Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ulysses' Crewmen Rides Again!

So, if what you do on New Year's Eve defines what you'll be doing for the whole year, we've got a busy year ahead, cuz we've spent New Years Eve preparing to leave for a two month tour. Actually, we spent the last three days doing little other than rehearsing, cleaning our room (we're subletting for two months, so we'll be living rent-free again) printing, doing some last ditch booking efforts, promotion work and assembling merch. My resolution: be on the road for 50% of 2010.

As always: this tour journal will feature full economic transparency and show reports. We are also going to make a point of having nature days. Spending our days off communing with what remains of the great american landscape. Last tour we started $495 ahead, after some rough times, long drives and car troubles (the tour pays 1/3 of car repairs and maintenance).

We'll track this tour separately and then roll up a total at the end. We've started a new spreadsheet with our initial costs (postage and printing supplies) here.

We're really excited about this tour, it's a pretty even mix of revisiting awesome shows from last tour, going back to places we haven't been since Paint the Town, and performing in completely new places. The general route is south, then west, then back up to Wisconsin for family and friends time (I miss everybody greatly) then back home to Philly. Then we turn around and head back to the midwest (couldn't turn down the invitation to the C.A.N. conference) which will include a trip to the north to play a couple shows in Ontario (thanks to Thor and Kelly!)

The calendar to the right is up to date with the details of all our shows. Most of the shows are free or donation based. None of them are more than $8, and if we have anything to say about it, no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

This weekend we're playing two very different shows in New York City, one at an awesome infoshop (Bluestockings) and one with a slew of kick ass noise bands (at 13 Thames).

Next week we head south, playing with friends in Baltimore (Red Emma's 2640), Charlottesville (This Little Bird), and Johnson City (Projexxx Studio), and meeting new people in Chapel Hill (The Nightlight). In Chapel Hill in addition to performing, we'll be leading a discussion of radical politics and theatre at the local infoshop (Internationalist Books). Our Nature Days will be spent checking out a nature reserve here in Philly, and touring the Twin Oaks Intentional Community outside Charlottesville (we're looking to maybe live in something like this).

There are some holes in the tour where we're still trying to confirm a show. Especially troubling is the week in February after we return to Philly but before we depart for the C.A.N. conference in Urbana, IL. We're looking for shows on the east coast, and since we're subletting the apartment, we'll need places to crash for some of those cold nights. Any suggestions or help will be greatly appreciated.

Wish us luck, see you soon, hope you're also entering the new year as aggressively as possible.

Monday, November 30, 2009

JANUARY (and February) TOUR PLANS!

We're gonna run this play everywhere and anywhere for as long as we can!

Here's our plans for January, including the holes in our route (as noted by ?). If you know anyone in any of these cities, please ask em to turn out. If they're a radical musician or other type of performing artist ask them to contact us, we're looking for locals to play with us in many of these places.

Full details for most show (addresses, bands, etc) can be found on the calendar right over here --->
If not, give me a call and we'll give you the tip: 414 305 9832

*UPDATE: 12/28: new dates added through the end of February!*

Week(end) 1
Fri Jan 1st- hurns
Sat Jan 2nd, NYC: Bluestockings.
Sun Jan 3rd, Brooklyn: 13 Thames

Week 2
NATURE DAY! Philadelphia
Tues Jan 5th, Baltimore: Red Emmas.
Wed Jan 6th- huuurrns
Thu Jan 7th, Charlottesville: This Litte Bird Studio.
Fri Jan 8th, Johnson City: Projexx Studio.
Sat Jan 9th, Chapel Hill: Nightlight.
Sun Jan 10th, Chapel Hill: Nightlight.

Week 3
Mon Jan 11th, Savannah: Wormhole.
Tue Jan 12th, Jacksonville: 323 Modernism.
Wed Jan 13th, St Augustine: Nobby's Sports Tavern.
NATURE DAY! with Saara!
Fri Jan 15th, Gainesville: CMC.
Sat Jan 16th, Tallahassee: Free Radicals
Sun Jan 17th, New Orleans: Zeitgeist.

Week 4
Tues Jan 19th- hurns?
Wed Jan 20th, Houston: Sedition Books.
Thu Jan 21st, Austin: Salvage Vanguard Theatre.
Fri Jan 22nd, Beaumont, TX: Barking Dog Cafe.
Sat Jan 23rd, New Orleans: Thee Iron Rail
?Sun Jan 24, Tuscaloosa? Memphis?

