Thursday, February 25, 2010

Shuttered...

Went to see Shutter Island yesterday. It was very good. It's advertised like a horror movie, but it's more like a Hitchcock film.

Because we didn't want another Pan's Labrinth episode, Jeannie went in and watched the Oscar nominated An Education while Brett, Adal and I saw Shutter Island.

When the movie was over I realized Jeannie could have gone in with us. It wasn't scary at all. Jeannie was happy though. She really like An Education.

Afterwards, we walked over to Xoco, Rick Bayliss' new restaurant on Illinois and Clark.


We all got churros and ice cream and hot cocoa.

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bobsled accident...

I have been watching a lot of the Olympics.

Somehow though, I missed this one.

Jeannie showed it to me:

At the very end some joker added noise to it.  The noise startled Jeannie and she bit her lips trying not to laugh.  She shook her head and tried hard to be mad.  "Give the woman her dignity," Jeannie said as she wrenched her mouth around to keep from laughing.

The sound happened again and Jeannie inadvertently laughed, but continued to be outraged.  "That's terrible," Jeannie said.

The Olympics are so fun.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dirty South...

It's not the Dirty South Improv Festival anymore, but that's still what we all call it.

On Friday afternoon I picked up Brett and Jeannie from the airport before making our way to the theater to do our Aphasia show.

The show went really, really well.

Lots of fun.

Lots of laughs.

It's a little difficult to judge a show from the inside, but it felt super strong.

Saturday morning I woke up early and went to the UNC campus to teach workshops all day.  Those went well too.

Saturday evening, for half an hour, I was Canadian.  I did a show with Kevin Thom and Kevin Robbins (KPR) from Toronto.  We were introduced as all being from Toronto.


This was a reprise of a show we did 2 years ago.  When Kevin Thom's teammates were stranded in a snowstorm in Toronto, I was asked to help them out and sit in and do the show along with the team's coach KPR.  That show that we did that night was really fantastic.

The show we did this past Saturday was really great as well.

So much fun.  I really like playing with those guys.  All 3 of us are very different improvisors and that dynamic really works well.  

I have a feeling that as long as we keep doing shows every two years, we have a chance of never breaking up.

After the show, Jeannie, Brett and I went to Moe's and had dessert and Hot Chocolate at Moe's.

Joining us was Allison Royer.

She made us laugh by telling us stories about the hippie house she was staying in at the festival.  My favorite quote from her was, "I opened my door this morning and this old mad stopped me in the hall and said, 'We don't wear shoes in the house, sweetie'.  My reaction was, 'Number one, good morning.  Number two, how do you know what to wear with your outfit you animal.'"

Hilarous.

All in all, great festival.  Lots of shows.  Lots of improv.  Lots of success.  I really enjoy coming to this festival every year.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Raleigh...

It's one of my favorite times of the year.

It's the weekend of the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival.

It's the 10th year of the festival and I've taught and performed at it 7 straight years I believe.

It's agreat time to catch up and meet up with folks who I only get to see 2 or 3 times a year.

This afternoon I arrived right at rush hour. There was a wreck on I-40 East so traffic was even more clogged up.

I was starving so I pulled off and did a quick search on my iPhone for a nearby BBQ place.

I found a great one. Ole Time Barbecue!


You know it's great when it's right next to a big trailor park.


This place is truly, truly great.


As soon as I sat down the waitress shoved a big basket of hushpuppies and sweet tea in front of me.


Another sign of this place's greatness is the big roll of paper towels and multiple bottles of BBQ sauces.


I got the fried chicken, pulled pork combo platter with mashed potato's and apple sticks.


Where are the apple sticks, you ask?

Well, I asked the same thing.

Turn's out, the apple sticks were deep fried.

Yep.

Deep fried.

You can judge all you want, but they were delicious.

You might also wonder where the pulled pork is at in that photo. It's under the chicken!

It was a bed of pulled pork!

The verdict is, it was exceptional.


North Carolina pulled pork with it's spicy, vinegar BBQ is one of my favorite things in the world.

I think it's actually in 4th place behind muffalatta's, peanut butter and pepperoni and green olive pizza.

So good.

After checking into my hotel and running 3 1/2 miles on the treadmill I took a shower and headed over to the DSI Theater to watch some improv.

Jeannie and Brett arrive tomorrow.

It's going to be a very fun weekend.

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

4 Spots left in the improv workshop...


4 Spots left...Also, dates have changed.

I changed the dates to accommodate a few people who needed it a week later. There are already some very fun people who have signed up for the workshop. Join them! Here's the info:

Playing the same characters? Doing the same tricks in your scenes? Need to improve your improv to become a more complete improvisor?

