Happy Valley Improv is two years old. Can you believe it? We're toddlers. Terrible twos? You have no idea. In the blink of an eye, - the time it takes good improvisers to establish the who, where, what, and why in an improv scene - we've grown into a working improv company. Oi vey!
This is Sam. I am writing at Happy Valley Improv's behest. A post to bring in the new year. The new (sort of) tenets. The new mission. More on that in a bit.
Our company continues to grow. How do we keep up? The same way you keep up with a toddler, and I'm writing from experience here, you don't. You just survive. I'll write it again. Oi vey!
The four founders of Happy Valley Improv - Andrea, James, Nate, and myself - met a few weeks back to return to the mission of our growing improv company. James is an entrepreneur at heart. So he facilitated a process that allowed us to revisit our dreams and visions.
Incidentally, creating an improv theatre company is lots of work. And we all have day jobs. You wouldn't believe me if I told you how much time, energy, blood, sweat, and saliva goes into Happy Valley Improv. (Mostly saliva).
Anyway, we realized some things as we talked about where we came from, where we are at, and where we are going. We actually learned that what we thought was our initial mission was a little off. At first, we imagined we were bringing the art of improvisation to State College, PA. What we realized is that we are actually creating an improvisational community here. With all sorts of creative offshoots.
Naming this difference feels important to us. We are doing something new and unique. Creating a community with a particular set of values, practices, disciplines and, dare I say it, an ethos? I guess I do dare to say ethos because it captures how I conceive of improvisation, even if it runs the risk of coming off as pretentious, academic, or professorial. Professorial? Gag my face. Academic language? Gobbly gook. Did you know that ethos is a Greek word for character or the ideals or guiding beliefs of a community? The Greeks also used the word to refer to the power of music to influence emotions, behaviors, and even morals. Beautiful! I think our approach to improv has the same capacity. It's an ethos. For us, the heart of that ethos is found, created, and adhered to through our tenets.
We made two minor changes to the five tenets of Happy Valley Improv after our meeting. First, we decided to remove the word narrative from our first tenet. Yes, I've always approached storytelling as being essential to improv. And I still think it is. But we are trying to create tenets that allow for forms that have no predetermined outcomes. And narrative, I've come to see, is a little prescribed. Next, we decided to change our final tenet to: "Improvisation requires non-evaluative practice." This one feels important. So many of the students in our classes get hung up on evaluating how they did in particular scenes. Or evaluating how their partners did. That'll kill the improvisational ethos of a group, my friends. Whatever you did was what you were supposed to do. Want to do it differently next time? Okay, but stop evaluating yourself. Stop evaluating what others did. People get so insecure when they are being creative. Taking risks. They need to let that go to free up their bodies and their mind to do the work at hand, to improvise. To make new stuff. To channel what is already there. We realized that our final tenet was as much about evaluating ourselves as it was others. In improv, for us, we need to let that desire to critique and analyze the choices people (ourselves included) make go. Wild, man. Ethos.
So we updated the tenets a little. And we agreed that we need to highlight those tenets so that might exist as guidelines in order to create an ethos that ushers in a living improvisational community in State College, PA. What a mission!
Speaking of mission. We have a new mission statement. Want to hear it? Too bad. Here it comes. What have we decided the purpose of Happy Vally Improv is?
To cultivate and support a community of people dedicated to the study, practice, and exploration of improvisation.
Nice. A community of improvisational beings. I love it.
I'm in my fourth year in State College. So much has changed. I'm grateful that this community is here now. This improv company. Alive and growing. Who'd have thunk it? I came out here through an act of improvisational decision making. A little faith. And things are growing around me now. I'm growing too. That's good. That's improvisational.
Oi vey? No. L'Chaim, baby. L'Chaim.
This one is from Sam. Enjoy.
I'm not a summer camp guy.
Extended time in the wilderness with strangers? That doesn't sound too bad. Sleeping on the top bunk in a claustrophobic cabin with eleven potential snorers? Yeesh. Take my introversion. Please!
To clarify, that previous line was a play on the take my wife joke. Why make a joke? Because, my friend, despite my introverted nature, I spent last weekend near Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania at an improv camp. I don't think improv is an inherently comedic artform. Still, I concede that improv, more often than not, leads to jokes.
