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.