“BSP PRESENTS: BODY TALK” OPENING THOUGHTS

I don’t feel at home in my body. It has rarely been a source of self-reflective joy, the way I imagine beautiful, physically fit people must feel regularly, not even when I was young and smooth.  

You won’t find too many pictures of me online. You will find a bunch of pictures I’ve taken, but rarely are there any of me. I believe on a trip I took to Iceland, there is two pictures of me: one on a bridge with my wife taken specifically for our parents, and one my wife snapped of me by some street art in downtown Reykjavik.  I think this in an impulse/habit from an older generation that is at odds with today’s zeitgeist.

The mirror selfie is an interesting phenomenon. The subject is also the artist, nothing new as self-portraiture has been around forever, but the subject is the artist creating the art. It is like that Norman Rockwell painting where the POV of the painting is from behind the artist, where you can see him painting a self-portrait and looking into a mirror. The mirror selfie, you see a picture of a person looking into their phone at the picture they are taking of themselves looking into their phone. It invokes the myth of Narcissus and makes the artist (attractive person taking photo) and the audience (schlubby middle-aged nobody) voyeurs.

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Just saying the word ‘Body’ is fun. You can plop it in and out of sentences for great effect. 

-        I love putting pizza in my body.

-        It has been so long since my body was next to your body. How’s the family.

-        Ohh, this jam rocks my body.

I guess, in truth, there is one major effect, and that is creepy and off-putting.

It is very hard to make that creepiness self-contained and non-threatening. Like, if a wet worm monster was staring at you seething, you would be rightfully terrified, but if that same monster was dress as a janitor and moping the floor, minding their own business, then it would be strange, but non-threatening.

Jim Henson was the modern-day master of this. The puppetry in The Dark Crystal and Labyrinth demonstrate this expertly. All the creatures are warty, wet, loud, farty, and the scariest creature is David Bowie.

Henson was a genius. He made all of us okay with Gonzo (whatever Gonzo is) fucking different chickens.

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I’ve heard the phrase, ‘really feeling yourself’ a lot lately. It is always used in the context of someone getting into the groove of an activity or having some sort of emotional awaking. ‘He was doing standing bar curls, really feeling himself, and lost track of his reps.’ I guess I have felt something like this on very long bike rides, training rides 40 – 70 miles long. My noisy brain begins to quiet down, and there is just the road, the sun, and my body sinking into the bike, slowly become one. 

With that said, I have been using it randomly, whenever I feel like to see how it fits into conversation. Like, if someone has a good improv set, I will say, “That was great. You were really feeling yourself up there.” I just want to see how it works in conversation, and what it means to other people.

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Being old and fat is truly disgusting. I don’t recommend it. Trying to remedy this through diet and exercise is also truly terrible.

Having a healthy diet is truly defeating. It is just your willpower and a daily test to see how long it will take for your willpower to fall apart. Appetite is a true beast. I have sat on the couch just thinking about pizza for over an hour. Now that I mentioned pizza, my lizard brain is trying to figure out how to get pizza.

Exercise feels good, but, being old, if I have a big day, all of my willpower and energy is depleted, and, because my thighs are so big, I have to apply butt paste and body glide to cut down on chafing. I don’t see anyone else applying body glide to the insides of their thighs in the locker room. The texture and inability to wash off butt paste makes me feel so physically gross, like one of the extra-dimensional creatures in From Beyond.

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Judging by my thoughts, the sketches in BSP PRESENTS: Body Talk will be rooted in self-loathing and have a flesh aesthetic. Will be because I haven’t written them yet. Everything written is due tomorrow.


See you at the show.

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What We Love About FiasCo: A Blog Post in Three Acts

By FiasCo members: Meghan McGuire, Kevin Fergus, and Mary Kelly

Act I:

Salutations! I’m Meghan McGuire. I’m a writer and performer originally from Brunswick, Maine. You might recognize me as the writer of such sketches as “Period Meeting” or the performer of such roles as “person with a passable Boston Accent.” Like a lot of people in this temperamental city, I moved to Chicago with the purpose of being a writer and performer, but had little idea of how to actually implement that.

