Aaron Lyons

Pulp Shakespeare: final weekend to catch Pulp Fiction in iambic pentameter

Pulp Shakespeare is finishing up its popular run this weekend here in LA. Favorably reviewed by the LA Times, LA Weekly, Backstage West and elsewhere, this show is pretty much what it sounds like – What if William Shakespeare wrote Quentin Tarantino’s classic Pulp Fiction? While a funny gimmick, the show also pulls out real tension and drama but re-watch the movie before you go for maximum effect.

The show stars Aaron Lyons, a fantastic actor with extensive experience with the works of the real Shakespeare and a good friend of mine, and Dan White. The two take the roles originally played by John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson, respectively.

I’m told there are a few tickets left. Every show has sold out, so you better buy while you still can.

The show is playing Friday and Saturday at 8 PM and Sunday at 2 PM at Theatre Asylum, 6320 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, 90038. Tickets are $20.

Trailer:

15-minute clip:

How Can You Talk About Radiation When the Butterflies are Flying?

With Japan having just increased the crisis level of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant disaster from four to seven, putting it on par with Chernobyl, it seems like this couldn’t be any more timelier.

I know, sorry. This is going to be a bummer. I know it would be easier to just pretend like this isn’t happening, or that we don’t need to worry ourselves about it. And I know some have doubted the dangers of high radiation levels in Japan, as they did in Chernobyl. Some have downplayed the concern over Japan’s current problems. After all, everything looks fine. But looks can be deceiving. And sometimes it takes a while for things to not look fine. For an example, take a look at these pictures by Robert Knoth from 2006, the 20th anniversary of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster. Some of those pictures are tough to look at, but they remind me that people like you and me are affected by this. Voices From Chornobyl does the same with even more power. And they bring me to the conclusion that the benefits of nuclear power are not worth the risk.

As we approach the 25th Anniversary of the Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster (April 26, 1986), a Voices From Chornobyl staged reading and discussion is taking place this Friday in Hollywood to help raise awareness.

From their press release:

Voices from Chornobyl tells the aftermath of a mismanaged disaster through the words of those who survived. Written and directed by Cindy Marie Jenkins, the play follows six people asking “What is radiation?” and coping with their changing world.

Friday, April 15th
8pm – Play | Reading
9pm – Radiation Talkback
Buy Tickets $10
Paul G. Gleason Theatre, 6520 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90028

An informal Radiation Talkback will follow the reading.
Run Time: 50 mins.

Featuring: Bradford Beacom, Carolyn Blais, Enci, Aaron Lyons*, Shawn MacAulay* & Kappa Victoria Wood
Written and Directed by: Cindy Marie Jenkins
Produced by: Rachel Stoll and Cindy Marie Jenkins

Cash bar included. Parking and more info at www.voicesfromchornobyl.com.

A note about the Radiation Talkbacks: In light of recent events, friends of the project will discuss radiation and how we can understand it, including questions they ask themselves when faced with news about nuclear power, Japan, radiation levels, and Fukushima vs. Chornobyl. We are not professors nor experts, and you will probably leave with more questions than answers, but we wish to create a framework for understanding how nuclear power actually affects you, and resources as you learn.

Abraham Lincoln: Four Scores in Seven Years

It’s a Foe Pa Flashback!

About 5 years ago, back when we were all still using MySpace, I was a member of the sketch comedy group Foe Pa. This weekend, some of us had a mini-reunion when we attended the surprise birthday party for fellow Foe Pa’er Yuri Lowenthal, who has gone on to much-deserved success as a voice-over artist (Sasuke Uchiha in Naruto, Ben Tennyson in Ben 10, Superman in Legion of Super-Heroes, the Prince in the Prince of Persia video game, Iceman in Wolverine and the X-Men and tons of others). We got to reminiscing about the Foe Pa days, and Yuri pointed out how we were doing Abraham Lincoln action mash-ups years before he was turned into a Vampire Slayer or whatever else those up and coming whipper snappers are doing nowadays.

And then in yesterday’s sketch meeting with the Magic Meathands, me playing Abraham Lincoln randomly came up again. That’s just too much coincidence, so here it is again. Vintage 2006 sketch comedy:

Foe Pa was probably best remembered for our live sketch comedy shows. We would do a completely brand new show every month or two, with completely new sketches top to bottom. Eventually we started shooting some of the sketches that we thought could transition to the interwebs, and then started writing some exclusively for video. Some we played during our shows. This one was written by me, and I played the part of Abraham Lincoln. Yuri did the trailer guy voice-over, and I think he might’ve directed this as well, if I remember right. He also played one of the henchmen. Zena Leigh and Aaron Lyons played the other two. I originally imagined this animated, but we didn’t know any animators that we thought we could convince to do this for free.

