Yes, it's comedy festival time again. You can probably tell by the way I pop up in LiveJournal to tell you what I'm doing.

This year it really is crazy. I'm involved in at least six shows, possibly more. The definite ones are listed below. This really is the year of geek comedy, though, even more than last year. Even the festival knows it: they have an iPhone app, and the first daily message on it was titled "Set phasers for laughter." Not very funny, I agree, but their heart's in the right place.

The big geekfest really kick off with four shows I'm producing: +1 Sword, the Dungeons & Dragons comedy show; Dungeon Crawl, a late night improvised Dungeons & Dragons adventure, featuring guest comedians from the festival; the Melbourne Museum Comedy Tour, now in it's third year and looking better than ever - what's more I'm not conducting tours this year, so there will definitely be all-new dinosaur jokes!; and new to the museum, Melbourne Museum Lunchtime Comedy, a Saturday, well, lunchtime show in the museum's Age theatre featuring guest comedians talking about science, nature and history, all MC'd by me. The museum comedy stuff has grown enough to deserve its own web site, which you can find at museumcomedy.com.

On top of that the monthly political comedy room of which I am a part, Political Asylum, is doing a one-off Comedy Caucus special, with all of our regulars and a couple of special guests. And then there's Trade Aid, for which the Anarchist Guild Social Committee, my old sketch group, are doing another one-off show, the second Annual General Meeting, with proceeds going to charity. I'll be performing something there, though I'm not sure what it will be yet.

As usual, I won't post public reviews, even here on this blog; it's not really appropriate as a fellow performer. Suffice to say there's a onne of great stuff on this year, and most of it isn't at the Town Hall, though a few of the things there look very exciting too. But if you're stumped as to what to see, drop me an email or a private message of some sort and I'll be happy to help you figure out what will make you laugh.
No-one in my family ended up in any of the wars of the past century, as far as I know; they were always too young, or too old, or (in the very early days) too Irish. On the other hand, the one Italian branch of the family could have veterans in it. But regardless, today is a reminder of all wars, throughout time and place - specifically a reminder that they can - and should - be brought to an end.

I know I haven't been here for a while, and today seems an odd day to resurface. It's been hot (mid 30s!) in Melbourne, and I've been busy. My first proper stand-up spot in years turned out to be a pretty great tight five (that's comedian lingo for five minutes of very good material), and the character piece I performed at the same gig went down well too, though being in a suit in this heat in the small front room of the Brunswick Green, crowded with nearly 80 people... That was suffering for my art, I can tell you. Great to do some more comedy acting, though, and I'll be coming back. If you like political comedy, be sure to check out our room - Political Asylum is the name, and there's even a web site (there might be video footage of my spot on there, eventually!).

This week and next are full. I'm doing some extra training work for my main day job employer, which is good because I get to charge what I used to earn while training - and I need the extra cash for my upcoming trip to New York (I'll be in the US and Canada from November 23, and NYC from December 5 to 15). This does mean that, while coming down with some kind of throat infection and hayfever, I did a gig on Sunday night, then talking all day about Word 2007 on Monday, and then yesterday talked for half a day straight to a camera and then just a microphone about the evils of fast food (it was another education video job).

So, things are good, but I'm feeling a bit rough. This holiday will be just what  I need - assuming I can figure out exactly where we're going between our first few days in Boston and our last week and a half in NYC... (I'd like to do a circuit of Montreal, Toronto and Niagara, but I'm not sure it's practical.)

Oh, one last thing - I have a climate change related gig on November 20, at Trades Hall, titled Laughmageddon II: The Copenhagening. It's raising money for the ACF's "Towards Copenhagen" campaign, and I've been assisting the main brains behind it, Dan Walmsley, in giving it some shape. Should be a good mix of comedians presenting a comedy version of the "an inconvenient truth" presentation, so if you're free, come along!

+1 Sword

Sep. 24th, 2009 02:28 pm
I suspect most of you who'd be interested have heard about this already anyway, but I have a new little comedy show in this year's Melbourne Fringe Festival, opening tonight. It's about Dungeons & Dragons, though you don't need to have played it to enjoy the show. It's an hour of Richard McKenzie and I revelling in this, one of our favourite hobbies, with plenty of silliness and jokes and mental behaviour. Say hi if you come down!
Shaolin Punk presents
+1 Sword
Dragons. Dungeons. Not necessarily in that order.

