November 2012 Archives

Sparkle Hour! Is Critics Choice on Gapers Block!

I am so proud of this review. And I totally agree.

Comedy Fri Nov 30 2012

Critic's Choice: Sparkle Hour! at The Annoyance

Sparkle Hour! Poster.jpgA few months ago, an editor at a newspaper I used to work for sent me a Gchat message asking me to write my coming out story for an article she was compiling for "National Coming Out Day." Coming out stories are still important, because, let's face it, no matter how "open" people are "becoming," saying you aren't straight is a thing.

My ex-editor's article was supposed to be part of a piece about LGBT writers and what it means to "come out." That's nice, I thought, as I typed "I don't think I can make the deadline." I told her that I didn't really have the time to write anything, but the real reason was that I didn't know what to say. In today's no-fat-no-soy-civil-union-app-life, I wondered what I could add to the conversation. Luckily for us, Philip Markle has plenty to say about it in his glittery one-person show Sparkle Hour! at the Annoyance Theatre.

I love a good gay comedy; I think it takes a lot of blue-balls to get up in front of an audience and queen out and not seem like a caricature.

More importantly queening out on stage is hard to do RIGHT because it's what a lot of people expect. Oh look a gay guy is making cock jokes! It's the idea that anything gay has to be overtly GAY. You know, like listening to Ke$ha's new song "Die Young" on repeat. There's a very specific knack that some performers have -- in this case Markle -- at doing gay comedy in a way that isn't six-days-at-the-gym superficial. To me, this is a balance that he brilliantly handles.

In Sparkle Hour! Markle starts out by telling us a little about his ga(y)mer life -- he used to (maybe still does?) play EverQuest and was apparently at one point a pretty big topic on some message boards. While I have never been a fan of these types of online games, I thought his story was interesting, because it shows the effect technology has had on the way marginalized people form communities. There are a lot of endearing nerd-jokes in this part of the show, and I loved how he explains creating his own personal worlds.

Markle is a huge talent -- he mixes storytelling, original songs, and improv to give a fully realized perspective on the experiences he's sharing. For some transitions, he plays the keyboard. He can really write some catchy songs, and I've been singing his "Live Epic" song in my head since the show. Can I haz on iTunes soon, pleez?

The show isn't just about coming out, Markle also talks about what turns him on, finding his "Fairy fagmother," and dating -- one of my favorite scenes was his "Dummy" date, which wasn't just hilarious, but, for me, cathartic.

The show's overall epic message is: Do you. I firmly hold the belief that you can never have too many "Be Yourself" messages. His poignant storytelling abilities make "Sparkle Hour!" a gay-show that can be enjoyed by anyone (well, probably anyone 18+). When I was asked to talk about my coming out, I didn't know what to say, but Markle's story hits all the right notes.

I want to give a quick shout-out to the Annoyance, who has been putting up a lot of LGBT-themed or -friendly comedy. A lot of my LGBT-friends actually don't like going to comedy shows, because they feel like a lot of the gay punch-line stuff is gross and makes them uncomfortable. With the shows Sparkle Hour!, Steamwerkz: The Musical (which I haven't seen but have heard is great), and recently Wes Perry's Don't Act Like a Girl, the Annoyance is a theater that isn't afraid to get gay.

Sparkle Hour! will play on Sunday nights at 8PM until December 9. The Annoyance Theatre is located at 4830 N. Broadway. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online.

Follow me @Ty_e_

Drunk Monkeys New Season Teaser!

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OOOH We're Back. Get Ready.

Dear Musicians Who Think it is Cool to have Talking in the Middle of Your Songs,

Why? Why must you insist on this? Do you think it enhances your song? Do you have some sort of amazing message that you need to tell us? Well, here's news for you--it only makes your song freaking creepy.

I've never been a fan of talking in songs, In fact, I've always despised it. I think the Moody Blues Song "Knights in White Satin" is beautiful and lovely...until they start with the "breathe deep, the gathering gloom" crap. It just terrified me as a kid, and as an adult, I always try to change the channel before it gets to that part.  And don't get me started on "Is That All There Is?" the Peggy Lee classic. Ugh! It sends shivers down my spine. The one I am hearing a lot of these days is the Michele Williams version of the Cloud Nothings song "Paradise." In the context of a video, ok sure, have some scenework. But don't play the talky version on the radio.

I think my hatred of talking in songs stems back to being a kid and hearing National Lampoon's "Deteriorata." I know it is a hilarious parody of the "Desiderata," but I think the combo of spoken word and song chorus and such a negative message really imprinted my brain with fear. My heart races whenever I hear even a split second of that song.

