Sunday, October 31, 2021

Review: Theatre Pro Rata's ‘Top Girls’ spotlights ladies of the ’80s (and the 9th century)


Pictured: Maggie Cramer
Credit: Charles Gorrill

What happens to those who don't make it to the top?

Caryl Churchill 's Top Girls attempts to answer this question. This play is directed by Carin Bratlie Wethern, produced by Theatre Pro Rata and showing at the Crane Theatre through November 21st.

Sunday Post #amwriting #amjoy




This week was in search for the Halloween costume for my son. Earlier this month, I posted him in a few costumes. He pretty much collects them throughout the year or whenever we go to the thrift store he'll decide he wants to be Hulk, Batman, or Spiderman, but this year I think he finally decided on Spiderman.  
Friday Delight (Improv) theatre (Me with my son on the right)

I was also on my way to get coffee and I came across some runners for a marathon in St. Paul. Most of them were in costume and a lot of them were Waldo this year.  
Readers, what will you dress as?

In other news, I've been hitting the gym and staying motivated. I drove for rideshare this week and talked to a client about his change from taxi driving to semi truck driving and he said he can make a whole lot of cashola (as my mother would say.)

Upcoming Shows

Top Girls at Crane Theatre, Nov 6-21 Mpls: Synopsis: If you could invite anyone from history to a dinner party, who would be at your table?

Marlene has just taken over the Top Girls Employment Agency and she is celebrating.
Set within Margaret Thatcher’s Britain of the early ‘80s, Top Girls manifests the evolving complexities of modern feminism and tackles the question of what it takes for women to succeed. 

$16-$61, Sliding Scale
Tickets must be purchased online in advance


Alex Volkov is a devil blessed with the face of an angel and cursed with a past he can't escape. Driven by a tragedy that has haunted him for most of his life,This book came to my attention by a youtuber who talked about it glamourously. Its a brother's best friend romance. I never had this problem of falling  for my brother's friends but I certainly had a lot of brother's growing up who dated a lot, lol

Bryce Iwaschuk talks about Star of Therapy, a short Film

Ana Pacheco (pictured above)

Bryce Iwaschuk is with me today to talk about the film Star of Therapy which showcased at the Twin Cities Film Festival in October. Bryce is a devoted editor, writer and producer hailing from Vancouver British Columbia

Friday, October 22, 2021

Sunday Post @hauntedbasement #amjoy

This posted  in 2019

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted  @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things  received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme


I had a lot of fun at this place called the Thehauntedbasement . Although it does take place in a basement; it’s really what leads down to it that is so scary. In the center is a glass art studio where there are kilns and students holding torches to make glassblowing art. And as you're walking around, students are hanging onto these torches and all you can think of is I hope this is not part of the haunted house experience.

Funniest thing about the whole ordeal was a man holding a spectator's head between a cash register and a bakery glass window and acting as though he was going to cut the guy's head off. One of the paying guest was going around and letting people out of their cells. Unfortunately, she never got to me and I was locked in there for five minutes.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

The Haunted Basement will have you screaming 'Uncle'

Photo by DreamFirstBorn Images

I had a lot of spooky fun at the Haunted Basement in Roseville located in a storefront of Rosedale's shopping center.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Nightmare Before Christmas Drinking Game-Minnesota

Vimeo (virtual show) Nightmare Before Christmas Drinking Game-Minnesota (above)

October left me indoors unable to trick-o-treat or join others in haunted fun. Luckily, Shadow Horse Theatre LLC brought me The Nightmare Before Christmas Drinking Game-Minnesota, executive produced by Matt Saxe.

I enjoyed the script reading by seven actors from the safety of my home on Friday, November 13th. It played on Vimeo, a video sharing website that has a smaller user base and is similar to YouTube. Themes center around Jack Skellington and his attempt to become the Spirit of Christmas in a town known for its Halloween. Jack is the pumpkin king who is Halloweentown's who has become bored with the same annual routine of frightening people in the "real world" and has come upon a door that leads the way to a town that practices Christmas. When he returns from this happy town, he strives to bring this holiday with him.  Try as he might, Jack Skellington failed to become the proper Santa, but I think we can all learn about failure through trial and error through the viewing of this production.

