Apr 2012

Case of the giggles

‘Like your dad’s bad puns, but actually funny.’

My father has always been the unofficial comedienne of our family. Growing up you were always guaranteed a joke or pun that would most likely illicit an eye roll from my (former) teenage self.

A favorite: “Ok, if you’re American before you go into the bathroom and an American when you come out, what are you while you’re IN the bathroom?”
“I don’t know, Dad”
“European…get it…YOU’RE A PEEIN’”
Another classic from my youth…
“What is red, green and spins around at 100 miles per hour?”
“I don’t know, Dad…what is red, green and spins around at 100 miles per hour?”
“A frog in a blender”

Perhaps not my favorite jokes of all time, especially as a teenager desperately trying to impress her friends, the tradition of joke telling has continued now, well into my adulthood. Every conversation with my folks is an opportunity for my Dad to display new material. It is specifically prevalent this time of year as, with the close of the Lenten season, comes Holy Humor Sunday at church, which my father gleefully participates in every year (it’s a fact kids. Go look it up). The material can last for months with two to three new zingers popping up every weekend.

Because of my father, I’ve grown to appreciate humor. It is one of those things I couldn’t live without, although I’ve been told my brand is a bit more sarcastic than most. I enjoy well timed snark in almost any situation. Timing (or so I’m told) is everything with comedy and I love when every second that passes causes people to erupt into more and more laughter.

So, perhaps with this neurotically long back story about my comedic upbringing and, as the “officially unofficial Prima (blog) Crier” I was privy to a preview of several of the tracks from the Comedy Cabaret. Mitch was kind enough to provide me with a CD with fair warning that it did not contain my usual listening faire. True, as much as I enjoy some cabaret performances and musicals, I’ve spent half of my life going deaf to old school punk rock and heavy metal (yes that
WAS me you saw head banging in the CRV the other day – don’t judge).

I am one of those oddball people who tends to obsessively listen (or read) something over and over until I feel I have it engrained in my head, so the tracks for the Comedy Cabaret have been on repeat for the last several days. The beauty of comedy through song is there is no break for the live studio audience, the Jerry Seinfeld query, “What is up with that?” or the thunderous applause punctuated with wolf whistles. Comedy through song travels at a much sharper pace, leaving you wondering if you heard what you thought you just did. The magnificent selection of songs run the gamut from awkward first date prep, to that shit for brains guy you thought could be the one to being friends with human cyborg Donald Trump and life mogul P. Diddy. Speaking of which, is he still going by Diddy now-a-days? I changed my name once and it was a pain in my ass, so I’m not sure how many legal name changes Sean Combs has gone through now. I suppose if your rich enough and have an entourage to sit in the Social Security office for you anything is feasible.

My personal favorites are in the form of The Girl from 14G, which appears as it could have come out of the pages of my own past – little mousy girl gains a voice by hanging out with a Puccini wannabe and the second coming of Holly Golightly. Only difference is this quietly beguiling pixie (moi) had to find her voice behind a chair with shears in her hand and will engage in a show tune medley singing into her flat iron (don’t you wish you were a fly on the wall in my house?). I’m also a massive fan of the Sesame Street on acid sounding Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist. The first time I listened to this song the entire way through I nearly wet myself. The song offers a glaringly hysterical look into the, small shall we say, everyday remarks we make about everyone who shares life with us on this small blue marble. Asian Americans think the Jews have all the money and the whites have all the power while blacks enjoy a good Pollack joke as well as the Scandinavians and the Irish. The whole thing is wildly tongue in cheek, and oodles of fun.

To me, the Comedy Cabaret encompasses how I look at the PRiMA brand – fresh and modern, sprightly and fun. And to go to a Prima show is to get caught up in the moment – so catch your case of the giggles and check it out on April 15
th. Even if you don’t leave with a smile on your face, you may leave with a few bad puns jokes for the kids :o)

Officially Unofficial,

Singing along with Steph

Blog Steph I suppose if you were to say 'I am the creative type' that would be putting it mildly. I’ve always been knee deep in the pool known as the arts. I was a voracious reader as a kid and still am today. When I was ten I had ambitions to move to California and become an animator for the Disney studios and spent hours drawing princesses and Mickey Mouse. When I was fourteen and in eighth grade, we read The Hound of the Baskervilles and I declared to my English teacher that I was going to write a follow up to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s 1902 mystery. In high school and middle school I participated in select chorus and my junior year musical. I’ve played piano since I was seven and guitar since I was sixteen. I originally went to college to become an art teacher; however I came out with a minor in studio art and a bachelor’s degree in elementary ed. I then discovered teaching was not for me and decided to attend cosmetology school where I found my true calling. I’m so very happy to say I’m able to “paint” and “sketch” all day long…just in this case it’s three dimensional and I leave someone feeling good about themselves. All in a day’s work and I love it – every minute of it.

So, this probably leads you to wonder, who is this strange girl; this strange-artsy-fartsy-slightly-musically-inclined-hairstylist-that-reads-too-many-books? I’m Steph and I’d like to say that it is exactly that crazy path described above that got me here writing blogs for PRiMA.

I work in Lancaster at Plum Salon and Spa (you should come visit…I appear on an [almost] daily basis – I’m highly entertaining and I do some damn good hair too) as a Jedi Master of the Coif (or, you can go by the more basic description - a color and style artist according to the description on my business card). The owners of Plum are dear friends of PRiMA’s founders, Mitch & Diana Nugent. Shortly after the salon opened, I was lucky enough to have the very lovely and charismatic Diana as my client. I adored her from the start and she was gracious enough to allow me to cut of A LOT of her hair and told me about a theatre company she and her husband had started. I have to say I’m all for 'do-it-yourself' so I was intrigued. The appointment time went too quickly and before I knew it time was up and Diana (with a killer bob and highlights) had to leave.

Several weeks later I had another Nugent in my chair; this time the very enigmatic (albeit slightly anxious looking) Mitch. It was the eve (ok, Saturday morning) before Chess in Concert was to premiere. Not knowing much about the musical we chatted about it the entire haircut - the themes, music, origins. Now I was completely curious.

I caught Chess the final Sunday night of its run and wish I would have been able to see it more than once. Everything about the production was completely amazing – vocals, dancing, talent. It is a rare thing to catch a performance that has you so captivated the entire time you forget where you are and Chess totally did that for me. It was unlike anything else I had seen or experienced in the entertainment world before – just fresh, pared down theater with some really rad people starring and producing it. I was transfixed, hooked and baffled how I didn’t know something like this existed before in Lancaster! Needless to say I’ve been in the crowd ever since.

The best description I can liken seeing a PRiMA production to is going to see your favorite band in concert. The anticipation to the actual date is incredible, you arrive eager to hear what they will open with, if you’ll hear your favorite song and everybody else in the entire club (theater, stadium) wonders the same thing then the show starts and the fun begins.

There is a quote from one of my favorite
bands that goes as follows:
“I’m driving listening to my radio, checking out the airwaves for something to believe in. Give me something to hold true, give me something to sing about. Give me a reason to care, and I’ll sing along forever.”

There is something unique about PRiMA productions and their audience. Everyone there wants to have fun and enjoy the experience. The performances are true, modern and relevant which is why I’ll always be back for more.

Singing along forever,