Week 5
NATURE DAY! Wherever.
Tues Jan 26th, Nashville: Little Hamilton.
Wed Jan 27th, Louisville: The Brickhouse.
?Thu Jan 28th, Cincinnati? Bloomington? Hurns?
Fri Jan 29th, Urbana, IL: UC IMC
?Sun Jan 31, Chicago? (hurns.)

Week 6
Tues, Feb 2nd, Milwaukee: The Alchemist
Thu Feb 4th, Sheboygan: Paradigm Cafe
Fri Feb 5th, Madison: Project Lodge
Sun Feb 7th, Chicago: Prop Thtr for Rhinofest.

Week 7
?Tue Feb 9th, Toledo?
?Wed Feb 10th, Pittsburgh: The Big Idea?
Thurs Feb 11th, Philadelphia: Wooden Shoe.
?Fri Feb 12th, Philadelphia: The Rotunda?
?Sat Feb 13th, Washington DC: True Colors?

Homeless for a week cuz we're subletting our apartment til March 1st. Please let us crash on your couch, it's too cold to sleep in the car!

?Thur Feb 18th, Harrisburg PA: The House of One Accord
?Fri Feb 19th, Jamestown? Buffalo?
?Sat, Feb 20th Buffalo, Toronto?
?Sun, Feb 21st ditto?
?Tues, Feb 23rd, Hamilton, ON?
Wed, Feb 24th, Detroit: Trumbullplex
?Thu, Feb 25th, Ft Wayne? Cincinnati? Bloomington?
?Fri, Feb 26th, Peoria?
Sat, Feb 27, Urbana, IL: CAN conference at UIUC!
?Sun, Feb 28, ???

If you're not in or around one of those cities and want to see us, tell me and we'll find out how to get to you. Cuz we love everyone and want to share as widely as possible, even if we go broke tryin. Thanks.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Show Report 36: Cincinnati, OH

Turnout: 60
Door: $75, Merch: $29, Donation: $36
Personal Injury Report: You know that part where Kate wrenches Ben's head backwards, covers it with her hands and then while shouting "you shit!" slaps him across the face? Y'know, where she's supposed to swing her right hand past 2 inches in front of Ben's nose and actually only hit her left hand to make the SMACK sound? Yeah. She decided to make that part a little more realistic.

Show Description: Theater + Mosh pit! Fucking kick ass show! Glad we drove 1/4 of the way across the damn country for this one show. There's nothing like holding the attention of a whole bunch of punk rock kids who came out for hardcore gabber noise "short attention span music that sounds like donkey kong slam dunking my brain over and over again" (that's how Robert describes himself, anyway) for an hour long play, and then dancing with them.

Great music and committed performances from Mavis, Evolve, Realicide and Birth. There's a kind of genuine, energetic enthusiasm in this part of the country that I'm now realizing is also open minded, welcoming and expansive. Part of that might have to do with the economic depression going on in this area, when everyone is poor, nothing is expensive, and everything is exciting. On the other hand, someone was mugged on their way to their car after the show, and the cops shot someone else 16 times near where we slept last night.
Evolve is leaving for a tour today, find their schedule here, go see em if they come near you.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Show 35: Jackpot Gallery, Riverwest, Milwaukee

Turnout: 14, some of which had already seen it.
Monetary Votes of support: 82, Our cut: 57, Merch: 8
Personal Injury Report: Ben foolishly made his left eye the target of the first gun hit.

Show Description: We were too busy (Hames-Drake wedding!) to remind everyone to come out for a play the day after Halloween. Even though Russ Bickerstaff mentioned the show, and Snap Milwaukee published Kurt Hartwig's long form review, we had a small turn out (most of whom had seen the show back in August) for our final Milwaukee performance of Ulysses' Crewmen. This was actually really nice, though, comfortable, almost family-like, and (I think) one of our best performances.

Did you see this show? If you did, write a review of it, comment, or ask us some questions. We'd like to hear it because we believe in artistic transparency.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Review of Stonefly Show

Kurt Hartwig wrote this fucking amazing review of the play we are doing. That makes me so happy.

