Sunday, March 31, 2013

All In The Timing- What's the Secret to Comedy?

All In The Timing isn't just a hoary punchline - Q:What makes a great - A: TIMING- Q (continued) joke? - it's an evening of six comedy sketches at  59E59 Theater.   Although the show sometimes adopts the forms and techniques of improv, these are actually polished gems indeed, brought to you by writer David Ives (Venus in Fur), director John Rando (Urinetown) and a superb cast of four:Carson Elrod, Liv Rooth, Matthew Saldivar and Jenn Harris. All six sketches are funny, sometimes moving, sometimes pointed and not, in any way that I could discern, connected to one another.  My favorite was set in a lab at Columbia where three chimps, Milton, Swift and Kafka, were under observation by a professor waiting for Hamlet to emerge from their keyboard bangings.  The chimps were instantly and consistently recognizable as such, despite some fairly slick dialog and a tendency to take on the politics of their namesakes. I will not summarize further (I just got a scrabble puzzle from a college friend who used to play multiple games of chess simultaneously, while blindfolded, so I may have a long night in front of me). There is really only one more fact you need to know.  This is a limited run, get your tickets now if you still can.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi

I received Misadventures of a Garden State Yogi as a Christmas gift, but I just did not want to read it.  First, it sounded an awful lot like Stretch, which I already read. Second, I was overdosing on "yoga" reading for my own yoga teacher training and didn't want to add another spoon full. Third, my normal laziness has been elevated to a state of near total torpor lately, possibly as an outgrowth of my new meditation practice.  Yet somehow the reading spirit moved me last week, and I'm glad it did.

Although both are humorous yoga memoirs, Misadventures, by Brian Leaf, is a very different book than Stretch.  Leaf's narrative is organized around his years of self discovery.  He takes his yoga very seriously and by yoga he means the whole lifestyle - not just physical postures but breathing, chanting, meditation, ayurvedic diet and behavior modifications and, most importantly, a relentless search to identify and commune with his own true self.  While he is not a facile wit like Neal Pollack in Stretch, Mr. Leaf has a genuine sense of humor about himself and a flair for presenting his quest with detail and authenticity that sometimes walks the line of new age babble, but rarely crosses it.

Misadventures is a worthwhile read for anyone with any interest in yoga. It's an excellent choice for students in yoga teacher training, a very likable, accessible and personal approach to the yoga terrain that  sometimes seems an arid, scholarly desert in the hands of Iyengar and Feurstein.