And now, downtown, they have these "poetry on the street" things that light up on the sidewalks. They used to play music and the lights would flash in response to the tones. That is lovely! Now it is creepy dead-sounding speaking voices and dimly lit lights trying to respond to the lack of inflection of the readers. When I am downtown, walking to lunch or running errands, do you think that hearing 3 seconds of a dull-sounding poem is going to make me stop and listen? If anything, it makes me feel like I am in some sort of sci-fi movie in which the computers are controlling my actions and movements and informing me of my impending expiration. Not your best move, City of Chicago.

But back to my point--why is this even a thing? Do you artists feel like you are being super creative with having this trope? Or are you masking the fact that maybe your song isn't amazing? We want to listen to MUSIC, so please just play your music. If I wanted a monologue or a poem, I would listen to talk radio.

So to all you musicians out there--please just play your music. Save your spoken word for the poetry slam.




Yesterday, I won the Jerkface award:


But it turns out, I wasn't the only one:


(Medals designed by Fuzzy)

Daily Inspiration

Thanks to Fuzzy for sending this vid to me.

Goal: See More Shows

Here are a few that I am planning on seeing in December:

Dada Gert Workshop @ The Cultural Center, Dec 5th, 7pm
Steamwerkz The Musical, @ Annoyance, Dec 7th, 10pm
Belmont Burlesque Revue: Jingle Belles @ Theatre Wit, Dec 8th 10:30pm
Burlesque-a-pades @ Martyrs, Dec 13, 9pm
Andrew Bird Gezelligheid @ Fourth Presb Church

Date to be decided:

Failure: A Love Story @ Victory Gardens
Second City's Nut Cracking Holiday Revue @ Second City

So it's become some sort of an annual tradition/obsession with Fuzzy and I to find the best Christmas ornaments out there each year at the Christkindlmarket. Two people even requested photos of our new ornaments, even before we had them picked out. Since I am now salary-less, I tried to be reasonable and not purchase too much, but there were a few doozies that we had to bring home.

For reference, 2011 and 2010.

Here is me with this year's boot of wine!


Fuzzy enjoying a sandwich!

And now on to the Ornaments!

A Shiny Devil!!! He'll be right at home with our witch, gittery skull and glittery ghost.

Naked Santa front
Oh, look, Santa wants a kiss. Wait, what's he wearing?
Naked Santa back

And now, the best. Last year I made a promise to myself that I wasn't going to let it get away....and I was good on my word. Introducing:
Money Shittee front


Money Shitter back

Oh man. And if you think I am being crass, here is last year's label:

Money Shitter

Welcome home, little guys!!

I Love the (concept of) the Nightlife

I do comedy. I do burlesque. I love these shows and I love being a part of these communities.
I love going to concerts.

All of these things have something in common: they are late night activities.

I have a hard time staying up past 10:30 pm. And when I do, I have to take a nap in the afternoon first. And I am wrecked the next day. It's something about me, and I can't help it. I have good intentions to be a night person, and I just am not. I used to be, but no more.

A few years ago, I made a decision to not do midnight shows anymore. It was draining on me and I found it hard to muster up the energy to be entertaining on stage that late at night. As I get older, I've been able to pick and choose the projects that I want to do more these days, which is awesome.

But then, I started working on a show that ran approx 2 hours and started at 11pm. I felt obligated to see the show a lot so that I could get progress reports, but I just couldn't do it. It was a weekly show, and I managed to only see it once every 3 months. I felt guilty about that, like I wasn't doing my job.

The last show I had running started earlier, at 9pm on one night and midnight on other nights. I saw it 3 times in the run, which is a lot for me! But I felt obligated to see it more and I felt guilty that I didn't.

The other day, it occurred to me--I didn't HAVE to be there every show. I wasn't in the show. I put my work in beforehand. I choreographed for months leading up to rehearsals. I rehearsed multiple times a week to get the show where I wanted it. Once it was up and running, it was out of my hands. And I didn't have to feel guilty or apologize to anyone that I wasn't there more. I knew going in that I wasn't going to be able to make it to all the shows. And I don't have to feel bad about it. I am who I am and I LOVE who I am, so if anyone has a problem with my show attendance or non-outgoing nature, they are welcome to talk to me about it. But so far, no one has. So I am just putting the guilt onto myself. And that's not fun or healthy for anyone!

So! I will continue to carve out a place for myself in the entertainment world, and I will let others enjoy it. That's why I do it, for other people to have an entertaining night out. 

Meanwhile, I am going curl up for a good night's sleep.


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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I am spending the day at home with my darling amazing wonderful husband, and we are going to cook and relax and enjoy each other's company.