One thing I love about FiasCo is that it gives me purpose. Not purpose in my life, that’s something I’m working on with my therapist. But it gives me creative purpose. Between writing a play and pitching to humor publications and having a solo show that is 12% formed, it’s hard to stay motivated to write when I’m not sure when or even IF my things will be seen or read. BUT every couple of weeks, we the people of FiasCo gather in our coach Sarah’s apartment to read sketches and hear pitches for our next show. It is a collaborative environment in which teammates offer constructive feedback, excellent punch ups, and honest reflections. It makes all those times I find myself banging my head against my keyboard hoping a perfectly formed sketch comes out worth it to know that there is a squad of excellent writers and performers on my team who are going to read my work. What’s more, every two to four weeks, something I’ve written or contributed a joke to or am performing in will go up onstage at the Crowd and people will see it and laugh (or not). And then we’ll take our bows, and we’ll start a new show cycle where we get to create something completely new. FiasCo challenges us to always be creating. By the time our Now That’s What I Call FiasCo shows roll around, we will have created a year’s worth of sketches. WOWEE! Sometimes as an artist, I feel like I’m a wind up toy stuck ramming up against a wall over and over again, but FiasCo is the hand that grabs me and turns me away from the wall. Was that a good metaphor?

Act II:

Hello, Kevin Fergus here! I’m a writer and performer from the burbs, and if any FiasCo heads exist they most likely know me as the Lazy Lil Sloth.

When I got placed on FiasCo, I was at a strange place in my comedy career. I had a few years of experience under my belt, and I’d written some things that I was very proud of. I found myself constantly trying to think of “the next idea”, that Big Project that will be In My Voice and talk about Things I Care About while also being Funny As Hell. FiasCo forced me to be much less precious about my material--I had to write new sketches because we had shows coming up, not because I had thought of the Next Great Kevin Fergus Sketch. And when I show up to writers meetings, I get to run it by a group of friends and collaborators that bring nothing but a sincere desire to make funny shows. Some of the best writing I’ve ever done started as sloppy one page drafts I finished before heading over to Sarah’s apartment. There’s immense value in writing something because you have to write it, and seeing what comes out on that great big Google doc in the sky.

Act III:

Hey!  I’m Mary Kelly, I would hope if you do know me from FiasCo, it’s as the YouTube celebrity and conspiracy theorist Professor Moonbeam, but you may also be familiar with my work as a 95 year old cover band frontwoman, Ethel. I’m here to close us out in the third act. Why? Because of the rule of threes, and because I was the last one to load up the Google Doc. Also (and thirdly) because I love FiasCo!!

If you’ve joined us in the audience for our shows before, I hope you see the raw joy and honesty exuding from our pores when we pour our brains out onstage on those late Friday nights. Now, let me take you on a V.I.P. tour of what it’s like on a show night. There is nothing like walking up that steep staircase at The Crowd and turning the corner into the green room to see your teammates (and at this point best friends 4ever) rehearsing their lines for the night’s upcoming show. The joy of working together to write our sketches is heightened as we prepare to show you all the goofy business we’ve been up to. I love that each member of our team has a different strength, and that we’ve learned after an amazing year together how to highlight and showcase our teammates’ talents to create the best show for you that we possibly can. I love the excitement backstage as we listen closely for the laugh we’re excited to hear from a joke we guffawed at in a writing meeting, or the satisfaction of hearing a hilarious ad-lib during a show, to the delight of everyone watching. The energy in the room and amongst our team when we are performing is jubilant, tactile, and addictive. (Can you tell I used a thesaurus for this blog post? Well I use one to write sketches too, so deal.)

I love dissecting our sketches afterwards, deciding what worked, what didn’t, and what surprised us. This Best of FiasCo show will be such a fun opportunity for us to take that growth and passion to showcase some of our favorite sketches for you to enjoy. We can’t wait, and we hope you’ll be along for the ride as we celebrate a year of writing and performing together!

Epilogue:

All this to say that FiasCo is performing 2 (TWO) Best of Shows: Now That’s What I Call FiasCo! Come check us out on the 12th and 13th of July at 8 PM! Tickets are $8! The Crowd is, as always, BEE WHY OH BEE!


P.S. Sarah Magnuson is the one that put all of us weirdos into one room and told us to create things. She is an angel and a star and a woman with a keen eye, and our luck was truly in abundance the day she chose us to fly under her wing. Thanks for all you do for us, Sarah, and reader, if you’re ever lucky enough to work with her, you’ll be lucky too. You can enjoy a taste of her genius by joining us for our Best Of Showcase!


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Crowded

Crowded

CROWDED is a new zine in town created by Ally Whitelaw, Marixa Ford, Amy Do, and Chrissy Hartzell & we want YOU to submit your talent. We want to showcase the beautiful work of people that usually don’t have the opportunity to put their art out into the world. CROWDED is about giving people a platform to reveal the different mediums they’ve always had in them, whether that be illustration, photography, print work, poetry, short story, comics, horoscopes.