Sunday, November 25, 2007

Everybody Has Aids

Well, since over the weekend two people mentioned to me that thay still read my blog it has inspired me to write a few (hopefully not too long) posts.

First I'd like to start with what I did LAST Saturday. My brother convinced me to go see this band called Me, Mom and Morgentaler. The story goes that in the late 80's at a Marianopolis College variety show, a bunch of people got together (about 10) and formed a band. The name Morgentaler is reference to Dr. Henry Morgentaler a controversial abortionist from the 1970's.

The band made one record - Shiva Space Machine. They put on many amazing shows (as quoted from my brother) but never made it big and eventually broke up in 1994. In 1999 they reunited for a show and that was the end of them.

Now, 20 years after the release of their only album, they decided to reunite for the last time and re-release their album. Originally, they had 2 show dates but it sold out so quickly they put on 2 more. I saw them on their third night.

I only had listened to a few songs earlier in the week and hardly had time to really get into them, but let me tell you, that concert ROCKED!! (unlike another concert I recently went to...)
These guys are all pushing 40 but had SO MUCH energy on stage. They all came out wearing white uniforms of all kinds (chef, tennis player, suits, etc.) and PIG MASKS. After the first song, the masks came off, but the expressions on their faces showed they were really having a good time.

Their music was very ska/punk-ish and a Mosh pit formed, which Lorne and I joined in by the end of the show. Lorne couldn't believe the number of young people who were there. He thought was pushing it, but there were 18 year olds floating about.

Halfway through one of their songs, the singer, Gus Van Go (who also manages The Stills) introduced the Funky Ass Soul Punches, which was when all the members played a note at the same time. Then they beat their record with 182 Funky Ass Soul Punches!

During the encore, Gus jumped into the crowd and walked to the center and told everyone to sit down and relax while he sprawled across the floor and started talking to us. I was amazed how everyone listened and were just chilling.

Finally, when the show ended, Gus told the audience he wanted to greet people at the front and BODY SURFED his was to the front of the venue.

Lorne and I left with bouncing energy and a copy of their CD which I enjoy quite a lot.

UPDATE: I just found a clip of the smae show I went to on youtube:

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Budman Update

I lost track if anyone reads this blog. I guess I've also lost interest in writing on here. I'm usually writing about things I've been doing which aren't always that exciting. I"m not saying my life is boring, just that I've got into a routine:
I work Monday to Friday, 8:30 - 4:30.
I joined a floor hockey league and attend games every Wednesday. I'm doing pretty good actually and have scored at least one goal per game except one.
Weekends I pretty much spend with Aurit or my family.

This past week, although wasn't really too bad, just felt like ass. Bad, sweaty ass.

I'm been tired every day this week. I haven't sleep well for some reason. Some afternoons at work were brutal. I'd be at the computer and my eyes would feel so heavy. I had to work on something and new mistakes kept appearing. I finally finalized the thing but at the very last minute. At least I got it all out of the way to enjoy the weekend. Unfortunately, my boss told me of a little project he'd like me to tackle that is due Monday night or Tuesday morning. I can tell right now I won't be able to do it all in one day, so if I want to impress my coworkers I should move my ass and work a little this weekend. Oh how I was looking forward to relax...

Well at least tomorrow should be a nice relaxing day. I got McGill Improv workshop and at night I"m seeing this band Me, Mom and Morgentaler with my brother Lorne. I don't really know their music but they have been getting a lot of buzz for their reunion and re-release of their only album.

THis will make it my second concert of the week, the first one being BON JOVI.

I'm sorry, I will admit I like a few of his older songs and big hits, but i"m just not a huge Bon Jovi fan. For some reason some people just can't understand why. They put on a good show but I just wasn't loving it. On the other hand Aurit (and 10 billion other women) were just screaming their heads off. I've never seen such a reaction from a man in his 40's shaking his hips.

Ok I've had enough of the waking world for tonight. I must delve in to a deep sleep in my warm bed or it may happen here before this cold, cold computer.

Budman out.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Improv Summit Ottawa Edition

Last night marked the first edition of the Carlton Improv Association (CIA) Improv Summit in Ottawa.

Having participated in several summits hosted by McGill as well as one last year in Toronto, I was delighted to fight out that the McGill Improv team were interested in participating in Ottawa's competition.

This year has been a turning point for McGill Improv because of the great turnout of new members. over the past years, more and more members were leaving and not many new members were staying. At one point we had more alumni than actual students in the club. Last year, even though I had already graduated from McGill for 3 years, was still performing in the shows. However, this year a bunch of new people with some experience have joined our ranks and after only a few workshops and no real shows, decided to band together and tackle a summit! I was excited to, for the first time, watch as a bystander, the fury that McGill had to offer.

Overall the night was a success and I had a lot of fun (as the rest of the audience did) but I felt some things could have been better.

*DISCLAIMER: I had a fun time at the summit but have some feelings on the way things were run. In the following paragraphs, what i write is by in no means supposed to offend anyone. In the end I hope that whoever reads this can benefit from it for future events. If any CIA members read this, I love you guys and know that I myself couldn't have done a better job so please don't take my rant too personally.*

We were 2 cars, 10 people - 7 performers and 3 supporters. 5 of us were supposed to stay overnight while the other car was to head home after the show/after party.
We left after lunch that followed our weekly Saturday workshop and arrived in Ottawa around 6:30pm. The show was to start at 7:30pm so we had plenty of time to settle in and for the performers to warm up for the show.

