Sunday, January 31, 2010

Show 56: Urbana, UC-IMC

Turnout: 21
Monetary Votes of Support: $66
Personal Injury Report: nothin'

Show Description: I felt really good about our performances, and really enjoyed having a larger audience than we have in the past when performing in Urbana. Also, the opportunity to see our friend Mark perform was priceless. Great playful yet heavy experimental acoustic stuff. We're always glad to come to Urbana, there are lots of experienced artists and activists here, and we look forward to the challenging and energizing post-show discussions.

This time the discussion left a bit of a bad taste in our mouths. It's great when the discussion is long, thorough and critical, but it's hard to not feel like we've gone through a wringer when we get certain kinds of reactions. I don't want to discard the fact that this was a great show with some great discussion, but I'd also like to use this space to muddle out some thoughts on these reactions.

The first troubling reaction comes when we've offended people. That means we've failed somewhere (the error is either in the writing, performance, introduction, or in the invitation of offendable folks to our show). This reaction is especially troubling because it makes me worry about some of the people who don't talk to us afterward, what they're thinking. Some of the people in Urbana mentioned being sick of being "sucker punched" by performance artists. Sucker-punching, offending, or otherwise shocking our audience is not at all our intention. We're trying to honestly present something that is discomforting, to manifest that discomfort without disrespecting the audience. When this fails, it is our failure, we must take responsibility for it. But like any challenge worth pursuing, such failure is only completely avoidable by ceasing to try. I like to think of John Schneider's response to the show as a goal: "their generous, even tender, care for their audiences, reflect a passionate commitment to learning, a faith in the value of theatrical communion, and a desire to help this country rise to its best."

The second troubling reaction is when some members of an audience get downright condescending in their responses. In Urbana the best example of this is a man who said, with exaggerated surprise "wait, are you telling me this actually works?" It's difficult to maintain one's composure when taking in such a dismissive assessment of something we're putting our entire lives into. Especially when somewhat exhausted from performing, and especially when coming from someone who was otherwise acting quite arrogant (not only toward us but toward the rest of the audience). I couldn't help but grin at his sheltered liberal ignorance, but managed to briefly describe some of the types of people who do find the play engaging, relevant, and successful, or even who disliked the play for directly opposite reasons he did. I didn't go into detail of what these people might think of him (or what some of them might do to him in a dark street) but it wouldn't have mattered, because he dismissed them just as condescendingly as he had us.

This guy doesn't deserve to be singled out, and actually the numbers of people who feel similarly but walk away without communicating at all bother me much more. Such reactions, while unfortunate, are expected and unavoidable. We won't let this slow us down.

Did you see this show? If you did, please write a review, ask us some questions or comment on it, because we love artistic transparency.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Show 55: Louisville, Brycchouse

Turnout: 9 Support: $97 ($50 donation, $26 hat, $21 merch)
Personal Injury Report: Some doors don't have functioning pneumatic slow-closing mechanisms. Kate slams these doors on her thumb.

Description: A good show in the Brycc House, a DIY community center in Louisville. Between trouble with circuit breakers and a small late-coming audience, things were looking rocky at first, but ended up working out marvelously. Once we got started with the show a few more people arrived, and afterwards we segued nicely into discussion. There was a video camera set up, so we might have some clips to share soon.

We get to add another house to our tour of cooperatives, we spent our two nights in Louisville at at a large unnamed (unless i missed the name) townhouse in Old Louisville. We met a bunch of wonderful folks, including trainees and specialists in the whole gamut of DIY and radical healthcare (from street medics to deep woods EMTs to abortion escorts and health-access activists). Also an excitable but lovable dog named Lucifer Jane.

On Thursday we visited a Nazi Eugenics exhibit at the U of L Health and Sciences Library and also watched a documentary about the "evacuation" of Japanese Americans from the west coast after Pearl Harbor. Contrasting the American vs Nazi approach to concentration camps was an insightful and depressing yet pleasant way to spend our accidental Thursday off. Then Friday morning before departing for Urbana, we caught a cheap matinée of the Romanian crime comedy "Police, Adjective" which, unlike American comedies, was actually funny.

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

Show 54: Nashville. Little Hamilton

Turnout: 18 Support: $55.14
Personal Injury Report: Freezin cold toes, for us and probably lots of the audience.

Description: Enthusiastic show! We got to play with Word Up! Poetry Collective and Little Chicken Music. The place was cold, and there was a manniquin that scared the shit out of us when we walked in.