I am thankful for many things this year, and at the risk of being too cliched by listing what I am thankful for, here is a cliched list of what I am thankful for this year:

My husband. How am I so lucky that I found the most amazing man and perfect partner in the world. Every day I am in awe that someone so wonderful fell in love with me. Our lives just fit together perfectly and there is no one I would rather spend time with in the world.

My brother! He's been a rock these last couple of months, and is SO supportive of me and my career. Also, I am thankful that we've been able to talk as much as we have, even across the continents.

The health of my family. It was great seeing Mom doing so well, and I have had zero trips to the hospital this year (unlike last year's 5 ER visits).

The safety of Christopher and Katie. They've had a hard first year in Africa, but they keep on going and never cease to inspire me with their commitment and dedication. I am happy they are safe there.

New job beginnings. Fuzzy is in a much better work environment now than he has been over the last several years. I am free of day job and I have never been happier. This is a new beginning for the both of us--doing what we love, following our passions and bringing our creative worlds to life.

Beloved friends. Oh man, I have the best friends, and so many of them. What a blessing. If ever I have a down day or feel insecure, I remember that I must be doing something right to be surrounded by so many incredible people.

Being free of depression. I can't tell you how many times I've said recently that I have never been happier.

Show openings and closings. Sparkle Hour opened Sunday, Boobs of the Dead closes Friday. Ongoing projects are popping up. Opportunities and exciting things are around the corner.

Exciting trips in our future. Next year we are going to Denver, NYC, New Orleans, Paris. I can't wait.

My cats! Yes, my cats.

I am thankful that we have a warm(ish) home and food to eat. My heart goes out to those who don't have these things.

Laughter and humor. The best part about being a comedian? Getting to laugh all the time.

And so much more. I really have a remarkable life.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Relax and Enjoy the Holidays

Oh boy the holidays can be stressful, right? Why don't we take some advice from Erica Reid from November 10, 1998 as told to the Clarion Ledger, the newspaper of Jackson, MS.

Relax and Enjoy the Holidays1

Caption: "One way to relax over the holidays for Erica Reid of Jackson is the old stand-by: the bubble bath." (the caption should have read: "One way to relax over the holidays is to put on tons of makeup before taking a bath, as Erica Reid of Jackson has clearly done here.")

Relax and Enjoy the Holidays2Relax and Enjoy the Holidays3

Ooh, what else do you have to say, Erica of 1998?

Nurture Body and Soul:
A good night's sleep can lower your stress level during the holidays, said Erica Reid of Jackson, a sophomore at Hinds Community College in Raymond and Education Office Assistant at New Stage Theatre.

A bubble bath can take away one's worries where's there's too much to do. "I'm one of those people who can stay in the tub for an hour," she said.

True that, young 19 year old me. True that. (ps, you still are one of those people.)

You're welcome, America.

An Index of Drunk Monkeys Episodes!

Here is a complete list of all episodes of Drunk Monkeys, for your reference!!

Episode 0: Introduction
Episode 1: Root
Episode 2: 360 Cola Vodka
Episode 3: Chambord
Episode 4: Crema de Mezcal
Episode 5: Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka
Episode 6: Herbsaint
Episode 7: Cocktail Time--Lemon Arak
Episode 8: Disaronno
Episode 9: 360 Double Chocolate Vodka
Episode 10: Chocovine
Episode 11: Barenjager
Episode 12: Vermouth
Episode 13: Bitters
Episode 14: Schonauer Apfel
Episode 15: Cocktail Bonus Feature
Episode 16: Season 3 Teaser
Episode 17: GIRL
Episode 18: Pinnacle Cookie Dough Vodka
Episode 19: Zen Green Tea Liqueur
Episode 20: Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine
Episode 21: North Shore Eldergin
Episode 22: Cocktail Time--Eldergin Fizz
Episode 23: Jeppson's Malort
Episode 24: Season 4 Teaser
Episode 25: Live Show Promo
Episode 26: Soplica Orzech Laskowy
Episode 27: Maker's White
Episode 28: Pinnacle Cake Vodka
Episode 29: Bakon Vodka
Episode 30: Calvados Pays d'Auge Venerable
Episode 31: Creme de Cassis
Episode 32: Cocktail Time--Sazerac
Episode 33: Live! Chicago Women's Funny Festival Intro
Episode 34: Hum
Episode 35: Alaska Distillery Salmon Vodka
Episode 36: Season 6 Teaser
Episode 37: Pinnacle Gummy
Episode 38: Byrrh
Episode 39: Risky? Whisky
Episode 40: Phillips Lime Vodka
Episode 41: Breuckelen Whiskey
Episode 42: Naked Jay Big Dill Pickle Vodka
Episode 43: Season 7 Teaser
Episode 44: Cardamaro
Episode 45: Alaska Distillery Birch Syrup Vodka
Episode 46: Kinky Liqueur
Episode 47: Risky? Whiskey Part 2

Sparkle Hour!

