2amt: The Beginning

2amt. You’re wondering why this is called 2amt. What does that have to do with theatre?

2 am is when the ideas start to flow.

The beginning

In January 2010, over on Twitter, a group of theatre folk started talking, brainstorming, tossing out ideas and testing to see how they’d float. Or if they’d float at all. And even though it was late, the conversation kept going. As it went on, it started to pick up more and more people from more and more places. It was one of those conversations.

Free of ego, free of distraction, we were all able to talk freely about our ideas and each others’.

If you’re curious to see the original conversation, scroll down to see the work of Nick Keenan, who threaded the first couple of conversations together in approximately chronological order. This original flurry of conversation used the #2am hashtag, and you may still be able to find remnants of it in the twitter noise.


In order to keep the conversation’s focus, we now use #2amt when tweeting, adding the t for theatre. That’s only five characters out of your 140, which saves a lot of space. Why? Because nobody else is using that tag, and no one else would need or want to. It means you can drop in at any point in the conversation and, if you so desire, follow it back to its source. Or find new topics or ideas in the stream.

Primarily, this site will act as a “gathering place for theatre ideas.” We’ll collect and curate blog postings from various sources that connect to one another and try to follow ideas as they develop. We’ll also post ideas here, conversation starters. Our blogrolls are growing, both with theatre people and companies–we’d like to add yours, too. Just let us know.

We’re also going to cover innovative projects, productions, what have you. We’re even branching out into creative projects–when you get creative people together, they’re going to start getting creative. So stay tuned…

The site will also feature the unfiltered twitter stream for #2amt and the #newplay, which originated with the Arena Stage New Play Development Project at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. These twitter streams will be visible at the side of every page.

And no, not every 2amt conversation actually happens in the middle of the night.

But some of the best ones do…

The original conversations…

As quoted in its entirety from the Theatre for the Future blog of Nick Keenan. Click over there to follow the further comments on the original post.

Two of the most mind-blowing conversations I’ve had this year have both been late at night and joined in by a bunch of twitter pals. They’ve been energizing and challenging – I seem to do better in creative, collaborative brainstorming environments – and at the end of it all, I think I understand the theater ecosystem we’re trying to create much more clearly.

If you don’t like combing through other people’s conversations for bits of inspiration, I’ll be summarizing with handy flowcharts later.

Read the full conversation after the jump

ericzieg: @TheNineChicago re @parabasisThe game will change when it catches up to the success of other venues for perishable, live experiences.
TheNineChicago: @ericzieg I’m interested, not sure if I’m on the same page, though. Are we talking sporting events? Live music? Dance?

TheNineChicago: That’s a’ight, I’ll be that guy.
ericzieg: @TheNineChicago Any venue offering a liminal, perishable experience: the restaurant model, the club model, the store model.
TheNineChicago: @ericzieg So, in a nutshell, the game ain’t changing. ;)

ericzieg: @TheNineChicago I articulated it a bit in the comments at @Chris_Ashworth‘s blog last year: http://bit.ly/KgLDy
TheNineChicago: @ericzieg Ah, I see. I’m mainly talking playwrights – how the current institution has little interest in them.
TheNineChicago: @ericzieg What with the amount of underpants being wrung that someone who is essentially part of the institution called them whiners.

ericzieg: @TheNineChicago Where I would draw an analogy is: who is the equivalent of the playwright at these other venues, and how are they paid?
ericzieg: @TheNineChicago (Ah, I was relating this more to Isaac’s post about quitting the game, and suggesting that that “”game”” will be replaced.)”
TheNineChicago: @ericzieg …aside from the fact that Jones is fine with the game and Isaac also thinks it should be replaced.

TheNineChicago: @ericzieg Oh oh oh, I’m with you there, the ‘game’ should be replaced. I just don’t think Isaac and Jones come up with different answers…
ericzieg: @TheNineChicago All the sold-out shows in small theaters in the past few months suggests to me the possiblity of greater self-sufficiency.
ericzieg: @TheNineChicago (i.e., good shows that weren’t given exceptional coverage but found an audience: Strange Tree, Redtwist, BackStage, Snnermn)

TheNineChicago: @ericzieg That’s my hope for Outrageous Fortune – not that we ‘fix’ theatre, but we realize we can do it ourselves.
TheNineChicago: @ericzieg Self-sufficiency’s the name of the game. Naturally, the higher up the food chain you go, the less people are going to agree.

TheNineChicago: @ericzieg And the best part is that them not agreeing doesn’t really matter. That’s why the outrage baffles me.
nickkeenan: YES. RT @ericzieg All the sold-out shows in small theaters in the past few months suggests to me the possiblity of greater self-sufficiency.
nickkeenan: @TheNineChicago @ericzieg Restaurants are doing it already. All word of mouth, and provide a delicious shareable local experience.

nickkeenan: @TheNineChicago That is my definition of fixing theater – doing it ourselves, sustainably.
TheNineChicago: @nickkeenan Perhaps I should have used a capital Theater. So much agreement on what’s wrong makes me wonder who we’re trying to convince.
travisbedard: @nickkeenan eh. If I wait long enough Steppenwolf will fix it for me.

