Sunday, December 7, 2008

High School League

some of the folks around here are tired of hearing the phrase, "back in san diego..." and so it is with great hesitance that i start this off by saying...

back in san diego, the high school league was gangbusters. easily one of my faveorite things about NCT SD. the HSL kids came to nearly every show with suggestions they had been cooking up all week. "comunist manifesto!" "john ritter!" "the theory of relativity!" always trying to challenge the pros and our insistance that nothing was impossible. i always looked forward to the wacky suggestions we would get from them and i remember one night when a HSL kid brought a giant carpet square to the show and held it in his lap all night, just in the off chance we would play object freeze. another night a HSL kid put his wooden leg in the bag for object freeze. a real wooden leg. he had to hop up to the stage to get it back.

in san diego, the high school league kids pretty much run the show. they are our mr.voices and our house staff very reliably... until the graduate and either join the team or go to "college" or some other lame waste of time.

i loved the high school league kids. they were so much fun, so enthusiastic and- when they did join the team- they were the best players and the most eager to go to Brian's for 2am chicken strips and french fries.

thats why im super psyched to be finally launching the High School League at NCT Phoenix. The kids from Horizon and Basha are totally improv kids, both schools have had their own improv clubs going for a long time and so they are going to be really good players.

im so looking forward to AZ HSL kids coming to the shows with impossible suggestions and, hopefully, filling in as house staff and mr voice as our vary own army of improv teenagers to do our bidding.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Durango, CO

NCT Phoenix hikes up the mountains to perform in Durango, Colorado.

We booked a show through Baseless Comedy Club to perform at the Henry Strater Theatre, attached to the Henry Strater Hotel in Durango.

At some point Dorian and I decided that it would be the best idea to drive there, rather than fly from Phoenix to Albequerque and then drive the rest of the way to Durango. Fear of flying on a tiny puddle jumper plane? Maybe. Fear of Albequerque? Perhaps. Did I forget what its really like to take an 8 hour road trip? most definitly. sometimes its good that we cant remember pain, sometimes it bites me in the ass. But we decided to drive and that was that.

Andi was joining us for the adventure. We left Tuesday November 4th, election day... so we couldnt get on the road until everyone had voted. We hopped in the Cheba Hut minivan and blew out of Phoenix around 10am.

you know how it goes on an 8 hour road trip. you start out excited, chatting, carefully arranging all the snacks you're saving for later and planning how to space out all the things you brought along to entertain yourself. For an hour or two, it seems as though we may not need the distractions we brought along or even too much ipod interfearance... we were having a really fun chat and that took us up through Flagstaff and into Bun Huggers for some election day/road trip lunch. ( the first episode in a season of eating too much crazy food ).

once we were back on the road things fizzled. the ipod was turned on and dj krissy kept everyone singing hits of the 90s. i went for my sewing and Andi sketched a tree on the back of a spiral notebook.

we were waiting and waiting to hit the 4-corners and when we got there it was closed. "how dare you!" i thought, "those corners belong to everyone!" i shouted to no one in particular. "i am an american and i demand to stand in 4 states at once!"

we passed the rest of the trip trying to find election coverage through the spotty reception in northern arizona/southern colorado.
by the time we got to Cortez, Colorado (40 miles from Durango) we were so delerious that a tire shop called "Rimco" was unendingly hilarious.

finally, we got to durango and found the Henry Strater Hotel. It is georgous, tall brick victorian hotel... too good for us, i assure you. We dragged ourselves up to the rooms and made an interesting discovery... a diary. a little journal propped up on the pillows of the antique bed. Andi and I were momentarily overjoyed at our luck to have stumbled upon some poor schmo's diary to make fun of. we quickly found that it was not some poor schmos diary, but the diary belonging to room 405 of the Strater Hotel.

and room diary 405 let us in on a little secret... the Strater is haunted! and room 405 in particular is the haunted room! Mine and Dorian's room diary (406) included dozens of entries about how lovely the train ride and the contenental breakfast or customer service had been. Andis room diary was all about toilitries flying around the room, ghost cowboys heard having a shootout in the hall... and the lovely contental breakfast and customer service.

we did ask the desk girls about the haunting. they told us, very specifically, that they dont promote the Strater as a haunted hotel. they left it at that. "we dont promote it as a haunted hotel" wink wink, "enjoy your stay in room 405" chortle. they also told us they usually remove the pages about ghost sightings. lovely. that meant that the terrifying entries we discovered were those deemed benign enough to leave behind.

we met John Monroe, of Baseless Comedy Club, who found us and booked the show, and he took us to dinner at the Ore House. ( ORE house. ORE. minerals. not loose women. ) the food was delicious, another episode of eating too much crazy good food. just at the end of our meal we heard the news that Obama had won the election.
Outside in the street people were cheering, laughing and hollering.