A fellow founder of Happy Valley Improv, one James Tierney, has a history with the Camp Improv Utopia people. Who are the Camp Improv Utopia (website | facebook | twitter | instagram) people? James attended these camps on the West Coast before moving to Pennsylvania to teach capitalism to the students at The Pennsylvania State University. Mercantilism, too. In fact, Camp Improv Utopia East is where another of our founders, one Dr. Andrea McCloskey, first practiced the art of improvisation. Andrea connected with James and me after she returned from Camp Improv Utopia East nearly two years ago. Two years later, we have a pretty robust improv theatre company on our hands. Camp Improv Utopia East is part of Happy Valley Improv's story. My story too, I guess. So, when James suggested that the founders of Happy Valley Improv attend the summer camp this year, I begrudgingly said yes.
Traveling is part of my job. I'm faculty in higher education now. It's expected that I go to conferences. I've been all over the country during the past three years. I've given talks, listened to talks, and drank beer with some really cool people. I've also learned that, in fact, I hate traveling. Flying is bad enough. But leaving my wife alone with our two toddlers is misery. The parent guilt is crippling. And the anxiety. What, me worry? Yes, me worry. My worry lots. I'm getting better, but a history of trial and tribulation (both experiential and genetic) leaves a man with some apprehension. (I've written extensively about this here, here, and even here) Travel makes me jittery, but adding Camp Improv Utopia East to my itinerary proved a smart move.
Yes, sleeping (or not sleeping) in the top bunk was unpleasant. And the mosquitoes swarmed me like a flock of locusts. But I also met some great improvisers, bonded with our Happy Valley Improv cohort, and attended some kickass sessions.
Wendy Penrod, founder and artistic director of Off the Cuff comedy (website | facebook | twitter | instagram) led a workshop about listening that blew my mind. Yes, her facilitation of mindfulness helped me as an improvisor. More importantly, it was transformative to me as an educator and a teacher educator. It's rare that I participate in a session where the facilitator so absolutely provokes a group to hear and be heard by each other. Those of us in education could benefit from looking to improv, especially as Wendy conceives it, to learn different ways to more deeply engage people.
Louis Kornfield (bio) is with Magnet Theatre in New York (website | facebook | twitter | instagram). I left his nuanced workshop reminded that an improv scene is an experience to be lived rather than a problem to solve. Andrea and I later talked about imagining that the same is true of teaching over lunch. Encounters with students are experiences to be lived rather than problems to solve. Damn, son.
For the last fifteen years, I've been teaching and directing improvisation on something of an island. Yes, my understanding of improvisation comes from Brave New Workshop in Minneapolis (website | facebook | twitter). Still, my improv troupes and classes, as I created them when I was a high school teacher, were isolated. Don't get me wrong. I'm proud of the pedagogy I've developed. And I think there's value in the unique ways I've learned to imagine and refine an improvisational ethos of teaching. Still, it was delicious to participate in masterfully imagined, improvisational encounters with adept educators. There were many times that I thought to myself, during the weekend, that my experience at Camp Improv Utopia East was as intellectually (and practically and emotionally and spiritually) challenging as any of my trips to an academic conference.
I won't say that my trip to Camp Improv Utopia East was the most transformational thing I've ever done. I can't pretend that it was only joy incarnate. At the end of the day, I'm not a summer camp guy. I'm an introvert and I missed my family. Still, I was reminded about how beautiful it can be to improvise with strangers, share experiences of an artform with other practitioners, and be moved by great teachers. And I got to hang out with my Happy Valley Improv friends Andrea, James, Nate, Dawn, and Jackie. I was able to make obnoxious jokes all weekend with people who accept, affirm, and add onto my obnoxious jokes. That is always fun. And I learned about how other people across the country make a career out of doing, teaching, and producing improv.
To quote the Bible: It was good.
Allen Iverson might not need to practice. But I do. This is Sam. I'm going to write a blog about why improvisers practice.
I was on the phone with my father last night. Dad is so excited that I'm a co-founder of Happy Valley Improv.
