Thursday, December 29, 2005
SOLD OUT, BABY. SOLD THE FREAK OUT.
My second week performing in an off-Broadway show and I've already got a sold-out show coming up. True, it might have a little bit more to do with the fact that it's a HUGE PARTY rather than my big head is going to be on the stage, but I'm still excited about it!
It's a special performance of improv comedy followed by an all-out New Year's party with the cast complete with catered food, booze, and party music.
But fear not New Yorkers. You can still get your fill of New Year's improv by checking out one of the two shows Friday night (7:30 & 9:45).
Come on out and share a laugh!
How about this: If you're an adult and you do something stupid, just say you did something stupid. I goof up all the time. Big goofs. Little goofs. Medium-sized goofs (or grande sized if you work at Starbucks) and there are a ton of things I could blame for my stupid behavior but the truth of the matter is, those things didn't make me goof up. I did that all on my own and of my own free will. I understand people go through things that may have an impact on their lives, but really, should that be the reason to treat others the way we so often do?
If you're reading this and thinking I wrote this about you, then you're wrong. As much as this blog seems like an irate response to something someone did to me or I experienced, it really isn't. I actually thought of it this morning when I was going down the hall to the bathroom.
Apparently poop makes me angry.
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
I just received the schedule for this weekend's improv shows at the National Comedy Theater and I am slated to play the shows both nights, Friday and Saturday. I'm stoked!!
The Friday shows are at 7:30 and 9:45 and of course, it's still not too late to make reservations for the big New Year's Eve blowout Saturday night! Tickets are going really fast for that show, so if you're in the NY area and want to find something to do besides mingle with a billion smelly tourists* in Times Square then this is it! Check out NCT's New Year's Eve Comedy Blowout!! How do you know it's going to be fun? Because there's no set time when the fun will stop. That's right! It's scheduled from 9:30 to QUESTION MARK!!!!!!
Tell 2005 thanks but no thanks and ring in 2006 laughing your head off!!
*[No offense to my dear friend Edlyn, who will actually be in Times Square as a tourist that night to watch the ball drop. I assure you she is not smelly. But I also assure you that everyone else will be.]
Sunday, December 25, 2005
And it went by so fast, I can hardly remember what happened just a couple of days later.
The week approaching my off-Broadway debut at the National Comedy Theater, I was pretty nervous. I don't usually get nervous before a show (what I usually feel is probably best described as anxious), so the fact I was finding it hard to sleep on Tuesday night was a new experience.
It's hard to say how much of it was nerves and how much of it was that familiar anxious feeling. I was just eager and excited and ready to play. I've been to pretty much every show since I've started rehearsing with them a couple of months ago and after weeks of watching some great improv week after week I wanted to jump up there and play with them.
As Friday evening rolled around I found that the closer it got to showtime, the calmer I became. It was like entering a Zen-like state without all of that annoying Zen stuff. Of course, what helped the most was knowing that I was going to be up there with a great team of people whom I knew had my back. Their support over the last few weeks has been amazing and to have that level of trust like I have with them over such a short time is a blessing I don't take for granted.
The players scheduled for that night also included Kramer, Chris, Tyler, and Michael Jeffrey Cohen. That's right. It was going to be a two-on-two improv competition. When I got to the theater I got word that Gary Cohen, one of the players not scheduled to be there, was going to show up to play the first show. I was stoked! Cohen has been a great support and made me feel right at home on the team and the fact that he wanted to be there to play my first show really meant a lot to me.
You know all of those shows I've been attending over the last few weeks just as an audience member? Well, it paid off. I played a bunch of games that night that I had never played before and I had a blast! Because I'd seen the team play them before, I had a general idea of what was supposed to happen.
It was Tyler and me in blue "against" the two Cohens in red. Kramer was the ref and Chris was the DJ (Designated Jokester). We played Emotional Symphony, Blind Line Fairy Tale, Dinner at Joe's, Five Things, Beastie Rap, and Story. And that was just the first show.
It was a really good crowd and I experienced everything from the "deer in the headlights" to genuine laughter and it was a great ride. Afterward I told Kramer I couldn't believe how quickly it went. Thankfully my buddy Paul was up in the sound booth taking pictures for me to help me remember what I was doing up there (I'll post the pictures as soon as I get them from him).
