Monday, August 29, 2005


I just found out about today when I was walking by it outside a Union Station news stand. Ironic that I first saw it in print form.

Also, I just saw EPIC 2015 because a friend sent it to me. This is what mostly spearheaded this line of thought.

There is so much information in the world. You cannot encode it on 1:1 ratio because it would take as much space to store the world of information as the size of the world. This reminds me of a simile in a story I read once about the flattened remains of a town looking like a 1:1 map of the town. Tangent...

Regardless, artists are only people who are gifted in that the can say, in this giant universe, what the interesting bits are to look at. I wrote my final essay in Semiotics about this, sort of. In the past, artists have usually had to exert considerable effort to modify what they are presenting, like in a painting. But really - the paints already existed, and so did they idea they are presenting. This takes us to artistic photography, which can undeniably still be art. It is the definition of "look at this, this is interesting". Bridging to journalistic photography...which must then still be art since it isn't that much different.

NOTE: This progression is like those types of mathematical proofs where you prove something for 1, and then prove it for n+1, and congratulations, the proof must be true for all positive numbers greater than 1. In this case, all types of expression.

And journalism, in print form. You can be good at journalism, so there must be an art to it, and journalism definitely is supposed to represent part of the world. Modern journalists are artists, and anyone can be a member of the publishtariat, given modern tools.

Where am I going with this? I am trying to understand for myself what the state of the world will be. Why? So I can enjoy the revolution.

With everyone able to publish, we come back to the situation where everything is blurry and nothing is highlighted. The era of only one newspaper is gone. The unlimited semiosis of what is important is overwhelming (more on that in another article!).

This brings me to a point, that I was unconsciously going to. (Keith Johnstone told me to stop being creative and original) I am sitting in front of a computer, typing. I am not humanly alive in any traditional sense. The wind is not in my hair, my muscles and blood pumping and my nerves singing, with andrenalin courses through my veins. GRRRRRRRROUHA, Ergonomics! No, I must hold still so as to not break the keyboard. I read the back of a book once, which I have been unable to find again. It is science fiction, the plot is the main character who is lost in his society. It seems that every citizen is given some sort of device to cope with all the streaming information all around them in the ultra-post-modern reality of the protagonist's world. For some reason, the protagonist was punished and had his device revoked- for reasons he does not know.

In order for us to cope in this stream, we need to change as humans, biologically. As dehumanizing as it might be to have a palm pilot implanted in me, it is more dehumanizing to have to run home to check my paper daybook. This is what we need to sort through the media.

A world connected from every point by an infinitely short publishing line to every other will be quite a mess, but it sounds awesome. This mess is so awesome and horrible that a primitive human brain will not be able to handle it. I wonder when the first REAL implants will come on the market...

Thanks for listening to my corner of the thoughtscape.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

On Playing in God's Theatre


In what was a perfect setting for philosophical discussion on the universe, I was sitting in my Dad's backyard with my Dad and brother. I had my telescope set up in front of me, the last of several spontaneous events that had happened today.

I decided that tonight had looked like a good night for stargazing, but alas there was too much light pollution, and I couldn't see any cool M or NGC objects. So I was sitting there and my dad and brother were talking. Somehow they got to this point in the conversion:

Dad: So who's Daedalus?
Skyler: He's the guy who built the maze?
Dad: Then who's Icarus?
Skyler: He dies.
Dad: What?
[laughter and some more conversation ensues]

This I remembered though. Was god's purpose in the whole "plan" for him to just die? (I don't believe in god, at least any traditional god, but I find it a useful concept for reference or arguments, especially when I can't justify it with anything else.)

So: Was god's purpose for Icarus just to die? Did he want him to die or is it an interesting event that just happened? This line of inquiry was very much fuelled by the situation of myself staring up at the stars. Is the universe something that god controls moment by moment, or something cool he set up to see how it would run out. The whole moment-to-moment thing seems a little ridiculous: that makes god less of a god and more of an Operating System. It eliminates free will or chance, and also requires a much more powerful god. Yes, I am using Occam's Razor - whatever.

It makes more sense that we are something in god's test tube. Perhaps with rules well-defined, and precise initial conditions, but still out of control. This brings me to improv, as most things do.

