You never know what you're going to see at an improv comedy show?and that's the beauty of it. Read on to see what you should expect at a show or class and to learn just how it is that actors can put their scenes together so fast.
Even when their characters are arguing, improv comics are working from a philosophy of trust and agreement?necessary ingredients for acting together with no script. Improv comedy encompasses a broad array of styles, with the major division between short form?quick, self-contained games?and long form?a series of multiple, interconnected scenes featuring distinct beats. Accordingly, a given performance might resemble a one-act play, a Saturday Night Live?style sketch scene, or a high-energy game show. Most rely on audience suggestions to spark the flow of fresh ideas, however, and some even weave brave audience members into the action.
Perhaps the most famous long-form style is the Harold, in which performers build continuous scenes that develop and intermingle in surprising ways. The unusual name arises from a joke, according to developer Del Close's biography, The Funniest One in the Room. As Close asked his collaborators what to call the new form, someone sarcastically yelled, "Well, Harold's a nice name." Appropriately for a form devoted to spontaneous absurdity, the name stuck.
This comic form also has roots in one of America's darkest eras: the Great Depression. While working for the Works Progress Administration, Viola Spolin needed a way to teach basic theater precepts to unschooled actors of various ages and backgrounds, so she created a series of theater games that focused on the playfulness at the heart of acting. In the 1950s, her son, Paul Sills, applied her principles at the short-lived but influential Compass Players on Chicago's South Side, and, later, at The Second City?one of the most prominent comedy companies of the 20th century, with alumni including John Belushi, Tina Fey, and Steve Carell.
The event planners behind QueenVee Entertainment throw themed bashes that immerse partygoers in elaborate experiences. Founded by CEO Joanna Vargas—a producer, dancer, and choreographer who started her career by staging events such as The King of Pop, a dance-tribute show to Michael Jackson—QueenVee has staged past events such as Phenomena, a mash-up of a dance showcase and a fashion show that benefited Dance for Peace Charity. Ongoing events include booze cruises aboard a three-story Grand Romance cruise ship in the style of a 19th-century steamboat, complete with an open-air top deck and a team of acrobatic Mark Twain impersonators. Further amenities entertain the up to 320 passengers, including two full-service bars, a professional DJ playing over a large dance floor, and a professional photographer who posts images on Facebook. Raffle and door prizes reward attendees with keepsakes, and tables and booths offer respite from the dance floor and a private place to run Y2K safety drills.
One way to get an exceptionally close look at picturesque Alamitos Bay is to ride atop its churning surf on one of Long Beach Hydrobikes's stable, pedal-powered water cycles. The company ensures that renters catch the bay's most noteworthy sights, providing them with a map detailing the location of a bird sanctuary as well as a cove where jellyfish delicately billow in certain months. Avid pedalers generally cruise at speeds of up to 7 miles per hour, exercising bodies with a workout that takes advantage of water resistance to jettison excess calories out to sea. As there is virtually no risk of capsizing, riders may wear anything from a bathing suit to a water-soluble prom dress. The hydrobikes come equipped with storage compartments, drink holders, and a wealth of extra space to invite pets along for the ride, free of charge.
A boat zips along through the water, trailing behind it an open parachute elevated to almost a quarter-mile in the air. This isn't a scene from a spy movie, but rather a scenic parasailing tour from California Parasail, whose lines can lift patrons up to 1,200 feet above the crystal blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. As parasailers relax into their harnesses and take in breathtaking panoramic views, they can also take comfort in knowing they're in safe hands??all captains hold a US Coast Guard license and all crew members adhere to the practices of the Water Sports Industry Association. They operate runs throughout Avalon and Catalina Island, as well as Balboa Island, Newport Beach, and Long Beach, allowing patrons to glimpse views of different coastal areas and befriend cumulus clouds with varying regional dialects.
From 18 studios scattered around Los Angeles, Lori Moran Music Studios’ armada of instructors offers all-ages voice, piano, guitar, violin, and composition classes. With teachers who have worked on films such as Dreamgirls and Dance Flick, world-touring operatic productions, and Grammy-nominated choral CDs, the school can cater to virtually every musical taste—from classical to jazz to pop. Students choose the emphasis of their lessons, whether they want to work on their public performance skills, write their own songs, sight-read scores, or simply be able to play musical chairs during a power outage. Many will also get the chance to show off in recitals, concerts, and showcases.
Summoning television hosts, travel agencies, and renowned chefs, the Travel & Adventure Show helps attendees open the door to international journeys with exhibits and seminars on the art of traveling. Famed travel writers and hosts such as Pauline Frommer and Samantha Brown lead seminars on topics that include smart traveling, lessons from the road, and how to get a good night?s sleep on the roof of a moving railroad car. Travel companies and associations exhibit deals, discounts, and prepaid trips to attendees, and visitors can sample the attractions of faraway countries with the climbing and scuba diving attractions. The schedule brims with seminars and presentations throughout the exposition.