The second show was a much much smaller (and quieter) crowd, but I was still riding the high from the first show so it didn't bug me much.
All in all, I was happy. There were some things I would have done differently and some things I was happy with. I think the people who were there left the theater glad they had come and had smiles on their faces, and that's all I ask.
Let's keep this E-Train rolling!
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
There's big things happening with them so keep an eye (and ear) out for them. In the meantime, well done, Whitest Kids!!
Ands speaking of comedy I just found out I am performing not just this Friday night, but Saturday as well at the National Comedy Theater. As Ed Grimley used to say, I mean come on. It just doesn't get more decent than that, you know?
Monday, December 19, 2005
I'm stoked. I'm excited. I'm nervous. And I'm also aware that a lot of the regular players are out of town for the holidays and they are in need of players for the weekend so that may be part of the reason I'm getting my shot this week as well. But I'm not complaining. My first off-Broadway production and it's a show I am very proud to be part of.
The cast has been great to get to know and work with and it's really cool how amazingly supportive they've been. It's been an extremely welcoming vibe and after watching them on stage each weekend I am anxious to get up there and play with them. A lot of improv is about trust and it's a team of players I know I can definitely depend on.
So here we go!!
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Tonight I was with some of the guys from the National Comedy Theater and there were a few moments that felt like I was in a party scene in a Woody Allen film. That was really cool.
Afterwards Kevin, Cohen, and I were on the subway and that just felt...I don't know, I guess it fit. Guys just on the subway hanging out after a fun evening and all was well with the universe [despite the impending MTA strike]. Combine that with Friday night when, after the show, I got to spend some time hanging out with Chris and Amy and had a blast getting to know them a little more.
Not only have I found the chance to be involved with excellent improv at the NCT, but I've also met some great people and am forging great friendships and conversation. Despite all that's going on with me right now and the divorce and all that, life is pretty darn good.
Friday, December 16, 2005
I was walking to work today and passed by a theater. Unfortunately, the show at this particular theater was ending its run; shutting down; calling it quits. There were semi trucks parked in front of the theater and guys were unloading the stage and taking down all of the signage. Time to pack it up, boys.
And then I noticed what show it was and laughed out loud and had to take a picture. I mean come on, folks, am I the only one that found the humor in this??
That's right, the show that was leaving was Billy Joel's Movin' Out.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Yesterday I got off work a little early and I was feeling so giddy about it that I decided to go to the Gotham Comedy Club and see what was cooking there. It's the only club I've been to so far in the City [at least to see a show] and I knew the cover was only ten bucks to get in [plus a 2-drink minimum].
I can't tell you how glad I was that I went [but I'll try]. The crowd was pretty small and it was freezing inside. I don't mean I was a little chilly I mean it was horrendously cold in there. People were wearing mittens and I left my scarf on. Which says a lot for all of the comics. If you're able to get people to forget that their backside is stuck to their seats and make them laugh, then you're doing something right. Performing that night were Ted Alexandro, Todd Barry, Mike Birbiglia, Steve Byrne, and Judy Gold. Erin Foley did a great job hosting so again, well done!
Tonight I went to a taping of a couple of episodes of Comedy Central Presents with Virginia and Mike, buddies from the NCT (Mike's friend Simon rounded out our little merry band of comedy seekers). We had to wiat outside in the rain/sleet for a while but it wasn't coming down terribly hard and since we're all in improv we were able to keep ourselves entertained.
I've already forgotten the name of the first comic. Her last name is Mooney, I know that much. The background for her set was a huge 4-leaf clover. She did a really good job but I must admit I was awaiting the second comic of the night, Nick Swardson. You may have seen his earlier episode of Comedy Central Presents ["Nicholas, you're the strongest grandson ever!"] and he did not disappoint this time around.
And then tomorrow and Saturday night it's off for more comedy hijinks and shenanigans. If laughter is the best medicine then this week I done got myself immunized for the next three years.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Inside the magazine was a free mini-pamphlet of Premiere Magazine's "50 Hidden Gems out on DVD." Movies that didn't do very well the first time they hit theaters but deserved to find a place in your own personal collection. I didn't recognize many of the films but the ones I had seen [Office Space, Suicide Kings, Go] I enjoyed so I figured they knew what they were talking about. I don't have a ton of money to blow on DVDs just because Premiere recommends them so instead I decided to go through the entire list of 50 movies and borrow them from the library.
