The launch of blogologues.org!

Exciting news! At least for me. You, dear reader, are probably fairly impartial. But here we go anyway!

In 2007, I co-founded Lively Productions with a classmate from Yale named Lisa Siciliano. My now-life-partner-in-crime Jen Jamula was a founding member. To make a long story short, the company was sort of a default thing that we had going on for if/when playwright friends were accepted into festivals like, for instance, the Fringe. But it wasn’t our lives, and the company pretty much fell dormant fairly quickly, especially as Lisa moved to Chicago (around 2008).

In 2010, when Jen and I reconnected, we already had this incorporated vehicle in place through which to mount projects. And so we did. And we went through all that headache-inducing paperwork to become a registered 501c3 organization. But then, in 2011, Blogologues was born, and the branding/name-recognition for Blogologues quickly outstripped Lively. It was becoming increasingly confusing for audience members– especially as our audience base expanded far beyond our friend networks– that information for Blogologues was housed at LivelyProductions.org. Moreover, the site was getting crowded, as Jen and I began teaching workshops, speaking at conferences, etc.

So! The solution! (At least for now.)  This July, we *finally* bit the bullet and launched Blogologues.org, which will be your source for all things Blogologues– shows, tickets, news, funny shtuffs. We’re still figuring out what the future is for Lively, but for now, if you click “Corporate” on Blogologues.org, it will send you to LivelyProductions.org. There, you can find information about educational workshops, sponsorship opportunities, our work creating content for brands, and more.

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The homepage.

So, we’re growing and changing and figuring it out as we go. The end.

Feel free to send me feedback for blogologues.org! Is it clear? Do you understand what the project is? Is it easily navigable? Is there something that you wish were more prominent? Thanks!

Conferences: ConnectorCon & Funny Songs Fest

On the same crazy day that we opened our Greatest Hits show at The PIT, Jen and I also spoke at two different conferences! Yes, it was an insane whirlwind of a day: Conference–> Conference–> Opening.

I thought I’d tell you about the two conferences here.

ConnectorCon
Panel: Connectors As Matchmakers
New Work City
New York, NY

So, this was pretty neat-o. Essentially, we were on a panel of professionals doing what we’re doing– fusing two completely disparate fields. The panelists all spoke about the pros, cons, challenges, etc. of forging a path that exists between two worlds. (For us, immersion in the NY tech scene has been extremely beneficial and educational. Thanks + shout-out to our sponsor, tech co-working space AlleyNYC.)

NYC Funny Songs Fest
Panel: Putting It Out There Comedy Marketing 
The Living Room
New York, NY

At this event, we talked about the challenges artists face putting their work out there. Essentially, Jen and I believe that press is 100% essential to the survival of any project, no matter what the field. From our experience, artists tend to rely on reviews, but those are more of a “flash in the pan”, so to speak, than long-term engagement with the media. We encourage others to start getting creative about what they can offer that will garner them continued press. In other words, thinking in terms of media partnerships, rather than one-off press hits.

Our team would be happy to present or perform at your next event. Book us.

“Greatest Hits” shows at The PIT!

Check us out at The PIT, y’all! We performed a compilation of our favorite sketches to sold-out houses this past June. Basically, we created an hour-long show out of hits from previous Blogologues productions. It was delightful[ly inappropriate]. We had a blast reviving sketches that we loved, but only performed a handful of times in their original runs. Looking forward to doing more of these! (If you’re a Blogologues fan, then you know that all previous productions have consisted of 100% new material, loosely centered around a theme.)969215_10152907174355527_1058203669_n

That’s Jackie Renee Robinson performing a very real craigslist post up left, the cast rapping as old people up right (performing this sidebar, literally), me and my co-creator Jen as man and dolphin lower right, and, finally, me as a creeper who keeps a “winter boyfriend” locked in her closet. (Thanks to all the instagrammers in our audiences!)

And here’s the line to get in, followed by an audience shot taken by a friend a few rows back!

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Blogologues website background audience

Last but not least, our wonderful cast at curtain call:Ending3Stay tuned for info about upcoming performances. Thanks for stopping by!

Bringing to life readers’ comments.

The Guardian hired us this May to perform readers’ comments from their site! What does that mean?

