Mike Roe's Newstastic

Writing about pop culture, comedy, improv, journalism, politics, stuff.
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Everything Eliza said about our friend Nathan, but especially this: “Life is short, no matter how it ends. So do everything, dream big, hold tight and when someone tells you your work is remarkable, try to believe them. 

elizaeliza:

I found out that Nathan was an artist the day I caught him stocking one of the piles of mysterious Diamon Lion postcards that had appeared in some theaters around LA. Diamond Lion is my improv group - none of us had any idea where these postacards had come from. I grabbed one and said “Did you make these??” He just sort of nodded and smiled. 

He ended up making a bunch of posters for Diamond Lion. He hand made each of those Rankin and Bass christmas characters (and if you don’t know what we look like,  trust me - he nailed it.) Later he made weekly posters for my stand up show, Big Money. My co-host, DC, and I particularly liked the “weird” one he made us for April Fools Day last year. He also drew me that “ferociously cute” dinosaur - which is one of my favorite things, and is the background to my twitter page.

I wanted to post some of the art that he made for me, and the posters, and some stuff he made I just liked, because I want people to see them. But I don’t feel comfortable showing them to you by linking to his blog, because his suicide note is at the top of it, and I guess now it always will be. Even writing the words “suicide note” feels so personal and dramatic, like taping someone’s underwear to the blackboard. Sorry, Nathan. 

I don’t have any wise words to finish this with, besides life is short, no matter how it ends. So do everything, dream big, hold tight and when someone tells you your work is remarkable, try to believe them. 

"The ethical paradox can wear you down. No one on the white-hat side has ever hidden his or her identity with less than noble intent: to make the fight about something bigger than us. To represent a greater justice, where the focus can be on right and wrong… and not on whether the bad guys will exact reprisal on those close to us. And sometimes you have to lie. Sometimes, someone guesses— ‘Aren’t you really Spider-Man?’ — and you look them dead in the eye and say ‘absolutely not’ because you can justify a lie if lives are riding on it. Even as you fight for, as the saying goes, truth and justice… even if you’re a lawyer who has sworn to live by the truth… you willingly bear false witness. When the Globe came after me, I lied to shield my friends. That’s the truth. It’s not the kind of excuse I’m looking forward to giving St. Peter— a sin is a sin— but maybe he’ll understand. I hope so." - Mark Waid/Daredevil (Writer: Mark Waid)

brianmichaelbendis:

Original splash page by Jack Kirby and Sol Brodsky from Fantastic Four Annual #1, published by Marvel, 1963.

Seeing a map of a headquarters may be my favorite thing in comics, and one by Jack Kirby is so sexy I may not need to date any longer.

voraciousbrain:

(or, “NSFWCORP and the Layoff”)


When I transplanted my family from Florida to North Carolina, hugely pregnant, with just enough cash to finance the move, we were fucked. But Florida was suffocating, I was dying in academia, and there was no way we could stay in roach-infested, moldy,…

Great piece on the pain and pleasure of journalism and freelancing.

- Me really often while recovering from my ankle surgery.

(via cinefamily)

doctorwho:

“People are intimidated. They think that there’s 47 years worth of stuff they need to know before they can enjoy anything. And what you want to say is, No. Look, there is a blue box. It is bigger on the inside than it is on the outside. It can go anywhere in time and space and sometimes even where it’s meant to go. And when it turns up there’s a bloke in it called the Doctor, and there will be stuff wrong and he will do his best to sort it out and he will probably succeed, because he’s awesome. Now sit down, shut up, and watch “Blink.”

                            - Neil Gaiman to Comic Con

I <3 Neil Gaiman!

reblogged as part of our continuing series: Protips! Doctor Who for Newvians

You don’t need to know anything about the 50 years of history to watch Doctor Who. Just go DO it.

catbathchad:

