Improv, Shmimprov, Second City, Schmecond…Wait, WHAT?!

Here is a linkadoo to an interview I recently did with Second City Touring Company member and performer extraordinaire, Brook Bagnall.

Fair Warning: This interview might make you crave some improv. OH GOOD I HAVE A SOLUTION FOR YOU. YOU CAME TO THE RIGHT PLACE. (I implore you to stop reading if you aren’t local to the Nation’s Capital. Sorry for the vicynicism.)

Come to THIS SHOW (FRI @ 9:30pm) or THIS SHOW (SAT @ 11pm) where I am performing this weekend. I also will be performing there other weekends, but this one feels more important than those other distant poser weekends. They are so far off, they shouldn’t even count as weekends. Just like Pluto got disowned as a planet, they will follow suit as weekends.

Please attend because these shows are funny and you will laugh your pants off, and no one will even mind. If you aren’t wearing pants, your make-believe pants will fall off, which is just as memorable and twice as sexy.

I can also promise you some candy.

Farewell belch!

Also, here is a burrito and puppy in quick succession as requested, you insatiable monsters of multimedia content!!!

photo courtesy of Flickr and sweetonveg
photo courtesy of Flickr and wsilver

WIT! FIST! WIT! FIST! WIT! FIST! Get It?!

photo courtesy of Washington Improv Theater

Hello! Today marks the start of Washington Improv Theater’s 2010 FIGHTING IMPROV SMACKDOWN TOURNAMENT, affectionately known on the street as FIST.

This year, 44 teams comprising 132 improvisers in total will be competing for a chance at the glory that is the title of FIST 2010 champion.

You are loudly inquiring with your eyes and eyebrow spasms, “How is Aparna involved and why do I care?

As it so happens, well-meaning but impatient reader, I am co-commissioning the tournament this year with my esteemed cohort, Kat Davis. Read more about us here.

Anyhoodeehoo, that means I will be at pretty much every match telling you things and smiling and spinning the wheel of Fate like a host on an ancient Greek game show. So come to one, two, or a thousand shows. Here is the schedule!

Also, please check out my troupes Jinx and Jackie, who will be performing for the next six weekends as well. Keep your pants on, please. I KNOW it’s great news!

In funclusion, here is a picture of my dad who was wearing my FIST 2009 t-shirt this morning for no apparent reason except the looneyverse told him to do it in support. Also yes, we share clothes. I hope that doesn’t put you off.

Improvapalooza ’09: Whimsy Never Left the Building, Y’all

So Washington Improv Theater just wrapped up its 3rd annual Improvapalooza, a 16-hour marathon of improv programming from the city’s giddiest minds.

Here are some photo highlights with commentary:

(All photos courtesy of Red Turtle Photography.)

THURSDAY NIGHT

Fired! was an appropriately titled show about jobs and working. I’m guessing they made at least one joke about how Friday was right around the corner! Their show’s dress code was more formal than the one at my office.

A delightful show I envisioned and performed in mixing stand up and improv called Whose Punchline Is It Anyway? (surplus thanks to Sean and Jake for bringing their A-game). This scene was about two hand models waiting to audition and trying to one-up each other. Careful boys! All that time in moisturizing gloves will go to waste if an injury is sustained.

The Circle emulated a creative writing workshop. I didn’t get to see it, but um, I could watch a show about this idea at any time. Operators are on hold.

This was a hip-hop themed show my brilliant friend Mark let me be in called Hip Hop From Mom’s Basement. (click to go to his blog/film project that inspired the show). We had fly girls, and oh boy, they were the flyest. That is me making loud gestures. One of the fly girls called me “a trip” after the show. Swoonz. My poserdom is finally reaping dividends, I mean, grim-reaping skrilla!

This is a show called Jinx Springsteen and the 14th Street Band that involved my group Jinx being a band with extremely unprofessional and diva-like behavior (we even had real instruments and sparkles and sunglasses and scarves). We had to practice looking really offended and refusing to play “Free Bird” to prep for this show.

This was a show that I’m in love with that I submitted called EmoProv. I couldn’t have done it without my friends Mikael and Jaime. I got to make up bad poetry and read it on the spot. I compared myself to a raisin. My own costume was depicted in my last blog entry. It involved a lot of angst in case you didn’t pick up on that already.

Oh yay, this was a show called Celebritation starring Sylvester Stallone, Christopher Walken, and Kathy Lee Gifford. I really wish they were all BFFs in real life. Just because I think they’d bring out the best in each other.

As part of the delightful debut sketch show from Ames Aimes, reporting live from Little Ukraine was Morning Borscht! For future reference, don’t drink coffee while you’re watching unless you’re prepared for multiple spit takes.

The night was capped with a visit from the cast of Second City’s “Barack Stars” who were in town all week. They were outstanding both in their performance and in their graciousness afterward (as if they had been professionally trained in both improv and manners).

FRIDAY NIGHT

So You Think You Can WIT was a smash-hit! Here, one of the night’s contestants really feels (up) the music as “Cat Deeley” looks on…

My group Jinx also did a show called Heightened Senses where we all wore taped-over masquerade masks so none of us could see. So we all looked like we were at a costume party in the dark. Someone later reported that when someone on stage said “graveyard” at one point, four people on stage started miming digging at the exact same time. *clapping hands in delight* Group mind! Group mind! I was not one of the four.

One of my favorite shows was DinoProv! *cue Jurassic Park theme music with slide whistles* 

SATURDAY (ALL THE LIVE LONG DAY AND NIGHT)

OdinProv starring Odin the Standard Poodle! Look at him mugging. He was a delightful scene partner.

