What do jello, lava, Britney Spears and a bunch of words from Urban Dictionary have in common?
They are all words that audience members may shout out during a Porkchop Volcano improv show at the Arlington Drafthouse. Jon Milstein, Seth Alcorn, Conor O’Rourke and Matt Stephan, the four members of the Arlington-based troupe, then have to take these suggestions and turn each into a scene or character, all in the hopes of a good laugh from the audience.
“My favorite part of improv is the thrill, is the rush of a real audience you’ve never met before, you don’t know them, blowing them away, and having them laugh, a good and hearted, genuine laughter,” Milstein said.
While their group does not perform any single “typical” show, each performance will consist of a combination of guessing or scene improv games. The show starts at 9 p.m. in the Arlington Drafthouse’s Green Room — its side bar — and begins with a game that will interact with the audience.
“It’s usually packed by the end of the first game,” Stephan said.
By the time the game is done, the members will also know what the audience will like, and whether their suggestions will be more along the lines of kittens or sex positions, Alcorn said.
A favorite finale is “Dating Game,” where the troupe pulls an audience member up to play a bachelorette or a bachelor hoping to find his or her perfect match. The catch is that each of three improv members involved in the game are in characters suggested by the audience and the bachelor(ette) has to guess what the character is. O’Rourke plays host.
“It’s a high risk, high reward game,” Stephan said. “If we can hit a home run with that one, that’s been a good day.”
Suggestions can get wild. One of the members once had to play someone missing a chunk of his body after a tragic swordfish accident. Ideas also range from family friendly to adult only and even uncomfortable.
“I had a couple of friends who would basically go on Urban Dictionary and the come to the show,” Alcorn said. “So they would shout out all kinds of very disgusting sex acts that nobody actually performs, and then I would have to then explain to the audience what they meant and then work it into a scene.”
The four guys have a couple tricks up their sleeves, though, as they don’t want to go for the gross out, which gets awkward, Stephan said. Even when audience members suggested something dirty, the performers could take it in a different direction that made it cleaner.
“Being able to take an inappropriate or a cliche suggestion and then do something with it that they weren’t expecting, but still works with the suggestion, is pretty great,” Alcorn said.
One example is “Twilight,” a series that both Alcorn and Milstein despise, Alcorn said. It turned into a scene of Milstein playing a human who wanted to be a vampire and Alcorn playing a very reluctant vampire.
“It was just Jon throwing himself at me saying, ‘I want to feel the night rushing through my veins, bite me,'” Alcorn said.
The group tries to keep the suggestions new and challenging, O’Rourke said. To prevent common suggestions, which can happen when they ask for B-list celebrities, the members will use one of the common ones as an example. Even with common suggestions the group can work together to take a boring suggestion and create a new, fun angle.
“What’s always a lot of fun is taking a suggestion, but not taking it too literally, and jumping off and doing something weird with it. Because just because you get the suggestion vampire does not mean you have to come out as a vampire,” O’Rourke said.
The chemistry the group may be its biggest strength, they said. The four men can create a funny scene even if they are not sure where the other is going right away.
Milstein and Alcorn were doing a scene with tweezers last week. It started out with Alcorn giving Milstein a haircut with tweezers.
“And then he came to me with with a bad tooth and I was going to pull it out with tweezers,” Alcorn said. “And the third time we came around in this game, he didn’t say anything, but I knew I was going to do surgery and he put his hand on his appendix, and that was it.”
Once they formed the group, and spitballed until they randomly came up with the name “Porkchop Volcano,” the troupe needed a place to perform. Milstein was friends with the owner of Arlington Drafthouse who offered them two Saturdays. They now are performing up to four shows a month at the bar.
“The Drafthouse is our place,” O’Rourke said. “It’s our home.
Comedian and writer Michael Ian Black is scheduled to perform live stand-up at the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) later this month.
Black began his comedic career co-founding and performing in The State, a sketch-comedy group at NYU which was later featured on MTV. He’s since had roles in numerous TV series, along with movies like Ed, Wet Hot American Summer and This Is 40.
Black’s stand-up shows will take place the Friday, July 24 at 7:30 and 10:15 p.m. and Saturday, July 25 at 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. Tickets are on sale now for $25 and can be purchased at arlingtondrafthouse.com.