"Whose Line Is It Anyway? is my favorite show!" Dad reminded me when I told him about what's happening with our improv company. "Tell them your father taught you everything you know."
I laughed at Dad's remark.
I remember watching Whose Line in the 90's when I was a kid. I've always loved comedy, and Dad is a big part of that. I can't deny my father is a comedian. He's always made people laugh, and I'm sure my appreciation for comedy can be traced back to his sarcastic, playful sense of humor.
I'm an outlier when it comes to the relationship between improvisation and comedy. I can't deny that most improvisation is comedic. Still, I don't think that improv is inherently a comic art-form. In fact, I think improvisers often kill an improvisation when they try to be funny. There's so much potential to explore our collective psyche through improvisation, and humor can serve as a defense-mechanism that protects us from opening ourselves up to that shared and potentially vulnerable exploration.
Back to my dad. He gets humor and he is great at thinking on his feet. Even at age 70! But he was confused when I was talking with him last night. I told Dad I had to go to improv rehearsal when I got off the phone.
"Rehearsal?" Dad asked. "How do you rehearse improv?"
Dad's question is one I've heard hundreds of times over the last fifteen years. People seem so astonished by the idea that improvisers would practice, take classes, or attend workshops.
No, improv theatre is not planned out. Real improvisers never know what is going to happen during a show. But improv is also one of the most demanding art-forms I know. Good improvisation requires rigorous practice and carefully crafted forms. Performers have to learn and practice the formats and dispositions necessary to participate in and sustain improvisation. What are the attributes of a good improviser? Here's a few. A good improviser (a) says "yes, and " to everything that happens in an improv scene, (2) defers to the collective, (3) shares power with their fellow improvisers, (4) overcomes their inhibitions, and (5) perceives, accepts, affirms, and builds off the offerings of all other participants in the improv. These are seriously difficult traits to learn, let alone embody. They require serious practice. Further, troupes that work together need to trust each other without hesitation. They need to achieve groupmind. Collective consciousness. Talk about difficult. Talk about important!
I've written it before. I've taught all sorts of content during my career as a teacher. Nothing has been more difficult than preparing students for an improv performance. Shakespeare is a breeze by comparison.
I've attended weekly improv practices with Happy Valley Improv for nearly two years now. I've rarely missed a practice. I've learned so much about working with other founders of HVI. Our new company members, too. Still, there's so much more to learn. Improv is impossible to master. The possibilities for what might be created in an improvised moment are endless. Still, there is a discipline to creating and sustaining improv. And I don't think myself or the other members of HVI are even close to improvising up to our potential. And so we practice. And learn and grow. New forms and new structures, yes. But dispositions too. An improvisational ethos. Improvisation requires us to be open to this work. And it is work.
So Allen Iverson might not need to practice. But I do. And frankly, Allen Iverson did too. He was just loathe to admit it. James, another co-founder of HVI, often likens preparing for improv to practicing basketball. I've used the basketball comparison with students in the past too. My drama workshop and acting classes in high school seemed receptive to this metaphor. It's impossible to know what will happen during a basketball game. But good players work daily to prepare for all the different things that happen in a game. So too, good improvisers have to be ready for all the different things that might happen in a show. And if a show is a receptacle for all the possibilities and limitations of the human mind, and I think it is, then we must be prepared for an infinite expression of thought, emotion, and spirit. The psyche. Human beings are infinitely creative and improvisation is a transparent performance of what is happening inside of us in relation to each other. Get out, man. That's powerful! But this power can only be harnessed well through the disciplined work of practicing a craft.
Hi all. Nate here. Recently, I stumbled across an article in The Atlantic: "The Secret to Love is just Kindness." As a human being who is a fan of both love and kindness, and as someone who is slowly trying to express more of both in everyday life, I was intrigued.
It's a great article that follows a pair of researchers who looked at different married couples and, after observation, sorted them into two categories: the "masters" and the "disasters." The terms are basically self-explanatory, but in general, the "masters" still had vibrant, connected marriages after a six-year period, while the marriages of the "disasters" had basically fallen apart (if not in actuality - with divorce - at least in practice).
