Missy is currently resting her head in Ketchup City, making us a bi-coastal band (namely east coast and third coast) for the immediate future. No worries though, when you divide your forces you conquer the world faster…right? Right! *air high five*

Immediately upon moving back to Pittsburgh Missy was introduced to the amazing folks at the Arcade Comedy Theater. I kid you not. The day she drove from Chicago to Pittsburgh with all her belongings Missy entered the city limits, left her rented SUV in a parking garage and proceeded straight to the theater to rehearse for a show that a friend had cast her in. Missy entered the Arcade’s doors and immediately became embedded in a culture of mutual admiration.

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Photo courtesy of David S Rubin

Arcade Comedy Theater opened it’s doors in February of 2013 and has been leveling up ever since. They produce their own works in addition to creating a melting pot of  comedy, hosting stand-up comedians, improv acts, sketch comedy groups, variety and cabaret shows, and the list goes on.  The theater was started by Randy Kirk, Kristy Nolen, Jethro Nolen, Abby Fudor and Mike Rubino who not only run a sparkly tight ship, but also happen to be funny enough to warrant having their own theater.

My own first trip to the Arcade was not all too dissimilar from Missy’s. I drove eight hours from Chicago to Pittsburgh (BTW, road trips + podcasts = newest best thing ever), parked my own SUV in the same garage Missy had on her first night at the Arcade, and walked in to see a show that Missy was performing in, a benefit for Gilda’s Club with filled with music, sketch, improv and stand-up comedy. Not a bad way to end a day on the road if you ask me.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I also got a pastrami sandwich in between parking and seeing Missy’s show but I left it out so my own journey could more closely mirror hers.  I apologize for omitting facts in favor of writing a mildly compelling story. I can do better. I will do better.

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I was being hosted by Mike Rubino and Abby Fudor (they’re gettin’ married y’all!!!) while I was in town and I could not have asked for better hosts. They provided the cleanest of sheets, free brunch, great conversations, MacGuyver on DVD and hotel quality water pressure. What more could a boy ask for? Oh yeah, an Arcade Comedy Theater t-shirt. I asked for that. And I got it.

And then there were the shows. Yep…SHOWSSSSS. For the first time in our four year career we did two concerts in one night, back to back, full of sweat and kazoos. We had more sing-alongs per capita than we have ever had and at the end of the night we had played 24 songs plus two opening numbers (so let’s up that to 26 songs). Opening for each show was the Arcade house improv team, Player One, who made some mad funnies. Also, in the five minutes we had between our sound check and first show we did a photo shoot with the aforementioned Mike Rubino who took some AMAZING shots of the two of us (see bottom of post).

Here are the set lists…

Show 1

  1. Let’s Get Ready to Rumble
  2. Spaceship Dahntahan
  3. Fun Times!
  4. Like OMG
  5. Mo Money
  6. Neither Here Nor There
  7. Commercials
  8. Not Guilty
  9. I Don’t Hate You SIIIIIIKE
  10. The Impeachment of President Bieber
  11. Smoky Mountain Chanukah

Show 2

  1. This is the ABCs
  2. Boys
  3. Jazz Hands
  4. Mmmmm…Brains
  5. Go Away Republicans
  6. Toasty Marshmallows
  7. Explore Yourself
  8. D-I-V-O-R-C-E
  9. Irregardless
  10. Oh God, I Dunno
  11. Large Hadron Collider
  12. Littered with Love
  13. ShockJockCrockFlockStockMockapella

Thank you again to everyone at the Arcade Comedy Theater for hosting us and for the insane hospitality. I can’t wait to hear news of your continued success. We’ll be back…well, Missy will stay there for the time being and I’LL BE BACK. Hopefully to do a show, but definitely to play as Mike and Abby walk down the aisle.

