Tagged: improvisation

Set List

How does the comic mind work? Where does the funny come from? These and many other vital questions get answered every time Set List comes to town. It works like this: Some of the best comics on the scene are supplied with their “set list” — the topics they’ll cover — when they arrive on stage. Since these lists...

The Art of Being Funny in Los Angeles

Lately we’ve been immersing ourselves in stand-up comedy and feeling altogether good about it. You can be addicted to a lot worse things than endorphins. Much of the past year in Los Angeles has been spent closely observing comedians doing their thing: ranting, rambling, telling jokes, riffing, raving, singing songs, reading from a script, making...

POEMJAZZ

Poet Robert Pinsky. Pianist Laurence Hobgood. Text, music, and the moment — what we hear on the new POEMJAZZ recording is two giant artists making something greater than the sum of its parts. While Pinsky recites his lovely words with his unlovely (but weirdly attractive) voice, Hobgood, the longtime arranger and accompanist for Kurt Elling,...

Encouraging Words for Despairing Artists

If you’re an artist, or have an artistic impulse, or care deeply about art, you probably experience the kind of quiet despair that I find in many of my jazz musician friends, my poet friends, my painter friends, and frequently from myself. Yes, it’s heartbreaking to be part of a culture that finds the work that...

Justin Ian Daniels

He’s intensely energetic, but not manic, prone to rapid-fire improvisation yet not scatterbrained. Fierce and charming. Comic Justin Ian Daniels is in the midst of a month-long residency at Hollywood’s longest-running (and best) weekly comedy show, “What’s Up, Tiger Lily?” Don’t miss the opportunity to see him do his thing. It’s a kind of magic.

Ode to “Opening Night: The Improvised Musical”

Los Angeles is lousy with talent. Just as the plethora of beautiful men and women on the streets (and in the stores, and everywhere else) start to blend into the palm-lined boulevards, it’s easy to become immune to the charms of so many funny, clever, quick-witted people. When you see theater or hear music or...

Planning for the New Year

Those of us who suffer from Horizon Sickness — always looking ahead to the next thing instead of being fully engaged with the present — tend to be excellent planners. We maintain detailed lists; we’re fantastically organized; our desks are neat. We foresee everything.  Sadly, after several decades of insisting otherwise, we must admit that...

In Praise of Rhiannon

Living in a culture where the surest way for a woman to achieve notoriety and celebrity is to inexpertly perform fellatio on a homemade sex tape, disingenuously decry its orchestrated release on the Internet, and then snag a “reality show” that broadcasts her inane yammering in excruciating detail, one desperately needs occasional doses of pure...

A Tale of Two Venues

Last night in Los Angeles, the Grammy awards were distributed at Staples Center, the basketball/hockey arena downtown. The vital business of marketing jesters ennobled by the moniker “musical artist” went smoothly from what I gather; the festivities were broadcast all over the world, and demure statuettes were disbursed to those who played along with the...