Attention Whoring, comedy, Indignant, My favorites

I Always Wanted an Origin Story

A show that has been over a year in the making is finally happening. It’s called Drawn Out Storytelling, though I’m constantly trying to get people to abbreviate it to D.O.S. or Drawn Out. This show, which if you’ve spoken to me at all over the past month you will be far too acquainted with the idea of, is a stretching of the storytelling genre into a fully encompassing experience where your visual and auditory senses are bombarded with all of the elements of a story that we can so that it feels like you are there… maybe?

I don’t think that’s the point.

I constantly struggle with the point.

Here’s the evidence:

I moved to NYC and was immediately entranced by the storytelling scene – it was finally that melding of life and art that I had been searching for. Honesty had always been important to me in art, but specifically how to stretch honesty. I then saw that there were people stretching this “honesty” and pushing it further into the boundary of art. There was Mimsy – the experimental improvisation troupe of storytellers. There was the BTK Band – a band that played behind a storyteller with gogo dancers in front.

Then it hit me that one of my best friends is a comic book artist and drawing stories out would be awesome. But it couldn’t just be literal. The art had to bring out a truth that wasn’t able to be brought out through words alone. Then I added music. The music had to stretch that honesty even further. Now I have ideas of adding cooking, science experiments, dance, computer programs, and the list goes on.

Why is mixing media so important to me?

I told you: I constantly struggle with the point. Stop asking me.

Sophomore year of high-school Mr. Schaffer took us outside to the awkwardly placed turnaround on the side of our parking lot. He told us to stand at different points around this almost-road. Some of us were behind bushes. Some behind other cars. Some right on the road. Some inside a building. He then explained how a hypothetical car-accident was happening.

None of us understood how this lesson was supposed to teach us how the truth was a matter of perspective because none of us were listening because we were in high school.

Art can attempt to approach honesty, but by virtue of it being on stage an audience has altered expectations. Therefore we can’t actually provide true honesty. That being said the biggest enemy of honesty in art is genre.

Genre defines more expectations. Genre creates more preconceptions without providing more art. Genre is just what you expect to see, and as an artist I strive constantly to undo the genre I am “participating” in. Mixing mediums of performance defies genre. It demands that as an audience you come in with an open mind. It demands that you approach a show allowing yourself to be influenced.

I really struggle with the point because I think the point is often not the point. The point is so personal. The point is what you take out of it as an audience member – in so many ways it has nothing to do with the creator of that art.

Do you want to see if this makes sense? Come to Drawn Out Storytelling and find out. Tomorrow at 5:30 as a part of the Comic Book Theater Festival.

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My favorites, race

Descriptioning

Below the word “Brooklyn” read the words “New York.” The clarifying cities arced in opposite directions creating a circle of letters fonted in a way to make them look possibly Asian – nay: possibly martial arts. In the center of the circle sat the description: “100%” in a font less reminiscent of karate and more reminiscent of Microsoft Word. Below this tattoo lay another that detailing a Cuban and American flag embraced through a set of claws that gripped to the hump of his outer bicep as though the strength of their national pride would cause the flags to fly off like a scared bat on the subway.

He cracked his neck without using his hands. He took brief manly naps without releasing his scowl. He thought periodically about re-shaving his head and beard without checking the length with his hands.

The only black pair of pants he owned were draped around his lower half. They had three white stripes down the side that Adidas had deemed necessary to promote their type of pants. Everyone else at work had fully black pants and often made fun of him for wearing athletic wear in a restaurant where all the servers wore dress pants. Luckily he was only a busboy. He had been told when he was offered the job that everyone wore black pants while working. He incorrectly mistook “black” for a description of color as opposed to formality, and purchased the Adidas athletic legwear that was hanging next to the black sneakers he bought when he confused sneakers for shoes.

In sixth grade his class was taught the difference between a square and a rectangle. In eighth grade he understood it. For two years he would describe all four sided shape with four right angles as squares. Side length meant nothing.

