Small Business Saturday in Austin > Black Friday

by Lilli Lopez

Tents! Cold temperatures! Injuries and FULL BLOWN FIGHTS! Every year we see folks working retail, dealing with waves of shoppers lined up as soon as a week in advance for Black Friday, when they should honestly have the day off (RADICAL, I KNOW).  So when I heard about Small Business Saturday almost a decade ago, I was thrilled to participate. A full two days after Thanksgiving, Small Business Saturday falls on December 30 this year. Before you head out for door-busting deals at your local major retail stores, maybe consider saving the rest of your Thanksgiving and Friday for feasting on leftover and spend your hard earned dollars at local businesses.

Small businesses are the cornerstone of any thriving local economy. Austin is filled with homegrown businesses and boutiques and even comedy theaters. ColdTowne Theater neighbors some of our favorite local businesses in Hyde Park, North Loop, and now Mueller neighborhood.  To the west we have some of our favorite coffee shops and vintage spots in the neighborhood: Flightpath Coffeehouse and Epoch. Blue Velvet Vintage right next door, then we have Room Service Vintage down the street and New Bohemia just next to The Grand, which is walking distance from ColdTowne.

Austin can seem overwhelmingly corporate sometimes, but you really don’t have to search high and low to support local businesses and get exactly what you need and more. Need some new gift ideas for the holidays? Las Ofrendas (creator of Frida Friday ATX) has a new shop housing several vendors and their incredible handmade gifts. You can visit them at 916 Springdale Rd F-6. Or maybe stop by our neighbors at Toy Joy off Airport (next to New Bohemia) for some funky toys and gifts. OR you can still get the ColdTowne $99 Deal on Level 1 improv or sketch classes now through December 14. You don’t even need to leave the house for that!

When you skip the Black Friday stampedes for Small Business Saturday, you’re keeping your money in Austin and supporting local business owners, their staffs, and families. As I mentioned in my blog post about ColdTowne’s $99 Deal, where I spend my money is important to me (pay gap, ya know?), so if Black Friday gives you evil J-Bezos vibes, buy local. Visit your favorite small businesses this Saturday and feel good about where your money’s going.

ColdTowne’s Level 1 $99 deal is live and I’m here to sell it to ya!

Hi, I’m Lilli Lopez. If you’ve been to ColdTowne Theater, you might have seen me with B. Iden Payne Award winning team Prima Doñas in Latinauts, or maybe from The Rose, BettyFest, or even Futurx Festival. I’m a performer / artist / producer / writer and I also happen to be a faculty member and the marketing director at ColdTowne Theater.  So yes, I’m writing this to sell you something (plz don’t go).

Miles stuntin’ on ’em after a Bravado Grooming appt.

Here’s the THING though, ColdTowne Conservatory’s $99 Deal is the second best 100 bucks I ever spent. The first best is Miles’s adoption fee at Austin Humane Society. Wow, look at my son.

Before I even get into my own improv experience, did you even know we teach classes here? We teach classes here! Yes, ColdTowne has live comedy shows every night of the week, but we also have the ColdTowne Conservatory, which offers Levels 1-6 of improv, two levels of sketch, an advanced studies course and elective courses, intensives and workshops. Hell, we can even come to your work for teambuilding. But our most popular, might I even argue, the most valuable course ColdTowne Theater offers is level 1 improv. Classes meet weekly for 2 hours at a time over eight weeks. The reason level 1 improv is so popular is because improv teaches you to become a better collaborator, active listener and sharper communicator. These are skills are applicable to almost anyone and we definitely do our fair share of corporate trainings to know just how valuable these skills are in any setting. The annual $99 Deal is on sale now. That’s 8 weeks of level 1 improv or sketch for $150 off the regular price. I bought this deal back in 2014 and I am 100% satisfied with what that deal gave me (keep scrollin’).

Okay, so let me tell you about how I got to ColdTowne.
Fresh out of grad school in 2014, I moved to Austin for my first full-time job as a digital communications consultant. I’d always wanted to try to “doing comedy” and even though I didn’t know what that meant exactly, I did know I needed something to do outside of my job and I’d read that taking an improv class would improv my communications skills. At that point it was a career investment. TWAS SOLD. If this is something I enjoyed, I’d move on to level 2. If not, I learned the basics of improv.

I went to my first class in January 2015 and knew right away this was something I was going to enjoy. I had so much fun on day 1 and continued to have fun in each class I took after. Now, I teach level 1 at ColdTowne, I facilitate teambuilding at corporate events and I sometimes teach the free improv 101 classes we offer every Monday. I really do believe improv is for everyone. As a student and instructor, I have seen so many people find their voice, get out of their head and make decisive and bold moves. Here are some of my favorite skills I’ve improved or picked up doing improv over the last five years:

  • active listening
  • collaboration
  • creativity
  • problem-solving
  • trusting my gut

When I bought this deal, I took level 1 improv right away. As soon as the new year started, I was getting into class, but if you’re not able to start right away or maybe even want to recruit a friend to join you, you have time! You can start level 1 when you’re ready in 2020.

Shout out to my level 1 classmates + friends! This was after our first showcase.