So, why am I writing about this on a blog for an improv company? Well, support is obviously a huge part of both improv and relationships. But what really struck me was this portion of the article:
Throughout the day, partners would make requests for connection, what Gottman calls “bids.” For example, say that the husband is a bird enthusiast and notices a goldfinch fly across the yard. He might say to his wife, “Look at that beautiful bird outside!” He’s not just commenting on the bird here: he’s requesting a response from his wife—a sign of interest or support—hoping they’ll connect, however momentarily, over the bird.
The wife now has a choice. She can respond by either “turning toward” or “turning away” from her husband, as Gottman puts it. Though the bird-bid might seem minor and silly, it can actually reveal a lot about the health of the relationship. The husband thought the bird was important enough to bring it up in conversation and the question is whether his wife recognizes and respects that.
People who turned toward their partners in the study responded by engaging the bidder, showing interest and support in the bid. Those who didn’t—those who turned away—would not respond or respond minimally and continue doing whatever they were doing, like watching TV or reading the paper. Sometimes they would respond with overt hostility, saying something like, “Stop interrupting me, I’m reading.”
These bidding interactions had profound effects on marital well-being. Couples who had divorced after a six-year follow up had “turn-toward bids” 33 percent of the time. Only three in ten of their bids for emotional connection were met with intimacy. The couples who were still together after six years had “turn-toward bids” 87 percent of the time. Nine times out of ten, they were meeting their partner’s emotional needs.
This is the section that fascinated me. You see, in my improv training at Theatre 99, my teacher Greg Tavares (buy his book everyone) called lines in an improv scene "offers." As an improviser, every line you say, every action you take, everything you do in an improv scene is an offer to your scene partner. Truly great improv happens when offers are accepted and explored in an improv scene without judgment; when scene partners are truly interested in the others' offers and "yes, and" them to build something together.
As I'm sure many of you have connected - the words "offer" and "bid" aren't really all that far apart. From the perspective of an improviser, what's happening in these relationships is that one side makes an "offer" - "Oh, honey look at that beautiful bird outside!" - and the other side must respond. When the researchers talk about "turning toward," in improv parlance we would call that "Yes, and." "Yes that is beautiful, and I think you should go outside and try to get a picture!" "Yes, that is beautiful, and thank you for sharing that with me!"
The "masters," maybe without even knowing it, are using improvisational concepts to bring kindness and support to their relationships. Contrast this with the "disasters" who "turn away," which is essentially committing the cardinal sin of improvisation - denial.
Humans are sensitive creatures - and social creatures. There is a deep desire inside of all of us to be accepted, to be heard, to be seen, and to be considered important - especially by those around us and even more especially by our romantic partner(s). Many times relationships don't break down because of one singular event, but because of a slow building of small interactions that leave one side or the other feeling unsupported and unheard.
People always say, "Marriages take work." And it's absolutely true. Some of the hardest work you can undertake is to be kind and to be interested, especially during the course of a life with kids, full-time jobs, outside stresses, et cetera. It's easy to fall into a pattern of self-focus. I would challenge all of us in life - as I challenge students in improv classes - to take a "yes-and" attitude to our conversations, especially with our partners, and to treat their "offers" - or "bids" - for what they are: cries for connection and kindness in a world that doesn't always offer enough of either. (And by the way - this is an approach you can take with any relationship, not just romantic ones! Friends, siblings, parents, kids...)
Now that I've said that, let me shamelessly plug our improv classes, which will be sure to improve your marriage!*
This is Sam. Here's a blog. Enjoy:
Working with people is hard. There’s no way around it. People can hurt people. We’re great at it.
Take my two toddlers…
Forgive me, that wasn’t a funny joke. You know what’s not a joke? Working with people. Back to my two toddlers.
Solomon is almost five. Samson is almost three.
Samson is learning how to urinate in a toilet. This is a challenging lesson, to be sure. There’s often pools of urine in our bathroom. It’s a messy situation. Yellow, too. Still, the boy is figuring things out. God bless him.
“Tell me when you need to use the big boy potty,” my wife Katie said to Samson the other morning, after putting big boy underwear on him. “Remember, you’re not wearing a diaper.”