TheNineChicago: @nickkeenan The bigger picture system that’s in place isn’t going to change, so yes, let’s stop playing that game and make our own.
TheNineChicago: @nickkeenan That’s what I meant. We don’t fix Broadway, we stop worrying about it and do it better.
nickkeenan: @TheNineChicago It is true. Today is one of those days that makes me want to sever connections with that side of the industry.

travisbedard: @Ericdoggettremember that you’re smarter than me, I could be missing something big, just didn’t see it in my once over.
travisbedard: @TheNineChicago Trying to convince the untired people with money who aren’t us, so when we wake up we’re closer to Zion.
nickkeenan: @TheNineChicago Not in a bitter way – just, acknowledging that we function as differently as local restaurants and MickeyDs.

travisbedard: @dloehr can you drive one down here? I’m all mopey.
nickkeenan: @TheNineChicago We’re trying to convince the audience, Bries.
nickkeenan: @TheNineChicago remember that all your project’s goals are compatible with going off the grid. Mine are not: I want a more local grid.

nickkeenan: @travisbedard T-shirt! (Why worry? Steppenwolf will fix it for me.)
krisvire: @nickkeenan Bingo. But don’t you also want to have a series of local grids that can better serve, say, Toni Press-Coffman?
travisbedard: @nickkeenan Somebody had better, this bejeweled ain’t gonna play itself.

travisbedard: @krisvire Does Ms. P-C like eggs?
travisbedard: @krisvire or @ToniChristianoif you’re nasty
nickkeenan: @krisvire Yes indeed. And I want a blueprint for such a grid (like we have in foodie-dom) to exist in every community.

travisbedard: @Ericdoggettyeah just let her know I followed with an “”it’s not you it’s me”” and then you can roll your eyes and say “”hh…Actor”””
nickkeenan: @travisbedard Too Much Light, naturally.
nickkeenan: @krisvire We need the support of hometown critics for that – who prefer good local food over M-Fing Applebee’s.

travisbedard: @nickkeenan what’s the theatre equivalent of braised short ribs and minted quinoa?
travisbedard: @nickkeenan BAM. Sold.
TheNineChicago: @nickkeenan We convince the audience with our work, not with books and studies. (Which reads more bitter than I intend.)
nickkeenan: @dloehr The sustainability is the hard part. A restaurant requires the support of a network of people who know how a restaurant works.

krisvire: @travisbedard Is this all about you missing dinner?
nickkeenan: @TheNineChicago The work is part of it, but the framework is also part. Great chefs go under because they don’t connect with their hood
travisbedard: @krisvire if you’re going to be all perceptive about it. Apparently YES.

travisbedard: Seriouly guys – Monofonus Press (a multimedia label) in Austin with a reading I WANT to go to: Teleportal Readings http://is.gd/5WhVo
TheNineChicago: @nickkeenan I do love that The Nine doesn’t have to deal with some of this, but I swing both ways. The Signal hat changes priorities.
krisvire: @nickkeenan Well. Yes. I mean the cheese biscuits at Red Lobster are made from magic. But I tend to favor the neighborhood places.
travisbedard: @dloehr use it to come up with metaphors to fix and label theatre. GO (and not CSAs that’s taken)

nickkeenan: @krisvire And thus we have cheese biscuits = xanadu.
krisvire: @TheNineChicago The study’s not for audiences, but it got this discussion going among us, yeah? Curious what the Monday thing will be like.
TheNineChicago: @nickkeenan @krisvire Local grids = yes. But this isn’t new info; we’re working on it. What frustrates me is all the time and energy…

TheNineChicago: @nickkeenan @krisvire …spent railing against McDs. They don’t care, we know they don’t care. We’re in two-wheel drive, we could use four.
krisvire: @nickkeenan I’m on a streak of torturing metaphors this week.
nickkeenan: @TheNineChicago The problem is that this is where the metaphor breaks down. Everyone’s talking about McDs instead of Bayless in theater

krisvire: @TheNineChicago @nickkeenan OK, but then we have to decide what Goodman & S’wolf equal. Topolobampo?
nickkeenan: @TheNineChicago Without dialogue with audience, you don’t have theater that matters.
krisvire: @nickkeenan Or did we both come up with that at the same time? shudder

krisvire: @nickkeenan Thank you for following me down that treacherous path.
TheNineChicago: @krisvire I shouldn’t have had to Google that just now, should I? hangs head
nickkeenan: @krisvire Dude. Steppenwolf is totally Wolfgang Puck.
TheNineChicago: @krisvire Annie’s coming to town, right? Consider the Cracker Barrel position filled.

krisvire: @TheNineChicago Yep, and Mamma Mia = Olive Garden.
TheNineChicago: I gained three followers in the last hour. Thanks, Outrageous Fortune!
krisvire: @dloehr @nickkeenan I agree. Steppenwolf doesn’t put its name on grocery store frozen entrees.
TheNineChicago: @dloehr I already blame him for far too much.

TheNineChicago: @dloehr Also, good to make your acquaintance!
nickkeenan: @krisvire @dloehr I don’t know. Grocery store frozen entrees are the solution to all MY problems.
krisvire: &and employers/training grounds for up-and-comers?
krisvire: For (semi)serious though, do Goodman & S’wolf = Rick Bayless & Grant Achatz, our grid’s ambassadors to larger world&

nickkeenan: @krisvire Correct. And while being semi-franchised, they’re still a bridge with the community.
dloehr: @krisvire @nickkeenan Obv, I’m not in Chicago itself, but seems like they’re a better/stronger bridge than in most cities.
dloehr: @nickkeenan @krisvire It’s not the same with our area, which, for the sake of discretion, rhymes with Hooeyville.

krisvire: Um, for those not playing along at home, my BobFalls:RickBayless analogy is part of a much larger at-reply conversation. Ahem.
TheNineChicago: @krisvire @nickkeenan And things like S’wolf’s GarageRep reinforce that. We can work together. And separately. And should do both.
nickkeenan: @dloehr dur. I mean cities.

nickkeenan: @dloehr In smaller theaters, I think the model needs to not require a bridge.
dloehr: @TheNineChicago @krisvire @nickkeenan I would love for something along the lines of GarageRep. If more places were open to such projects…
dloehr: @TheNineChicago @krisvire @nickkeenan …they might find more people coming into their buildings, maybe get a cross-pollination of auds.