Playing with people who seemed to really like what they were doing put me in a great mood and the show went well because of it. That night turned out to be a long one, we stayed up until 3:30 in the morning talking about, of all things, cults after going to check out some free music at the exit/in. All in all a solid night. Hope to get back to Nashville for a longer visit soon.

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

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Economic Report: Jan 26

Economic report! At the last reporting we had just finished a successful set of shows in Florida. Since then we've ventured into Texas and back. We're glad to still be in the black. For detailed numbers on this stuff go here.

Our gas milage has improved 26.47 mpg at last recording, and of course remains the highest expense. Longer drives in the last week, and some low attendance shows combined to make this last week or so harder on us economically as well as physically than the previous part of the tour was. For about a week we were driving 5 hours a night, sleeping in the car and "showering" in gas stations. We brought those shenanigans to an end in Memphis, where the folks at the DeCylre Cooperative offered a comfy bed, a good shower, and even laundry.

The car is about due for another oil change. We should have enough time to find somewhere cheaper this time. We're still largely living off peanut butter sammiches and oatmeal. We've been experimenting with heating up angelhair pasta with gas station hot water and making the cheapest possible sauce out of tomato paste and garlic powder, with some TVP thrown in for protein.

We're planning to get back down to Florida come April, but that will depend on how broke we are (not the company, but Kate and I) when we're done with this. We've been tracking our personal expenses as well. We're draining our bank accounts at a rate of about $15 a day (Ben $15.82, Kate $14.60). This includes a few large expenses (last month's utilities, 1/3 of the car maintenance, one night in a hotel room, etc) living on less than $400 each ($379.70 for Ben, $350 for Kate) plus the roughly $50 in groceries the company has paid for is pretty damn frugal for life on the road.

Anyway, thus far we've proved that radically political DIY theatre touring is sustainable as long as the laborers involved can afford to lose money doing it. Which is to say, it's a terrible replacement for capitalist wage-slavery. hurns.

But that's only thus far. Maybe we get better at it! Maybe audiences' appreciation/interest/valuation grows. If not, we need to revise the experiment, and in the meantime, compromise.

We've got a list of compromises (artistic and economic) arrayed before us. Maybe at the end of the tour we'll discuss them. Until then, ta-ta!

Hey everybody! We've created a new chip in thing to make online contributions easy. If you're down with what we're up to, please support:

Monday, January 25, 2010

Show 53: Memphis at DeClyre Cooperative

Turnout: 15 ish
Monetary Votes of Support (some house donation): 37
Personal Injury Report: Ben tried to impress me with his match lighting skills and fried his thumb. He also banged his elbow within the first few seconds of the performance later that night. These things will heal but the stare of the giant eyeball pictured below will not.
Show Description: Another living room show! I really enjoy doing these, muddling the public/private space relations. It had been a while since the last one, and this time there were cats. I was hoping one of them, named Prometheus, would go and jump on Ben's lap during the show, as this would add a whole nother dimension to his character.

(Prometheus: Among other things, had "wily" intelligence, gave fire to humans against Zues's wishes, and was punished for this by being chained to a rock with his liver eaten out daily by an eagle.)

There were some nice individual discussions afterwards and we also were privy to one of the most comfortable sleeping arrangements yet. More and more these shows have me thinking about a complete change of attitude for my character, just as an experiment.

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

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Show 52: Iron Rail, New Orleans


Turnout: 9 Support: $17
Personal injury report: A mysterious and annoying flesh wound on the middle knuckle of my middle finger on my right hand.

Description: Another disappointing turn-out in New Orleans. Maybe we need to incorporate a marching band into the play. Or at least a banjo.

Kate channeled her frustrations (pre-show quote: "presbyterian housewives who've done NOTHING with their lives are better at community organizing than this") into her performance, resulting in a furious and intense iteration of the play. Some audience members seemed to consider this too emotional, unstable, "weepy" even. It didn't jive with their romantic notion of unflappable anarchist heroes. That's fine, cuz we're not into mythological heroics. We suspect their role is to provide symbols one can project their desires for resistance onto (thus sublimating the desires). We hope to present a flawed character enacting a flawed plan, we encourage examination, and the development of something viably actionable.

We know better than to talk any more shit over the internet than this and most of what we could say would come across as broad generalizations that don't apply to everyone in the audience, or in the city. Suffice to say: much of the conversation on the way to Memphis was about how to respectfully and constructively express these frustrations and criticisms of the anarchist mileau during the discussions.

