Just Abu Dhabi Do It: A Coffee Conversation with Michele Campbell

Michele Campbell

Michele Campbell, Diver into Adventures

There are some people who just know how to take a dive: Esther Williams, Greg Louganis, and Chevy Chase.

Me? I’ve always been more of an easer, with aspirations for diving. And one of the dives I’ve always wanted to take, despite being a pretty awful swimmer, is that of the ex-patriate, to be a cultural adventurer beyond just reading Henry James and Pablo Neruda and watching Planet Earth.

I’d like to ease comfortably into a job in France (like most people in France at the moment), buy vintage Chanel, marry 1966 John Lennon, and collect sea glass on the Mediterranean coast.    

But Michele Campbell is a diver. She’s the Esther Williams mermaid of ex-pats. After a year of planning, Michele is now living on the other side of the world in Abu Dhabi. And diving isn’t a new thing for her. She’s a schoolteacher and an improviser – way past water wings and wading. I recently had a chance to sit down with Michele (and by that I mean email her from my sofa), to talk to her about her move, her experiences in Abu Dhabi, and how she Yes Anded herself across the world. Continue reading

Epilogue: The Time I Dated Mel Gibson’s “Brother” (There’s More)

I forgot part of the story. It hit me today during a chat on Twitter revolving around the missed opportunity to go FULL THUNDERDOME while on a date with Mel Gibson’s (Older, Not As Good Looking) Brother. For those of you who were not alive in the 80s, or who just don’t know what going FULL THUNDERDOME is like, it goes something like this:

After I ditched “Mel Gibson’s Older (Not As Good Looking) Brother” at the café, which felt like this:

I came home, showered off the smell of disaster, and opened my email.

Oh, no.


Now, I know what you’re thinking and, no, he did not send me a picture of Little Mel.

That happened on a different night, different guy.

He wrote to talk about what a wonderful time he had…


And how I was at my most beautiful when my personality was …soft.

I don’t know what he meant by that, really. My best guess is that, as a misogynist with Hitler issues, he meant those moments when I wasn’t having an opinion. Or starting a war somewhere.

And my reply went a lot like this:

That Time I Wrote a Musical About Fetuses… Feti? (And There Are Puppets)

During the last election cycle, I happened to be taking a comedy sketch writing course. I know, right??

Thank you, Universe…

The satire assignment just happened to line up with Rick Santorum’s comments that sometimes God has terrible timing. He was referring, of course, to fetuses (feti?) conceived in rape.

So then I wrote a musical called “Fetus Schmetus.” A puppet musical, I should say.

As originally conceived (ha!), the puppets would be fetuses communicating with one another from the wombs of their various mothers, each with a different opinion on the matter.

But we had zero budget. Ok, we had $20. So I had to tweak the concept a bit. Ok, a lot.

A Word from The Author: I am pro-choice — a woman has dominion over the contents of her uterus. I use my uterus, mainly, for sarcasm.

What hit the stage was this:

Thank you to all the actors and writers of The Marshmallow Overthrow. Our next show should be called Toasted: The Return of The Marshmallow Overthrow.

This is my friend Beth’s parody sketch of ‘Twilight’ called… DUNES. Way more watchable than ‘Twilight,’ trust me. Great job, Beth!

The Big Blue Mess

You’ve seen the Twilight saga (it’s ok, this s safe place and any snickering on my part will subside soon enough) and now I present to you “Dunes” – a parody of the beloved movie franchise written as part of The Institution Theater’s Sketch 201 class featuring the most underused supernatural love interest.  I do suspect that after this sketch we’ll see more of “them” as romantic leads.  Yes, I’m being vague. I can’t go around spoiling things for you.  (Thankfully, you can’t see the YouTube still below, so it really will be a surprise.  Right? Right?!?!)

This is my second sketch to be filmed and I want to thank all the cast and crew involved in making it happen.  Thank you for your time, your energy, for letting me pay you in sodas, coffee, breakfast tacos and sandwiches.

Some special thanks to:

April – for helping me make the…

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A Dollop of Inspiration (Or Is That a Trollop…?)

I haven’t been feeling very inspired lately. I know it’s my brain’s way of saying:

I want a vacation.

Stop saying Yes!
(It’s Ok, you know, to say No.)

I’m at least not inspired by the writing of the sketch that’s due today.

It’s not ready.

It sounded so good when it was playing on the movie-screen of my Third Eye. Getting it to the page, on the other hand, has been like …

Remember when Bugs Bunny would try to make the turkey skinny to save him from Thanksgiving dinner by putting him in a sweatbox?

Like that. The sketch in question is a sweatbox, and I’m burned out on it.

Real Life Interviews: A Conversation with Taylor Overstreet

This interview was produced in cooperation with TNM Improv Wins! For more about The New Movement Theater and Improv Wins!, go to http://newmovementtheater.com/category/improv-wins/

Taylor Overstreet and Miss California

I’m not the raisin. The raisin is Miss California* (*not actually Miss California.)

Is It Real Life (Or Is It a Fantasy)?
A Conversation with Roanna Flowers and Taylor Overstreet
A red velvet sofa in Austin, Texas.

Two cups of coffee, an iPhone, two mostly Siamese cats, and one Festivus pole. Continue reading

Occupy Christmas (You’ve Been Kringled!)

So, I got a wild-haired, hare-brained idea (is it hare-brained or hair-brained? I think hare-brained because it sounds like a phrase invented by Chuck Jones)…

Actually, first I got mad. I couldn’t believe (and still can’t) that a city as savvy and wealthy as Austin couldn’t figure out how to fund some civic holiday cheer. Hell, they didn’t even sponsor a Kickstarter campaign. I would have given $50 to see my name spelled out in lights, Lite Brite style. Tsk. Such a lack of vision and holiday spirit. I expected more out of my city. Continue reading