...Theatre started out as very regimented: scriptwriter was king...AKA Shakespeare. Then came a progression to the director being king. This is sort of where we are as a Western society now, but the balance is shifting again. With improvisation (on stage and screen), the power is directly in the actor, and maybe in the editor. This progression of de-centralization is a realization that complete control is impossible. Its better to create a fertile environment. The scriptwriter makes a fertile plot and characters, the director gives the actors an idea, and the actors ACT in the moment and the ways that seem right.

Is this what the universe is? Just set up really well, and we're all playing spontaneous parts? Its impossible to know, but interesting to think about...hmm.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

On wingpeople

So, I went out to the bar last night with an old female friend of mind. We were both trying, or at least hoping to hook up. NOT with eachother.

...although if this was a sitcom I would have woken up the next morning, looked over, and been like...damn. But that doesn't actually happen. If it has, please let me know as I would like to laugh about it...

So we agree to play wingmen for eachother, which we agreed was pretty strange, and didn't end up working anyway because we didn't do anything.

BUT, is it possible that this could work? It could make sense to show up at a bar with a women, and get her to start talking to people, then slip you in (puns?). I don't think it would work the other way around, at least that's not what my friend thought. Would it be awkward to start chatting to some guy (me doing the talking) and then bring in your female friend.

I mean its not like I've ever even tried the straight wingman thing often, or even ever succeeded.

The decision is: not enough data. NYAAAAAAA

Friday, August 12, 2005

Improv Show Hosting Notes August 9th 2005

The show begins.
Audience warm-up - get them to give suggestions
Bartender/Waitress/Drink of the Night/Elixir Announcement

The Die Game Title of a story.
Then, for each death: object from a kitchen Thom Kirstin
Jason Alex Matt

Green Cheese. This was a good game and has a lot of potential. Good job with me just throwing this game at you. It would be better to die more dramatically. Also, don't be afraid to fuck up and react when you do - the audience likes it. I think I should have warmed the audience up a little more though, even though this is a audience warm-up game itself.

Fairy Tale Nursery Rhyme/Fairy Tale Character AND Fairy Tale. E.g.
Jack from Jack and Jill and Little Red Riding Hood Blaine Paul

Gingerbread Man + Sleep Beauty. Wow, I thought I remembered this scene but now I don't. Anyway, apparently I wasn't watching but I wrote "go places". Instead of talking about things, do them, progress in the plot of the fairy tale.

Sit/Stand/Lie-Down A mistake Kirstin Thom Kelsey

ex-girlfriend. strangely, she was there. Anyway, good physicalization and movement. You enjoyed the scene, and so did the audience. AWESOME!

Open What you wanted to be as a child
e.g. fire fighter, astronaut or marine biologist Paul Kelsey

Paleontologist. I wrote "good characters", "good feed Jason" and "what is going on?" When scenes degenerate into petty dialogue argument either end the argument and go somewhere or end the scene. It saps energy.

Monologue An event
e.g. County Fair Jason Kate Alex Kirsten Kelsey

ninja festival. Good varied characters initially. You seemed static characters at first and I was afraid you wouldn't go anywhere, but eventually you all ended up at the same bar. COOL. however, it would have been nice if the characters had changed/reacted instead of "crazy! we're all at the same bar!" Good job dying Jason, you gave a good thing to react to, good commitment.

Silent A dirty secret Kelsey Matt

This is where I went into the audience, which I really enjoyed personally. Although I think I should have chosen something better to ask of a random rather than "A dirty secret". Anyway, Tim helped out. We got: Seven Days, Totalling your parents house and drinking.
First, don't feel the need to ACT IT OUT EXACTLY. Be creative a little, maybe play with the idea, do something unexpected (without being crazy). There's no point to seeing a scene which is essentially completely suggestion. I'm not saying the scene was bad, it was pretty funny, just keep that in mind.
Second, these scenes are a little too much like mime. That is sort of due to the suggestion, but you guys don't have to do that. What if you started after the party with everyone all over the floor, and you are the lone survivor needing the clean up the mess?
Third, awesome stage business. I could tell what you guys were doing often, even if you weren't the characters at the centre of the action, you were involved in something obvious.

