Friday, March 13, 2015


I was in New York City to do an improv facilitating gig.

I've taught the theories and fundamentals of improvisation to businesses for several years. The core principals of Yes, And as well as the other executions of what we do onstage, really translate tremendously to the business world. In fact, Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton just recently published their book Yes, And about that exact topic and it's really quite good. I read a lot of books about improv and (I'm not sucking up when I say this) this book took me by surprise. It was fresh and smart (Seriously, I'm not sucking up) and very funny and informative. I'm not kidding. I liked this book. I wasn't going to write anything about it because there's no way to discuss it without people thinking I'm sucking up, but I really liked it and wanted to be honest about it. It's good, okay. Get off my back.

So, anyway. I did this gig in NYC.

We stayed at the W Hotel, near Battery Park.

It was a very modern, trendy hotel. I never take photos of the room I stay in, but this one felt like I was in A Clockwork Orange.

Our meeting actually took place in the new World Trade Center.

Here was the view from our meeting room.

Our second night there, we had dinner with our clients in Brooklyn. The restaurant was on the river, beneath the Brooklyn Bridge so we had an amazing view of the skyline and bridge.

John Loos and Kat Barker were with me for the 3 days we did the gig.

The memorials around the World Trade Center site were very touching and beautiful.

It was 3 very, very full days and we were exhausted by the end. I commented that I was so tired that all I wanted was a slice of people.

It worked. Kat and John found a pizza place for me and I was rejuvenated. Sometimes that's all it takes.

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Friday, March 6, 2015


Travel is ramping up.

I'm starting to do a lot of gigs outside Chicago.

What does that mean? Well, for one, it means more blog posts.


I'm in Houston.

On my first day it was 78 degrees, which was a nice break from the freezing temperatures in Chicago.

While we're still within the city limits of Houston, we're pretty far from downtown and pretty far from anything around us.

It's a good location for a run though so I was able to log in some pretty good miles through the nearby forest preserve.

On Thursday, a storm blew and and dropped the temps to 40 degrees.

Last night we ate at a restaurant called Cyclone Taco. After the meal was over, we found out the restaurant was owned by the family of a famous professional wrestler.

I got to do the gig with Rob and Will from LA.

And, Lisa Kueng. Here she is with a new book that she just wrote. Picture Your Prosperity. Buy it here.

Back at the airport, I got to partake in a couple Texas standby's. Whataburger!

And, Shipley's Donuts.

Back to Chicago today where the weather is warming up. We made it to Spring!

Lots of travel coming up. Talk to you real soon.

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Thursday, January 1, 2015


Red, White and Blaine is plugging along.

We've sold out every show so far.

The interesting aspect of our sellouts is that very few improvisors or improv students have seen the show.  Students and performers get in free, but we're routinely too full of paying customers to fit any free tickets in.

Now that we're heading into January and getting out of the holiday season, I'm confident the big numbers will subside and more students and performers will get in.  So, if you're a student or performer, come see the show for free!

In fact, you have more time to see it.  We're extended through the month of January.  We won't extend past that though because too many of our cast will be gone or moving onto other projects in February.

We've had some amazing publicity for the show.  Aside from a press release that IO sent out two weeks before the show opened to a few local outlets, the publicity has come to us.

The Sun-Times put out a great article on their website.

From there, the Daily Herald and a few others picked it up.  Time Out Chicago, Gaper's Block. Things To Do In Chicago This Week.

We got a nice review from The Reader.  And, a mediocre one from the Tribune.

Then, I got a call from Theater Mania website.  This article was passed around over a thousand times on social media.

Then, a couple of big name publications picked up the story.  Playbill. Broadway World.

That led to a phone call from the New York Times.  They came to the theater to interview me then watched the show and talked to the cast.

We had a gigantic spread on their website and in their print paper.

How crazy!  The New York Times came to see our show.  There's so much irony, it's ludicrous.

Both the New York Times and TheaterMania asked if there's any way we could bring the show to New York for a short run.  We haven't had any official requests from any theaters in New York, but we have had some requests to take the show on the road to some other theaters in other towns.  There just hasn't been a request that would work out for us.  

It's been a fun, magnificent ride doing this show.  The cast is super smart, funny and fun.  The audiences that have come to the shows have been wonderfully rowdy and fun.

It'll be hard to top this.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


Once I got off the ship, my flight wasn't until the next day, so I spent the afternoon and evening in New York City.

I checked into my hotel in the Flat Iron District and walked around the neighborhood.

From there, I walked over to the Brooklyn Bridge.

