Performer Notes

Block and Denial Festival

San Francisco troupeThe theater is run by Endgames Improv, and their stated goal is to "stage cheap and free improv comedy shows as well as teach longform improvisation that is a blend of the best parts of Chicago, New York and LA's style. We believe that great comedy should be affordable and accessible and should NEVER come with a drink minimum. Ever." Established in 2010, EndGames Improv, says their website "is a product of a few improvisers' dream of...

Jerry's Fantasies

A BLAST FROM MY PAST My Life as an Improviser, Pt. 2 By TOM SOTER "Tom, you'd better sit down," said the voice on the other end of the line. "I want you to be prepared for what I'm about to tell you." "I'm sitting down," I said, not recognizing the name "Janet Smith" on my caller ID nor the voice of the man on the phone.  "This is Jerry Patterson, Tom."  "Jerry Patterson," I said slowly. I paused. "It's been a long time." Twenty-five years, in fact. It was aroung 1984 or 1985 and I...

The Pink Elephant Unconscious Arts Show

MY LIFE AS AN IMPROVISER 1 By TOM SOTER The man was missing an arm. That was obvious. I was teaching my Tuesday night improv class at the Lucy Moses School when a new student came in. And he was clearly missing an arm. Now teaching people to improvise may seem like a contradiction –­ how can you learn to be spontaneous? – but it actually isn’t as strange as it sounds. As children, we can usually be very spontaneous, saying the first thing that comes into our heads, damn the consequences. But as...

The Man with the Golden Bullet

By Tom Soter Before I improvised on stage, I improvised on film – in a series of Super-8 movies directed by Christian Doherty between 1971 and 1973. This is one of them, from when I was just a mere youth: The Man with the Golden Bullet Directed by Christian Doherty. Filmed: 1971 With Alan Saly, Tom Soter, Tom Sinclair, and Cameron Doherty as Marie Music by Nick Soter The fifth in the Henry Sorelli spy movie series, this installment finds Henry (Alan Saly) trying to recover his girlfriend (...

The Sandman

By Tom Soter Before I improvised on stage, I improvised on film – in a series of Super-8 movies directed by Christian Doherty between 1971 and 1973. This is one of them, from when I was just a mere youth: The Sandman Directed by Christian Doherty. Filmed: 1973At leisure: Tom Soter, contemplating his misspent youth. With Alan Saly, Tom Soter Shot on location in Crete, this bizarre film was one of Doherty’s last and best, a surreal picture of a friendship gone wrong that builds with relentless...

My First Improv Teacher

GEORGE TODISCO IMPROV GURU Todisco: Yes and... By TOM SOTER Improvisation is the art of giving, of positive reinforcement. One of its masters was George Todisco, the founder and artistic director of the New York–based group Chicago City Limits who died in 1982. Brooklyn-born Todisco was only 30 at the time of his death but set in motion a company that continues to this day, proving to be the most successful improv troupe in New York City. Many of its past and present members have performed at...

The Tao of Wayne

By TARA LYNN WAGNER When Tom Soter and I first discussed the possibility of my writing a column, we decided that its "purpose" would be to encourage you l to learn more about the world of improv and the many benefits of applying its lessons to your regular lives. But, between you and me (and PLEASE don't tell Tom), I pretty much just make this stuff up and hope you all like it. I mean, sure, I have managed to talk my way out of traffic tickets and family reunions and actually having to go to...

Your Mother Should Know

By TARA LYNN WAGNER Last month, my mother, her six closest girlfriends and their daughters all descended upon the HomeGrown Theater at 100th Street and Broadway for an evening of riotous good improvisational fun at the Sunday Night Improv comedy jam. I should be used to it. Most of these women have been coming to see me perform since I was a bunny in the kindergarten production of Dr. Doolittle. TL Wagner In the restaurant before the show, they asked me to explain exactly what it was they were...

My Father, the Improviser

By TOM SOTER My father, George, has always been unpredictable. Every night, after dinner, my mother would bring out a cake she had prepared. My father would always ask one of his three sons to bring out a knife and fork to slice it up. Every night, the routine was the same. She'd bring out the cake, my father would say, "What am I to cut it with?" And we would suddenly remember to get the knife and fork. Well, one night, the cake was brought out and, as usual, the three brothers sat there,...

Improv: The Formative Years (1968-72)

By Tom Soter Before I improvised on stage, I improvised with my friends using the microphone of a home tape recorder and then the lense of a super-8 film camera. We were teenagers and made shows for the ACD tape recorder network and movies for Apar Films. By Tom Soter Before I improvised on stage, I improvised with my friends using the microphone of a home tape recorder and then the lense of a super-8 film camera. We were teenagers and made shows for the ACD tape recorder network and movies...
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