Improvoker Recommends

Book: A Funny Thing Happened at Mount Sinai by Matthew Stillman

by Ben Whitehouse.

A Funny Thing Happened at Mount Sinai

Back in 2008, a fellow traveller on the long road of improvisation came to me, or I came to him, probably at McManus Cafe and he or I asked if it would be cool to write some posts on Improvoker. Being the kind-hearted soul he or I am and not wanting to let this labor of love die, he or I agreed. A few weeks later Matthew Stillman created his first post on The Note That Sent Me Further On a Voyage of Discovery.

Feeling the thrill that writing about improvisation can instill, he then came to me (this part I remember) and asked if he could write a 10 posts on the 10 commandments and how they related to improvisation. Being the open-minded man I am, and realizing Matt was the sort of crazy who could flip and cut a bitch, I agreed. Matt quickly wrote 2 posts covering Commandment 1 — I am the Lord your God & Commandment 2 — You shall have no other gods before me. Both fantastic posts, both interesting takes on improvisation.

Then Matt stopped writing his posts and started his turbulent addiction to crystal dolphin figurines. Or so I thought… turns out Matt took all his awesome ideas he was writing for no money or recognition here and instead wrote a book A Funny Thing Happened at Mount Sinai – The Ten Commandments as a Guide to Improvisation.

I know what you’re thinking, what a selfish jerk right? Well, the guy’s got to eat right? More importantly those crystal dolphin figurines don’t grow on trees. I’ve ordered my Kindle version, but it is also available for the iBooksNook, formatted PDF, and in olden-timey printed variety. I will be sure to give my impressions of the book after I read it. It’s not every day you get to have a hand in inspiring another improviser… either him or me.

Best of Musical Improv: I Eat Pandas

by Ben Whitehouse.

I Eat Pandas, Eliza Skinner and Glennis Murray, on the Roof

This New York based musical improv group is made up of two amazingly talented performers, Glennis McMurray and Eliza Skinner. Formed in 2003 for UCB NY’s 3-on-3 compitition, I Eat Pandas is one of the repeating crowd pleasers at the Del Close marathon, where I first saw them get a standing ovation in 2005. Many standing ovations later, at small clubs and larger venues, they consistently blow away my expectations from what is possible from improvised comedy.

I Eat Pandas is my pick for best musical improv group (yes, even over Baby Wants Candy whom Eliza is also a member). The quality if their performance is exceptional and their songs are brilliant and catchy. The only tragic part about I Eat Pandas, is that you’ll never hear those amazing songs ever again.

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