of the WWF combined with that Saturday morning cartoon show from the 90’s, PRO-STARS, where Bo Jackson, Michael Jordan, and Wayne Gretzky are superstar athletes for their day job, but crime fighting secret government agents in their spare time,” says the show’s producer Cody Dearing.

WARNING: THIS SHOW LIKELY WILL NOT BE SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN

CAST: Jericho Thorp, Joseph Dailey, Mia Iseman, Alex Baia, Sanjay Rao, Michael James Williams, Meredith Mae Roberts, Heidi Noelle, Will Casto, Benjamin G Bazan, and Andrew M. Basile as Referee Sammy Slade.

Directed by Lance Gilstrap
Produced by Cody Dearing

 

ColdTowne 7th Anniversary Comedy Marathon!

homcoming.webIn terms of cognitive development, seven year olds typically show an increased variety of fine motor skills, a stronger grasp mathematical concepts and an increased ability to engage cooperatively in play. As ColdTowne Theater, Austin’s home for alternative comedy, turns seven, we’re taking stock. Our math skills are still questionable. We still suck at sports. But we’ve nailed the whole play well with others thing. One out of three ain’t bad.

For four days in October, the ColdTowne Theater community is coming together from far and wide to celebrate what we’re best at with over 60 sketch, stand up and improv shows from Austin’s funniest performers.

The weekend kicks off Thursday, October 17th at 7:30 and continues through Sunday, October 20th. During that time, there’s going to be some special reunion shows featuring out of town returning guests, including sets from ColdTowne and Sarah 7, an All-Star Live at ColdTowne stand up show, as well as a Saturday Night Sketch show from Stag Comedy. Additionally, Friday and Saturday nights, we’ll be hosting a special late night Lock-In featuring all the silly chaotic bits too insane for prime time. The whole weekend will be capped off with two special Sunday night Stool Pigeons followed by the annual ColdTowne award show and after party. (Keep reading for full schedule.)

All shows will be marathon style, meaning one low price will get you in for the full weekend of shows OR another, even lower price will get you into an single night of shows. Sunday night’s shows will be completely FREE.  Passes will be available to purchase at the box office the night of the shows, but if you would like to guarantee entry we have made a very limited number of pre-sale passes available.

 

BUY PASSES:
Full Weekend ($20)
Thursday ($10)
Friday ($10)
Saturday ($10)

 

SCHEDULE
Thursday, October 17th
7:30pm PIZZA PARTY KICK OFF!
8:15-9:15 Duran and Johnson Political Satire
As entertainers and celebrities, Duran & Johnson have an obligation to tell the world their opinions on the most important issues of the day. This week’s topic: sexual politics.

9:15 – 10:00 House Troupe Reunions w/ Look Cookie and Murphy
Look Cookie and Murphy were the first two house troupes cast from ColdTowne’s Improv Conservatory way back in 2006. Members of both troupes can be seen all over austin performing and teaching improv!

10:00 – 11:00 The Mission Storytelling Show, ColdTowne Edition
The Mission is our monthly story telling show. This month, it’s all ColdTowne people spining yarns and doing bits.

11:00 – 12:15 Graduation Show Reunions w/ Powerball, Mustache Moleface and JC’s BM
Three of our old Graduation classes reunite to present their original improv formats, including our very first class, JC’s BM — Bryan Roberts (Ghetto Sketch Warlock), Cody Dearing (ColdTowne Artistic Director), Joel Keith (Hungry Todd Rungy, Midnight Society) and Michael Williams (Midnight Society).

Friday, October 18th
7:00pm Movie Vs. Movie Vs. Movie w/ Men in Chrissy’s Life, Rush and the Academy
Movie Vs. Movie is a weekly show, wherein two troupes compete against each other doing an improvised movie format. This week, it’s a tripple bill featuring RUSH (current level 5 students), the Men in Chrissy’s Life (a powerhouse of ColdTowne Improv talent) and the Academy (featuring members of the Team, Midnight Society, and more!)

8:30 – 10:00pm ColdTowne Reunion, Sarah 7 Reunion, Bad Boys
ColdTowne Theater founders reunite for a special, rare show along side Sarah 7 (our all female powerhouse) and regular Friday night headliners Bad Boys. This show will be a fast paced evening of improvised hilarity.

10:00 – 11:15 All-Star Live at ColdTowne
Live at ColdTowne debuted as the first alternative stand up shows outside of the normal club circuit in town. This week’s show features some heavy hitters from the Austin comedy scene.