  • The Guardian sent us the 100 most popular comments from their site.
  • We narrowed the list down to 20 comments that we felt that we could re-contextualize in a creative, funny, and/or thought-provoking way.
  • We created a film schedule based on locations, props, and actors’ availability, and then we filmed 15 of those comments using Vine, the new 6-second, looping video app.
  • The Guardian chose their 10 favorite and created this awesome post with them.

It was challenging and incredibly fun to flex our creativity in this medium. We’ve been filming tweets for Time Out New York, so obviously that’s been similar, but The Guardian project required us to edit (for length) comments intended as reactions to specific articles and craft them into new, out-of-the-box stories. As usual, for the most part, we tried to bring these snippets of text to life in ways that you wouldn’t expect. And of course, the efforts required to film so many back-to-back was educational for our team. We hope to do more of these soon.

Please click here to watch the vines, and thanks to Ruth Spencer at The Guardian for this opportunity! WE SO HAPPY.

SPOILER ALERT: I’M NAKED AND COVERED IN OATMEAL.

Girls (Not the TV Show)

Hey y’all! So remember the post below? Too lazy to scroll down? I’m not judging. You can also click here. Well, last month, those fine folks at Awesome Without Borders connected us (that is, me and my partner-in-crime, Jen) with a teacher at Phillips Academy. Why? Read on! Seriously, this is a fascinating story. (Obviously, I’m hella biased.)

On April 11, 2013, an article appeared in The New York Times exploring girls’ leadership and gender equality at Phillips Academy, one of the most prestigious boarding schools in the country. Though the school went co-ed 40 years ago, only four girls have been elected school president in that time. (That’s one girl for every decade, folks.)

Some of the usual suspects were bounced around as the reasons women generally fail to hold positions of power: Girls not being associated with leadership, girls being afraid to be seen as bossy, and so on. But a less-common argument caught our eyes:

“[Student Daniel Feeny and] his group of friends agreed that the person elected president usually has stage presence and is entertaining, and they concluded that perhaps girls have to be more serious in order to be taken seriously, which makes them less electable.”

We then received a forwarded email from a teacher there, CC Robinson, who wrote of this same passage:

“This was not the first time I had heard this explanation for why only ten percent of PA’s student body presidents have been girls. According to the conventional wisdom, the student body president’s only real job is to be funny. And girls…aren’t funny?  (Wait, I thought Tina Fey settled this one for us already.)

The current student body president is also the director of the improv comedy group on campus.  I consider him a great guy.  In fact, I advise the group.  They make me laugh.  But they also have just about the same 9 to 1 male to female ratio as the student body presidency has had…Don’t get me wrong, advising Under the Bed is one of my favorite things about being here.  But I’d feel a little bit better about myself if I could help make PA a more fun and funny place to be a girl.

…Why is it so hard for girls at PA to be funny in those big public ways—presiding over the student body at all-school meeting or making a room of Under the Bed fans laugh?  Is it because they are working so hard to be perfect that there is no room for that messy fallibility that is the heart of humor?  Is it because they have too much to lose when they rev the driving engine of high school humor…sex?

…From my spot in the audience, being a girl at PA looks like walking a tightrope. You are gorgeous; you are talented (but you know how to downplay it so as not to threaten those handsome boys); you are a good listener, a good friend, a good dancer…the list goes on and on.  Let’s elbow out some space for these ladies to enjoy things a little more for goodness sake!”

Join the Ladies Laugh-In.  Boys, we need you too!  Come help me run comedy workshops for these girls!

Are you as inspired as we were, reading that?

And so, with the help of Awesome Without Borders and Phillips Academy’s Brace Center for Gender Studies, we went at the end of May. And we had an amazing time.

We worked with the girls– and one brave boy, the student body president and director of the aforementioned improv club, actually– on throwing away their inhibitions, building (or faking) confidence and, in Blogologues style, working within the confines given to them, whether those are stereotypes, circumstances, or text on a page. We played with choosing the creative, unexpected, or unusual answer. We talked to them about being women in comedy, paving our own way, and creating and playing a million different characters– not just the girlfriend, wife, or floozy that characterize most shows.

CC Robinson summed it up wonderfully in her blog post following the workshop. We encourage you to read it in full, but here are some excerpts:

“We made ugly faces, we got loud, we got old, we got big.