In ninth grade he fell off a skateboard and broke his leg. It hasn’t healed completely. At times he can walk regularly, but at times his knees buckle so he keeps a cane nearby in case his bones make mistakes. Though the mistakes are rare, they’re drastic. Collapsing in the middle of times square is too scary to risk. A cane just makes more sense.

His co-workers make fun of his cane too. They think it an affectation because he rarely uses it. It’s too much work to explain the rarity with which he needs help walking.

No truths/words can save him from being the weird Cuban from Brooklyn, New York who wears athletic shoes and pants inappropriately and carries an aesthetic orthopedic cane.

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comedy, Gender, Indignant, Math, Media, My favorites

Women, Fun, Math – A New Thesis.

“When I’m Ira Glass I’m gonna have chapters instead of acts.”

-Me, Right Now

I’ve shared three videos on facebook recently. I think they are the three videos that perfectly describe what my life is. This realization comes on the heels of a change in the domain name of my blog – a long needed change as the contents no longer fit what it was called.

Chapter 1.

We change the way we view things based on the context under which we view them, obviously. Information is so free though nowadays that anything that is imbibed comes with a whole set of preconceptions. Therefore we can never know if Bridesmaids was truly a good movie or bad movie. We demanded to know if a woman could make a Judd Apatow movie because we were confused about our role as an audience member and then Kristen Wiig did it – she made a Judd Apatow movie.

Guy has chance to have something super hot and rich yet unhealthy with one girl, finally finds joy in something more interestingly attractive and healthier. Screws things up with it, but gets it back in the end. = Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Switch “guy” and “girl.” = Bridesmaids

Two best dude friends have a constant passive aggressive battle because despite the fact that they like each other, the one that isn’t as much of a conventional “failure” feels like the other is holding him back. The “non-failure” also wants to hang out with an annoying person who is more successful at the next step in their lives. The two dudes make up in the end after a big blowout fight where they decide not to be friends anymore. = Superbad

Switch “dude” to “chick” and “him” to “her.” = Bridesmaids

“Screwup” man has a failure business that he put everything into despite the fact that he didn’t put that much into it. He learns to try by the end of the movie because a woman that he likes does try. = Knocked Up

Switch “man” and “woman.” Bridesmaids

A bunch of male friends rag on a dude who has still not done something that the rest of them have done. That dude feels likes an outcast, but then feels less like an outcast when he becomes comfortable with his own pace of doing that thing that he hasn’t done. = 40 Year Old Virgin

Switch genders. = Bridesmaids

But is it more important because it’s women? We as a society, unfortunately, but obviously treat genders differently – as should be realized by the fact that I equated a male’s loss of virginity to a female’s wedding night, but because we treat genders differently do we have to reward genders differently?

I am a straight male who looks and acts like a straight male and that gives me a key to a safe space that I don’t feel safe in. A safe space that does not need to be designated as a safe space because it is the controlling space. Straight males are the people most frightened of admitting women are funny because they’ve been given the monopoly on funny and losing things isn’t fun. The most common defense of their monopoly when they see funny women being gross in order to be funny is that that type of thing wouldn’t work for a man because the bar is higher for men. Pooping is hilarious when anyone does it, it’s just also important when women do it. If you’re jealous because a woman can get a laugh by making poop noises while she has sex with a blowup doll and you can’t, then try growing up in a culture that tells you that sex and poop are shameful and still make shitfucking sounds. The humor comes from the vulnerability that is inherent in admitting your inability yo conform to society’s demands of you.

Apatow has made his fortune on creating male characters that don’t quite conform to the expectation of men in our society. Therefore, when we asked K-Wiig to do the same for women, we didn’t give her a chance to succeed. Freaks and Geeks came out with no expectations and was cancelled after a season. Same with Undeclared. 40 Year Old Virgin came out when Apatow was still known as a guy who had something to do with Anchorman. It was going to be an mainstream comedy with offbeat antics, and it turned out to have heart. Knocked Up looked sappy and romantic from the trailers and when it turned out to have bong rips and birth video footage, people fell in love with Judd. By the time Forgetting Sarah Marshall came out Apatow had created a new genre of comedy that was only missing one thing: Developed female characters. He tried letting Aubrey Plaza create it in Funny People, but the movie was still about two men’s relationship and Plaza’s plot got thrown do the side. Wiig took the reins. The problem being that we all saw her take the reins. This movie had to be funny in the same way Apatow is, but about female dynamics, but it couldn’t be just about chick stuff because then it wouldn’t prove that women could do universal humor, but it had to have heterosexual attractive women because it couldn’t buy into the stereotypical lesbian imagery of the 1970s. We expected all of this from Kristen Wiig and Annie Mumolo. What we expected, at best, from Apatow was dirty comedy with heart. His task was easier.