Open Something sad
E.g. your puppy ran away Cheryl

Taking your cousin to prom. Good job jumping right to the prom, although this was sort of like "acting out the suggestion again". But you got away from it and did the pair-switching thing, cool. This scene went on a little too long though.

Musical Open Page from "365 Scientific Facts" Jason Alex

I should have introduced this book a little better. its a series of question and answers. If anyone has any other stranger books please bring them in, they would be awesome for suggestions. The suggestion was: Raised beds in backyard gardens. I think I should make these suggestions a little more clear. I wrote that Matt made a good entry and established a conflict. Whoah I forgot this was musical. Alex I like you better with your guitar walking around on stage than sitting down, it makes you more engaging.

Side note: if you guys know that you are going to be in an open scene together, you can pre-plan a structure. Go nuts.

Open "If you like drinking Pina Coladas, and getting caught in the rain.
If you're not into yoga, and you have [FILL IN THE BLANK]" Cheryl Blaine

This suggestion was a little awkward, my bad. I think I rushed the audience. We got: Pirate hook, which I find hilarious. Good job on the intervention, created a conflict. Although Cheryl, as the parrot, could have reacted more, making the conflict meaningful. Good job Paul (I think) on the feed about the ship sinking. Cheryl was hilarious as the bird - you play characters really well. Shakespeare would have made the bird die and turned it into a dramatic tragedy. Haha. Good job guys.

Kick-It. Something to fight over. Jason Kirstin

Crayons. Jason, high pitched rap voices = pain, but good job keeping it up. Paul was also in this scene, and Thom. Good job making it about religion? I can't even remember why. I need to learn to write more descriptively. Kristin had a fucking intense rap/talk. The scene needed some levels though.

Intermission. This is where I started to sort of feel really crappy. I
got food poisoning, which I wrote more about in the first e-mail.
Elixir Announcements.

3-Way Dub Something stupid that you bought Jason Kate Matt

Waterproof vibrator. Where the hell did that come from? Good platform guys. Jason/Kate: a competition can lead to sort of boring, formulaic improv, try to avoid starting one. Otherwise, good job.

Open Where did you lose your keys? Blaine

In the freezer. I over-built the suggestion, but you guys did well with it. Paul AKA Billy was hilarious, although I forget where he came from. Try to confront the Billy problem rather than avoid it, it makes it funnier and continues good scene energy. Good entry as CAS Tom.

Monologue Something Miss America would want E.g.
"World Peace" Paul Matt Thom Cheryl Blaine

"Puppies across Canada". Yet again, you went straight to enacting the suggestion. Good scene overall, just take you time and play with the suggestion a bit. The audience doesn't care that you nail it right away, or possibly ever. Its more entertaining if you lead up to it, or show it already in place. Pre-destined events are not as exciting. You could even use the puppies as a solution - cats breed to much, how can we get rid of them?

Open A guilty pleasure Alex

Dancing in women's clothing. Can't really remember this scene. What did I do to Montezuma, I ask? Good raising of stakes Jason.

One-person Scene Thom introduces Thom

Film Noire, Regicide. Pretty solid scene, characters. It looked like you were really comfortable with the genre, which makes it easy for you. The scene did bridge for too long though, and went on, although you managed to keep the energy up. One-man scenes are hard.

Open A reason to quit your job. Paul

Spying on another company. What a confusing way to get a suggestion, oh well. I wrote that there was a bit of blockin in this scene, and it started to make no sense.

Seen Enough Explanation: When you have "seen enough" of the scene, put
your hands up and I will say "next!" ALL

Give me feedback on this scene. I think you guys and the audience did well at it. I saw some interesting stuff but I let it go on too long. Don't be afraid to start something really different with lots of people, like an intense dialogue or something.

Helping Hands An expertise
e.g. Rabbit Removal Alex Kate Matt

Cryptography I should have defined this topic a little better. Alex your interpretation was pretty funny, and I like how you brought the VCR in.

The next two scenes were skipped because the night was going on too long.

