The Lady Jam at UCB

the lady jam

This Friday Coleen and I finally went to The Lady Jam at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Chelsea.

The Lady Jam is an all female improv comedy jam where any woman who wants to perform can write their name down on a list to be called up on stage. I have been dying to go to this ever since we moved home from Los Angeles, but every time I have tried something else has come up. The show is only once a month (much like your dear Aunt Flo) so with school and other obligations the time just got away from me.

BUT! We finally got ourselves over to the Jam and it was AWESOME. The hosts are all UCB performers and they stay up two at a time to help the improvisers in their scenes and move everything along. I think The Lady Jam is the brainchild of Shannon O’Neill who is also the host. She introduced the night as a safe space for female improvisers of any level to perform with each other. Men cannot perform, but they are welcome to watch the ladies get down, so long as it’s not with that creepy gaze that one might lapse into while watching certain programs on late night HBO. Also, no genital play.

After much hemming and hawing, I forced myself from my seat and signed my name up to perform. Then immediately wished I had packed Pepto Bismol as I sat there intensely worried that I might actually be picked. As I watched the show, all of the woman who were called to go on stage were HILARIOUS. I was so intimidated. Yet I also knew that if I hadn’t signed up, I would have regretted that decision too. Soooooooo, I told myself they probably wouldn’t call me and if they did I would just pretend I didn’t hear my name.

One of the best parts of The Lady Jam was that it started off with a dance party. Everyone who’s there is welcome to jump up on stage and boogie. Then before each new group goes up, they dance too. I loved this because now that I’m older and too stodgy to go to bars ever, I miss dancing. And this is despite being the worst dancer ever. However, when I was younger, I realized that if I went dancing at goth bars, then I can dance really badly all I want, all night long. I can sway and be weird because everyone just figures I am doing some edgy new macabre dance moves.  However, Lady Jam threw a lotta pop songs at me, but I managed to keep up by acting out the gif of Ron Swanson dancing. The only hard part was resetting myself every 4 seconds.

 

 

So anyways, group after group went up and killed it. I figured I was safe from being called up, but of course I got called to perform with the last group. Panic brain set in, where my head feels like lidocaine has been injected into my frontal lobe. After taking up to 401 level at UCB and starting a weekly practice group, I’m normally not that scared anymore to get out there, but I really froze this time for some reason. I think it was partly because my 401 teacher was there and I didn’t want to disappoint her, as well as, one of my UCB practice mates who was in the audience.

As a result I wound up hanging back and when I did get into a scene I definitely did not  do my best work. BUT, ya know what? I figure, everyone has shit moments on stage and there one was for me and I survived it (it wasn’t my first and surely won’t be my last anyway). And more importantly, I’m never discouraged by it. I am just as excited to go back next month and try again! Next time though, I’ll make sure to drink a hot cuppa tea beforehand so my brain might work faster than a pile of dead sea slugs. I’ve come to realize that just like some musicians need a couple shots of whiskey to make it through a set, my performance vice is a Lipton tea with 2 sugars. I made the mistake of getting a decaf at the diner prior to the show like a crazy asshole.

Moral to the story? I love fully caffeinated tea and I love The Lady Jam!! Coleen and I were soooo glad we went. All the women who got up there and all the UCB vets, Shannon O’Neil, Morgan Jarrett, Tami Sagher, Lydia Hensler, and Silvija Ozols, had us dying laughing. If you can, do yourself a favor and make sure you check it out sometime!

You can find it on the UCB Theatre full schedule if you click on this shit: http://newyork.ucbtheatre.com/

[It’s usually at midnight on a Friday night].

 

Past, Present, and Future

Past, Present, and Future

So here’s what’s been up with me, for the 1 or 2 people who clicked on this page by accident:

Coleen and I moved home from LA to NJ. Its been almost a year we’ve been home! Hard to believe! We had some hard times in LA and some great times. I thought I’d be more like regretful coming home, like wishing I did this or that, but really I am the happiest I have been in a while. LA was great though. My favorite part of the experience was that I gained a lot of perspective on life. I also feel better about myself. I feel accomplished and strong because I did something that scared me and I survived. I’m happy to be home because I missed my family far too much. I kept thinking about all the birthdays and holidays I was missing with my parents, niece and nephews, brother and sister, aunt and uncle, and all my other relatives plus Coleen’s family and our friends. I started to feel like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, getting to live this technicolor dream, but ready to go home where I could be all with my loved ones.