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

Saturday, January 23, 2010

11 Tales of Touring.

We're about halfway done with tour (as far as number of booked shows go) and so we're presenting this collection of stories and humorous anecdotes for you to get curious about. If you'd like to hear the full story behind any of these teasers, ask us! We can be reached via cafe, bar, sidewalk or public park nearby any venues we're playing, or via cellular telephone at 414 305 9832 (but we don't have enough minutes or tolerance for cell phone talk to really get into these stories).

1. Non-Capitalist Time. The story of a dead car battery and the epiphanic temporal displacement it caused.

2. Brawlin in Nawlins. The story of a black lexus SUV with nicely written ghetto slang on the windows. Who dat?

3. Beaumont Hurns. Is the niche market we're tapping so small that we've already saturated it?

4. Adventures in Commodity Indulgence. The story of pursuing the perfect tourist experience while deeply regretting any monetary expenditure.

5. Of Dive Bars and Exotic Birds. Good times in St Augustine.

6. Boredom is the Mother of Invention. The night we came up with a stand up comedy routine and a social studies curriculum. Both are genius.

7. Black Block Fruit. Our encounter with "The Bonobo Gang".

8. The Theatre of Contraception. How one night the Waco Girls re-wrote the end of our play (they totally outdid the bonobos).

9. Pussy Bar. What confused republicans think about punk rock, gentrification, and Dave Mathews.

10. New York City Oops. How Ben only forgets things when in the worst city to do so, but never suffers the consequences.

11. Disaster Brunch. What happened when we went out of our way for a vegan fish sandwich.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Show 51: Austin TX at the Salvage Vanguard

Turnout: 9
Door: 50 Merch: 6
Personal Injuries: Ben's gag got all crooked and now his jaw hurts.

Show Description: Back to the Salvage Vanguard. We played with the Waco Girls who did this piece that sort of followed on or drew off of the themes we were presenting. This turned out to be them blockading the door people would normally exit through with chairs and making them agree to and promise that they would stay where they were for their own protection. This worked really well. The music started out quietly as soon as I exited and as Ben tried to get people to untie him which gave a whole new ending to the piece. By the time he was able to get out of the chair, the music was to loud to say much, then the lights were killed and both of us could watch the audience as the tables were turned and they were held captive.

Also, Ben almost killed sombody in the night. There was a man in the road. We were on our way driving to Beaumont at three in the morning and there was this man in the middle of the highway. Caught sight of him from the shaddows of the headlights just in time to swerve out of his way without hitting him.

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

Show Report 50: Sedition Books

Turn out: 14
Monetary Votes of Support: $112 ($82 hat, $30 merch)
Personal Injury Report: Kate pinched me uneccessarily at least 5 times, once when I was supposed to be unconscious and therefore could not yelp.

Show Description: Great show! The evening started with good spoken word about shooting Shakespeare from a poet named Alex (we lost his last name and contact info), followed by strong political songs from The Deconstruction Crew. Then we performed. Then there was an involved and unique discussion.

It's generally hard for me to get really excited about spoken word and poetry, but Alex surprised me with some really great lines, interesting ideas and powerful delivery. I really enjoyed the fact that Alex and the guys in Deconstruction Crew introduced each of their peices in something like the same manner we do. There's something about art that explains itself or prepares the audience that I really like. Many artists object to this insisting that the work should speak for itself, or that their work needs no introduction, or even that they don't understand their own intentions and therefore can't explain their work. I can see the attraction of that kind of approach, but I can't help but feel like it's often a posture adopted to mystify art and fetishize artists. I recognize how introductions can be pedantic, or hierarchical, telling the audience what they're supposed to think, too. I hope we can instead try to explain ourselves, but also remain open to others' interpretations and understandings.

Anyway, we really enjoyed the show and the discussion afterward. The performances felt good, but different. It's always interesting performing after a few days off, some things get missed, but others get discovered, or re-discovered. This was the 50th performance of this play, and we're really happy to see it continuing to develop and grow. We've got a few dozen more shows booked already, and will probably be doing this play through next fall. This kind of extensive touring with performances in very different spaces and different cities highlights theatre's living and growing character.

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

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


HOLY FUCKING SHIT! Nature in a goddamn boat! BOAT IN NATURE!!
We got out of the boat cuz Kate likes rusty junks. There were all these birds sounds, like giant flock of birds. But then, between the birds and us were all these gator ponds and tracks, so instead we scared a rabbit, who jumped out of the rusty junk and fruck us out.
We got back in the boat and we saw this thing. It's a woodpecker. Look close. Motherfucking red headed woodpecker! Also: cardinals, LOTS of blue herons, some kind of hawk or osprey, a weird little bird that bobbed it's butt when it walked, and leaping fish! Lots of goofy fucking silver-brown fish that jumped out of the water and then jumped out of the water again and then jumped out of the water again. THREE JUMPS IN A ROW!

