Cold and wet isn’t all that bad

So some of you might remember that I have done some secret IE missions here in NYC.

It’s always a ton of fun joining a bunch of people to do something a little odd.

This time, we congregated in the Brooklyn Bridge and took pictures of the Manhattan Bridge. In the rain. And cold rain.

There were tons of us – about 700 – and we lined the bridge. I came early to the meetup location, and randomly met Matt, who had ridden in from CT on the train and needed somewhere to dump his travel bag. I offered my place, with a provided his bag wouldn’t tick or something like that.

We headed back to the meeting spot a few blocks away, and join a huge group of people, hear the instructions, and head across the bridge. In the meantime, we find Matt’s lady – Autumn – and we all set across the bridge and find a spot about in the middle to stand.

And wait.

And wait.

It seem that it took a little too long to get a large crowd organized, and then even longer to get the event rolling.

IE BrooklynBridge

Some people left, as it was, after all, cold and raining.

But the effect itself was pretty cool, once it happened, and gave us a lot of cool pictures to show the world.

I stuck with my newfound pals, and we had a lot of fun talking and playing in the line, arguing with someone else whether Pi is a real number (or just not a whole number).

After taking a bunch of pictures, we all headed over to the Beekman Pub, where we had some drinks, and I regaled my captive couple with my (newfound) knowledge of NYC. I felt like a “real New Yorker”.

We split from there to Two Gold Street for food and more drinks, and then after that ended up in my beloved Fresh Salt, where we played a resounding few rounds of Apples to Apples with th bartender and two other patrons.

All in all, lot of drinks, good company and shared experiences make it all worthwhile.

The IE event page is here – there’s even a short video. See if you can find me (hint: I’m in the first 30 seconds!)

Improv 101

So on a whim, dare or agreement on a comment on someone else’s blog, I had signed up for Improv 101 classes at the UCB Training Center.

The first class was fun, and really made me let go of some ideas and forced me to see things in a slightly different light. To those that have attended previous improv shows of mine in Jerusalem, then you know a couple of things:

  1. We pretty much mimicked “Whose Line…” with a certain degree of success, especially since on TV they get to edit and only do 22 minutes with tons of commercials. We did a solid two hours!
  2. I sat behind the desk and participated less. It was a much “safer” position to take, so if everything went wrong (and sometimes it did) I’d be “in the clear”.

So now I find myself under fire – to drop preconceived notions and to try to break through any doubts, layers of protective psychological mess, and in the great words of some Nike marketing person – Just Do It.

One of the requirements for the class is to attend at least two improv shows, in order to get an idea of what the format looks like when more experienced players go at it.

I’ve been to ten already. It’s a great learning experience – in both what to do and what not – and we will get a chance to re-hash some of the performances at the beginning of class on Wednesday. So I’ve got me a little notebook, to jot down observations during the show – in some attempt to use this as study material and analyze this to help me get better.

I think I’ve found the calling.

I got to be four feet away from some icons in comedy on Sunday night and watched them play (perform) with each other. Amy Poehler, Horatio Sanz,  Seth Meyers, Rachel Dratch (who arrived late and made a great game out of that), Jack McBrayer, John Lutz, and more than I can remember.

The guest monologist was Alan Zweibel, from the first days of SNL, and he regaled us with some stories of life back then, how it was and what it was all about. And how Gilda Radner tossed a brunch-plate-laden Woody Allen off a step at a party just to make Alan laugh.

Even though the format may not be as “strict” as what I am learning, it’s still amazing fun to see a bunch of people get out there and just have fun.

I want to do that, too.