Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Krakatoa east of java
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Krakajokea, East of Java is a new joke-writing and podcast recording session for stand-up comedians in Richmond. The name is a play on a 1969 movie, “Krakatoa, East of Java.” The movie was one of the last to use the Cinerama process. In point of fact, Krakatoa is west of Java. Krakajokea explains itself. The East of Java part works because the event is held at a coffee shop, the Lamplighter Cafe & Roasting Company at 116 South Addison Street in Richmond. The cafe is on a relatively obscure side street but near the Carytown and Fan districts of Richmond. It’s a block from West Cary Street (there’s a fire station on West Cary and Addison). It’s also near the Dominion complex and the former GRTC bus barns. The sessions will be held every Sunday at 4:00 pm. The link to the Facebook group is Here’s a description from the Facebook group page:

A joke-writing session every Sunday at 4:00 pm at the Lamplighter Roasting Company near Carytown and the Fan. Drink coffee instead of alcohol. In other words, it’s like an AA meeting, only less funny. Brainstorm and network with other comedians. Engage in passive-aggressive humor. Run other comedians down behind their backs. Compare yourself with other comedians and then wonder why you’re depressed. It’ll be great. Plus a live podcast will be taped at each session.

Krakajokea is an attempt to formalize impromptu joke-writing sessions which have been held in the past. The late lamented Comic Kazze stand-up comedy collective, spearheaded by Jared Cullum and Camille Bird, also held joke-writing sessions last year at Ali Baba’s restaurant on West Broad Street near VCU. That’s where I first met Jeff Curran, Richmond’s anti-Bill Cosby. Krakajokea is not intended as competition for the joke-writing sessions at the Richmond Funny Bone on Saturday. Not everybody can get out to Short Pump where the Funny Bone is and Saturday afternoon doesn’t fit everyone’s schedule.

Comedians in Richmond get together at comedy showcases and open mics but a fair amount of  them are amped up with pre-show adrenaline, not to mention over-amped background music, which doesn’t make for the most relaxed of settings for conversation. I’m hoping a non-performance setting will make for a more convivial atmosphere. I hope we’ll be able to come up with some ideas on how to take RVA comedy to the next level. Jeff recently came up with the idea for a Richmond comedian’s softball team so maybe we’ll be able to discuss ways to make that happen.

Comedians in Richmond listen to podcasts such as “WTF” and “Never Not Funny.” As far as I know, none of them are actually producing them, so this is also a chance for us to get out of the consumer mode and into the creative mode. I’ve had some interesting and stimulating discussions with Richmond comedians, which, looking back, I’d wish I could have recorded

The Official Blake Midgette Roast

Blake Midgette addresses the crowd at the Official Blake Midgette Roast

The Official Blake Midgette Roast at Cafe Diem, Richmond, VA, May 31, 2010. From left, Blake Midgette, Ray Bullock and Jared Cullum. Photo by Chris Martin.

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A pensive Blake Midgette during a break while shooting a sketch for "The Undergrads

The calm before the storm: stand-up comedian Blake Midgette looks pensive during a break in filming a sketch for The Undergrads. Tonight is the Official Blake Midgette Roast at Cafe Diem in Richmond, Virginia.

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the saddest clown in town

Brown Frown the Clown at Cafe Diem Comedy Night

Brown Frown the Clown brings his patented blend of existential dread and stand-up comedy to the Official Blake Midgette Roast Monday at Cafe Diem in Richmond, Virginia. Photo by Chris Martin

Schmap for the Official Blake Midgette Roast

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Cartoon showing baby representing New Year 190...
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Tuesday’s That Ain’t Right Comedy Night at Fallout wasn’t as well attended by comedians (down to six from around 12 the first time out) but there was a larger audience and they were more responsive. My set was a mix of new and older material. I got some laughs from jokes which previously hadn’t done as well. I just wish I could remember which ones they were. Comedians who showed up included host Dave Hamrick, Ray Bullock, Marc Cooper, Kelly Henderson and Leo. The next shows are on December 15 and 29, which means I may get out a diaper for a New Year‘s baby bit. I’ve got one more set in which I’m going to use this material, the December 7 Comedy Night at Cafe Diem.

Comedy at the Camel, another project of Dave Hamrick’s, debuted to a full house, with Ray Bullock headlining and Jesse Jarvis MCing. Sets by Roy Rogers, Dave Hamrick and Bill Metzger of Charlottesville, among others. Blake Midgette stopped by. He was just back from two weeks in New York where he did an open mic at a hole-in-the-wall club in the East Village.

I’m trying to catch up on my backlog of video material. Right now, I’ve stripped the audio from the October 4, 2009 set at the Last Stag Standing competition at Europa Cafe. The next step is to listen to the set or look at the script and get tags for when I upload to Taltopia, Punchline magazine, Gcast and Soundcloud. Unfortunately, I decided to scan the disk with those files on it for errors so I’m temporarily locked out and unable to work with them. The next step is to edit the video file in Pinnacle, which basically consists of slapping titles on the front and back end.