What is there other than nature? There is also INDUSTRY.

We're not sure what this thing is, but it smelled like poison and ran long rusty pipes to a nearby factory. Probably a death factory, a factory for poisonous death. There were also all kinds of other nasty things polluting this nature. There were lots of plastic bottles with strings tied to them and heavy things on the bottom. What the fuck? They are probably some part of the process of removing living things from the water in order to kill them, cuz there were also lots of men in smelly motor boats engaged in such activities.

he Death Factory. Hurns.

Fuck industry (seriously, fuck that shit up, like Derrick Jensen style.) More nature! Look, a fucking alligator! An alligator in the water and we are also in the water. IN THE WATER WITH AN ALLIGATOR!

It was a baby, and it wasn't in the water, it was on a log, and we weren't in the water, we were in our boat. But our boat was in the water, and the alligator's log was in the water. That's fucking good enough for me!

Sometime we should go to some nature that is like this nature on a day when the sun is out and the nature is green and abundant. They have canoe campsites. CANOE TO YOUR CAMPSITE! Maybe also after all the industry has been sabotaged out of existence and also the men who extract living things from the water and kill them. Or at least if those men killed things for good reason (to eat) and weren't driving motor boats and poisoning the things in the water that they weren't killing for sport.

Imagine this scene with bunches of goofy silver-brown fish leaping out of the water again and again. Maybe they are trying to get away from the poison.


What else is there other than nature and history and industry? There is also CULTURE!

By culture, I of course do not mean the currently existing culture in the area, cuz that is all ramshackle half toppled shacks next door to posh exurban mansions, and it is unmentionably embarrassing to think we live in a country with such gross and overt inequality. No, I mean culture like Barbara Krueger was talking about when she said "when I hear the word 'culture' I reach for my pocketbook" y'know, HISTORICAL culture. Like this:

St Martinsville is the birthplace of cajun culture! And down here, that's the culture that sells. This is where the Acadians went when they got kicked out of Nova Scotia. It ran like a semi feudal society here in the middle of Louisiana! The nice man at the visitor center told me that the first rule of cajun culture was "have fun" but the plaque here seems to think it's "pay fealty to the church". Look at that snarky rector!
This is Evangeline. For some reason we're supposed to perpetually adore her. Okay!

This town also is home of the most photographed tree in the world. But we didn't take pictures of that.

In short: nature and culture in Louisiana seems to be having a rough time. When it's not being held together with duct tape it's being poisoned by death factories. I'd care more except that I'm just passing through, which makes me PART OF THE PROBLEM. hurns.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Show 49: New Orleans at Zeitgeist

Turnout: 9 or 10
Door: 66
Personal Injury Report: My funny bone turned serious.

Show Description: Nearly the opposite of last time we were at Zeitgeist. This time there was a small audience and bands that were, again, completely on the other side of the spectrum from last time's bill with Evolve, Self Help Tapes and Illusion Fields. Epic, naive beauty and less epic more ignorant rock opened up the Sunday night show.

I felt kind of strange about the whole thing as there seemed to be only 5 people who were there out of actual interest in what we were doing. Alright show nonetheless, and the Zeitgeist is a great place to play. On a different note, Ben and I decided to change a paragraph of the script about half an hour before the start time, so that was a nice memorization challenge.

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

Show 48: Tallahassee @ Free Radicals

Turnout: 20
Suggested Don. at Door: 38, Merch: 20, Hat: 24
Personal Injury Report: Just the standard bruises and welts.

Show Description: Oh, before I talk about the show, I should mention that today was the day that we brought a large, huge, owl-bird to death by tire. It swooped down from the trees in the rainstorm that we were making our way through and wacked the windshield of the van in front of us and then flew backwards off the van's roof smack-dab into our path. And we ran it over. Ugh.

The show went well. Two punk bands, one of them Cody's who set up the show, opened for a somewhat damp from the rain audience who seemed to, at the end, like what we did. Good times. There were even some folks who'd heard about the show from people who'd seen it in St. Augustine. Florida seems to be good like that. Cody also gave us some great music for the road. Much appreciated. Just of note, there were cops everywhere. From when we pulled in to when we left. Lurkers.

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

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Economic Report: Winter Tour

The Ulysses' Crewmen tour (and all such tours) is not just an artistic endeavor or a conversation starter, it's also an economic activity. We try to make our economic activities transparent, and consider what we're doing a sort of survey of alternative economics around the country. For more on this see this post. For still more see these posts.

