Category Archives: Antics

Moontower Comedy & Oddity Festival

Standard

arden-myrin2-e1461553727346-1010x365

Originally written for and published by Texas Lifestyle Magazine 🙂

 

This past rainy week in Austin served up some of the most amazing comedic performances—were you able to catch a show? If not, make sure you get a ticket (or fan badge) next year—you won’t be sorry. Four days, ten venues, and over 90 performers—wow.

Headlining this week at the Paramount Theatre was Martin Short, Maya Rudolph, Anjelah Johnson, Kevin Smith, and David Cross. The big-timers sold out pretty quickly but were still a steal at about $40 per ticket on average.

I was more interested in the smaller venues—I wanted to sit as close as possible to the laugh-creators and honestly, I’ve found that less-advertised performances are usually the most amazing experiences. That definitely proved to be true.

First up was Stars in Bars at Antone’s Nightclub on East 6th Street. Local comedian Matt Bearden hosted, and the night started off strong with Martha Kelly, also Austin-based, who’s known for the FX show “Baskets.” Her dark, hilarious anecdotes about her beloved cats passing away were perfect.

Jon Rudnitsky, who’s new to the SNL cast, added not one, but two “dance routines” to his stand-up. If you love Chipotle, you’ll love his burrito-maker moves. Another SNL cast member, Colin Jost, wasn’t on the original line-up, but decided to make a guest appearance I guess! His and Jon’s eight to ten minutes were way too short for me, but I’m not 100% sure if that’s because they were terrific (they were) or if they were both drop dead gorgeous. Something to consider.

Brendan Walsh, Greg Liedtke, and Dana Gould added their own quirky witticisms—the entire night was honestly a blur of sidesplitting laughter, including the closing act, The Sklar Brothers (Wild Hogs, Entourage—trust me, you know these hysterical twins).

But the person who absolutely killed it? Arden Mylin, known for her many panelist contributions to the Chelsea Lately roundtable. She SLAYED (and I would usually never use that word, because it reminds me of the students I teach, but it works here). I especially loved when she called out the obnoxious couple in front of me (who sits in the first row if they’re going to loudly talk the whole time?) and lamented about wearing Spanx. Then she commented on my Instagram post. Then she quoted my tweet. Ok, I’ll stop gushing now.

Next was the Goddamn Comedy Jam at The Parish on Dirty 6th, a place I tend to avoid, but I’m glad I didn’t that night! Josh Adam Meyers hosted, and might I add, made his entrance by grabbing a man in the front row and kissing him, rocking out with the two “roadies” (whose job all night was just to jam out and get the crowd pumped),  and forcing another man in the third row to admit what race he hated the most. Quite the first three minutes.

Goddamn Comedy Jam is all about mixing comedy with music—which is genius, especially since this is the Live Music Capital of the World. Each comedian has to perform their stand-up and then perform a song of their choosing! Such an amazing idea. Joe DeRosa sang the hell out of a Queen song and Janeane Garofalo went with The Monkees—both were more than “funny”  beforehand as well of course.

Matteo Lane stole the show for me—his jests about being gay, Italian-Mexican, and single in New York were hilarious. Plus, he sang Whitney…in the original key!

Brad Williams was the headliner for a reason—he absolutely won me over (I stereotypically thought at first that all his jokes were going to be about being a little person…I know, I’m the worst). You may know him from Comedy Central, but now I’ll forever know him as astounding an entire venue with his sex advice and Kid Rock performance. After Williams’ killer version of “Bawitdaba,” Meyers made all the comics come back on stage to do a final performance together—“Hey Jude.”

As you can see by my overflowing enthusiasm about this past week, Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival is something you simply can’t miss next year. I’ll be smiling about these shows for weeks to come.

A Different Kind of Halloween

Standard

6358021273496401271776841700_hw6

I can’t even remember all of my crazy October 31st nights, but I know I’ve loved every single one of them. Halloween’s been a long-time favorite–I LOVE dressing up, being someone else for a night.

