What We're Loving: Obligatory Horror, Celebrity Visits, Meta Batman, Silly Writing

Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week David Allison fulfills a legal obligation, Jonda Robinson teases human trafficking, Molly Jakkamsetti goes deep Keaton, and Ryan Callahan asks that you hold him accountable. MV5BNTUxNzYyMjg2N15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTExNzExNw@@._V1_SX640_SY720_I believe that I'm legally required to write about something Halloween related in this space this week. Like if I don't then they, whoever they are, will check me into a facility where unwilling persons check in, but they don't check out. The hard part about that forced assignment is that I feel like so many of the cool horror films are just kinda gross. For me, gory films that are created just to sicken the viewer are kind of like that overly competitive asshole who starts throwing shit when he loses at bar trivia; you're doing something that's supposed to be fun, so just calm down. Not to say that there shouldn't be blood, guts, or gore in film, I think that stuff is great if it happens in the right context. I should still enjoy watching the movie right? Is that too much to ask?

The best example of the sort of fun horror movie that I love is Cabin In The Woods. If you haven't seen it, the 2012 film does an amazing job of telling two stories concurrently. The micro view follows a group of college kids that are travelling to a CABIN IN THE WOODS. The macro view focuses on the architects of the scenario. Meta is the dumbest word in the fucking world, but it's very apt in this example. This was unquestionably one of the most fun experiences I've ever had watching a movie in the theater, regardless of genre. It's got blood, but the blood is like fun blood.

And if you want to see a live horror movie, come out to DCH on Friday to check out the improvised horror movie! The Friday show at 10 p.m. includes actual fake blood! - David Allison

2On Tuesday afternoon I got home and was greeted by a most welcome face—my good friend, Amy Poehler. That’s right, she was waiting for me at apartment. I had known for weeks that she’d be arriving that day, so I was thoroughly excited about hanging out with her. So far, she hasn’t disappointed.

Ok, so you’ve probably guessed that it was not the REAL Amy, but her book, Yes Please, that showed up at my doorstep. While I haven’t had a chance to read all of it yet, I’ve enjoyed what I’ve taken in so far, and I have enough faith in Amy to say that I will love it. At the very start of her book, Amy declares that “writing is hard” and admits that “blood was shed” in the fight for her to get this thing written. She offers many stories from her life, her take on certain topics, and even sex tips (for girls AND guys!).

Amy is a source of inspiration for me and so many others, so instead of blubbering on any longer I’ll close with two quotes from her so I can get back to my reading:

  1. “So here we go, you and me. Because what else are we going to do? Say no? Say no to an opportunity that may be slightly out of our comfort zone? Quiet our voice because we are worried it is not perfect? I believe great people do things before they are ready.”
  2. “I have the Angelina Jolie of vaginas.”

Never change, Amy—never change. - Jonda Robinson

awesome-birdman-teaser-trailer-michael-keaton-is-a-superhero-again-michael-keaton-goes-meta-batman-in-birdman-trailerBirdman or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance:  Let me start by saying although people much more qualified than myself have already praised this movie, I’m throwing in my two cents of support. It’s about a former Hollywood superstar who is trying to restart his career with a serious play on Broadway. And Michael Keaton, who starred as Batman in the 1989 and 1992 blockbusters, plays Riggan, whose alter-ego is Birdman.

While much of the movie focuses on Riggan’s internal struggles with insecurity and fear surrounding his "comeback," it is also about the art of acting. It is about what is real and what is not on and off stage. Edward Norton is hilarious as the New York theater actor who comes in to "save" Keaton’s play, right before previews. Zach Galifianakis plays Riggan’s delightfully harried agent. The whole movie looks like one long, uninterrupted take. This amazed me and really drew me in. The soundtrack is jazzy, adding to the cool New York City vibe, where it was filmed. And if you’re still not interested, there’s Emma Stone as Riggan’s cynical daughter/personal assistant. Naomi Watts as the starry-eyed actress who is new to Broadway. Did I mention Edward Norton is in his underwear at one point? It’s meta and weird, and I want to see it again. Critics are praising Keaton as they should. I have enjoyed his work since Mr. Mom. That’s his 1983 comedy with Teri Garr where she works and he stays at home with the kids. Not unusual now, but back then WOAH!! - Molly Jakkamsetti

imgresIn the hopes of making up for my absence the past few weeks, I humbly offer TWO things that I am loving.

Loved Thing Number One: A Load of Hooey by Bob Odenkirk. There has been no show that influenced my sense of comedy more than Mr. Show with Bob and David. As I have said before, my favorite ever comedy sketch: "The Story of the Story of the Story of Everest" comes from Mr. Show. Hooey is Odenkirk's first book, and I will say that it is all rather very silly. There are brief speeches, unabridged versions of famous quotations, and even a short play featuring Hitler, which will no doubt draw the ire of Nick Scott. The book reads like a comic's notebook, but one that has been polished. It's also the quickest book you'll ever read.

Loved Thing Number Two: National Novel Writing Month. Starts tomorrow. If you have always wanted to write a novel, but have always made excuses, here is your chance. Sure, you'll write a terrible, sloppy first draft, but you will have a draft, and that is so much better than just having an idea. It's 1,667 words a day. Many of them can be the word "and." You'll be done in no time.