That's a chart of our balance on this tour. The big rise on Jan 10th is our shows in Chapel Hill. The big dip immediately afterward is an oil change and transmission flush. The big rise at the end is last night in Gainesville. For details, see this chart.

Transportation related expenses continue to be the most expensive cost. For the long and tragic tale of our vehicle, see these posts. The start of this tour the Volvo had 1237537 miles on the odometer. As of last fill up, we've put on 1546 miles, at 24.55 miles per gallon of gas. This is below average, but since the expensive oil change and transmission flush it's been doing somewhat better. I hate thinking about the car.

For food, we've been doing very well. Lots of very generous hosts who're happy to feed us. Groceries are generally peanut butter, bread, pasta, all acquired the cheapest way possible. When we eat anything other than this cheap food, or donated food, we pay for it ourselves, with one exception. In Charlottesville we were feeling perhaps a little overconfident and let the company buy us a meal at the Tea Bazaar. This was awesome largely locally grown vegan food.

We're glad to finally be in the black, but we've got a few long drives ahead of us, so unless things go really well, we're gonna have trouble staying afloat.

Also, our personal savings accounts are slowly but steadily draining, which will soon put an end to this touring stuff and put us back in employment land unless it becomes more economically sustainable. So, when we come to your town, please don't be stingy and if you saw the show but forgot or didn't have cash to pay for it, please donate through the ChipIn machine to the right. Tax deductable donations are also possible. Email me: or call 414 305 9832.

Show 47: Gainesville, FL

Turnout: 30
Support: $69 1/2 of door (CMC also got $69) $26 donations, $81 merch. I think this is the most we've made on a single show.
Personal injury report: I figured out that the strange welt on my left wrist I got in St Augustine was a rope burn, because I got another one right next to it at this show. Concrete floor #6 in a row, but Kate's knees are fine, so it doesn't really matter.

Look at that picture. CMC has so many books! The person with the red and black checked shirt is Jimmy, who is awesome, works for the CMC, and lives on a farm. The person wearing the red sweatshirt with the white ties is Eric, who is awesome, he not only has continental philosopher trading cards, but can speak intelligently about them, and about coupons. He is married to Saara. The person sitting next to Eric, who you can't see cuz some dork in a grey suit is standing in the way is Saara, she is awesome and used to live in Milwaukee. She can speak intelligently about television, poetry and many other things. We stayed with Eric and Saara, which was super awesome nice and comfortable. The person on the other side with the grey shirt helped untie me and asked insightful questions about sexual violence (some others asked less insightful questions about sexual violence, but i won't point them out).

A totally wonderful kickass show. Everyone in Florida seems to want us to come back. So we will. Hopefully sooner rather than later, and when we can maybe also swim, and play Fort Worth and Pensacola and the other nice places we didn't play this time.

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



Nature on Monday in Savannah!

Nature, for only 30 minutes because we'd driven all day and the sun was setting.

This is the area labelled "alligator ponds" on the map.
Nature when the sun sets. This is also when the alligators get ready to eat people. And when we leave.

What else other than nature is there? HISTORY!!!

History on Wednesday in St Augustine!! This is a really old city! The OLDEST still existant European city in the US! That means there is lots of TOURISM here! But we didn't take pictures of that, instead, we took pictures of this fort!

This is a fort there made out of seashells. Look at this history! It's historical!

Enough goddamn history. Back to NATURE! Here's nature on Thursday in Gainesville!
Now it's time for real nature! Saara took half a day off work to take us to the nature!

Look at all these vultures! Holy shit. They eat dead things! And there are alligators too! The alligators kill things and eat them, but the dead things that the alligators don't eat, these vultures eat! It is the cycle of nature!

How many alligators did we see this day? Lots! How many are in just this one picture? Six.

Sometimes we got close enough that the nature maybe coulda run after us and ate us, or maybe just ate half of us and left the other half for the vultures. Fortunately, this didn't happen.
There were also TONS of birds. Crazy great blue herons splashing around.

Look, mom! Look how close to the great blue herons we got! Ha ha! They were just hanging out, not flying away like they do in Wisconsin. Also, wood storks (huge!) grackles, sandhill cranes, and (really too far away to see properly) whooping cranes, buffalo, wild horses and a big fat pig.

Here's some cute scaley baby nature!

Good night nature!

(Our next scheduled nature day is Jan 18th or 19th, where we will be discovering nature somewhere between NOLA and Houston, it will be a good time and we might get killed by a snake).