College was a blur of “sexy somethings” and I was sadly among them–sexy cop, sexy Girl Scout (used my real, patch-covered vest). One year I was Risky Business Tom Cruise, Gold Dress Marilyn Monroe the next. In Hawaii, I was a fellow drinking game (we were Beer Pong, Power Hour, and King’s Cup together) and then a hippie (but that year, a tsunami warning halted our plans). Then back to Texas, borrowed my best friend’s ancient flapper dress.

635782014214353571-55930595_tumblr_mc4d7ft4O31qerpcpo1_500

I’ve had quite the string of awesome Halloweens–late night kisses, hilarious drunken tales, insane parties…That’s why I’m OK with kind of giving up my favorite holiday this year. Turning it in for a Hocus Pocus movie night with the girls, complete with wine and take-out. No costumes, no raging, no hangover, and hopefully no bawling over last Halloween. I was Mystique. It was kind of epic.

But before you start picturing “Break-Up Alysha” weeping to Adele’s new song over a pint of newly released Blue Bell, please know that I am [also] remembering some of the things that are great about being single. More importantly, I think I finally know what I want and need in a relationship.

It’s funny, how I thought I knew a year ago.

I’ll stop it now, promise.

Anyway, I’m excited about a different kind of Halloween this year. It may make me feel old as dirt and my heart might wind up hurting just as much…who am I kidding, of course it will…but that’s OK. At least I won’t be a wasted mess. There’s always next year (not to be a wasted mess, I mean, there’s always next year to carry on with my tradition of awesomeness). I’ve been trying to convince my best friends to get on board with a cutesy Three Blind Mice get-up for years and I think the stars may finally align in 2016.

To NEXT Halloween! Watch out, Austin. Or wherever I’ll be (spoiler alert: my next blog might be about where to move).

Prompt: Unexpected Night

Standard

Sometimes, when I’m in a writing slump (which lately, is always), I allow Twitter to feed me prompts. There are an astounding number of tweeps whose sole tweet purpose is to motivate others to write. It’s pretty great. So here goes: an unexpected night.

Mystique-as-a-child-teen-and-adult

Blue paint was creeping into my nostrils and caking around every crease of my lips but I was two drinks down and feeling anything but blue. I guess I can be more specific—it wasn’t blue paint exactly, that was curdling around my eyebrows—it was (unfortunately) more like periwinkle. Luckily, I had a BLUE long-sleeved t-shirt, BLUE shorts, and BLUE tights to combat any confusion: I was blue (even if my face was periwinkle). A long, RED (orange-red, if I’m being honest) wig draped itself around my splotchy neck and YELLOW (definite on this one) cat-eye contacts continued to rotate creepily since I was wearing them over my regular contacts.

In other words, I was a bit of a mess. The paint wasn’t spreading onto my skin very evenly, in fact, it was being downright exasperating. I had chunks on one side of my face that were thick and wet, spots on the other side that were thin and dry, flecks in strands of my hair (real and wig), flecks everywhere else within a 10-foot radius… I looked like something out of a budget Smurf production. An elementary school’s Spring performance. An understudy for a second-grade Smurfette.

Luckily, I didn’t give a damn. Amazing friends, Halloween excitement, and vodka do wonderful things to a mind, body, and soul. I hopped around my living room in my beige canvas slip-ons (apparently I don’t own blue shoes), sipping and laughing and unknowingly splattering a few paint specks on couch pillows and the likes.

“Girrrrrl, you are BLUE!” Anne giggled in her goddess dress and I eyed her (cat-eyed her) jealously. She looked like a goddess, with or without the costume. Giant green eyes, dark hair, olive skin, white dress, curves for days—she was straight out of a Greek myth.

