Freak Happening: The Real Story

Today is the 2nd anniversary of The Steamroller.

If you've ever written, read, or re-posted something from the site in these last two years, thank you!

If you've ever performed on or came out to an event produced by The Steamroller, thank you!

I rarely appear onstage or screen, that sort of thing is not really for me. That said, when I found out the a documentary team was hoping to get an inside look at the history of the monthly comedy show I help produce, Freak Happening, which also recently celebrated an anniversary, I was happy to take a seat in front of the camera and share my experiences.

Happy Birthday Steamroller. Happy Birthday Freak Happening. Happy Birthday everyone.

An Encounter with The People's Temple of Comedy by Randolph LeGrasse

Earlier this week I received an unsolicited email from an anonymous email address with no text in the body, only the subject like "For Steamroller" and a text file attached. I cautiously opened the text file and have copied + pasted its contents below. What follows appears to be an account from an Arkham, MA-based scholar about his experiences with and attempts to understand The People's Temple of Comedy, which begins a residency at the Laugh Factory this Sunday.

Those who are poorly acquainted with reality often believe that everything of interest to history has been documented to build up the knowledge base of future generations. Those unfortunate souls, such as myself, who are offered a terrible glimpse behind the veil, know all too well that sometimes secrets are kept secret for nameless eons, never meant to be peered upon by public awareness.

Read More

Harrison George On The Closing of The Upstairs Gallery

In 1964 Isaac Asimov was asked to speculate on what life in the year 2014 would look like. Some of his predictions were spot on (cordless appliances), while others were way off (flying cars). The goal of this piece is something similar, to attempt in some small way to predict what Chicago might look like in the next 1-5 years.

Last month we saw the closing of The Upstairs Gallery, an ambitious 3 year experiment in alternative-theater spacework. Now that the theater’s closed, I’m wondering what comes next, if we’ll see new spaces inspired by Upstairs; an UG 2.0 if you will.

There are lots of ways things will be affected by UG’s closing. Here are my guesses.

Read More

The Steamroller presents: Manchilds on Film with Daniel Kibblesmith and Cullen Crawford!

Tonight at The Hideout, The Steamroller will present a special one night only engagement featuring Onion/Clickhole writers Cullen Crawford and Daniel Kibblesmith doing goofs on/about/inspired by the 2007 action/fantasy film 300. Manchilds on Film will feature sketch, film commentary, and the potential for audience participation if we're not all too shy!

Things kick off at 8pm and tickets cost $5.

Interview: Raw Nerve's Rebecca Krasny

Rebecca Krasny's new variety show, Raw Nerve, was created with a special focus on experimental improvisation, with the hopes to create the sort of experiential, you-had-to-be-there style moments that come from the most honest and exciting improv. Following last week's inaugural edition of the show, which runs Tuesday nights at The Mission Theatre at the new iO space, I spoke with Rebecca about the birth of the show and her growing interest in solo improvisation, which was, in part, the catalyst for Raw Nerve's creation.

Read More

A chat between Movies: Live!'s Sarah Shockey and Conor Sullivan

Conor Sullivan and Sarah Shockey have teamed up for a series of live script readings called Movies: Live! w/ Conor & Sarah. Tomorrow, Saturday September 20th at 1pm at the new iO space, they'll be reading Conor's new screenplay Steal My Sunshine, and Sunday the 21st at 4pm at the Public House Theater, they'll be having a double feature of Sarah's Sand Castle and Conor's Calm Down Tanya.

In advance of this weekend's three readings, here's a conversation between Conor and Sarah about a whole bunch of things!

Read More

Interview: Sean White

Chicago-based standup Sean White has been regarded as one of the best in town for a few years at this point, wringing out fresh, insightful material from such well-trod topics as death and divorce. Tomorrow night, Saturday September 20th, at 8pm and 10:30pm, at Timothy O'Tooles, Sean will record Dead & Gone, his first standup album.

I spoke with Sean about the process of preparing for the recording and what he plans to do after the album is in the bank. Tickets are almost sold out but can be purchased, for now, by clicking here.

Read More

Another conversation between Stephanie Hasz and Andy Fleming of #lollaPALooza

Today, for the third time ever, I received in my mailbox an un-postmarked envelope containing a microcassette. I immediately recognized this as the handiwork of Andy Fleming & Stephanie Hasz, who have done this twice before. Frankly, it's a pain in the ass each time. I don't own a microcassette player and always have to borrow one from my wife's brother, Rod. Ugh. Rod. I hate that guy.

Anyway, what follows is a transcription of what I found on the tape: an apparent recording of a lost episode of the podcast WTF with Marc Maron, featuring Hasz & Fleming as its guests. Enjoy?

[The WTF theme plays, then fades out as Marc Maron starts speaking.]

Read More