Friday, January 15, 2010

Show 46: St. Augustine

Turnout: 18
Monetary Votes of Support: $24 (door) $2 (donations) $27 (merch)
Personal Injury Report: Bizarre tender lump on my left wrist. No idea how it got there. Other slight bumps and strangeness. Cement floor #5 in a row. Kate's voice hurt a bit afterward, due to shouting the whole show over the bar crowd. Ben's soul hurt after seeing a small sample of what is on television these days.

Show Description (by Ben): We came to St Augustine last winter and had a GREAT time. Went swimming in the ocean, played a huge show with a ton of bands, at a hip cafe/venue, really crazy high energy powerful stuff, and John Kuehne even got himself smitten with a cute girl who we had to leave behind at the end of the night. We were excited to come back, and are actually happy to have had a very different experience this time.

First, it was too cold to swim. We tried, but could stand getting in past our knees.

Second, we spent an afternoon bumming around St Augustine, which is the oldest still surviving European city in the US. Of course this historical fact makes it a huge tourist trap, which means almost everything is ugly, crowded and overpriced. We wandered around the outside of a fort (see pic) marveled at the endless little shops all selling the same overpriced crap, and struggled to find a place where we could sit down and check our email without paying for it (ended up being a parking lot).

Third, Cafe 11 was unable to host us, so Travis set us up at a different venue, St Augustine's best dive bar: Nobby's Sports Tavern. It seems he was pretty disappointed by this alternative (may have discovered an allergy to cigarette smoke) but definitely managed to make the most of the circumstances. He brought a good attentive crowd, some exiting music, and good energies to the show. The bar's regulars also came out, played pool and for the most part loudly ignored what we were doing. This gave us an opportunity to push our ability to perform under any circumstances further than every before, and Kate certainly rose to the occasion. There were a couple interesting moments when the pool balls stopped rolling and it sounded like everyone had frozen to puzzle over what the hell was going on on the other side of the room.

We didn't expect much different from a sports bar, but the exciting thing was how many people stuck with us, through the background noise, and clearly engaged with the play. We had a few good conversations with some really appreciative audience members, even some of the regulars who didn't know we were coming. We crashed with some activist folks who run the very active food not bombs program in town and told us some of the history that the trolley tours we dodged that afternoon leave out.

Also, they had this big white tropical bird that they'd recently rescued from somewhere but hadn't yet found a proper new home for. When we tried to go to sleep it insisted on crawling under the covers, stationing itself in between Kate and I and nibbling on our sides, which tickled something awful and kind of fruck me out. I envisioned a confrontation between it's irrational reptile mind deciding to tear and claw into my belly for no reason and my hesitation to defend myself for the sake of it's delicate wings and beautiful feathers.

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

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Show 45: Jacksonville @ 323 Modernism

Turnout: 20-ish
Monetary Votes of Support: 38
Personal Injury Report: 4th cement floor in a row, no harm done.

Show Description (by Ben): Fun show in a HUGE new art gallery space in the very Baptist town of Jacksonville. Performed with ambient guitar drone from Carlos Andujar and romantic singer songwriter Michah Davis. JD (the gallery owner and our enthusiastic host) took a ton of really great pictures that we'll put up here soon. There was this junk-art sculpture JD made the night before right behind our performance space (you can't see it in this picture, but it's cool) and there's an old electric metronome in the middle of it. The metronome was running, clicking throughout the performance, just loud enough that you could only really hear it when Kate was silent. It filled those silences with this really interesting steady beat. Like a heartbeat, or a ticking away of time, adding a layer of tension and urgency to the strange silent breaks in the play.

We crashed upstairs and headed out early enough to think about taking a swim in St Augustine, which turns out to have been a mistake...

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

Show 44: Savanah GA @ The Wormhole

Turnout: 10 to 4
Monetary Votes of Support: 20
Personal Injury Report: Nothing much, third show on concrete in a row, not bad though.

Show Description: Bar Show on a Monday Night. One of the guys was from Reinlander, then he moved to Savannah and then he left our show. All around, this was a pretty good performance. The people were nice but some had to leave because it was getting too late.

We ended up attempting to drive to Jacksonville that night and didn't make it, ended up sleeping in the car in some hotel-ville. No good discussion afterwards, but still not bad for a Monday.

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

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Show 42 & 43: Chapel Hill, NC @ Nightlight

Turnout: 12 for the first show, 18 for the second.
Monetary Votes of Support: 51 and $40.16
Personal Injury Report: No injuries first night. Ben got shot dead with a banana on the second night.

