Tuesday, May 12, 2009

LAFF Recap

We've made it back from Austin's Ladies Are Funny Festival (2,600 miles of driving later!) Here's what happened:


Sadly, we missed out on Cabaret Night, after getting lost in Mississippi and getting caught in Dallas traffic.  We heard the show was fantastic.  Performers included Selena Coppock, Amy Albert's Delilah Dix, Holly Lorka, Virginia Jones, Luna Tart, Kerri Lendo and sketch group Skinny Bitch Jesus Meeting.  


We checked out the Cathedral of Junk, the Capitol building and had a coffee at the Hideout Coffeehouse and Theater, home of much Austin improv.   

Friday's show included improv by Austin's troupes Firth and Arjet, Adventures Squad! and NYC-based FOCUS, an improvised take on The View.

After that, we were treated to Megan Grano's one woman show Obliged, a show lampooning the worst of wedding culture.  The night ended with Sara Benincasa's Agorafabulous, a comedy/tragedy about, among many things, an agoraphobic breakdown.  


Saturday's performances included Mocha Jean Herrup's Letters of Complaint and Compliment, improv by the women of Houston's Massive.  The night ended with a musical improv double feature.  First, by Girls Girls Girls (the organizers of LAFF), followed by Jill Bernard's one women show Drum Machine.  

After much deliberation in the the car on the way back, our Critic's Choice Award goes to to Jill Bernard's one woman improv explosion.  Bernard uses a randomly chosen drum machine loop as the background for musical scenes which regularly feature up to 8 characters- all played by herself.  Whereas with much improv, it's not difficult to predict what's coming up... Jill seems to be 7 or 8 steps ahead of you. 

Yesterday, I got a chance to catch up with Kacey Samiee, one of the organizers and GGG cast members, post-LAFF:

CR: What a weekend.  Are you relaxed now that it's all over?

KS:  Yes!  I think everybody in the troupe is now recuperating, since so much work went into it.  [There] were so many people who did so much organization and planning, emailing, number-crunching and all of that kind of stuff to get it up and running, but now that it's done I think everyone is relieved but really happy with how it turned out.  

CR:  That's great.  What were the goals of LAFF?

KS:  We're trying to get bigger every year, to get known by people in other states and maybe eventually internationally as well.  Also, giving a spotlight to women in comedy who do this because they love it and usually do this on their own and have things to say.  Generally it's a male-oriented industry, not that there's anything wrong with guys, but we really try to honor and represent women who are out there doing it on their own.

We're also trying to get bigger and better acts every year, and maybe eventually, we'll be able to extend it longer than just a weekend.

CR:  That's fantastic.  By those goals, would you call this past weekend a success?

KS:  Totally a success.  This weekend was thrilling, it was bigger than we thought it would be.  We ended up selling out most nights, so that went really well.  We had a really great line-up and audience participation was fantastic.

I'm really excited about how it turned out this year.  The first two years were hard because people don't really know about it and people don't want to apply to something they haven't heard of, but finally this year it took hold and had a snowballing momentum.  

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