City of Schemes!

I saw the following on my Tuesday night Manhattan walk home: a well-dressed guy start impromptu dancing, finishing up with a back flip, in the middle of a traffic intersection.

Then, one block later, a human blur on a motorcycle pops a high-speed wheelie down the street.

Gotta respect that a New Yorker’s default status is “America’s Got Talent audition” at all times. Never not showboating.

“Look Mom! No shame!”

Oh, and look what else I spotted today:

A real bargain bin! No, but really, what happened here? This was right across from a bookstore too. LAZIEST BOOK BURNER EVER.

“I hate books expressing opinions that are not mine, but I also hate fire. What to do?!”

New Yawk-ward State of Mind

So I got to spend the past chunk of days in the City That Never Sleeps (But Mostly Sleep Eats)! You know, the place that grows on everyone like a Chia Pe(s)t, and really gets into your nooks and crannies. What I mean to say is it was hot and humid, and so all elbows and belly buttons were sweating pretty much anywhere you went, but especially in the subway where everyone is a short fingernail’s length away from you.

Speaking of which, the mom of this baby that I made eyes at on a train started cutting the moppet’s finger- and toenails during the ride and just leaving them on the floor. Yay NYC! Always going out of its way to impress me.

But it was still an amazing time, because I’m not sure if anybody else in the world has noticed this, but New York City has some yumtastic food and supercoolicious things to do and see. Just me? Fine. But you guys should really check it out, Google it at the very least.

Anyhowser, I got to do some gee-whizbang shows, and recaps are draining these days what with the current shortages in jobs, water, sustainable resources, time, and breezes, depending on where you’re standing. But still. For the people, here are some random nibbles culled from the sieve that is my reverse-gentrifying (*once a stodgy Whole Foods, now a ghetto fabulous farmer’s market where you can pick n’ choose your own questionable tomatoes*) memory:

**I got to perform in the 11th Annual Del Close Marathon, which is a sweaty, beery non-stop longform improv hullabaloo. It was similar to Washington’s own Improvapalooza except that it went on into the wee hours of the morning and beyond to the point where people’s eyeballs were fogging up from the sleep deprivation/dew point temperature (Don’t DO THE DEW point!!!).

My group Jinx performed on Saturday afternoon and we had quite the good time despite a smallish afternooner crowd. We gave each other a lotto jackpot of fun. Here are some pictures of us standing outside the theater where we performed. Don’t worry; I know I don’t look cool in my sunglasses.

Present Jinx outside of theater.

Past and present Jinxies, and you can see the name of the theater. Alibi.
Photos courtesy of Christina Bailey and Facebook.

Jinx at dinner. I had ravioli!
Photo courtesy of Amanda Hirsch and Facebook.

A Sunday show that I subbed into was with a group of delightful ladies called The Shower. We even had a rehearsal on Saturday! No, our rehearsal was not in a shower, but hahah, 12-year-old boys who read this blog.

It was actually at a cool above-ground park called the High Line. If you guys haven’t been to this flourishing NYC hotspot, then walk, don’t run there immediately!

Downright gazable.

I’d walk here.

How quaint!

What’s that? The panes of hued glass signify the different colors of water? How fascinating, pip pop!

Ooh, the columns frame the street view! What will they think of next?

The Shower poses.
Photo courtesy of Amanda Hirsch and Facebook.

The Shower onstage. You can see what theater we’re at again, ali-by the way.

The Shower again. Double alibi!

Photos courtesy of Stephanie Svec and Facebook.

**I also got to do a bevy of stand up shows ranging from bars in Brooklyn to the basements of bars/restaurants/hookah lounges in the Lower East Side to Hell’s Kitchen and back to bars in Brooklyn! Basically, anywhere with a stage and a microphone and people who poured in at the last minute. I met lots of people, of the funny and nice varieties, got free drink tickets, and even didn’t get a coffee that I ordered twice. But it was in a busy restaurant where only one waitress was manning the bar and the floor.

**One of the absolute thrills of the trip was performing on this late-night Monday show at the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater called Whiplash hosted by the esteemed timeless joke-spinner Leo Allen. I didn’t even know this until right before the show but David Cross was also on the bill! *Twirl into an absolute faint that requires smelling salts AND peppers for revival* Not only that but I was right before him on the line-up! *GULP* The other performers were Sean Conroy (super accomplished improv AND stand up vet) and Ted Alexandro (just was on Letterman for the second time, not to mention a national headliner).