THE END OF AN ERA: A TOUGH LOVE GUIDE TO REMEMBERING WHY WE PERFORM
By Chad Damiani
In the last few weeks, IO West has made some big changes. They’re disbanding 11 of their 12 mainstage Harold teams, with the exception of the popular and long-running King Ten. Those 87 performers will be given a chance to audition for four new all-star Harold teams that will perform Wednesday nights. 
And now another bombshell: IO is re-formatting all shows that take place in their two back theaters. For the indie improv community, this is a major happening.
A quick explanation for people outside of the Los Angeles comedy scene. IO West is one of two major training centers for improvisation. For several years, they have provided the most stage time for improvisers on independent teams (teams created by individuals and not affiliated with a school) in two back theaters known as the DCT and The Loft. These shows were free and either hosted by teams or individuals – most of which with some kind of history with the IO training center.
Starting next month, all of these shows will be terminated. It’s not clear what new shows will take their place, but IO’s Artist Director James Grace wrote this in an email to former hosts: “Just be clear, going forward starting Dec 15th, only shows that are directly related to and sanctioned by the training center will be in the DCT and Loft theaters.” I don’t want to speculate too far, but the final level of IO’s training program is creating a new form. It’s hard to imagine that these teams won’t be given the opportunity to host – although no one seems sure if they will play alone or invite outside indie teams to share their blocks.
There are a lot of performers feeling betrayed by IO, but I’m not writing about that. This community is full of such kind and wonderful people and I have nothing but sympathy for those affected. Losing an opportunity to perform is heartbreaking. But the truth is that there’s a wide perception that IO’s product isn’t of the same caliber as The Upright Citizen’s Brigade. It’s not hard to see why. Just go see the line to get into UCB shows that wraps Franklin Avenue. Perhaps IO could have made more gradual changes, but it’s their theater and they have a right to dictate their content.
Instead, I’d like to focus on some truths that I hope every indie improviser and promoter should take away from these developments.
SOMETIMES WE ALL TAKE A GOOD THING FOR GRANTED
There were quite a few shows I really liked playing at both the DCT and The Loft.  Fun and dynamic hosts that took pride in booking good shows – as well as using the opportunity to grow as a team themselves.  I’m going to miss them.
But there were also a lot of shows in both spaces that felt uninspired. It still shocks me when I see a host/team take the stage with no energy or intention. Everything that happens when the lights go up should be treated like part of the show. There were also clearly host teams that were only together in name only – not practicing or taking advantage the regular (and free) performance time.  If you’re a team of six-eight and can only get two members to attend your own shows, then it’s time to give up the slot to a younger, hungrier squad with more focus.
This blog isn’t about blaming those shows for IO’s new policies. For all I know, this mandate came from IO’s Chicago office. But there’s no denying that the weaker shows in both the DCT and The Loft impacted how people treated those spaces. Indifference breeds disrespect and disrespect abuse – with teams regularly cancelling last minute, leaving early or using those stages as a chance to be sloppy and fuck off.
Of course, any improviser who acted this way was completely wrong. The idea of squandering any offer of performance time boggles my mind.  But that kind of behavior is endemic to the LA improv community as a whole, which brings me my overall point:
 PERFORMING IS A PRIVILEGE
I was talking to a couple of improv friends recently and one of them told a story he’d heard about a booking snafu that led to The Red Hot Chili Peppers performing for some tiny small town crowd – well after the band had become a huge international sensation. The group took the stage and performed a sweat-soaked three-hour set you’d expect them to muster for Texas Stadium.
I responded with a story I’d always loved about a pro wrestler named Shawn Michaels. Legend goes that he worked a house show (no cameras) in the early 90s where less than 50 people were scattered in the stands. Michaels went out and had a 30-minute match where he took multiple falls on the concrete. When one vets made fun of Michaels for limping back to the bus, he told him if one ticket gets sold, that buyer deserves to get his money’s worth.
We’re spoiled here in LA when it comes to stage time. Let this serve as a reminder that could change. So make the most of every opportunity. Always take the stage with purpose. Push to be more present, committed and brave. Cherish your audience and then take pride in being an audience worthy of greatness.
“LIKE” Chad’s JETZO page to learn more about Catsby show line-ups. Stating in December, Catsby runs the second and fourth Sunday of the month at the indie mecca The Clubhouse.
https://www.facebook.com/jetzoimprov

Short version: Chad says smart things about what it means to do improv, how the future could be brighter and more! Sad myself to see indie performance spaces going away, but makes stage time that much more special. I love teams who host shows who do a combination of booking big names while giving opportunities to other groups, and hopefully this means more of that around town.

catbathchad:

THE END OF AN ERA: A TOUGH LOVE GUIDE TO REMEMBERING WHY WE PERFORM

By Chad Damiani

In the last few weeks, IO West has made some big changes. They’re disbanding 11 of their 12 mainstage Harold teams, with the exception of the popular and long-running King Ten. Those 87 performers will be given a chance to audition for four new all-star Harold teams that will perform Wednesday nights.

