crazy people

What We're Loving: Calories, Creativity, Love Not Meant To Be, Donut Metaphors

Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week Ryan Callahan goes first,  Jonda Robinson celebrates the creative process, Brittany Smith loves trash, and David Allison takes a walk in another man's shoes.  nycskyline6A rather our-of-the-blue job offer led to a sudden work trip to New York City this week. Now that I'm here, I get to do two of my favorite things: walk around the city and eat. I don't get many chances to walk around in Dallas, unless it is to my car or from my car or between DCH and Uncle Uber's. In New York I walk everywhere. And I get to see all the sights: crazy people talking to no one, crazy people talking to people who aren't listening, people in suits, young college kids walking in packs and pretending to be Vinnie Chase, and couples fighting. I've been here two nights and I've spent both of them walking aimlessly around the city and people watching.

With all this walking I work up quite an appetite. In the past two days alone, I have eaten FIVE slices of pizza, two from Two Boots, two from a tourist trap named "Taste of Little Italy" and one that cost only 99 cents. The 99 cent slice was the best. I've also managed to eat a schnitzel sandwich and three delicious risotto balls from the Arancini Bros booth at Madison Square Eats. Oh, and on a scout yesterday the owner of a restaurant would not let me leave without eating some of his veal meatballs and homemade garlic bread. Little did he know he was playing right into my plan. (For the record, my plan is "eat whenever possible.")

I still haven't had time to visit the Red Hook Lobster Pound for one of their Connecticut style lobster rolls. (Warm, fresh lobster meat piled on a toasted hot dog bun and covered with melted butter) but they, too, have a booth at Madison Square Eats. It's only a matter of time.

If you ever happen to find yourself in New York in the fall, or really any time, I suggest walking everywhere. You'll save money on cab fare, you'll get exercise, and you'll stumble across some extraordinary eateries you won't find anywhere else. Join me again next week, when I'm probably going to write about Strand Boos Store.  - Ryan Callahan

10649706_754258354815_8449199643302227645_nI believe that we’re all programmed to create. It’s why three-year-olds make Crayola masterpieces, why musicians pen lyrics and pair them with music, why chefs cook up masterpiece dishes...etc., etc. Recently, I had the chance to help create something that didn’t exist before with my Level Three Sketch Class at Dallas Comedy House. They are an absolutely fantastic group of people, so indulge me this week as I express my love for my sketch mates and the sketch baby that we created, a show called Charles Dicken's Great! Expectations.

When we began the task of creating this show, we started out with a discussion of what was going on in each of our lives. As usually occurs in life and through comedy, we found out that hey, we’re not all that different! We had some of the same issues, questions, and ideas and that we were grappling with in life, and we went from there on our journey. Our writing room became a safe place to write commentary on real issues, propose seemingly silly ideas, and collaboratively put together the pieces of our sketch puzzle without fear of being laughed at--only laughed with--which lead us to some fun, crazy places that we never would’ve arrived at on our own.

So maybe this post seems like a shameless plug, and maybe it is. I’m definitely not going to discourage you from coming to our sketch show this upcoming Thursday night at 8:00 pm at Dallas Comedy House (click here for tickets). We’d seriously love to have you. Even more than that, though, I encourage you to figure out whatever your creative outlet is and put yourself out there to pursue it and work with others on it. If you’re anything like me, it’ll be good for your mind and soul, and you’ll probably even have some fun along the way. - Jonda Robinson

guilty_detective_story_196003I recently found out that a friend of mine is moving to another city, so in his memory, I wanted to invest time into taking in something that he enjoys. This week I’m loving crime stories! But I didn’t want to buy anything, invest too much time, listen to a dumb audiobook or put much effort in at all. With these constraints in mind, I searched Google for “crime short story,” hoping that I would find at least one. 0.39 seconds later, I was staring at 84,100,000 results. Finally, a break in the case!

The short story, “Death By Scrabble,” was fresh, like the wet glaze on a new batch of Krispy Kremes. I stared down the tale, making i contact with it’s many vowels. There I found an innocence, a cheery disposition one doesn’t normally find on the pages of a website obviously created from a template.