Throughout the show, the narrator rings a bell and whenever certain words or phrases are said by actors the audience takes a drink. To hear the theme song 'This is Halloween' and watch as actors balance drinks and attempt to synchronize is more than entertaining. With Sally Shock (Kelly Nelson) in the center of this tic-tac-toe box, her role couldn’t be more important as the sweet voice behind a film that blankets its charm by taking an opposite approach to the holidays. Everyone is in dark clothing, and many incorporate black backgrounds. Characters: Lock, Shock, and Barrel hold up masks periodically that may haunt you for days. One in particular looked strikingly similar to the horror mask from 80’s hit film Jason.

Actor Christian Jacobs was a standout. He played numerous characters, including Lock and the vampires, the clown with the Tearaway Face, a saxophone player-musicians, Spider Boy, and the Little Human Boy. In the beginning his hands are up like that of a conductor waving to keep the introductory tune. His all-black ZOOM window gets the desired effect with a dim spotlight cast down on him as he moves closer to the camera showering his audience with ghoulish grins and out-this-world facial expressions.

At the time I viewed Nightmare Before Christmas in 1993, I felt charmed by Jack Skellington and his long gangly legs and skeleton face. The fantastical setting had been something I never seen before in childhood movies. I might add that I felt more charmed by this Jack Skellington (Peyton Dixon) and his painted smile and non-stop energetic gestures. But I wonder, as an adult, if I would have enjoyed the 90’s film with the same elation. Hundreds of YouTubers have been able to create this film, each one more dynamic than the rest. But none of them have had to negotiate the task of pulling together a cast from several different settings on ZOOM. If anything one can admire the creativity behind Shadow Horse theatre, LLC. Actors did their best to give cues to one another but the varied backgrounds and actors' proximity to the camera were obstacles. This is going to be an ongoing challenge for many entertainers as they show their creativity online during a pandemic.

I often worry if Generation X will even remember a time when they sat down next to one another in a theater, nudging each other and hooting and hollering while sharing nonverbal cues. Surely drinking while watching anything entertaining is never going to cease but there is something to be said about the theatre and arriving there together on time. As it was, the only way I knew anyone else was engaged in this performance is by indicators on social media like invitations to the performance, that said check the box ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or ‘Maybe’ if you are attending. At least 20 checked ‘yes’ and a large quantity checked ‘maybe.’ How easy is it to check ‘maybe’ and not be held accountable for the arts in this day and age?

As performers and audience members, we can all learn about the art of showing up and taking accountability even if we feel like we’re failing. The Drinking Game-Minnesota has shows monthly, and the December show will be Muppet Christmas Carol. Tickets are online and go online two weeks before the show. More info

Sunday, October 10, 2021

A Drinking Game-Minnesota at Phoenix Theater

OK, I can admit that I’ve seen Home Alone one or two many times. So when I got a notification on Facebook of the upcoming Drinking Game-Minnesota with Macaulay Culkin’s face smiling back at me, how could I resist? This show is produced by Shadow Horse Theatre LLC, and executive produced by Matt Saxe.  It played at Phoenix Theater on Saturday Dec. 7th.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Sunday Post #amreading #amjoy @kimbacaffeinate @BillyCrystal

Image result for billy crystal animated gif

The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted  @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things  received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme
Stacking The Shelves is hosted by Tynga’s Review

           LOOKING FORWARD TO march

This week I listened to Billy Crystal's audiobook. He talked about his idea for the 'pepper/popper' scene in 'When Harry Met Sally'

Sunday Post #amwriting #amjoy



           LOOKING FORWARD TO October

This week was my birthday  Lots of people joined me in the celebration on social media.  I also had my favorite food sweet and sour chicken and sushi. 

Monday, October 4, 2021

Magic zinged off the stage – a review of Frozen: The Musical

Photo courtesy of Hennepin Theatre Trust

If you're seeking family fun in October, head on over to the Orpheum to see Disney’s Frozen. This Broadway musical is directed by Michael Grandage and features songs from the original film plus a dozen new musical numbers.

On opening night, I had the fleeting notion of scooping up someone else's daughter to bring with me to see Disney’s Frozen, certain that there’d be dozens of children in attendance. And my predictions were right. There were more young girls in gowns than I remembered ever seeing in October.