"Do Something Else" is a workshop designed to get you out of your comfort zone and improve your confidence in trying new things. You don't know unless you try and this workshop will make you try.

While the workshop is open improvisors of all levels, it's is geared toward veterans who are looking to juice up their improv. If you haven't been in a classroom setting in awhile, this class will be a nice refresher.

The 4 week class will be Thursdays, March 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th. Workshop will take place at the CIC Rehearsal space from 7:30 - 9:30. Cost of the class will be $110.

If interested, please contact me at jeffgriggs@gmail.com.

Here's my bio:

Jeff Griggs is the author of the book Guru;My Days with Del Close. He has taught and coached for the ImprovOlympic in Chicago where he performs in The Armando Diaz Experience and with the Harold Team Deep Schwa.

Currently he performs for Second City on board one of the Norwegian Cruise Lines cruise ships. He also performs with his 3 person team Aphasia at venues and festivals around the country. He's taught at festivals and theaters in Toronto, Chicago, Chapel Hill, Hawaii, Austin, Dallas, Seattle and many others.

He was the Story Producer and a Contributing Director for the Improvised based television program Sports Action Team and hosts the popular podcast "Aphasia Presents Something" with his Aphasia teammates Brett and Jeannie.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Quiz…

Yesterday I went to Pana, Illinois to watch my brother Jacob compete in a quiz competition.


It started early. I had to get up at 7am for us to drive there from Decatur.

It was very interesting to watch. They all sat on their buzzers.



Whenever the quizzers thought they had the answer they stood up and had :30 to answer their question.

This provided me with a lot of amusement as I watched everyone's strategy with these butt buzzers. A lot of people sat at the edge of their chairs so that when they made the slightest movement , the butt buzzer went off. Shelby, the girl on Jacob's team, utilized the 1 butt cheek method. She only sat on half of the butt buzzer and when she thought she had the answer she would just slighty raise one butt cheek.

Jacob utilized the, "keep your hands in the pocket of your sweatshirt and slowly stand up when you have the answer" method. He needs a little work on his butt buzzer speed. But that's the only thing he might need work on. He finished first place individually in the tournament. He answered 28 questions correctly, with just one wrong answer.


He "Quizzed Out" in all 7 of his matches. You Quiz Out when you answer 4 questions correctly in a match. Once you Quiz Out, everyone applauds for you and then you are not allowed to answer any more questions in that match.

Jacobs team went 5-2 in their preliminary round which put them in second place going into the finals.

We took a break for lunch and I went to Pana's famous Rosebud Cafe for lunch.


I haven't had a breaded pork tenderloin in 10 years so I got one.


This picture doesn't do justice to the sandwich. It was HUGE. Just like I remembered a pork tenderloin from central Illinois being.

It was tasty. But, oh so greasy. Just like I remembered a pork tenderloin from central Illinois being.



My parents look like they're enjoying it here, but there was a stop off to get rolaids before we left town.

After lunch we went back for the finals and Jacob's team ended up placing 3rd overall for the day.

They did great. Very proud of my brother.

Such a fun Saturday.

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, February 12, 2010

Jeannie's blog…

All my old friends tell me they like Jeannie's blog better than mine.

"Yours is just a travelloge, hers is funny!" they say.

My first response is usually, "thanks for thinking my blog isn't funny."

My second response is, "Yeah, her blog is very funny."

Well, my friends aren't the only ones who are fans of Jeannie's blog.

The Fairfield Weekly included one of Jeannie's posts in one of their articles. It's about Seltzer Water!

Read it here.:
http://www.fairfieldweekly.com/article.cfm?aid=14860

It's pretty funny.

-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow pants…

So far, the snow and cold hasn't been as bad as I thought it was going to be.

After almost 2 years of living in tropical climates, I thought the Chicago weather was going to kill me.

It hasn't.

In fact, I've almost kind of enjoyed it.

There are though, annoying things with the weather that I had forgotten.

For example…


I forgot how the snow and salt screws up your jeans.

My new Lucky Jeans took some abuse on Tuesday.


Look at how badly they got ripped up after one long day walking around in the snow. That salt just eats away the bottom of your pants.

I'm going to have to start tucking my pants into my boots.

(

-- Post From My iPhone

Sunday, February 7, 2010

College Improv Championship…

On Saturday I took part in CIF's College Improv Tournament Championships.

The tournament is set up like a sporting event, so I was at the Anchor Desk. I needed a co-host so I recommended Brett for the job to CIF Executive Producer, Jonathan Pitts.


If Brett and I know anything, it's sports and improv.