As I worked my way through it’s paragraphs, I began to realize that I might be the only person on the internet currently reading this story. I looked left. I looked right. Nothing. It was just me and this tale, like a protagonist and an antagonist in an alley just before the denouement.

The tale ended and I sat there, confused. What had I just read? Throughout the entire piece there was no robbery, murder, not a dastardly deed in sight. Like any good detective, I retraced my steps and realized that I simply clicked on the number one short story, not the number one  crime short story. Thwarted again. - David Allison

Love PrisonI should start this off with a disclaimer: I’m not a gutter person, I just like gutter people things. I eat McDonald’s twice a week and I keep up with the Kardashians, I’m a kid from the ‘burbs through and through. This is what led me to A&E’s new social experiment, Love Prison. Love Prison is the beautifully unholy marriage of Catfish and Orange is the New Black; it takes people who have been flirting online and sticks them in a house for a week without connection to the outside world.

On this week’s episode we meet Rosie and Chris who have been talking online for two years. To understand the type of girl Rosie is, imagine 99% of the women you see in Uptown. Rosie mentions three  times in the first fifteen minutes of the show that Chris is not the type of guy she normally goes for, in that he probably doesn’t have an HGH dealer. To put a finer point on it she adds that not being into fitness is a “deal-breaker” for her. Another deal-breaker for Rosie came when she had to retrieve her own salad dressing from the table during their first dinner. (The nerve of Chris to think she could reach it!)

For Chris, the deal-breaker came when he learned that Rosie had been dating two other men while they had been talking whereas he had been saving himself for her and had been “unconsciously waiting for her before they started talking”. Chris then doubles down on the crazy by calling his mom right after their first kiss, tells her about said kiss and then proclaims that Rosie is the “kind of woman he’d like to bring home."

These people are garbage and this show is garbage, but one man’s trash is this girl’s treasure. - Brittany Smith

What We're Loving: Other People's Mix CDs, Dream Composing, Non-Educational Educational Shows, Failures of Language

image (1)Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week David Allison rescues dying media, Ashley Bright welcomes whimsy into the world, Amanda Hahn discovers comedy that speaks to her, and Ryan Callahan finds improv lessons in an unlikely place. 

Used-CDs When it comes to buying used media I always strive to be aware of the market.  I’m like the Jim Cramer of thrifted content.  For the longest time, the best value in this realm was, obviously, VHS tapes.  The medium had an eight year run of being the best bang for your buck if you wanted some cheap entertainment.  That’s no longer the case as the continued march of time has rendered many VHS players useless and many VHS tapes dated.  It’s the end of an era.  So what are you, as a consumer, supposed to do?  Where do we as a society go from here?  I’m here today to issue some direction; used CDs are a BUY BUY BUY.

Recently, I spent very little money on a handful of CDs from a local resale shop and have been reaping the benefits ever since.  But David, why?  To me, used CDs are an excellent opportunity for entertainment because you have a chance to listen to them everyday (In your car) and their availability litters the shelves of every thrift store.  Here are some tips:

  • Make sure the content isn’t streaming
    • You probably have a subscription to a service like Spotify or Slacker that allows you to stream most music on the go.  If you see something you like on the shelf, check to make sure it’s not streaming. I don’t want to see you waste your money!  I recently made this mistake with the soundtrack to Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me.  I’m a dummy.
  • Soundtracks are a hidden goldmine
    • I went over this in detail last month herehere, and here.
  • Mix CDs are the best
    • I know we all loved a good mix cd (Or mix tape if you’re like a billion years old). You can find people’s personal CD-RWs at most thrift stores.  They are definitely hit or miss, but that’s why we buy stuff used, we’re all chasing the magical dragon of a good value.