Disney outdid themselves with this production. It was so powerful it felt like magic zinged off the stage with one wave of Elsa’s hand. Light cascaded across the frame of the set and icicles jutted the moment Elsa (Caroline Bowman) flew into a fiery rage. I never saw such a traumatic change to a setting. One moment the characters were preparing themselves for a Victorian-era coronation in the castle, complete with hanging chandeliers and bedrooms suited for a princess,and the next the backdrop transformed into a wintry storm with holographic snow and icicles. The set seemed to grow along with the climax and when Elsa unleashed her powers, it was like a rock star had shown up in a shimmery, glittery gown and said, “Are you ready to rumble?”

Caroline Innerbichler, as Anna, invited laughter with her lighted-hearted banter.  Her side kick Olaf reminded kids that frozen friends can save the day or a play, at any rate. Sound effects emanated from the aisles so that children were twisting in their seats to unravel a mystery.  But the real mystery was handled on stage with tricks of light by Natasha Katz (light design) and special effects by Jeremy Chernick.

The balance of humor with nostalgic moments from the film are sure to make a kid’s heart soar with delight. Come see Frozen through October 20th.  Tickets at

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Sunday Post #amwriting #amjoy


 The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted  @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things  received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme

           LOOKING FORWARD TO October

This week I got to read my work on Shut up and Write in NY (on ZOOM).  I enjoy reading my work out loud and getting instant feedback and I'd highly recommend it.  

Sunday Blog Post:All things Improv




This week, I tried to get my passport documents in order which meant calling for an appointment. (no answer) They do have a local office and I was able to get my son's passport squared away, but for expedited services, I realize this may take more time than I expected.  I plan to travel to a few places like Ireland, Amsterdam, Iceland and maybe Australia.  
  Friday Delight (Improv) theater.  (Me bottom right)

Its been getting chilly in Minnesota but the fall leaves are beautiful as ever.
I also joined another improv group online and that as a blast getting to know other people. This improv teacher had everyone give a compliment to each other.  I didn't know anyone but I had a few ideas since I was the last person.  Improv has been a game changer for me.  And I found a motivation board in a local coffee shop and the first thing I wrote is "Hesitate Less,  try improv" .
 Each new improv group I've tried is like a breath of fresh air, and its helped me make tons of friends in a safe way (on ZOOM) 

You can see my son's (zulfiqar) face in the circle

My son built a fort at an Indoor Park

My Grateful list
Grateful for meditation
For fun days and plans
for writing notebooks 
and mornings sitting by the lake

Readers, please comment below.

 upcoming on the Blog


Someone recommended that I read this essay "The Lowest Animal" By Mark Twain

Friday, October 1, 2021

Night of the Living Dead! The Musical is a humorous blend of self-deprecation and fun at Phoenix Theater in Uptown Minneapolis

When you arrive at Phoenix Theater to see Night of the Living Dead! The Musical you might think you arrived at an uptown cafe. There’s plenty of space in the lobby before you meet the entrance to the theater and countless chairs and sofas to sit on. I took a window seat near the front entrance before going into the auditorium. I had to walk a good block to the theater after parking the car but that didn’t deter me.

I had read that the creator and lyricist, Jordon Wolfe, flew out to Minneapolis to see this musical adaptation and I was more than happy to see it myself, and was not disappointed.

The opening scene caught my attention: two characters, Barbara played by Rachel Schmidt and Johnny, played by Max Kile, drive out into the countryside to visit their father’s grave site. Rachel Schmidt's funny anecdotes and good humor set her as someone who was childlike and flirty. The makeshift car and the characters’ hilarious maneuvers in and out of it made me want to go home and make my own car.
I expected the plot to center around the brute zombies who would’ve made frequent appearances but I was happy instead to meet Miranda’s love interest, Ben, (Mitchell Douglas) whose charisma and energy made the scene light up. Mitchell’s costume and dance pants put the audience right where you were supposed to be: 1960’s, Pennsylvania. I was reminded of that numerous times in the musical, with self-deprecation and references to political and religious stereotypes.