There are a few really funny sketches that I think still hold up from those days that remain unfilmed. Kind of a shame. Maybe one day…

For more Foe Pa sketches and other videos from the archives, check out the Video Vault.

Why Chornobyl?

On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant had a little oopsie.

Four hundred times the radioactivity that was dropped on Hiroshima exploded less than 2 miles south of Pripyat, a city of 50,000 people. So, imagine Biloxi, Mississippi. Or Ames, Iowa. Or Sheboygan, Wisconsin*. 36 hours later, the city was evacuated. So was Chernobyl, located 9 miles south. So was every village and town within a 19-mile radius.

Ten years following the disaster, author Svetlana Aleksievich conducted a series of interviews with survivors and published it as Voices From Chernobyl.

Nearly ten years after that, director Cindy Marie Jenkins began adapting the book for the stage. Last year, I served as associate producer for a demo of her adaptation Voices From Chornobyl, which has been used to promote a series of anniversary readings this month to commemorate the anniversary of the Chernobyl Disaster.

Earlier this year, Cindy and several of her amazing actors (Aaron Lyons,  Enci, Kappa Victoria Wood, and Shawn MacAulay) were interviewed to explain “Why Chornobyl”. I had nothing to do with this project (although I suppose I was at an early meeting where we discussed having something like this made, so sure, I’ll take credit for it, thanks!), but I think it’s a great companion to what I worked on and is an excellent reminder of why something that happened over 20 years ago is still worthy of our attention. Lysandra Petersson created the following:

During the month of April, the rights to perform the play Voices From Chornobyl are free to anyone who donates at least 75% of their proceeds to a Chornobyl Charity. See the VFC site for more details.

* Yes, I snuck in Sheboygan, one of my favorite goofy words, into something that’s supposed to be serious. I am a disrespectful and heartless punk.

Friends Do Stuff

And now a YouTube video that isn’t from a movie you might’ve seen, and that has nothing to do with me. Well, except for me being happy to see my friends doing inspiring work.

This scene is the directorial debut of my friend Enci, a great actress who I got to work with on Voices From Chornobyl. This scene also shows off the humbling acting skills of my good friend and former fellow Foe Pa-ian Aaron Lyons. Cindy Marie Jenkins, another talented friend of mine who I’ve worked with in the past, edited this piece. The actress is Kiva Jump, who I don’t know but she certainly does great work.

Stand and Fight – WalkMS 2008

On April 6th, 2008, the Walk MS event was held at the Pasadena Rose Bowl in southern California. Nahleen Blake, co-captain of the National MS Society’s TeamMS who has MS herself, walked to raise money to help find a cure for multiple sclerosis. She brought some cameras to follow her on the 5K walk.

Her team helped raise nearly $17,000 for the National MS Society. The event itself raised over $1.3 million.

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society funds more MS research than any other private organization. In addition to supporting studies which hope to reveal the cause and course of the disease, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society also provides much needed education, programs, and services to everyone who is affected by MS – including the diagnosed, their friends and families, and the healthcare professionals who work with them.

Please visit http://www.nmss.org for more information.
Please visit http://main.nationalmssociety.org/sit… for more information on the April 6th Walk.
Also, here’s more pictures from the Walk

The song used in this video is “Stand and Fight” by James Taylor from the 1981 album, Dad Loves His Work.

The Importance of Plumbing

Not five minutes after Aaron Lyons and his lovely lady (and fantastic singer) Kelly Fletcher left our apartment following a scrumptious brunch, we were told there was an incident with the plumbing downstairs and we couldn’t use any water for a couple of hours. Naturally, I suspected Aaron and Kelly probably busted a pipe on their way out. That would be just like them.

So, while we’re waiting for two hours to pass, I’m reminded how good we have it. It quickly became clear just how reliant we are on plumbing because I now can think of nothing to do that doesn’t involve a sink, shower or toilet so just had to go check all on the issue at tspplumbing.com, or www.plumbers-portsmouth.co.uk.

Before we were demoted to 2008 B.C., I played the nearly-final mix of the song “Ballad of the Waitress”, which Aaron co-wrote, that I recorded last weekend. He and Kelly both saw me perform this song in the last Foe Pa show and really seemed to get a kick out of hearing this version. Edie Murphy continues working on mixing it, and we’re going to see if we can add some fiddle to the song since she’s such a great fiddle player.

Edie has been wonderful to work with. Her country band Dime Box recently released their first album, Five & Dime Waltz. Check it out! It’s available on iTunes. They’ve got come samples on the band’s MySpace page. What’s weird is that we discovered that Aaron somehow knows another member of Dime Box, lead singer and banjo player Kristi Callan.

Small world, huh? So small, we still can’t get this plumbing thing right.