They are. And they do.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

CSU Summer Arts 09


It's been a while since I posted anything meaningful.

Some might say we're still waiting.

Here is my example of why blogs should not be handed out to just anyone.

This is a brief summary of my July in Fresno:

Help. I'm in Fresno.

Seriously, though:

Sorry. Those who know me know I couldn't resist.

The CSU Summer Arts program
is amazing, and I highly recommend it. It consists of two sessions, two weeks long each. During that time, you live with singers, actors, writers, painters, photographers, filmmakers, dancers, musicians, animators and a general assortment of drunks and potheads at CSU Fresno.

The togas came out. A big thanks to Bryan for covering up Bernardo's man junk.

There were several other uses for the bed sheets (that they get from the same place as the prison):


Flying squirrel costume.

Needless to say, this is one of several cases, usually seen with this kind of focus.

Some pictures tell an entire story.

We kept busy, immersing ourselves in classes taught by CSU professors and world-famous industry professionals that run up to 14 hours a day, 6 days a week.

One catch was that housing included meals and there wasn't always time in between classes to throw down, let alone go off campus for real food. This often resulted in wrapping up food to go in a napkin (several actually, to mop up the grease) and the obligatory banana in the pocket (which actually came in handy when we were improvising scenes).


Needless to say, a perpetual lack of sleep combined with eating warm mush every day led to some general wackiness.

Michael is the walrus. Not Bono.

Best polenta Spongebob ever.

I took the two writing courses: Short Script Writing and Narratives of Place. I guess that makes me a nerd amongst nerds.

It was pretty cool, though. I walked away from the first session with 6 short scripts (short films, animations and webisodes, each 2-15 pages long). They would say "You have two hours with which to eat lunch and write an entire script for workshop." It kicked my ass into shape and I am very happy with what I have.

Here we are filming a scene for our culmination. Matthew Jacobs (The Emperor's New Groove, etc.) directs. Upon reading one of my scripts, the first words out of his mouth were "Were you fucked by a priest?" I took his reaction and decided to have that script read for my culminating performance. I made tons of people uncomfortable. It was great.

We also learned from Karin Gutman (Fairly Oddparents), Joe Ansolabehere (Rugrats, etc.), Jeremy Warner (various short films), Kathy Uneda (professional script reader), and the great Jule Selbo (just IMDB her).

I bought them cake and made the class cookies.

This scene was born from an improv session. Currently, neither of the films have been posted online, but I'll keep you updated.

We saw some pretty amazing films, but Short Term 12 struck me like no other. It won Sundance and I highly recommend buying it.

The second session gave me around 40 pages of written work, some of it almost ready for submission.

I also got a ton of kickass new reading material.

I have to admit, working with Lance Olsen, Bob Gluck, Deborah Brown and Steve Church had me a little tingly. Doug Rice and Peter Grandbois were pretty cool, too.

Doug, Lance and Bob.

Rebecca Brown: Amazing writer with great taste in music.

Steve and Doug. Steve came in to work with us immediately after returning from Mexico. Peter stopped by on his way to Spain.

We took quite a liking to Lance.

We did most of our studying at The Red Wave.

It helped us feel good about ourselves.

Comfortable with our masculinity.

And talented.

Matt started the karaoke with this classic. It eventually led to a group effort of Springsteen's "I'm on Fire," dedicated to Doug.

We also took quite a liking to him.

He liked us too, as long as we were present in the moment and not attached to some fucking piece of technology.

Performances were given almost every night with the Friday at the end of each session being devoted entirely to student culminating performances.

I went to all 24 performances and 14 of the 16 culminations. And I don't regret most of them.

This is where Eliot Fisk sat. I would've taken footage of the actual show, but I was busy picking my jaw up off the floor. He played 11 pieces, a suite of 7 and came back for 5 encores. Youtube him. And bring a change of pants.

He also signed my ukulele. This makes me happy.

Fisk was one of the teachers of the guitar and flute class. Good people all around, and talented as hell. One of my suite mates, Cameron (red shirt), is now at Julliard.

A small snippet of their group culminating performance.

The songwriting class (shown) was taught by, among others, The Refugees. They have worked with Bob Dylan, Elton John, etc.

This is one example of the work done by the digital music class. Of course I hung out and played a bit of guitar with them. One said I must have some Latin me, considering how I was playing. I'm still not sure if he was coming on to me. After all, we did sing "Besame Mucho."

Another new experience for me was sitting front row at the opera for the singer/actors' culmination.

It being a comedy about the desecration of a corpse and the stealing of its willed possessions almost balanced out the fact that it was an opera.

There were two dance classes:

The first was amazing and taught by the Joe Goode Performance Group.

And the second:

Deborah Hay. People were walking out in the middle of the show, but I stayed, despite the dancer climbing on the pole next to my seat. I realize some people pay good money for that, but that's something I've never been into.

They were very inclusive of the audience. Murphy got up and danced with them before plugging the improv show later in the day.

They passed around a microphone and a professional dancer in the audience got heated and ripped into them. I only filmed the end of that, but I'm sure you understand.

I obviously didn't record every performance, but I did get plenty of the Chicago-Style Improv culmination:

Matt, another suite mate, proves that suicide is funny.

This is the next scene, in the mental hospital after his failed attempt.

Part 2 of Ferin's attempt to make a connection through yoga.

The next group, including Carl, another suite mate, as a bear rug.

The half brothers. Dad is going to be pissed that you killed the neighbor. But mostly that in doing so you broke the lawnmower.

Sorry, man. She, uh, left you and went to Spain. Yeah.

The audience gave this group the word "bra." It's one of the few scenes that didn't end up revolving around Samantha.

Meet Samantha. She's a lady.

Sam, her husband and her brother in a Wal Mart stockroom.

Erin (Sam) really carried this whole performance.

The third group I was able to film (there were 7 total).

The second part of this scene. Parker and Magnus have been captured after bringing weapons into Disneyland. Cassie plays Walt's ghost.

Improv closed out the final day.

40ish of us took over Marie Calender's the next morning before the drive home. It was a fun night.

It was easily the busiest month of my life.

But one of the most rewarding.

Grant bought me a frog while I was away. Best roommate ever.

Many other videos can be seen on my Youtube. Pictures are on my Facebook. If anyone else has documentation (especially of the 111 degree water balloon capture the flag war), please let me know.

This is dedicated to everyone I had the pleasure of meeting during our short month in Fres-yes.

Remember: It's not the time that counts. It's the notion of devotion.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'm having the time of my life,

but I really don't want to be here.

This still isn't it, btw.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

If you missed it

Inside Death Row airs again tonight at 7pm PST and 10pm PST on the National Geographic Channel. Please watch and tell your friends.

It's fun for the whole family.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

To be serious for a second

Watch "Inside Death Row" tonight at 9 eastern on Nat Geo. It is the first time a camera crew has been let inside Huntsville Prison.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

This isn't it, btw.

I've been away for less than a week, but that doesn't mean I don't miss you.

Forever ever? Forever ever.

Come jiggle with me.