Show Description: Most challenging discussions ever! Between the post show discussions and the Internationalist Books meeting, I can't really think of much to say much about our actual performances. People here are have been super critical and yet openly talkative, a really exciting combination. It's fucking GREAT! I hope we didn't fumble or put our foot in our mouths too often, cuz people definitely objected to what we're trying to do in some interesting and unanticipated ways, and I'm not sure we were always as articulate or clear as we'd like to be.

We were a little concerned coming into this weekend. Performing in a bar, twice in a city we've never played before is a risky endeavor, but thanks to the folks at Internationalist Books, Dan Mac (whose songs are awesome, rowdy and hilarious), Alexis at Nightlight, and Ickibod from The Mysterious Rabbit Puppet Army, the risks paid off and we had a two great shows. We also got to volunteer for a little while with Prison Books.

Also of note! Three masked vigilantes armed with a banana interrupted the end of the second show. I improvised playing dead (poorly, while laughing) and they left this message: "We killed capitalism. What?! That shit was tied up and ready to go. The 'global economy' is not 'all the oppressors and their victims' it's the flows of capital around the globe, the conversion of living into dead; it is not the workers, but the coercion of work. So now it's dead. Good fucking riddance. For once, violence went up the hierarchy, and it felt good. Can we really kill capitalism with one blow? No. Could theatre serve to inspire social conflict and courage? We hope so. [heart] the bonobo gang

We hope so too. In fact, we hope it can inspire a useful and successful social conflict.

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

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Show 41: Johnson City, TN @ Projexx Studio

Turnout: 35 ish
Monetary Votes of Support: 67
Personal Injury Report: Ben: Elbow bruises, kicked in the head twice (once by audience, once by fellow actor), indigestion, Kate needs to be reminded how to do stage punches in the gut and she um kinda caught Ben in the zipper a little.
Kate: Knee cap accumulated more scrapes and is still all loose.

Show Description: This show was brootal! In addition to the long list of personal injuries we also played with Compulsion Analysis (fucking great audio visual assault) glad to play with them again and had some lip-licking delicious potluck food. Excellent.

Also, there were a bunch of strange internal things that happened, like during the show, there were moments when I would hear or notice the audience shift or adjust in their chairs which, being in a quiet room and at a bit of a loss for focus this show, made the self conscious part of my brain ramp up into medium-high tickish gear saying "why are you moving, oh no please don't leave, I will be interesting in just a second, just a second, I'll do something, alright, alright everyone just please stay in the room, I'm sorry, really very sorry."

Also, the gallery space was positioned perfectly to catch people who were walking by outside off guard. There were big glass windows facing the sidewalk and so we occasionally got to see people stop, stare and try to figure out what was going on during our set and Compulsion Analysis's.

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

Show 40: Charlottesville, VA, This Little Bird Studio

Turnout: 10/20
Monetary Votes of Support: $21 Merch: $2
Personal Injury Report: Nothing!

Show Description: Play play play. Part of what we're pursuing on our adventures is experiments in alternative, non-capitalist forms of life. Sometimes such experiments can take the shape of emphatically non-productive activities, also known as playing. Our show in Charlottesville, coincidentally near our always enthusiastic and gracious host Cindy Leal's birthday, allowed us to position our production of Ulysses' Crewmen in the middle of a wonderful playtime session. The first hour of the show was audience participation, improvised music, experimental video, contact dancing and various hoops, tubes, noodles, and other soft objects to play with. Then we
performed. Then people played some more.

It wasn't for everyone (some people who, I imagine planned on being only spectators left during playtime) but the openness and joyful energies of playing definitely informed and contrasted with our nasty oppressive play about the strife of living in capitalist society very well, making this a unique and exciting experience for us, and hopefully everyone else there.

We hope to have more pictures and maybe video from this show soon.

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

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Nature Day!

Well, last nature day was eclipsed by Philadelphia. We spent it making copies of our merch, flyering and getting a parking ticket. 36 Bucks. Hurns. This Nature Day was better. We got to tour Twin Oaks, an Intentional Community in Virginia near Charlottesville.
Kaweah collectors Solar hot water Finished compost They've been around since the 70's. 85 adults and 15 kids live there. The tour was quite informative and I have a lot to say about it but don't really know where to start. So, right now, I won't. That's all for now.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Show 39: Baltimore, MD at 2640 The Church

Turnout: 18
Our Cut (3/4) Door: 71
Personal Injury Report: Hmm, Kate rescued herself from having to act the whole show with her contact slowly and sneakily making its way into the depths of her eye. Also, she made sure the second gun hit looked and sounded really good by really doing it.