In addition to releasing his own comedy CDs “I Am a Wonderful Man” (2007) and “Very Famous,” (2011) Black has co-written and starred in a number of comedy sketches for both film and television.
According to the Drafthouse’s event page, “Black is currently co-host of a popular podcast with Tom Cavanagh, entitled ‘Mike and Tom Eat Snacks,’ and of a new podcast with Michael Showalter, ‘Topics.'” He’s also had roles this year on the Comedy Central series Inside Amy Schumer and Another Period, and the soon-to-be-released Netflix series Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.
South African comedian Trevor Noah will succeed Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show, and next week he’s coming to Arlington.
Noah, 31, is scheduled to perform seven shows at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse starting Thursday, April 9. He’s set to perform two shows apiece on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and one show on Sunday, April 12. As of this morning, all of the shows are sold out, according to the Drafthouse’s website.
Noah has been a Daily Show correspondent for two months on the show, but according to his biography on the Drafthouse’s website, he’s performed sold out shows across the globe, discussing everything from his upbringing in South Africa during Apartheid to the American “sports industrial complex.” It was announced this morning that Noah has been tapped as the Daily Show’s new host.
Noah is currently wrapping up a tour of the Middle East. He performs in Oman — the country bordering Saudi Arabia and Yemen — tomorrow.
If going to see “50 Shades of Grey” seems like an inconceivable way to spend Valentine’s Day, the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse has a throwback movie alternative.
The theater, at 2903 Columbia Pike, is hosting three showings of the 1980s classic film, “The Princess Bride,” at 4:00, 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. Before the 7:00 p.m. show — currently listed as sold out on the Drafthouse’s website — there will be an optional wine tasting and standup comedy performance.
There will also be standup comedy performed before the final showing of the day, at 10:20 p.m.
Tickets for the two remaining shows are $10 each. Considering the 7:00 p.m. show sold out, you might have to fight to the pain to get tickets for the other two showings on Saturday.
Image via Arlington Drafthouse
Tom Green — the comedian best known for the 1990s MTV program “The Tom Green Show” and “putting his bum” on things — is scheduled to perform stand-up comedy at the Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) in December.
Green will perform four shows in two nights on Friday, Dec. 5 and Saturday, Dec. 6, with performances at 7:00 and 10:00 p.m. each night. Tickets are already on sale online — each show costs $25.
Green gained notoriety in the ’90s for his talk show, which the Drafthouse promo for his performances says “paved the way for shows like ‘Jackass, ‘Punk’d’ and ‘Fear Factor.’ With its guerrilla video tactics and outrageous stunts, it was unlike anything that had been seen before.”
Green also had prominently roles in movies like “Road Trip,” “Stealing Harvard” and “Freddy Got Fingered.”
Green now hosts “Tom Green Live,” a talk show on AXS TV.
Photo via Facebook
On Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 7:30 p.m., the Drafthouse will host 10 D.C.-area comics who will perform brief acts to be featured on the late night show, which airs locally Mondays and Fridays on My20 at midnight.
The show, hosted and produced by comic Steve Hofstetter, goes from city to city, featuring local comics. Its shows are also available on YouTube. After the 10 comics perform, Hofstetter performs a set and answers questions from the crowd.
Tickets for the show are $10 online.
The True Lies sidekick and Best Damn Sports Show Period host, who rose to fame as a writer on Roseanne, will be in Arlington for four standup performances: Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12 at 7:30 and 10:00 p.m.
Tickets to the show are $25.
Comedians from the comedy website CollegeHumor are coming to the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse next month.
The comedy duo Jake and Amir — Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld — and CollegeHumor Executive Editor Streeter Seidell will perform Thursday, Nov. 14, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and only ages 18 and up will be admitted.
Arlington is the first stop of the trio’s nationwide tour, for which they’ve shot a brief comedic promotional video. Jake and Amir’s online comedy series has won several “Webbies,” while Seidell is also the co-host and writer of the MTV show “Pranked,” along with Blumenfeld.
Image courtesy of CollegeHumor
A kickoff event featuring an “emergency preparedness social and photo booth” is planned for Thursday, Sept. 5. That event will take place from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at A-Town Bar and Grill at 4100 Fairfax Drive.
Starting Sept. 12, Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse will be hosting Disaster Movie Month, showing classic disaster films until Sept. 30.