Can I just say that for a movie magazine, Premiere doesn't know what the freak they're talking about. They should have named it "50 Hidden Movies That Are Hidden Because They're Long and Boring."
The first one I got from the library was The Tenant, directed by and starring Roman Polanski. First of all, it's in English. Takes place in France. But some of the people speak English and other people are speaking in French and are dubbed over in English. So for part of the film Roman Polanski is speaking English but when he's doing scenes with people who obviously don't speak English he switches to speaking in French, with the audio dubbed over. And that got on my nerves really quickly.
Oh yeah. And it's really super-boring. "Hey look at me, I'm a guy who's weird for no reason and I'm gonna rent this apartment. And I'm gonna take 25 minutes to do it. Oh no, my friends make too much noise and the landlord hates us! Oh no, the previous tenant committed suicide.Look at me, I'm an auteur!"
Tonight's time-waster of choice was Shadow of a Doubt. I was actually excited about this one because it was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Now don't get me wrong, I'm a huge Hitchcock fan and I understand a lot of people think his films drag in the beginning while he's setting up the story. I've never minded that, because to me if you have a good story, it doesn't drag.
Hitch didn't have a good story with this one and it dragged. It drug. It drugged and dragged. Hey, let me save you and hour and a half. This guy goes to visit his family in California. And that's the first HOUR. And then oh yeah, maybe he's a killer. So then you think, "Now it's gonna get good!" But it doesn't. Instead they eat dinner and read the newspaper and go to church and go to the library and go to a restaurant and eat and totally forget to build any suspense or story at all. And then it's like ohwaitweonlyhave10minutesleftquickgetonatrainandthebadguywilltrytokilltheheroine.
So thanks, Premiere. Thanks for wasting my time not with one, but two bad, boring films. I'm sure there are some good ones on there, but I've given up. Maybe I'll start hitting up films on the various AFI lists because Premiere magazine knows about as much about recommending films as I know about Butte, Montana.
Hey Premiere! In the words of my friend Amy Albert,
Monday, December 12, 2005
It's not that I'm absolutley dying for snow, but I'm looking for a reason to be distracted by the cold weather. The other day it snowed overnight and when I woke up it was still falling. Huge flakes that got me excited and made me feel like a kid again.
I walked to work with a spring in my step. Most of the other people walking the streets seemed disgruntled to be out in such weather but I was digging every minute of it. Sure it was cold, but I could care less. The snow was beautiful!
By the time I left work the snow had melted but it was still just as cold outside and I was not enjoying the cold weather sans snow. Cold weather with snow is bearable. Cold weather without snow is just annoying.
As I walked home tonight from work it was the coldest it's been so far and there was no snow to make up for it.
Come on, snow. You're slacking here.
Friday, December 09, 2005
I really don't have much else to add to this except to say if Sigfried & Roy didn't win, there would have been some really, really, upset gay tiger-taming magicians in Las Vegas this week.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
A Timeline by Ed Placencia
As the year began I was still living in Nashville, working at the Opryland Hotel as a tour guide on the Delta Riverboats. Deanna was living in New York City
January 24 I began rehearsal for Sunday in New York at Chaffin’s Barn Dinner Theater.
February 11 Opening night of Sunday in New York marks my first time on the stage in over four years.
March 12 The final performance of Sunday in New York.
March 29 Deciding it was time to get off my butt and put my money where my mouth is, I performed comedy at an open mic night, marking my first time doing stand-up since my years in college, 15 years earlier. Despite the long hiatus, it went well.
Still not earning enough money after losing my job the previous year, expenses finally catch up with me and our house is foreclosed upon. This marks one of the most difficult periods of time in my life but with the help of loved ones, especially Davy and Jenn Baysinger, I somehow make it through. All of our belongings are put into storage and the Baysingers allow me to stay with them while I prepare for the next phase. I plan to move to Chicago along with most of the cast from Sunday in New York.
I make the move to Chicago. Things (housing and job situation) don’t unfold the way I was led to believe they would, and I am forced to improvise. I begin writing again and crank out the first of three short stories.