Show Description: This show went very, very well. The best part though, was the discussion afterwards. People talking about what brought them out that night and what they took away from the play led to some great discussion covering points on violence and non-violence, what violence itself entails, and the scope and consequences of our, here in america, ideas and recommendations regarding the sort of society we'd like to live in.

Ryan Harvey also played music before and after the show. I actually still have one of the songs stuck in my head as I write this. Man, it's great playing with him, besides similar political themes he also just has the same sort of relationship with the audience that we try to have-- close, honest and straightforward. It's really refreshing to play with music like that.

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

Monday, January 4, 2010

Show Report 38: Brooklyn, 13 Thames

Turnout: about 20 watched the whole thing.
Money: $30 door, $3.10 donations.
Personal Injury Report: We sat directly in front of SETH's fog machine, which was used somewhat excessively given the small space, our eyes were still itchy the next morning.

Show Description: Our first multi-media performance of the play! One of the 13 Thames guys hooked up a camera and video projection of us on the wall and ceiling. I guess the show was also being live-streamed online somewhere.

13 Thames is a great warehouse space in Bushwick, dingy punk squat atmosphere, radical slogans and vulgar graffitti all over the walls, bands in back and in the kitchen, a black dog named Blue and an orange cat that seems to like noise music. In addition to the projector the only other light was a weird blue cliplight that gave the show a nice subterranian feel. This was especially nice after performing in flat even bookstore lights the night before. I remain committed to performing under available lighting, but when the available lighting is cool it makes me waver in this commitment and think about bringing along a gelled cliplight or two.

Our performance felt so much better than the first night. Nearly flawless, which is pretty astonishing on Kate's part, given the circumstances. This was a noise show and we played first. Our expectations for audience committment at noise shows have been set pretty low. I'm not complaining, just stating a fact. People come out to these shows expecting a party with occasional bouts of blasting feedback, not an hour long, unamplified theatre performance. If our presentation of the totally unexpected can capture the full attention of half the people there for the duration of the show, we consider it successful, and this one definitely was. The astonishing part is we set up in the middle of the space, which meant people coming and going would need to walk across our tiny "stage" to go in and out, which they did, frequently. Again, I'm not complaining, just pointing out that Kate performed without missing a beat as people brushed past her to go chat in the kitchen. This is, in itself pretty impressive.

The 20 or so people who stuck around for the duration seemed to really enjoy it, and we had a couple great informed conversations with people afterwards*. One advantage of playing noise shows is seeing the bands, which were excellent last night. Opponents and Towering Heroic Dudes were personal favorites, but Kate and I enjoyed at least parts of everyone's sets. Coulda done with less fog machine though.

Did you see this show? If you did, please comment here. Write a review, share your thoughts, ask questions, we'd love to hear from you because we believe in artistic transparency.

*One of these conversations, about school occupations and thirdworldism was with someone we failed to get contact info from, and wish we had, so please, drop us a line here or at or 414 305 9832. Keep in touch. (This invitation of course also applies to anyone who wants to contact us for any reason)

Show Report 37: Bluestockings, New York

Turnout: 35
Monetary Votes of Support: $43.45 (Bluestockings passed a hat for themselves as well)
Personal Injury Report: None for us. There was a very attentive and excited 7 year old who might have gotten nightmares.

Show Description: Great turnout at the wonderful Bluestockings bookstore. Excellent people, great selection of books, very friendly atmosphere, attentive audience, some of whom just happened in off the street.

We're really relieved to have the first show of tour out of the way, especially considering the number of stupid technical problems we had. No dropped lines or anything that ruined stuff, but we forgot the hood in our dryer back in Philly (had to use a lucky back-up, which was too loose and fell off easily) we lost one of the ropes mid-performance and forgot to hand out the programs (which probably makes the land of the dead part even more confusing).

Funny story: so Bluestockings is in the middle of Manhattan, and Kate used the front door as the exit. Which means twice she walked out onto Allen St with a realistic looking holstered handgun, startling passersby, who she just smiled at until they either felt comfortable, or walked the other way, wide eyed.

We were really nervous and uncomfortable and kind of botched the transition from play to discussion, which is really too bad. We had a couple good individual conversations, but I look forward to infoshop and bookstore shows as opportunities to have real group discussions. Plus, I guess Trey recognized Howard Zinn in the audience.

Did you see this show? If you did, please comment here. Write a review, share your thoughts, ask questions, we'd love to hear from you because we beleive in artistic transparency.