Solomon chimed in. “Yes, tell me when you need to use the big boy potty, Samson. I’ll help you.”
Solomon was trying to help his brother. He was also, whether he meant to or not, expressing his power over Samson. He is the older brother. He is the original big boy.
Solomon continued to tell Samson that Samson needed to let us know if he had to use the big boy potty. This went on for a couple of minutes.
“You’re not a big boy,” Solomon reminded his brother when Samson suggested he didn’t need help.
“I AM a big boy.” Samson said emphatically.
The two fought. Solomon ended up in his room crying. Samson went to the other side of the house in search of peace quiet.
What started as two people working together to solve a problem – urinating in a toilet – ended with conflict and the gnashing of teeth. Forgive the potty talk, but I don’t think the story of my sons is that far removed from my general experience working with people. We often start with good, helpful intentions and end up raging against each other. Power is often the root of this phenomenon, I think. Like Solomon, we want to be seen, heard, and valued. Like Samson, we don’t want others to impose their power over us. We want autonomy. Conflict ensues. I’ve often been hurt when working with other people. That much is sure.
Improv has taught me so much about working with other people. Precepts of improv serve me when I encounter others. Listen carefully. Affirm and accept each offering. Be open to the unexpected. Participate in a way that doesn’t serve my own interests but, rather, the needs of the group in the moment. If the group succeeds, I succeed. If they fail, I fail. Share power and don’t impose your own vision at the expense of others. Improv has not only taught me how to name these things, it’s required me to practice being in relation with people in the way I describe above. As an improv teacher, I’ve been challenged to create contexts where people follow the list of precepts here.
Please take note. I’m not a master of working with people. I can be selfish, thoughtless, and cruel. Like Solomon, I often remind people that I’m a big boy and they’re not in the spirit of helping them. Things never end up working out for me when I act this way, but I’m only human, and I act this way far too often. Still, I’ve learned that I’m better served when I bring an improvisational ethos to the work of being in relation with others. My classrooms are more productive when I follow the guidelines mentioned above. They’re healthier, happier, and less dangerous. Collaborative projects always go better for me when I avoid imposing my will at the expense of serving the work of the group. Sometimes you need to get out of the way and improv had allowed me to practice doing so.
And of course improv isn’t some magic cure-all. I’m weary of being mistaken for a snake oil salesman here. But improv, if facilitated well, creates a unique space for people to imagine new ways to be in relation to each other. At least, that’s what the artform has provided for me over the years. And that’s the kind of space I’ve tried to provide for others in my work as a teacher or director.
Being a parent is hard. I don’t know how to help Solomon and Samson avoid the fight they got into over being big boys. I’m certain there will be more fights to come. Improvisational parenting? There’s certainly a self-help book in that idea. I’m too busy cleaning urine off our bathroom floor to write it at the moment.
This is Sam. This is a blog that I posted on my author's page (www.samjtanner.com). I'm posting it here as well, because it's about improv. Thanks for reading. If you enjoy this, check out my books on Amazon.
My sons Solomon and Samson were fighting in the other room.
"You're Pa Pa Booey," Solomon screamed at Samson.
Samson howled. "No, I'm not. I'm Samson! You're Pa Pa Booey."
"No, I'm not Pa Pa Booey. I'm Solomon. You're Pa Pa Booey!"
"No, I'm Samson. You're Pa Pa Booey!"
Solomon is four. Samson is two. Their fights mostly involve intense yelling. And howling. Gnashing of teeth.
My wife Katie broke the boys up. She told them that nobody was Pa Pa Booey. Still, the exchange above has happened any number of times over the last two months. Solomon accuses Samson of being Pa Pa Booey. Samson denies this. He accuses Solomon of being Pa Pa Booey. Solomon denies this. The cycle continues. They fight. Katie breaks them up.
Who is Pa Pa Booey? Beats the hell out of me.
Later, Solomon was brushing his teeth. He looked up at me.
"Dad, I'm not Solomon. I'm Pa Pa Booey."
Solomon had scrunched his face, and was speaking with a deep baritone. Was he playing a character? Yes, he certainly was. This was Pa Pa Booey.