There will be three nights of “preparedness trivia” — at Crystal City Sports Pub (529 23rd Street S.) on Labor Day, Sept. 2 at 8:00 p.m.; at Samuel Beckett’s (2800 S. Randolph Street) on Tuesday, Sept. 10 at 7:30 p.m.; and at Clarendon Grill (1101 N. Highland Street) on Wednesday, Sept. 18 at 8:00 p.m.
A “Power Outage Webinar” will be held online at noon on Friday, Sept. 20.
A community “table top exercise” is planned for Tuesday, Sept. 24 in the Arlington Central Library auditorium (1015 N. Quincy Street). Representatives from Dominion Virginia Power, Verizon, Arlington Public Schools and public safety officials will be on hand for the event, which starts at 7:00 p.m.
In addition to the events, Arlington’s Office of Emergency Management released a list of tips for residents to make sure they’re prepared in case of a natural disaster or emergency:
- Learn about the emergency plan for your business
- Test your communication plan with your family
- Check your emergency supplies
- Know when to shelter in place and when to evacuate. If you are safe where you are, stay where you are until you get more information. Visit sites.arlingtonva.us/oem
- Important documents: keep them together, safe and accessible — include insurance policies, photos of your home, home floor plan and personal property inventory. Tip: Put on a flash drive and leave with a family or friend.
- Medication: ask your doctor for samples — put in your supply kit; Have backup plans for oxygen or batteries.
Local History Being Digitized at Library — The Center for Local History, the new name for the Virginia Room at Arlington Central Library, is making a push to digitize historic photos and documents submitted by residents. The library’s own collection of historic documents is also being digitized. [Washington Post]
Arlington Dems Decamp for Competitive Races — Arlington Democrats, secure in the near-certainty that local races will go their way, are planning to help out in other, more competitive races around Northern Virginia. Among the help being offered by local Democrats is on-the-ground support and phone banking. [Sun Gazette]
Tour de France Viewing for a Good Cause — Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) will host a viewing party for the critical Stage 15 of the Tour de France on Sunday. The cyclists’ mountainous climb will be projected on the big screen starting at 7:00 p.m. Tickets to the event is free, but attendees are encouraged to donate to Companions for Heroes, which provides companion dogs that were rescued from shelters to military veterans. [Rouleurville]
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman
Kudla Advances at Wimbledon — Arlington resident and tennis pro Denis Kudla, 20, has advanced to the second round of Wimbledon by defeating Australian James Duckworth in five sets. Kudla entered the tournament ranked No. 105. [Washington Post]
Marymount Coach Wins Triathlon — Calah Schlabach, a 26-year-old triathlon coach at Marymount University, was the fastest-finishing woman at the Celebrating Heroes Triathlon in Columbia, Md. on Sunday. Schlabach finished the race — consisting of a 0.62 mile swim, a 16-mile bike ride and a 3.4 mile run — in 1:20:22.
Drafthouse Owner Named ‘Innovation Fellow’ — Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse owner Greg Godbout has been named a Presidential Innovation Fellow. In addition to owning the Drafthouse, Godbout is also a software engineer. He will now complete a 6-13 month “tour of duty” working on the RFP-EZ project, intended to make it easier for small businesses to bid on government contracts. [White House]
A new t-shirt pokes fun at the $1 million bus stop on Columbia Pike and the often tongue-in-cheek rivalry between north and south Arlington.
The t-shirt was created by PikeBuzz.com, a new website that offers deals and events at Columbia Pike “town center” businesses, and will be given away at the site’s launch party Wednesday night. The first 100 attendees at the event will receive the shirt for free.
(Disclosure: PikeBuzz is an ARLnow.com advertiser.)
“We were looking for something funny to put on a shirt,” he said. “The national level attention that the bus stop got in our neighborhood made for an easy target. We also see the Columbia Pike neighborhood changing significantly for the better and thought it would be funny to use the bus stop as a silly measurement of that improvement.”
The shirt takes a jab at the northern half of the county with a scoreboard that shows “South Arlington 1, North Arlington 0.”
