The Song Is Done: A Conversation with Jason Molin

When I started the interview series on this blog (and Improv Wins), I really wanted it to be a conversation with creative people — not just improvisers or actors, but writers, teachers, musicians, and other entrepreneurs and explorers — to talk about their process and to understand improvisation from different points of view.

I started out with seven questions to lead and frame the conversation. It was good — and my first interviewees (Taylor Overstreet and Michele Campbell) were wonderful and interesting and fun and I loved hearing their stories. But the idea of the framing questions just didn’t hold up after two rounds. I knew I wanted to change my approach, and I knew that I wanted my third interview to be with another creative in Austin. And that I wanted to talk to a musician or songwriter.

I know. Austin. Songwriter/musician. How was I ever going to make that happen?!

I didn’t have to think about my next interviewee too hard. In fact, took less than a second. I wanted to talk to my friend (and I’m honored to have the pleasure of calling him that), Jason Molin.

Jason is not only a talented songwriter and musician (and great person), he’s also the inspiration behind my starting this blog in the first place. So I asked my favorite local musician and creative person to talk with me about creative blocks. Continue reading

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

Greatness (Here): An Open Letter to the Church from My Generation

Amazing post that deserves a re-post (or is that riposte?), that deserves thought (and consideration).
And most of all compassion.
And most of all love.
And most of all with a smile, with a clap of the hands, and a shout.
(You can shout hallelujah if you want.)

An Open Letter to the Church from My Generation.

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.

Here They Come Now (Chelsea Girls)

Here they come now…

Something about her voice
She seemed amazed she lived so long,
that she made it out alive at all…

Here they come now…

I grab my boots and gloves,
The ones from 1966, black leather to my elbows.
Peel the windblown hair away from my mouth.
Chased by the ghost of her voice.

Here they come now…

Her eyes were large and round and beautiful and sad
Sad like her voice was sad. She knew too much.
Saw too much in technicolor.

Here they come now…

I grab my boots and gloves,
The ones from 1966, black leather to my elbows.
Peel the windblown hair away from my mouth.
Chased by the ghost of her voice.
The Chelsea Girl.