Saturday, May 14, 2011
The great comedian, Paul F. Tompkins, performed two shows at the Parkway Theater. Because of a ticket purchasing procrastination problem, I missed my chance to purchase tickets to the originally scheduled 9 PM show but fortunately, Paul added a 7 PM show! I've only heard Paul a few times and have never seen him perform stand-up. His Pod F Tompcast is hilarious and he recently got a lot of laughs from afar when he was a call-in guest on Wits featuring Patton Oswalt.
Paul is booking his shows with the help of Facebook and the power of social networking to generate a fan base in a city who agree to attend the show. When 300 people pledge to go to a show in a particular city, Paul will book the gig. From following him on Twitter, it seems he is also trying to perform in atypical comedy venues. I think he had a hard time booking this particular show which bums me out because I would really like Minneapolis to be a place where artists can easily find a venue that matches their needs. I guess it all worked out and he performed at Pepito's Parkway Theater. This was my first time in the theater. The set up was a little odd, but fun- couches on the left and right sides of the stage and tables at the front with general admission in the theater seats.
The show itself started with Paul's impersonation of Ice T introducing Paul to the stage. What i love about Paul is that breaking character and laughing doesn't only makes the bit better. He seems to be having so much fun while performing that I can't help but want to join in on the fun. He then did about 15 minutes of stream of consciousness improvised comedy. This photo is while he was commenting on the excessive number of microphones on stage and his attempt to be the only comedian who performs with 3 microphones. Definitely a "you had to be there" moment to appreciate why that'd be funny. Another thing I liked about Paul's act is that he made an announcement that he was going to start his prepared material and while this would have been jarring and odd if a newer performer did this, he can pull it off. He spent the rest of the show taking us on a journey of his career. Perfect for this career counselor. It involved Hats in the Belfry, Beta and VHS videos, Tom Cruise, his critical role in There Will Be Blood, and Weird Al Yankovich. Tears were running down my face at times and I can't wait to see him live again. When I got home, I listened to him talk with Marc Maron on the WTF podcast which gave further insight into his career as a comedian.
Scott and I had Pepito's and Pumphouse Creamery before the show making this a great early evening date night!
Friday, March 25, 2011
A comedy of errors almost ruined a date night planned with my co-worker and friend, Miranda and her boyfriend, Adam. First, during the planning of the start time of our pre-show dinner and I was operating under the assumption that Wits started at 7:00 PM because that is how I entered it into my calendar. Miranda suggested 6:00 PM for our dinner at Sawatdee which I thought was cutting it close but didn't want to come across as a stressball (which I am). We both said we'd try to arrive closer to 5:30 which was Miranda's way of politely appeasing me. Scott and I were merrily on our way to St. Paul from SW Minneapolis and planned on a leisurely start to our date night with a walk around downtown St. Paul. That was ruined at the Vandalia-Cretin exit on I-94 where I realized I forgot our tickets at home! So, we turned around and spent an extra 30 minutes in the car, all the while texting Miranda with updates. She and Adam were at Sawatdee and she offered to order for us so I agreed to an appetizer which I thought was all we'd have time to eat. She also told us that doors opened at 7:00 PM which I thought was strange because I distinctly remembered John Moe announcing a tweet-up happy hour in the lobby before the show. So, sorry Miranda but I thought you had your facts wrong.
Scott and I just had one snafu with finding parking and somehow walked the wrong direction to get to the restaurant, adding an extra block to get to our destination. It was at this point that I finally looked at the ticket and discovered the 8:00 PM start time. So, as per usual, I met Adam with my special brand of "I'm a little wound up borderline crazy" first impression.
We all laughed at my "series of 'f-ups'" as Scott so eloquently put it, and then moved on with our evening of laughs. It was fun to get to know Adam and be with Miranda outside of work. We all liked our meals at Sawatdee even though Scott's mouth was on fire from his level 5 dish.
We made our way to the Fitzgerald Theatre in just enough time to grab 4 seats together in the center balcony. It was a great view and I enjoyed having the sound board and event photographer in my purview because I'm a nerd like that. The show itself was so much fun. John Moe is brilliant for creating a series of shows that highlight some of the best creative talent working today. I love comedy so it was a bonus for the season's first guests be Patton Oswalt and Paul F. Tomkins. I somehow convinced myself that Paul was going to surprise us by being in person since that is what John Moe did with Neil Gaiman last year. But, as Patton tweeted last night "Even on crutches, Grant-Lee Phillips is brilliant. Even over the phone and 1/2 a world away, @PFTompkins is hilarious. #twits" The music was fantastic. I'll admit I lost touch with Grant-Lee over the years but I listened to "Mighty Joe Moon" on repeat during college and revisit "Honey Don't Think" often. Grant-Lee played a cover of The Church's "Under The Milkyway Tonight" which inspired me to purchase his "Nighteeneightees" album this morning.
I can't wait to listen to the show again which is airing on The Current Sunday, April 10 at 9 p.m. and on MPR News Sunday, August 7 at 6 p.m. For my out of town friends, you can stream both!
I attempted my first 365 photo project in 2011. I made it to Day 246.
The Nivens Family