I got to do some cool things in LA, but my favorite accomplishment was starting classes at Upright Citizens Brigade. I have wanted to take classes since the early 2000’s when we used to go to see Amy Poehler, Matt Besser, and Ian Roberts do ASSSSCAT in NYC, but I always had an excuse why I couldn’t. Either no money or work got in the way. But in LA I was able to use some money I got for school and get involved. Plus being so anonymous in LA, I felt like it was safe to try and if I failed, well, no one would really be paying attention. But it turned out to be great! It was a ton of fun!! My classmates were always very awesome and supportive and interesting and creative. The teachers at UCB are super hilarious and exciting to learn from. I got to study under Julie Brister (AMAZING!!) and Jill Donnelly (AWESOME!!). Both graduation shows were terrifying, but I think they turned out great and even if that’s just my imagination, they were definitely, at the least, really fun to perform.

Then when I got back to NJ I was really panicked I would go back to finding excuses why I couldn’t do UCB. And it did take me a while to get back on my feet about it. I had to find and train for a new job and get our apartment in order. Then we wound up having to move again because our apartment was a shithole. So that was hella stressful. But finally a couple months ago I got back to UCB and enrolled in 301. I was so scared sitting there waiting for class to start on the first day that i actually almost started crying. I don’t know why I was so panicked. I guess because I didn’t have my old LA class friends there and I figured everyone probably knew each other already and would be crazy awesome and I would be terrible. However, our teacher got us up and playing games and then all the fear and self-doubt started to melt away and I found myself just having fun again.

Now I have graduated 301 and hopefully I can take 401 by summer’s end. Also I was one of many lucky people to receive the diversity scholarship which means I have a credit for one free class, which is damn awesome and helpful to my thin wallet!

If you are BORED, you can watch my 101 and 201 grad shows here (as well as some choppy video of my cat as a wee kitten)

ykristyn’s channel

My other comedy goal is to do stand up. I don’t know if I’m cut out for it, but I bought Greg Dean’s “Guide to Stand Up Comedy” book and I’m seeing what I can do with that. I would take a proper class, but I think I already mentioned my thin wallet.

In other news, I got an awesome book called The Riot Grrrl Collection in the mail. I bought it early so I it came signed by the author Lisa Darms as well as MOTHERTRUCKIN Kathleen Hanna, and the outstanding Johanna Fateman. So cool. Riot grrrl and bands like Bratmobile, Sleater-Kinney, and Bikini Kill saved my life in high school as a young gay gal so I am geeking out over this. I started reading the book over the weekend. Its a collection of zines, lyrics, and whatnot from the riot grrrls and reading it is like going back in time to my headspace as a teenager. It’s also really inspiring me to get back in touch with my creative side. Before moving to LA, Coleen and i were doing a lot of our own projects like blogging, drawing, writing, crafting, etc…and the stress and aspirations of LA kind of forced all that out the window. Now that we are back home, we both want to rekindle that spirit. For me, it means getting back into blogging and drawing comics. I had originally intended to even write a graphic novel. I still would love to realize that goal. For now, I’ll probably just do some short little strips like I had started doing 4 years ago before the move. You can find them on here if you feel like taking a looksee.

So yeah, that’s whats going on in my noodle.

Happy Ten Year Anniversary Coleen!!

So Coleen, being a person who blogs way more often than I do, totally wrote a happy anniversary blog before I got to.  I had uploaded the pictures that I wanted like on Friday, but because of work and whatnot, had not gotten to write anything about them.  Then come Saturday, Coleen’s all with the 2000 happy anniversary posts! The nerve!!  ;^.)  

(totally, totally kidding!!)

In all seriousness, thank you Coleen!!! I LOVED the posts!!!  The pictures!! And the songs!!! And you!!! I think we have the best life soundtrack ever!!!

Here’s my favorite pictures of us.  Of course, some of these pictures are totally the same as yours, but ya know, great minds think alike!

Here’s us down in Seaside (AKA The Jersey Shore) for my 20th birthday.  We went down there in the dead of winter, with everything covered in snow and all the guidos hibernating up north, and rented a hotel room with a bunch of our friends to party!  It was one of the craziest nights of my life.

