Friday, October 22, 2010

Shaking the Floor

When my friend said he had two free tickets to go see Two Door Cinema Club, I jumped at the chance. The show was at Webster Hall, one of the big old venues in the Village. I'd spent half my summer listening to their album, and had no expectation of actually getting to see them perform live. The concert was fantastic. The floor was literally bouncing like a taut trampoline. If you ever stopped jumping or bobbing with the music, you could feel at least a couple inches of give, up and down with the beat, because the crowd was just that into it.

Every once in a while, it will really just hit me where I am and what I'm doing. Usually this would be when I was traveling somewhere. But this time, in the middle of an excellent encore, it really hit me full force: there I was, a young twenty-something starving artist in New York City, seeing an up and coming rock band in concert, a few hours after rehearsing my own show for the first time. I don't know who or what is responsible, but whoever it is, thank you!

I got the tickets right after taking the stage myself for the first time in town, the night before. But that's a slightly different story. It starts as follows:

We got out of the subway stop at Penn Station and started our way around Madison Square Garden. Three bottled up text messages frantically jangled my cell phone as soon as I was enough above ground to get a signal. I read them, and started to pick up the pace.

My Chilean guest behind me kept pausing to take pictures. I couldn't really blame him, but we were going to be late, and four of my friends (two of which I'll probably be living with sometime soon) were waiting for us.

We were headed for Magnet Theater. Home of the Magnet Mixer. I didn't honestly know what exactly this was or what it meant. But Barry had told me two things that had me hooked: first, it was improv, and second, I could get on stage and do it with them. I hadn't done any improv onstage since high school. That's too long.

We found the place, hooked up with where I should be, and I went back to sign myself up on the list. The guy in charge asked me what my background was.

"I'm a professional actor, I took two years of improv classes in high school, and I'm currently in a sketch comedy show at the 45th st Theater."

He clearly got the idea, and made a little note next to my name. He warned me that, since I'd come in well after the 11:00 call, I probably wouldn't make it on set. I said I understood, and we took our seats.

The show runs as follows: two MCs have a list of names. They call down two or three people on the list, who then come on stage. The lights turn down low, and a 10-second clip of music plays. The lights come back up, and the people onstage improvise a scene based on the music. The lights cut them off at the appropriate moment, and then the MCs call out two or three more names. Lather, rinse, repeat.

We saw some hilarious stuff. I don't even know how to describe it properly. I didn't expect them to call me up, because I was late. So when they did, I was a little surprised. They played an old time jazz number, so I immediately think film noir, grab two chairs and make like a private eye with my feet on the desk. Then my scene partner opened with the line "That was the best senior prom ever!" What's an improviser to do but to simply act like a Chicago gangster from the 50s who's just come back from his senior prom with his buddy? I put my arm across his shoulders and tell him confidently that yeah, the band did it right, and the night was something, and that when that dame smacked him one, I thought she meant it in a nice way. And we were off to the races.

After the scene was over, we bowed, shook hands with the MCs, who then yelled "wait a minute!" Half the audience echoed this. One MC mimed a microphone, and handed it to me. I took it, tapped it, and looked nervous.

"Joel? Tell us, is this your first time performing at the Magnet Mixer?"


That would be when the dance party erupted. the DJ blasted, of all things, Barbie Girl, by Aqua (I'm ashamed that I even know the artist's name), and everybody got up and danced. It was only half a minute long, but still.

I made my way back to my seat, and my Chilean buddy held up his iPhone. "I recorded the whole thing!" he told me, in Spanish.

After the show, the MCs and regulars introduced themselves, asked me if I was coming to more of these (yes I hope to), and invited me to come with them to a bar down the street. That's when Barry told me about the tickets to Two Door Cinema Club.

I'd say life's pretty good right now.

1 comment:

  1. Inquiring minds want to know....did you get a copy of the recording from the iPhone?