And now another bombshell: IO is re-formatting all shows that take place in their two back theaters. For the indie improv community, this is a major happening.

A quick explanation for people outside of the Los Angeles comedy scene. IO West is one of two major training centers for improvisation. For several years, they have provided the most stage time for improvisers on independent teams (teams created by individuals and not affiliated with a school) in two back theaters known as the DCT and The Loft. These shows were free and either hosted by teams or individuals – most of which with some kind of history with the IO training center.

Starting next month, all of these shows will be terminated. It’s not clear what new shows will take their place, but IO’s Artist Director James Grace wrote this in an email to former hosts: “Just be clear, going forward starting Dec 15th, only shows that are directly related to and sanctioned by the training center will be in the DCT and Loft theaters.” I don’t want to speculate too far, but the final level of IO’s training program is creating a new form. It’s hard to imagine that these teams won’t be given the opportunity to host – although no one seems sure if they will play alone or invite outside indie teams to share their blocks.

There are a lot of performers feeling betrayed by IO, but I’m not writing about that. This community is full of such kind and wonderful people and I have nothing but sympathy for those affected. Losing an opportunity to perform is heartbreaking. But the truth is that there’s a wide perception that IO’s product isn’t of the same caliber as The Upright Citizen’s Brigade. It’s not hard to see why. Just go see the line to get into UCB shows that wraps Franklin Avenue. Perhaps IO could have made more gradual changes, but it’s their theater and they have a right to dictate their content.

Instead, I’d like to focus on some truths that I hope every indie improviser and promoter should take away from these developments.

SOMETIMES WE ALL TAKE A GOOD THING FOR GRANTED

There were quite a few shows I really liked playing at both the DCT and The Loft.  Fun and dynamic hosts that took pride in booking good shows – as well as using the opportunity to grow as a team themselves.  I’m going to miss them.

But there were also a lot of shows in both spaces that felt uninspired. It still shocks me when I see a host/team take the stage with no energy or intention. Everything that happens when the lights go up should be treated like part of the show. There were also clearly host teams that were only together in name only – not practicing or taking advantage the regular (and free) performance time.  If you’re a team of six-eight and can only get two members to attend your own shows, then it’s time to give up the slot to a younger, hungrier squad with more focus.

This blog isn’t about blaming those shows for IO’s new policies. For all I know, this mandate came from IO’s Chicago office. But there’s no denying that the weaker shows in both the DCT and The Loft impacted how people treated those spaces. Indifference breeds disrespect and disrespect abuse – with teams regularly cancelling last minute, leaving early or using those stages as a chance to be sloppy and fuck off.

Of course, any improviser who acted this way was completely wrong. The idea of squandering any offer of performance time boggles my mind.  But that kind of behavior is endemic to the LA improv community as a whole, which brings me my overall point:

 PERFORMING IS A PRIVILEGE

I was talking to a couple of improv friends recently and one of them told a story he’d heard about a booking snafu that led to The Red Hot Chili Peppers performing for some tiny small town crowd – well after the band had become a huge international sensation. The group took the stage and performed a sweat-soaked three-hour set you’d expect them to muster for Texas Stadium.

I responded with a story I’d always loved about a pro wrestler named Shawn Michaels. Legend goes that he worked a house show (no cameras) in the early 90s where less than 50 people were scattered in the stands. Michaels went out and had a 30-minute match where he took multiple falls on the concrete. When one vets made fun of Michaels for limping back to the bus, he told him if one ticket gets sold, that buyer deserves to get his money’s worth.

We’re spoiled here in LA when it comes to stage time. Let this serve as a reminder that could change. So make the most of every opportunity. Always take the stage with purpose. Push to be more present, committed and brave. Cherish your audience and then take pride in being an audience worthy of greatness.