Please read this, comment about it here, share your experiences with the play, whether they align or depart from Kurt's. Or just talk to us. We'd love to hear more from people.

Show 34: Lansing, MI

Turnout: 10
Monetary Votes of Support: 141. Merch: $12
Personal Injury Report: Ulysses' pants have developed a crotch hole that won't seem to stay sewed. MLS (the car) has similarly developed a hole in her fuel tank. New suit: $12 at value villiage. New fuel pump: over $600.

Show Description: A small but very supportive crew at a Unitarian Church. We played in the middle of the floor, right in front of the pulpit. Excellent discussion with folks from the Peace Education Center about the increasing futility of traditional non-violent protest, a JFK quote comes to mind... also discussed: the midwest social forum, how fluoride in the water makes people complacent, and how burning banks are beautiful.

This show made up for the kinda hurnsy shows we had last week, and the absurdly roundabout way of getting from Philly to MKE via Birmingham. We'll have a full economic report on this late October jaunt after this Sunday's show (and after we move to Philly).

Did you see this show? If you did, comment on it, write a review, or ask us some questions. We'd like to hear it because we believe in artistic transparency.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Show 33: Columbus OH @ Spore

Turnout: 8
Monetary Votes of Support: 32 Merch: 28
Personal Injury Report: That old lady's feelings.

Show Description: Second time at Spore. The first time had a much better turnout, this time was kind of weird, between the two guys at the computer who were kind of distracting, to the older woman noting whenever someone came in late, it was a bit hard to concentrate. Nonetheless, the discussion after the show was good to have, it was biographical and personal in a way that we haven't had with other audience members up until this point.

We also found out from the older woman that bicycles are harmful and utterly useless because they cannot carry goods or families and will never be able to replace autos, whereas these human powered vehicles made from space age materials are good for all these things bicycles aren't. Also, these vehicles will utilize the only thing bicycles have ever been good for, that is, bike paths. Anyway...

Did you see this show? If you did, comment on it, write a review, or ask us some questions. We'd like to hear it because we believe in artistic transparency.

Friday, October 23, 2009



Head first into NATURE!!

This leaf never hit the ground! I caught it mid-fall!! Holy SHIT!
Here's a map, Charlottesville is up by my big toe, Johnson City is below my finger, and Asheville is right by the camera, in between? NATURE! Yep. Fucking MILES of it. We coulda done an all nature leg of the tour, 45 MPH max!

Highest nature east of the Mississippi!
This guy studied nature until it killed him, and they named a BIG MOUNTAIN after him! Holy shit!

Tunneling through nature!
Nature falling from rocks.

Halfway to the top of the nature.
Scary climbing nature.
ON TOP OF NATURE!!! See the bridge way down there? We're really far away from it, cuz we CLIMBED THE NATURE!
Nature all over our asses.


Good night nature.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Show 32: Asheville, NC

Turnout: 1
Monetary Votes of Support: 6
Personal Injury Report: Our feelings were hurt.

Show Description: Everyone whose hands are not above their heads in the above picture left during the first ten or fifteen minutes of the show, also another dozen or so people were hanging out in the cafe on the other side of the curtain. I could say something about the peculiar kind of complacency that seems to come with life in a hippy enclave town like Asheville, but I'd rather give people the benefit of the doubt and say they must have had more important things to do.

I'm not counting the guy with his hands over his head as "turn out" cuz he was pretty clearly in his own little world, when he wasn't answering his cellphone, that is. The girl stuck around and had some good things to say, about the play, about people, and about how that guy might be a sociopath or something.

Not much else to say, weeknights can be rough sometimes. Keep on livin.

Did you see the show? If you did, write a review, comment or ask some questions. We'd like to know what you thought was so fucking funny, because we believe in artistic transparency.

Show 31: Johnson City, TN @ The Hideaway

Turnout: 13
Door: 40, Merch: 38
Personal Injury Report: Someone got their tits cut off with a hedge clippers. Oh, no, that's the video.

Show Description: Bar show. There was this great video projection slash noise act before us, Compulsion Analysis 7, with pictures and, of course, video of how fucked up our world is and that that's obvious and that it's been fucked up for a long long time. (etc.)

Nothing like seeing only a torso of a person alongside some footage of snake handling Pentecostals in nice olden-day suits and daisy printed dresses flailing about underneath pianos and then a very mundane smiley family photo to make a person not want to feel anything because you'll never be able to feel enough.