11:30 – 12:15 Patton and Seth: The Unfinished Project, Escape Hatch
Patton and Seth met during the earliest days of Coldtowne’s Live at ColdTowne show, quickly wed, sought couples counseling even quicker, and then wrote brief scenes documenting the rise and collapse of their marriage as a way to understand what went wrong. Unfortunately, they have painfully conflicting accounts of just who’s to blame. Escape hatch is a classic lineup of ColdTowne Improv royalty returning for one last heist.

12:15 – Till Late Night Lock-In
The Late Night Lock-In is an annual tradition, wherein members of the ColdTowne improv community come together to perform all the stupid bits we don’t let them get away with the rest of the year. This will be an unpredictable ride that goes late into the evening and guarentees more than one WTF experience.
w/ Improv Royale, The ArtMando, Lisa Jackson Lip Sincs to Prince Songs, Xaria and Friends: In the Hole, A Prospector, William Powell, Old-Timey Radio, Announcer, and Katherine Hepburn walk into a Crime Scene, First United Methodist Church of Plano Youth Group Improv, COACHception, Chicken Magician, Damned Avalanche, Chrissy and Carlos Stay Up Late

Saturday, October 19th
6:00 – 7:00pm The Ladies, Boy Toy, Cheap Date
Improv from three ColdTowne house troupes, including a set from all-female super troupe The Ladies, a reunion of our erstwhile Harold group Boy Toy and one of our best up and coming improv house troupes Cheap Date.

7:00pm – 8:30pm Bless This Mess, BBW, Miller and Purselley, Oh, Science
Bless This Mess was one of our favorite cage match troupes, reunited for one night only. They are opening up for Big Beautiful Warlock, who do character driven improv that focuses on absurd relationships. Miller and Purselly and Oh, Science are our Wednesday Night and Sunday night headliners, respectively.

8:30pm – 10:00pm STAB Comedy (Sketch)
Austin sketch comedy titan STAG Comedy returns to ColdTowne Theater this October for STAB Comedy, a bone-chilling collection of macabre mayhem. STAB is guaranteed to deliver a haunted orphanage’s worth of chuckles to your face skulls. What does that mean? Don’t ask me, I’ve been dead this whole time! TWIST! STAG Comedy has performed at the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival, SXSW, Austin Sketch Fest, Seattle SketchFest, Geek Week Boston, and more.

10:00 – 11:15 Bear Derby, Frank Mills, Midnight Society
If you want to know what this improv thing is all about, you couldn’t do better than the Frank Mills and Midnight Society, two multiple-time B. Iden Payne nominated improv troupes who have been holding down our prime time slot for years. For this special weekend, we’re resurrecting an old tradition of having our newest student troupe– Bear Derby– open up for their teachers.

11:15 – 12:30 Northshore Local, Glamping Trip, Nice Astronaut, The Team
Four of our best improv troupes, rounding out the night. Northshore Local is reuniting for one night only. The Glamping trip and Nice Astronaut are inviting a legion of ex-troupe mates back to perform with them. The Team, well they’re just amazing.

12:30 – Til?? LATE NIGHT LOCK-IN w/ Founding Fathers, Coveted Office Time, Magician Vs. Clown , Bad Boys Present Breaking Bad Men, ColdTowne Squares (20 Min), Stuck in the Middle With You, Glamazon Slumber Party, Creep No More, Coach Bon Bon/ Love Advice Hour, Gordon Ramsey’s Improv Nightmares

Sunday, October 20th
6:30 Celebrity Stool Pigeon
Stool Pigeon is our monologue driven, all-star improv show. Scenes are inspired by true stories from some of our favorite local celebrities. The cast is made up of a who’s who of Austin improv talent. Who’s it going to be?
7:30 Celebrity Stool Pigeon
8:30 ColdTowne Awards Show and Afterparty

Out of Bounds Comedy Fest at ColdTowne!

Austin’s 12th annual Out of Bounds Comedy Festival is approaching in just under six days. If you’re keeping track, that’s seven days, seven venues, 500 performers, and 120 shows all around Labor Day. And ColdTowne Theater is right in the thick of it, with marathon-style programming at the theater and our improv and sketch comedy troupes performing all over Austin all weekend long.

ColdTowne is an official venue for OOB Friday and Saturday (August 30th and 31st). The programming at ColdTowne will be marathon style (one ticket price gets you all the BYOB comedy you can stomach) with groupd from Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Kansas City, Houston, Dallas and right here in Austin! (See Friday and Saturday night schedules).

You can also see your favorite ColdTowne performers all around Austin, including Midnight Society, The Frank Mills, Mike and Irene, Miller and Purselley, Bad Boys,  Oh Science!, Braised in Texas, Ratliff and Jackson, Scout, Array, Cheap Date, Big Beautiful Warlock, Boss, Ghetto Sketch Warlock, Nice Astronaut, Galactic, What’s the Story Steve, Magician Versus Clown, Boss, STAG Comedy, The Team, Jorak and Jorak, ColdTowne Rap Tigers, and Stool Pigeon featuring special guest monologist Richard Garriott!