“Do I even look like Mystique, though? Or do I just look like a blue girl?” Mystique has been an idol of sorts for years. First of all, holy hell she’s smokin’ hot. Secondly, she kicks ass. Third, she can literally be ANYONE she wants to be. I’d thought about buying a latex suit to look more like her—I mean, let’s face it, clothes really aren’t her thing. But um, tummy pudge is also not her thing, so yeah, I decided on the t-shirt-shorts-tights.

“Yes, you really do. You really, really do!” I knew she was lying, but in a lovely, daughter of Zeus kind of way.

“It’s actually creeping me out,” Jennifer the 80’s rocker chick chimed in. I was surrounded by such happy, “fluffy” costumes. Athena, the Molly Ringwald-esque punkstress, Tara was Rainbow Brite, and Sandra was a cute pirate. I stood out, obviously. I looked pretty evil, but like I said, Smurfette. So a Smurfette gone bad.

We eventually shuffled into a taxi and met up with a few more friends on Rainey Street. Here’s where I cut to the chase. Fill in the holes with (what else) drinking. There was lots of that. Also, random guys shouting out things like, “Ohhh, I get it! AVATAR!!!” and “Genie chick, cooooool.” To the bro’ who guessed that I was Beetlejuice: You. Are. An. Idiot.

—– cut>>>>chase:

Two pedi-cabs and lots of walking later, we drunkenly made it to our final destination: Gypsy Bar on East 6th to see our friend Brian’s band play.

Here’s where it’s important to know a couple things about me and alcohol.

  1. I’m pretty good at it.
  2. I get suuuuuper ballsy and confident and seductive sometimes (i.e. when I see something I want).

Also, I’d told Anne earlier in the night, “I’m gonna make out with someone tonight, OK? That’s the goal. You in?” And she was in, SHE WAS SUPPOSED TO EXECUTE THIS PLAN WITH ME. However, the goddess, Molly, Rainbow, and One Eye watched as I, and I alone, smoothly decided to yell at a stranger, “WHY aren’t you wearing a costume?! How lame! It’s HALLOWEEN, HELLO!”

Super sexy, amiright? Paired with my crusty paint job and rotating, wompy contacts, I was basically a catch. Did I mention that my skin was starting to itch underneath all that periwinkle? Downright foxy.

Look: he had dimples and he was really tall and someone obviously needed to yell at him for not wearing a costume (that’s just dumb…why even go out?).

Even closer: goddamn he was really tall and he had a random sprinkling of freckles and gray hairs and his eyes were kind of caramel in the light and he immediately matched my bluntness with, “Well, at least my paint isn’t weirdly coming off. And your contacts are all kinds of crooked too.”

Barely a breath between us: “Well then here.” I pulled the cheap tube of paint out of my purse—it was almost the only item in there. “And while you’re at it, go ahead and rotate my contacts for me please.” I leaned up towards his stubbly chin and opened my eyes wide, not allowing him to hesitate, my lips pursed in amusement.

All of our friends had vanished by this point, leaving us in a strange bubble we’d created within minutes. This is apparently the point in which I tell a stranger everything about me: teaching, my novel, moving from Hawaii…I don’t even know what else I told him, I just know that we were locked in conversation and we’d moved to a picnic table and it was ten minutes ‘til the bar closed.

“I really want to kiss you but you’re going to get blue paint all over your face.”

Yeah. That came out of my mouth.

He must’ve said he didn’t care or he might’ve not said anything at all, but as people shuffled out of the back gate and the lights were being shut off, Mystique made out with the costumeless man with two last names. He looked like he’d been periwinkle-pied. I giggled and tried to wipe it off of his lips. He asked for my number. I gave it to him, scampered off, and expected to never hear from him again.

Five months later and my friends still affectionately call him “Blue Man Group,” but usually just behind his back.

Sometimes it’s not a terrible idea to paint yourself periwinkle, take a few shots, and yell at a stranger.

When is it OK to do NOTHING?

Standard

Feeling superrrrr unproductive lately. As in…I’m FORCING myself to write this blog post simply to feel that relief of “Yay, I checked ‘blogging’ off the list!” It’s bad, y’all.