Then there is the even bigger problem of succeeding. Which Wiig did. She did it. She made the movie we wanted, but in doing that, we all knew what was coming. She simply achieved our outlandish expectations instead of surpassing them.

There are two people in this world that I don’t think it’s okay to be mean to: Kristen Wiig and Christina Aguilera. It’s not because I think they are the best people. It’s because they are doing what has been asked of them by the brightest in society – and doing it with talent. Being mean to them doesn’t make sense because you asked them to do what they are doing. Get mad at yourself instead.

Jacob said it best.

Chapter 2.

Artists should not be asked to conform to a role imposed upon them by an audience. Their role should be self-determined. I want Tyler the Creator and Hodgy Beats to be the new Keenan and Kel.

I’m not sure if that’s racist, but I’m pretty sure that it’s hypocritical.

Hypocrisy used to be my main exploration as an artist. At another time it was the relationship between logic and emotion, and at another time it was the correlation between confusion and comfort (it was a negative correlation), and at another time it was “why doesn’t anyone like me?!”

I think the word artist should be spelled F-A-R-T-I-S-T. Because of the word “fart.”

If we’re going to pick a correlation that sums up my fartistry right now, it would be the correlation between fun and importance. This time is different though. This time I feel like the correlation I’m creating fart about isn’t about pointing out an existing statistical anomaly, but rather is about forcing a correlation to exist that I desire to exist. Fun and importance should be highly positively correlated. The only way to get people to do things is to make those things fun to do – nobody does for others, so as long as we make important things fun and fun things important than we will have a successful world.

This philosophy is not one I feel comfortable taking credit for. This is a philosophy that I have appropriated from Keenan and Kel. The message of their fart was a message of fun. Never was a motivation anything beyond attempting to have more fun accomplishing the tasks they needed to accomplish. OFWGKTA is also a group dedicated to the motivation of fun. Guns, eating bugs, vomiting and frightening rape innuendos may not seem fun to you or me, but they are teenagers with an excessive number of resources and an even more excessive imagination. They are starting a sketch show, but just as The Keenan and Kel Show was a far superior spin off of All That, I feel as though (Futurely Named) The Hodgy Tyler: More Than You Show will be a more focused version of exploring fun than the Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All’s ragtag group of teenagers.

I just think people should have fun, and judging others’ versions of fun is rude.

Chapter 3.

Math education has been regarded as too unfun for too long. Math education could save our society. Math class from age 8-15 is the most important hours in the development of a child into a correctly functioning human. This has nothing to do with learning the quadratic formula or how to find the area of the space left over in a circle when a trapezoid is taken out, it has to do with a method of think.

Math teaches us how to discover. A good math education teaches us to find ways to learn from everything around us. It’s about understanding how to find a problem and then find the steps necessary to reach the solution of that problem.

1st Grade: Kids should be taught the coordinate plane. We need to understand what numbers are. How they interact. 1/2, one half, and 0.5 are not different things, they are all one thing split into two parts. Too often when I’m tutoring statistics to grad-students do they write 32.0650. That isn’t appropriate, and if people understood that putting a zero at the end of a number that has reached below zero specifics is useless than they wouldn’t do that.

Here’s a quick test:

1. Read this number out loud: 45.123

Did you say:

a) “Forty five point one hundred and twenty three”

b) “Forty five point one two three”

c) “Forty five and one hundred and twenty three thousandths”

If you said (a) you were taught numbers incorrectly as a child, if you said (b) you taught yourself numbers and are probably pretty good at math, and if you said (c) you are a goody two shoes.