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Catalyst Ranch 10 Year Anniversary

Posted: December 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

The Catalyst Ranch is Chicago’s go-to place for awesome, kitschy, quirky meetings and events.  They provide a fantastically colorful environment filled with warm, talented staff (A. because they’re good at their jobs, B. because many of them are actors) that is a perfect place for meetings, conferences, brainstorms, weddings, and now improvised rock concerts.

Opened by Eva Niewiadomski in 2002, the ranch has been changing lives for a decade and they (understandably) wanted to celebrate.  And since they are in the business of making great events happen, who better to throw it than themselves?  Now here is where we come in.  The Catalyst Ranch offers Reset List’s musical improv workshop services as a meeting extra for their clients.  We felt very fortunate that when they were deciding how to entertain their guests, they choo-choo-chose us as a representative of their many awesome offerings as a company.IMG_0901

We played a twelve song set to a lively crowd and had a bunch of firsts during the show.  It was our first show with me on bass, first show with Missy behind the keys and our first show playing with Drew Current on drums.

Here’s the set list:

  • Meow Meow Meow; Meowmeowmeow Meow…Meow (from Songs in the Key of Meow Flat)
  • Home Home on the Ranch (title track)
  • Randy and Sandy (from Shacking up with Hurricaine Sandy)
  • RUFIO!!! (from BANGARANG!!! The Lost Boyz Album)
  • Three Drinks ’til Gay (from Cupid Took a Sick Day)
  • Songs From a Teenage Diary (title track)
  • Mr. Smith (from Missy Sings the Phonebook)
  • Why Wasn’t Ryan Gosling Voted Sexiest Man Alive in People Magazine (from Ryan Gosling, Future Husband)
  • One, Two, Three, Four More Years (from FOUR MORE YEARS: An Obamalbum)
  • Rise of the Daleks (from Doctor Whom)
  • We Be Scrooge McDuckin’ (title track)
  • My Drunk Uncle Hates Me (from Plymouth Rock & Roll: The Thanksgiving Album)IMG_0902

We had a great time playing for the ranch hands and their guests and we are looking forward to all future collaborations within the confines of their multi-colored walls.  Thanks again, Catalyst Ranch!

The Paper Machete

Posted: October 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

For years I have been seeing posters for, and hearing word of mouth about The Paper Machete.  It seemed to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue.  I was never sure exactly what it was but I was confident that it was a positive…thingsperience.

When my cousin came into town a few months ago I was looking for something for us to do on a rainy Saturday afternoon.  During my internet perusing I came across, once again, The Paper Machete.  Also the words “FREE” and “3p.m.” made this show all the more appealing to me.  It also did not hurt that it was a mile away from my home.  We went, we watched, we witnessed wonderment.

I would describe the show for you but I think a more succinct description can be found in someone else’s finger-tongues.

Created and hosted by writer Christopher Piatt (pronounced like hot apple PIE-it) The Paper Machete is a free, weekly “live magazine” covering pop culture, current events and American manners.  Part spoken-word show, part vaudeville revue, The Paper Machete features comedians, journalists, storytellers and musical guests performing in the back room of north side bar.  It’s a salon in a saloon.

I was hooked from Christopher Piatt’s opening monologue on through the rest of the show which included puppets, ridiculously good live music, and at once thought-provoking and hilarious live “articles”.  At the end of the show I introduced myself to Christopher through the human extension of the aforementioned puppet and basically said, “Can I pway too?”  Fortunately he replied, “Sure thing, little boy.”

A few weeks later we tried to schedule Reset List’s first appearance at the Paper Machete.  Unfortunately, we had conflicts galore.  Fortunately, Christopher did not give up on us and continued to email me until we found a playdate that worked for everyone.

We played on Saturday, August 11 and appeared alongside a host of other awesome acts such as Samantha Abernethy, Chad the Bird, Dana Norris, Dr. Bill Savage, Christopher Shea, The Field Auxiliary, and one of my favorite Chicago standup comedians Adam Burke.  Articles were performed on space exploration, Juggalos, capital punishment, the Air and Water show and more.  The lead singer of The Field Auxiliary and I were wearing very similar t-shirts so I felt like a real rock star.  Though thinking about it now, maybe he saw our nearly matching t-shirts and felt more like a fake rock star…fuck.