Open What would you buy with $1 million? Kirsten
Open Page from "365 Scientific Facts" Alex Cheryl

Ballad Get volunteer, find out stuff about them. ALL

Got Jamie, Art, History, and "girls out east?" Good job with the chorus and energy of the song, although we should practice singing the chorus together. Again, solid job with stage persona Alex.

End of Show.
Jug. Here is where I made a strange comment about ego.

Everyone Say Goodbye!

A few things:

Yes, I was sick Tuesday night. Give us hosts feedback too, its the only way we can learn. I, personally, think I need to slow down introductions and not spend so much time joking with the audience. Someone prompted the count on me (Kelsey?). Good job keeping me on top of things.

Paul did an awesome pre-hosting warm-up with me. Fucking solid job, we should use that I'm not sure if its applicable for the show but it helped me out.

Monologues: This is sort of turning into perspective narratives of a single event. We should talk about what we want this to be. I like doing it twice a night so everyone has a chance to be in it.

Thats all folks, good job!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


What??!?!?! Three blogs in less than 2 hours?

Yes, I know. However, I have a bad history of starting things and not finishing them, or going on to other things. If you want a good example, search "Dustin Freeman" in Google. Anyway, I want to lay out some goals for this blog, without sounding too proffessional.

I want to write (different pieces) that are:

- emotional or deep
- informative and researched (what, like a newspaper article?)
- on the state of improv, my research, or what I'm doing
- opinion pieces.
- comedy/fictional pieces

That's all the genres I can think of that are important right now. I will add some later maybe.

I'm going to set a goal of writing something at least once a month. That's very little, considering my rate from the last two hours, but I want to set a goal that won't be broken.

On originality

I'm currently reading "Impro for Storytellers" (where' s the v?) by Keith Johnstone in an effort to perhaps better my skills and knowledge. And WOW it has opened my mind. Keith Johnstone writes almost exclusively in Socratic dialogue, in a constant argument with the people on stage who are arguing back with him. Its so nice to see something original and unusual (or is it? more on this later).

Anyway, the section I just passed through had repeated emphasis on trying not to be original on stage. I'm having to re-define what original means to me. Johnstone seems to say that originality in the bad sense he puts it comes from ideas that "come from nowhere" and then, by their lack of success, return to nowhere. Sort of like a popular Motown song. Johnstone's "students", meaning the poor people that he is heckling on stage from somewhere in the audience, are constantly urged to go with "obvious" ideas.

I think I pick up on this. The audience sees where a scene is going:

You enter a living room, sit down, flip through the channels, looking lazy, maybe drooling a little. Suddenly, an angry female enters.

Turn to page 46 for the original idea, Turn to page 9 for the obvious idea

Page 46:

The angry female that just enters says "My intestinal worm is speaking in prose again."

The audience laughs for a bit, then they think what the fuck. Now that the reality (living room, lazy-responsible relationship) is broken all value of the scene is lost. You could do anything (light yourself on fire, go to the moon, enter an abstract dream sequence) and it wouldn't mean anything since it wouldn't be too wonky compared to what just happened.

Page 9:

The angry female puts her hands on her hips and says "Why are you sitting there watching TV, there's work to do!"

Maybe not as funny, but "obvious" and reasonable. Especially if the "mom" comes in and stares for a good 10 seconds to creep the audience out, and then suddenly speakls. This fills in the audience's expectations.

Now, the mom can leave, meaning it is a perfect time for the existentialist tapeworm to begin speaking in prose in my stomach, probably about the problematic mother-son relationship. This makes more sense because it is more obvious than randomness.

As I read through the book, I'll probably write out more of there so I can help myself understand. As for now, I hope the broken typing is appreciated.

I'm hosting next week! I've found some awesome ideas for games in the Johnstone book too.

In the beginning

In the beginning, god created light, by saying "let there be light".

Later, the electric and magnetic component of this wave split into conveniently understandable behaviours, one supposedly as an aspect of another.

Further on, sufficiently intelligent monkies created ways to harness these tiny electric particles to actually mean something....

....which brings us to here.

I think that gives you a sufficient understanding of the universe. There are though things (Feynman's lecture-on-tape introduction is great for this) which don't fit into this view I have created, but they will be mentioned later.

Thus begins the Blog

[Flourish. Exeunt.]