rwkozlowski: I walk away from Twitter for three hours and the place is going crazy with food metaphors. Can’t I leave you people alone for two seconds??
krisvire: RT @WillActForFood: @krisvire & a convoluted 1 at that. had to follow at least 3 new ppl/cos to make sense of it. and now? totally hungry.
nickkeenan: @dloehr I think what helps places like Hooeyville is financial support for a portion of small-scale tours & cost effective remounts

dloehr: @nickkeenan They’re confused when new and different people come there to see these dinky little theatre groups in the cabaret.
dloehr: @nickkeenan Ideally, yes. But it’s amazing how ossified ATL’s gotten, even with the new play festival and the baby-steps cabaret series.
nickkeenan: @dloehr And I think in kind, cities need that fringe festival element that brings in latest work from Hooeyville.

dloehr: @nickkeenan And then figure these folks’ll be so enthralled with ATL as is, they’ll buy tickets on the spot. But they don’t.
nickkeenan: @dloehr It’s audience training. It’s like the first time you eat from a street vendor. It’s risky, but so rewarding, and delightful.
dloehr: @nickkeenan Ah, but those are doing fine. The KY Center for Arts packs them in for the tours and such.

dloehr: @nickkeenan Indeed. We did one year where all of our shows were out of town, because that’s where we got support.
nickkeenan: @dloehr I think I’m thinking about Chi. We see a lot of international, but not indiana (that isn’t in process of moving here)
TheNineChicago: @nickkeenan You’re taking this metaphor to the bank, aren’t you?

nickkeenan: @TheNineChicago It works! I’m finding it incredibly valuable. Plus I need to hold on to sense of humor as tight as possible today.
krisvire: @nickkeenan Exactly. Which is why I have such hopes for @ChicagoFringe.
dloehr: @nickkeenan -we do okay with the 40-50 seat space, room to add chairs if need be.
dloehr: @nickkeenan Yeah. We’re about 40 miles from L’ville, so that’s our civilization. Local pop is 25k for the entire county. So locally-

nickkeenan: @krisvire That would throw so much fuel on Twitter. I would love to see Austin, IN, and Vancouver bring shows here and vice versa.
krisvire: @nickkeenan Hmm, now I’m trying to imagine a theater version of the Taste.
dloehr: @nickkeenan L’ville has so many little groups that do good work, but they die quickly because there’s nowhere to do it. But if ATL-

TheNineChicago: @dloehr @nickkeenan And this is how National becomes National, not NYLACHI.
nickkeenan: @dloehr I think that’s the perfect size to serve a small community or neighborhood. Program the hell out of the space.
dloehr: @nickkeenan And you know what they push as the draw? The beer. Honestly.

dloehr: @nickkeenan -of their occasional cabaret thing late one Friday night every three or four months for ten minute shows, loud music and beer.
dloehr: @nickkeenan -were to support a rotating series of shows from homegrown theatre artists, they’d pull people in on a regular basis instead-
nickkeenan: @krisvire its what loopapalooza should be
dloehr: @nickkeenan This space isn’t ours full time, but we’ve got a guy who’s developing a little complex and he wants us as the draw.

nickkeenan: @krisvire And I think it’s most of the way there. Chaotic, fun, centrally located. With a map and schedule that is best left at home.
dloehr: @nickkeenan And programming it continuously is my goal.
nickkeenan: @rwkozlowskiYou’re not hungry enough. “”Pizza”” “”Mashed Potatoes.”” “”Hamburger.”””

dloehr: @krisvire @nickkeenan I’m hoping to bring something up to @ChicagoFringe, depending on my actor’s schedule…
TheNineChicago: @nickkeenan Looptopia? But that’s dead now, isn’t it?
dloehr: @travisbedard This is a good thing. I was worried I’d have to break out some of the 5yr’s knock knock jokes.

dloehr: @nickkeenan That’s really 90% of the local battle-a dedicated space that people are aware of and visit regularly.
rwkozlowski: @nickkeenan I’m full as hell. Wife and I got a large pizza from I Monelli. Almost finished the damn thing.
nickkeenan: @TheNineChicago My brain is totally fried. Yes. Looptopia. And THATS why we need sustainability.

krisvire: @nickkeenan GarageRep, O’Neill fest, FugardChicago & RogersParkFlexPass are all almost-there models to build on, too.
TheNineChicago: @krisvire What ever the at-reply version of retweeting is, I’m doing that right now.
nickkeenan: @krisvire Each one of those programs reduces the risk of experience that CJ is so deathly afraid of.

nickkeenan: @krisvire All just selling our stuff together to create an audience culture that values that kind of performance experience. Patron choice
dloehr: @WillActForFoodWe do great with pay-what-you-can Thurs nights, often make as much as regular nights. Sun are tougher, depends on the show.
nickkeenan: @krisvire If one component sucks, you have three or four more to make your date happy.
dloehr: @nickkeenan @krisvire Then you’re part of something more, and even the lesser shows are still fun.

dloehr: @nickkeenan @krisvire That’s the beauty of the Capital Fringe (and others), where you enjoy the experience itself, see a few shows at once.
rwkozlowski: Chicago improv is modeled on exactly that. RT @nickkeenan If one component sucks, you have three or four more to make your date happy.
krisvire: @nickkeenan Exactly. Risk-minimizers. Only diff now is, if you’re not digging something at Lolla or Looptopia&

krisvire: @nickkeenan &you can drag yr date away to another perf happening simultaneously. With thtr models, it’s try again another night.
TheNineChicago: @krisvire @nickkeenan If we can get to a place where something like FugardChicago is planned ahead? Dialogue for aud./artists/everyone.
nickkeenan: @TheNineChicago That’s why the league is trying to make FugardChicago a model.

