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Guide to Austin Improv
The venues, events, troupes, and individuals who have transformed Austin into a "Yes, and" boomtown
Arts Story  August 25, 2016, by Robert Faires
"...Today, GGG distinguishes itself as not just the longest-running all-female musical improv troupe in Austin but also one of the longest-running improv troupes in town, period. The quality of this collective's full-length musicals and formats riffing on TV shows (GGGlee, Jersey Shorez, Pink Is the New Black) has led to gigs in New York, Minneapolis, Seattle, Honolulu, Atlanta, and Dallas, plus a pair of Rudy Kloptic Awards for Outstanding Improvisational Theatre Ensemble from Austin's B..."

The Hideout Improv Marathon
Eight players improvise for 40 hours straight to help save their artistic home
Arts Story  June 26, 2009, by Robert Faires
"...Several improvisers recently acquired the venue's lease (see "The Hideout," May 22) to keep it as active a center for improv as it has been for the past decade. Funds raised from the marathon will go toward keeping the Hideout solvent, though 10% of the proceeds will also go to the Austin Improv Collective and 10% to the educational program Theatre Action Project..."

Merlin Works Institute and Gnap! Theater Season: Making the improv pie higher
Austin's strong improv scene is about to get even stronger, with a new training center and performance space
Arts Story  February 22, 2008, by Avimaan Syam
"...The Merlin Works Institute and the Gnap! Theater Season are the brainchildren of veteran improvisers Shana Merlin and Shannon McCormick, who regularly perform together as the improv duo Get Up. The two companies will work in tandem, not unlike a music producer and a record label: Merlin, voted Best Improv Teacher by the Austin Improv Collective, will mold students and troupes at her school, while McCormick, who has previously produced No Shame Theatre and co-produced the Out of Bounds Improv Festival and Miniature Golf Tournament, will showcase the groups and style that the pair would like to promote...."

Top 10 Wonderful Things About Austin Theatre in 2008 (In No Particular Order)
Chronicle Arts writer Avimaan Syam recalls 2008, in the theatre
Arts Story  January 2, 2009, by Avimaan Syam
"...7) Ka-Baam!! (Austin Improv Collective) Austin's improv scene has grown to include plenty of great runs of theme shows, such as Asaf Ronen's superhero tribute...."

Live! Nude! Improv!
They’re getting naked at the Hideout
DAILY Arts  August 11, 2011, by Wayne Alan Brenner
"...It’s true: Upstairs, in the theatre run by that venue’s talented cadre of improvisers, some of the performers, male and female, are doffing their duds in the middle of a show. And sometimes? Sometimes the audience – at least some of the audience – is joining them. WTF, indeed. “You can blame Andy Crouch [of the Austin Improv Collective],” says Marc Majcher, who recently directed (and appeared in) one of the Live Nude Improv gigs. “Andy wanted to do something really risky and transgressive after attending the Rude Mechs’ production of Dionysus in ‘69. Risky, both in the sense of the physical nudity and emotional intimacy, and in blowing out the process of putting together the show itself.” And what about – the audience? “Oh, it's completely audience-interactive,” says Majcher, grinning. “We take out the seats and risers from the theater, and the show’s performed in the round.” So Andy Crouch was really inspired by that Dionysus in ‘69 – “Exactly” says Majcher. “The pretense is that everyone, audience included, is there as part of the first rehearsal for a new play..."

The Austin Visual Arts Awards
A new set of honors for the city's hardworking painters, sculptors, and other artists
Arts Story  December 4, 2009, by Robert Faires
"...Let's see, we have the B. Iden Payne Awards for theatre, the Austin Improv Collective awards, the Austin Fashion Awards, the American Institute of Architects Austin Honor Awards..."

Austin Sketch Fest Rocks Our City All Week Long
The ninth annual festival puts scripted comedy front & center
DAILY Arts  May 17, 2018, by Wayne Alan Brenner
"...It’s that third leg – which might more commonly be a reference to a fellow’s cock, duh, but let’s try to move beyond the patriarchy’s tallywhacker obsession for half a mo – and it’s most often embodied by more than one person at a time. Sketch is often rendered by a whole company, a gang, a team, a crew, some collective noun of people – and they’re all enacting their scripted material that’s been crafted to make you bust a gut laughing, or to lampoon some questionable tropes of modern life, or to achieve a stunning combination of both those goals...."

BS4 Improv & Sketch Comedy Fest Schedule
Fri, Apr 2 - Thu, Apr 8
Arts Story  April 1, 1999
"...John Henry Faulk Living Theatre Spoo (Chicago, IL) Drunk Baby Collective (Minneapolis, MN)..."

BS4 Improv & Sketch Comedy Fest Schedule
Thursday, Apr 8
Arts Story  April 8, 1999
"...John Henry Faulk Living Theatre Spoo (Chicago, IL) Drunk Baby Collective (Minneapolis, MN)..."

Austin Sketch Fest
Rise of the planet of the skits
Arts Story  May 18, 2012, by Robert Faires
"...According to ColdTowne majordomo Michael Jastroch, "We started Sketch Fest because we wanted to provide a crucible for locals doing scripted comedy to come together and build a scene that is as vibrant, dynamic, and nationally well-regarded as the improv community. Since we began the festival, people who previously had little knowledge of each other have begun coming together and working on material." Jastroch cites sketch successes on the viral video front with video sketch collective Humordy and the consistently sold-out live performances of Stag Comedy, The Hustle Show, The Encyclopedia Show, Ghetto Sketch Warlock, and Mac Daddy's Bar and Grill...."