“The reference to the scoreboard is to make light of the home grown competitiveness between the two sections of Arlington,” Godbout explained. He continued:
Prior to moving to South Arlington 13 years ago, I would not have been able to tell you the difference between North Arlington and South Arlington, except that one is south of Rt. 50 and the other north of Rt. 50. But after meeting people in the neighborhood, the general belief shared by some is that “North Arlington” has it better… better schools, more funding, more representation on the County Board, etc. So for some in South Arlington, the feeling is that we don’t have it as good. The reality is quite the opposite. I live in the Penrose neighborhood of South Arlington and love it here. My daughter goes to Patrick Henry which is exceptional. My business is in South Arlington and has enjoyed a resurgence in recent years. I love the advantages that South Arlington offers.
Godbout described PikeBuzz as a site that “promotes local businesses and allows us to increase the number of events offered on the Pike” by bringing more people to the area.
The site’s launch party will be held Wednesday from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike). In addition to the free t-shirt, the event will feature free food, Karaoke and live acoustic music.
Coulier is perhaps best known for playing “Uncle” Joey Gladstone on the ABC series Full House in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Other entertainment credits include hosting the show America’s Funniest People, and providing voiceovers for the animated series The Real Ghostbusters. Coulier is also widely believed to the the subject of the Alanis Morissette Song “You Oughta Know.”
Coulier will be performing stand-up comedy at Artisphere in Rosslyn (1101 Wilson Blvd) on Saturday, April 20. He will perform two shows, at 7:30 and 10:00 p.m. Tickets to each are $30.
The Michigan native will also be performing at a comedy, improv and illusion variety show at Arlington Cinema & Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) on Thursday, April 18, at 7:30 p.m. Coulier will share the stage with a master illusionist and the Porkchop Volcano improv troupe at the family-friendly (PG rated) show. Tickets are $25 and will benefit Patrick Henry Elementary School.
We last reported on Coulier when he performed at Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse in 2011.
With a little more than a week until Valentine’s Day (February 14), now is a good time to make some plans so all the good reservations aren’t taken. Many restaurants offer special menus for the big day, but there are plenty of other options for celebrating in Arlington besides going out to dinner.
Here is a sampling of some of the more unique ways to treat your Valentine:
- Sip on a special cocktail at TNT Bar‘s (2413 Columbia Pike) “My Bloody Valentine” event, featuring cocktails inspired by “terrible horror movies.” Drinks such as the “Candyman 1992″ and “Love Object 2003″ can be purchased individually or as part of a tasting menu for two.
- Put on your skates and hold hands while taking a few laps around the ice skating rink at Pentagon Row (1201 S. Joyce Street). The rink is open until 10:00 p.m. on Valentine’s Day.
- Pacers is spreading the love a little early, with the Love the Run You’re With 5K on Sunday (February 10). Runners will receive colored bibs based on their relationship status — green for single, red for in a relationship and yellow for “it’s complicated.” The race begins at 9:00 a.m. at Pentagon Row and costs $40. Registration is available online.
- Valentine’s Day isn’t just for adults. Teens are invited to take part in the Broken Hearts Party at the Central Library (1015 N. Quincy Street) on February 14. The celebration of love, affection and loss will include decorating broken heart cookies, playing trivia games, listening to music and rating which tear-jerker books require the most tissues. The free event runs from 4:00-6:00 p.m.
- Hire a singing telegram from Potomac Harmony Chorus. A women’s quartet will sing two songs for your loved one and present him or her with a card and box of candy. Pricing is available online. All orders must be placed by this Friday, February 8.
- The Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) is serving up wine, comedy and two showings of The Princess Bride. For $8, customers can take in a stand-up comedy show followed by a viewing of The Princess Bride. Tickets are available online for both the 7:00 p.m. and 9:50 p.m. events. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for an optional wine tasting.
One local man is hoping that the movie “Magic Mike” can be his magic love connection.
A 42-year-old guy posted on the Craigslist Missed Connections page in an effort to connect with a woman he sat next to at an Arlington Cinema Drafthouse (2903 Columbia Pike) screening of the movie, which follows the travails of a group of male strippers.
It was a packed movie Monday night. I arrived a couple minutes before the movie started and you offered the empty seat next to you. We talked for a couple minutes. I thought you were intriguing, but regret not having the chance to get to know you more. I liked how you laughed at certain parts of the movie. Email me back if you are curious.
Flickr pool photo by wfyurasko