Need another reason to treat yourself or someone special to this gift? There are so many amazing local businesses in Austin. Truly. And ColdTowne is one of them. With more than 13 years of slinging comedy and building legends under its belt, ColdTowne has only gotten better. As someone who really values where my dollar is spent (Capitalism is a TRIP!), I try spending my money at small businesses more often than not and as I moved through levels one through six of improv, began performing regularly, making friends and directing and winning some awards along the way, I have seen my small investment return so many gifts and opportunities. Shop local! Your local business owners are putting your money back into the community (hopefully, right?!). When I joined the ColdTowne staff a couple years after beginning classes, I quickly saw how and why ColdTowne’s Conservatory has grown so much in the last several years and why our classes fill up. The staff and faculty are committed to providing a space where everyone feels safe to explore their creativity and collaborate with others and this is reflected in the shows that are put up at ColdTowne Theater by students and performres. Improv really is life-changing and as our staff and faculty continue to diversify and prioritize sensitivity and inclusion in the curriculum, I am more excited than ever to recommend this level 1 deal. Some of the best deals in life can’t be found on Amazon, hunny. Sometimes you find ’em at a comedy theater under a video store.

GET THE $99 DEAL by Monday, December 13

ColdTowne Conservatory welcomed new Faculty members in 2019

ColdTowne Conservatory welcomed new Faculty members in 2019

ColdTowne Conservatory is very pleased to have welcomed 6 new faculty members to our ranks this past year.  ColdTowne veterans Lilli Lopez from Prima Doñas, Kim Lowery & Stephanie Thoreson from Loverboy, as well as new ColdTowners Maddie Cordovano & Tom Daily II performers transplanted from iO Theatre and The Second City in Chicago and also Haley Chamblee, ColdTowne’s new Conservatory Director have all joined our storied faculty ranks. We’re very lucky to have them!

Haley Chamblee is ColdTowne’s Conservatory Director. A graduate of ColdTowne Conservatory, Haley also serves as the registration coordinator for the annual Austin Ladies Comedy Retreat. Haley improvises with House teams Hawkeye and Porch Cat, and indie teams Lazer Squid, Ronin, and Thotties.

 

 

Maddie Cordovano trained in Chicago performing, working and coaching at both The Second City and iO Theater. Last year, she moved to Austin where she has found the joy of living in a warm place and the comfort of being part of this city’s friendly comedy community. Maddie improvises weekly in both Sweet Lightning at the Fallout, and Stool Pigeon at ColdTowne Theater.

 

Tom Daily II was thirteen when he started at the John Casablanca school for acting and started improvising in high school.  He moved to Chicago where he studied at the Second City Training program then took iO improv classes as well as Actors Studio’s courses Screen Study and Meisner Technique. ‘IN Chicago he appeared in “Attend the Tale Of Danny Tanner: A Full House Musical”. Once back in Houston, he performed with Station Theatre’s CAN’T TELL US NOTHING on stages all around Texas. And this year, he joined ColdTowne house team and B.Iden Payne winner of 2019 Best Improv Troupe, Sugar Water Purple.

Lilli Lopez is known for her performance in Latinauts: Improvised Telenovelas, a 2019 Austin Critics Table Award winner and 2017 B. Iden Payne Award’s (Outstanding Improv Production, Outstanding Cast [Improvised Show], and Outstanding Direction. Lilli also co-directed Latinauts: Wrath of Juan and LatiNacional, which just won 2019’s Best Improv Production, as well as a co-Directing win for Lilli. She also directed and hosted The Rose: Trouble in Paradise at ColdTowne. She is ColdTowne’s Marketing Director as well as an actor and teaching artist with the Paramount Theater Story Wranglers, and a producer of BettyFest, an annual all-women comedy festival. Lilli holds a masters degree in mass communication from the Manship School at Louisiana State University, where she researched nonprofit communication strategy.

Kim Lowery is on the Community Board of ColdTowne Theater where she graduated in 2015 from the Conservatory and from the inaugural class of the Advanced Studies Program in 2016. Additionally, Kim is one of the producers of BettyFest ATX, an annual all-women and non-binary comedy festival that celebrates the diverse voices empowering the Austin comedy community. You can see Kim perform every Friday night at 8:30 at ColdTowne Theater in one of Austin’s best comedy shows with Loverboy improv.

 

Stephanie Thoreson is the winner of Hill Country Film Fest’s “Best Actress” award and ColdTowne Theater’s “Best Character Performer” award. She is on the Board of Directors for BettyFest. You can see Stephanie every Friday night at ColdTowne Theater performing with the award-winning all-women improv troupe Loverboy, named by Thrillist as one of the best comedy shows in Austin. Stephanie graduated ColdTowne Conservatory in 2015.

We’re thrilled to have these artists and veterans of ColdTowne Conservatory faculty. To sign up for classes or view class details and offerings, visit

 

WEIRD GAY VIBES: Martini Ranch is back!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WEIRD GAY VIBES
Saturdays (8:30-9:30 p.m.)
November 16 – December 21, 2019

This surreal sketch comedy show has no straight man. 

Austin, Texas – October 30, 2019 – Austin’s first and longest running LGBTQ sketch comedy team, Martini Ranch,

returns with a subversive, darkly comedic show titled “Weird Gay Vibes”. The original production will run at ColdTowne Theater for six Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. – November 16 through December 21.

