Pure Genius

Came across this on notcot.org

Things to say during sex venn diagram.

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Tour Guiding

I’ve been a walking tour guide for almost 5 months. You just never know what you’re going to get from tour to tour. Last week I was sexually harassed by this phillipino guy from Seattle because I made the mistake of revealing my sexual identity (thinking that it would build some commonality, it built a little too much).

I was giving an “Underground” Portland tour to a middle school a few months ago. The tour itself focuses on ‘Underground’ topics more than actual subterranean locales. This 13 year old boy from the tour group trots up to me as I’m pulling away from the group to ask “Where’s vaseline alley?”, which is a dated term describing Portland’s now defunct strip of gay bars. After collecting myself, I told him it used to be at 10th & Stark, but that it’s not really there any more.

Many of my tours take place in Oldtown/Chinatown in Portland, and they are often invaded by crazy street people who have something to say. I’ve taken to calling them “Portland Flavor” to my groups once they’re gone and out of earshot. There was one instance where a homeless man was invading and asking questions, and a postman walked up and took him away as he walked by. Myself and the group were pleasantly surprised by this act of consideration from the postman, and my comeback to the group was simply “Portland, a city that works.”

Today, I was scheduled to give a private tour to the Pear Bureau. Yes, there is a pear bureau because, evidently, over 90% of the world’s pears are grown in Oregon and Washington. Well, the surprise was that the pear bureau was actually hosting some high end Russian travel and food show. So I essentially gave a tour to a Russian television show. I’ll be appearing to 56 million Russians as the guide who introduced them to Portland and Voodoo Doughnuts. They even filmed me walking and talking with the host of the show. There’s no end to the thrills in my life.

Holy Shit! I’m fucking done.

It’s the end of an age for me. I was awarded my Masters degree today after my thesis defense. It was funny that it offered few insights for improvisers, but it was the bomb for anthropologists and a few people from other disciplines. I’ve forgotten how much improvisers take what they do and know for granted.

One of my thesis committee, who was assigned as an outside observer to insure this was above the boards, asked me where he could see long-form in Portland after my defense.  Another convert to the cause.

What now? That’s the real question. School has been my life for the past 7 years. Back to work to pay off the $65k in education debt. <sigh>

Childhood, Kung Fu and Epiphany

On a whim, I began netflixing the old TV series “Kung Fu” with David Carradine. As I’ve been ticking off the seasons and the episodes, they all had this feeling of familiarity. Then it dawned on me that I used to watch it all the time when I was like 7 or 8. As Kwai Chang Kane’s master started quoting passages from the Tao Te Ching it hit me. The roots of my philosophical and spiritual inklings were sooo influenced by this show. It’s scary.

Then I wondered why they couldn’t have an actual Chinese actor to play Kane. Ah, the 70’s.

College Bureaucracy

Now begins the grand arranging of the thesis defense.

For the uninitiated, a thesis defense consists of you presenting your research and findings (via your thesis) to a committee of 3 professors (who have all presumably read your thesis) along with any of the public who attend. There is a break when the public is excused, and then you have a private question and answer session with your committee. Then you leave while they talk, and you come back to find out if you get your Masters, and if they want you to make revisions to your thesis.

The bureaucracy comes in when you have to start working with the grad studies office. Although, I do have to say that Maureen, who oversees the interdisciplinary masters program, totally rocks. I’ve never had anything but positive experiences with her. I’m just getting some deadline anxiety, and the grad studies people are the deadline police. Thankfully, they don’t wear uniforms. Because my thesis adviser is going to be out of town, I am missing a deadline to defend and still graduate this summer. However, once I defend and make any corrections, I’m done. The diploma can catch up late, I guess.

One of the other idiosyncrasies of getting this degree is that the Grad Studies office is having me go through their pilot program for online submission for my thesis. It’s great because it’s going to save me a ton in printing. Since this thesis is like 113 pages long, the cost of printing out 4 copies on heavy bond thesis paper is daunting to someone who is struggling on low income. Keep your fingers crossed that someone wants to hire me soon. Baby needs new shoes,

Take a peak at the thesis

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

 

Page

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS…………………………………………………………..     iii

 

 

I.          Introduction……………………………………………………………………..      1

                        The Setting and Subjects………………………………………………      6

                        Methods……………………………………………………………….     10

                        Summary………………………………………………………………    14

II.        History of the Art and Research of Improvised Theater………………….    17

                        History and Background of Improvisational Theater…………………….    17

                        Studies of Chicago Improvisation and Useful Social Theories.………    21

III.       Performers: The Background of Performing Improv………………………   29

                        Training: Learning a New Social and Cultural System………………..   29

The Path to Communitas………………………………………………    33

                        Shared Lives and References………………………………………….    50

                        Threats to Communitas: Rule Breaking and Poor Listening Skills……   54

IV.       Performance………………………………………..……………………..…..   65

                        Liminality and Joking in Performance…………………………………    65

                        Uniting the Viewer and the Viewed……………………………………    69

Sensing Connection and Understanding the Audience…………………..    74

V.        The Audience………………………………………………..………………..    87

                        From ‘Macro’ to ‘Micro’ Joking Cultures…………………………….    87

                        The Demographics of Rochester’s Long-form Audiences……………    92

                        The Audience’s Engagement: Establishing a ‘Micro’ Joking Culture..    94

VI.       Conclusions: Shared Myths, Shared Lives and Community……………… 100

                        Agreement and Heightening with Further Research…………………..  103

 

APPENDICES

            Appendix A Questions for Performers and Audiences………………………..  105

            Appendix B Audience Paper Survey………………………………………….. 107

            Appendix C Online Performer Survey…………………………………………  109

 

Bibliography………………………………………………………………………….. 112