 

ColdTowne’s Newest Student Improv Troupe Debuts in August.

Look Cookie. Midnight Society. Murphy. Unfurled. Oh, Science. The names of ColdTowne Theater’s student troupes echo off the walls of our hallowed, seven year old Austin institution. Some have survived the test of time, others shined so bright that they went super nova.

Our latest student group — Bear Derby — is in its final trimester, ready to be unleashed upon a cold an unsuspecting world. Thursdays at 8:30pm in August, Bear Derby will be performing the classic improv format, Close Quarters.

In Close Quarters, the performers treat the stage as if it’s a real space and honor the physical reality of the world they create. The scenes take place semi-simultaneously, centered around a specific point in space and time. As the show progresses, characters and situations collide into one another, creating a self referential comedic universe, not unlike an episode of Arrested Development. Also, improv comedy.

We’ve assembled some of the brightest shining stars from our improv conservatory to put on this show. The cast includes Sarah Coker, XJ Coleman, Sanjay Rao, Juliet Prathe,Ashley Seibels, Dustin Finkelstein, Austin Davidson, Benjamin Bazan, Timothy Traini, and Matthew Stoner! The show is directed by ColdTowne Theater founder Michael Jastroch.

TICKETS HERE.

Stunts! Explosions! Blood! Comedy!

Fedora wearing archaeologists exploring ancient ruins! Bloody battles against our nation’s enemies! Romantic rescues that involve swinging in on a whip!

Indy Movies is a part scripted / part improvised full length play that combines the thrill of your favorite action movie with the gore of your favorite slasher flick.

Crazed 1940’s director Wade Wood’s adventure movies have it all. Unfortunately the director’s insatiable desire for cutting edge special effects, along with his willingness to risk the lives of his cast while filming dangerous explosive stunt sequences has studio executives threatening to cut off his funding. See what lengths Wade Wood might go to in order to make his cinematic vision a reality.

The hilarious cast of talented improvisers includes Kyle Sweeney, Lance Gilstrap, Chrissy Shackelford, Tim Honker, Maitland Lederer, Jake Millward, Seth Johnson, Nathan Sowell, Daniel Erving, Katie Moore, Steve Moore, Eli Eidson, Drew Wesely, Will Casto, Naomi Perryman, and Calan Lambert

INDY MOVIES: The Filmmaking Misadventures Of Wade Wood shows at 8:30pm every Saturday in August and September, beginning August 3rd and running through September 28th at ColdTowne Theater, except the weekend of Out Of Bounds (8/31).

Tickets for the show may be purchased ahead of time here.

IFL 2013: There’s No Crying In Improv

The thunder is coming, Austin. Saturday nights in July, ColdTowne Theater’s signature Summer shrimp comedy improv event, the Improv Fantasy League, returns for it’s fourth season! Nine teams will enter. Eight will burn.

Since nothing’s more hilarious than people striving to achieve, only to have their hopes and dreams abandoned on a huge pile of skulls (see poster),  we’re combining our love of arbitrary competition into a month of no holds bared, improv comedy death matches.

Our most recent level 6 class has drafted teams made up of students and performers from across Austin. Each week, teams will duke it out for audience approval. At the top of each show, the audience will have the opportunity to bid actual money on free agents for their favorite teams. At the end of each show, the audience will vote for their favorite team who will then move on to the next round.

Tickets for each show are $10 and can be purchased here. Keep reading for full lineups and brackets! Continue Reading

Legendary Improv Format Debuts in Austin

15 of the bravest, most fearless comedy improvisers in Austin, Texas have been assembled to work with Dave Buckman, Cody Dearing and Improv Legend Craig Cackowski in mounting a new run of the legendary long form improv format JTS BROWN at ColdTowne Theater. Collectively, they are known as Arkay.

Developed in Chicago in the summer of 1999 by a legendary cast of improvisors in Chicago with direction from Improv Gurus Mick Napier (Annoyance) and Craig Cackowski (Community, Dasariski), the assembled troupe came together for a nine month rehearsal process to develop JTS BROWN: one of the most challenging, and most freeing, longform improv structures you can learn. Or perhaps “structure” is not the right way to put it: a dreamlike montage of free-flowing scenes that bleed into each other, new edits, new scenes structures and a new paradigm in what is possible in long form. JTS Brown is the ultimate in large ensemble trust and support.

