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Byrne in Berlin

David Byrne just rocked my world. I went to the show with a few other Int'l Fest participants (Randy, Henk, Per). It was kind of a last minute decision that I'm glad I made.

I ended up down amongst the dancers right in front of the stage. It was so cool. I had talked Per out of his camera, and I snapped a bunch of shots. There's some good ones too.

This festival is rocking. I took a little bit of a breather tonight and I'm getting to bed before 2am for once.

Tour Guiding

I've been a walking tour guide for almost 5 months. You just never know what you're going to get from tour to tour. Last week I was sexually harassed by this phillipino guy from Seattle because I made the mistake of revealing my sexual identity (thinking that it would build some commonality, it built a little too much).

I was giving an "Underground" Portland tour to a middle school a few months ago. The tour itself focuses on 'Underground' topics more than actual subterranean locales. This 13 year old boy from the tour group trots up to me as I'm pulling away from the group to ask "Where's vaseline alley?", which is a dated term describing Portland's now defunct strip of gay bars. After collecting myself, I told him it used to be at 10th & Stark, but that it's not really there any more.

Many of my tours take place in Oldtown/Chinatown in Portland, and they are often invaded by crazy street people who have something to say. I've taken to calling them "Portland Flavor" to my groups once they're gone and out of earshot. There was one instance where a homeless man was invading and asking questions, and a postman walked up and took him away as he walked by. Myself and the group were pleasantly surprised by this act of consideration from the postman, and my comeback to the group was simply "Portland, a city that works."

Today, I was scheduled to give a private tour to the Pear Bureau. Yes, there is a pear bureau because, evidently, over 90% of the world's pears are grown in Oregon and Washington. Well, the surprise was that the pear bureau was actually hosting some high end Russian travel and food show. So I essentially gave a tour to a Russian television show. I'll be appearing to 56 million Russians as the guide who introduced them to Portland and Voodoo Doughnuts. They even filmed me walking and talking with the host of the show. There's no end to the thrills in my life.

Holy Shit! I'm fucking done.

It's the end of an age for me. I was awarded my Masters degree today after my thesis defense. It was funny that it offered few insights for improvisers, but it was the bomb for anthropologists and a few people from other disciplines. I've forgotten how much improvisers take what they do and know for granted.

One of my thesis committee, who was assigned as an outside observer to insure this was above the boards, asked me where he could see long-form in Portland after my defense.  Another convert to the cause.

What now? That's the real question. School has been my life for the past 7 years. Back to work to pay off the $65k in education debt. <sigh>

This could have been me...

Had I made a few choices differently, but only a very few.
Don't walk, but RUN to see this. It is hilarious and fascinating.

Old Poetry

The Forge
And in it's dreams
It heard a roar
A bellows beckoning
The roar of a forge
And when at dawn
It did awake
It saw the sea
The sea forging stone.

Its full of stars
Looking upward
Seeing sky awash
With stars
Awe and possibility
Dancing in the blackness
Between scattered sparkles
Then eyes drop
Back to earth
A gaze across
Still waters
There again
A depth of stars
The reflection deepens
Something hints
What is without
Also within

Whisper
Something should be said
For the sensual qualities
Of a whisper.
A delicate breath of air
Like a shiver,
The passage of petals
On a breeze
Between lips.
The loam of body
Dedicating itself to the scene.
A movement behind
The eyes,
Leading to a softer place.
Where the realms
Of flesh
And Dream
Entwine.

Take a peak at the thesis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

Page

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS…………………………………………………………..     iii

 

 

I.          Introduction…………………………………………………………..............      1

                        The Setting and Subjects………………………………………………      6

                        Methods……………………………………………………………….     10

                        Summary………………………………………………………………    14

II.        History of the Art and Research of Improvised Theater………………….    17

                        History and Background of Improvisational Theater………................    17

                        Studies of Chicago Improvisation and Useful Social Theories.………    21

III.       Performers: The Background of Performing Improv...……………………   29

                        Training: Learning a New Social and Cultural System………………..   29

The Path to Communitas………………………………………………    33

                        Shared Lives and References………………………………………….    50

                        Threats to Communitas: Rule Breaking and Poor Listening Skills……   54

IV.       Performance………………………………………..……………………..…..   65

                        Liminality and Joking in Performance………………………………...    65

                        Uniting the Viewer and the Viewed…………………………………...    69

Sensing Connection and Understanding the Audience…...…......….....    74

V.        The Audience………………………………………………..………………..    87

                        From ‘Macro’ to ‘Micro’ Joking Cultures…………………………….    87

                        The Demographics of Rochester’s Long-form Audiences……………    92

                        The Audience’s Engagement: Establishing a ‘Micro’ Joking Culture..    94

VI.       Conclusions: Shared Myths, Shared Lives and Community……………… 100

                        Agreement and Heightening with Further Research…………………..  103

 

APPENDICES

            Appendix A Questions for Performers and Audiences………………………..  105

            Appendix B Audience Paper Survey………………………………………….. 107

            Appendix C Online Performer Survey………………………………………...  109

 

Bibliography………………………………………………………………………….. 112

Here comes the thesis.

After about 5+ months of writing work, I'm fast approaching a submittable edit of my thesis. If anyone is interested in reading an anthropological study focused on looking at the social effects of long-form improvised theater, shout out. It would be nice to get some feedback from folks. It's 95 pages long, but it documents the ups and downs of two different groups in Rochester NY as well as the thoughts of their audiences on the long form shows.

I'm hoping to be defending this work in a few weeks. Cross your fingers for me.