fun things to do this weekend

Con Fair

By Mike Corbett Look, we all could use a break after the last week, right? We lost a comedy genius in Robin Williams, under incredibly disheartening circumstances, parts of Missouri look like a warzone every night thanks to overly militarized police, and now, unfortunately, top it all off, we’ve lost the voice of Saturday Night Live, with the passing of Don Pardo.   Really just a rough week all around, and certainly not one that is generating easily mocked news stories.

So, in lieu of my usual current events focused piece, I’d like to instead take this article in a completely ribald direction and examine one of the great mysteries I’ve come across in my life time. The year was 2012, I’d been living in Dallas for six months, and was attending the highly regarded Texas State Fair for the first time. I had heard many stories about the fair, and what a spectacle it was, so I had to see it for myself. Before I even set foot in Fair Park, its reputation for being a spectacle was confirmed with the sad passing of Big Tex. I was sure nothing could top a giant mechanical cowboy fire, but I went attended anyways, to see what other wonders the fair might hold. It didn’t take long for those wonders to be revealed, and just an hour into my trip, while walking through the Midway, I came across it…

Behold: THE MAJESTY!

That is, as far as I can tell, a carnival ride featuring a massive airbrushed picture of Cameron Powe, the character Nicolas Cage portrayed in 1997 blockbuster Con Air. Now, even as an avid Nicolas Cage fan, I could not believe that any carnival ride manufacturer would have made a Con Air themed ride, even at the height of that film’s popularity. Upon further inspection, you can tell that it is definitely not themed after Con Air, and in fact, the giant sized Cameron Powe is the only reference to the movie. Look closely and you can see that the rest of the ride seems to be themed in a Heavy Metal-esque sci-fi fashion, making the inclusion of a massive air brushed Nicolas Cage even stranger.

Years have passed since that visit to the fair, but questions regarding that ride still haunt me. Was Nicolas Cage just a random inclusion into the ride’s mural? Was the artist just given free reign, and happened to love his work? Or did someone give him very clear instructions to airbrush a ten foot tall Nicolas Cage on the side of a carnival ride? If that’s the case, are there others out there? Is there a Himalaya out in some parking lot carnival proudly displaying a torch wielding Benjamin Franklin Gates from National Treasure? Maybe there’s one of those lame motorcycle carousels featuring artwork from Cage’s star turns in Ghost Rider and Drive Angry! The possibilities are only constrained by Nic’s IMDB page.

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I’m desperate to find out. I love Mr. Cage’s work the same way he himself loves pachinko, but I know when I’ve been bested. If there’s a Cage megafan out there that has devoted his life to airbrushing pictures of his idol into seemingly random places, then I would like to tip my hat to him. From a safe distance of course; Cage stalkers have already proven to be a particularly…eccentric lot, I really don’t want to get to close. If this Cage loving airbrush artiste does exist, I’d also love to see his van, which I’m sure is emblazoned with something like this:

The Greatest Film That Never Was

As a reminder, the Texas State Fair kicks off September 26th and runs through October 19th, just down the street from Dallas Comedy House at Fair Park.  You can see this ride and eat anything from a fried corn dog to a fried boot during these three amazing weeks.

Mike Corbett is a level 3 sketch writing student at the DCH Training Center. He's also an intern for the DCH Blog. You can find more of Mike's comedy stylings HERE. 

Now You've Done It, Wal-Mart Kid

By Sarah Mowery Over the past 24 hours or so, the Internet has been inundated with news of a 14-year-old boy who was found at a Walmart in Corsicana after apparently setting up shop in there for several days. The kid had been living in secret compounds he built behind the shelves, taking food and drink through holes in the grocery aisles and even taking care of a fish he stole from the pet department. If all that isn’t absurd enough for you, keep in mind that this guy chose to live in a Walmart when there is a perfectly good Target in Waxahachie.

According to the CBS report, Walmart customer Myrna Aguilar said, “You never expect that you’re at Walmart and someone has been living there for four days. That’s crazy.”

Well, Myrna, I’m going to have to respectfully disagree with you there. I ALWAYS expect when I’m at Walmart that someone has been living there. For AT LEAST four days, maybe more. Possibly with multiple other people. Listen, I’m from Arkansas, I know Walmart. Look at the facts, and you’ll see that it’s more likely than not that someone is attempting to move in to a Walmart at any given moment in this country.

I’m not the only one who’s been struck by this possibility, either - just look at the proof. Last Sunday, I did a show in my hometown with the group I used to perform with when I lived there. We did our usual format, the Harold, and one of the storylines that unfolded was that of a man taking his son camping in an effort to force some classic desperate parent/detached teen bonding a la Mrs. Doubtfire, rest his soul. On the way to their campsite, the two stop at a Walmart for supplies. Preceding a great deal of sufficiently disturbing plot twists including the discovery of an army of evil sweatshop robot employees, the two decide they’ll just go ahead and camp out in the Walmart instead of the great outdoors. Hmm.

The following week during my improv class at DCH, a few people did a scene where they spent the night in Walmart to celebrate the anniversary of their friendship. Interesting.

Living In Walmart Obvious Idea: 2 Myrna: 0

These incredibly coincidental improvised stories raised a couple of questions in my mind. 1: Does everything we improvise become reality? Because, if so, I should probably take a break from doing my sexually frustrated 12-year-old boy characters. And 2: What the hell, Walmart kid? You move into a Walmart, a feat thousands of Americans have only dreamed of accomplishing, and you go and get yourself caught?