Not to mention that footage of a teenage girl cutting her lips off.

Spirit Iron Knife played before Compulsion Analysis 7 and to link the two, SIK seemed to express one way of reacting to the things CA7 was depicting. So, what I just said about wanting to not feel anything because you'll never be able to feel enough, Spirit Iron Knife did that and turned it into an alcoholic misanthropic thrashingly hateful and futility induced bottle flashing set. Excellent.

Performancewise, Kate thought the show went alright, Ben did not. This is probably due to that Kate can ignore the barness of the bar, Ben cannot. And other things went weirdly. But hey. We went to a diner anyway.

Kate also victorized this entranceway, the only thing remaining of J.B. Roithner Jewelers. It only looks like she's just lying there.
Did you see this show? Comment on it, write a review or ask us some questions. We'd like to hear it because we believe in artistic transparency.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Show 30: Charlottesville

We forgot the camera again. Here's a picture i found of Cindy (our host) online. At least I think that's her.

Turnout: 60
Door: 158 Hat: 34 our take: 122
Personal Injury Report: Ben strained his lower lip. The gag slipped out at the beginning of the show and he spent a good long time trying to half-swallow the dirty sock and repress the gag-impulse in order to get his tongue and teeth around the strap and get things back in place hands-free. This resulted in a very unusual work-out for the lower lip, thus the strain. Yes, it's a whole different, very strange world under that hood folks.

Show Description: Fucking amazing way to start off the second tour! Great turn out, really wonderful local performers, a good show on our part. I am in awe. The run down:

Great Dads is the noise side project of a guy named Adam Smith, who is also the front man of local band called "The Invisible Hand" (i love this!). Great Dads kicks ass. Super interesting looped keyboard drone action, very unique vocals, expert echo-machine manipulation, and beats that don't compromise the noise. Really really really good shit.

Cindy and some other dancers did a series of great improvised, contact-based dance pieces. Seriously talented and intense performances. Makes me want to spend 20 hours a week just practicing in order to have some fraction of the body and spacial awareness these people displayed.

Another great short dance piece from a guy whose name i didn't get, and Ali Cheff's intense and beautiful butoh-esque piece finished the first half of the show. I'm glad there was a break because I'd be nervous following directly after these great performances.

Then we set up and went through what felt like a great performance of the play. In spite of not having done the show for two weeks and only doing one short pick up rehearsal, i feel like we were totally on. Kate skipped one small chunk (the second examination) but that only cuts out a little bit of absurdist mood setting, doesn't miss anything major. The audience seems to have LOVED it, some good conversations with people afterward.

Great happy feelings all night. Looking forward to the rest of this week. Almost a little uncomfortable with feeling this happy about good performances of such a depressing, desperate and sober play. Fuck it, there's got to be some room for celebrating our alternative.

Did you see this show? If you did, write a review, comment, or ask us some questions. We'd like to hear it because we believe in artistic transparency.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Economic Report: End of 1st tour. (includes car update)

Tomorrow we begin our second tour (7 shows in 13 days, from philly to milwaukee via birmingham and points south). We've already begun booking our next month-long tour (going south in January) find dates and plans in the calendar to the right side of this page.

These events make the final economic report quite overdue.

THE CAR! We paid over $5500 for the car, got $394 in donations put toward covering car costs. I will pay the remainder of car cost out of pocket. I don't know the odometer numbers off the top of my head. We've gotten two oil changes. One during tour (paid for by company) one during our search for a new home (paid for by kate and I) a transmission flush (which we also paid for) and the "service" and "check engine" lights are off. There's one tire with a slow leak (not a hole, a malfunctioning cap) and i guess the car just runs loud, cuz everyone says the exhaust looks fine and it passed an emissions test. So, Mary is now happy!

TOTAL BALANCE: If we include initial donations and costs, we spent $1622 we earned $3019, which means we've got $1397. If we look at just the on-the-road balance we made $519, which means touring can be sustainable. Here's a graph detailing this balance.
And a link to the raw data.

ALSO, most excitingly, we've created a set of variables to compare and evaluate shows for things like city size, type of show, region, venue types, audience age, and payment type. Then we've compared these variables for money earned, merch sold, turnout, quality of discussion, the friendliness of people, and payment per person.