2nd Grade: Kids should be taught long division. In the process of learning long division they are forced to learn addition, subtraction, and multiplication.

2. When you look something up on google maps do you:

a) Look at the directions on the left for indications of where to go

b) Look at the map for indications of where to go

If you said (a) you learned long division incorrectly and if you said (b) you learned long division correctly.

Long division is a unique step-by-step process unlike most processes that we see in our day to day life. Each step of long division takes the answer you found in your last answer and directly applies it to the next step to find the next step, and then repeats. Practicing long division is to logic what sit-ups are to your abs. Reading a map involves finding the connections between two steps and considering that connection to be a step of its own. Long division also demands patience and a respect for the journey toward the solution. Long division teaches you to care less for the final answer and more for the process getting you to the final answer.

Also, operations are not different. Multiplication is just addition done a bunch of times. Subtraction is just addition backwards. Division is just addition done a bunch of times backwards.

3. How would you say the following: sin(30), sin, 3*sin*10?

a) “Sine thirty,” “Sine,” “Three sine ten”

b) “Sine of thirty (I’m going to assume degrees),” “the word ‘sin,'” “that doesn’t mean anything, Nisse you are annoying, what is the meaning of this? I hate you”

Answering (a) means you never understood how operators (multiplication, division, addition, subtraction) work. Answering (b) means you understand how operators work. I hear so many students say “sine 30” and when I clarify that it is “sine of 30” they go “yeah, yeah yeah, whatever.” It’s not “whatever.” This is a very important distinction to make. Trigonometric functions are operators like addition, they are not variables to be placed wherever. They function only if they are of a degree or radian.

None of that needed to make sense to you. What needs to make sense to you is that finding new things is fun. A new operator should be an exciting adventure into a new way to deal with numbers.

3rd Grade: Give the students an abacus, a protractor, a compass, and a slide rule. Don’t teach them anything for an entire year. Put different numbers on the board each day. Let them play.

Math is fun and given the tools to realize that, kids will find that on their own. If we tell them that it’s boring, then they will think that instead.

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comedy, Gender, Indignant, Media, My favorites

Why Are There No Funny Men?

I’ve tried for such a long time to keep an open mind to all comedy – to respect that all people, regardless of gender, can be funny. I can’t do it any more. Men just aren’t as funny as women.

Don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about. If we are going to have an open and honest discussion about the true gender divide in comedy, we have to all start at the same obvious conclusion.

I understand that this seems like a broad generalization, and it is. I don’t mean to imply that no men are funny, there are funny men, but for the most part they utilize gross exaggerations of the male ego for comedic effect or rely on jokes that point out feminine qualities (jokes that wouldn’t get laughs if a woman were to do say them). All male comedians that are decent fall into one of these two categories – they are overly masculine or feigning femininity in order to co-opt comedy. When Dane Cook or Daniel Tosh yell loudly about they’re penis or their erection, they are simply attempting to copy the women who have achieved comedy success through jokes about their menstrual blood and vaginas. Alternately, comedians like Michael Cera or Andy Dick enjoy humor-fame only because they fully commit themselves to femininity – awkwardly avoiding confrontation, refusing to take sexual agency: what’s more feminine than that?

Also Jews. Jewish males are allowed to be funny, but they are only funny because Jewish humor is inherently feminine.

Of course I’m no fan of the fact that when I go to comedy shows it seems as though there is some unwritten rule that you always have to have a male stand up performing about how his ex-wife is a cunt or how much pussy he can get or how big/small his penis is, but why I bring up this inherent comedic division by sex is because I see it permeating our day to day life. The average man just isn’t funny.

Obviously, there are far more terrible male comedians than terrible female comedians, but also I’ve begun to notice that the average male is drastically less funny than the average female. I can’t help but think that this has something to do with some sort of trickle down effect of comedy. Without funny comedian idols to look up to, how would any man become funny?