…We got to try our hands at the Blogologues formula.  We took internet text and created monologues and then scenes.  Alli and Jen’s side coaching was phenomenal: “Try it again as a bitter hipster.”  “Can someone play the pirate’s wife?”  “Slam the door before you enter the scene.”

What did our crew have to say about the workshop?

“I liked not worrying about looking pretty.  I liked being the Golem character instead of the slut or the dunce.”

“Being the only guy here, there was a point when everyone was making a joke about me being a guy and I was like…..  Wow.   That’s what it’s like.  Oh my god.  For a second, I got it.”

“I like how you showed us you can be given a text that is so confining, but there are so many possibilities.”

Do you go to school somewhere where girls feel more looked at than listened to? …or where students like to laugh?  …or use the internet?  Ask Santa for a workshop from Lively Productions.”

Thank you again to CCThe Brace CenterAwesome Without Borders, and especially the inspiring students who joined us.

Awesome News

Hello there! Once again, I’m terrible at updating this site. So here’s some (slightly) old but (still) awesome news. And I mean that quite literally:

We (Blogologues) received a grant from Awesome Without Borders, a collaboration between The Awesome Foundation and The Harnisch Foundation! This generous grant enabled us to accept an invitation to perform at The PIT, which we did on  June 1st and 8th, 2013. More on that later.

Told you it was awesome! Woo!

AWB

It’s been awhile…

Wow. I haven’t posted since last August. That’s crazy town. More than a few things have happened in what is now around-the-clock Blogologues-land:

Sponsorships:

Press Highlights:

Mashable logo

Mashable embedded one of our webisodes in its watercooler section. Then, they did a full feature post about the Blogologues and the history of Lively Productions. The latter article was placed on the homepage and received over 1.6K shares.

Time Out logo

Time Out New York featured Blogologues in its March 28 issueunder the section Your Perfect Weekend. It sold out our most recent show almost instantly and brought in a ton of new faces, which was incredibly exciting for us. We’re now exploring venues where we might be able to extend a weekend or two, or which might have flexible seating in which we can add rows if we’re selling well. Have a venue to suggest? Please email us! Time Out also posted an interview with us about some of the crazy stuff we found on the web while creating the last script.

Partnerships:

Tweet of the Week Announcement

And now, for the most exciting news yet: We just launched a partnership with Time Out called Tweet of the Week! Every week, we’ll be on the lookout for funny/weird tweets about New York that we can bring to life somehow. On Thursdays, we’ll film some using the new Vine app and send three options to Time Out. On Fridays, Time Out will choose the “Tweet of the Week,” which it then posts on its site and blasts through its social channels. Jen and I are super excited about the opportunity to churn these out weekly. Do keep up with the new, weekly segment, and send us submissions. Of note, these tweets can be found, or you can write one and include #tonytotw so we’ll see it. (Unlike our shows, which consist only of found, not solicited, material.)

Conferences:

  • Jen and I spoke at The Li.st Summit, an awesome gathering of women in tech. We were on a panel about the influence of social media on art and storytelling. We were joined by Lauren Kaelin of Benjamemes (click through—she paints the internet!), Gideon Lewis-Kraus, who is generally a genius, and Daniel Madoff, a beautiful dancer, who danced with Merce Cunningham until the company’s close. It was moderated by Christina Wallace, the Director of Startup Institute New York, and a lover of arty things.

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Oh yeah, SHOWS!

We’ve had three brand-new shows since I last posted:

In honor of Halloween and the election, we had a one-weekend-only pop-up performance entitled Blogologues’ Spooky Election Special: Boo-rack Zombama vs. Sexy Nurse Romney.

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Many thanks to Jen Epstein, who turned Obama into a ghost-zombie and Romney into a sexy nurse. LOVE.

Blogologues Health & Fitness: Kale In Me Softly ran from January 17-26 and was super awesome.

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We just finished up our sex-themed show, entitled Blogologues: #sexytime (Are you pinterested in a quick tumblr?). It ran from March 28-April 6, and was my favorite thing ever.

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I’m a dolphin!

NEXT UP: We’ve been invited to The PIT! Woo! We’ll be performing our “Greatest Hits” Saturday, June 1st and 8th at 9:30 PM! Get yo’ tickets here, or get closed out!

So, yeah, that’s what’s up!

(If you’ve made it this far: Hello, Jeffrey!)