This is the two of us in Epcot watching GOOD DAY NY being filmed.  They had the members of The Fifth Dimension on (they sang that song “Age of Aquarius” in the 70’s) and the lead singer Florence LaRue totally borrowed Coleen’s pink leopard print Mickey Mouse ears to do her segment.  It was awesome! 

That’s Coleen, Amanda, Tiffany, and me!!  Yes, The Tiffany of  “I Think We’re Alone Now” fame.  SO HONORED!!!!!  We met her at The Culture Club in the city.  Which is a really fun club that plays 80’s music only.  What’s more, is you tend to get hit on there by really geeky guys.  Which means, as a girl, you get bought a lot of free beer.  BUT you have to excuse yourself to go hide in the bathroom a lot.  Double-edged sword, but oh so awesome!!!

This one is me and Coleen riding through the dirrrty south in our rented convertable!! (How we got our filthy hands on a convertable, I’ll never know).  We were headed to Graceland coming from old Miss and New Orleans.  What a crazy time that was, omg… my memories include bikers, street urchins, psychics, crocodile mating calls, hookers with sharp teeth, and pitchers of beer that only cost a penny!!

Here we are in Graceland at the HeartBreak Hotel.  Some how we managed to arrive there exactly on Elvis’ birthday!  So there was some hot shot impersonator there signing autographs and taking pictures.  We didn’t realize we had totally bypassed a line of now-pissed-at-us middle aged southern women for a picture with faux-Elvis.  It was only after our eyes unglazed from his pleather shininess that we realized there was a queue full of dagger eyes!  We beat it outta there fast…We’ve seen what kinda damage riled up middle-aged women can do when they got their dander up! We been to a Rod Stewart concert!

This was in the city for St Patty’s Day.  I don’t know about other states, but in NYC/NJ you are expected to do St Patty’s day up right.  That means starting drinking at 7am and taking obscene amounts of liquor on the PATH train so you can be completely sloshed for the NYC parade at 11am!  Of course, a hundred of us went, took the PATH, got to the city and ALL HUNDRED of us had to pee, along with every other reveler in town, so I think we waited on line at the Manhattan Mall for like 3 hours, missed the entire parade, and went to this bar instead:

Here’s me and Coleen at our, like, 20th annual summer Poison concert!!! Don’t need nothin but a good time!!!! Right Sam and Frank??

Coleen and her old cat Mitten.  They were such a cute pair!!

This is the two of us meeting Janet Weiss, the drummer, from my favorite band of all time Sleater-Kinney. Unfortunately, we managed to piss her off.  We couldn’t figured out how to stand for the picture and kept wheeling around until we sensed a murderous rage from her and then we just cut the shit and posed. 

Notice Coleen’s studious piece of literature she’s got there…

So those are most of my favorite pictures.  I know there’s more, (and more recent ones), but I’d have to scour flickr for them.  Which maybe I’ll do sometime soon.  But for now, those are some of my fondest pictures of the two of us.  I’m sure the next ten years will produce some more craziness to capture on film!! 

Thank you Coleen for the best years of my life!!!  I love you!!!

To end, here’s my favorite song that makes me think of Coleen…It reminds me of back in the day when we would do the goth dance at Aldo’s and smile at each other :^.)

My new tv obsession…

I am totally in love with HBO’s “Flight of the Conchords”!! SO GOOD!! It’s got kinda like that British sitcom type of humor. Like its kinda understated and best when you know the characters, but is super clever on so many levels. I have to give a shout out to my coworker Nina for recommending it and lending the Season One DVD to Coleen and I. She figured I would like it and honestly I was hestitant at first cause I hate musicals and “funny” songs, but I am totally into this. If you haven’t watched it, you really should give it a shot.

Here’s one of my favorite songs so far. In this clip, the two guys, Bret and Jermaine (or if you want, you can call them by their tough guy rapping names: Rhymenoceros and Hiphopopotamus), are being mugged by two hoodlums. So for some odd reason, they break out into a rap:

Actually, you know what? This is exactly how I feel about Flight of the Conchords:

Guess who likes to roller skate in Glendale?