The raw data can be pretty deceptive, though, so i'm going to kind of explain each variable here and point out which correlations seem to mean the most. Also, we left some shows out of this mix. The Milwaukee shows are left out because our history there, and playing multiple shows there makes them different. The G20 is out, cuz that show was just weird. The Minneapolis and last Chicago show are left out, cuz we started doing this stuff before we did those shows.

on to the variables:

Averages for large cities were lowest in every catagory. Midsize cities were best or tied for best in every catagory but merch sales. Storrs, CT and Urbana, IL boosted small town scores. The best large city shows were in Boston and at Mess Hall. Things that made these shows successful, Mess Hall was on a Tuesday and Free. Boston was with some GREAT noise bands and was set up by a great guy who'd hosted Paint the Town in the past.

Shows set up by people we've either played with or hosted in the past averaged best in every category. First time in a city shows averaged better than times we'd been in a city at a different venue or through a different contact. I think this might largely be because if we're returning somewhere with different contacts, it's probably a bigger city where things didn't go too well the first time we played there. These might just be tough places to break into. Playing multiple low attendance shows in Chicago on this tour, after having played good shows there in the past, we realized how big and impenetrable big cities can be.

Shows mainly about us generally went better than shows where we're just one part of a concert. This is a somewhat inaccurate measure cuz some of our concerts were under really ill-advised circumstances. The concerts with well-chosen bands (local, experimental) went quite well.

I'm too lazy to make a graph, so imagine a venn diagram (y'know the overlapping circles). Art is one circle, politics is the other, we exist in the intersection, but sometimes venture into one sphere or the other, playing shows that are marketed to only artists or to only activists (or whatever). You can think of these ventures as a kind of a measurement of intolerance. Do artists generally hate politics more than radicals hate art? Seems like it, with some exciting exceptions.

I don't know who draws regional lines, where the border between the midwest and the east coast lies, but I feel like MI and OH are a very different place than MN, IL and WI. So we broke things into 3 regions. We generally felt most welcome, appreciated and supported in the middle parts, but had a few good shows east and west.

This is complicated and mostly unreliable data, cuz we played a lot of different kinds of places, only a few shows in each. Hopefully once we include future shows we can build enough of a sample set to come to reliable conclusions.

Recent grads and older earned us most money and best discussions, but college age shows had best turn out.

This is the most disappointing catagory for me. The shows where we passed a hat had great discussions and high turnouts, but lowest average payment per person. Looks like the experiment in alternative economies isn't entirely successful, and the tour was bolstered by playing more traditionally funded shows. Or maybe we need to promote things differently. If we advertise a show as being "FREE!" and then pass a hat afterwards saying "if you don't support us we'll die!" is that a bait and switch?

It seems like many theatre people won't deign to look at anything that advertises costing less than $15 and makes itself look like fancy-ass artistry, which is really lame in my opinion. Equally lame are some 'anarchists' who talk about smashing capitalism but then can't throw down some scratch for anything but cheap (ie corporate) beer. I think both these things are changing, and I'm excited to be someone who is trying to document (and in my small way encourage) those changes.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Review of Grand Rapids show

Here it is:

Thanks George!

Show 29: @ Prop Thtr, Chicago, ILL

Turnout: 4
Door: 19
Personal Injury Report: Ben was unable to breath due to the gag and hood's twisted choking positions and nearly died on the floor.

Show Description: Chicago! We made it there just in time. Without road rage.

Stefan, who set up the show at the Prop was great and our few audience members were enjoyable too. The performance went well and the space was fitting.

There was one oddity though, which I want to mention here, just because well, why not. It's one of those things that happen rarely and I feel like sharing.

There was this guy who walked into the show right before the most intense, intimate and awkward part, which is one of those times when, if you're late, you just sneakily sit down and hope you can maybe try and piece together what is going on, no matter how strange, given you've missed more than half the show already. This guy did not do that. Instead he started taking pictures with lots of flashing, which wasn't really that bothersome, but he also started laughing, loudly, as if we were doing sketch comedy and everything was just hilarious. While performing, I was really curious who this was and if we'd run into him before at previous shows or if we knew him because it felt like kind of a weird joke. He stayed for a little bit and then got freaked out, giving a questionable goodbye, saying, "well, if this is what you guys are doing..." and went to wait out in the lobby until we were finished.