For the last 6 weeks a murderer’s row of Austin Improvisational Talent have been learning and rehearsing with Dave Buckman (The Frank Mills, The Second City) and Cody Dearing (ColdTowne Artistic Director) as well as a special workshop from original JTS Brown Director Craig Cackowski to bring this very special performance piece to Austin audiences at ColdTowne Theater for a Month of Thursdays at 8:30pm in May. Continue Reading

Live BBQ. Delicious Comedy.

A Texas debutante desperate for redemption. Ruthless army wives. The wizened cajun. The hard-partying brothers. Who has what it takes in the categories of chicken, ribs, pork and brisket to take home the coveted Grand Champion title?

Inspired by works such as Christopher Guest’s Best in Show, cult documentary Hands on a Hard Body and Coen brothers whimsy, Braised in Texas is an improvised comedy show that follows a day in the life of competitors, judges and bystanders at a barbecue competition in Central Texas.

The cast includes Arthur Simone, Jericho Thorp, Cortnie Jones, Calan Lambert, Taylor Overstreet, Valerie Ward, Carlos LaRotta, Andrew Buck, Emma Holder, Nicole McCracken, Katie Thornton and John Ratliff as The Narrator.

Braised in Texas shows at 8:30pm every Saturday in May and June, beginning May 4th and running through June 29th at ColdTowne Theater, except the weekend of Sketch Fest.

GET TICKETS HERE.

Austin Sketch Fest Tickets Are LIVE!

Achtung! Austin comedy nerds! Tickets are now live for the 2013 Austin Sketch Fest, Austin’s ONLY festival! We’re hard at work getting our act together, but we can say that without a doubt, this is going to be awesome.

Our early bird passes sold out very quickly. We’re releasing a limited number of ALL-FESTIVAL passes, good for every single one of these amazing shows.

TICKET LINKS:
The Hustle Show, Every Girl’s Annual, Tastemakers
WEDNESDAY, MAY 22nd — 8:00pm
ColdTowne Theater, $7

Austin Comedy Hour, P! Company
WEDNESDAY, MAY 22nd — 10:00pm
ColdTowne Theater, $7

Stag Comedy! There’s Waldo
THURSDAY, MAY 23rd — 8:00pm
Spider House Ballroom, $10

Master Pancake
THURSDAY, MAY 23rd — 10:00pm
Spider House Ballroom, $10

Superego w/ Paul F. Tompkins
2 SHOWS! FRIDAY, MAY 24th — 8:00pm, 10:00pm
Spider House Ballroom — $25

Rabbit Rabbit, Your Terrific Neighbors
SATURDAY, MAY 25th — 7:00pm
Spider House Ballroom — $15

Ennis and Kaye, Supereasy
SATURDAY, MAY 25th — 8:30pm
Spider House Ballroom — $15

Beige, LanceLife
SATURDAY, MAY 25th — 10:00pm
Spider House Ballroom — $15

An Historic Evening w/ Brendan K. O’Grady
SUNDAY, MAY 26th — 7:00pm
Spider House Ballroom — $10

Unsuspectingly Sponsored By, Old Fashioned
SUNDAY, MAY 26th — 8:00pm
Spider House Ballroom — $10

Laugh, Dammit!
SUNDAY, MAY 26th — 10:00pm
Spider House Ballroom — $10

April Fools’ Day Stand Up Comedy Show and Sketch Workshop!

The origins of April Fools day are lost to the fog of history. Cultural precursors of April Fools’ Day include the Roman festival of Hilaria, held March 25, and the Medieval Feast of Fools, held December 28,  which is still a day that pranks are played in Spanish-speaking countries.

Nevertheless, ColdTowne is soldering on and invading the Spiderhouse Ballroom Monday, April 1st for an evening of sketch comedy workshops and stand up comedy shows.

APRIL FOOLS STAND UP
Monday, April 1st, 9:00pm – Til — $2
We’re bringing some of our favorite stand up comedians together for an evening of comedy, conveniently located near the UT campus. Join (FPIA Winner) Ramin Nazer, Lucas Molandez, Kat Ramzinski, Ryan Cownie, and Cody Hustak. Also, there will be amazing sex raps from MC Sex.

DROP IN SKETCH WORKSHOP
Monday, April 1st 6:30-8:30pm
 SIGN UP OR PAY IN ADVANCE HERE.
We will look at the whole spectrum of sketch making, from generating ideas and pitching scenes, to creating viable characters. We will discuss the use of improvisation to generate material, and the importance of a solid running order. We will also examine different styles: what makes them different and what makes them all fundamentally the same.

