Last night Jamie and I met up with Carla and David at Shady Grove. For those of you not familiar with Austin, its a bit of an institution down on Barton Springs Road, about a mile from the actual Barton Springs. The area is/ was one of my favorites in Austin. It's right near the Chuy's restaurant where the Bush girls had their infamous carding incident, and Zilker Park.
But reminders that nothing good can survive in Austin without a real estate mogul buying up what made the place interesting to begin with, leveling it, and putting in over-priced condos... there's now a massive trench in the earth, several stories deep where there used to be a very Austin, very goofy trailer park full of burnouts and hipsters.
Nonetheless, Shady Grove endures and will thrive with people living next door in a multi-story condo. It may just have a heck of a lot more shade over it than it used to.
It was great seeing David and Carla. It'd been a really long time. Carla's been flexing her acting muscles taking improv classes, which led to a discussion earlier this week regarding maybe going to see some improv after dinner.
We wound up at the ColdTowne Theatre off Airport, not too far from where I used to live circa 1997. The funny thing was, I knew of about eight ways to get there, but I couldn't remember exactly the fastest way. I've lived in too many spots all over this town. And its been too long since I lived North of the River.
ColdTowne is a troupe formed by several Katrina evacuees who were doing Improv in New Orleans, but fled to Austin in pat because troupe member Tami Nelson had lived here prior to living in New Orleans. I know this, because I knew Tami in high school and then here in Austin in college and post-college. She wasn't a theater person, or in improv then, but when it was one of those things: Tami + Improv = total sense
But we also hadn't gone to see her perform since being back. The honest-to-God's-truth of it is that I get really anxious going to see people I like perform live in any capacity. Seeing people perform live and feeling that it came up short is always kind of awful. Its bad enough when I read what people have written and I don't find myself exactly pumped about reading it/ telling them I liked it. Its something again when I feel stuck for an hour or two watching it live (like, i can't get away or they'll see me) and I have to see them right after the show and drop superlatives on them.
There are a few exceptions. I know and like what Jason's band plays enough to feel comfortable saying things like "your vocals were down way too low through the whole show" or "I couldn't hear Frank's guitar" or whatever. You don't need to just blow sunshine anymore when you've seen someone play that many times, and, really, they might WANT to know some technical issues.
But with theater and Improv, man... that's just your friend standing out there. That's not the acoustics of the space, or maybe giggling because someone missed a change mid-song. And if its bad... I assume they can know its not going well when nobody is laughing.
Anyhow... The League should have known, as The Austin Chronicle listed ColdTowne as the Best Comedy in Austin. Which, I know, seems crazy with yours truly, plus Jeff the Cat, in our amazing stage show. But maybe because our show is too avant garde?
Unfortunately, three of the five of ColdTowne proper were out of town, so the format of the Saturday show was a bit off, but still really good. The first troupe to come out was "The Midnight Society", comprised of maybe eight people. It was a student group, who were nonetheless pretty darn polished. They were fun, with some standpiyt players within the group.
Tami and her partner did a two-person show under the name "Bird Dog", and, seriously, it was great. I can't recall if they did four or five scenes, total. But, yeah, well, well worth seeing. So, I'm looking forward to seeing the full ColdTowne troupe with, like, 65% more comedy.
So, if you're in Austin, go check out ColdTowne, go see Tami, and have fun.