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.

+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.





Yes, I've read three Asimov books (plus one short story) in a row: all of the Elijah Baley/Daneel Olivaw detective stories, the Robot novels.

It hasn't taken long. I've inhaled them. Asimov is like Pratchett in that respect, at least in these books - a page turner, a joy to read. As Dave said, it's ice cream. Other books I've read recently I've enjoyed, but it's been a considered enjoyment.

For those who don't know, I've embarked on a reading project this year, documented at a new blog, My Blog Loves a Bunch of Authors. I'm quite behind, because some of the books I've read have not been ice cream. Instead, they've been something spicy, enjoyable but leaving an odd taste behind. Another was something new, a foreign dish, tried gingerly and very satisfying once digested, but also changing my understanding of food and the culture and world that creates it. But it pains me a little that, even though I do discuss my reading habits on that blog, I only add books from the project in the "Books Read" list, and it looks like I've been very lazy. This is especially sad considering how I've just reignited my passion for reading and have fired through three novels in three weeks (the last of which bigger than the first two combined!).

Currently the project is on hold because I have yet to locate a book by the next author on my list: Pierre Berton. He's a Canadian, and what's more an historian and columnist. Finding his books in Australia is proving...difficult. I may have to revise my own rules...

While you're here, allow me to spruik the brief return season of my beloved's excellent Comedy Festival show, World War Wonderful. This Thursday to Sunday - that's June 4 to 7 - 9pm (8pm Sunday) at the Butterfly Club (details and bookings on their web site). If you like the idea of boogie song and dance in the style of the Andrews Sisters, but with a dark satirical anti-war flavour, then get along! I'll be there Thursday and possibly Sunday.

Yes, it's Fringe time again! And yes, I'm in stuff. Only a couple of things - the work never stops for the Anarchist Guild Social Committee, after all - but if you're not inspired to attend or watch the Grand Final, I do have an alternative for your Saturday afternoon:

 
Shaolin Punk presents
Set List
An improvised music show starring cabaret superstar Karin Muiznieks (Give My Regards to Broady), rock’n'roll nerd Ben McKenzie (Science-ology) and musical impro genius Dan Walmsley (Musical Director, Impro Sundae).

A made-up band plays made-up songs written on the spot from your suggestions, in a different genre for each show.

Saturday afternoons during Fringe:
September 27 - Folk; October 4 - Jazz; October 11 - Rock
4:30 PM - 5:30 PM, Old Council Chambers, Trades Hall
Tickets $15 / $12; book at melbournefringe.com.au or get tickets at the Bella Union box office, Trades Hall
 
If you do like footy, then I also have you covered: come see the 2008 AFL Season Review on Tuesday night, September 30. 75 minutes of sketches, stand-up, song and otherwise hilarious footy nonsense at the New Ballroom, Trades Hall.
My Festival highlight so far has to be last week's trivia at Hi-Fi, when I was awarded a prize for being the only person present who knew the name of the dragon who was turned into a horse and travelled with Monkey, Tripitaka, Pigsy and Sandy. My reward? A bag of plastic toy ninjas!

The Festival is drawing toward its end, but there's still more than a week left, so here are some shows I've seen and liked which you might like too:

The Debutante Diaries: a one-woman play about the trials and tribulations doing the deb in a country Australia.
Wellington Who: must-see for all Doctor Who fans. I loved it, of course. If you want insight into my childhood, go see it.
Ben Payne in His Yellow Ute: great storytelling fun for parents with young kids.
Lawrence Leung learns to Break Dance: Lawrence tries to figure out what's cool as he tries to do better than his brother. The breakdancing bit is worth the price of admission.
Courteney Hocking is unAustralian: solid stand-up with a political bent.
The Dead Baron: storytelling in character from Mr. Nick; kind of like a cross between Ripping Yarns and Baron Munchausen, but darker.
The Warm Up Guy: also solid standup from a really likeable performer. The gimmick? He's just warming you up for a second-rate chat show.

Don't forget Science-ology is on for another week. Please come, it's a good show. And if you like They Might Be Giants, and want to support the Asylum Seekers Resource Group, then come along to Birdhouse on Saturday night.

February 2012

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