June 19 I go to a bookstore where Cheech Marin is making a presentation on Chicanos in the arts. To say it was inspiring would be an understatement.
June 22 I film 2 different scenes for The Breakup, a film starring Jennifer Aniston and Vince Vaughn. Keep your eyes peeled and you may see me as a Roller Blader and Guy At The Beach Walking By. The film is currently scheduled to come out in the Spring of 2006.
June 28 Another day of shooting for The Breakup at Wrigley Field. I’m 99.9% sure you won’t be able to pick me out of the crowd, but it was a day at the park and we got paid for it.
July 9 I had an opportunity to work on the film Smile, Darling for the 48-Hour Film Project with director Keith Soljacich. Not only was it a great experience (our film won an award!) but it also gave me a chance to meet and work with a great upcoming director and visionary. Remember Keith’s name! You’ll be hearing it a lot in the future!
July 18 Being away from Deanna for so long has not helped mend a rocky relationship and I decide to move to New York City so we can be together and try to patch up what we have. I leave for Indiana, where I will be staying for a short time to work with Dad and earn some money for the trip out [since gas is now $45 per gallon]. While back in my hometown in Indiana I get a chance to reconnect with family and rejuvenate.
August 11 I leave Indiana for New York…via Nashville. I make the drive south to get all of our belongings in order and put away in storage. I’m in and out like a ghost. I then leave and head for Lancaster PA and the home of John & Lisa Blowers. They are kind enough to let us keep our car at their place so we don’t have to take it with us to the City. While there I also get a chance to visit and catch up with Stacey Gagne and Linda Spuck.
August 15 I arrive in New York City. I know I’m going to love it.
August 17 I shoot a scene for Court TV’s Parco P.I. It’s my first time doing green screen and I feel like a Jedi.
August 19 I audition for [and land] "Accomplice: NY,” an improv/interactive theater/walking tour-type experience that is one of a kind. A great way to see lower Manhattan. That same day I shoot a scene for an upcoming Discovery Channel show, Cash Cab.
September 20 I do some work on the film Devil You Know where I am chosen from all of the extras to play the maitre d’ at a restaurant and get to shoot a scene with Lena Olin. Apparently she’s famous.
Also in September I read the entire series of “Fletch” books. Highly recommended!
October 8 Auditioned for the National Comedy Theater. Got to do some improv again and a few days later received a call from them asking me to join the troupe. Rehearsals start in just a few days!
October 26 Shot four scenes as an extra on the upcoming film The Devil Wears Prada with Meryl Streep. Look for me in the fashion show scenes and in a post-fashion show party.
November 17 I turn 35 years old [physically]. Mentally, I turn 6.
November 22 My sister Jaime gives birth to her new baby, Maya.
After 6 years of marriage, Deanna and I decide to separate.
I’m still working with the National Comedy Theater and look forward to performing soon. There’s going to be a huge New Year’s bash at the theater that will be a lot of fun, so if you’re in the New York area at the end of the year, come on out! I’m working at Entertainment-Link and enjoying that as well [if you need tickets to Broadway shows with some great discounts, then check it out!].
I am looking forward to seeing what 2006 has in store. By the beginning of the year the divorce papers will be filed and it will be a new chapter for me. Who knows what new adventures lie around the corner but I am eager to tackle each and every one of them.
And that’s what I’ve been up to. I look forward to hearing from you and finding out how the past year has been to you. I’ve done a lot this year and been through even more; it’s been one of my favorite years.
Jumping into 2006 with both feet,
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
Sunday, December 04, 2005
I went to the NCT to see the shows last night and upon leaving the apartment Deanna informed me that she was going to hang out with friends and asked how late I'd be out. We only have one set of keys to the apartment, so the general rule is, whoever will be home first gets the keys so they can let the other person in. She said she thought she would be out until midnight or so. Usually after the NCT shows I hang out with the gang and talk and yak and just generally hang out so I told her that would be fine; take the keys. I'm usually there until at least 1am and, if by some chance I am done before midnight, I'll swing by the diner up the block and grab a bite to eat. She said she'd call and leave a message when she gets home. I let her know my phone is almost out of juice, so it'll be off most of the night. And the plan is set. Or so I think.