After performing at San Francisco Sketch Fest earlier this year, Martini Ranch took time to focus on other projects before regrouping for “Weird Gay Vibes”, which will be their fourth and final sketch revue together. The show plays with the troupe’s favorite themes, from the confusion of entirely self-taught sex education, to icons of Latinx pop culture, to the corporatization of Pride.

“Weird Gay Vibes” was written and will be performed by Laura de la Fuente, Jake Garrison, Dylan Garsee, Mase Kerwick, Javier Ungo, Stephanie Vasquez Fonseca, Luke Wallens, and Irielle Wesley. Stepping into the director’s chair is founding Martini Ranch member Katie Stone, a recent B. Iden Payne nominee for Best Comedic Directing for her work on “An Evening with Chlane”. Stone also created all promotional artwork.

“Weird Gay Vibes” is produced by Bonica Ayala, B. Iden Payne nominee for “Liz Behan: One Woman at Dusk”, and Mase Kerwick, who has produced all previous Martini Ranch revues. Technical Direction is provided by Ilan Raschkovsky.

In November 2016, Second City alum Keith Horvath created Martini Ranch to write and perform “This is (Not) the Gayest Show You’ll Ever See”. Following the conclusion of that sold-out, seven-week run in 2017, Martini Ranch has since written and performed “Queer & Now” (2017-2018), “Hidden Valley” (2018), and now “Weird Gay Vibes (2019), in addition to performing at San Francisco Sketch Fest, Out of Bounds, Austin Sketch Fest, and BettyFest.

“Weird Gay Vibes” is rated ‘G’ for Gay and is recommended for mature audiences.

Questions? Contact masonkerwick@gmail.com.

 

Tickets

ColdTowne Theater is located at 4803-B Airport Boulevard, Austin, TX 78751. Tickets are $12 and can be purchased at www.coldtownetheater.com or at the door.

About ColdTowne Theater

ColdTowne Theater is Austin’s center for Chicago-style, long-form improv, with shows every night of the week. For phone reservations or more information, call (512) 817-TOWN, or visit www.ColdTowneTheater.com

 ###

ColdTowne Anniversary Weekend is October 18-20!

A word from co-host of this year’s ColdTony awards, Javier Ungo

It’s October baby! It’s spoopy season, the winds are changing, there’s a slight chill in the air and like every October it’s time for the ColdTowne Anniversary Weekend! Our home away from home is turning 13 (Spoopy!) and like every year we have a weekend full of activities to celebrate!

Our resident queen Dylan Garsee is taking to the big stage at Spider House Ballroom to present their masterpiece Dylan Garsee: Live For One Night Only, For Two Nights”. Two evenings of comedy from the twisted and relentlessly gay mind of Dylan Garsee that will be part sketch, stand up and of course the return of demented and chaotic “Gayme Show” that will leave you asking “do gays deserve rights?” (Editor’s Note: a gay wrote this copy). Also featuring the relentlessly homosexual musings of sketch group Martini Ranch! Join Dylan Friday AND Saturday night at Spiderhouse Ballroom at 7pm.

 

Speaking of chaos, swing by ColdTowne Theater afterwards to experience the late night madness of the 13th Anniversary 

Lock In Show! What happens when the ColdTowne community of comedians is asked to sign up for 10 minute slots to do whatever they want on stage? Madness, pure and utter madness. Will flags be burned? Will people be waxed? Will ghosts from our past return to haunt the theater? Probably not because all that stuff has already happened so who knows what the hell will happen on stage this year! It will be hilarious! It will be insane! It will question your taste level on a deeply profound level! Join the madness Friday night at 11:30pm and Saturday at 11pm with FREE BEER courtesy of Thirsty Planet Brewing Company. Before the lock-in, you can peep the main stage shows: Echolake: Midsommar (spoopy af) and Angola: A Comedy (listen to the KUT Arts Eclectic interview here). 

And finally capping off the weekend will be the ColdTony Awards on Sunday night!  A night of glitz and glamour where the ColdTowne community comes together to celebrate and recognize a year of comedic excellence at ColdTowne Theater. This year ColdTowne finally had the good sense to ask gay people to run their awards show so hosting this year’s award show is the above mentioned queen Dylan Garsee and ColdTowne’s third favorite gay Javier Ungo! So pull out your good dress and kindly turn a look because you will be called out by the gays on stage if you just wear a plaid button up and jeans. Join us for the ColdTony Awards Sunday night at 8pm at Spider House Ballroom!

Vote for ColdTowne in Austin Chronicle’s Best of Austin 2019 poll!

Vote for ColdTowne in Austin Chronicle’s Best of Austin 2019 poll!

ColdTowne Theater is nominated in this year’s Best of Austin poll in the comedy club/venue category. We’ve been doing this for 13 years and we’re thrilled Austin has nominated us alongside our friends at Fallout Theater and Cap City. We’re also SUPER excited for the nods our talented performers received. Here’s our voting guide, for your consideration…

Obviously, we would love for you to vote for ColdTowne in the comedy club/venue category, but more than that, we’d love for you to join us for comedy any night of the week. 

Carina Magyar AND Ky Krebs, co-hosts and producers of Live at ColdTowne are both nominated for Best Stand-Up Comic this year! Both Carina and Ky have albums out for you

We have two amazing comedy troupes nominated this year. Y’all We Asian has performed sold out main stage runs at ColdTowne and often sell out their monthly show Last Friday Night at ColdTowne. Their next show is happening October 11. 