Happy Valley Improv is excited to announce our participation in this year's RAWR Improv Comedy Festival. Happy Valley Improv will be performing on Friday, April 6th, at 7pm. The festival will take place in room 111 of the Forum Building on Penn State's Campus. Admission is Free but we request that our fans help keep the RAWR festival an annual event by supporting in anyway they can by donating here: https://www.youcaring.com/fullammoimprov-1083222. To help with the funding, Happy valley Improv is giving $1 per ticket sold to our April 5th Show back to the RAWR Festival.
We asked the students behind the event, the Full Ammo Improv Troupe (website | facebook | twitter | youtube), to tell us more. This is what they had to say!
The RAWR Improv Comedy Festival is Penn State’s celebration of all things improv. RAWR VII Creature from the Black Lagoon will be Penn State's own student Improv Troupe Full Ammo's seventh festival! For this weekend of fun, we have teams from all over the country coming to perform right on our campus. This year, we have college, indie, and professional teams coming to show their skills in improvised comedy and we’re excited to share their family friendly talent with you! (The content of the improv sets aren't required to be focused around cult classic horror movies, only our set, theme, and decorations will be!! Despite the name and decorations, this will not be a haunted house-esque event and is not designed to scare anyone)
The festival is two days long, running from Friday April 6th from 6:30pm to 10:15pm and Saturday April 7th from 1pm to 11pm. Come and go as you please during any point of the weekend to watch some amazing comedy created completely on the spot by insanely talented improvisers! This festival is a must-see for anybody in State College who likes to laugh and have a good time and it’s completely FREE! Want to get on stage and join the fun? You can do some improvising yourself in our jam with all of the improvisers after the show on BOTH NIGHTS!
Check out our Facebook event page for the schedule of teams and more info on Full Ammo! https://www.facebook.com/events/155223418492484/
Want to help keep this festival a staple in the performing arts community of Penn State? Donate HERE! https://www.youcaring.com/fullammoimprov-1083222
We rely on donations from kind, fun loving people like you to allow the tradition of a successful RAWR weekend to continue!! Thank you!!
We hope to see you there!!
Even though Happy Valley Improv does not have any events happening, State College and the rest of Happy Valley has a plethora of options to keep you occupied over the weekend! Here are a few events:
1. Hops & Vines
“Christie Clancy and Jonathan McVerry join forces for original covers, originals, eclectic pop and rock and damn good fun. #RockandRoll”
Start Time: March 23 @ 6 pm
Location: Big Spring Spirits
Address: 198 Match Factory Place, Bellefonte, PA 16823
Phone: (814) 353-4478
2. Miranda Lambert
“The Livin’ Like Hippies Tour receives its name from the lyrics of Lambert’s aptly titled song “Highway Vagabond” which appears on The Nerve side of Lambert’s 24-song, double album, The Weight Of These Wings. Joining Lambert on the Livin’ Like Hippies Tour for all dates is Capitol Records Nashville’s Jon Pardi. In addition to Pardi, for select dates, Lambert has tapped Brent Cobb, the Turnpike Troubadours, Lucie Silvas, the Steel Woods, Sunny Sweeney, Ashley McBryde and Charlie Worsham to perform. “
Start Time: March 23 @ 7 pm
Location: Bryce Jordan Center
Address: 127 Bryce Jordan Center, University Park, PA 16802
3. Mister Rogers 50th Anniversary
“The Mister Rogers Neighborhood stamp will be released on Friday, March 23. Mr. McFeely invites everyone in the neighborhood to join him for a stamp dedication event at the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte on Saturay, March 24 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. Meet Mr. McFeely. Bring an envelope and the American Philatelic Society will give you a Mister Rogers stamp to mail form their post office. Pose with the WPSU Daniel Tiger and Trolley TV props. Make a stamp cachet. Kids 8 and under take home a Daniel Tiger activity booklet.”