“LIKE” Chad’s JETZO page to learn more about Catsby show line-ups. Stating in December, Catsby runs the second and fourth Sunday of the month at the indie mecca The Clubhouse.

https://www.facebook.com/jetzoimprov

Short version: Chad says smart things about what it means to do improv, how the future could be brighter and more! Sad myself to see indie performance spaces going away, but makes stage time that much more special. I love teams who host shows who do a combination of booking big names while giving opportunities to other groups, and hopefully this means more of that around town.

Asker Anonymous Asks:
Reading up on a lot on social media on how the comic industry treats female creators as a whole (Terribly, according to the majority of comments). Since you are a seasoned vet in the comic book world and you come off in person as such a knowledgeable person, what are your thoughts on the subject? Is it getting better or worse? Is it really as bad as some of the stories I have read? Or is it just one a few isolated incidents here and there?
mikeroe mikeroe Said:

ruckawriter:

I’m not really sure how to begin to answer this (and that’s not helped by the fact that it’s asked anonymously).

To say that the comics industry in the US is sexist isn’t news. To say that harassment of women, both professionals and fans, occurs is sadly not news, either.

My honest opinion? The only thing that I really think is getting better is that more people are talking about it, and more people are pushing the matter into the light. Awareness is the first step, but not, by far, the only one required. The fact is, the ratio of women to men working in the industry itself is still grotesquely low. There are corners where efforts are being made to improve this. It’s not, in my opinion, enough.

Sexism is part of our culture, both outside of comics and within it; it’s exacerbated exponentially in comics because women have been excluded and/or marginalized for so very long. And I suppose that is the answer to your question as to whether or not it’s “really as bad as some of the stories” you’ve read. No, it’s not that bad. It’s worse. It’s endemic. For every story you’re hearing, there are ten that you’re not. For every instance of poor behavior you’ve heard of from and editor or a creator, there’s another twenty stories about convention trips to strip clubs for “meetings” and the like.

Whether it’s better or worse today than ten years ago, I genuinely cannot say. My sneaking suspicion is not that it’s better, but that the men who are capitalizing on the situation are doing a better job of hiding their behavior.

audiovision:

The public only gets to see a carefully curated version of the collections at natural history museums.

Hidden from view, there’s a second museum, sprawling in scope, full of character and occasionally gross.

No place is more hidden than the Whale Warehouse. Go inside in the first installment of AudioVision.

The Audiovision visual team at my work continues being as delightful and weird as you’d want them to be. Check it out.

explore-blog:

“Male writers tend to get asked what they think and women what they feel. In my experience, and that of a lot of other women writers, all of the questions coming at them from interviewers tend to be about how lucky they are to be where they are – about luck and identity and how the idea struck them. The interviews much more seldom engage with the woman as a serious thinker, a philosopher, as a person with preoccupations that are going to sustain them for their lifetime.”

Eleanor Catton, the youngest winner of the Man Booker Prize.

Pair with Margaret Atwood on literature’s “women problem” and these illustrated biographies of women writers who shaped the literary canon, then consider what makes a great interview.

I don’t know how I feel about that.

I wrote this for a show it didn’t end up getting used in, so wanted to share this Breaking Bad sketch I wrote with all of you! Enjoy!

               Bryan Cranston Knocks on Jeff Daniels, by Mike Roe

               INT. WAREHOUSE — NIGHT

               JEFF DANIELS sits on a chair, tied up. BRYAN CRANSTON walks
               in.

                                   JEFF
                         Where... where am I? Is that...
                         Bryan Cranston?

                                   BRYAN
                         Glad to see you finally woke up,
                         Jeff.

               Bryan paces around Jeff.

                                   JEFF
                         What's going on? Last thing I
                         remember, I was celebrating after
                         the Emmys--

                                   BRYAN
                         Celebrating after the Emmys! Jeff
                         Daniels with a BEST ACTOR statue,
                         the one that RIGHTFULLY belongs to
                         ME!

                                   JEFF
                         I'm sorry Bryan, but it was a
                         really competitive category!