Girls Girls Girls is also on the ballot and while we’re not GGG’s forever home (these gals can be seen all over ATX), we love having them grace the ColdTowne stage regularly with their improvised musicals complete with choreo made up on the spot. Catch them on October 18 at ColdTowne

You may know Stephanie Thoreson from Loverboy on Friday nights at 8:30, but did you know she’s also an actress? Like many of our talented performers, Stephanie’s improv skills have lead to acting opportunities. Stephanie recently starred in “Good Feels On Wheels,” a feature film making its festival rounds this year. Stephanie is currently nominated for Best Actress in the Best of Austin poll and we fully endorse this multi-talented queen!

We hope these #FYCs help! Voting closes on October 7, so be sure to fill out your Best of Austin ballot ASAP. Vote in at least 40 categories, and you’ll be entered to win a badge for SXSW Film or SXSW Music, your choice. We’d like to give a special shout out to the Austin Chronicle for supporting local businesses like ColdTowne and for their continued support of ColdTowne main stage productions and weekly house shows and to YOU for being here. Y’all really are the best.

VOTE BY OCTOBER 7

Announcing ColdTowne Theater’s 25th Main Stage Season

From Will Cleveland, Artistic & Academic Director

Folx, we’re so thrilled and honored to have these creative teams bringing their shows to the ColdTowne Main Stage starting this fall. 

Echo Lake Midsommar 
October 04 – Nov 02
Produced by Echo Lake

A stay at a drug-filled pagan commune in rural Sweden might not be everyone’s ideal vacation, but Echo Lake knows you could use a good trip. After the opening series of seemingly incongruous sights, sounds and movements, “Midsommar” is a comedy of manners. Inspired by the recent Ari Aster film, comedians Courtney Hopkins, Lisa Jackson, Cortnie Jones & Valerie Ward create a festival of organic thoughts, movements and noises that dive deep into the unknown of folk horror, enhancing the dread in organic improv, and playing with our perceptions through a number of devices. Many things are possible in “Midsommar,” but the surest is that there’s nothing else like it. You all will be invited to participate, and who knows, you could be their next Queen.

Get Tickets on Eventbrite

Angola: A Comedy
October 05 – November 09
Directed by Ryan Darbonne & Frank Netscher, Produced by Amy Knop

Set in the Louisiana State Penitentiary (aka ‘Angola’), true stories – told by those directly affected by incarceration – inspire a satirical, yet grounded, look at our judicial system and the prison industrial complex. Told from the perspective of the people who inhabit its walls, Angola explores the minutiae of prison life and its relation to present day America.

Starring Joseph Juarez, Will Sitters, Yola Lu, Tauri Laws-Phillips, Kevin Anderson, Nathan Sowell, Stephanie Vasquez Fonseca, Quinn Buckner, Keylan Haynes and Lisa Jackson 

Get Tickets on Eventbrite

Hunnicut on Holiday
November 02 – November 23

One of ColdTowne’s first Monday Mash Teams, Hunnicut is moving to the weekend with a little help from some new friends. Hunnicut on Holiday explores some of the nation’s lesser known holidays like National Kitten Day, Middle Child Day, and the hilarious Earth Day. Thanks internet.

Hunnicut is Morgan Goetz, Julia Ham, Lisa Michelle Jackson, Matt Shirley, Jason Burnett, Adam Protextor, Audra Schroeder, Emmy Silak

Martini Ranch’s TBA 4th Sketch Review!
November 16 – December 21
Produced by Mase Kerwick and Directed by (B. Iden Payne nominated Dir.) Katie Stone

Cast TBA
Did you think Liz Behan and Way Down in the Hole was it for Queer Comedy on the Main Stage this year? Really? That’s a little homophobic.

Prayer Circle presents Ho-Ho-Holy Shit
November 30 – December 21
Written and produced by Prayer Circle 

These Christian Idiots have resurrected! This is Prayer Circles 2nd Sketch Show.

“My Own Worst Enemy”
January 04 – February 09
Directed by Amy Knop

Old Love, The Rose, Holy Shit: Amy Knop is a brilliant producer and is making her directorial debut. We’re in awe of Amy and this show is going to be a smash. “My Own Worst Enemy” is a ColdTowne Advanced Studies Capstone Show (FKA Nobody Likes Me).

Sex aka Weiners and Boobs
February 15 – March 22
Written by David Wain, Michael Showalter, and Joe Lo Truglio
Directed by Kyle Romero

A Play? A Written Play? Another one? Yes. Fans of The State, Stella, Wet Hot American Summer, this show is for you. This play is bonkers and filled wall to wall with jokes and gags. It was written in the 90’s. Will. It. Hold. Up?? With Kyle directing, it’s in great hands! Also there’s a scene from Glen Gary Glen Ross in this play and it’s great. There will be auditions for this show. 

Another Evening with Chlane
March 29 – May 02
Written by and Starring Lane & Chloe Ingram (B. Iden Payne nominated Cast, and Director)
Directed by Kyle Romero

That’s enough Plays Kyle. Please direct a sketch show. Another Evening with Chlane. Chlane. Chlane?! They sold out a 150 seat house at Seattle Sketch Fest…..married couple?? Yes. You got it now. Kyle’s directing two shows!

