One of the great hidden gems of the Twin Cities is a weekly improv comedy show called Improv-a-Go-Go. The original concept of the show was that four improv teams would each get a 20 minute segment of the show to do whatever the hell they want. Since experimenting was encouraged, and since the creators of the show wanted to encourage new performers and new audience members alike, tickets to attend were a mere $1. For many years, the show lived on Sunday nights in the Brave New Workshop, the oldest continually operating satirical theater in the United States.
It was originally a proving ground for less-experienced performers. Eventually, it turned into the place where some of the best comedy in the Twin Cities — and some of the most amazing improv in the country — sprang into audiences hearts.
Eventually, the folks behind IAGG got their own venue: the fantastic, non-profit, all-volunteer HUGE Theater. Improv-a-Go-Go still plays on Sunday nights at HUGE. Tickets are now $5, but you have to admit, that’s still one hell of a bargain. (EDIT 8/16/12: Butch Roy has informed me that tickets are now Pay What You Can for Improv-a-Go-Go!)
On May 20th, 2012, Improv-a-Go-Go hit its 10 year anniversary. Four of my very favorite improv teams (The Minneapples, Five Man Job, Ferrari McSpeedy, and Gay Straight Alliance) hit the stage. Butch Roy, founder of Improv-a-Go-Go and one of the directors of HUGE, let me shoot some photos of the event.
I love HUGE, I love Improv-a-Go-Go. I hope they’re both around for decades to come.
I have a goal this month to work through my photography backlog. For instance, this set of photos were shot in February, but I haven’t managed to edit and post them until now.
Fort Snelling is an old frontier post/Civil War era fort built at the confluence of the Minnesota River and the Mississippi River. It’s surrounded by lovely parklands, in the middle of the Twin Cities metro area. I went there on one particularly warm Saturday morning this winter.
I must admit, my exposure to actual Laurel and Hardy schtick has been rather limited. I remember seeing some of their bits during WCCO’s Comedy Hour in the 1980′s, which played them alongside Little Rascals and Abbott and Costello shorts. Until last week, I’m pretty sure I’d never seen one of their films in its entirety. That said, the legacy of Laurel and Hardy is so strong that I was already completely familiar with their stylings.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the joy of seeing Way Out West in an actual theater, with an audience full of adults and kids alike. We all roared with laughter from beginning to end. Entire generations since the film was released 75 years ago, yet this 2012 audience still broke into spontaneous applause after the famous dance sequence.
That’s why I still go to movie theaters, my friends.
Back in March, I wrote a post about Johnny Guitar, a very strange Western that had been long out-of-print in the United States. I am pleased that the article has since drawn a lot of readers off the web, curious about this hard-to-find film.