My next novel, my lovely WIP, is sitting at the saddest ONE chapter halt, just eyeing me with pure hate, daring me to wait another week and then another and then another…

In fact, I actually did my taxes in order to avoid writing. Gross.

I’ve been traipsing around Austin like some sort of Hilton brat…pretending I have loads of cash to throw away on mimosas and sushi. This past weekend, I laid in Zilker Park with the boy and let dogs come up to lick my face—when I could’ve been writing. We went to a freakin’ improv show that was downright terrible—when I could’ve been writing. I went to brunch TWICE. I even took a damn nap. I hate naps. I could’ve been writing.

Decided: Happiness gets in the way of getting shit done. And I think that’s OK?

I typed my first novel so furiously, post-break-up. I was like, “I hate you, I HATE YOU, I hate me, typetypetype, BOOM- NOVEL! WHAT NOW, BITCH?”

When you’re super happy, you’re usually also super busy…with, ya’ know, happy-life-things like kissing and snuggling and park-lounging. And then WHOA before you know it, another weekend has flown by in a whirlwind of pancakes and sunshine. Your gut is kinda like, “Um, excuse me, ma’am, remember when you used to go to the gym and WRITE and schedule haircuts and WRITE and read and WRITE and stuff…?”

Heart: stfu I’m having fun.

Head: Don’t worry, I’m sure things will get crappy soon and then we’ll have all the time in the world, like we used to.

Heart: BUT WHAT IF WE’RE HAPPY FOREVER?

Head: lolz

Gut: omg you’re both so effing annoying. We’ll find a balance, chill.

Life gets crazy. Busy as hell (seriously though, taxes? Who thought of that, the Brits? Didn’t we gain our independence?) and superrrrrr happy-insane sometimes. It’s OK to do nothing for a while, especially if you’re like me and you’ve been some sort of psycho Energizer Bunny since birth.

Decided: Be productive when you can, learn to adapt, evolve, whatever…find a balance and chill, like Gut says. Don’t let go of your passions, but don’t freak out and hold them so close that you lose creative control.

Heart: k!

Head: sigh, k.

Gut: kduh.

And then there’s this ^ …

People Don’t Change: Except on Halloween

Standard

Mystique

 

Yes, I was Mystique last night. Not a smurf, not an Avatar, not Genie, and DEFINITELY not Beetlejuice (to the bro who guessed that at Container Bar on Rainey: You. Are. An. Idiot.)

I had an amazing time with my friends (a goddess, an 80’s chick, a pirate, and Rainbow Brite), drank that PERFECT amount that only causes a slight morning headache, and somehow managed to convince multiple people (friends AND one handsome stranger…or WAS he handsome…?) to help reapply that cheap blue paint when it started to crust off.

It was win complete with food truck tacos, our friend’s band performance at Gypsy Lounge, and next-day Kerbey Lane brunch.

All of this coincides with an overused, but relevant expression: People don’t change. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately–the catalyst being the same catalyst for so much in my life…doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results (insanity as old Alby calls it).

I’m usually so good at recognizing it and steering away, self-solving. When I applied for Teach for America Hawaii. When I forced myself to finish my novel and self-publish. When I decided to start teaching high school instead of middle school. When I promised myself at least one new country per year. But I guess those are so internally-based, 100% me, myself, and I…it’s so much harder when you’re only 50% of a relationship. Your expectations of another person- a friend, a family member, a boyfriend, an i-wish-you-were-my-boyfriend, etc…are probably insane. That’s how I’ve been feeling lately at least.

Here’s what I mean: if people don’t change (I mean the true, real, nitty-gritty of a person), then why do we keep expecting them to? Human nature I guess. WELL I QUIT GODDAMMIT.

I shall expect nothing. Except, ya’ know, normal things that I’ve always expected and that are totally normal to expect because they derive from that person’s true self. Like…I will always expect my mother to use the word “Behave” via text/phone call on Halloween night, regardless of the fact that I am nearing 30 years old.