We squeezed three songs into a six-minute set (which may have lasted more than six minutes), which featured an interstellar love song and a non-cover of “Drugs are Bad” by the Insane Clown Posse. I even managed to bleed onstage like a person who really knows how to rock.  Unfortunately I procured my blood-letting injury while locking a bathroom door right before our set during my pre-show pizzle/pep-talk.  I really wanted that door locked.

Thanks again to Christopher Piatt for having us.  We look forward to being a part of the Paper Machete again in the future either as performers or audience members.  It’s just that good.

Tom Bambara invited us once again to play his late night talk show at the Oracle Theatre in Chicago and we just couldn’t say no.  Well, we technically could have but we didn’t want to so…we didn’t.

Tom is a good friend of ours from our time training at the Second City.  He is a fun/funny man with a ton of impressions and his own writing staff.  Our interview was even more weird than our last encounter.  We somehow avoided talking about the mating habits of ducks this time though. However I think Missy and I are trying to work out whether we talk about real stuff in an interview situation, or just play rock stars the whole time.  At one point I actually, in true rock star fashion, spit my gum at Tom.  Well, if it were in true rock star fashion the gum would have been whiskey or vomit and Tom would  have actually noticed it had happened.

After our interview we got down to business and made some rock and roll.  Three songs were sung, the titles of which elude me to this day.  I do know we sung a song about doing it with aliens…because we’re classy.

Go see Tonight It’s Live: With Tom Bambara.  It’s well worth the zero dollars you’ll spend at the door.  Let’s retract that.  It’s a thousand times more valuable than the zero dollars you’ll spend at the door (0 x 1,000 = …0). Ummm…it’s good.  It’s a good show.

T’was the day of the show, y’ins guys!!!  Tuesday arrived and with it a musical montage of getting shit done.  Morning meetings were followed by printing programs, making Reset List magnets (which we neglected to inform our future audience about, and hence, sell), brainstorming sessions, instrument practice and social media diarrhea.

The Pittsburgh Tribune Review had us listed as a HOT PICK for the week and we were also featured in the Program Notes Blog in the Pittsburgh City Paper.  Our show had pre-sold quite a few tickets already and we were hoping that even more people would discover their innate undying love of all things Reset List and purchase tickets at the door. In reality we would have been happy with ANY audience at our show.  What we got was overwhelming.

As showtime approached we donned our finest rock garb, loaded up my car and headed over to the Sing Sing Dueling Piano Bar to load in.  Karl Bailey, a regular performer at Sing Sing, was our technician for the evening and he made us sound REAL good.  Missy and I hid backstage as audience members started to file in and busied ourselves with an epic, albeit private, rap battle to keep warm.

The show began as Pittsburgh Native/Missy’s long-time friend Aaron Kleiber took the stage for a 25 minute set of stand-up comedy.  Dude brought the funny and spread it liberally among the audience.  Aaron tours the country doing stand-up so if he comes to your town you owe it to yourself to see him.  And not only did Aaron perform in the show, but he also set up the gig for us, created posters, and spread the word like wildfire over internets, airwaves and through direct human to human interface.  Plus, his awesome wife worked the door for the show.

Once Aaron left the stage it was time for our grand entrance to the booty thumping melodies of Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison”.  Missy and I, clad in our finest “N’at” wear (please see pictures…which will be posted SOON), danced our way to the stage and were greeted by over 170 faces that needed rocking off.  We met that need with a 14 song set.  The aforementioned Karl joined us on a few songs, taking over piano duties for Missy in the middle of a song without missing a beat, and backing us up on drums on another, and even Aaron got in on the action adding lyrics to on of our ditties.

