theater

Podcast: Danny Hoch Live in San Francisco

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Show: 
Bullseye


The third in our series of podcasts from our January live show at SF Sketchfest.

Danny Hoch is a multiple Obie award-winning playwright and actor, and the founder of the Hip-Hop Theater Festival. His newest show, "Takin Over," is currently in its premiere run at Berkeley Rep in Berkeley, California. The show examines the gentrification of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, using character monologues from a variety of community members. It is way, way better than that lame description makes it sound. Hoch talked about being a native New Yorker, how he feels when he's looking at the organic produce in Whole Foods, and how all the women he meets in New York seem to have come to the city from somewhere else to "find themselves."

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Also from our Live in San Francisco show:
Merlin Mann
Bucky Sinister

"Jails, Hospitals & Hip-Hop"

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I was lucky enough to have actor and writer Danny Hoch on my live show in San Francisco. It won't be podcast until tommorow, but it's in the top ten of all-time TSOYA interviews, at least for me. His newest show, "Takin' Over," deals with gentrification in Brooklyn, and is currently running at Berkeley Rep in the long-since gentrified Berkeley, California.

There's precious little of the new show available online, but his last major one man show, "Jails, Hospitals & Hip-Hop" was made into a film. The movie was financed by Rawkus Records, who were planning to use the film as promotion for an accompanying soundtrack album. Unfortunately, the label folded before the album could be released, and the film was thrown into limbo.

Eventually Danny and his associates managed to get the movie into DVD release, and thank goodness they did. Like Luis Valdez' "Zoot Suit," the film lives in the liminalities between staged performance and real life. Each character monologue is seen performed live in a theater, in public, in a prison and in the fictional world of the piece. The technique balances the needs of the show with the needs of the piece's inherent theatricality beautifully. It's one of my favorite films of all time. I cry several times every time I watch it. And laugh a lot, too.

Above, I've pasted a scene from the film, in which Hoch portrays a street vendor and hip-hop afficionado in Cuba. Unlike pretty much any other hip-hop art concerning Cuba I've ever seen, it's insightful, balanced and humane, not just Castroist agitprop. Of course, those qualities are typical of Hoch's work. Indeed, perhaps the most sympathetic character in "Jails, Hospitals & Hip-Hop" is a prison guard, the frontline soldier of the prison industrial complex.

Anyway, enjoy the above, check out the interview tommorow, make plans to see Danny's show if you're in the Yay Area, and cop that disc if you're elsewhere.

Podcast: TSOYA Classic: Real Vs. Fake

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We continue our journey into The Sound of Young America's vast audio archive with this program from The Sound of Young America Clasics.

On this week’s show Real Vs. Fake, magician and actor Ricky Jay talks about his career and his book ‘Extraordinary Exhibitions’. San Francisco radio personality and stand-up comic Brian Copeland also guests. He shares details of his one man show and what it was like growing up in the most racist suburb of America.

Ricky Jay is an artist, actor and author. He is an expert on the history of magic, oddball and unusual entertainment. He can throw a playing card into the rind of a watermelon from ten paces – impressive!

“Not A Genuine Black Man” is the longest running solo show in San Francisco history. Brian Copeland, writer and star of the one man comedy show, spills the beans on what the show is all about.

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Podcast: Bryan Coffee's "Shrimp" from The Weekly Armenian

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Bullseye


Here's a little comic pallette cleanser after three weeks of hefty shows. Bryan Coffee performs "Shrimp," from his one man show The Weekly Armenian.

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Orson Welles turns the tables on Dick Cavett

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This, I believe, is what is known in the business as "a hoot and a half."

Also: Orson on Winston Churchill, on a cockatoo and on La Grande Illusion.

Podcast: Cynthia Hopkins

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Show: 
Bullseye


Cynthia Hopkins is a singer, songwriter and multi-media theatrical performer. The New York Times wrote of her most recent show, Must Don't Whip Um: "a triumph of disciplined thinking, narrative fluidity and musical accomplishment. Ms. Hopkins' voice is both so delicate and emotionally forceful - part Natalie Merchant, part Madeline Peryroux - that it leaves you wondering why she has ever bothered to do anything else but deploy it." Special thanks to WNYC this week for sharing their studios with us.