But other than that sort of stuff- nada. People rarely change. I like that better. Because, ya’ know, there are those fall-through-the-crack exceptions to the rule who truly, truly change. But if a guy has been treating you fairly shit-tastically for quite some time…chances are, that’s not changin’ any time soon, darlin’. Yes, I’m talking to myself here, people, just allow it. Stop insanely expecting some life-altering 360-degree turn-around. That’s just the Disney princess inside of you.

On October 31st, you’ll see tiaras, cat-eye contacts, wigs, fake tats, masks, and tutus. It’s really fun and you’ll be like, “OHMERGERD YOUR JON SNOW HAIR IS LIKE, SPOT ON.” But people don’t change their entire personality/outlook/morals/ethics/attitude.

People get haircuts and people have good days where they’ll say something particularly nice to you. But if, on all those other, normal days…they don’t say anything nice…ever…why keep ’em around? Choose who you surround yourself with. Choose to surround yourself with people who you can expect to be there for you- people who make you feel completely safe having that expectation of them. NOT people who constantly let you down and leave you expecting “maybe a different outcome next time…or the next time…or the next time.”

Happy Halloween, fellow bloggers 🙂 I hope the night was everything you expected it to be and I hope your company was everything you expected them to be. Mine sure were!

This Is Where I Leave You: Not even close to a review

Standard

this-is-where-i-leave-you-trailer

Have you seen the trailer for This Is Where I Leave You? It looks phenomenal; I can’t wait to see it. I also just found out that it’s a BOOK. So now I of course want to read it first. I think the reason I can’t stop watching the trailer is because of the symmetry I feel it has to my life right now. A monarch of the family passes away and brings the family together. They are a crazy family to say the least. Spending that much time together is like torture. Yup. And then of course there’s the line that we can all relate to: “Is it the whole world or is it just this family?”

I hope it’s the whole world.

I’ve lost two people this year—my amazing Uncle Chuck and my lovely grandmother. It’s strange to me that there are so many different reactions to death. Funerals seem to bring out the best and worst in some people. And I guess that makes sense when you think about it.

I find myself NEEDING to write about it—not to vent, not to talk shit, not to complain or whine or bitch or moan or whatever—but this is MY way. This is what I do. I think that’s clear to my friends and family by now, that I write (about everything). If they haven’t figured that out, I’m not sure what more I can do…I’ve already published a freakin’ novel.

In This Is Where I Leave You, in true movie fashion, the family comes together even though they’re insanely different and maybe-kinda-sorta hate each other at times. Tina Fey’s character puts it perfectly when she says, “You guys are idiots, but you’re MY idiots.”

I wish I always felt like all the people in my life (friends, family, coworkers, students, ex-students…) were MY idiots. But ya’ know what? It’s OK to just think they’re just idiots sometimes (or most of the time…or all of the time).

When a student decides to say, “Chinga tu madre!” to another student riiiight in front of you, it’s OK. When your cousin chooses to go to a sorority function instead of Grandma’s memorial, it’s OK. When people freak out about what’s was left for them in the will even though everyone knows there was barely anything more than a teacup collection…it’s OK. When a student decides it’s acceptable to bite your arm…it’s definitely fucking OK.

[See how I sandwiched that? Teachers: you can always use funny student stories to buffer real-talk.]

I wish I hadn’t started bawling for no apparent reason last night at Aunt Gigi’s as we were celebrating her birthday. But I was looking around that house and suddenly, all I could see was the absence of my uncle, flipping tortillas and laughing. I wish no one was that interested in money. I wish everyone cared about celebrating peoples’ lives more than they care about celebrating their possessions.

I wish everyone could be calm and collected and poised and respectful about death, but that’s like saying I wish everyone was the same, which would be terrible. I guess, mainly, I just wish that love was visible—in everything, in everyone, even in the darkest, most selfish times. If it was only peeking out, barely noticeable, I don’t think I’d feel as rage-cage.