One decision coming down the road is my next step in terms of improving output. I’m still getting feedback that the sound quality of the video output of the Canon PowerShot is not that great, the latest comment coming from Virginia Production Alliance  on YouTube. I don’t have that much of a problem hearing what’s said certainly the sound could be improved. This would take the form of buying a Kodak Zi8, which mean an improvement in video quality as well, going from 20 fps to 30 and 60 fps, as well as going from 640×480 to 780p and 1080p.  This would also mean getting a wireless lavalier mic for what should be a big boost in audio quality. Another advantage: the Zi8 has has a remote control which means I wouldn’t have to be standing at the camera to start filming my sets and those of other people.

Other possibilities for improvements: Brother’s $50 personal laser printer so I don’t have to shell out an arm and a leg for ink jet cartridges any more; Serif’s movie editor so I can overcome the limitations of Pinnacle and one minimalist possibility, getting some business cards from VistaPrint so I can do some more publicity with Salty Tongue Records.

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Image representing Vimeo as depicted in CrunchBase
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My cold left me behind and playing catchup on various chores. I lost around four days from the onset/onslaught of the cold the night of my set at the artspace benefit to three-to-four days later. Because I was feeling lackadaisical due to the cold, I didn’t shave my beard for several days, and then decided to go ahead and keep letting it grow now that winter is here. I still want to get my hair cut. So at least my appearance now synchs with my avatars/profile pics.

I did get the video from October 2 posted on the web. I still haven’t established an account for my stand-up comedy at Vimeo and posted the video there. I haven’t posted the transcript for that set on Funny or Die. Next steps in work flow is to edit the video from my October 5 set at Cafe Diem Comedy Night.

I haven’t update the appearances widget on this blog. I still haven’t figured out how to get RSS onto the sidebar. I’m not on Rooftop Comedy yet but I have gotten on Topshelfd. In fact, the latest video I posted in on their home page. I’m thinking about adding a “rules of comedy” page to this blog.

My sister liked the sound on that video, which was due to the fact that I recorded it at home because my efforts to record it at Super Friends Camp and Cafe Diem failed. Memo to self: get a Kodak Zi8 and a wireless lavalier mic.

Upcoming event is “That Ain’t Right” comedy night at the Fallout. I’ve got to rewrite the set, removing the Michael Moore jokes and adding four jokes I’ve written for There’s a three week break before the next Cafe Diem Comedy Night because there are five Mondays in November. I want to burn a DVD of Jared Cullum’s last set at Cafe Diem so I can pass it on to him at Fallout. The first step is to get everything from the memory card offloaded to the hard drive.

WordPress now has a button above the “add new posts” page which allows you to get a shortened link. I still haven’t navigated around and explored all the features/tweaks involved in the site. At least it’s now showing up on the first page of Google searches.

I’ve been watching “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report”  on Hulu. HuffPo definitely skims the cream with their clips. Watching the whole show, there are moments when the shows slip into talk show blandness. Fortunately for them, the Silly Season runs pretty much 24/7/365 thanks to attention-junkies like Sarah Palin and Levi Johnston.

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I’ve been busy recently so I haven’t haven’t written in the blog lately. Last week, it was the first open mic at Fallout in Shockoe Bottom Tuesday. Kudos to Dave Hamrick for increasing  opportunities for comics to practice their craft. Joe Hafkey of Cafe Diem’s Comedy Night was the MC. Jared Cullum worked out some new jokes before moving on to another gig. Kelly Henderson had a good set about breaking down on the Jeff Davis Highway. I had a chance to converse with Jesse Jarvis, who rooms with Roy Rogers (not that Roy Rogers — we should start a support group for people who share famous first names). A good time was held by all and a good vibe, a community feeling in the room. Attendance was light, mostly comedians, but I’m sure that will pick up with time. I was able to do the first five minutes of my set-to-be at artspace.

Friday, it was a stand-up comedy benefit for artspace, a non-profit member-run gallery at Plant Zero. Organizer Santa De Haven went all out, complete with a “green room,”  amply stocked cooler and programs.  Mike Bonura  did his swan song before moving on to the Marines. I was next and did 10 minutes without blanking and forgetting my lines, unlike the first time I did 10 minutes at Paradox Comedy’s “Motel Hell” Halloween Celebration.  Michal Ketner did about 20 minutes, including a nice bit about becoming the lead singer for Aerosmith, Collin Chute (a 20-year-old who actually knows who Bob Dylan is!) and Tom Via  rounded out the evening with musical comedy about relationships. We did a run-through and evidently the preparation paid off. The chemistry between performers was good and the audience of around 50 was appreciative. The event raised a nice sum for the gallery.

It was good to see Camille Bird, the MC, who has been sorely missed from the Richmond comedy scene, taking a break after co-founding the Comic-Kazze open mics. The bad news is that that was when my cold really started to kick in.

Coming back from a non-existent pre-performance meeting at the New York Deli (I really should read my emails more closely) in the Hurricane Ida backwash, I ran over some glass in the alley. Fortunately, according to an Agee’s Bicycle  inspection, the damage was not enough that I had to replace the tire, which was a source of concern since I was planning to cycle all the way downtown and across the bridge to Manchester for the artspace benefit.

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