krisvire: @TheNineChicago @nickkeenan YES. On the fly is undeniably awesome, but on purpose is way better.
krisvire: @TheNineChicago @nickkeenan And that’s, frankly, what O’Neill was. Which is to Goodman’s bridging credit.

nickkeenan: @krisvire @TheNineChicago so we need more “”Free Nights of Theatre”” for the next 10 years until people WANT the full night of theater”
nickkeenan: @krisvire @TheNineChicago Thanks. This discussion really clarifies where I should be putting my energy in next six months.
ericzieg: Momofuku Ko in NYC has 12 seats. Top restaurant in NYC. Someone will figure out how to do this with Chicago theater. http://bit.ly/28IpFY

ericzieg: The dovetailing of a theater’s work and its physical space – as in @buildingstage. In the 2010s Chicago theater will have its Grant Achatz.
ericzieg: See also arena concerts instead of Schubas, X-Box not Whirlyball RT @nickkeenan Everyone’s talking about McDs instead of Bayless in theater
krisvire: @ericzieg @halcyonjennHey y’all, welcome to our weirdo Friday night jam session.

ericzieg: Went to The Counter on Diversey tonight, which absolutely holds its own against Chi theater as $15 for sensory surprise/satisfaction/depth.
krisvire: @ericzieg Love @buildingstage, but doesn’t it sit fallow when not booked, in a culture desert? I think to audiences it does.
ericzieg: @krisvire If a place like @buildingstagewere a cultural gym, with the hours and membership model of a gym, maybe gym model would work.
ericzieg: @krisvire If any restaurant had the limited hours of a storefront theater, there’s no way they would stay in business…but, conversely,

ericzieg: @krisvire …if a theater space had the hours and daily number of customers as a restaurant, could it work as a for-profit?
krisvire: @ericzieg Hmm. So expect large auds in evening, small auds mid-afternoon & late-night (w/lighter staffing)? I’m trying to follow you here&
ericzieg: @krisvire Maybe yoga in the morning, kids shows or classes in the afternoon, theater in the evening, music at night.

ericzieg: @krisvire See also: Old Town School and Second City. Both are open from about 9 a.m. to midnight, in one capacity or another.
ericzieg: @krisvire If a space is membership-sustained, some use it quarterly, some daily; like the private old-boy club model + gym model.
krisvire: @ericzieg OK, I see where you’re coming from now.
ericzieg: @krisvire As Adam Thurman wrote, churches don’t propser through Sunday services but through what else they do: http://bit.ly/AOcFI

krisvire: @ericzieg I spent a decade waiting/bartending to pay the bills, so I’m slightly resistant to “”it’ll all balance out”” memes&”
krisvire: @ericzieg &just based on my own experience about the way dayparts play out. But smart programming could allay that.
krisvire: @ericzieg Adam’s totally right about 11-12 on Sunday not paying the bills, but a lot of churches waste a lot of time too.

krisvire: @ericzieg And for what it’s worth, I love me some Adam Thurman.
ericzieg: @krisvire I think it’s a really exciting time for Chi theater, with the talent here combined with you/Thurman/Keenan/et-al pooling thoughts.
krisvire: @ericzieg Thank you, sir. I can only hope that I (in conjunction with those way more awesome minds) can do some good for the cause.

nickkeenan: @dloehr Serial plays often discussed in Chicago, BTW – there’s even a historic precedent in WARP by Organic.
nickkeenan: @dloehr Yowser. It is goood to get those ideas out there. Many things to think about now.
dloehr: @nickkeenan I think it’s a natural idea right now, give people a reason to keep coming back in, esp one acts/cheap tix.

dloehr: @nickkeenan And we the public are so conditioned to the TV model, why the hell not? We can write that, too, dangit.
dloehr: @NEW_PLAY_BLOGSeems to me, that’s one lady blogger right there who should be on your list…
nickkeenan: @dloehr I think Slings and Arrows / West Wing is the model for theater serials though – L&O is leave-on-in-background noise

dloehr: @NEW_PLAY_BLOGAlso violenceofarticulation.blogspot.com.
nickkeenan: @dloehr And that’s actually what I use TV serials for – comfy as an armchair. Theater is different – demands attention.
dloehr: @nickkeenan Oh yes. The one we filmed is a police interrogation, so that was the pitch. Crowd went nuts for it, which was nice.

dloehr: @nickkeenan I’m more a Homicide type than L&O, myself.
dloehr: @nickkeenan It would sort of be a bait-and-switch for exactly that reason. Once in the theatre, they’d be surprised by the electricity.
travisbedard: @nickkeenan @dloehr and you do it in a pub. A Theatre Pub: http://is.gd/66RZG – @directaddress

nickkeenan: @dloehr @travisbedard exactly. You don’t want to remove the comfort from the serial. Needs beer & cheese fries & community.
dloehr: @travisbedard @nickkeenan I would love that. There’s sort of one in L’ville we’ve worked at, awkward, bad area, small auds, but still…

travisbedard: @nickkeenan And a cheap place that benefits from repeat business
travisbedard: @TheNineChicago I had never run into it before… omg so good.
dloehr: @travisbedard @nickkeenan Tho this isn’t overly serialized, they’re meant to be standalone if need be. So serial isn’t quite the word.