It was a very full day of improv. It started at 11:00am and finished at midnight.

We saw 9 improv teams do 12 improv shows.

Also there at the event, serving as 2 of the 7 judges were Matt Hovde and Dunbar Dicks.


From 7 to 9 we had a break.

Brett, Matt, Dunbar and I went and ate stir fry at Flat Top Grill.


After that, we went to Yogen Fruz and had some frozen yogurt.


It wasn't as good as the yogurt we love in Hawaii, but it was still pretty good.

We went back to PH Theater for the championship round, where Daddy Mags from Northwestern won the title.

It was a fun day.

Lots of laughs. Lots of improv. Lots of hanging out with old friends like, Matt, Brett and Dunbar. Nice also to joke around with Jonathan, Allyson, Isla and Wendy and others.

Good, fun day.


-- Post From My iPhone

Um...what?

How did this happen?

Leno appeared on a commercial for David Letterman's Late Show!

?????

This is just unbelievable.

In just a few short weeks, Leno and Letterman will be competing against each other once again.

I'm impressed that Dave swallowed his pride and allowed himself to be in the same room as Jay.  I'm amazed that Jay agreed to do this at all.  I would love to have seen footage of these two guys in the same room together.  It's got to be the first time they've talked to each other in 20 years.

Incredible!

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Baby Tour…

One of the traditions of getting back to Chicago after being on a ship for a long period of time is my annual pilgrimage to visit all the babies that were born while I was gone.

Last week I got to see Finn Mason, son of Deep Schwa teammate and former Duck Boat coworker Tim Mason and his wife Erin, member of the all-female improv team Sirens.


I saw them at the Second City Christmas party. (Yes, the Second City Christmas party was last week.)



Also at the party was Tim's daughter Dottie. I've seen Dottie before, but this picture was too cute not to include.

Yesterday, I was able to visit young Mr. Cormac Flanigan.


Cormac is the son of my Deep Schwa teammate Meagan Flanigan and ETC's Tom Flanigan.

While most of the visit was spent gossiping and telling ship stories, I had a nice time seeing Cormac. He is a very nice and sweet boy.

Great time seeing all of them.


-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Workshop...

Playing the same characters? Doing the same tricks in your scenes? Need to improve your improv to become a more complete improvisor? "Do Something Else" is a workshop designed to get you out of your comfort zone and improve your confidence in trying new things.  


You don't know unless you try and this workshop will make you try. While the workshop is open improvisors of all levels, it's is geared toward veterans who are looking to juice up their improv. If you haven't been in a classroom setting in awhile, this class will be a nice refresher.  


The 4 week class will be Thursdays, Feb. 25 - March 18. Workshop will take place at the CIC Rehearsal space from 7:30 - 9:30. Cost of the class will be $110. If interested, please contact me at jeffgriggs@gmail.com.  


Here's my bio: Jeff Griggs is the author of the book Guru;My Days with Del Close. He has taught and coached for the ImprovOlympic in Chicago where he performs in The Armando Diaz Experience and with the Harold Team Deep Schwa.  


Currently he performs for Second City on board one of the Norwegian Cruise Lines cruise ships. He also performs with his 3 person team Aphasia at venues and festivals around the country. He's taught at festivals and theaters in Toronto, Chicago, Chapel Hill, Hawaii, Austin, Dallas, Seattle and many others.  


He was the Story Producer and a Contributing Director for the Improvised based television program Sports Action Team and hosts the popular podcast "Aphasia Presents Something" with his Aphasia teammates Brett and Jeannie.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hebrew show...

On Saturday I did a gig at the UIC forum.  It was a fundraiser for a local Hebrew Day School.

We learned a brand new song and four days later I can't get it out of my head.  It was just so darn catchy that I keep singing "Hey Shalom and how are you?  Good to be here, all of you it's nice to see!"

When we got to the gig it was a bit startling to see that the stage had been divided in half and separated by about fifteen feet.

My first thought was, there's no way we can do the show with the stages so far apart. Amazingly though, it worked.

We had four hours of down time in between our tech rehearsal and show time.  We sat in our green room and dressing room eating dinner, joking around and rehearsing our song.

Somehow, Greg Hess started what he called a Facebook Slam War.  It involved taking "non-action" candid photos of each other and posting them on Facebook.

I don't know why this made us laugh so hard but it did.

After the show I went home and watched "The Last Picture Show" on Netflix.  Great movie, but I wish I'd stayed at Second City with Brett.  He stayed at the theater and watched the ETC show where Joe Montana was in the audience.  After the show Brett did the improv set and then got to shake hands with the ole' 49er.