Start Time: March 24 @ 2 pm
Location: American Philatelic Society
Address: 100 Match Factory Place, Bellefonte, PA 16823
Phone: (814) 863-6223
4. Spring Awakening Presented By The Penn State Thespians
“Based on Frank Wedekind’s groundbreaking and controversial play (once banned in Germany), Spring Awakening tells the story of sexual awakening, youth revolt, and self-discovery in a new century. It’s 1891, and grown-ups hold all the cards. Headstrong Melchior and naive Wendla stumble into each others’ arms, passionate and curious, while anxious Moritz struggles to live up to the stringent expectations of society. With only each other for guidance, this group of young men and women travel the fraught and rocky path of adolescence, discovering their bodies, their minds, and themselves along the way. An electric, vibrant celebration of youth and rebellion, Spring Awakening fuses issues of morality, sexuality, and rock and roll into a story that packs a powerful emotional punch.”
Start Time: March 24 @ 1:30 pm AND 7:30 pm
Location: Schwab Auditorium
Address: Schwab Auditorium, State College, PA 16801
Phone: (814) 865-5340
5. The Zombies (with special guest Don DiLego)
“The second U.K. band following the Beatles to score a #1 hit in America, The Zombies infiltrated the airwaves with the sophisticated melodies, breathy vocals, choral back-up harmonies and jazzy keyboard riffs of their 1960’s hit singles “She’s Not There” and “Tell Her No.” Ironically, the group broke-up just prior to achieving their greatest success – the worldwide chart-topping single “Time of the Season,” from their swan-song album Odessey & Oracle, ranked #100 in Rolling Stone’s ‘500 Greatest Albums of All Time.’ To this day, generations of new bands have cited The Zombies’ work as pop touchstones, and the band continues to be embraced by new generations of fans.
Don has released 5 studio albums and 1 full-length score for the motion picture “Ranchero.” His last album, ‘Magnificent Ram A’, (One Little Indian/Velvet Elk) was “DiLego’s Masterpiece” if you are to believe No Depression, and a “Stunner of a record”, if you’re willing to concede that opinion to Paste Magazine. Either way, Don was quite pleased with the album title, which he scribed after his umpteenth trip to The Museum of Natural History, in NYC, where he currently resides, on Avenue C.”
Start Time: March 25 @ 8 pm
Location: The State Theatre
Address: 130 W College Ave, State College, PA 16801
Phone: (814) 272-0606
Enjoy your weekend! To stay updated on all things Happy Valley Improv by joining our mailing list, following us on Twitter (@HV_Improv) & Instagram (@HappyValleyImprov) and liking us on Facebook!
As we grow older, there tend to be fewer and fewer opportunities to step outside the proverbial box. There comes a point where each day is like the last unless we force ourselves to try something new. While there are benefits to sticking to your routine, trying something new can help you grow in unexpected ways.
There are any number of ways for people to grow. You can learn new computer languages through Coursera, go on a yoga retreat in Australia, or volunteer for one of these crazy projects. This article, however, is going to talk about taking an improv class.
A wide range of articles have explored the benefits of improv training. From this general article in Forbes, to this article in the Atlantic on using improv as therapy for anxiety, to this article in US News on the health benefits of improv, to this one from the Startup Institute on how improv will make you better at business. I don’t want to recreate the wheel, but what I do want to do is explore why people took their first improv class.
The following are quotes from improvisors around the country I spoke with asking the simple question of: Why did you take your first improv class?
Thus I present to you, 10 Types of People Who Take an Improv Class
We here at Happy Valley Improv often get the Monday blues. Here are THREE ways we prepare to get through the week!
1. Wake Up On Time
We know, this might sound like a silly thing to do on a Monday morning. However, by waking up on time (or even earlier) not only will your day be off to a great start, but so will your week. We are all victims of hitting the snooze button a few times too many (especially at the start of the week), but try waking up early and getting ready for the day. You will be on time, but you will also be in a great mood!
2. Plan, Plan, Plan
Planning your week allows you to stay organized and on task. The amount of unnecessary stress that can be avoided by doing this is extreme. While you’re at it, don’t forget to plan some time to check out Happy Valley Improv’s show at The State Theatre on April 5!
3. Be Positive
It is easy to allow all of the overwhelming tasks to build up, but don’t forget to be positive along the way! Being an improv troupe, we try to center our lives around positivity and although it is not always simple, the results are what makes it all worth it.
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