Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sunday Night Improv at Théatre Ste. Catherine

For the longest time I have known about the weekley workshops held on Sundays at Théatre Ste. Catherine but have never had a chance to go. Tonight I finally had that chance, and went.

The actual workshop was form 5pm - 7pm. I got there a tad earlier and bumped into Dan, who is a regular at TSC sunday night improv, and a (former?) member of McGill Improv. Inside I saw Anders (from Uncalled For) as well. The workshop itself was quite different from the McGill Impov workshops. You literally have to run up to get in a scene. Also, the "director" will stop you if need be and give you pointers/suggestions/add elements to the scene, etc. They try really hard to push technique and knowledge and try to build a scene, putting being funny on the back-burner. We went over basic terminology. A few of it I was familiar with and a lot of other stuff I never heard of, but am now aware of it.

After workshop there was a 1 hour break followed by a "Survivor" improv game. The way it works is that all the participants get a number and are randomnly called onto stage to play a game or do a scene. After the scene, the audience votes on a scale from 1 to 5 - one being the worst, five being the best. The players in that particular scene each gain the points the scene made. Then they have 2 elimination rounds and when it's down to the final 2 people, they play this "hat" game where both performers do a straight scene but anytime during the scene, when someone reaches the other's hat and grabs it off their head, they win. If they attempt to reach the hat and miss, they lose. Best 2 out of 3 makes you the winner of the Survivor game.

I was nervous when I volunteered to participate in the game, but I gave it my best and it was worth it since I ended up second.

After the show, there was a small discussion on how well they show went. Overall it was well liked. The director said he enjoyed a lot of the scenes that didn't get a lot of laughs a lot more then the ones that did. All the scenes I were in did well but I think it was a lot of gag laughs, mostly due to my part. The one thing that was brought to my attention during the discussion was that I played a panicked person in each game. Little did the director know I wasn't acting (I was hyper ok!) .

In the end I really enjoyed performing with new people and trying different things. If I get a sunday off work again soon, I"ll make sure to hit it up.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pitch Black

Tonight I went out for dinner with Norm, Lauren and Aurit. The restaurant being O'Noir. The whole thing is that you eat your meal completely in the dark. Also, all the waitstaff are 75% to 100% blind.

Our reservation was for 9pm (they have meals set up twice a night). We walked in and each got to choose 1 entree and 1 main dish and 1 desert from a list of about 4 choices for each part. On top of the choices given, there is also a "Suprise" dish option. I didn't really like any of the entrees they had to offer so I decided to live dangerously and ordered the supirse entree. OFr the main dish I chose marinated shrimp with rice and chocolate cake for dessert.

We then met with our waiter, Guillaume (who was wearing sunglasses) and he instructed us to put a hand on the shoulder of the person in front of us and in a chain like motion, we were led inside the dark, to our table. Except for a faint light coming from the exit door and sign, it really was pitch black. In the background was nice chill music. When we got there they had Lamb playing which would eventually change into some moe upbeat stuff that reminded me of the Love Boat. Finally when dessert arrived the music had switched to St. Germain. All in all it was very relaxing.

After several minutes Guillaume arrived with our entrees. I tried eating it with my fork but quickly started to use my hand to feel what I was eating (since it was a suprise) and to help guide food onto my fork or into my mouth. I immediately recognized the salad with cucumbers I was eating but I had some squishy fish smalling thing. I tried it and it tasted okay but I kept thinking it was squid and decided not to eat it (turns out it was shrimp and scallops, which I love, so I guess not know what you're eating really puts thoughts into your head).

After chatting a little I finally started to relax (for some reason as soon as we hit the dark, I tensed up). Our main dishes showed up. My shrimp were delishious.

Dinner was followed by dessert which I found was more difficult to eat because I kept using my hands to help and there was melting ice cream all over my plate, thus making my fingers extremely sticky.

Judging by the noise we heard, there were probably 3 or 4 other groups of people there with us.

After who knows how long, we finally called over Guillaume so he could lead us to the exit so we could pay.

Even though Aurit didn't want to eat any of the main courses, they were kind enough to let her join us at the table and only have dessert. Each meal was 30$ but she got charged only 7$.

In the end, it was expensive, but definitely something worth trying once in your life. It's a totally different experience to eat and enjoy the company of others when totally in the dark.

A night with David, Usher that is

Last night I went to see David Usher (former frontman of Moist) with my brother last night. THe show was really good. It was at Club Soda. It only cast around 25$ and was a very intimate show. Him and his band had a lot of energy even though some of his songs are slow.

They mostly played songs from his new album, Strange Birds, and most of his hits from his other albums (I believe he's had 5 now as a solo artist). On top of those, they played 2 Moist songs (Push and Ressurection) which really made me happy and they did a very interesting cover of Crazy by Gnarls Barkley. It couldn't of sounded any more likea David Usher song when they were through with it.

There were two encores and for the finale David Usher let tons of girls (~30) sit ont he stage while he sang in the crowd (earlier he was walking around as well with no security at all!).

He really has a great voice and sounded no less better than he does on the records.