This will be an ongoing bimonthly drop-in workshop that will meet on the 1st and 3rd Monday of the month from 6:30-8:30pm. It is open to anyone, from the sketch comedy beginner to the sketch pro, to the fan who just wants to learn a little more about the process.

ERIC RUTHERFORD is a seasoned veteran of the sketch comedy and improv world. He has written, performed and directed in Chicago, Los Angeles and Austin. He’s an alumni of the Second City, iO and the Annoyance theaters. He was the director of the acclaimed sketch troupe “Germans”. He currently teaches sketch and performs at ColdTowne Theater.

ATX Sketch Fest Early Bird Passes and Lineup!

Memorial Day Weekend is fast approaching, and that means that the 4th annual Austin Sketch Fest is only three months away. We’ve got some more lineup announcements to make, and we’re not going to lie: we’re pretty pumped about these shows.

We’ve already announced our headliners, Superego (w/ special guest Paul F. Tompkins). We’re also excited to be bringing down Ennis & Kaye, Matt Kaye and John Ennis’s (Mr. Show writer/performer) sketch project.

Joining us from NYC is Beige, a UCB Maude Team. (see Video). From Portland, comes self-help guru Lance Life, who’s one man Ted Talk-inspired lectures will change your life.

The Austin Sketch Festival raison d’etre is to bring together the very best of the Austin comedy community. Master PancakeYour Terrific NeighborsStag ComedyTastemakersEvery Girl’s AnnualUnsuspectingly Sponsored ByLaugh DammitAustin Comedy Hour, An Historic Evening w/ Brendan K. ‘Grady and the Hustle Show will all be featured.

As confirmations roll in, we’ll have even more out of town guests and locals to announce. In the meantime, we’re releasing a second round of discounted Early Bird Passes good for all shows (PURCHASE THEM HERE). The first round sold out in minutes, so jump on this!

The Festival will take place at the Spider House Ballroom and at ColdTowne Theater. The full schedule and tickets for individual shows will be released soon.

The Austin Sketch Fest is produced by ColdTowne Theater, Austin’s home for live comedy, featuring more sketch, improv and stand up per square foot than any other venue in Texas.

Thursday Night Camp-In — Improv Comedy!

In March, start your weekend off right by packing up your favorite pillow (in your mind), leaving the big city (of your mind), and checking into ColdTowne’s Thursday Night Camp-Inn – and then ease yourself into a night full of sugary foods (in your body) and high energy improv.

Every Thursday in March at 8:30pm, improv troupes Precious Dads and Journey to the Big Water will greet you in the lobby with snacks and soda before the show. Between their individual sets, PD and JTTBW will join together on stage to get nostalgic with some vintage campfire improv games.

Journey to the Big Water will take you on an improvised camping trip, performing scenes based on intimate stories from around the campfire.

Precious Dads will fire up the ol’ projector and perform improvised scenes based off of YouTube video suggestions provided by the audience.

So come get s’more laughs in March, at 8:30pm on Thursdays. Tickets are $5 for general admission, and will be available to purchase in advance here.

TGIS — 90s Sitcoms Saturdays in March!

Are you experiencing Full House withdrawal? Did the loss of Mr.Cooper leave you feeling helpless and alone? Well, it’s time to dust off those over-sized overalls (with one strap hanging down of course) and hang those WHAM! posters back up because this spring, ColdTowne’s TGIS Lineup is taking over Saturday nights with a double feature of Improvised 90’s Sitcomedy!

Come be a part of a live studio audience at COLDTOWNE STUDIOS for these two back-to-back improvised sitcoms straight out of the 1990’s! Complete with applause sign, canned laughter, and even some special guest cameos, ColdTowne’s TGIS Lineup seeks to honor the spirit of your favorite prime time TV shows from the past.

Each week begins with an entirely new and entirely improvised episode of Boy Greets World, complete with all of the awkward high school growing pains, and the kind of timid teenage love that a Disney-owned network would feel good about piping into suburban living rooms.

 

 

Then stay tuned for an episode of Buddies Austin! Based off of an audience suggestion of “the one where,” the cast and weekly special guests will improvise an all new episode of farcical occurrences and awww-shucksical misunderstandings.

 

This is the fourth season of a show that previously helped launch a scene in Dallas in May of 2010. The newly opened (and still righteous) Dallas Comedy House was the first home of Buddies where instructors of the theater put together a show based on their mutual love of the now-classic sitcoms on the 80’s and 90’s. Cody Dearing spearheaded the efforts, drawing heavily from a late night show called “Guy Friends” he had seen while training at IO in Chicago. “Buddies!” became a long running hit in Dallas that itself inspired spin-offs of the buddy cop and college years variety.