I was so nervous that I spent a good deal of time wandering around the everything-and-then-some supermarket called Gristedes that is exactly adjacent to the UCB Theater. I walked up and down the aisles muttering nurturing phrases and self-laffirmations to myself. During my visit, I found a noise maker that specialized in 6 types of farts as well as some giant Koosh balls. Proof positive reinforcements below.

Giant koosh balls!

The store calls them “Massive Googly Balls.” I accept this revision as Gristedes is only “for New Yorkers who know best.”

One Koosh Ball wandered away from the fold for a snack.

Here is a delightful story from before the show. When Ted Alexandro showed up, a bunch of us comedic citizens were sitting backstage on some couches. And when Ted came to say howdy-hello to each of us, I said “Hi! I’m Aparna!” (seeing as how we’d never met before) and then David Cross, who was next in turn to introduce himself, said “Hi! I’m Aparna’s friend!” I definitely died for a few seconds.

The crowd for that show was super-pumped and packed and stacked. They were extremely nice and wonderful and photos from that prestigious affair, taken by the lurvely Mindy Tucker who documents all kinds of comedy shows, can be viewed here. In fact, everyone was so very awesome and dreamy, I am still facially twitching (in a good way) from that show.


Leo Allen!

Sean Conroy!

Aparna Something!

Something Nancherla!

David Cross!

Ted Alexandro!
Photos courtesy of Mindy Tucker.

**Lastly, I had so much good food including homemade blueberry pancakes (thanks SIS), three-course Thai food, and the luxurious delights of Brooklyn’s The Chocolate Room. I was trying to save money to the best of my ability though so one day I had a beer for dinner, which sounds a lot better in theory than in execution.

Here is a chocolate cup full of fruit that I saw somewhere and below that, some Froot Loops treats! This is just proof that I ogle food and own a cell phone with a camera.

**I also learned to avoid cinema popcorn and soda. My friend Rashi and I got those two items in MEDIUM sizes and we felt like guinea pigs in some kind of a salt-sugar oversatiation laboratory experiment after watching The Goods: Live Hard, Sell Hard, which is incidentally a movie about a used car dealership. If that combo of thematic grease, sodium, and sucrose doesn’t get your blood flow slowing, I don’t know what will.

P.S. I ogled enough adorable dogs in the city (including my friend Sean’s new pit bull puppy, swoooonz) that my eyes are taking a cute stuff sabbatical for one week…err, day…ahem, hour. And we’re back!!!

I See Your Normalcy Request, and Raise You One Eyebrow and a Whirligig

I. Underblogged in New York

I spent this past weekend in NYC. Some people I am privileged to know live there.

I also got to do some shows (both way fun and hosted by way fun people). But in between all that hobnobbing and stagestomping, I got to experience this perky little thing called LIFE IN THE BIG CITY.

Here were the top three incidents of note.

1. Arrived in NYC and got off bus, walked about 2 blocks. Passed a man standing behind a homeless charity table. He yelled, “Help the homeless! (Aside to himself but still quite audibly) I forget how f$%kin’ stupid they all are! (This was either directed at all of us, or at other homeless people, or at the voices in his head; it was unclear.) Heeeelp the homeless, New York!” It was quite an angry outburst in the name of charity.

2. Was walking and went into a Border’s bookstore for a potty break, and the woman in line in front of me in the restroom is dancing a little! Granted, they were playing some club hit over the intercom system but then, as if my eyes were questioning their reality, she started really gettin’ down. I mean, I guess something’s gotta get the rhythm going and the pipes flowing before you enter the stall, or maybe it was straight up just her pee dance and she had added some flair to it. I might never know the answer, and I’m OK with that.

3. Was at a show in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, and two rappers stopped by for part of the show. And the comic onstage asked them who they were (naturally, because they sat right up in the front bursting with Brooklyn pride), and it turns out, it was Johnny Brooklyn himself and his “brother” (in his own words) Numbers. They were the perfect possible pair to show up at a comedy show in Brooklyn on that fated night, but alas they had to leave early to go watch their “brother” Beans perform at another venue nearby. Yes. Beans.

I am so content about the aforementioned events, I could just shimmy in the bathroom.

Who can stay neutral when it comes to the charms of the outer boroughs?!
photo courtesy of Flickr and laverrue

II. Panic at the Drop of a Gchat!

Even more Gchat issues…

I realized today that every time someone writes something on Gchat along the lines of:

I have to tell you something.

I gotta be honest with you.