dloehr: @nickkeenan @travisbedard But it would be easy to design a lighter, more serialized collection to run in such a setting.
nickkeenan: @dloehr @travisbedard in Chicago, we see this most prevalently at The Spot and Chopin Theatres – Spot has great food, Chopin couches & booze

travisbedard: @dloehr even on a basic level. Running Cheers IN a bar.
dloehr: @travisbedard That would be a lot of fun.
nickkeenan: @travisbedard @dloehr Oh duh, and Our Hamburger Mary’s has Mary’s Attic – a tiny alt performance space.

dloehr: @nickkeenan @travisbedard L’ville’s got the Rudyard Kipling, perpetually in danger of closing. But free stage space. Mostly music.
nickkeenan: @dloehr @travisbedard What would you do in this room (notice the bar) http://bit.ly/80Fxpy? (Note: this is home of Chicago WTD09)
dloehr: @nickkeenan Is there an actual stage space that’s hidden? Or would it be immersive theatre?

nickkeenan: @dloehr @travisbedard More views at http://bit.ly/7HjG1P Owner would LOVE to do something like this on Sat. afternoons.
dloehr: @nickkeenan Oh, wait, I’ve been to their site before…
nickkeenan: @dloehr They have 2 stages, but I think think their studio lobby is a worthy performance venue in itself and would rarely conflict w/renters

dloehr: @nickkeenan Yeah yeah yeah, I was reading about the I-fest months ago. (Why am I not moving to Chicago tonight?)
dloehr: @nickkeenan I’m good with small/odd spaces-we’ve had to be, down here. The DC fringe show last summer: woman, suitcase, chair.
nickkeenan: @dloehr Everyone in the world should meet Lela and Ziggy. They are some of the craziest, hardest-working, most generous theatricians ITW.

travisbedard: @nickkeenan Do I only get that room?
krisvire: @nickkeenan @dloehr @travisbedard dont 4get Mary’s Attic ran serial The Ville 4 last couple yrs & has Charles Busch fest starting nxt wk.

nickkeenan: @travisbedard Well… it’s configurable. Baby Grand piano, couches can be reorganized, and anteroom & cafe is fair game but tight.
krisvire: @nickkeenan Oh, I’m not tweeting fast enough.
nickkeenan: @krisvire I’m trying to think of other theater pubs… Plagiarists use Black Rock to great effect.

dloehr: @krisvire Yeah, we’ve been fast and furious tonight.
krisvire: @nickkeenan @dloehr I WILL CATCH UP TO YOUR TWEETS, KEENAN
krisvire: @nickkeenan @dloehr That downstairs lobby space is totally underused. And owners Zyggy & Lela are some of the Earth’s finest denizens.

dloehr: @krisvire @nickkeenan I think I heard that all the way down here, what, five hours south?
krisvire: @nickkeenan And Viaduct can be a theater pub of sorts, when used creatively.
dloehr: @trishameadThen it edges closer to dinner theatre mystery, less marketable for (hopefully) larger theatres. And they’re not all crime…

travisbedard: @nickkeenan @dloehr so you ficitonalize it AND the length and breadth of the history of the theatre
travisbedard: @nickkeenan @dloehr You don’t have a res. company (that I’m aware of)
travisbedard: @nickkeenan @dloehr I totally go the Slings and Arrows route.

nickkeenan: @dloehr @krisvire If we keep having these theater ecosystem convos, Vire & I are both going to heart attack. But they’re as good as sat. fat
krisvire: @nickkeenan Sandbox did a play at Matilda’s some years back to great effect. And Town Hall’s a comedy pub, no reason it couldn’t do thtr too

travisbedard: @dloehr You’ve listened to Stuart Maclean yeah?
travisbedard: @krisvire that was so much louder than a Popeye’s bag.
dloehr: @travisbedard Why do I know that name?

dloehr: @travisbedard @nickkeenan In the right setting, sure. That’d be fun. Doubt we could do that here, for various reasons.
travisbedard: @nickkeenan @dloehr Serialized company prepped for a show upstairs
nickkeenan: @krisvire Right… EVERY comedy club is like this… serial shows, booze, snacks. Skybox, iO, on and on… Maybe thats why we don’t do it?

krisvire: @nickkeenan @dloehr @travisbedard Seriously, Nick & I will OD on this stuff. And if @ericzieg is around…
ericzieg: @nickkeenan EP has canned beer, a bit pubbish; Seanachai used Atlantic Bar & Grill; upstairs at The Spot; Walkabout and panto @ The Hideout.

dloehr: @nickkeenan @krisvire I call them intellectual catnip. And my pupils get freaky just like the cats’ do.
travisbedard: @dloehr He’s your godfather?
travisbedard: @dloehr Well I’m looking at @nickkeenan ‘s Noel Coward salon

dloehr: @trishameadDown here, they keep asking us to do that, but they don’t know what goes into it. I’ve seen the Shear Madness script…
nickkeenan: @trishameadActually, no, what happens? Is it like drinking flat cola?
ericzieg: @nickkeenan Seanachai’s ‘Our Father’ worked well in the back room – audience all around the actors (Dan Waller, etc.), far better than thtr.

dloehr: @trishameadYes, but I got them hooked. Score one for theatre.
travisbedard: @trishameadbut you already HAVE them in a theatre, and they’re drinking
nickkeenan: @travisbedard AWWWW YEAH COWARD.
ericzieg: @krisvire @nickkeenan Finished some work, took a bath, I’m ready for round #97.

dloehr: @trishamead@nickkeenan Flat cola with Pop Rocks, maybe?
dloehr: @nickkeenan @krisvire Exactly. My idea is, here, here’s something you’re familiar with, but in a theatre. Look what else we can do…
dloehr: @travisbedard OHHHH yes. Brain went dead. Vinyl Cafe. Yes, there are some on my phone right now.

