Letter From the Editor
I still think the Beatles were right, Love truly is all you need, especially right now. With stimulus packages being disbursed, unemployment on the rise and the like, it’s kind of hard not to have money on the brain. And now that we’re quarantined for who know’s how long, everyone has doubled down on social media to stay relevant.
Likewise, I’ve found solace in finding Art in the everyday. Still running 15 hours daily in the weeks of Covid, I took a few minutes this week to build a mini daylight studio in the corner of my Astoria apartment. With Georgia on my Mind popping into my musical cue, I laughed out loud and corrected Ray sentiment with Money, and quickly produced this digital print.
I LOVE this tree. It sits in the corner of my living room soaking up the afternoon’s golden rays, and always reminds me that even in the cloudiest and darkest of days, there’s sun on that future horizon and that we too shall find new life, opportunity and Cash tomorrow.
In the meantime, like all media prophets & social media psychologists will tell you, do you. Keep documenting this Covid odyssey of ours, staying creative in your own way, keeping your mind active even if your bank account is less than full. Cash maybe king at the moment, but I’ll take Love & Art over cash any day.
Stay creative dear friends.
The Artist’s Odyssey
I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what it was that I wanted to do with my life. I’d been playing music from the time I was 7. By the time I was 13, all I wanted was to be in a band for the rest of my life. By the time I was 18, I was starting to worry that music was all I was. People knew me as the guitar guy. I was worried that I didn’t have any other skills, that I didn’t have other interests or ways to spend my time. I needed something more. That’s when I discovered comedy.
My first improv class was at Utah State University in Logan, UT with the on campus troop. I did workshops with them for 2 months and recognized that I had quickly become one of the top improvisers there. The head of the campus troop decided to bring me to an improv workshop that was taking place off campus in the back of a comic book shop hosted by a local troop named Logan Out Loud. That workshop changed my life. No one was tied to any particular way of playing, they all used the training and shared improv background as a means to break the rules, ultimately the definition of fun. I knew that’s where I had to be. I became a dedicated audience member every Friday and Saturday night in the back of Death Ray Comics eager to learn from their shows, excited to be around people I looked up to as they blew my mind every weekend. Four months later, the head of Logan Out Loud asked if I wanted to audition. I couldn’t have been more stoked. I got to perform with the top improvisors in town in a matter of months after I started comedy, performing for a paid audience every weekend at the coolest place in town. We even got to do corporate gigs and it was the first time I had ever gotten paid to do art. I knew I had to do something with improv.
In 2013 improv guru, Dave Razowski, came to Salt Lake City and I attended the workshop he was teaching. That class with him made it absolutely clear I had to pursue improv and that I had to move to New York. He told me about The Annoyance Theater, an improv theater based in Chicago, and that they had opened up a new theater in Brooklyn. The improv book written by the founder of The Annoyance Theater was a book that my fellow Logan Out Loud performers and I would read excerpts from before going on stage. The whole philosophy about The Annoyance style of improv was to not giving a fuck, to take care of yourself, break the rules, trust your choices, ideas that not only helped me become a better improvisor but a confident person. So when I heard that there was a theater in Brooklyn, I knew that’s where I had to go.
I spent my early years at The Annoyance living at my parents’ place in upstate New York, traveling down on days I had class and hanging out at the bars with my classmates until it was time for me to catch the bus home. By the time I completed my final Annoyance class I had moved to the city and the original improv format my graduating class created was made into a show by the head of the theater for a four week run on Sunday nights at 8:30PM. I was doing it. I was performing comedy at the coolest place on earth, living in a dumpy apartment littered with cockroaches, and I couldn’t have been happier. Wednesday to Sunday night you could find me and all my friends hanging out under the Williamsburg bridge in a dingy basement below a jazz club with a makeshift bar made out of plywood slamming PBRs from open to close. I wrote my first play, I co created a wild sports themed improv show called Goons that got a write up in Time Out New York that became a staple in building community at the theater. I became known as the music guy at the theater too, where I played the band leader for a late night style show, performed in a game show playing guitar arrangements of popular songs where the final two contestants would compete to see who could name the songs I was playing, I was the composer, musical director, and cast member of a masterpiece play about tango called Gambas, and a variety of other amazing shows using my music skills. The Annoyance New York will forever be one of the most amazing times of my life.