This was a pretty funny episode and seemed to distract the audience more than either one of us. And he did end up knowing a friend of ours, so all in all it was alright.

Did you see this show? If you did, write a review, comment, or ask us some questions. We'd like to hear it because we believe in artistic transparency.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Show 28: @Bedlam, Minneapolis, MN

This tree was not green when we were there.
Turnout: 7
Monetary Votes of Support: 9, Merch: 20
Personal Injury Report: Everything

Show Report: Um... there is nothing to say really. We're disappointed that we've been to Bedlam five times now and still have not managed to built an audience base. Waiting for people to show up before the show was pretty sad and made us feel pretty pointless. The show went badly. The discussion afterward was strange. No one else has ever been freaked out by the gun and they were, very much. It was the first time Kate has ever really had to cover for screwed up things. Hurns.

Did you see this show? Comment on it, write a review, or ask us some questions. We'd like to hear it because we believe in artistic transparency.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Show 27: At Stonefly, Milwaukee, WI

It might be 2 in the morning, but we find this picture quite hilarious. Please look closely.

Turnout: 25-30
Cut of Door: 62
Personal Injury Report: Nothing really.

Show Description: Our homecoming! And leaving! In the same show.
A lot of people showed up that we were very happy to have see it. Overall, things went quite well. All Tiny Creatures played some awesome music I was very glad to finally hear before the show and This Specific Dream hit up the epic guitars afterwards. Satisfaction. Ah, the thing the Rolling Stones could never get a hold of.

There were some little things though that came out during the performance just due to nervousness, bad habit or plain bad luck. I'm mentioning them here because my mind tends to stick to these sorts of things like gum in hair at a little kids birthday party.
So, I guess I'm still siding partially with the Rolling Stones over satisfaction.

One, on the bad luck side, the radio was doing its thing where it refuses to play at the correct speed and will only play all crazy fast. This has only happened once before. If you let it go, it sounds like a hamster on speed. A quick attempt at fixing it worked this time, thankfully. The other thing that was not bad luck but bad habit was that the stage direction voice had become stylized in a way that I hadn't noticed until then, after the show when it was pointed out, and don't like. It started as a cover for a sore throat a few shows back and has apparently stuck, and now needs to be unstuck. Lastly, eyes were shut too often. Unusual. Fixable.

Did you see this show? If you did, write a review, comment on it or ask us some questions. We'd like to hear it because we believe in artistic transparency.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Show: 26, Madison, WI

Turnout: 25
Monetary Votes of Support: 91 AND A CAN OF PEAS, Merch: 6
Personal Injury Report: Unscathed!

Show Description: We were very happy to be at Broom Street Theater. The arrangement was great and we got to hear Tim Morgan play another awesome set, this time with acoustic guitar, cymbals, butter knives, drum sticks, and lots of other stuff, throw in a pencil or two.

Performance-wise, Kate wishes she could have lost at a game of chess beforehand, thus making it easier to cry during the cryish parts. Maybe next time.

It felt good to do the show in a theater space like this with no distractions or strange things going on in the background. It's been a while.

There wasn't much discussion afterwards, so if you saw the show and want to discuss it with us from the privacy of your own home or coffee shop or wherever you are, follow the following:

Did you see this show? If you did, comment on it, write a review or ask us some questions. We'd like to hear it because we believe in artistic transparency.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Economic Report: Week 4

I made a graph to make it easier to see how things are generally going. The first peak is Boston and Storrs, lost on the drive back west. The second big peak is Michigan, lost it going to Pittsburgh and in Chicago. The results still aren't fully in, but what we're doing is working, and seem to be working best in the area east of Chicago and west of Baltimore. Generally working better among older political audiences. But there have been some remarkable exceptions (Storrs and Boston).

Here's another graph, based on what we're spending money on and where we're earning it.

It looks like we're generally making more money doing donation-based shows than door-based shows. This is tricky though, because door based shows are more likely to be split with other performers, so they are often better shows in terms of turn out, and our enjoyment (cuz we like seeing other people perform). Merch sales seem to benefit the concert type shows too. Discussions tend to be best when we're performing alone for donations though. It's sort of apples and oranges.

I think our ideal situation will be approaching the different types of shows differently and then keeping a good mix going.