Now living in Austin, Dearing is at it again, this time enlisting the help of Eric Rutherford who previously worked with the cast of Guy Friends Chicago to help shape their show. Dearing is also pairing with director Courtney Sevener to bring her loving homage of a show entitled Boy Greets World to life. BGW tips, nay, gives its hat to the timeless elements of a certain show following a certain curly haired boy and his friends through their adolescence. Ever a lover of all things 90’s, Sevener & Dearing are teaming up to bring audiences a Saturday Night Line-up that will have even those who aren’t at times overwhelmed with nostalgia for the 90’s (or perhaps even appropriately religious) thanking God for Saturday nights.

Join the fun in March & April at ColdTowne Theater, 8:30pm on Saturdays. Tickets are $7 for general admission, and will be available to purchase in advance HERE.

 

ATX Sketch Fest Presents: 24 Hour Austin Sketch Comedy Challenge!

So many things come in groups of 24: two cartons of eggs, twelve pairs of socks, three packs of hotdogs. But hours? Who would string together 24 hours of anything, let alone the hardest part of comedy: writing it.

In a bold move, the brains at Austin’s ColdTowne Theater and the Austin Sketch Festival have devised a way to string together 24 consecutive hours of sketch comedy mayhem. When have this many hours ever been utilized for such a single-minded purpose? If anybody’s done it, we haven’t heard from them. That’s how dangerous it is.

Competitors in the 24-hour Sketch Challenge will meet at the theater on Saturday, February 9th before Sci-Fi Saturdays. At precisely 7:00pm, 5 teams will get a string of suggestions and guidelines to ensure that their show has not been previously written or worked on.

The following evening, February 10th, starting at 6pm, teams will perform their shows. The winner will be determined by a combination of audience votes and judge feedback.

When our enormous 24-hour hourglasses run dry at precisely 6pm on Sunday, February 10th, the Brawl will begin and the victor(s) will be spoiled with naps. The losers will… probably have naps too. Having overcome both space and time, the victors will then commence bragging.

We’ll be celebrating the Austin Sketch Festival — happening this Memorial Day weekend!

THIS SHOW IS PAY WHAT YOU WANT! Keep reading for the full list of competitors and the schedule. You can come for part of or the entire two and a half hour show! Continue Reading

Live Comedy and Bad Romance

Austin comedy stalwarts, ColdTowne Theater wants to make love happen the way God* meant it to – with a game show!

Each Thursday in February ColdTowne will be hosting its own live version of the Dating Game show. We’re taking the classic structure of three suitors vying for the love of a bachelorette and pumping it full of love gunk.

In addition to the bachelorette asking naughty, naughty, “no sir” questions to the suitors, she’ll be forcing them to get gnarly with their nasties and deal with a buncha boner-blockers.

But we also want you to find love**. While watching the show, you might get a lucky chance to pull your piece out and win some other schmuck’s heart. Everyone deserves a warm body and soul to form a mutually monogamous relationship agreement with, right? I’m a robot.

Are you a lonely guy looking for his soul mate? A girl on the rebound who wants to get some strange? A couple looking to get freaky deeky by mixing it up with a third (fourth, fifth, dog)? We’ll try to make it happen. By the power in our nuts and bras, we’ll try to make it happen.

If this show doesn’t result in at least one unplanned pregnancy, we will have failed. If it does, the baby must be named Kanye West.

TICKETS HERE!

*Tyler Perry
**Get your butt touched

Sci Fi Comedy This February!

To celebrate entering into the future year of 2013, ColdTowne Theater is launching the comedy event of the new year with Sci-Fi Saturdays – a double header of improvised comedy with a science fiction twist.

Every Saturday in February the cast of Sci-Fi Saturdays will perform not one but two amazing back to back improv sets based on the infinity of your imagination – Robots, Time Travel, Alien Invasion, Parallel Universes, Artificial Intelligence, Atomic Created Monsters, Black Holes, and much much more!!!

Bring your antennae, there will be moody lighting and a classic Sci-fi video pre-show until showtime. Then Sci-Fi Saturdays launches into orbit when amiable host — the undeniably hilarious J.K. Sweeney — sets the evening’s tone with a short set of hijinks and introductions for our interstellar comedy acts.

Then the “outstanding” begins with two deep-dish sets of conceptually-hearty and physically-demanding improvised long-form comedy from a who’s who of Austin, TX’s best improv comedians.

First up is Super Apocalypse an intense, fun, improvised look at the end of days. Watch as humanity finds its footing amiss a crumbling society, epic monsters, and a technology which they don’t yet understand.

Then prepare for Star Force – an improvised space adventure show pulled straight from your television box. Join the captain and his crew of intergalactic riff-raff as they travel through time and space exploring the cosmos, discovering new uncharted worlds and meeting new and bizarre civilizations. Set phasers to Comedy Gold!!!