But just like it’s OK to feel like some people are idiots and not MY idiots, I guess it’s OK for love to hide. Maybe it’s one of those, “How would we really know what it was if it wasn’t gone sometimes?” things. Whatever.

All I know is funerals are the worst, people can also be the worst, everything is the worst sometimes. But love is drinking tea with your grandma and flipping tortillas with your uncle and when those people are gone, love is hugging your idiots who know exactly what you mean.

Liebster Blog Award Nomination

Standard

leibster-badge1

Yay, I was nominated for the Liebster Blog Award by Kaleidoscopic Kites! Thank you chica:)

liebsterawardrules

Here are my 11 random facts:

I’m obsessed with tomatoes (they’re delicious). || I write a lot of poetry and song lyrics that no one is allowed to read. || I am considering getting a tattoo of a Cummings quote or an Angelou quote. || I’ve been to 16 countries. || I have a weakness for dimples. || My mom tried to have more children, but I was the only lucky winner winner chicken dinner. || I had a spinal fusion and now have a crazy scar that I tell fibs about. || I sobbed uncontrollably while reading The Time Traveler’s Wife and then started writing my novel. || I haven’t seen my father since I was very young, but I have the best step-dad EVER. || The color yellow is everywhere in my apartment. || I used to hate beer; now I love it! ||

And my answers to Kaleidoscopic Kite’s questions:

1) If you were any movie character, who would you be? Hermoine, maybe? Magic rocks.

2) Do you tell the truth, lie, or keep secrets the most? Hmmm…I feel like I tell the truth TOO much sometimes. My friends say I’d be Candor if we lived in Divergent‘s world.

3) If you could try any exotic food, what would it be? I looove trying new food. One I haven’t tried yet is Ethiopian- I’ve heard good things.

4) Do you have a hidden talent? I am fantastic at NOT showering, but looking like I did.

5) Who is your biggest role model? My madre, for sure. She is a genuine badass.

6) Why and when did you start writing? I’ve been writing since I was really little- being an only child forces your imagination to run wild.

7) Would you rather be invisibility powers or be able to see things that are invisible? Why? I don’t believe in ghosts/spirits so I guess I’d have to go with the first option!

8) Favorite book? Oh, goodness, tough. I will always have a huge spot in my heart for the classic, Catcher in the Rye.

9) Put these in order to your liking for which is most important to you the most to the least: Money, Love, or Time. I’m a teacher so money is obviously last, ha! Love and Time are super hard to choose from. I’m one of those people who freak out -often- about wasting time/not having enough time. But love is something I dream of having again.

10) Do you have any weird habits? When I eat pizza, I take one bite of the “front” and then one bite of the crust and then repeat. It drives my friend Jennifer crazy.

11) Favorite topic to write about? Just…life. The good, the bad, and the ugly. Realistic fiction.

 

And now my 11 nominations, check them out! These guys rock:

1. Anika: Saturday Night’s Alright for Writing

2. Jalal: My Success is Your Success

3. Nic:  The Tailor-Made Trilogy

4. Alex: Adult & Teen Fiction

5. James: Language Arts Blog

6. Christi: Novel Conclusions

7. Jess: Down the Road

8. A Collection of Musings

9. John: Write me a book, John!

10. Eric: Written Words Never Die

11. Jennifer Nicole Wells

And my 11 questions for you awesome people:

1. Screw, marry, kill: Oprah, Beiber, Ron Weasley. Go!

2. You have $1.99 to spend as you choose: what do you buy?

3. Guilty pleasure read?

4. Guilty pleasure TV show and/or movie?

5. Where would you like to be a fly on the wall?

6. What dish do you cook to impress people?

7. You can only consume 3 foods for the rest of your life. You choose:

8. Most-hated word?

9. Favorite element of a smore? (This tells a lot about a person, trust me)

10. Nose hairs- what are your thoughts?

11. What makes your palms sweat?