As a man interested in comedy, this troubles me. Is it impossible for me to be funny because the templates for humor contain curves and sensitive nipples? Does my hairy chest and flat ass prevent me from being able to provide laughter? No. I believe there is hope.

I believe that I can be both a man and be funny. I believe I can provide comedy without castrating myself. I just refuse to believe that comedy can only flow through fallopian tubes. I refuse to concede that testosterone is the biological antonym to humor.

So, please, give me hope. I ask each of you to look for a male comedian who will inspire me – who will not conform to the comedy of yesteryear- comedians equal, in any way, to their comedienne counterparts.

When will we have male comedians that stand up to the powerhouses of comedy like Phyllis Diller, Sarah Silverman, Joan Rivers, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Lucille Ball, Wanda Sykes, Kristen Schall, or Gilda Ratner? I pray for that day.

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Depressed, Lazy, My favorites, Pathetic

Future-Past

Yesterday I got fed up with the fact that my computer sounds like two tractors doin’ the dirty. By “doin’ the dirty” I do not mean hauling mud and gravel places, I mean fucking. Why does it sound like this? Because my computer’s fan must always stay on in order to maintain a heat level that is below hell temperatures and that fan that is constantly on has something stuck in it that makes it buzz like a drill being dropped in a hornets’ nest. I decided I was going to fix this once and for all.

The reason I decided this needed to be fixed yesterday was partially that the sound has gotten exponentially more intense over the last week. Mostly though it was because of “future-past.” For those of you who haven’t spoken with me for longer than an hour and therefore aren’t familiar with the concept of “future-past,” it is the idea of living your life not in the past, present, or future but rather living your life so that in the future you may tell tales of your past. I decided to fix my computer because I figured the adventure into the wonders beneath the metal scraps that enclose my life (aka: my computer) would be both an adventure without much movement and still an adventure.

Boy was I wrong!

Putting exclamation marks after depressing statements makes it look like you are able to make light of your depressing failures. This is the “future-past.”

I’m going to stop putting quotes around future-past because in order for it to become coined as a real phrase it needs to be treated as such.

My first failure was my failure to not have to move much. Obviously I don’t own a small screwdriver. I don’t know why I thought I did, but I really, really thought I did. I scoured my apartment like Gollum looking for the ring, then made lazy similes based on cultural references that everyone will think is personal despite the fact that I don’t really like the Lord of the Rings books.

Then I walked to the pharmacy. I hate the pharmacy near me. I love where I live, and I even love my tiny 4 bedroom apartment with walls the thickness of construction tissue. I like the bars closeby and the restaurants a little further away. But the necessities (bodega, pizza, pharmacy, grocery store) that have to be within a block according to Brooklyn cultural law in my area suck. My bodega’s cat is mean, the beer selection sucks, the juice selections sucks even more, and they constantly run out of crumb donuts. The grocery store is cold and disorganized, closes too early, and has really slow cashiers. I’m pretty sure the pizza place just closed down because of the latest health inspection.

The pharmacy has the worst employees. And not nearly enough toys. My perception of pharmacies is that they need to include basic medicinal needs and lots of useless toys. Maybe this comes from lollipops at doctors’ offices.

I found the mini-screwdriver and headed home. I unscrewed the back panel of my laptop. I unscrewed the metal container around the fan. I brushed out enough lint to make a cotton candy prop in an early talkie. That wasn’t what was making the noise though. I kept unscrewing. Even my newfound virginity (that’s a joke with the word “unscrewing”) couldn’t get my fan to stop sounding like a meat grinder being attacked by a jackhammer. It was the fan itself. It needed to be dealt with.

I followed the wires that plugged the fan in. They seemed unpluggable. They were unpluggable. I unplugged them. There were five wires that I unplugged. Pink, orange, and white all went to the fan. The two black wires travels around the fan and attached to a ball of something hidden by black electrical tape and attached to a copper tube that created a diagonal across my computer. With the black wires unplugged the copper diagonal rose in heat. A lot. I quickly plugged the wires back in. The dogs chewing on metal rods with motors continued. Maybe I could clip just the three wires that connected to the fan. I pulled a knife from my set of kitchen knives that I bought drunk off the internet. I mean that both in that I was drunk and buying things on the internet and that I was drunk on internet surfing. I cut three wires in my computer.