Austin's Artspace Crisis and Microvenues
Are home art galleries and mini-performance venues the answer to the space crunch?
Arts Story  June 21, 2018, by Robert Faires
"...Remarkably, several arts groups without homes have lined up new facilities that they expect to occupy before 2018 ends: Tapestry Dance Studios, which had to give up its South Austin home three years ago and has been housing with Balance Dance Studios, will move into new digs on Pleasant Valley Road near Riverside; Pump Project will soon ink a lease on a new location in the same neighborhood; ICOSA Collective, which was part of Pump Project's complex, is joining the Canopy complex on Springdale; Art.Science.Gallery., which had been at Canopy for five years, has jumped the river to a South Austin spot near Manchaca and Stassney; and HOPE Outdoor Gallery is taking its ever evolving graffiti-coated walls from the abandoned condo project on Baylor Street to the wide-open ranges of Carson Creek Ranch. (And while Sky Candy was never homeless, it's worth noting here that the aerial arts company is moving to a new, larger facility in the Springdale General development this summer.) [inset-1-right]..."

99 Austin Acts at SXSW Music
Support the home team!
Music Story  March 8, 2018
"...14, Hideout, 12mid Austin's tiny orchestra has been on the road since fall, but not in the traditional sense. The collective or local classicists wrote and performed live backing for Petra and the Wolf, an update of the play..."

Austin Noise Enters the No Zone
Anarchist Scott Crow tops Jan. 16 anti-music bill
DAILY Music  January 12, 2015, by Waylon Cunningham
"...Friday’s performance at the No Zone (5809 Alsace Trail) promises rebellion beyond music. After a very loud bill of various homegrown and touring noise crews, Austinite and political activist Scott Crow (generally not capitalized) gives a PowerPoint presentation on creating collective power to confront capitalism..."

Off the Cuff and in Your City
A roundup of Austin improv schools
Arts Story  August 28, 2009, by Wayne Alan Brenner
"...The Hideout Theatre (recently taken over by the improv triumvirate of Roy Janik, Kareem Badr, and Jessica Arjet) has been offering classes since 1999, with a curriculum based on the work of Canadian improv guru Keith Johnstone – author of the influential Impro for Storytelling and creator of Theatresports – whose methods often explore the acting out and negotiation of status roles. This school is presided over by Andy Crouch, Improvised Shakespeare star and founder of the all-encompassing Austin Improv Collective..."

De-Spurring the Moment
The making of the 2007 Out of Bounds Improv Festival
Arts Story  August 31, 2007, by Wayne Alan Brenner
"...Jeremy Lamb: We use the Austin Improv Collective forums a lot to find helpers. One thing that we do is use a "caddie" system that we stole from another festival in Phoenix..."

Making Offers No One Can Refuse
The Five Families of Austin improv go Out of Bounds with the 13th annual comedy festival
Arts Story  August 28, 2014, by Wayne Alan Brenner
"...When we were in New Orleans, we weren't allowed to book shows outside of our theatre space. And then when we got here, and the Hideout was being run as a collective, and you were allowed to form your own groups and play with whoever you wanted to – that's a special thing, to have that kind of artistic freedom, without someone telling you what to do..."

In Memoriam: Robin Goodfellow
Singular Austin improviser has taken his final bow (wow wow)
DAILY Arts  August 12, 2015, by Robert Faires
"...As noted by Buddy Daddy's human half, Arthur Simone, in an obituary on Facebook, Robin was "half beagle and half dachshund, and a preeminent member of the Austin Improv Collective since 2005."..."

ColdTowne
In just months, New Orleans improv troupe ColdTowne has become deeply involved in Austin's comedy scene, and now it's close to getting its own venue
Arts Story  June 2, 2006, by Robert Faires
"...It's been less than a year since the members of New Orleans improv troupe ColdTowne made our town their town (after escaping the wrath of Katrina, if you didn't know), but in those few months they've woven themselves deeply into the fabric of Austin's comedy scene: helping launch the Austin Improv Collective, performing regularly at the Hideout and in the annual performance jamboree FronteraFest, producing their own three-day festival of comedy films and performances, and having member Chris Trew win the Funnywriter Sketch Contest at Esther's Follies. As if that weren't enough, soon the troupe may have something that'll really bind them to Austin: their own venue..."

Out of Bounds Comedy Festival
In its eighth year, the annual Austin comedy festival did this city proud
Arts Story  September 11, 2009, by Wayne Alan Brenner
"...The Out of Bounds Comedy Festival has come and gone, leaving in its wake a scattered community of local performers only now beginning to pay back their massive sleep debts. Seven nights of impromptu antics can take a toll on the most robust of humans, so we won't be surprised to see the Austin Improv Collective's Andy Crouch lurching zombielike across the cityscape or Kaci Beeler of Parallelogramophonograph crashed on a street-side bench, Available Cupholders' Ace Manning mumbling incoherently in an alleyway or Jason Vines of Improv for Evil in nothing but a frock coat, tied halfway up a lamppost..."

McNichol & May: Harking back with style
Bob McNichol & Erika May are among the most literary improvisers in town, each of their spontaneous narratives carried along by the depth of the characters they create
Arts Story  June 22, 2007, by Wayne Alan Brenner
"...McNichol (a tall, gangly Pennsylvanian with a Bob Newhart demeanor and wits sharper than a box cutter) and May (a fiercely talented Texas native who seems like the prettiest softball shortstop ever, whether she actually plays or not) met while studying and performing improv in Chicago, soaking in a few years of concentrated Del Closeness before bringing their own matrimonial closeness home to roost in the big, multibirded nest of the Austin Improv Collective. (They're also, with Rachel Madorsky and Dave Buckman, in the Frank Mills improv/sketch comedy troupe, more about which in a later profile.)..."

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