Hey listen…

I freak out and prepare for the worst, which usually turns out to be a) a link to a funny clip, b) a weird news story, or c) an admission of guilt about something ridiculous along the lines of not wearing socks that day.

I have to say though,it gets me every time! I don’t know why I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. But I do kind of mentally batten down the hatches with morbid delight. Human nature is really something else, I’ll tell you what!

Utter and Hysterical Total Recall

(This little guy’s blurry face rather reminds me of myself on better days)

Hey so I was in NYC this past weekend! To be in another lady show! Technically, the last female humor frenzy was in DC, but this particular one (the Ambiguously Brown Comedy Hour) was part of the first Hysterical Festival, an all-women’s comedy extravaganza, and the whole weekend was lots of heartsnuggling and eyepuffing moments (commence eye-rolling for the worldweary readers among you).

Hey lookit. It’s my name on a billboard outside a club.
No, really! Look closer!
Thank you so much to all my friends who attended my show and who sat in the back in one long row like judges just about to hold up scorecards with smiley faces on them. All the women I performed with were amazing, and I was lucky to be a part of it.

In fact, I got to see so many oodles of female comedy noodles that I had never seen before who inspired and amazed me (hint hint—check ’em out if you’re in the NYC area!): Jess Wood, Joselyn Hughes, Lisa DeLarios, Adira Amram, Jamie Lee, Lynne Koplitz, Tastiskank, Sara Benincasa, Emily Epstein, Shayna Ferm, Katina Corrao, Retta, Desiree Burch (festival executive producer), and Maureen Langan, to name just a sample.

And then plenty who I look forward to watching time and time again: Jiwon Lee, mah dawgirl Diana Saez, mah local homie Erin Jackson, Becky Donohue, and the inimitable Maria Bamford (lovelovelovelovelovelovieloveloves her).

And then there’s just NYC in general, always a good time—doesn’t charge extra for the kooky memories!

Let’s break it on down, R. Kelly-style, shall we?

Where to start? I will break it down categorically, for archival purposes. (That really means nothing if you were wondering.)

Itty Bitty Celebrity Sightings:

  • Lewis Black (comedian) looking for produce at the Union Square Farmers Market
  • Recent female college grad who got makeover on the last season of Project Runway checking her laptop next to me in East Village coffee shop
  • Eugene Mirman (comedian) checking out billboard in front of Comix. By the time I went to investigate further, he had vanished into the mist.
  • Meeting the face behind the Comic’s Comic again! Whee!
  • Friend Sightings:

  • Eating Tick Tock pancakes with Joo and commenting on the injustices of society, including but not limited to leaky apartments!
  • Lunch with Dan and he got lipstick on his glass (actually it was on there before he actually took a sip). But still! How embarrassing for him.
  • Getting to spend the night in Helen’s fancy apartment (replete with upstairs neighbor bed-squeaking noises) and hear all her juicy news. She’ll be glad to know I got up much, much later than her disciplined self and walked around her pad nonchalantly, as if I owned the place!
  • Requisite vegan cupcake with Andy plus dogwatching. I mean, camman! I bow in the face of greatness.

    We also perused an economy candy store with M&M’s in every hue imaginable. That is Candy Caynes’ handy haynes.
  • Important convo with Nadia that got cut off because I had to change lines on the subway and she didn’t. Public transit! You’ve foiled us again!
  • Cheering Rashi, Dip, Norman, Mary Ann, and the rest of her team (Goldtoe Lightfoot) in the Terry Fox 5K for Cancer Research. Then following that athletic feat with a delicious, nap-inducing Cuban brunch. Saturday mornings never felt so wholesome!
  • Seeing Tony, Nick, and Jason performing comedy. It’s weird to see people you know from one place all in another place. But then again, I think it’s weird to see people in general.
  • Dinner with sistah! And loading off of requisite package from the parents. We also ran into Cap’n Squidface. Lucky us.
  • Other Events of Note:

  • Tim Burton’s church, which I passed on my busride into the city.
  • Seeing a man fully dressed up as Spiderman in Union Square just walking around. He wasn’t advertising anything. I want to say he was just testing out the costume before Halloween making sure it was getting a good reaction and all that jazzhands.
  • Buying lunch at a yuppie grocery store…wherein I also discovered these bad boys (frosting shooters)!

