Bye, 2019!

We’re less than 12 hours from entering 2020, a new year / entirely new decade, guaranteed to bring lots of change and growth at ColdTowne and around Austin and the world, but in a good way we hope!

Before we start the real countdown, we’re taking a look back on some celebratory moments around our neck of the Austin improv + comedy community at ColdTowne this last year.

Y’all We Asian kicked off the year with a completely sold out run of Starring Y’all We Asian, which placed the members of Austin’s only Asian-American improv troupe in major lead roles you can’t find in Hollywood. The troupe ended the year with a new weekly residency at 7 p.m. on Fridays at ColdTowne (starting January 3!) and a Critic’s Pick Award in Austin Chronicle’s Best of Austin 2019 poll.

While Prima Doñas didn’t have a main stage show this year, they did scoop up some awards for their shows in summer and fall 2018. The all-Latinx improv troupe (known for Latinauts and Latinacional) scooped up the award for best production in improvised theater at this year’s B. Iden Payne Awards held in November at the Austin Scottish Rite Theater to honor and recognize the thriving theater community in Austin for the 2018-2019 season. Directors Ben G. Bazán and Lilli Lopez were awarded Best Direction of an Improvised Play for the fall 2018 main stage show Latinacional at ColdTowne Theater. Prima Doñas was also awarded an Austin Critic’s Table Award for their performance at FUTURX Festival in 2018.

This year the troupe was invited to represent ColdTowne Theater and Austin Improv at the Del Close Marathon in Los Angeles this past June, the first festival in L.A. since moving from NYC. The troupe was back in L.A. in October for the Los Angeles Diversity in Comedy Festival hosted by Second City.

Sugar, Water, Purple celebrated a full year in their weekly Wednesday night slot! They also won the Rudy Kloptic Award at the 2019 B. Iden Payne Awards. You can read more about Sugar, Water, Purple and their show “Can We Kick It?” in this January 2019 review by the Austin Chronicle’s Trey Gutierrez.

Lots of Awards! One Hour Til Air earned the award for Best Cast Ensemble in Improvised Theater. Many of ColdTowne’s main stage shows also celebrated sold out show runs. Y’all love an intimate theater setting and we love y’all for it!

Pride Month Party with QueerTowne

QueerTowne held it down monthly with full crowds, complimentary bevvies including some support from Deep Eddy Vodka and Big Swig, and loving shouts out from Austin Chronicle’s Qmmunity. Hosts Mase Kerwick, Javi Ungo and Laura de la Fuente shared the stage with some of Austin’s finest citizens, community leaders and comedians. Mase’s favorite QueerTowne moment was the Pride Month Party in June. We don’t have access to photos from this exclusive event, but here’s one from Halloween!

 

ColdTowne Conservatory. We teach classes here!

We added several new faculty members to the ColdTowne Conservatory. As our conservatory grows, we are grateful to have true performers and teachers in the classroom for our students to train in improv and sketch. Read more about these new instructors and their backgrounds here: COLDTOWNE CONSERVATORY WELCOMED NEW FACULTY MEMBERS IN 2019

ColdTowne Staff Retreat 2019

This December ColdTowne ownership and staff went on a 24-hour retreat to reflect on the last year (decade tbh) and outline goals for the future. 2019 has been one of ColdTowne’s most fruitful years yet and we have our incredible community of creatives, performers, producers and students to thank for the many successes and recognition our little theater under a video store got to celebrate. We were lucky to have the opportunity to reflect on that gratitude collectively and all jokes aside (because we’re a comedy theater and have to make it clear sometimes), we hope you continue to stick with us through 2020 and this next decade.

Cheers to 2020 and the next 10! 

I AM TX Film Sheds Light on Rarely Heard Perspective

Filmmaker and ColdTowne Graduate, Ryan Darbonne’s love for film has run deep since his first job as an usher at Regal Westgate movie theater in South Austin. After moving to Denton to attend the University of North Texas Film School, Darbonne returned to Austin where he has since made his mark in the comedy, film and music scenes.

Now after wearing several hats including co-founder of Cinema41, Film Department Director at Austin Film Festival and original member of hip-hop group, SPACE CAMP Death Squad, he is in pre-production for his next big project, a narrative short film called “I AM TX.”

We sat down with Darbonne to learn more about I AM TX and why he is raising money to fund the project.

Tell us more about who you are… as a filmmaker.
I am Ryan Darbonne. I’m an Austin-based filmmaker with over a decade’s worth of experience in production. I have written and directed a number projects that have been featured on Noisey, OVRLD and other online publications. In 2011, I co-founded Cinema41: An award winning (Austin Chronicle ‘Best Of’ 2012) community arts organization dedicated to hosting free screenings of independent films with diverse themes and served as the Film Department Director at Austin Film Festival in 2013.

What are you up to outside of film?
In addition to my film work, I have written, directed and produced several successful live shows at ColdTowne Theater, and I’m a member of the award winning all black improv troupe Sugar, Water, Purple.

I AM TX is a narrative short film about a fictitious black hardcore punk band, comprised of members Charlie, Sonny and Otis, on their last leg of tour. Told over the course of one day, we follow the group from the desert roads of El Paso, TX to a popular music venue in Austin.  Throughout the film, each character is forced to contend with cops, insufferable fans, and an ever persistent “woke” music blogger who all serve to reinforce the band’s position as outsiders in a mad, mad world.  

Inspired by personal experiences, I wrote this film to showcase the frustration, anxiety and often humorous/painfully ignorant interactions that go along with being a “cultural mulatto.”

So you mentioned before that the cast is made up of actual musicians, who are they?
The film stars three key figures from Austin’s music scene: Audrey Campbell of Pleasure Venom, Jonathan Horstmann of BLXPLTN, and Greg Williams of Chief and the DoomsDayDevice. We’ve been rehearsing for weeks and they’re an amazing group, who all have personal stakes in what the film is trying to convey.

What is your goal with this film?
The film is a DIY project made by and starring punks of color. Hollywood has come a LONG way in its portrayal of people of color, but there has yet to be an accurate portrayal of what it’s like to be black and alternative; to straddle two sides of a cultural track.

Why should people support and back this project?
This is a chance to support and help nurture diverse voices on film. Those wanting to back the project have until Nov. 10 to donate on Indiegogo at indiegogo.com/projects/i-am-tx#/

If you don’t have the means to donate, please share our campaign page and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

Instagram and Facebook: @iamtxfilm