krisvire: @nickkeenan Also perception prob of calling it “”theater”” means auds must behave differently stay in seats, no talking&”
ericzieg: @krisvire …and how if there were a theater equivalent of the Old Town School, that could be (or become) it.
ericzieg: @krisvire Oh, I was thinking today how the Center on Halsted is a model space that folks can make their hangout, is open most of the time.

dloehr: @nickkeenan @travisbedard Love me some good Coward.
nickkeenan: @ericzieg But how amazing to see theater and then grocery shop in same building.
nickkeenan: @ericzieg Center is a great space. Though: the design is cold. I just had a really awkward time in their upstairs lobby.

travisbedard: @trishamead@nickkeenan @trishamead@krisvire For me the goal in serialized theatre is the bridge, the “”no this IS for you, PROMISE – LOOK!”””
nickkeenan: @krisvire I love using the word “”performance”” for everything. Then people only expect to see something.”

ericzieg: @nickkeenan @krisvire Have you guys been to the Guthrie? I loved the old space, was against rebuilding, but it’s such a 21st century bldg.
nickkeenan: @travisbedard That was the beauty of WARP – it appealed to anyone who got lost in a Star Wars world.
ericzieg: @nickkeenan @krisvire Minneapolis has fantastic spaces at all levels: Bryant Lake Bowl, Open Eye, The Jungle, Southern, Jeune Lune(rip)…

dloehr: @trishameadWould that we could at Humana. Oh, such potential in that bldg, and to see how they spend it…
nickkeenan: @ericzieg Not yet. This is the decade of me taking those trips.
dloehr: @travisbedard EXACTLY. That’s why mine is loose, not full-on serial. Enough to connect, but valid theatre pieces individually.
travisbedard: @krisvire can we call it Bagel?

krisvire: @nickkeenan And not for nothing, but my buddy Piatt’s been making inroads on “”performance”” at Ricochet’s.”
dloehr: @trishameadIt’s in toys, w/creative stuff, I forget the brand, but it’s with science-y things. Comes with a pack of Mentos, too.
dloehr: @trishameadThat would be brilliant. They’d never do it. (I’ve suggested similar things.)

travisbedard: @dloehr Oh. I don’t DO valid theatre. We’re on different pages
nickkeenan: @krisvire I love his salons. The one I saw (at Black Rock) was pure Federal Theatre Project. Giddy.
krisvire: @nickkeenan @ericzieg Nor I. But love the idea the Nat’l model that Chris J keeps going on about.

ericzieg: @nickkeenan @krisvire Davenport’s actually has lots of rigid (in a good way) theatrical conventions to its space, lights, sound, design, etc
dloehr: @krisvire @nickkeenan Maintains the “”order”” of sitting in a show while allowing the looseness of beer/drinks, fun.”

dloehr: @krisvire @nickkeenan ATL’s doing an occasional late night cabaret series, normal theatre with a cash bar inside. Works well.
travisbedard: @dloehr I’m kidding
krisvire: @ericzieg @nickkeenan VG has been rolling beer carts into the theater for its latenite Fresh Squeezed programming, FWIW.

dloehr: @travisbedard I knew. You had that look in your eye.
dloehr: @krisvire @nickkeenan But they don’t program it as well as they could, run it as consistently as they could. So it flounders.
nickkeenan: @dloehr Which comes from not connecting to an audience. By focusing on musical standards & guest singers, Davenports thrives.

ericzieg: @krisvire @nickkeenan The Guthrie basically has design and function combined along the lines of the Violet Hour-a passageway before a show.
dloehr: @trishameadYup. That’d be the thing. They’re trying to use the bldg late at fest now, free shows w/apprentice co. Bleh.
dloehr: @nickkeenan Theatre groups don’t jump at it because it’s too short form for them, and the music sucks. ATL fills a slot themselves now-

dloehr: @nickkeenan -right there is how/why they don’t connect.
dloehr: @nickkeenan -just to fill the bill. We’ve performed a few times, have gotten praise as “”the coherent act.”” Which I don’t mind, but that-”
ericzieg: @krisvire @nickkeenan (and when I talk about design and function, it’s not about $ or fancy- EP does it intuitively- a rare homemade space.)

dloehr: @krisvire @SMLois@travisbedard @nickkeenan It’s like intellectual, theatre-based Mario Kart.
nickkeenan: @ericzieg Right… each design FITS the space, fits the audience, fits the content.

dloehr: @krisvire @travisbedard I suppose, given the tweeters, it’s superfluous…
travisbedard: @krisvire @dloehr I’m a hack and tend to not deliver cleanly unless I’m being oppressively earnest.

krisvire: @ericzieg @nickkeenan I’ve seen lots of examples of limitations birthing innovation at EP, for sure.
dloehr: @trishameadYeah, that works. (I’m getting lightheaded again.) : )
travisbedard: @dloehr @krisvire @SMLois@nickkeenan BANANA SHPEEL!

dloehr: @travisbedard @krisvire @SMLois@nickkeenan …the horror….the horror….
ericzieg: @krisvire @nickkeenan And the EP experience starts with having to go down the alley to find the space, then having to hang out.Redmoon same.

travisbedard: @trishameadwow Tweetdeck just isn’t going to let that happen
nickkeenan: @ericzieg @krisvire I need to get down there to see what they’re doing. I am kind of excited that it’s a hub for @ChicagoFringe
krisvire: @travisbedard @dloehr @SMLois@nickkeenan You had to go there, didn’t you?

ericzieg: @krisvire @nickkeenan Going to EP/Hideout/Hopleaf/Hugen Hall/Profiles/Building Stage is like a tweet; some theaters, as space, an auto-post.
travisbedard: @krisvire You wanna rule the USAian theatre world? You have to own the bastard children. We let you have UNH ALUM Molly Brennan
krisvire: @ericzieg @nickkeenan Jeez, how did I not think of Hugen Hall yet? Talk about a theater pub.