This may be one of the stupidest things I’ve done. But, y’know: future-past!

The computer won’t turn on. It knows that the fan isn’t connected and doesn’t want to ruin itself. I can trick it. I hold the wires together as the computer turns on and then let go once windows has started up. This way the computer doesn’t have a chance to save itself. It overheats and shuts down.

I have fixed my computer and am typing on it now. There are three small pieces of duct tape inside my computer making sure it works, the tractor orgy is still loudly happening, and there are screws missing from the inside of my laptop because, c’mon I was supposed to keep track of those tiny pieces of metal. Also, I’m worried that the duct-tape holding the electronics of my computer (aka: my life) is going to melt soon, so I haven’t screwed the back of my laptop back on and instead attached it with duct-tape.

So, what has the future-past done for me?

I have a computer held together by gluey strands and a constant fear of losing my life’s work. … !

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comedy, Indignant, My favorites

Dear Jizzy Grey

I agree: Humor books are pretty stupid. I want to say that they shouldn’t exist, and I’d be right, but a thing not needed is not a thing that is at fault. Fault and unneed are barely even correlated.

Here are a list of things and their correlation:¹

Finding the problems in our world, exploring them angrily and destroying the self-esteem of the problems is very important. And good. It’s really hard to start projects because if you start a project you might not finish it and uncompleted things are necessarily failures unless some unforseen event left them unable to finish. Something like death.²

Lying is important. It isn’t good. It is that outlier on the first graph. The most important and worst kind is the self-kind. The only way to change is to admit a self imposed lie, and admitting you’ve done something so important and bad is hard because it forces the results to be monumental or wasted.
Change is, of course, both the most important and most good thing, but inspiring it in others is near impossible. Beyond the challenges of demanding the recognition of a self-lie, being heard as you try to get people to acknowledge the mistakes they are making demands being heard. People don’t like listening to those that aren’t talking to them.
There’s a kid playing little league in front of me named Lucian. He has long hair that has at some point been a rat-tail. I’ve never met a Lucian unwilling to try a rat-tail.
Humor books are stupid and they serve no purpose. Liking them makes you a dumb person and probably bad. But humor books and humor authors did not choose their role. They did not choose to be liked. They only distract in a boring way – force a lack of thinking because society demanded a thing that lacked thought – that distracted from fun. Humor books are a sign of society giving up, not a collaborator in  the destruction of effort. Quitting before finding that problem is just being a part of the norm of society.
1. I wanted to provide a hyperlink to the wikipedia entry on r², but I felt it was an overexplanation. If you got it, you got it, and if you didn’t, a quick read on basic statsistics and a n understanding of the creation of a correlation coefficient isn’t going to help you get anything from this entry.
2. This is a reference to DFW’s unfinished book. It will be the only reference to that annoying author.
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Death, Lonely, My favorites

My Hour in Union Square – Diversity; Happiness; Misuse of Punctuation?

First there was the man who looked like he could play my father in a movie. He didn’t look like my dad, but if I were in a movie they would cast this white haired jewfroed hippie with the sensible sneakers and the monochromatic windbreaker on as my dad. Next to him was the hardcore Irishman. Tattoos were on his knuckles, but if it were possible, I’m sure tattoos would be on his heart. Two brothers sat next to him. They cared for each other ~ They would die for each other -: I’m pretty sure one was mentally handicapped. They were hugging now, but you could tell they have a history of fighting when times get tough. But when times aren’t tough, they love each other better than other people do. Next bench down, communicating off and on with the larger group were two broskies – one black, one white: handshaking and laughing at how they were so awesome. Everyone enjoyed their presence too. Every once in a while this group of joyous public park patrons was visited by a middle aged black woman getting off her job that involved a bag that was close to being a briefcase and an unstable 35 year old conspiracy theorist.

The one thing that brought them together on this would-be-dreary day:

Heroin.

Mostly their conversation consisted of comparing track marks.

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