I have attempted NaNoWriMo (that's really what people call it) twice in the past, failing once and winning once. Finishing a 50,000-word novel is considered a win. Sadly, there is no parade. Unless you have an abundance of action figures. I'm giving it another try this year. I am making this announcement publicly so people will give me a hard time if I don't do it, and badger me about my progress. Who's coming with me? - Ryan Callahan

Doing Dallas: Fall Into Fall

Each week, this Virginian will try a new Dallasite activity and blog about the experience. Sunday was the first time in as long as I can remember that it was below 70 degrees for a good majority of the day. Granted, it hovered around 66, but hey – I’ll take what I can get. I still don’t understand how we’re halfway to Halloween and it’s still hotter than blue blazes – in Virginia, we have actual seasons – but maybe that’s why they call Texas, “America’s Oven.” Actually, I’m not aware of anyone calling Texas that, but I’m pretty sure it's a fitting nickname.

Anyway, the dare-I-say chilly temperatures sent me into an autumn craze. I pulled out my sweaters, sent autumn emojis, drank spiced apple cider, and listened to Christmas music. However, this still was not enough. I wanted to go outside and spin around like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. I wanted to jump onto a bale of hay and carve a pumpkin and maybe even hold a gourd. Was there a magical place where I could do all of these things? After conducting a serious Google search, I discovered that yes, there is. Where, you ask? Why, the Dallas Arboretum! I recruited a fellow fall lovin’ friend, donned a pair of boots, and set off on a falltastic adventure.

Pumpkins: A Love Story

#PSL? More like #PTL for pumpkins.

Upon setting foot in the Arboretum, I felt as though I had walked into It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Seriously. Every imaginable harvest vegetable was stacked tastefully around the grounds: rutabagas, pumpkins, white pumpkins, warty pumpkins, squash, zucchini? Enough veggies to keep Rachel Ray busy chopping for weeks.

Gourds galore!

Winding our way down a path, we came across a heavenly sight – a pumpkin patch! This was about to be a dream come true and a childhood fantasy fulfilled. Walking into the patch, Katie doled out to this novice some solid advice in regards to picking the perfect pumpkin: “The right pumpkin will speak to you. Don’t look too hard for it…you’ll just know when you find it.” Was this a pumpkin or a man we were talking about?! Intrigued, I decided to photo-document Katie’s pumpkin hunt. I call the following sequence, “Katie in the Patch: A Love Story.”


Youth Culture Today

Today was apparently “Bring Your Children to the Arboretum Dressed in Halloween-Themed Apparel” Day. Needless to say, the many adorable family photo-shoots happening around the gardens (mostly featuring babies lying on pumpkins) were priceless and had us ogling. As we made our way down the pumpkin-lined paths, we soon encountered a conundrum. In front of us stood the entrance to the Children’s Garden – a special exhibit aimed at young children requiring an extra admission fee. Both of us wanted to continue into the exhibit to see more pumpkins, and, to be honest, in hopes of witnessing more precious photo-ops and maybe even a child dressed as a candy-corn! But, on the other hand, we did not want to come across as “those two grown people in the exhibit without a child” (I mean, that’s how all the Law & Order episodes start, right?)

The older you are, the more appreciative of this flower you’ll be.

A coin-flip led us to the ticket counter, where an attendant looked at me and asked, “How many children do you have, ma’am?” WHAT. Was she insinuating that I was a mother?! I still get carded in bars, and figured my sorority t-shirt and what I’ve always assumed to be a youthful face would be clear giveaways that I am very much without kids. Or, was she wondering why I, a childless 21-year-old, would be interested in entering a garden designed for people a mere third of my age.

“Oh, haha nope – it’s just me!”

“Mmmmhmmm,” she replied, judgment in her tone.

Age doesn't take away your love for lily pad bridges!

Oh gosh – all I wanted to do was see some pumpkins and maybe see a child dressed up in a peas-in-a-pod costume. Was that too much to ask?! Awash in shame, I put on my wristband and continued on into what turned out to be a fantastic exhibit…and might I add, enjoyable for people of all ages. There were water guns and tree houses and giant acorn chairs and artistic renderings of monarch butterflies; basically an outdoor Dave and Buster’s.

Though there is no age limit on fun, the excitement of the whole place quickly wore us out and we soon decided to head home, unable to keep up with the youths of today. On our way out, I happily discovered that there exist pumpkins larger than my head. And larger than a small child, for that matter. Possibly even larger than a baby cow. This discovery really amped up my autumn spirit, and on the way home as we cruised to seasonal tunes and sipped on salted caramel mochas, I insisted that we swing by Whole Foods to pick up some delicious pumpkin seeds. Happy fall, y’all!

Sizeable pumpkins.

Chelsea is a Level 4 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She is obsessed with music of the 60s & 70s and her vices include vanilla lattes and Swedish Fish. You can check out more of Chelsea’s thoughts and ponderings HERE!

HOWLaween at DCH

This week's jam session was special. Not only did we have a rowdy audience, we also had a costume contest. The grand prize was a free level of classes (worth $230!). Please forgive me: I wasn't able to get good photos of every entry. Here, though, are some of them.

















After much applause, the two finalists were Jane R. LeBlanc






and Greg Tuohy, who was our winner. Congratulations, Greg!