We got news of the theater closing March of 2017. This was a hard time for all of us. Things were going to change but none of us knew how much. Our comedy scene after that shifted from improv, to solo performance and stand up. We all had to discover how to adjust and those of us who didn’t got left behind. Our large friend group slowly turned into clicks. The sense of community had changed. I was so lost. I finally felt I had found what it was that I wanted to do and it all fell apart. I started to fade away, isolating myself, confused and depressed about the theater closing. I didn’t want to make the shift to stand up and doing characters just didn’t feel as good as doing improv. I returned to my guitar studies, using it as a way to cope. Since I wasn’t performing much anymore, my insecurities about “being the guitar guy” had gotten worse and once again I felt like that’s all I was good for. No matter where I went it just seemed like such a defining part of my identity. I felt as if people stopped thinking about me as funny. I returned to my same problems, a one note person with no sense of what they wanted and that’s all I was good for.
I still hung out with all of my friends from The Annoyance on a regular basis. Shows, holidays, and birthday parties (this group has so many birthdays). I kept trying to find ways to be in the scene as a performer but I didn’t have the same enthusiasm I used to. Still having a strong desire to be in a band, I talked to my best friend of 20 years, Francis, and told him it was time for us to finally do it. Declaring the band helped me find some footing for what I wanted to do with my life. I told my two best friends Steele and Liner, friends who I made at The Annoyance who I spend all my time with, that I was going to shift back to music. I was scared that we wouldn’t be able to be friends anymore since I was no longer pursuing comedy. They assured me that no matter what I chose to do that they would always be there for me and that we would always be friends. I finally felt comfortable with being exactly who I was and I didn’t have to worry about being called a musician, a comedian, whatever I was spending my time with. There was me and there was what I was doing. I no longer collapsed the two.
I quit my job working as a facilities associate in January of 2019. Best decision I ever made in my life. I was ready to discover what life had in store for me. I was practicing guitar everyday, playing video games and enjoying my nights hanging with friends. I wasn’t really sure what it was that I was doing but I kept working on my music, looking to find what this record I was working on with Francis was supposed to sound like and being open to anything that came my way. In June, Ian Lockwood, a great friend of mine from The Annoyance, told me that he had a comedy show at the end of the week and since I had some free time, unemployed, maybe I’d like to work with him on a comedic pop song for it. Three days later I gave him a track that surprised the hell out of him. The song killed, everyone loved it, and after the show Ian said “Make me a pop star.” I felt like even though I wasn’t performing comedy that I had found a spot in the scene that no one else could do. That because of my background I helped create something that truly is a form of musical comedy that I’ve never seen done before.
There was no way I would’ve ever known that this is what I would be doing. It took a lot of time and exploring to get to where I feel comfortable with who I am. I’m the guitar guy but I’m also a comedy guy. Now I can say I’m even a producer guy. Whatever you do is killer. No matter what it is, you still get to be you too. That’s the raddest part.
The Real Connection with Tavia Sharp
Why the coronavirus may actually be good for your dating life
When it comes to dating, now more than ever is actually the perfect time to potentially meet your ideal partner. Regardless if it’s friendship, business or romantic, one common denominator all successful relationships are built upon is real connection. We’ve seem to have forgotten this in the modern world of dating apps. However, humans need connection and people are craving it now more than ever. So guys, if you’re single and looking for your ideal woman, she’s out there just waiting to “connect” with you!
Here are 3 reasons why the coronavirus may actually be good for your dating life.
- Social distancing has caused us to feel more isolated however social distancing does not mean social disconnecting. It’s time to pick up the phone and get to know her. Let’s be honest, texting often leads to miscommunication and eventually one of you “ghosting”. What better way to showcase your personality and build rapport with her than a phone call or FaceTime?
- Now that we’re all stuck at home, people have a lot more time on their hands since their schedules have opened up. No more, “I’m too busy” excuses. The truth is if she’s truly interested in you, she will always make the time for you. Now that time is no longer an excuse, you will see all to quickly who’s available for real connection and who’s just looking to pass the time.
- People are more open to organic connections. Being forced to take it slow means less swiping, texting and quick meet-and-greets. Since there is no rush to meet up in person, you are forced to get to know her first. Use this opportunity to build up the excitement for when you finally can go on a date and get to know her “virtually” in the meantime.
To help you navigate this new norm and create connections some women successfully, Tavia has put together a one hour virtual workshop on “How to virtual date while social distancing and creative ways to make connections with women right NOW!”
There are 2 dates/times available. Click the link below to register for your free spot. Don’t miss it!