Echo Lake brings you… Midsommar

A stay at a drug-filled pagan commune in rural Sweden might not be everyone’s ideal vacation, but Echo Lake knows you could use a good trip. After the opening series of seemingly incongruous sights, sounds and movements, “Midsommar” is a comedy of manners. Inspired by the recent Ari Aster film, comedians Courtney Hopkin, Lisa Michelle Jackson, Cortnie Jones & Valerie Ward create a festival of organic thoughts, movements and noises that dive deep into the unknown of folk horror, enhancing the dread in organic improv, and playing with our perceptions through a number of devices. Many things are possible in “Midsommar,” but the surest is that there’s nothing else like it. You all will be invited to participate, and who knows, you could be their next Queen.

What and why is Echo Lake?

Cortnie Jones: Echo Lake is a group of friends who just love performing together. We do organic improv, which is based on group mind and 10% performance art. We started performing about 5 years ago and we have so much fun with each other, we just can’t stop.

Courtney Hopkins: Echo Lake is an improv troupe. We (Cortnie Jones, Valerie Ward, Lisa Jackson and Courtney Hopkin) started this troupe because we had all performed together before and really enjoyed how weird we would get during shows. That’s was the skeleton of it. Then we found that when we’d do shows, we’d sort of congeal into a single character or point of view, like geese flying in a V formation or penguins all standing with their beaks pointing straight in the air. We very much act like birds. One of us will make crazy noises and then we’ll all make crazy noises. We often find ourselves shouting at an invisible adversary together or bleating like goats. It’s communal and it’s organic and it’s so so strange but it’s always funny.

Lisa Jackson: Echo Lake is four women who try to make each other laugh by doing the weirdest stuff we can and then copying it and then finding new weird stuff to do, while people watch it. Some people have said Echo Lake is “therapy” but others’ have said it’s “the universe blowing up”, but maybe it’s both and neither.

What is Echo Lake: Midsommar?

CH: Echo Lake: Midsommar is a comedy ritual where we choose the May Queen (in October) from the audience. We do what we specialize in, purely organic improv, but we have added elements of ritual to the show. We call out to goddesses and weave our own maypole. We’ll taunt a bear.

LJ: Like the SAT analogies, Echo Lake :: Midsommar as Midsommar :: Echo Lake but maybe without a bloody mallet to the head.

CJ: It’s a folk horror organic comedy paying tribute to the Ari Aster film Midsommar. Right? Is that what we’re doing?

Why Midsommar?

CH: When the movie Midsommar came out, people kept talking to us about how the movie basically had lots of organic improv in it and how it was very much like what we already do. We thought it would funny to “reclaim” our format by taking what they’d done and making it our own again.

Plus we love crafts. We have glued so many fake flowers together for this show. We hand made the set. We hand made our dresses.

There’s a bear. There’s a poncho for an audience member to wear….

CJ: I saw the film and laughed at inappropriate times because it was clearly an Echo Lake show on drugs. I love the folk horror genre. Most things don’t scare me, but the thought of getting caught up in cult is truly scary – the human mind is wild. Spiders? Nah. Ghosts? Nah. Accidentally getting caught up in a strange ritual? Yes, yes that scares me. So why not highlight that in a fun comedy way? We talked about it and 28 hours later we did a one-off show that went so well we got a run at ColdTowne, and it’s the perfect place to share this experience with an audience.

What can audiences expect?

LJ: Lemonade and entry into the cult.

CH: Expect to laugh. A lot. Expect to feel joyful and replenished after the show. Expect to feel genuinely creeped out but all in the safety of our protective net. We’d never ever let anything happen to you. We’d never let the bear hurt you.

CJ: Audiences will be confused but intrigued, laughing but crying, welcomed but afraid. You know, just a normal day.

Echo Lake is ushering in spooky szn Saturday, September 28 at 7 p.m. at ColdTowne. Don’t miss the rituals, Saturdays through October 26. Tickets are $10 and ColdTowne is BYOB.

Liz Behan: One Woman at Dusk returns Saturday, Aug. 17

For Immediate Release
Austin, TX – May 28, 2019

Description:
Liz Behan: One Woman at Dusk runs Saturdays at 7:00 pm August 17th through September 21st at ColdTowne Theater. Liz wants you to strap in… as she tells you the tale of a big ole country dyke. Starring Laura de la Fuente, a fan-favorite among Austin’s comedy obsessed, this solo sketch comedy show brings together elements from Laura’s own life – queer and latinx identity, absurdism, and family relationships – to create a show that is both uniquely Laura and universally relatable. With a cast and crew of Austin’s most talented sketch comedians and theater performers, this hour-long comedy program will include multimedia video content and live performances surrounding topics of sexuality, lesbian and queer identity, short fingernails, equality, and pop culture – all while being relatable, funny and queer as heck.