I've had the pleasure of working with Philip Markle and Jen Ellison on the show Sparkle Hour!--a one-man musical extravaganza into the life of Philip Sparkle! I met Philip at Apes auditions, and he blew me away. Shortly after, he asked me to produce his show, and I am so glad that I agreed to do so. I've had the chance to work with some amazing people (GeorgeGabe Gonzalez, Denise Adan, Chelsea Devantez, and of course, Jen and Philip.) It's also been amazing watching Jen work her director magic. The show has changed a lot over the last couple of months, but I am happy to say that it is a really great solid show! I am proud of the work that I have put into it, and I hope it achieves great success. I can't get the songs out of my head. Come see it, won't you?

Sparkle Hour!
Sunday nights at 8pm
November 18-December 9
At the Annoyance Theatre
4830 N. Broadway

Sparkle Hour! Poster.jpg


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I realized that I've done a lot of traveling this year, but barely have posted any photos. I'll try to start doing some photo dumps, starting with my trip to MS last weekend!

I started my trip off with a visit to Parlor Market. Oh my gosh, it was delicious.

Mississippi Nov 2012
Some jalapeno tequila cocktail. Yum!
Mississippi Nov 2012
Duck sausage with cheese grits and pork belly with brussel sprout kimchi.

Mississippi Nov 2012
My cute mama! We spent the day together in Jackson, but this was taken at the coffee shop in Vburg. We had so much fun! I was a dummy that didn't get a photo of the 2 of us together. I also forgot to get one of my grandmother.

Mississippi Nov 2012
We went to the cemetery to see Dad's grave. My hilarious mom said "Wouldn't it be funny if I laid down where my gravesite is?" Yes, yes it would be.

Mississippi Nov 2012
This isn't the prettiest photo, but this is my all time favorite meal in the world, from my favorite restaurant in the world, Goldies Trail BBQ. I've gotten this same meal every time I've been there (except once) since I was about 7 years old. It's a BBQ sausage sandwich, double meat, with a side of potato salad. SWOON. I devoured it, as always.

Mississippi Nov 2012

Then it was off to Starkville to see my oldest dearest friend in the world, Melissa, and her hubs Grady and kids Delia and Brooks. SO SWEET.

Mississippi Nov 2012

Mississippi Nov 2012

The next morning, we headed out for the 15th annual Starkville Turkey Trot. It had record attendance--233!! MS is precious. :) It was essentially all uphill the whole time, but yet we ran it faster than my last 5K! The weather was glorious!

Mississippi Nov 2012

Mississippi Nov 2012

Later that afternoon, we went to get a mid-day snack downtown!
Mississippi Nov 2012
Pretty Melissa

Mississippi Nov 2012
Greek Nachos. Um, yes.

The next morning, we had brunch at Restaurant Tyler! Mississippi Nov 2012
The kiddos! So sweet.
Mississippi Nov 2012
Fried Chicken and Waffles!
Mississippi Nov 2012
The best Bloody Mary I've ever had. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Then it was back to Jackson!
Mississippi Nov 2012
Bottle tree!

There is nothing finer than sitting outside barefooted drinking wine by a fire. Then you add to it, Chad and Elizabeth, and I am in heaven!
Mississippi Nov 2012
Sweet Chad. (Chad is my "friend cousin." Long story, but lets just say I love him.)

 Mississippi Nov 2012
Elizabeth and Chad!

Mississippi Nov 2012
Chad is studying wine right now, and his double fisting was cracking me up. The wine was delicious, by the way.

Mississippi Nov 2012
Fire! Fire! Fire!

Mississippi Nov 2012

Mississippi Nov 2012

Mississippi Nov 2012

Mississippi Nov 2012
Elizabeth is one of the best cooks in the world, and she made this incredible gumbo from scratch! Oh man. Not only that, but she froze some so I could take some back to Fuzzy on the plane! It made for a great meal the next day!

Oh, Mississippi. I do love you so! Days and days of eating and drinking--can't beat that!!

The New!

So it's been 2 weeks to the day that I left my day job. I think last week was mostly for adjusting to that and trying to do everything. I had a hard time waking up, I was overwhelmed with everything I had to do, I had to tell myself it was ok to not have a day job. That doesn't mean I wasn't working--in fact, upon leaving a rehearsal I had on a Saturday, I realized that that was now my "work," and that made me so happy. Do what you love, right? When I was working a day job and rehearsing at all hours of the night, I would occasionally resent my schedule. Now that rehearsals ARE my schedule, I look forward to them and enjoy them a lot more.