On expenses: the car costs continue to weigh heavily on us, and we've counteracted by spending very little of the show profits on food. Fortunately, many wonderful people have fed us, but we've also eaten at restaurants out of our own pocket more than we should. This makes touring less economically (and nutritionally) sustainable for us as individuals. Discipline and adapting personal habits to touring life will be high priority next month. Getting exercise (outside of performing) stocking the cooler with ice so we can keep perishables longer, and spending more time writing and working on other projects while on the road are all areas I need to improve on if this is going to be something I want to do lots more of.

The data behind both those graphs, and breaking everything down in detail is online here.

Show 25: Co-Prosperity Sphere, Chicago

Turnout: before we started: 25, who watched us: 4.
Cut of the door: $18
Injury report: The reputation of big cities and artist-types declined even further.

Show Description: What's more disheartening than watching a bunch of Bloomington Highschoolers walk away as we start introducing the show? Seeing a bunch of Chicago adults do the same. What's more distracting than performing one thin wall away from the venue's crowded noisy bar? Hearing a TV blasting what sounds like cartoons or music videos upstairs while we perform.

Hey Chicago! We drove hundreds of miles today to show you something, something I spent years writing and that we spent months rehearsing, do you think you could maybe put aside your prejudice against non-chicagoans, or against theatre, or whatever first impressions of us you got and maybe spend 15 minutes giving this a chance before you listlessly make your way upstairs? I guess not.

Ryan (instinct control) arranged some additional acts to play with us. Marissa Perel's intimate performance art evoked a tense slow dance with death, Ryan played his most erotic set ever, reclining on a red leather couch, and this other guy who can only be described as a whiner, played a techno-with-distorted-vocals-and-feedback set that can only be described as vapid hipster imitation noise.

Here's a picture of Ryan humping his reel-to-reel:
Did you see this show? If you did, comment on it, write a review, or ask us some questions. We'd like to hear it because we believe in artistic transparency.

Show 24: Iowa City, MI

Turnout: 9
Cut of Door: 11, Merch: 11
Personal Injury Report: Some nerve in Kate's shoulder

Show Descriptin: Rioting in the streets! There was a football game. Iowa city against another city. Big Match. Iowa won! Rioting in the streets! Woo Iowa! Woo!

There was a much different mood down where we played in Public Space One. It's in the basement of a marble and wood panneled type building and it felt a little like we were taking refuge from a tornado above us. Turnout was small and our opinions on the performance itself differ, but a fun time nonetheless. There was a baby who slept through two bands and part of our show, amazing. We met some fine people from Minneapolis who played in some rockin' bands which is handy, since we're going there shortly.

Did you see this show? If you did, comment on it, write a review, or ask us some questions. We'd like to hear it because we believe in artistic transparency.

Vehicle Report #4

Vehicle report.

We took Mary to an instant oil change place in Lansing. She passed all the inspections except one. The dipstick or cap or whatever for the transmission fluid was stuck shut. We got some WD40 but can't unstick it. Been running around crazy (Pittsburgh and back) since then and haven't had a chance to take it to a mechanic. This is potentially disasterous, cuz if it's stuck, that might indicate the running loud as problems with the transmission. These problems will only be getting worse with us driving it like this. Before we did half the expensive work back in Milwaukee we got an assurance from the mechanics that the transmission is fine. We're hoping this assurance doesn't turn out to be false.

We're at THE LARGEST TRUCKSTOP IN THE WORLD right now. Where we found an amazing device for warming up liquids in the car. You know what that means? We can finally easily prepare the case of soup we bought!

Other vehicle related adventures:
MILES PER GALLON: 28.164 (thanks to new high grade oil)
SANDWICH TALLY: Kate - 8.5 Ben - 7
Oatmeal, dates, almonds and raisens are all at around 1/4 of the original stock.
STATE WE VICTORIZED MOST: Ohio, with Michigan in close second.

NIGHTS SPENT SLEEPING IN THE CAR: 11. 5 in truck stops, 2 in sleepy neighborhoods (Ann Arbor and Buffalo), 1 in a state park (Monongahela), 1 in a Wal Mart lot (outside Bloomington), 1 in a urine soaked rest stop (middle of Connecticut) and our favorite, in a cozy little cul de sac named "B'JAYSVILLE LANE" in Iowa City.