The show is written by and stars Laura de la Fuente of ColdTowne Theater’s improv house-team, Loverboy. She won the 2017 B. Iden Payne award as part of Prima Doñas for Outstanding Improvised Production Latinauts. She is part of queer sketch team, Martini Ranch, and has performed at San Francisco Sketchfest, Out of Bounds Comedy Festival, Austin Sketch Fest and the Del Close Marathon (NYC & LA). Liz Behan: One Woman at Dusk is directed by Chris McKeever, UCB Alum and cast member in B. Iden Payne Winning F*ck This Week. The show is co-produced by Bonica Ayala, a queer artist, photographer, and producer. Her clients include Grammy Award winning artists, commercial and non-profit organizations, social advocates, filmmakers, and comics. Also co-producing is Linzy Beltran, a writer/performer/producer based in Austin, TX whose credits include SheSheSheShe Improv, Prima Doñas improv, Glam Fam – sketch comedy duo, and Jazz Kween, a jazz and comedy variety show.

Tickets:
www.eventbrite.com/e/liz-behan-one-woman-at-dusk-tickets-64473931264

Venue:
ColdTowne Theater
4803-B Airport Boulevard, Austin, TX 78751
BYOB/Free parking

About ColdTowne Theater:
ColdTowne Theater is Austin’s center for Chicago-style, long-form improv, with shows
every night of the week. For phone reservations or more information, call (512)
817-TOWN, or visit www.ColdTowneTheater.com

Way Down In the Hole opens Saturday, Aug. 17

WAY DOWN IN THE HOLE Saturdays (8:30-9:30 p.m.) August 17 + 24, September 7-28, 2019 

Step back into 2012 with new improvised comedy show “Way Down in the Hole” 

Austin, Texas – July 19, 2019 – Dylan Garsee and Mase Kerwick are thrilled to announce their latest collaboration – a subversive, darkly comic improvised show called “Way Down in the Hole” – debuts at ColdTowne Theater Saturday, August 17. 

In “Way Down in the Hole,” an otherwise ordinary night at local gay bar The Hole becomes hysterically chaotic when someone is found dead on the dance floor. Set over the course of a single evening in 2012, audiences will watch as some of Austin’s best comedians improvise the complicated web between bar owners, patrons, detectives, drug dealers, and the murder victim. But will the murder ever get solved as people keep getting distracted by The Hole’s legendary dance floor? 

Created and directed by Garsee (in their directorial debut), the hour-long show is inspired by classic TV series “The Wire” and “Cheers”, as well as the federal raids of certain Austin bars in 2012. 

“Way Down in the Hole” is produced by Kerwick, a native Austinite known for the popular live variety show “QueerTowne” and for being a founding member of LGBTQ sketch troupe Martini Ranch. Garsee performs monthly with boundary-pushing sketch troupe Pendulum and is still bitter about not getting to perform their indie nightmare comedy Gayme Show at the cancelled 2017 Sound On Sound Fest. 

Garsee and Kerwick previously collaborated on all three runs of Martini Ranch’s sold out sketch revues, as well as the improvised drag extravaganza “Hail to the Queen” and the comedic fever dream “This is the Zodiac Speaking!”. They’ve performed together at San Francisco SketchFest and Dallas Comedy Fest, as well as local festivals Austin Sketch Fest and Out of Bounds. 

“Way Down in the Hole” features Dalton Allen, Brian Bonnet, Devon Coleman, Kristie Denlinger, Kelty Dorsey, Mase Kerwick, Nicole Russell, and Jake Garrison as drag queen YesAndra LaRonde. 

Original art was created by Steven Smith. Technical Direction is provided by Ilan Raschkovsky. 

The core cast is comprised largely of queer and trans performers who will pull from their own experiences at places like TuezGayz at Barbarella, Chain Drive, the original Cheer Up Charlies, and others. 

“Way Down in the Hole” will run at ColdTowne Theater for six Saturdays at 8:30 p.m. – August 17 and 24, and September 7 through 28. Each performance will take place on a different themed night at The Hole: bachelorette night, lesbian night, straight night, bear night, and more. 

The original production is rated ‘G’ for Gay and is recommended for mature audiences. 

Questions? Contact masonkerwick@gmail.com

RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/344795419746926

Tickets ColdTowne Theater is located at 4803-B Airport Boulevard, Austin, TX 78751. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at www.coldtownetheater.com or at the door. 

About ColdTowne Theater ColdTowne Theater is Austin’s center for Chicago-style, long-form improv, with shows every night of the week. For phone reservations or more information, call (512) 817-TOWN, or visit www.ColdTowneTheater.com 

 

BIGFOOT, THE MUSICAL OPENS MAY 25

From the minds of Amber Ruffin (Late Night with Seth Meyers), David Schmoll (Boom Chicago) and Kevin Scieretta (The SecondCity) comes the Austin premiere of BIGFOOT, THE MUSICAL. Produced by ColdTowne Theater and Austin SketchFest, this exclusive six performance run is only the second production of this musical comedy that premiered at the Majestic Repertory Theatre, in Las Vegas in 2018.

It will be directed by ColdTowne Theater’s Executive Producer Dave Buckman (The Second City, Boom Chicago) and ColdTowne Theater’s Artistic Director Will Cleveland (UCB New York). Musical Direction will be provided by Ammon Taylor (The Paramount Theater).