So I finally leave the theater about a quarter after midnight. Early for me. I call Deanna to see if she's home yet and she doesn't answer her phone. So I go to the diner. I get my usual [French toast and eggs] and enjoy a few cups of coffee. I leave and it's pretty darn cold. I walk to the apartment and ring the buzzer. No answer. I call her and my phone is giving me the "Battery Low" beep. She answers and says she is in Chelsea [where the heck is that?] and will be on her way.
So I decide to go for a walk. The time is 12:38am. I go to Times Square [and take the long way] and listen to the black Muslims preach about the evils of whitey. I walk up and down the odd and then even street numbers and then decide to go to Duane Reade [a local pharmacy chain] and buy a magazine. I only have a few bucks on me, otherwise I'd have gone to a restaurant or a bar to hang out. I get back home around 1:30 and she's still not there. I call a few more times and she doesn't answer. And now my phone is so low on power, it won't finish the call before turning itself off.
So I sit on the freezing stoop and read Entertainment Weekly. I sit there long enough to make myself read every damn section of the magazine [except the fashion section. Even as bored as I was I still was not bored enough to read about fashion].
I realize all that coffee made me have to go to the bathroom.Really bad.
And then it begins to snow.
I decide to go to yet another diner. I have enough money to buy another cup of coffee so I can use their bathroom. So I use the bathroom, buy a cup of coffee, and then pee again. The snow is really coming down and even in my current situation I thought it was beautiful.
I walk back to the apartment and she's still not there. I turn my phone on and see if it has enough juice to make a call. It does, but there's still no answer.
At this time, thankfully, someone else who lives in the apartment gets home and lets me in the front door. Man that hall never felt so warm before. So I was halfway home. I still didn't have a key to get into our apartment.
One of the weird things [but often common] about New York apartments is many times the bathroom is actually out in the hall. That's the way ours is set up. There's a padlock on the bathroom door so no one can use it but us. Apparently people have locked themselves out of the apartment during a bathroom break before because I know there is a spare key to the apartment door hidden in the bathroom in a basket on a shelf above the toilet. But the bathrom door is padlocked shut.
All I need is a Philips head screwdriver and I can remove the padlock and get in the bathroom and get the key. But of course, I don't have one. Nor do I have enough money to run out and buy one. And this is where things go MacGuyver. I'm not going to tell you how I got in just in case someone decides to break into our apartment, but I will tell you what I had with me [Funny, but I've never been so aware of every single item I had on my person before, trying to figure out how to get past that padlock]. I will also say this: I didn't cause any permanent damage to the apartment, the doors, the locks, nothing. I did not leave a trace of my being there and/or getting in.
Maybe you can figure it out. Here's what I had: A big Macy's bag with a box of strawberry shortcake given to me by Gary at NCT. A tin of cookies I bought previously in the day. A money clip. Various cards i.e. library card, discount card, driver's license. Spare change. A pen. Gloves. Hat. Scarf.
Hint: Although I tried a few things with the money clip, I was unsuccessful.
I finally got in my apartment around 3:30AM. I don't know when Deanna got home, but she's still asleep.
So there you go. An Ed-cyclopedia Brown mystery to solve. How did Ed get in the apartment??
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Tonight on my way home from work I decided to swing by the library and see if a book I had on hold was in [it was!]. And then I remembered that last night was the lighting of the tree in Rockefeller Plaza. I had nowhere to go so I thought I'd walk a few blocks out of my way and see it. And I was determined to take pictures.
So there I was, standing in front of the tree and trying to take a picture of me and the tree together. It took about 8 tries to get anything even close to decent and I was beginning to laugh at myself. A guy stopped and asked if I wanted him to take the picture for me but I laughed and said "No thanks, that's kind of the fun of it." Plus I didn't want him to steal my camera.
On the way home I walked past the Rainbow Room, Radio City, and through Times Square and since I was feeling particularly camera-happy, I continued taking pictures.
Yea, I'm a dork, and I know it, but it was kinda fun to do something touristy. One of my favorite shots is in Times Square. I'm not looking into the camera but kind of up in the air. It looks a little posed and pretentious but actually I was looking at this huge statue of a man and all of a sudden a bunch of pigeons started to attack it and I got distracted. And that's when the camera clicked.
Thanks for tuning in to VH1's Behind the Pictures.