I was introduced to Sheriff Tractor, (Christian Unser), who couldn’t be more country hick if he tried. His use of a squirt gun to commandeer zombies who threatened to take over the scene was too perfect.

Everyone of the actors played a zombie at least once, and I didn’t find the transition between characters to be alarming.

In fact, I cared so much about the twosomes and husband and wife characters, I felt the scene could go on and on past the two 45 minute acts. I said it right, two 45 minute acts, which may seem unusual to break a musical that runs just 90 minutes into two intervals but it made for a nice little break in between where I could stand and stretch my legs. My only gripe with the theater itself would be the uncomfortable chairs but I was glad for the little tables and leg and arm space, which is frequently not available in a lot of theaters, where I’m arm to arm with my neighbor and their critiques and laughter.

One of the most memorable scenes had to be when Mitchell Douglas and Christian Uncer started a dance off with the characters doing the sprinkler and running man. Mitchell Douglas did an awesome, five second break dance routine and I became more and more blown away by his talents at end of the night. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he could pull off Lord of the Dance and Rent, the musical, in one night.
Start your night off right, I cannot recommend this musical enough.
Night of the Living Dead! The Musical runs through October 27th, tickets can be purchased through or at the door.

Prices are: $35 Premium seating $30 Regular seating $25 Partially Obstructed seating Students/Seniors 65+ Any seat $25

Sunday Post




This week I gave a lot of writers feedback on their work on a place where writers of all skill levels come online to improve each other's

 work. There's a guy who is basing his story on the "12 monkeys" and it was interesting to

hear his travelling though time scenarios.

I drove UBER this week and I like to tell clients about improv from time or I’ll ask them to do an improv game. This week I told a guy about HUGE improv theater and he said he'd come and join, right after he told me how landed his T-Mobile Sales job.
"I tried to run a scam on T-Mobile and they in turn offered me a job," he said.
I like telling people about improv because it helps with hesitation and things like asserting yourself and boosting confidence.

Here are some popular Halloween things I've seen. Its seems to be all about the inflatables and spiders and ghosts this year.

Deer spotting while driving UBER.  Lots of Wildlife in Minnesota and lots of Turkeys

A cake I received for my birthday earlier this month

My Grateful List:
Grateful for there not being snow on the ground yet
For a guy fixing my headlight at the mechanic store
for the internet
Grateful for my workouts at the gym
for all of books I looked over this week.

Readers, please comment below.


"The Parallel Brain" and another book sounds interesting because its by Eran Zaidel a sciencetist who explores consciousness and reality. Which was a topic I had with several improvisers on ZOOM.

Sunday Blog Post


 The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted  @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog and showcase books and things  received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme


I talked to writers about the Feast of San Gennaro which kicked off this month in New York. This 11-day celebration began in 1926 as a way for immigrants in New York to maintain the Italian tradition of honoring the patron saint of Naples, Saint Januarius, with a feast every September. Its honored with cannoli eating contests and religious processions.

I guess people make this giant cannoli and stuff it, and this intrigued me because I remember going to Little Italy in California just to buy some cannoli.

I love going to cultural corners of big cities and I've also been to Chinatown and Koreatown in Chicago.

Fun Fact about me: I’ve lived in ten different places in my twenties. Sometimes for as little as two weeks, or as long as two years. I lived in two apartments in South Minneapolis. A coworker also subleased her a half a million dollar home because she hadn’t moved in yet. I lived with my uncle, and I lived in north Minneapolis, Dinkytown and East St. Paul.

Photos from my week

Looking outside my Apartment

Readers please comment below


'The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers.  I've read almost every book about dancing, so I thought I'd pick this up.
These are fun ones that you may want to pick up:
  • Bunheads (Hardcover) Sophie Flack
  • Apollo's Angels: A History of Ballet (Hardcover) Jennifer Homans
  • Ballet Shoes (Paperback) Noel Streatfeild.
  • Tiny Pretty Things (Tiny Pretty Things, #1) ...
  • Firebird (Hardcover)
  • Dancing on My Grave (Paperback) ...
  • Astonish Me (Paperback) 
  • Flora and the Flamingo (Hardcover)

I also did improv on ZOOM with the writer who wrote the IMPROV EDGE, Joe Hammer


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