The musical comedy offers the origination story of America’s most famous mythological creature. You’ve heard the myth and legend…but do you know the man? In the perpetually economically depressed town of Mud Dirt, the perpetually ill Francine is the mother of an eight-year-old boy who has the body of a fully grown adult. Due to a glandular problem brought on by radioactive waste buried nearby, the boy continues to grow larger and larger through the years and is covered by hair. As the town’s mayor drives Mud Dirt into bankruptcy with his alcoholism and gambling, he uses the overgrown Bigfoot as a scapegoat and turns the citizens into an angry mob that pursues the youngster into the woods…and into infamy.

“I wrote Bigfoot because I wanted to have a good time,” said Ruffin. “I wondered if I could write a musical where every song was a party, and I think I did. Bigfoot is a musical about never losing hope even when things are terrible, even when you’re all out of money and friends, and everyone hates your guts. It’s a good time musical about hope.”

Amber Ruffin has written for Late Night with Seth Meyers since 2014, becoming the first African American woman to write for a late-night network talk show in the U.S. In addition to writing for Late Night, Ruffin also appears on the program, and her segments “Amber Says What” and “Jokes Seth Can’t Tell,” are both wildly popular. She will also be handling the 10th Annual Austin SketchFest performing a one woman show and will be in attendance on opening night!

BIGFOOT, THE MUSICAL
PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE
May 25 – June 29, 2018
Saturdays at 8:30 p.m.

TICKETS AVAILABLE ON EVENTBRITE
Tickets to Bigfoot at Austin Sketch Fest
Tickets to Bigfoot mainstage at ColdTowne

A NOTE FROM WRITER DAVID SCHMOLL

Amber and I worked together at Boom Chicago in Amsterdam, and shortly after she left Boom, she emailed me and asked if I could help her put some songs together for a show she was working on (King Of Kong: A Musical Parody). Because she was in LA and I was still in Amsterdam, and there was a 9-hour time difference between two people who were already pretty busy, we ended up doing it all by email. During the course of developing those songs, we sort of fell into the system of writing that we’ve used for everything we’ve worked on going forward, including Bigfoot:

She sends me a video of her talking about the song idea, and what style of music she has in mind. Then she sings the lyrics acapella. I watch the video and transcribe, as best I can, the melodies I hear into Logic, and from there I figure out what key the song should be in, and what chords should accompany the melody. Then I send her a rough draft of (usually) just piano, bass and drums, so she can check to see if I got the melody right, and if the chords I chose feel right to her.

After that, there’s usually a bit of back and forth to get the melody and chords locked down. Then I start arranging and orchestrating the song. I send her a rough cut, she sends me some notes, I refine the arrangement based on her feedback, send it back, and so on, until we have a complete song.

A big part of the reason why we work well together is because there’s a huge amount of mutual respect; each of us looks at what the other does as something completely impossible that surely must involve some type of sorcery. Our creative strengths and skill sets fit together quite nicely. Musically speaking, Amber’s the brain and I’m the brawn. She always has the initial idea – and often, by the time she makes that first video, she can already hear the finished song in her head. My job is to figure out what she’s hearing, and make that into something tangible that everyone else can hear, too. During that process when the song is developing is where the magic happens; we inspire each other and bring out the best in each other. Also, we’re both a little crazy, so that helps.

Pendulum Presents: Class War Takes ColdTowne’s Main Stage

Pendulum Presents: Class War Takes ColdTowne’s Main Stage

Sketch comedy for the 99%

Austin, TX: After a successful run of their cult-themed sketch show, Pendulum Presents: The Ascendant, Pendulum, Austin longest-running sketch comedy team, brings a new thematic show, Pendulum Presents: Class War to the ColdTowne Theater mainstage. Frustrated with the ills of modern day capitalism, Pendulum wrote a sketch comedy show for the 99%. In an effort to put their money where their loud and opinionated mouths are, Pendulum will be donating 20% of the proceeds from ticket sales to the Workers Defense Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to empowering low-income and immigrant workers through education, organizing, direct services, and strategic partnerships.

With Pendulum Presents: Class War, Pendulum and ColdTowne Theater are creating high quality sketch comedy that skewers the rich in Pendulum’s uniquely dark and absurd voice. As the economic disparity in the United States continues to increase, Pendulum Presents: Class War aims to shed light on the frustrations of the working class while providing a space to laugh at the absurdities of capitalism. Pendulum Presents: Class War includes sketches about Elizabeth Holmes, multi-level marketing schemes, billionaires, and healthcare.

Pendulum Presents: Class War, features some of Austin’s most talented comedy writers and performers including Minda Wei of Prayer Circle and Y’all We Asian (ColdTowne Theater), Emma Holder of Stool Pigeon and Three on a Match (ColdTowne Theater), Dylan Garsee of Friends for Now (ColdTowne Theater), Kyle Romero of Stool Pigeon, and Nicole Russell of Movie Riot (ColdTowne Theater).

Tickets

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/pendulum-class-war-tickets-56835590782?ref=ecal

About Pendulum

Comprised of experienced performers and writers, Pendulum has been performing a monthly sketch show at ColdTowne since 2015. Pendulum has performed in the Out of Bounds Comedy Festival, Austin Sketch Fest, Dallas Comedy Fest and Trill Fest and has been recognized by their peers as ColdTowne’s Best Sketch Team three years running.