                                   BRYAN
                         It was! You had Jon Hamm, Kevin
                         Spacey, and TWO British guys! And
                         yet somehow YOU won for season 1 of
                         the Newsroom, a show that feels
                         like Aaron Sorkin wrote it while on
                         even more mushrooms than when he
                         was writing the West Wing!

                                   JEFF
                         Bryan, Breaking Bad is a great
                         show, but the Newsroom is tackling
                         the issues of the day!

                                   BRYAN
                         The issues of the day from a YEAR
                         ago! Who thought THAT was a good
                         idea?!
                         Meanwhile, I'm busting my balls
                         turning in a performance that makes
                         Sir Laurence Olivier look like a
                         DICK!

                                   JEFF
                         Bryan, I am a respected actor and I
                         don't deserve to be treated like
                         this.

                                   BRYAN
                         Jeff, you're most famous for a Jim
                         Carrey movie where you took a
                         prolonged SHIT on camera. And I'm
                         not JUST referring to your acting,
                         I'm talking about when you were on
                         the toilet too.

               AARON PAUL drags in a bound and gagged BOBBY CANNAVALE.

                                   AARON
                         Yo, Mr. Cranston, I got this BITCH
                         Bobby Cannavale who won the best
                         supporting actor Emmy that I should
                         have gotten!

                                   BRYAN
                         Sure! And they could have at least
                         nominated Hank!

                                   BOBBY
                         Hey! I'm Boardwalk Empire's
                         breakout character!

                                   AARON
                         No one's cared about Boardwalk
                         Empire since Martin Scorcese
                         directed the pilot, bitch!

                                   JEFF
                         I think Bobby complements Steve
                         Buscemi quite well.

                                   BRYAN & AARON
                         SHUT UP, Jeff!

                                   JEFF
                         Someone's going to find me and
                         Bobby and put an end to this!

                                   BRYAN
                             (intense)
                         Oh really?
                         Jeff, do you know what would happen
                         if I suddenly decided to stop going
                         in to act? A TV show big enough
                         that it could be nominated for an
                         OSCAR goes belly up. Disappears! It
                         ceases to exist without me. No, you
                         clearly don't know who you're
                         talking to, so let me clue you in.
                         I am not in the Academy, Jeff. I AM
                         the Academy. Saul opens his door
                         and gets a spinoff and you think
                         that of me? No. I am THE ONE who
                         WINS EMMIES!

                                   BOBBY
                         So what horrible thing are you
                         going to do to us to get your
                         revenge? Are you going to shoot us
                         in the face, or use ricin gas, or
                         what?

               Bryan pulls out a gasoline can and starts pouring
               the gas all over Jeff Daniels. Aaron grabs his arm.

                                   AARON
                         I think I got something better, Mr.
                         Cranston.

               Aaron whispers in Bryan's ear.

                                   BRYAN
                         I see.

                                   JEFF
                         Well? What is it?!

                                   AARON
                         We're going to leave you tied up
                         here...

                                   BRYAN
                         And you're TOTALLY going to miss
                         the Breaking Bad finale.

                                   JEFF & BOBBY
                         NOOOOOOOOO!

               BLACKOUT.

As a gentleman with an introverted girlfriend, I am thankful for everything being made into infographics forever.

explore-blog:

Charming illustrated guide to understanding introverts, available as a print – a fine complement to this essential read on the power of introverts

0 plays
Geek Pilgrims,
Geek Pilgrims Podcast

geekpilgrims:

On this episode of Geek Pilgrims, Mike chats with special guest Patrick Fisackerly about Kanye West’s Yeezus, Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories, some of this summer’s biggest movies and TV and so much more!

0 plays
Geek Pilgrims,
Geek Pilgrims Podcast

geekpilgrims:

This week, Mike teams up with very special guest host Tony Galvan of Comic Conversations to test the strength of Man of Steel, debate the merits of Marvel and DC, and decide - once and for all - which My Little Pony Mike really is (or which one he’d like to be).

I actually paid money for this and now YOU have the opportunity to get it FREE so what are you waiting for?!

ucbbook:

image

Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to let you know that my Upright Citizens Brigade oral history, High-Status Characters, will be available FREE from today through Sunday at Barnesandnoble.com. All you need is a B&N account and the Nook app—also free—and you’ll be reading it in no time.