Andi, Dorian and I followed the crowd to a little movie theatre called The Abbey where a full blown party had broken out and election coverage was splashed across the movie screen. finally my Obama t-shirt (that dorian insisted i hide while traveling through northern AZ and while being pulled over by a police officer) was now suddenly apropo and helped us find a very large group of our new best friends.

we watched the McCain concession speach and the Obama acceptance speech there at the Abbey. we followed our new BFF Kelsey and his GF (who seemed confused about how she had picked up 3 new out of town stragglers) and he bought us a round at the Strater where he showed us the hidden compartments in the lobby, left over from prohibition. push this portion of the wall and a hidden cabinet appears. pull this flowery adornment and a little drawer reveals itself. swing the candle this way and here you find a little space for hiding this or that from the fuzz. very cool.

andi and i just about broke all the antique furniture in our room trying to find more such secret hiding places. (we came up empty and luckily didnt cause too much damage)

Wednesday morning we woke up to some mysterious substance floating down from the sky. it was similar to rain, but not boiling hot rain like i am used to as an AZ native... it was like tiny soft frozen rain. like a snow cone slowly shaken over the whole of Durango. I am told the locals call this "snow". it "snowed".
very confusing for a girl who gets cold in 70 degree weather. if gila monsters had fallen from the sky, i would have been more comfortable. John Monroe declared it not snow at all, but some kind of annoying pre-snow dandruff. i assured him that anything made of ice that falls on me out of the clouds is freakin snow.

we traveled to the local radio station and had a nice chat on the air with Dina of Durangos The Point (99.7) it was 8am after a night of election celebrating... we could have been funnier and more charming perhaps if not alarmed by the snow and awakened too early.

we toured Durango and some of the other venues we might play the next time we came up, veryy exciting possibilities. and then Jeff Frank (of NCT San Diego) was fetched from the Durango airport (for reference, Durango airport is smaller than NCT Phoenix). finally our group was complete. dorian, krissy, andi and jeff!

John Monroe and Sophie Parrott (of the Hank- Henry Strater Theatre) told us that the snow would probably hurt ticket sales. they had sold about 20 advance tickets, not alot. but they kept saying not to worry, that this was just a test run and they wouldnt be dissapointed by a small turnout.

Dorian, Andi, Jeff and I took it upon ourselves to go out and pimp Durango. We walked around and chatted with people, inviting them all to the show. There were posters for us everywhere around town.

(side note: i have no gosh darned idea how every freaking poster ever made for NCT has to feature the lovely portrait of gary's ass. i argue again and again that my face is more appealing than gary kramer's ass. and again and again i am proven incorrect)

that was fun. until it became a blizzard out and we had to give up our persuit for being pelted in the face by this frozen swirling snow of hell.

we headed over to the Hank for sound checking, warming up and hanging out in the back green room.
each of us was given a body mic, like brittney spears. i hated it. it really messed with my hair, which is messy by design- and i kept having panic attacks that the whole world could hear me peeing or farting or swearing through my body mic, even if it wasnt on and even if i wasnt wearing it at the time. no wonder brittney went bonkers. i even nodded off on the ride home and woke with a start, having dreamed that i still had the mic on and somehow took it home with me.

by showtime, we had sold over 100 tickets. maybe it was us on the radio or us walking around town showing off our pretty faces (in contrast to our poster of gary's dairyaire) or whatever, i dont know what got em in there, but they were there.

and the show was fantastic. we killed it.
personally, its a tribute to Andi and Jeff Frank that they just met that day and were able to play together like old friends.
Dorian and I are fortunate to have been learning & performing together for ages and ages. Jeff Frank was SD High School Leauge and part of our SD NCT family we love so much, our dear friend. Andi is one of the most comitted and eager players at NCT PHX. Shes so full of energy and positive... it was a little risky to throw together two players who had such different experiences and who had never met. but it worked out very very well.
my hats off to my funny and very talented friends and team mates.

enough of that? fair enough.

we went out for pizza and beers after shaking all the hands and hugging all the hugs and chatting all the chats.

talk there was of more shows to come, bigger shows in different venues. workshops at the college. something called a "snowdown" that i dont entirely like the sound of.

the happy end is that the show was fantastic and we will be asked back again.

we dropped Jeff off at the airport ( i am still suprised that the Durango airport isnt out back of the Wal-Mart ) and Andi, Dorian and I made the drive home.