Budman gives this show 2 thunbs up.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Why my life should be made into a sitcom - Reason #243

It came to my attention taht today was a job and training fair at the Palais de Congrés. Although it didn't seem like it was something specific for graphic designers, I decided to give it a shot and attend. I went and printe dmy CV, dressed all nice, brought business cards and even my portfolio.

As soon as I got there I realized I had made a great error as all the booths were more for specified jobs (the Army, Home Depot, McDonalds, etc.). I figured, though, since I was there, maybe I could talk to a few booths and see if I could get info on their graphic design departments. I start walking around and decided to approach a booth:

Booth guy: "Hello"
Me: "Hi"
BG:"How are you today? What can I do for you?"
Me: "I realized that this fair is not really for me, but you see, I"m a graphic designer looking for work and I saw on your sign the word 'marketing'. I know that marketing and graphic design are related so I was wondering if I could get some more info on your company"
BG: "It's telemarketing"
Me:"oh... right..."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Way You See Me

A few weeks ago I went to a confidence building workshop called "Know it, Believe it, Sell it!" for tips on how to keep up my spirits and not get discouraged while looking for a job. One of the exercises we were given was to choose a bunch of words from a list that I thought best described me. The next step is to get people who know me to choose words from the same list that they think best describes me, and then compare them with my results.

The point of the exercise is to find out if others percieve me different in ways that I see myself (both good and bad) and if so, maybe i should try and change things (or not change things that I think I need to).

So faithful readers (friends, family, creepy old guy) I ask you humbly to look at the following list of words and post an anonymous comment with the words you think best describe me. Please answer truthfully and seriously:

Down to earth

Thank God You're Here!

Monday night i watched NBC's newest improv show called "Thank God You're Here". The premise is that every episode there are 4 "celebrities" that guest star per episode. Each celebrity is brought back stage and given a costume they have never seen before. Then they are brought back up front where host David Allen Greer directs them through a door which leads to set they've never seen. From there, they have to improvise their way through the whole scene with actors who have set lines and whose first line is always "Thank God you're here!". The scene goes on until judge Dave Foley (who got SO old looking) hits a buzzer.

After each guest does thier scene, the final scene is done with all 4 together. Finally a "winner" is chosen and receives some plastic award (The Summit awards are way cooler looking).

The episode I saw had Wayne Night (better known as Newman from Seinfeld), Bryan Cranston (the dad from Malcolm in the Middle), Joel McHale (some guy I don't know) and Jennifer Coolidge (Stiffler's mom from American Pie).

I'm not a professional improv player but after doing it for 4 years I could tell some of it, although funny, was pretty bad improv. For example, Wayne night was dressed in a white medical jacket and was plummeted into a scene where he had to promote some sort of pills. When asked certain questions, instead of accepting everything he was given, he was blocking pretty badly ("Actually, I'm not a doctor at all, and those aren't vitamins, their supplements to vitamins"). Although he got some laughs, I felt that it got tiring after a while.

Also, after 1 episode, I feel like i had enough. The rest of the episode wasn't too bad, neither was the 2nd episode they aired afterwards, but I dont' know how much of that I could really take. It was funny, but the way it's set up, it's as if the actors are always leading the scene and just allowing the celebrity guests to "insert joke here", and after a while it gets boring. The only person I saw to somewhat break from that was Bryan Cranston, who immediately got into character and was trying to push his way through the scene which I think truly made him deserve winning the episode.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

It's already April!?!

Either i'm getting busier and busier or I have less improtant things to talk about but I notice that my posts are getting further and further apart.

So what have I been up to that's been keeping me so busy?

Not a whole lot...

but lets see:

-Since December i've been done school and looking for a professional job in graphic design (anyone know of someone hiring?). It's been so tough with everything going on (distractions, work, losing interest, etc.) but I'm trying hard to stay focused. I've been meeting with councelors, going to workshops and sending my CV out on the itnerent almost everyday. I may be in luck. A teacher recomended me to her friend whom I'm meeting on Thursday. I'm not too sure what he does or what he's loking for but let's hope for the best.

-I"m still working at Old Navy which is becoming more and more fun (surpisingly). I've been there a year and a half!

-In March I was busy getting involved with McGill Improv. We had Vaganza at the beginning of the month and The Summit at the end. I've been busting my balls to get the summit website ( updated but it's so time consuming. I promise really soon there will be photos from the event, which was a BLAST by the way! McGill Improv didn't make it to the finals but I had the honor of participating with member from Sherbrooke, UQAM and U de M against members of Ottawa, Toronto and Carleton for the All Star Round.

-Right now it's passover. Last night was the first sedar and it was a typical family dinner here at the Budman house. Both my brothers were over with their wives (and son), although my brother Mark and his wife connie and son Charles live here, so they didnt' have far to go for dinner (just a long walk up the stairs).

-It's really hectic around here with the extra people in the house, but my brother put an offer on a house and may possible move out to it in May! I can handle a month (originally it was for July!). It's been great hanging around with my nephew though. He's the cutest kid ever (And the craziest). I taught him to say "awesome"!

-Also, today happens to be Emilie's birthday. She's now 23. Although I've only known Emilie for a short time (since the summer) she's got to be one of the coolest, hippest, interesting (and possibly craziest) I mean "girls" I know. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!