dloehr: @krisvire He did. He really did. #davidshiner #whyyyyy
travisbedard: @nickkeenan so sad I couldn’t afford ChiFringe this year
nickkeenan: @krisvire @ericzieg Oh! And is The Heart of Gold still happening? An underground one, but probably the best hangout of them all.

ericzieg: @krisvire So many years of actors going to Konak before Hugen Hall. Talk about the difference of a theater going 8-1a.m. instead of 8-10.
dloehr: @nickkeenan @travisbedard I’m hoping to bring something up for the Fringe, mainly as an excuse to visit…
krisvire: @ericzieg @nickkeenan And too, what @thenewcolonydid last year at DANKhaus FRAT was promenade + open bar.

dloehr: @nickkeenan Which is a shame; she’s great, and possibly the second coming of Carol Burnett, I kid you not.
dloehr: @nickkeenan Funny, a good friend lived there briefly last year and left because it was too haphazard, she couldn’t take it.
nickkeenan: @dloehr Well: It is a PERFORMANCE VENUE that people tried to LIVE IN. Haphazard is built into the lease.

krisvire: @nickkeenan @ericzieg I think Heart of Gold is defunct, but The Inconvenience has taken its spiritual place.
nickkeenan: @krisvire Dankhaus is absolutey becoming one of those places… especially since that’s where we’re having @ChicagoSFSummitmeetups

dloehr: @nickkeenan Such an odd concept. Yeah, she’s not Felix Unger, but it was too much for her. But the concept sounded cool.
ericzieg: @nickkeenan @krisvire O and in so many ways @2ndstoryis a strong model – bar performance, single performances, unintimidating, social.

nickkeenan: @ericzieg So true! @dloehr, @travisbedard You guys should check out @2ndStory– Chi’s answer to The Moth.
ericzieg: @krisvire @nickkeenan The lit scene is thriving now because of bar shows: Quickies, Rec Room, et al – not academic/stuffy/off-putting.

dloehr: @nickkeenan @ericzieg @travisbedard Very cool. Reminds me of Speakeasy back in DC, too, similar idea.

JAN 12 – Theatre Serials, Theatre Pubs and Multi-Disciplinary Events

nickkeenan: @ericzieg @dloehr so maybe key to Serial performances is partnerships. Get a lit group, theatre troupe, musicians, and pub and light it up.

krisvire: @nickkeenan @ericzieg. Totally. With props to Dollar Store, Mortified too. And Chicago’s Moth is holding its own, I hear.
dloehr: @nickkeenan @ericzieg Now you speak my language. Each element draws people and maybe piques interest in the other elements.
dloehr: @ericzieg @nickkeenan Busboys and Poets in DC is mildly like that. No theatre, but spoken word, music, talks/lectures. Big hit.

nickkeenan: @dloehr because the theater troupe is going to be best at staging, not necessarily picking the right literary source of serial literature.
ericzieg: @nickkeenan @krisvire The Hideout does it in their way, with music/performance/community each week; so much potential for more like it.
nickkeenan: @dloehr And that’s why I see theater rather than poetry slams – the spotlight / mic / transition music thing is cool, but could be improved.

dloehr: @nickkeenan Yup. The space we’re theoretically helping to develop here might be able to handle that; there’ll be a restaurant/bar, I know.
krisvire: Why isn’t there more cross-pollination of 2ndStory, DollarStore, LateNightLateShow(rip), TheVille, Mortified, etc? Do we need variety shows?
dloehr: @nickkeenan Poetry slams, as “”exciting”” as they can be, turn off more people than pure storytelling, I think.”

ericzieg: @dloehr What’s great is that these lit events in Chicago have none of the baggage of “”spoken word”” and “”poetry slam”” and “”performance art.”””
ericzieg: @krisvire They’re happening, but there isn’t a clear place to list them: Reconstruction Room and Cabaret Vagabond pack the room each time.

dloehr: @ericzieg Right. Down here (Madison/Hanover, IN), we sell plays/readings as ‘telling stories,’ which is something people can grasp.
nickkeenan: @krisvire Isn’t that the low-risk sampler pack we were talking about in the last session?
dloehr: @nickkeenan @krisvire @ericzieg I see what you mean about the heart attack/OD thing…I should be asleep by now…

krisvire: @ericzieg We actually have this convo weekly at TOC: where to list multi-genre stuff?
nickkeenan: @ericzieg Are they promoted sufficiently via facebook? (damn, would have liked to catch dictionary reading http://bit.ly/60y0VL )
krisvire: @ericzieg @nickkeenan & most of these only submit to 1 section or another, so we don’t know to x-reference.

nickkeenan: @krisvire @ericzieg I don’t understand or trust my own need to categorize performance types. But it’s there.
nickkeenan: @krisvire The web 2.0 answer is tagging by style, content, subject?
krisvire: @nickkeenan @ericzieg Holy Christ, have I mentioned how awesome The Encyclopedia Show @ the Chopin is? But what is it?

ericzieg: @krisvire What’s exciting is that there isn’t a blanket term for them yet – it’s like SoHo in 1978, no “”performance art”” yet, no “”new wave.”””
nickkeenan: @krisvire It sounds like visual RadioLab.