In an improvised world, where anything can happen – Science fiction reigns supreme.

SUPEREGO w/ Paul F. Tompkins Headlines Austin Sketch Fest!

Achtung! Austin comedy nerds! We are excited to announce that our favorite podcast, SUPEREGO, will be headlining the Austin Sketch Fest this Memorial Day weekend w/ special guest Paul F. Tompkins.

We’re still working booking acts and completing the schedule for the Festival, which will take place Memorial Day Weekend. In the meantime, there are a limited number of early-bird all access FESTIVAL PASSES available that include tickets to the SUPEREGO show. Get them here.

If you’re interested coming to Austin to perform for the 2013 Austin Sketch Fest over Memorial Day Weekend – May 22nd through May 27th – follow this link. Deadline is February 1st ($15 payable via Paypal). If you have any questions, you can email us at info@atxsketchfest.com.

Continue Reading

The 2013 ColdTowne Mainstage Season!

According to the Mayan Calendar, the Austin comedy world is going to end in a few short days. We decided to use this opportunity to announce ambitious plans for 2013, because we won’t end up actually having to follow through on any of this. It’s the perfect crime! We look good. The world ends. And then we don’t actually have to put in any work to entertain you.

You can buy tickets for these shows in advance, or if you’re feeling lucky you can purchase a 2013 GOLDEN TICKET, which puts you on a special list to get into any show all year long. GOLDEN TICKET holders can show up to any regular show all year long and get VIP treatment (a bag of delicious popcorn).* GOLDEN TICKETS stop going on sale January 15th, and there’s a limited number.

ColdTowne Theater is Austin’s only entertainment option, with improv, sketch and stand up shows seven nights a week, featuring local Emmy award wining talent, the hardest working moms in show business.

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ColdTowne Declares Self “Official Comedy Venue of F1 Racing”

Austin, TX — Austin’s home for alternative comedy, ColdTowne Theater, has declared itself The Official Comedy Theater of Formula One Racing. With the proliferation of events in Austin that feature comedy, it’s only natural that as the Circuit of the Americas makes its debut in Texas, it partners with local comedians for their event.

“We couldn’t have done this at a better time,” says theater General Manager Sam Malcolm. “Especially since the F1 race is coming to Austin next weekend.”

ColdTowne hoping to construct a comedy stage next to the pit crews, the ideal place for racing enthusiasts to be entertained by local comedians during the race. ColdTowne plans on performing their signature “Armando” show, Stool Pigeon, in front of the 70,000 racing fans.

“Improv is kind of awkward with microphones, so we’re really going to have to shout to be heard over the race cars,” says Stool Pigeon director Cody Dearing. “If the audience isn’t into it, we might just play party quirks.”

ColdTowne will also be looking to capitalize on the presence of billionaires in Austin around race weekend by setting aside the couches for people who can prove their net worth, mandating a “black tie” dress code for all shows and providing free cans of Lonestar.

“We can safely say that next weekend, we will have the most billionaire-friendly comedy establishment in Austin,” says owner Michael Jastroch. “I mean, despite the fact that we’re not located anywhere near the actual race track or race-related events.” ColdTowne performers and administrators are very excited to be involved with Formula One Racing.

“We think this will be a good fit,” says theater owner Michael Jastroch. “Whether they like it or not.”

ColdTowne Theater is Austin’s only performance venue with improv, sketch and stand up shows seven nights a week. Their performers have appeared at festivals all over the country and have a national reputation as being some of the funniest and brightest comedians in the United States.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an interview, please email Michael Jastroch (coldtowne@coldtownetheater.com) or call 512-814-TOWN.

November Workshops! Winter Classes!

Austin! The holidays are just around the corner, and that means that it’s time for winter improv comedy classes! You’re about to be hit by a deluge of ads trying to separate you from your hard earned money. Consider this the first such ad.

We’ve just set the schedule for our winter session of classes. Might we suggest that improv and sketch classes make a fantastic gift? Not to sound creepy, but improv changes lives. If you want to read more about it, you can go here. Or, if you just want to skip ahead and register, click here.

In the meantime, we’re excited to be bringing our good friend and stalwart of the national improv scene, Bill Binder, to do some workshops in November!

Higher Forms of Agreement
Saturday, November 17th (3:15-5:15)
REGISTER HERE
Saying “Yes and” is more than agreement to the facts of the scene. True support relies on saying yes to every level of the scene. Making the leap to great shows requires going beyond simple listening skills and learning to be aware of all the spoken and unspoken gifts all around you. This workshop teaches ways to listen beyond the spoken word, to truly support your partner and the scene even if it means uttering the forbidden word “no”.