About ColdTowne Theater

ColdTowne Theater is Austin’s main stage for alternative comedy. Shows run 7 nights a week and feature 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

“Starring Y’all We Asian” Hits the ColdTowne Main Stage

Y’all, We Asian’s latest show proves that Asians are more than just the sidekick.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 2/1/2019

Austin, TX: After a sold-out run last summer at ColdTowne Theater, the B. Iden Payne-winning improv troupe “Y’all, We Asian” is back with a new hour-long production that refocuses the narrative of Hollywood whitewashing by empowering diverse voices and re-imagining films by inserting Asian leads. “Starring Y’all We Asian”, which pays homage to the #StarringJohnCho movement, will feature snappy, character-driven improv comedy inspired by movie trailers. It will also showcase local Asian-American stand-ups, such as Tai Nguyen, Nikita Redkar, and Sahana Srinivasan, as opening comics.

 

“Y’all, We Asian” and ColdTowne Theater are highlighting diverse voices in improv comedy, an artform that has traditionally been dominated by mostly-white and mostly-male perspectives. The success of Asian-led films like Crazy Rich Asians and all-Asian comedy showcases like “Asian AF” at UCB has proven that audiences are craving more art that reflects their experiences and more multi-faceted portrayals of what it means to be Asian-American. “Starring Y’all We Asian” is a celebration of how far Asians have come in Hollywood and a reminder of how many more diverse stories there are to be told.

 

At “Starring Y’all We Asian”, the audience will enjoy improvised comedy from some of Austin’s most talented improvisers, including: Yola Lu of “Stool Pigeon” (ColdTowne Theater), Virgil Shelby of “The Megaphone Show” (Fallout Theater), G-Su Paek of “Missed Connections ATX”, and more. The show runs for 8 weeks, every Saturday from February 16 to April 6 at 8:30pm at ColdTowne Theater. Tickets are $10 online and $12 at the door. For more information, contact coldtowne@coldtownetheater.com, call (512) 814-8696, or visit www.coldtownetheater.com

 

Tickets

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/starringyallweasian-improv-tickets-54098087837?ref=ecal

 

About “Y’all, We Asian”

Comprised of experienced performers from all five Austin improv theaters, “Y’all, We Asian” is Austin’s (and definitely Texas’) first all Asian-American troupe. The troupe is comprised of 7 members, all ranging in age, gender, and ethnicity. In 2018, “Y’all, We Asian” won the B. Iden Payne “Ethel Hinkley Award for Outstanding New Improv Troupe”. The troupe has performed the Del Close Marathon (NYC) and Out of Bounds (ATX) comedy festivals. “Y’all, We Asian” is on Facebook @YWAImprovATX.

 

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

 

PRESS CONTACT:
Lilli Lopez, Marketing Director
ColdTowne Theater
lillianallopez@gmail.com
956-683-5067

 

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

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

Robotic Improv Invades Long Center!

A mashup of Battlebots and Whose Line is it Anyway?, Bot Party 3.0 features integrated teams of humans and robots competing in comedic challenges based off of audience suggestions. Originally produced in 2015 as a Machine Shop series through Austin’s Fusebox Festival, ColdTowne co-founder Arthur Simone founded the group as a nonprofit theater organization. Collaborating with Red Sky Robotics and social roboticists from Carnegie Mellon University, University of Texas & MIT’s Media Lab, Bot Party’s robots have been featured in SXSW Create, Austin Maker Faire & East Austin Studio Tour.

Bot Party 3.0 is presented in association with ColdTowne Theater, Fusebox Festival and IEEE Central Texas from November 3-5. We spoke with mastermind Arthur Simone about the genesis of the show.

What drew you to working with Robots and AI in comedy? I had been doing improv with my dog Robin Goodfellow on a dare, anthropomorphizing his every move and endowing him as silent partner characters for scenes. Robin’s programming was pretty easy – food, water, cheese nibble resets in between scenes and bits. After that, I went through a Fusebox Festival Machine Shop program developing robotic characters for short form games, and I’ve relied on an entire community of roboticists, engineers and makers to build [Bot Party Robot] Annabelle.

What’s been some notable, weird, or incredible on-stage performance moments working with robots (or Dogs for that matter). If the battery’s weak or the network is slow the timing can really hit or miss, but convention floor events like SXCreate and Maker Faire have been great for a wide range of ages. The best interactions have been simple “Hey there’s” while dodging otherwise uninterested or too-interested groups of people. A subtle robot is a triumphant robot.

I’m surprised by the broader world of engineers and scientists you’ve become involved with. What kind of interesting advances have you learned about, and have you brought any of that knowledge into your other creative pursuits? I’ve always been interested in minimal theater and building from scratch. Here’s a ball! Call it a robot, why not? Where is the robot? Is it the ball or the machine system tracking the ball? Who makes decisions for this ball? Is it Big Brother or Skynet or Deep Blue? Maybe Etsy, is Etsy a robot? Speaking of, please visit my Etsy store or view my abstract expressionist oil paintings during the East Austin Studio Tour (I’ll be stop #31). Annabelle will be there too!

What’s your prognosis for Austin’s cultural climate moving forward? We’re f*cked! support local artists.

You’re also extremely politically active. What can working with robots teach us about politics, and what can politicians learn from robots? Robots have been in politics for some time already, right? Think about prerecorded, even heavily edited, robocalls to voters from easily-recognized public figures. At least some robots are capable of learning history!