Summer Mask & Movement classes!

Hey all,

I'm happy to announce Mask & Movement classes this summer in Denver!

There will be a one-day intensive on Saturday, June 22 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. And in the most exciting development, there will be an eight-week full course on Tuesday evenings, starting July 9th. If you participate in the intensive, you'll be credited $60 against the cost of the full course!

There's a lot more information, and an enrollment form, on my Classes & Workshops page.

So come on out and play!


I've been futzing with my antiques.
A couple of days ago I put two old Coke bottles in my livingroom window because I thought they were funny. Today, I noticed they weren't funny anymore, so I moved the one on the left until they were funny again.


A new project

So, tomorrow I'm debuting a new project.

I will be down on the 16th Street Mall somewhere, in the afternoon/evening, playing guitar.

It's a new strategy I'm trying to kickstart my life as a musician again, and also to start putting the Circo de Nada goal of "taking it to the street" into action. And hopefully it will make a little money. I've been learning some new songs--new to me, at least--and we'll see how it goes. The project as a whole is slated to continue throughout the summer, and hopefully by fall I'll have the repertoire and performance experience necessary to translate the act into indoor gigs.  I fully expect busking to be a whole new world that will take time for me to grow into.

The repertoire, for now, will mostly be my old coffeehouse material, most of which I'm sick to death of. But I intend to wring out whatever juice it has left, and slowly incorporate other material. For the new stuff, I'm focusing on Hank Williams and other classic country songs. I think they'll sell well in Downtown Denver.

Anyways, tomorrow is just going to be a first stab. I don't feel ready and I'm unenthused about most of the material. Which means it's the perfect time to get off my ass and start playing.

See you there...

Ooops. Sigh.

Wow, it's been a looooong time since I've posted here... for the tiny few of you who are my dedicated readers, I apologize for that.

The conference in Windsor turned out to be impossible to blog about, because it was in Canada, and therefore Verizon decreed that I was in Data Roaming territory, which meant I was going to pay $2.10 for every meg that I uploaded or downloaded. So I was trying to only log on when I had Wifi access, but for some reason, the University of Windsor required me to log on to their Wifi network, including typing a password, EVERY SINGLE TIME I wanted to post something--even a Tweet!--so that became totally impractical. It was nearly impossible anyway, since there was absolutely no downtime between conference sessions, and we were basically running from session (to the men's room) to session all day. After hours, of course, we had to rush and have dinner before getting to the drinking. In my hotel room, there was no free Wifi, either, and anyways most of my time there I was sleeping (or drunk.) So y'all were left in the dark. Sorry about that. And the conference forbade taking photos during presentations, for understandable copyright reasons. So I don't even have anything to show you. Sigh.

The masks for the film took longer than I expected, and were a great disappointment to me. I'll post photos and discuss them in a separate post.

The first commission!

I'm happy to report I've received my first mask commission. Derek Siegel, an independent filmmaker in L.A., found this website and contacted me about making masks for his film.

The film is a surreal sort of alternate-history involving fame and death, and I'm going to leave the description at that; I don't know what Derek wants the public to know about the film just yet. But he's hired me to make mask portraits of Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, Marilyn Monroe, and Bob Marley. We got the contract signed over the weekend, and today I went out and bought fifty pounds of clay, and started making masks.

The masks will be cast in neoprene and painted in acrylic. As the clay models arrive at showable stages of development, I'll be posting pictures here and discussing the process.

In any case, I'm very grateful to Derek for giving me the gig! Stay tuned!

The legacy of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler - Grantland

Brilliant paragraph by Andy Greenwald (read the whole piece, please...):

It's a funny thing about television — funnier even than the time Liz Lemon turned into a Batman villain: By giving us such free and unfettered access to great talent it simultaneously flattens and normalizes the experience. The masters of the medium tend to be the ones we notice less and take for granted more, especially those rare and hardy souls we allow to age in front of us — the Lettermans, the Stewarts, the Opraii. Fey and Poehler haven't sat behind a desk since the SNL days and they remain wonderfully distinct, idiosyncratic performers — Fey a dry, mouthy vermouth to Poehler's fizzy, physicalized pop. But both women made their bones as improvisors, a comedic tradition that tends to privilege the good of the group over the ambitions of the individual. (A proper Harold is only as good as its weakest member. Anyone who's sat through a draggy "dinner party" sketch can tell you, a stray Ringo doesn't make you the Beatles, it makes you the All-Starr Band.) Accordingly, the two have spent so much time making other people look good — everyone from Jimmy Fallon to Rob Lowe has seen his talents and timing improve by proximity — that it's easy to overlook how much better they've made everything around them.


Source: http://

Circo at the Voodoo

Good gig at the Voodoo last night.

I played four masks: the Dottore, the Capitano, Pantalone, and  my old Worrywart mask, who was named George last night.

The Dottore and Pantalone characters are new to me; I've played versions of the Capitano and George before, in school (although it has been years.) And of course doing solo Commedia is totally new. The door was opened by improv.

So I felt like the Dottore and Pantalone were the weakest parts of the performance, particularly Pantalone. One young mask enthusiast who was in the audience noted after the show that Dottore and Capitano had something to do, which helped them. I agree (thanks, Phil!) And George seemed to benefit from having nothing to do, and being really anxious about it. But the Pantalone is such new territory for me, and he was the most static last night.

This Pantalone is an interesting problem. It's the first Pantalone mask I've ever been able to play. It was made by Stefano Perocco, my master in Paris, and on me it is really, really stupid. So I'm trying to play him as a really old Stupino, and incorporate Pantalone's body and backstory. But it's hard to get him to talk right now, and (it seems so clear in retrospect!) he has very little to do. So that's my homework, now.

Pantalone is also the character that's furthest from me, which is always a huge challenge for an actor. The Dottore and the Capitano are my natural Commedia archetypes (they're the ones most invested in Pride. Ouch!) And George seems to be, in many ways, an iteration of Ferdinand, my Clown. George is not as smart as Ferdinand, and he's particularly guileless, while Ferd is often a trickster.

The show also simply ended when I felt I had run out of ideas, which was LIMP. So I need to come up with an ending--some kind of production number, ideally.

I'll be doing it all again on Monday, January 14th, at the Bovine, at 7:30. See you there?