The Math of Improv
Saturday, November 17th (5:30-7:30)
REGISTER HERE
Left-brained thinking is great for analytical, logical, critical thinking. But it can also be a bit judgmental, which is why beginning performers turn it off for a while so they can learn to embrace the imaginative, creative parts of their brains without self-doubt. Once that creative part of the brain learns to thrive, however, most of us never allow the left brain to come out to play. That’s only playing with half the tools available to you. Improv – like any art – is filled with beautiful patterns and symmetries; volume, stage position, and status – they’re all variables which can be toyed with in a beautiful equation. This workshop teaches players not to be ashamed of their analytical gifts, but to learn how to apply them in all of their work to build stronger more cohesive shows.

Bill Binder began performing in Michigan in 1994 where he performed for six years before moving to Phoenix, AZ. Bill helped organize the first Phoenix Improv Festival in 2002, spent two years training at iO West in Los Angeles and was one of the founding members of The Torch Theatre.

ColdTowne Theater Invades the State Theatre This Friday Night!

What’s the worst thing about a bad movie? You could sight poor lighting, production values or the cheap ass special effects. But really, the thing that makes a bad movie unwatchable is the terrible script, bad acting and shitty soundtrack!

Once again, ColdTowne Theater has come to the rescue. This FRIDAY NIGHT at the STATE THEATRE, we will be replacing a movie’s original terrible dialogue and music with our own slightly less terrible (and infinitely more funny) improvised dialogue and music. We’re flipping the script, making the movies worse and in the process creating improv comedy GOLD – all based on suggestions from the audience.

This Saturday, we will be playing around with the classic shit show The Brain That Wouldn’t Die. Get your tickets for this show here.

Classes Start Next Week! Advanced Improv w/ Dave Buckman!

Our final session of 2012 is starting next week! Now’s your chance to get in on Austin’s most popular improv classes before the world ends.

Our instructors have decades of professional comedy experience — touring and working with some of the biggest comedy institutions in the world — and have trained hundreds of Austin’s best improv talent. One of them was even voted BEST IMPROV INSTRUCTOR by the Austin Chronicle.

If that isn’t enough for you, this session we’re offering a money back guarantee. If you don’t love your class and have a great time, we’ll write you a damned refund check. Read more about our classes or just go ahead and register. Our classes always sell out, and there are limited spaces remaining!

This session, the unimpeachable Dave Buckman is offering up his graduate-level improv class! Keep reading, yeoman!

ADVANCED IMPROV WORKSHOP w/ DAVE BUCKMAN
TUESDAYS 6-8p AND SATURDAYS 1p-3p
(Starts November 17th)
$100/4 classes or $200/8 classes
REGISTER FOR 4 CLASSES
REGISTER FOR 8 CLASSES

Description: You may have noticed, kind improviser, there are a significant number of improvisers in town these days. Many experienced upper level of performers don’t have opportunities to take workshops or get notes any more. This may be you. You are in a rut and haven’t felt like you have had a “good show” in months.

This class is specifically designed for experienced improvisers, graduates of Austin’s Improv Training Centers and Improv instructors. Take an honest and supportive look at your own scene work, get some good feedback and receive notes that are fair and honest, try out some new exercises and leave you feeling re-energized, focused and proud of your scene work.

You’ll see a leap in your performance abilities and tour confidence that first month; Step up your game. Hone your craft. Play with people with different levels and backgrounds with the common goal of getting better and doing something you love.

This 4 week Intensive is designed to Strengthen the skills needed by the participants of the class.

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Live Storytelling with Austin’s Funniest!

The Mission is a playful project in storytelling at ColdTowne Theater. Centered around a monthly theme, two performers from Austin’s wide community of talented artists will each share an autobiographical piece, while a variety of other storytelling forms are experimented with throughout.

This month’s theme is Sophomore Effort and features performances from Kristen Henn, Joe Hafkey, Bob Khosravi along side slam poet Isaac Harigle, musical guest Duncan Carson and expressionist Adam Shumate!

red envelope Comedy Variety Show Premier!

Red envelope is a monthly choose your own comedy adventure variety show where audience votes determine the course of the show. We hand pick the finest and funniest Austin performers and have them do, well, whatever you want! Performances are the first Thursday of every month at 10 PM at ColdTowne Theater. Red envelope is hosted by Courtney Sevener & Elizabeth Osterwisch.

This month is the pilot episode! Be a part of history by witnessing: Bad Boys wrecking shop with sketch or stand up (totes up to you), the Nesting Dolls murdering improv, and many more surprises!