Now, I know very well that was a very long walk, but I'd been on the cruise ship 9 out of 11 days so I was eager to spend some time outside getting some exercise. Also, Jeannie and I had spent a lot of time in New York the past several years, so I've got a decent familiarization with Manhattan.

I walked around SoHo and did some Christmas shopping.

I walked through Chinatown and curved over to the Bridge.

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge is something I've always wanted to do.  To New Yorkers, that probably seems silly, but I thought it was really cool.

After that I took the train back to the neighborhood where I was staying.  I'd read about a place that did Deep Fried pizza, so I made my way over to try it.

It was interesting.  It was like eating amazingly fresh and tasty pizza ingredients on a sweet, big, fat, flat donut.

Later on in the evening, I went to the McKittrick Hotel to watch Sleep No More.  I can't really explain what the show is, so if you want to know more, read this.

It was a warm, foggy night and I really enjoyed walking through the Chelsea neighborhoods.  It's home to the UCB and Magnet Theaters and I've performed at both of those, so it was nice walking around through and area I was fairly familiar with.

I made it to my hotel and the misty skies were cool.

The next day I went to breakfast at the Donut Plant.


It was a great little trip.  I wish Jeannie had been there, but it was really great to wander around and see some fun stuff.


Last week I helped install a new cast for Second City on the NCL Gem.

I made one of the dumbest mistakes I have ever made. I brought the wrong passport. I brought my expired one.

I mean, are you kidding me!

For the past 12 years I have traveled extensively for several different companies . This year alone I have flown round-up 16 times. At the most, I once racked up 32 rountrip flights. There's no way I should ever make a mistake like that.

Well, not having a passport made things difficult my entire trip. So dumb of me.

On the bright side, it was a very fun cast to work with and it was joy working with Jen Ellison, who was the director for the show we brought on board.

We went to several ports in the Caribbean that I've visited on multiple occasions. However, we did go to Puerto Rico, which is a city I've never been in.

It was really beautiful.

I'd like to go back again sometime with Jeannie because I think it's a place she would really like.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

San Antonio..

Jeannie and I went to San Antonio last Friday.

We were there to run our 2nd marathon. It was the San Antonio Marathon, which is a part of the Rock and Roll Marathon series.

We got in Friday night and Jeannie's folks took us straight to get some BBQ.

We haven't had Texas BBQ in awhile and it was super delicious. How delicious? Well, I concentrated so much on the food that I didn't take any pictures of it or Jeannie's parents.

On Saturday, we went downtown to the Expo.

After the Expo, we went back to Jeannie's parents house and relaxed and ate our carb heavy meal. Then we went to bed early.

The next morning we got up early and showered. I put on my tracking temporary tattoo.

After that Jeannie's parents drove us to the starting line.

Jeannie wore her Spurs running shirt.

We had a really great race. The first 12 miles we ran through several cool neighborhoods I've never seen before.

As far as fan support goes, it was pretty sporadic. There were a good number of people at the Alamo and Trinity College and by the old brewery and a decent number at the downtown spots.

Once the half-marathon split away from the full marathon, all the fan support disappeared. The last 14 miles we ran with virtually no one anywhere. Thankfully Jeannie's parents were at several spots throughout the course. Seeing them really pumped us up.

Also, once we split from the half-marathon the roads were running on became highways.

The race was much more hilly than we expected. We knew three were going to be hills, but it felt like we were constantly going up and down. There was a solid chunk where we were gradually going downhill, but then for the last 6 miles the hills started rolling again.

For the first 22 miles we were averaging 9:30 miles. Then when we started hitting the rolling hills, we dropped down to 10:45 and 11:00 minute miles.

Also the last 8 miles were on what the called the Mission Trail. We thought it would be a historic trail where you saw all kinds of historic missions and things like that. Well, that wasn't the case. We ran on sidewalks by a stream. It was in a ravine surrounded by concrete so there wasn't a lot to see.

We hit the finish line and the volunteers and staff were really wonderful. There were tons of people handing out medals and were so kind and nice in saying congratulations and asking if we needed assistance.

There were lots of snacks and I grabbed up anything salty I could find.

When we got back to Jeannie's parent's house we each took an ice bath and ate some food.

My post race meal was a Big Red, Doritos and a slice of homemade buttermilk pecan pie.

Jeannie's mom made the pie and it was one if the best pecan pies I've ever eaten.

30 minutes later we headed to the airport. Jeannie was able to stay in Texas a day longer to relax, but I had to fly back to Chicago so I could teach my class at Columbia College.

It was a great trip and we really were proud of finishing our 2nd marathon. More importantly, we really enjoyed spending time with Jeannie's folks. Great trip.
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