My buddy Owen, a former member of CIA had come to watch and it was really good to see him. I felt really bad when I had found out he had planned a whole night ahead for me to accompany him to a mutual friends birthday party but had to decline since i came into town with a bunch of friends and felt awkward ditching them. Owen, you're still welcomed to Montreal anytime!

It turned out one of the teams dropped out last minute so the competitors ended up just being McGill, Toronto and CIA.

The show was being held in a room in a residence building which brought a large size of an audience (~50) which was slightly full for the size of the room.

7:30pm came along, the room packed and one of CIA's members, came on as the host. The format of the night was for each team to perform a 30 minute set and at the end the audience voted, ranking the teams from 3 to 1 (1 being the best). The order of performance was McGill, Toronto and CIA.

I've been to more than one summit and other kind of organized events and know from watching that the job of a host is to warm up the audience and get them excited for what they are about to watch. I didn't feel that at all with our host. After a quick introduction, she introduced the first team. Everyone cheered!... and then waited. McGill was warming up and no one got them to tell them the show had started.

After a few minutes of silence, McGill Improv came on full of energy with large thanks to Jeremy. He then transferred his energy to the audience by doing typical warm up/introduction bits like "on the count of three yell out a biblical name!".

During the set (and all the other teams sets) there were lots of laughs. Because there were no mikes, the players had to pause between laughs or else no one could hear them. I am not sure if this is always the case or because the room was small and the crowd was big, that the players had to do this.

McGill did a bunch of interesting games and ended on freeze. Things were going really well during freeze until all of a sudden the host yelled freeze, totally confusing everyone, came on stage and said that their set was over... I felt that McGill should have a had a better time warning so they could concluded their set properly.

I felt McGill did a good set and got a lot of laughs but after speaking to a member of the team, she was a bit disappointed stating that the scenes weren't so developed and that a lot of the laughs were due to cheap gags. That may have been true but after watching the entire show, I can say that the crowd was one that really liked cheap gags and sexual humor. There were no real great scenes that really stood out from the rest. However, going back to McGill, for a team who performed a show for the first time with those members, I thought they did a pretty damn good job. I'm sure they will learn to grow better with every next show they do.

After a 5 minute break, it was Toronto's turn. Toronto only had TWO guys. They decided to do ONE single long scene for 30 minutes. Now don't get me wrong, I laughed a lot and thought it quite amusing but also felt it was totally unprofessional what they did. It was basically the two of them just fucking around on stage. It felt a lot like in movies when there is a scene between actors and the scene has no point to it except that it was fun for the actors (like in 40 Year Old Virgin when the 2 guys are doing the "You know how I know you're gay" bit).

The two guys came on and sort of explained what they were going to do and then just kind of joked with each other. One guy was drinking an Arizona Ice Tea caned drink throughout his entire scene and even the "all-star" scene that happened 30 minutes later. Throughout the whole show, CIA members were awarded audience members candy for suggestions. These guys came up and just started throwing candy everywhere like it was no body's business.

The scene they ended up doing was about a Canadian journalist who was doing a story on a Ukrainian boy at a summer camp. The whole scene had sexual innuendo, implying that the Canadian was a pedophile and that the Ukrainian boy, Uri, had no idea and loved the man. Uri wanted to go back to Canada with him but couldn't for the obvious reasons that pedophilia is illegal in Canada (and every else in the world). This basically went on for 20 minutes, until they started talking about a book the journalist could write about. While talking about this book, which was basically a recap of everything we had just seen, the actors were talking about how the book would end, implying how they themselves would end the scene. An actual quote was "Maybe we can do a flashback!", followed by a flash back scene. The ending was very clever but then CIA told them they still had TEN minutes left, so rather than ending there, the characters were back the "writing the book" scene and came up with a couple of other alternative endings. It was quite funny but I think I appreciated it more as a performer than other audience members would have and I doubt I could sit through that again.

After another 5 minute break, it was CIA's turn to shine. They did a good set as well using a bunch of games they stole from McGill from the many times they've watched them perform (haha - it's an ongoing joke McGill and Carlton have, even though it's true).

After everyone performed, it was time to vote. During the counting of the votes, there was a short set with 2 members from each team doing a questions only game.

The moment of truth finally came when Carlton counted the voted themselves (which probably should have been done by an outside party):
McGill came in 3rd place, followed by CIA and the winners, Toronto.
I don't think anyone on McGill Improv really cared for coming in 3rd since they had fun and got a good reaction from the crowd, but I was surprised when I heard that Toronto beat Carlton. You'd think Carton people would support their own team (the whole crowd was just Carlton students) and Toronto's set wasn't that much funnier.

After the show we discovered there wasn't really much happening except the performers going for a beer at a local bar so we decided not to stay the night. We went to the Barley Mow, had a couple of beers, chatted with other players and even had a small run in with suicide. Suicide chicken wings that is. One member of CIA ordered them, ate 3 of them and then let others try them. I put one in my mouth and before even being able to swallow my bite, my mouth was totally on fire.

By midnight we were on the rad heading back to Montreal.

I think with a better turn out in number of teams and a bit better organization of the actual event, the CIA summit could continue to grow better and better in the upcoming years.