Jeromy Barber

Jeromy Barber – Co-Producer

Producer/Director Jeromy Barber is passionate about growing and showcasing talent in Houston. He was born in Pasadena and calls Houston home. Jeromy found a love of performing early – piano, singing, french horn, musicals.  While obtaining his degree in Music Education, he furthered his performing and producing experience in Baylor Showtime!, Sing Alliance (Founder), All University Sing, Phi Mu Alpha… Read more →

A MATCH for Houston

For this blog post I want to deviate a bit from the Improv theme and talk about what I think is the most exciting development in the Houston arts scene since I moved here in 1996:  the Midtown Arts and Theater Center Houston (MATCH).  This facility is an arts complex designed specifically for mid-sized and emerging arts organizations in Houston to showcase their work.  I attended the groundbreaking this Spring, and more recently a meeting with one of the potential candidates for Executive Director of this new facility.  The more I learn about this project, the more excited I become about it’s potential.

I moved to Houston in 1996 to join the AD Players theater company and in relatively short order married into the Houston theater community.  My wife, Shondra Marie, has been a freelance actress in this community since she left the AD Players in 2000.  Several of our friends from that time period have gone on to play key roles in the theater community, including Rebecca Dahl of the Music Box Theater, and Beth Lazarou, a frequent star in productions all over town.

During that time I’ve seen a theater community of several rag tag theaters grow into a burgeoning arts movement that is bursting at the seams.  There are performance venues all over this town – hole in the wall bars like Rudyards and Avant Garden, converted warehouses like FrenetiCore and Catastrophic, and converted strip center spaces like Obsidian Art Space and Main Street Theater.  These make up an ad hoc network of experimental spaces perfect for launching new arts groups.  Where Houston has come up short is in providing consistent, high quality venues for small and established organizations to expand.  Enter the MATCH.

As a show producer, I can tell you first hand that one thing you can count on with the ad hoc venues in town is inconsistency.  Some have stage lighting, some don’t.  Some have Audio/Visual, some don’t.  In some cases you even need to provide your own toiletries.  Young energetic start ups take that in stride.  As an organization grows, however, it begins to get old.  Efforts devoted to shoe horn productions into ill-equipped or poorly-maintained venues distract from the work of creating impactful and high quality art.

The MATCH will provide 4 separate, professionally equipped venues all under one roof.  And that in itself is exciting!  On any given night 4 different arts groups could be showcasing their work – great opportunities to cross-pollenate a variety of art forms.  As an example, at the meeting I mentioned above, I met the director of a dance company in town.  As we introduced ourselves we discovered some overlap between our art forms – improvisational dance and improvisational theater.  It got our juices flowing about how to combine the art forms to create something unique and new.  My greatest hope for the MATCH is that it becomes a catalyst for explosive collaboration and innovation in the Houston arts scene.  I believe it has that potential and I’m glad to have been included in the process so far.

The Comedy Collective

September Shows

Labor day has past, school’s back in session and the Houston traffic is burgeoning. September is here, ladies and lads, and there is no better way to celebrate than a night or two of improv comedy. Here’s what’s going on in the Houston Improv Scene this month. Beta Theater Beta’s Standup Comedy bracket continues this month at MKT Bar on… Read more →

Robin Williams

An ode to Robin Williams

Robin – I miss you already:  your brilliance, your vivacity, your smile.  I remember the character, Mork, from my childhood.  I remember laughing at the weird character with the suspenders.  I didn’t think much more of it at the time. I’ve been a big improv fan since the late 80s.  I loved Whose Line is it Anyway all through the… Read more →

We

2014: the year of Houston Theater Transitions

This morning in my inbox was the announcement that CSz Houston is checking in to the Holiday Inn.  Yep – the old location is being sold, so they are moving to a new location.  Their last performance at 901 Town & Country Boulevard will be August 30, and while they prepare their new digs (which they are maddeningly secretive about)… Read more →

Intimate Elevator Graduation Show

An Intimate Elevator Graduates Station

I’m the first to admit I’m not a fan of class recital shows.  They tend to pack the house as students invite all their friends and relations, but the quality of the performances is low.  It’s to be expected – these are improvisers who are just learning the ropes. That in mind, I was was pleasantly surprised this Saturday night… Read more →

Kevin McDonald

Bummed about missing Kevin McDonald

I was up in Chicago last weekend geeking out in Improv Mecca when CSz Houston left me a voice message saying that Kevin McDonald’s workshop this weekend in Houston (July 26) had been canceled.  Initially I was relieved to have my money back.  With all the great craft brews in Chicago, I was drinking through money like it was water.… Read more →

jimmy-chairs

The Art of Slow Comedy Intensive

If you aren’t a follower of the Improv Nerd podcast, I highly recommend it.  Jimmy Carrane has been improvising since God was a boy, and his podcast is always interesting and insightful. Sunday morning I woke up and caught the 9:30am train into the city, hoping to get a spot in Jimmy Carrane’s Art of Slow Comedy Intensive.  I tried to… Read more →

iO Chicago on Clark

HIF – Chicago Closing out iO on Clark

Last night after seeing some shows and having a few beers at Chemically Imbalanced Comedy, I went to the iO closing party. The Blake Shelton concert had ended, but North Clark was still buzzing like a bees nest in July. The line to get in was stretched south all the way down the block. I ran into Chris Fair of… Read more →

The Improvised Shakespeare Company

HIF – Chicago day three

After three days in Chicago, my first time to actually see some improv was Friday night.  Day two was spend hanging out riding bicycles in the glorious Chicago July weather with my brother-in-law and having some excellent beers and food at Emmetts on Thursday night.  Nothing HIF blog-worthy, though Emmett’s Imerial Pilsner was definitely the most flavorful Pils I’ve ever… Read more →