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

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.

Meet Y’all We Asian: Headlining at Spider House in September!

ColdTowne Theater is home to so many of Austin’s most adept (read: hilarious) improv troupes. Over the years we’ve seen some of these comedy teams turn their improv comedy from your typical improv show to something bigger. Y’all We Asian, Austin’s first and only all Asian-American comedy troupe has done that time and time again. With sold out main stage runs and packing the house monthly for “Last Friday Night,” at their monthly residency, Y’all We Asian is taking the Spider House Ballroom stage on Fridays and Saturdays in September to bring their signature shows to new audiences. We talked to YWA to hear a little more about their roots and experiences as the only Asian-American comedy troupe in Austin.

How did Y’all We Asian form?
YWA was formed from a showcase we put on for Asian American Heritage Month two years ago. The showcase was called “Y’all We Asian”, and it was a show that featured local Asian American artists in town. The event invite quickly grew from ~60 people that we invited, to 300+ people in mere hours. We ended up selling out the show in 2 days and that’s when we realized that there was a need and interest in shows like this in Austin. One of the performers of the show, Christine Hoang, suggested that we make YWA into a troupe, and we thought, why not? And that’s how the troupe was formed. – Yola Lu

Tell me how each of you got involved in improv and how each of you have gotten to where you are today. What struggles did you face along the way? 

I had just moved to Austin after college and I was purposefully trying to do things that scared me because I felt like I hadn’t pursued that many of my own interests in college. I’d loved stand-up and improv comedy from afar for a long time, but I was so afraid of getting on stage. My friend took me to a few shows at ColdTowne and encouraged me to sign up for classes. Improv classes taught to trust in myself and my instincts and in the group to have my back. – Minda Wei

I was in a pretty low spot in my life at the end of 2014, and I stumbled upon a Groupon for half off an Improv 1 class at a theater in downtown Austin. I knew some folks from college who performed there and thought “why not?” I struggled most with feeling like I belonged; a combination of imposter syndrome and the fact I was an Asian queer spending most of my time surrounded primarily by straight white cis-men. Three years later, that theater I joined would suffer an upheaval in management that nearly tore our community apart. One wild revolution later, this Asian queer is now one of the 5 co-owners of Fallout Theater, a new theater borne from the community I had joined just a few years prior. -VS

I got involved with improv classes to work on my communication skills for my career. I was a very quiet person growing up and did not get a lot of the learning one can obtain from feedback of conversation. Letting my ideas flow out without thinking too much on them was something I struggled with quite a bit. I had only intended to get a brief taste of improv, but my friends encouraged me to complete the full course program at ColdTowne. Now I’m eager to continue developing my skills as a performer. – FI

I got started in improv in Seattle, but at the time, all that was taught in Seattle was short form. I wasn’t sure if it was for me and stopped taking classes. It wasn’t until I moved to Austin that I discovered long form improv. I actually bought a holiday special class for my boyfriend at the time as a gift, and when I saw his student showcase, I was so in awe that I immediately signed up for classes after. It’s completely changed my life in that I finally started building a community around me of talented and kind friends.- YL

How did you all come up with “Starring Y’all We Asian”?
Initially, we were brainstorming ideas surrounding Lunar New Year since our run started in February and our last run centered on the Asian summer vacation experience. ColdTowne was very generous in giving us an 8-week run, and we realized that it wouldn’t still make sense to be running a new year show in April. We were kicking around ideas, and Asian representation in Hollywood was a big topic in the last year, and something we had on our minds when we had won the BIP. We landed on character-driven so that we could explore the film leads and how our AsAm viewpoints would color their world. – MW

We also just thought it’d be fun to “yellow wash” a movie to flip the narrative, which was how we landed on this idea – YL

What is a random fact about some of your performers that we wouldn’t otherwise know?

There’s an ongoing joke about Kim’s 7 year old loofah that is literally falling apart that she still uses and keeps it together by tying it up with rope. I think she finally switched to some other thing that is more sanitary recently.

Also, one of our members, G-Su Paek recently got selected for the CBS Diversity Showcase! He’ll be moving to Los Angeles in the next week, so his last shows are actually this weekend if people want to see him before he departs. He got cast out of thousands of people who auditioned and we couldn’t be more proud of him. 

Y’all We Asian performs regularly at ColdTowne, but don’t miss them this month on Fridays and Saturdays in September at Spider House Ballroom.

“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

 

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.