In 1974, a pair of idiots invented Dungeons & Dragons, the first role-playing game. 35 years later, a different pair of idiots – comedy nerds Richard McKenzie (Super Happy Robot Hour, Mint Condition) and Ben McKenzie (Melbourne Museum Comedy Tour, Planet Nerd) – will polish the twenty-sided dice, sharpen the +1 swords and open a bag of holding full of tales of adventure, danger and laughs.

The only comedy show which grants a bonus to attack and damage rolls.

Where: The Vault, Caz Reitops Dirty Secrets, 80 Smith Street, Collingwood
When: Thursday to Sunday, September 24 to October 4, 2009 at 6:30 PM (5:30 PM Sundays)
Bookings:
Fringe Tix: melbournefringe.com.au or 03 9660 9666
Tickets also available at the door
How Much: $15 full, $10 concession

Ability Score special! On Thursday and Sunday nights, pay at the door and you can choose to roll your ticket cost— $4d6 (drop lowest die) full price, or $3d6 concession.





So I found out the iTunes music store has finally come to Australia, and [livejournal.com profile] meleah, you were right all that time ago - it is everything it's cracked up to be. I was wondering how bricks and mortar stores will survive for much longer, musing that paying money for a non-physical product is still something people have trouble with, but then I realised the real reason is that while it's cool to be able to complete the Queen back catalogue without leaving home for $18 an album, I can still walk into a cheap music place down town and pick them up for $10 a pop, bring them home and zap them into iTunes the slightly older-fashioned way.

And predictably, a lot of my favourite artists still aren't on there; no doubt the Australian store only carries stuff that has been given a local release, so I'll still be heading into the city or to artist's web sites for import stuff. But I live in hope.

Update: Well, bugger me. They have Moxy Früvous and Richard Thompson on Australian iTunes. Not the albums I want, mind you, but still, I'm impressed.
I've ben listening to Dr Karl every week for a few months now, sounding out the competition as it were (though realisitically we'd never be in competition), and it's been driving me nuts that his voice and speech patterns reminded me of someone I couldn't name. Yesterday, I worked it out: he sounds like Bill Steamshovel, only not so deep. (Note for overseas readers and the similarly disadvantaged: I'm talking Mister Squiggle.)
Doctor Who came back. No-one would have believed it would happen three years ago, but it did happen. Now, something else is happening: Torchwood, the first Doctor Who spin-off*, which will be an adult sci-fi drama, written and produced by Russell T Davies, about a crack team of investigators and their exploits in modern-day Cardiff. Oh yeah, and the team will be led by ex-companion and all-round awesome future guy Captain Jack Harkness, played by John Barrowman. (Source: "BBC to screen 'Dr Who for adults' as new spin-off show", The Independant Online; thanks to [livejournal.com profile] jblum for the tip-off.)

Torchwood is, if you missed it, an anagram of "Doctor Who", and we've already heard that this is a word which will crop up in the new series. We've also already heard that the BBC have registered a Torchwood domain name, so all indications are that this is very real. But - and this is the exciting Doctor Who bit - we've also been told that there will be some kind of through line or "arc plot" for the second series, in the way that we had Bad Wolf in series one, and I'm guessing Torchwood isn't it - meaning it's a whole new mystery just waiting to be discovered. Awesome.

Now, the only real worry is that Davies will do a Joss and, when working on two shows at once, allow the quality of both to suffer a bit. Then again, most of his his scripts were the weaker ones on the first series (with a couple of exceptions), so perhaps we'll get lucky and he'll do less writing for Doctor Who, allowing him to get back to what he's really good at - writing complex, sexy, funny character drama for adults. (It's the family friendly adventure pacing and tone he has some trouble with on Who.) Like Queer As Folk, only with aliens and explosions and stuff. (I really really gotta watch the original Queer As Folk; the ten minutes I've seen plus the billion rave reviews mean I know what I'm missing.)

You can keep your US television schedule, I need it not. Doctor Who, Torchwood, Eleventh Hour, Casanova, The Green Ward... I need a satellite feed from the UK so I can get BBC3, damn it. Now, I'm going to go find myself a job for the next four months.