    Then wandering around Chelsea trying to find a utensil to eat said food, walking into a random deli, and seeing Rashi sitting there and eating lunch with her coworker. YAYAYAYAY. Not only did I get the spork I quested for, but we also observed a nearby model’s daily diet (Hint: It was all baby vegetables).
  • My well-intentioned multiple-mentioned friend Rashi actually gave me the wrong keys to get into her apartment. But having the wrong keys allowed for fateful encounters like standing wide-eyed outside her building and bumping into her roommate Norman and his friend who was also visiting from DC for the weekend.

    And lo and behold, somehow we figured out that his sister had seen me at a show in DC and told him about how much she enjoyed it. Commence back-patting and chorus of “It’s a Small World After All.” I told him I would add him to my imaginary mailing list immediately, if not sooner.

  • My Shiniest Memory:

  • Standing outside the club post-shows (they were both AMAZING), a bit after midnight, just hangin’ with Maria Bamford and some other assorted comics and folk. One of the club staff whose birthday it was comes outside with a big bouquet of balloons, and he’s all lookin’ glowy from the birthday fun (it became his birthday as of midnight).

    And he says, “What should I do with all these balloons?”

    And Bammy goes, without missing a beat, “Oh! We should hand them out to kiddies!”

    Then someone else comments, not unkindly, “It’s 1 A.M., Maria! There are no kids around.”

    And Bammy says, “Ohhhhh well,” a bit wistfully.

    Then Kevin release the balloons up, up, up into the sky so we could wish on them. And we all watched them float away. To NeverNever Land where kiddies abound. Bammy actually moved so she could watch the balloon voyage better. TOO ADORABLE. CANNOT COMPUTE.

    She even said she was sorry she hadn’t gotten a chance to see me perform. I cannot express how nice this woman is! Not in one blog entry! Not even close!

  • Big Apple…Ya outdone yaself again, kiddo. Chin chuck, and wink.

    Milk of Blognesia

    sorry i’ve been on sabbatical (read: have had severe blog-stipation). here are some morsels:

    out of office auto reply i went to new york city for specifically half a day and one night. and even more specifically for some comedy. it was a baby beluga whale of a good time!!! i’m bringing back that phrase. thank you nydia, my sister and her crew (breakdancing crew? yes actually), dip, helen, joanne and rashi for coming to see me and hanging out. your presences were sorely appreciated. my heart is still hurting from all the good will. it’s a good hurt though. the kind that leaves you short of breath and starry-eyed, slumped over a jukebox playing your favorite song.

    so let’s get to the juice of the matter. the meat of the juicer. et ceterazzledazzle.

    lazy crazy day. i was in new york city for too short a time to see anything too insane. i did pause in the middle of my no-nonsense downtown cosmopolitan walking to see some kind of a film shoot near madison square garden with a tall skeleton of an ethnically ambiguous man smoking a cigarette looking perpetually dissatisfied in the middle of it while gymnast-type circus youth did cartwheels around him. but other than that, nothing.

    i am unashamedly pro-cartwheel.
    photo courtesy of Flickr and AndrewEick

    bird truck stop. when i came back from new york city, i was particularly disenchanted to find that my car (technically my parents’ car but the wheels i roll with while freeloading/joyriding) was covered in bird excrement. not just like in an “oops didn’t see that 2-ton piece of metal there, had a particularly ripe set of berries this morning, my bad” kind of way but in a “this is war, we hate you, leave no square inch unsullied” manner.

    seriously every corner of my car has some type of streak or clump of feathered feces on it. as if some local bird gang is engaged in some fowl play. what gives! it’s not summer anymore. bikini car washes are a thing of the past. i’m not cleaning it up. and why? so i can have a nice spotless car for one day, only to return the next morning and have to literally say, “oh. same shit, different day.” NO THANKS. i guess i’ll just have to hope someone toilet papers my car during halloween so it’s more properly eqipped for future crap-cidents.

    maybe they consider it a way of paying homage to something.
    photo courtesy of Flickr and iwona_kellie

    i only write memos. i went to an office meeting today with nothing but a tiny post-it pad. how i thought i could take sufficient notes on it was beyond me. i showed up and had a severe case of notepad envy when i saw some of the gigantic trapper keepaz my colleagues were toting with them. however, never one to accuse a glass of being half empty, i drank my fill of the sordid situation by mostly writing down things like office computer passwords, doctor appointment dates, smiley faces and inside jokes to myself. all in all, it wasn’t a productive meeting but it was a great second date between my conscience and my sense of humor!

    someone had a very productive meeting!
    photo courtesy of Flickr and Yandle

    t-rex skeleton can now successfully flip the bird. quote of the week from paleonteologist scott hartman: “There is a reason that carrying meat away would be useful.”