Here’s the set list:

  • Love Don’t Live Here Anymore
  • I Have No Idea
  • That Was My Wife’s Favorite Song
  • The Playroom
  • I Thought It Would Be Bigger
  • Horses Have Bigger Dongs Than Cows
  • Time Paradox of the Heart
  • What are my Choices
  • Whiskey for Breakfast
  • I Love You For Your Brains
  • Me Love You Long Time
  • Spank Me
  • I am the Mockingjay
  • It’s My Birthday

We had a fantastic time playing for this cornucopia of audience members and we are so grateful to the city of Pittsburgh for making us feel right at home.  Thanks again to Sing Sing, Aaron Kleiber, and Missy’s family for putting us up in a swanky hotel where we lived like conservative rock stars for a few days.

We’ll see you again, Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh… The blue collar San Francisco of the east.  How we love you so.

I arrived in Pittsburgh on April 2, full of hope, saltines and gatorade – my manna after an evening trying unsuccessfully to repress my own vomit – and made my first stop of the trip at Point Park University.  Missy, Pittsburgh native and Point Park alumni, met me there soon afterwards.  The Point Park alumni association had invited us there to interview us about our show, and more specifically about how Missy’s education at Point Park University prepared her for success in Chicago.  Our Interviewer was great and he spliced together this cool video that I think highlights the Point Park Theatre Department and Reset List very well.  Please note, I wore a tie.

After our interview, Missy, myself and my tie toured the building where Missy received her awesome education.  Hugs were given liberally, famous people in pictures were pointed out, stories of faceless strangers flew over heads (mine) like flocks of geese, and I got a better idea of who Missy was in her college years.  We found ourselves at the end of the tour in the Point Park cafe where I enjoyed a quick lunch of Pirates Booty and more Gatorade to ensure that I did not puke during the next act in our adventures in Pittsburgh.

The real reason, or rather, the other reason we were at Point Park was because we were invited to teach an improv workshop to the theatre students currently studying there.  On a Monday afternoon we had 19 students, 1 observer and 3 teachers at our workshop.  The students had varying levels of improv experience but they were all fearless and jumped right into the exercizes we brought to the table.  They yes/anded, heightened emotions and stole focus like pros.  When we reached the musical improv portion of the workshop the students caught on quickly and really shined.  The workshop concluded with the students singing a group number from Hunger Games Zombies (the musical) titled “Love at First Bite.”   It (and they) rocked.

Thank you to the Point Park University Theatre Department for having us.  We would love to come back at any time to teach/play again.

After checking into our hotel and chilling for a moment Missy and I headed back into the streets of Pittsburgh.  Dinner was calling our names and we returned that call with screams of “Primanti Brothers!!!”  For my first real meal in 24 hours it was fitting to try to make myself sick again.  A Priamanti Brother’s sandwich comes with your choice of meat which is then topped with a heaping pile of cole slaw and fries, and served on a piece of wax paper.  You are somehow expected to be able to fit this mountain of a sandwich into your mouth for the purposes of consumption, and we met those expectations with unhinged python jaws.  While I did succeed in eating my entire sandwich I failed to elicit another evening of prayer to the porcelain gods.  Sorry.

And with that Pittsburgh Vol. 1, Chapter 1 comes to a close.

On Tuesday, April 3rd 2012 Reset List is descending upon the great city of Pittsburgh to shake its steel foundations with rock and roll.  We take the stage at the Sing Sing Dueling Piano Bar at 8p.m. for an evening of high expectations and lowered inhibitions.  Stand-up comedian Aaron Kleiber opens the evening.  Aaron has opened for the likes of Sinbad, Bobcat Goldthwait and Steve-O from Jackass and we are stoked to share a stage with him.

Doors open at 7:30 p.m. with an 8 p.m. go time.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online or at the door.  

The venue is 21 and over (with no drink minimum…but probably a maximum)

SEE YINZ THERE!

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