*All right, the first Doctor Who television spin-off, if you don't count K-9 And Company, which I don't, largely for the theme song. Sorry Liz.
The list is growing; at last count it was [livejournal.com profile] boomzilla, [livejournal.com profile] delve, [livejournal.com profile] meleah, [livejournal.com profile] givemethegun and [livejournal.com profile] helluvatough, all quality dorks. So of course I must join them and stand firm with my
Five Reasons I'm A DorkTM
  1. Well, Doctor Who, obviously. I'm not obsessed, like some I've known or could name, but my love for this programme is boundless and hasn't waned in the twenty or so years since I can remember knowing it. It's telling that no less than five different people, only one of whom was related to me, suggested I should film an audition tape when it was announced Christopher Eccleston had quit.

  2. Like [livejournal.com profile] meleah, I never wagged school (though in my case it extends all the way to my first semester of university), and loved to go. Even in the depths of depression I lived for 3-unit English and actually enjoyed differentiating equations from first principles, which we were never tested on but gave me an immense feeling of satisfaction. (...it still does, though my technique is very rusty and I need to look it up before attempting it these days.) I topped all kinds of classes and when the HSC came, I studied 10 hours a day with a friend for two weeks, changing subjects every hour and taking 5 minutes breaks in between to do something physical. Truth be told, I'd never studied much before that - school was always kind of effortless (at least in the sense that it never felt like an effort), which meant I was woefully unprepared for advanced university subjects.

  3. I'm a social retard, in the most literal sense. I never kissed a girl until I was 17, never drank until I was 21, never asked a girl out until 23, and there are so many petty and immature things I reallly should have got out of my system at 15 which I never got around to until my early 20s. As usual when I think about this, my apologies to all those who had to deal with that shit.

  4. I can't remember a time when I haven't been performing something, and while that might not sound dorky, let's review: the lead in The Emperor's New Clothes at 7, a caustic ventriloquist's dummy in a musical about a talent quest at 8, all 5 characters in Dags at 15, soliloquies from Hamlet and Rowan Atkinson as a depressive 16 and 17 year old... But those are the good ones. I used to enter Eisteddfods (as the Goodies once said: "From the Welsh, "eistedd" meaning "bored" and "fod" meaning "stiff"). Many, many first places for public speaking, debating, impromptu speaking, poetry reading or recital, sight reading (my favourite, where I was never defeated)...but the jewel in the crown was a joint first place and perpetual trophy with arch-rival (and friend) Emily in - wait for it - Bible reading. One of us is an atheist currently writing a comedy show about evolution, the other sings with a Christian youth rock band named Rocfish. (I probably gave myself an advantage by choosing an exciting bit - some of the commandments from Exodus - but the rest of the field was kids who didn't want to be there made to do it by various Christian schools, so it was always going to be one of us.)

  5. The dorkiest thing, arguably, is that I am ridiculously enthusiastic about the nerdiest things: science, mostly, but not exclusively. And I'm more than willing to make a fool of myself in public to espouse their joys, though I prefer to be paid for doing so...


Will you look at that? The top five don't even mention roleplaying. Wow.
barrington: (Little Prince)
Oh yeah. I totally forgot. I now have a powerful crush on Bryce Dallas Howard. Those of you who know me at all well will find nothing surprising about this except that it didn't happen sooner.
barrington: (REG Doctor)
Kate Orman was kind enough to post a link to this article in the Telegraph by former Doctor Who script editor Christopher H Bidmead. In a nutshell, he thinks the new Doctor Who is too silly and that it has lost some of what made it unique. If you're at all interested, what I have to say in response is behind the cut below, for spoiler and length reasons. Sorry to those of you who aren't interested...there's a non-Doctor Who post that's been building up, which will hopefully make your time here worth your while.
Do you want to know more...? )
This Daily Dinosaur Comics fan creation is for [livejournal.com profile] qamar: Controversies in Statistics Comics. (We should collaborate and write a sequel strip about Simpson's Paradox.)
barrington: (Hitch-Hiker)
I did one of those stupid test things. It said a lot of bollocks, but it did say one thing that was awesome, which was this:

Your punk rock band name is The Content Dodecahedron

The other awesome things that happened to me today were seeing a friend's show and seeing a poster. The show is a work in progress, tonight being the first full performance, and despite technical difficulties and further development required, it was pretty good. Odd, but lovely. The poster was...well, this is what it said:

The Heart of Gold is landing in Australia.
Just as soon as we find a good place to park.
The Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy. In cinemas April 28.

So I'm pretty excited. Again.