* states that victorized us are ones in which one of us just about lost our shit for one reason or another (usually traffic)

Show 23: Bohrs' in Chicago

Turnout: 11ish
Monetary Votes of Support: $2.02
Personal Injury Report: Kate ruthlessly jabbed the hard-edged gun into Ben's knee. Right in that sensitive spot that doctors like to tap with their reflex-tester tappers, too.

Show description: After a 7 hour drive back from Pittsburgh (with a stop for a surreal hungarian dinner and burned out house exploration in Youngstown, OH) we went to our friend Bohrs' apartment, watched some TV, ate some corn on the cob, smelled some roasted chicken they were eating, went to a big ole poetry reading at Loyola, performed the play in our second fake mantlepiece and hard wood floor living room, talked about silly things like dragon dicks, theatre programs, cherry pie and the rise of American fascism until 2:30 in the morning.

It was good. But nobody had hardly any cash. Would it compromise our ethics to haul a credit card machine around with us?

Look at this house!

Did you see this show? If you did, comment on it, write a review, or ask us some questions. We'd like to hear it because we believe in artistic transparency.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Show 22: G20 in Pittsburgh

Turnout: From everyone in the quad to 8.
Monetary Votes of Support: 21.40
Personal Injury Report: Kate stabbed a rolled up stack of paper we were (fortunately) using as a safety replacement for the gun (due to presence of riot cops and black helicopters) into Ben's left eye socket.

Show Description: After a 7 hour drive and a hike accross the CMU campus, we discovered that a bunch of anarchists had just left for their illegal march. So we played for college students and other activists who were there for the G20 but not for the police confrontation. Suffice to say, we didn't find the critical political tactics discussion we were looking for.

But we did find something else. One of the activists remaining on the periphery, a guy working on climate justice with pretty critical views of the police confrontation milieu (calling it "death cult S+M tactics") was talking about the "pedagogy of self-criticism". This gave us an idea that might become our next play, the development of which begins with conducting interviews with all kinds of people who went to Pittsburgh and comparing their various intentions, assumptions, and experiences. Please contact us if you'd like to help us develop this piece.

Did you see this show? If you did, comment on it, write a review, or ask us some questions. We'd like to hear it because we believe in artistic transparency.

Show 21: Grand Rapids, MI

Turnout: 20
Cut of Door: 25, Merch: 27
Personal Injury Report: Nothing, but we did pay remembrances to Hames hitting his leg on that stage before Paint the Town last time.

Show Description: Strange show. The area around the DAAC seemed much different than a year ago. Different in that this time there was a woman performing in a nearby gallery in what can only be described as a rose petal outfit doing a rose petal dance on a symbolic rose petal rope trying to conjure the image of rose petals from her audience.

At the DAAC we got to play with Realicide and the members of Victory again, had a somewhat confrontational discussion afterwards with audience members and left for Pittsburgh right after the show. Woohoo.

There was also this. A wonder.

Did you see this show? If you did, comment on it, write a review, or ask us some questions. We'd like to hear it because we believe in artistic transparency.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Show 20: Lansing, MI

Here are the people! Half of them here, half of them there.

There was a pole.

Turnout: 16 or 17
Monetary Votes of Support: 111, Merch: 2
Personal Injury Report: That pole and Ben's elbow.

Show Description: This show went marvelously. It was like a breath of fresh air.
We played at Gone Wired Cafe, a large space that the Peace Education Center had suggested. The crowd was small but the energy was outstanding.

After the show, Tom Rico took these pictures of some of the people who stuck around to talk.
Insurgent Theater's Ulysses' Crewman by Peace Education Center Insurgent Theater's Ulysses' Crewman by Peace Education Center

Before the show, we got to see Rivendell, a beautiful cooperative house in Lansing pictured below. I also copied a picture of some of the people we met there off facebook because it's adorable, and I don't think I could have taken a better one, and moreover, I didn't. So, here it is.
Rivendell Cooperative House
We didn't meet everyone pictured there, but the ones we did make a good miso soup. Cathy, the woman in the bottom left, showed us around, introduced us to the farm she works on and shared her room with us. This whole day was a treat.

Did you see this show? If you did, comment on it, write a review, or ask us some questions. We'd like to hear it because we believe in artistic transparency.