Cooking with Sean & Jordan involved making peach cobbler but it might as well have been called peach quibbler. Joost keeding! Nothing like some friendly onstage banter/fighting/hugging it out to get those TV ratings up.

Speaking of TV, this was a travel-themed show called Destination: Fun, Population: You! These ladies should be Loreal’s fresh faces of hilarity. In Thailand, hijinks and overly familiar massages ensued.

Washington Improv Radio Theater. I love the genre of film noir already, but especially when the detective is an insurance investigator named Candy Jones and she is on the hunt for a missing Chevelle.

J Skool = Some cool guys (I know) rapping! Awwww yeah, family!

This was a show called La Familia about being Italian. They served real cannolis to audience members in the beginning. Then cheek kissing happened. Then some fighting. Then some making up! Tutto bene!

One of my favorite shows, Moxie, was set in the 1940s (Mad Men-style), which is my favorite era of English diction. Everything that came after and before that is all horsefeathers, see?!

This was an improv group reunion show several years in the future. Think Zack Attack but less dysfunctional.

Uh oh, nothing says wax museum statues coming to life like being double flipped off by one of them. The bar has been raised since Kim Cattrall starred in Mannequin over two decades ago (*single geriatric tear*).

Another one of my favorite shows was a fake improvised soap opera called Bitchwood. This eyepatch found a home on Tyler’s head. It looks like he and only he was born to wear it. Also I like a town where the evil corporate head honcho’s last name is Guillotine.

Two Men in a Tub. I feel confident that to add any commentary to this picture would be to detract from its magnificence.

My friend Karen and I did some hosted bits in costume. We did an angel/devil point/counterpoint segment. My impression of an angel involves a ’60s blonde wig.

We also showed up as beings from the future. Performance art? Well. We’re certainly on the rightish track.

The Bullshit Factor! People! With! Opinions! Yelling! Them! Out!

Blue Cop Town taught me that I like fake moustaches too much, especially when they fall off and Mikael has to mime one with his finger for the rest of the show. Hypothetically speaking.

IMusical did a silent movie! They even wore black and white for it. Despite Katie’s face above, it was not a reenactment of Home Alone.

Inside the Improviser’s Studio. Being interviewed is never easy but especially when you have to make up your answers but tell the truth at the same time. Never a bad season for James Lipton Tea though.

A few shows took place literally In Bed. And delved into topics that were befitting that location. One person literally wore their undaroos. Method acting.

Time for a Road Trip!!! These stools get great mileage, and they’re not too shabby for the environment either!

We did a show at summer camp called WIT Hot American Summer. In the end, everyone was murdered by a psychopathic demon except one camper who turned out to be Harry Potter. I wish I was JK(Rowl)ing, but I am drop-dead serious.

Cast half full (really whoever was left in the theater by the end of Saturday night). Some people had to defect early for many worthy reasons including illness, illness of a significant other/spouse, prior family commitment, note from the doctor, boredom, malaise, fatigue, intrigue, malnutrition, and relocating to another city for job-related purposes.

In conclusion, I am so lucky to work with and witness so many inspired and shiny minds at play. My brain needs to wear sunglasses sometimes from being around so much dazzle. Thank you to everybody who makes (W)IT happen.

FISTing Starts Here

Hey! It’s that time again! Washington Improv Theater is bringing the pain and the heat for its Annual Fighting Improv Smackdown Tournament (street name: FIST).

There’s quite a sexy load of competitors this year so check out the teams!

Including the one most nearest and dearest to my organ which most resembles a heart, BETTER HOUSEKEEPING. Our first match is Friday, March 6th @ 8pm. Tickets here. Part of our winnings depends on audience vote so, you know, no presh or anything.

We’re in it for all of the pie!

Also, my groups Jinx and Jackie will be performing for the next five Saturdays in tandem with all of the combat-ready warriors (click on ’em for schedule & ticket links).

All shows are $10 and at the Source Theater (1835 14th St NW, WDC).

Oh dearie me! (battle cry)

That Reminds Me, I Need to Book More Whirligigs

Before we get down to business, here’s an excellent link for wide grins.

So this past weekend I was in and around Carrboro, North Carolina again, but this time for improv hijinks with my groups, Jinx and Jackie.

Jackie only had four people able to attend the show out of our team of seven. Look at our new family photo, recently taken! (Courtesy of Steve Swaney, Colin Murchie, and Franklin Pig.)

Here are some North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival photos from the Jackie show below courtesy of Kevin Thom.

We were buying people over the Internet in this scene…
Accusation! Point of order!
Oh gawsh, will this show never end?!
In which I am a monkey…
Still a monkey!
It was all a very good time indeed despite a few stage hiccups on my part.

Most importantly, I got to try blueberry beer! In case you were wondering, it smells like a muffin and but tastes like a beer.

Oh wait, I almost forgot, I also attended the 7th Annual Fearrington Folk Art Show, which is a town proximate to Carrboro via tram, auto, or hayride.

There were zany cars…
Including Miz Thang‘s whimsical ride…
Fearrington’s animal is the (happy) cow!
A chair made out of wrenches. How handy for sitting and fixing things!
I love robots! This one is tall, shiny, and handsome.
And doodly critters! Friendly little guy.
And another robot wearing a turbine, the prototype for a turban (*groan*).
No folk art fair is complete without the quintessential bottle tree!
Take that, corporate America! Get with the folkin’ program.