Since I’ve gone on my recent CD buying spree (I’ve purchased five CDs in 2014 alone, which places me in the top 1% of CD purchasers) I’ve discovered that I really enjoy Taylor Hicks, Space Jam’s soundtrack belongs in the pantheon of all time greats, and that music producers in 2008 thought that autotune fixed EVERYTHING. They were wrong.  Learn these lessons and more by joining me in making 2014 the year of the CD! - David Allison

BluebearI don't get enough whimsy in my life. So, this week I finally started reading Rumo & His Miraculous Adventures by Walter Moers. Years ago, I read and immensely enjoyed Moers' The 13 1/2 Lives of Captain Bluebear. I'm actually going to tell you more about Bluebear because I've yet to make a significant dent in the nearly 700-page Rumo. We first meet Bluebear when he's tiny and floating in a walnut shell precariously close to a whirlpool. He is saved by tiny Minipirates, but is left on his own when he outgrows their ship. He learns to the art of speech by some talking waves, the Babbling Billows. In one of my favorite of his 13 1/2 lives, Bluebear finds himself in the head of a giant and lands a job of a 'dream composer' to keep the giant's brain occupied. He makes his way out of the head and into Atlantis, where he makes his way to be the King of Lies and keeps his title for a year. The King of Lies is a Congladiator tournament in a colosseum, where instead of fighting, the congladiators much weave fictional stories to the audience and the audience crowns a winner. Bluebear encounters the character Rumo on his travels. Making Rumo the Mork to Bluebear's Happy Days. These books do ring of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but feel a little less sardonic. If you're a fan of Douglas Adams, fantasy, Vonnegut, or just good stories, I encourage you to give a world created by Moers a go. - Ashley Bright

BlastoffI love learning and school. I love it so much that being a professor is my #1 dream job. I also love comedy. Being a comedian is my #1.1 dream job. So what did my friend recently recommend to me that combines both learning and funny? Professor Blastoff! I’ve only listened to the first episode of this podcast so far, but I’m already hooked. It’s hosted by her-great-goddess-of-comedy-forever Tig Notaro, along with Kyle Dunnigan and David Huntsberger. The three of them talk science, philosophy, math, theology – whatever interests them, under the premise that a Professor R.L. Blastoff used to host a radio show in the 1940s in the basement of Kyle’s house. He got transported into another dimension (I don’t remember why, and it doesn’t matter). Now the three of them are filling in until Professor Blastoff comes back. I didn’t learn anything new from the episode I listened to, but I didn’t care. The three of them are friends (Tig and Kyle are BFFLs and writing partners), and it really comes through in their interactions. They ask each other questions, share what they know, and joke around (they’re just like us!). I felt like a fly on the wall of a funny person’s living room. If you like talking about stuff that interests you but don’t know much about with your friends, you will love this podcast. They have guests every week, and the next episode features Nick Offerman talking about bees. I doubt I’ll learn anything meaningful about bees, but I’m sure I’ll have a blast (get it?!) listening to the four of them muse and wonder about them. - Amanda Hahn

51xUIEAv0aLKate returns to her typewriter from time to time. She writes memories, anecdotes, observations. She makes and misses connections, struggles to remember and express her thoughts. She goes mad. She might be the last woman on Earth. This is the plot, in its entirety, of David Markson’s brilliant novel Wittgenstein’s Mistress.

Like all of Markson’s later works (Reader’s Block, This is Not a Novel, Vanishing Point, and The Last Novel) Wittgenstien’s Mistress is told entirely in a series of one to two sentence paragraphs, without chapter breaks or time stamps or any indication of where we are. Yet the story draws in the reader with its cyclical structure, looping around and around the same themes, the same stories, the same moments, each time adding an element or introducing a new detail.

The themes are the themes of humanity: disease, madness, and the consistent inability of language to communicate what we truly mean to say. This book is a must read for those who love literature, those interested in philosophy, and, most importantly, those who study improv.

Like a great long-form improv show, Wittgenstein’s Mistress relies on patterns, connection, callbacks to create a fully formed whole out of a series of seemingly disparate parts. Every statement is an opportunity for exploration. Simple anecdotes evolve into complex games. Scenes 100 pages apart mirror each other. The end is in the beginning. - Ryan Callahan