I went to MS over the weekend, and it was awesome. SUCH a fun time. I had a great time with my mom, with Melissa and her family, and with Chad and Elizabeth. It was what I needed to fall in love with Vicksburg again. So nice. I came back jazzed and energized for what is next. Yesterday, I got up early and cleaned all day and was so productive! It felt great, and I am easing into what my daily schedule is now going to be like. Last night, however, I had a late night rehearsal (I got home at 1:30am!) and today I am SO FRIED that I can barely function. HA! Well, it is all about balance. It's ok to have some lag days, if my others are really productive.

I feel like I am in a good place. I have a ton on my agenda, but I am not overwhelmed. And I am still giving myself some downtime. Plus, it is the holiday season, which I love, and I enjoy hunkering down and staying out of the cold, so I look forward to some of that, too.

But for now, I need more coffee...
This one came in last week, in the Chicago Reader, as a Culture Vulture pick of the week!

Scott Kenemore, author of the novel Zombie, Illinois, feels a kinship with:

Boobs of the Dead I was really impressed with Boobs of the Dead, a Walking Dead-themed burlesque show running now at the Gorilla Tango Theatre in my neighborhood. It kind of reimagines the zombie virus as a plague that turns unsuspecting Americans into burlesque dancers. (I like the idea of burlesque as something you can "catch" that replaces your regular clothing with feather boas and garter belts, and your regular activities with sexy zombie dance moves.) It is a well-plotted show. As a zombie writer, I find myself subjected to a lot of zombie adaptations that are schlocky and/or haven't been thought through all the way. In stark contrast, this show--in addition to being comprehensible--is consistently funny, scary, and sexy, and also has a lot of clever turns on the original Kirkman comic and AMC show. I totally enjoyed it.


What a night! It was an exciting election, and I cried a lot (in a good way) and didn't get a lot of sleep, and have been going all day, so I'm worn out! I'm heading to MS in a few hours to see my mom, Melissa, and Chad. It'll be an exhausting trip (lots of driving), but also a fun one--without doctors, hospitals, or funerals!!! I'm looking forward to some R&R, Mistletoe Marketplace, and wine times. And the MS air--it's one of my favorite things in the world. Sigh. I'm happy.

Rine-Stone in the New Yorker

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The New Yorker did a really cool Photo Booth video about the undecided voter in Ohio. Who was featured? None other than Rebecca Rine-Stone and her family! It is soo cool! Check it out!


Did you miss out on seeing the insanely popular Boobs of the Dead, a Walking Dead Burlesque at Gorilla Tango last month? Well, FEAR NOT! We've added 3 performances!
Friday, November 2 at 9pm! That's tonight!
Friday, November 16 at 9pm!
Friday, November 23 at 9pm!

Don't miss it!

Also, I can't believe I didn't make a "Don't quit your day job" joke yesterday. So here it is.

Day 1

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Today is an exciting day.
Today is the first day of the start of my new life.

Because....I left my job! WOOOO! I am happily in a place where the creative work was overshadowing the day job, and I wasn't having enough time to do all my show work. Luckily, with Fuzzy's awesome job, and my freelance gigs bringing in some money, it just seemed like the right time to go. It was definitely a hard decision--I've been considering it for about 6 months, but finally the opportunity opened up and all the lights were shining in that direction, so I just had to take a leap of faith! And let me tell you, putting this energy into the world has already opened up so many opportunities for me. I have a lot of projects to keep me busy for the months to come! But first, I am taking a day for myself today. To do what I want to do. To not work. Here's what I've done so far:

1) Slept til 10am. YESSSS.
2) Treated myself to an apple fritter for breakfast. WHAAAAT?
3) Updated my Press List.
Ok, ok, so that last one is work. I know, I know. But it was easy.

Ok, so since I started this blog post, our internet was out for several hours, and then I talked on the phone for a really long time with Erica in NY. Lovely day! A dream come true!

So anyways, back to my last day, Shannon and my colleagues made me this awesome farewell video. Every time I watch it, it makes me cry! It features photos through the years, a lot of inside jokes, some of my colleagues and work that I've done, and a poem!  Thank you so much, Shannon! You are amazing!

Then the work starts again tomorrow, as I continue rehearsals for Sparkle Hour and start them up again for the extension of Boobs of the Dead on Saturday. I AM READY FOR WHAT IS NEXT!!!!