ericzieg: @nickkeenan Yeah, Facebook groups are the main promotion. Cabaret Vagabond sold out Martyrs; I’d never heard of 13 of the 15 acts.
nickkeenan: @dloehr @travisbedard I have a new t-shirt for us based on tonight’s convo: “”Re-invent and Prosper.”””
dloehr: @krisvire @nickkeenan @ericzieg Sorry to have vanished there; I hit my TweetDeck limit for the first time. But I really do need to go…

dloehr: @krisvire @nickkeenan (before I go) Visual RadioLab would be a fantastic thing.
dloehr: @krisvire @nickkeenan @ericzieg But a wonderful conversation. Thanks!
nickkeenan: @ericzieg It’s funny. I’ve never heard of any of these and they’re ALL SOLD OUT.

krisvire: @nickkeenan Pretty much, yep. Yr 2.0 thought is right(& I hope we get it right in our next upgrade), but what of our 50K print subscribers?
ericzieg: @nickkeenan What’s healthy about the lit/variety shows/Hugen Hall is that they’re catalysts for folks to create new work but as party games.
dloehr: @nickkeenan @travisbedard I like. R&P.

nickkeenan: @krisvire You guys have good luck with bubbles. What about cross-pollenation bubbles? Theater lovers would dig this restaurant.
krisvire: @dloehr 1st Wednesday of every month at Chicago’s Chopin Theatre. ;)
krisvire: @dloehr @nickkeenan @ericzieg Twitter FTW in 2010.

ericzieg: @krisvire @nickkeenan What’s also exciting is that these are, fiscally, some of the healthiest arts orgs, though no board, 501c3, mission.
dloehr: @nickkeenan @ericzieg @krisvire Indeed. (And zzzzzz.)

dloehr: @nickkeenan @krisvire Oh, that’s good. (I’m sleep-tweeting now. Stupid iPhone.)
nickkeenan: @ericzieg Missions are so much bigger than a 10-person company. It’s not a good model fit. Whereas being awesome IS a good fit.
ericzieg: @dloehr This American Life is absolutely the model for things like @2ndStory, so a live take on RadioLab makes perfect sense.

dloehr: @nickkeenan @krisvire @ericzieg Soon, the iPhone will be able to pick up thoughts and tweet them without typing.
nickkeenan: @krisvire ha. Except folks who aren’t following all of us think we CRAZY.
krisvire: @nickkeenan We love our stupid bubbles. But if 2ndS submits to Books, for instance, Jonny doesn’t know they haven’t also notified me.

dloehr: @ericzieg Yes. I download both as podcasts, listen weekly, would love to get something up and running like TAL et al down here.
krisvire: @nickkeenan Yeah, there’s that.
ericzieg: @nickkeenan You joke, but I’m absolutely sure that @rickbaylessand @gAchatzwould collaborate with their equals in the arts.

ericzieg: @nickkeenan I was putting together an event for the Sundance Lab and invited C. Trotter – the event fell through, but he was 100% game.
dloehr: @nickkeenan @krisvire And now, exeunt pursued by a bear.
dloehr: @nickkeenan @krisvire Seriously. My wife follows a few, but not all, and only catches pieces of conversations. The confusion is fun.

nickkeenan: @krisvire Tricky. But wouldn’t cross-pollenation be best with established (and predictable) institutions? 2nd Story, The Spot, Encyc. Show
nickkeenan: @ericzieg @krisvire. @rickbaylessreturns to the theater model discussion for a 2nd night. And scene.
krisvire: @nickkeenan @ericzieg Friggin’ food metaphors again.

krisvire: @nickkeenan Makes sense. They all have their own sold-out crowds; can they be integrated?
ericzieg: @nickkeenan @krisvire All right, we’ll get the chefs in on this by the end of the week. As spacial wizards too, I bet they’ve got ideas.
nickkeenan: @krisvire Here’s where mission hits me: SHOULDN’T they all be integrated? aren’t we a little compartmentalized in this city?

ericzieg: @krisvire They kind of don’t need to be integrated if they’re selling out venues appropriate for the work-but each show reflects its host.
nickkeenan: @ericzieg So true. Bayless could cook paella while 500 clown sous chefs and Encyc show could demonstrate chemistry of food.
krisvire: @nickkeenan @ericzieg We’re definitely compartmentalized. Should we be? Or is it a reflex?

nickkeenan: @krisvire It’s reflexive. We overindulge in our hobbies. I really value that TOC shakes me out of my habits.
nickkeenan: @krisvire For example, I’m now kicking myself that I don’t see more lit events. I habitually ONLY read the theater & food sections of TOC.
krisvire: @nickkeenan @ericzieg This morning’s TDF convening has me thinking it’s reflex (protect yr own interests), not best practices.

ericzieg: @krisvire @nickkeenan As I teenager I saw folks like Tom Waits, Laurie Anderson, John Lurie…were they actors? musicians? writers? artists?
ericzieg: @krisvire @nickkeenan They were doing all that stuff, and they were in a world where that stuff overlapped, and folks inspired each other.
nickkeenan: @ericzieg I wonder if it’s a factor of internet culture to date, where finding interest was all about categories and searching for keywords.

ericzieg: @krisvire @nickkeenan I hosted a few potluck nights in ’09 with writers/musicians/etc, and the potluck part made it curated but inclusive.
nickkeenan: @ericzieg Which was a response to label-esque top-down culture – which was well-edited but monocultured and more solidly counter-cultured.
ericzieg: @krisvire @nickkeenan Off to bed. Looking forward to seeing actors, musicians, writers, and @Rick_Baylessin the same variety show someday.

nickkeenan: @ericzieg @krisvire Love it. That is a sweet vision to feed a dream. Y’all are brilliant.
krisvire: @ericzieg @nickkeenan Indeed. Looking forward to continuing the conversation, but morning comes soon.
ericzieg: @krisvire @nickkeenan (P.S. I go back to food metaphors because an exact number of people eat a meal, same as see a play. Same rules.)