Tomorrow I'm going to phone a few people, look at a house or two or three, maybe buy some new trousers, and then have drinks with some excellent friends whom I'm looking forward to hanging out with more often. All in all an excellent start to a long weekend.
As always, qwantz.com delivers, this week with some true motivation.
I've seen it. I've seen him. Have you? Who is the Doctor? (Don't click that if you want to remain spoiler free.)

This entry is going behind a cut, for spoiler purposes. I've written it in the style of the Discontinuity Guide for now, but will update it to the About Time format when I get my hands on copies to crib from. In case you were wondering, yes, this is where I wear my fannish colours on the outside. Yes, all right, more than I usually do. Sheesh. (Man, I should be in bed.)
Do you want to know more...about Rose? )

Well, it finally happened: a couple of mornings ago, as I was waking, I had a vivid and largely lucid dream in which I was in the new Doctor Who series. As usual for these sorts of dreams, it started out in the real world (with me playing a minor part on an episode and chatting with stars and crew) and then turned into the real thing (with me wandering into the TARDIS with the Doctor and Rose and thwarting an invasion). But these are fever dreams brought on by the illness that is waiting for the new series, so let's move on to the questions that matter to me.


  • Can anyone recommend a good source - preferably with some academic rigor - for explaining the difference between "morals" and "ethics"? I have a vague idea of what the difference really is, and a bias towards the latter, but I've long wanted to read a definitive answer.

  • Where the hell is Weekender held now, and why don't I know anyone else do I think none of my friends are into Brit-pop and Indie?

  • Are you going to be rocked by Doctor Who in 2005? Well, if you're not sure, look at this (RealMedia video).
barrington: (Hitch-Hiker)
The third trailer for the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy features the Guide's entry for movie trailers, voiced by Stephen Fry, and containing a number of things not previously seen or heard, including Alan Rickman providing the voice of Marvin.

I still say Zaphod's "second head" (featured briefly, accompanied by silly cartoon sound effect, in both full trailers) is very, very stupid. I mean, forget adapting book or television to film, forget dramatic license...it just makes little to no sense, at least in its current context, to bother having a man with two heads if this is how you implement it. Why not just have him with one head? I'll reserve final judgement until I've seen the film, but... Ah well. At least he's played by Sam Rockwell.

Heroes

Mar. 9th, 2005 12:50 am
Tonight I saw some of my heroes and realised that if I ever believed in a God, then he would have the voice of Graeme Garden. Intelligent, cultured, comforting, and somehow, the sound not just of childhood, but of home. Oh, there were two other Goodies too, and they were fun as well.

Now, just before bed, I'm listening to an interview with Tony Robinson in which he talks about a show he made called "The Real Da Vinci Code", in which he investigates the claims of the book - which I consider important, not so much because of what I think of the book, but because the essential questioner in me loves Tony's willingness to challenge Dan Brown's assertion that his book is true.

And while Patrick Stewart has had to pull out, Anthony Stewart Head will be narrating the radio documentary Project: Who accompanying the new series.
First I discovered Alan Rickman will be providing the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android and Bill Bailey the ill-fated sperm whale in the Hitch-Hiker's Guide movie.

Then there was this: Rob Lowe likes Doctor Who.

I love everything.
I couldn't remember who Greg Wise was, so I looked him up. Turns out he played Willoughby, a character I despise, so I'm not upset I'd forgotten, but the search led me in a roundabout way to the greatest photo I have seen in some time:

Bill Nigh kissing Emma Thompson


And this, ladies and gentlemen, is why I've never looked back since The Tall Guy. It couldn't happen to a more awesome guy than Mr. Bill Nigh.
A little while ago I found (and read) the book The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists, by Gideon Defoe. As you might imagine from the title, I thought this was the zenith of literature as far as I was concerned, and that I would never find its equal (except perhaps in the proposed sequel, The Pirates! In An Adventure With Whales).

Now, though, something astounding has occurred. I have discovered, quite by accident, the New Zealand created comic Pirate Technics which is...well, let me explain. It's about a band of robot pirates from the country of Rock'n'Roll, lead by Captain Seatron, who are fighting a war against the robots of neighbouring country Dance, led by Admiral Droptimus Prime. However, they soon have to put aside their differences and meet with ninjas from the neutral territory of HipHop in order to deal with a new, deadlier menace - zombie robots...

I'll admit it sounds crazy, but if you don't think that at least sounds a little bit cool then I'm not sure why I know you.

Now, to write to the editors and ask that they put dinosaurs in the next issue.

February 2012

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