It’s not even that I’m mad at the boy for doing what he did. Nay, if he had only succeeded he would have been my hero, the hero of us all! However, he failed to think his mission through, and that fatal mistake is what disappoints me. That’s right, Walmart kid, I’m not mad, just disappointed.

His mistakes were plenty. First, his choice of real estate. Walmart kid thought it would be a good idea to camp out behind the baby aisles. No, Walmart kid, people are buying things over there! Sleep somewhere people don’t go anymore. Like the CD section. He changed in and out of a couple of different outfits to “avoid detection.” My god, Walmart kid, you’re in Walmart! Take advantage of your resources and create some real disguises! As if all that weren’t bad enough, what finally got him caught was a trail of trash leading right to his hideouts. All that effort and you couldn’t manage to pick up after yourself, Walmart kid? Really? Though I’m not convinced what led to his discovery wasn’t the smell from the diapers he’d apparently been using to avoid having to walk to the restroom. Yeah. Uh-huh.

Now you’ve done it, Walmart kid. You’ve gone and ruined it for all of us. As for me, I don’t blame you. Sure you left a massive trail of garbage large enough to get yourself spotted by possibly the most inattentive, aloof employees in all of retail, and you presumably did nothing to cover up the smells that must have been creeping from your hideouts with more ferocity than the poisonous vines from Jumanji, RIP. But I can’t be mad at you, Walmart kid, when our nation has an education system that is clearly not teaching our children the principles of Leave No Trace! I can only hope that the rest of the world will be as forgiving.

Sarah Mowery is a level 3 improv student at the DCH Training Center. She lives alone with her cat and in her free time enjoys applying dialogue from The Lord of the Rings to real life situations. You can check out more of her comedy stylings HERE!

 

#Ashtag Week 4: We've All Eaten Bugs

Let's jump right into what you've been waiting all week for: I have been playing Kim Kardashian:Hollywood on my phone. It's terrible. Honestly. But I cannot stop. I am at war with this game. First of all, I refuse to spend any actual money on it. Have I watched video ads to earn money and/or energy in the game? Yes. Have I downloaded other apps and/or games to earn money and/or energy in the game? Yes. Have I spent any real life, real world money? No. Kim Kardashian, you may take my time, but you cannot have my money. Okay, look, I'm a fairly dudely chick in most aspects of my life. Most people that know me will attest that to be true. But I enjoy make-up and hair and all of that razzamatazz. I'll admit it: I enjoy buying clothes and dressing my stupid avatar up in this game. I do not enjoy that whatever hair color choice you make is also assigned to the brows. Blonde hair must be accompanied by yellow brows. So my avatar is brunette. The game consists of doing appearances and photo shoots to earn points, stars, and money to make your way up from the E-list of celebritydom. You must have energy to earn. I was recently given a tip by a real-life pal who had ascended all the way to the A-list, without spending real life-money. And with his tip, I've made it to the C-list. Now that I've written this paragraph, I feel like I'm free to stop playing. But I'm not gonna. I'm gonna keep on playing; for I almost have enough money to buy my second home in Miami. Gotta level up so I can buy a new purse!

One of this week's top viewed videos on YouTube is titled "Teens React to Saved By The Bell (25th Anniversary)," and just like last week's videos, the title spells out exactly what happens here. This video includes guest teen, Maisie Williams, who plays Arya on Game of Thrones. She made a sad faced reaction to the infamous "I'm so excited, I'm so scared" Jesse Spano clip. She also chose Zack Morris over A.C. Slater. Arya picking Zack Morris is a sweet victory for child me. This was a hotly contested debate between my little sister and me back in 1994. She was always a fan of A.C. Slater, and she was always wrong. Arya Stark says so.

A battle that will never be truly settled…A.C. Slater vs Zach Morris.

The top hashtag this week comes from the UK: #mtvhottest, which is a voting system to determine this summer's hottest star. One Direction is currently in the lead with Demi Lovato and Lady Gaga duking it out to be the top lady. I know of some Lady Gaga tunes. I even know some lyrics. And I've heard of Demi Lovato. While I've heard of One Direction, I could not identify a song for you. I'm certain that I've heard one, just as I'm sure that I've accidentally eaten a lot of bugs in my life.

I just went over to YouTube to search for One Direction's top song, and then watched "What Makes You Beautiful." For the first thirty seconds, I did not recognize it. I cheerily thought to myself, "maybe this means I haven't eaten bugs after all." Then the chorus chimed in and I knew the tune. I guess we all know what that means: bugs.

To end on a somber note, Robin Williams is unfortunately a top search due to his untimely passing. The man had such an incredible impact on so many of our lives. Even at his most silly and hyperactive, he exposed such a vulnerable side of himself. I recently watched Terry Gilliam's The Fisher King starring Williams and Jeff Bridges. It made me cry, but it also left me pretty happy and hopeful. It's streaming on Netflix and I recommend it, if you're watching Robin Williams' flicks this week to memorialize him. Though, maybe the best way to honor him is to remember that everyone struggles; no matter how brave a face they put on for the rest of the world. Be kind and remember that you're not alone.

Ashley Bright is a graduate of the improv program at the DCH Training Center and a level 2 sketch writing student. She's an intern for the DCH blog and can be seen performing at DCH every weekend.