Apparently, The Gossip love Glendale’s Moonlight Rollerway rollerskating rink as much as Coleen and I do! I wonder if they got a bag of the 10cent popcorn at the concession stand?

Here’s them performing “Standing in the Way of Control” at the Knitting Factory in NYC. Coleen and I went to this show of course (we rarely miss them when they play). The Gossip were AMAZING as always…

Here’s a sound check/interview with them at a show in D.C. I think we may have gone to this show too. Or at least we’ve seen them at this venue, the Black Cat, before. Its a really awesome bar/dance club and sometimes concert venue there. If you are even in DC, check it out….

21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards Show

Coleen and I volunteered to be “celebrity escorts” again this year for the 21st Annual GLAAD Media Awards. We usually volunteer for the NYC event, but they have it in LA as well, so we were able to do it again despite our move. As usual, it was such a fun day and so exciting! I highly recommend anyone do it if you can (you don’t necessarily have to be a friend of Dorothy).

GLAAD, for those of you who don’t know, stands for Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. Their mission statement states:

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Every year in NYC, LA, and one other city, they hold their Media Awards show recognizing positive images of gay/lesbian/trans people in tv and film. They also give awards to nonfamous people who have stood up for gay rights in the news, or who have lost someone to a hate crime, or been discriminated against, as well as straight people who promote gay rights or positive gay images.

Coleen wound up being Constance McMillen’s celebrity escort. Which was so cool! Constance is the girl from Mississippi who when she tried to bring her girlfriend to her high school prom, they cancelled it on her. Then they sent her (and other *reject* students) to a decoy prom, while the rest of her classmates partied it up at their own prom. Disgusting right? Well, those homophobes can suck it, cause now Constance is a veritable hero and got invited to the awards show to present Wanda Sykes with the vanguard award. So let that hataz hate on!

Constance outside her high school

Constance was so nice too. She was intelligent, polite, sweet, and gracious. Everyone was loving her too. All the attendees kept stopping her, even celebrities, to talk to her, get their picture taken with her, and express their gratitude. It was just so amazing and inspiring to see.

Here’s Constance on “Ellen”:

As for me, I got to be a “floater”, which means I wasn’t tethered to a particular celeb all night, instead I had to bring different celebs from the entrance to the red carpet. Here are random pics I found online of the celebs I got to escort:

Tony winner Gregg Jbara with his wife:

Kirsten Vangsness from that show “Criminal Minds”

Justin Lance Black who won an Oscar for writing the movie “Milk”

Cory Monteith from the show “Glee”

and Devon from MTV’s The Real World, Brooklyn

All of the celebs that I escorted were super nice. After I brought each one down to the red carpet, my job was done. So I met up with Coleen in the ballroom to watch the big show together.

I snapped this pic during the show. Johnny Weir and Chazz Bono were on.

Constance was due to present the Vanguard Award to Wanda Sykes near the end of the show. When her time came, I got to tag along with Coleen when she brought Constance backstage. Which was awesome. I got to talk to Wilson Cruz (one of the hosts) whom I LOVE!! Well, honestly, he talked to me, I just nodded my head and smiled like a goon, haha… (He was “Ricki” in that show “My So Called Life”). I also got to watch Adam Lambert go on stage.

Once Constance went on stage, we watched from the side as she gave Wanda her award. Wanda’s speech was really nice and very funny of course. Then she posed for pictures with Constance backstage and they chatted for a while. Wanda has really done a lot to promote Constance’s story and help give her a voice.

Other celebs we saw were Brad from “The Rachel Zoe Project”, Johnny Weir, Rebecca Gayheart, Drew Barrymore, Chazz Bono, Jane Lynch and the entire cast of “Glee”, RuPaul, the entire cast of Real World, Brooklyn, Candace Kane, Benjamin Bratt, Eric Dane, Holly Robinson Peete, and I know there’s more but I’m drawing a blank right now.

Me sneaking a pic on the red carpet!
Coleen lookin fierce on the red carpet!

Once the show was over, they had a VIP after party, which we got to go to. It was so much fun. They had free drinks and a DJ so we sipped champagne and danced the night away. It was great! I think we are definitely going to have to do this again next year!

Coleen at the after party
Me at the after party enjoying the free champagne 🙂

Thanks GLAAD!!!