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Our intersititial music is provided by Dan Wally

You might also enjoy these past interview programs:
They Might Be Giants
Hip-Hop Heads with Danny Hoch and Sway & Tech
Moustaches, Etc with Andy Daly and Richard Montoya of Culture Clash

Sketchfest Seattle Tuesday Night

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One of my personal favorite sketch groups in the country, The Cody Rivers Show, is performing a fundraiser for Sketchfest Seattle tommorow night (Tuesday). Sketchfest Seattle is the oldest sketch comedy festival in the country, and they're really great folks who run a great festival, which we were proud to sponsor last year.

The Cody Rivers Show are a two-man group who perform a wild combination of sketch, dance, mime, theater, and other crap that is way better than that description sounds. Maybe the most fun thing you can see on the sketch comedy circuit.

THE SKINNY
Tuesday, May 22
Doors open at 7pm. Show starts at 7:30 p.m.
Theatre Off Jackson at 409 7th Ave. S
Levels of Admission - Giggler at $20, Chuckler at $30 (comes with 10 raffle
tickets), or LOL at $100 (comes with 10 raffle tickets, reserved seats,
recognition in festival program)
Advanced tickets at www.brownpapertickets.com
More info at www.sketchfest.org

A portion of fundraiser proceeds will go to our partner organization,
Gilda's Club Seattle. Named after beloved sketch comedienne Gilda Radner,
Gilda's Club provides support to those affected by cancer as a supplement to
medical care.

More Mike Daisey follow-up...

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Student protest has ART upset

Celebrated storyteller Mike Daisey had barely begun his 90-minute monologue at the American Repertory Theatre when much of the audience stood up and walked out. One of the put-upon patrons even picked up a glass of water used as an on stage prop and poured it over Daisey's papers. The problem? The posse, 87 students and staff visiting Thursday from Norco High School in Southern California, objected to Daisey's dirty language. (They left during a particularly profane riff about Paris Hilton.) Daisey, who's posted the episode on YouTube, invited the aggrieved audience members to talk to him, but they bolted. "None of you have the guts to stay here and talk to me," said Daisey. "Saying [expletive] is the least racy thing I do, so I'm a little flabbergasted." Daisey's handwritten outline -- he doesn't work from a script -- was soaked, but salvageable. "If a patron in an art museum objected to a painting and slashed it, we'd be clear that that's a criminal act," the ART's artistic director, Gideon Lester, fumed yesterday. Seems the school group did inquire about the content of the show, called "Invincible Summer," and was told it includes profanity and adult subject matter. They decided to buy tickets anyway. Daisey has since talked to Cindy Lee, Norco's activities director, and received a halfhearted apology. "They keep saying it was a 'security issue' . . . They had to get their children out because of these words," he said. "It's ludicrous." The show runs through Sunday.

Here's some original reporting from the Boston Globe on the incident. Like my pal Hodgman, I apologize for spreading the rumor that it was a Christian school group. Turns out it was a *public* school group, which is even worse.

Mike Daisey Follow-Up...

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I just got an email from our friend Mike Daisey. Turns out, by coincidence, that they were taping the show the night of the walk-out. Above, you can see what happened -- apparently they were objecting to the word "fuck" being said in front of high-school students? Hard to tell, because none of them will talk to Mike as they file out of the theater.

In the video above, you can see not only the walk-out, but Mike's perplexity, then anger, then regrouping. As a special bonus, you can see a bit of Mike's great show.

Note to protesters: this was a shitty protest.

(Post-action report on our blog here, Mike's description here).

Mike Daisey show interrupted by anti-art terrorists...

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You may remember monologuist Mike Daisey from our live show in New York City late last year, when he told an amazing story about his childhood in Maine. Mike is an extremely nice guy, a gifted performer, and a thoughtful man. Last night, his show was interrupted by a choreographed mass walkout.

I'm still dealing with all the ramifications, but here's what it felt like from my end: I am performing the show to a packed house, when suddenly the lights start coming up in the house as a flood of people start walking down the aisles--they looked like a flock of birds who'd been startled, the way they all moved so quickly, and at the same moment...it was shocking, to see them surging down the aisles. The show halted as they fled, and at this moment a member of their group strode up to the table, stood looking down on me and poured water all over the outline, drenching everything in a kind of anti-baptism.

Here's his full description of the events.

If you live in the Boston area, I think the best way to respond to this kind of madness is to go to his show. If you're on the fence, try reading this rapturous review in the Boston Globe. Mike will be at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge through May 8th. It's worth your time.

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