Emergent Arts just keeps on choo-chooing up that hill. We are no longer occupying The Mix Studio Theater, but we are continuing to produce shows. Theatre Nova and Carla Milarch and Dan Walker and the people of The Yellow Barn have been gracious enough to let us bring some of our showcase events to their performance space in Ann Arbor. Up next, we have a once in a blue moons event that I promise you will be a great show, and an enlightening experience, if thse things even exist anymore. Barry Crimmins is a living icon of the fire-breathing bomb-throwing take-no-prisoners wing of stand-up comedy. The real deal, folks, who has inspired and mentored many of todays comedy greats, like Louis CK, Patton Oswalt, Paula Poundstone, Stephen Wright, and Dennis Leary.
October 4 at 8pm
An Evening with Barry Crimmins
at The Yellow Barn!
As one of the top new comedians in the country he appeared on The HBO Young Comedians Special, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Evening at the Improv and many other television shows in the 80’s. With a certain level of fame, Barry felt no more fulfilled and began to move away from the mainstream audience-pleasing jokes and into a more political act. Barry’s good friend, Bill Hicks, famously recounted on stage his favorite Crimmins joke of the time; “A disgruntled audience member yelled out, “If you don’t love America why don’t you get out?”
And Barry retorts: “Because I don’t want to be a victim of it’s foreign policy.”
He defended Nicaragua, rained hell down on Reagan and Bush and put his anger into waking up audiences to injustice.
“I will no longer provide distraction for the American people,” he says in one interview at the time, “because the world is on fire and one of the primary fuels is the ignorance of the American people.”
Smashing the hypocrisies of political power and attacking bullies made sense for a man who, unbeknownst to even those closest to him, had suffered horrific abuse as a child. Barry’s gruff, hard-drinking, curmudgeonly persona was what he’d struggled with since the age of four – the relentless rapes that nearly killed him.
But here's a little about Mr. Crimmins in his own words:
Hi everybody, Barry Crimmins here pretending to be some objective writer conveying biographical information to you to help con you into thinking I’m a cool guy you really must come see at a speaking engagement or performance.
In other words, I’m honest.
I’m also the subject of Bobcat Goldthwait’s Sundance-debuted, critically-acclaimed and award-winning documentary, Call Me Lucky.
It has been written about glowingly in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Variety, the Boston Globe and Rolling Stone plus about ten dozen other notable publications. If you go to www.callmeluckymovie.com you can catch up on most of that stuff. It’s also available on my website www.barrycrimmins.com.
If you want to see the film it’s available on “all major digital platforms.” Bookers: I insist you deduct the cost of the download from my fee.
If you’re a podcast person you can check out my appearances on WTF with Marc Maron, The Joe Rogan Experience, The Greg Fitzsimmons Show,The Dana Gould Hour and Reply All. And many, many more, because you know how to Google, right?
Like radio? How about Fresh Air? Or the Bennington Show or Opie and Jim? I’ve done all of them recently.
Many people seem to be impressed with my story which I am now being asked to tell again here. OK. Why not?
I grew up in Skaneateles, NY. I went on to note as the founder of the Ding Ho Comedy Club in Cambridge (Ma) and Stitches in Boston. I produced shows. I performed in them. I helped many great comics by treating them decently and encouraging originality. Their names are all over the press about the movie. They are in the movie. They are great comics and greater friends.
I have done concert tours with Jackson Browne, Billy Bragg, Dar Williams, Michelle Shocked, Utah Phillips and my dear, dear pals Steven Wright and Bill Morrissey.
I was a close friend and confidante of the late Bill Hicks. He would endorse me had he not been stolen from us so early.
I am noted as a political satirist as well as a political and social activist. I’ve failed to stop all the major wars -- and the minor ones, too. My career was greatly augmented by the guidance I received from the late Howard Zinn, who was a very dear friend. Even Kurt Vonnegut was kind to, and supportive of, me.
Mobilization for Survival presented me with the Peace Leadership Award in 1991, the year the Gulf Wars began. Noam Chomsky presented it to me. I received the Courage of Conscience Award from the Peace Abbey in Massachusetts on the same day it was presented to Dr. Maya Angelou. Howard Zinn handed me that statue, which is kind of a left-wing Heisman Trophy. But who cares? I was never on a sitcom so some people haven’t heard of me and think I’ve been somehow cheated. They are wrong. I got to hang around with a zillion great comics, tremendous musicians, and remarkable thinkers and doers.
I have written for TV and radio - The Dennis Miller Show, an ACE-nominated Kevin Meaney HBO special and all kinds of stuff at Air America Radio where I was a senior writer, producer and correspondent. I was a contributor to the Boston Phoenix for 20 years.
I’ve appeared on the HBO Young Comedians Special, The Smothers Brothers last go-round on CBS, all the network nightly news shows and CNN and MSNBC numerous times. I’ve appeared on a dozen or so nationally syndicated comedy shows.
I authored a book of essays for 7 Stories Press called “Never Shake Hands With a War Criminal” My new book for 7 Stories is due out net year. I should be writing it instead of shamelessly promoting myself but left-wing political satirists who made their name during the Reagan years did not benefit from the trickle-down effect. Which is to say, I need to give speeches and do performances for fees to make up for years of financial deprivation that was brought on by an obstinate devotion to speaking my mind.
I am noted for disclosing that I was was raped as a young boy. I have no problem discussing this in public because I was a crime victim and have no shame about being in that sizable club. After disclosing, I went on to expose rampant child pornography trading on America OnLine before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee in 1995 — not a bad room if you can ever play it. I thumped the massive corporation’s high-priced mouthpiece and shamed them into a zero tolerance policy concerning the heinous crime of trading photographic evidence of children being exploited, sexually assaulted and raped. Some people call me a hero for this. If it helps you to decide to hire me to speak, go ahead and use it. I am more comfortable with “legend.” But then, I’m humble.
So that’s about it. I’m tired of talking about me. All that interests me now is whether or not you’ll book me or come out to see me. Either way, thanks for considering me.
— Barry Crimmins
And don't forget our regular open mic, most Sundays at The Yellow Barn.
The UNclub Standup Open Mic
Sunday October 11 at 8:00pm
Don't miss The UNclub most Sunday nights at 8 or 9pm, (now in its new home The Yellow Barn!) suggested $5 donation admission. It's THE spot for established and up and coming comics to work out material. It's not just standup, it's the cradle of comedy in Southeast Michigan!
Chili Challis, former staff writer for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and nationally known comedian, writer and teacher says about The UNclub,
"The ... UNclub IS as close to a pure artist's way of pursuing, grasping and understanding comedy as I have ever known; not to mention it's open and fair to every talent, EVERY talent, even ones right off the street. Comics are allowed to go 'out there' and they're permitted to fail and still be welcomed back. It doesn't get any better than that as far as I'm concerned, and I've been known to be a bit fussy. This special venue is poised for the big wave, it is so ready and worthy of being discovered by an audience...and when they do it will be pure addiction."
at The Yellow Barn
416 W. Huron
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Piano Lounge with Ann Dahl
On hiatus. Times and location tba.
Pianist/chanteuse/entertainer Ann Dahl and her new musical partner guitarist/percussionist Brandon Scott have joined up to bring you a new Piano Lounge night. Payment for admission is through the tip jar on Ann's piano. Ann will sing and play, along with various musician friends of hers. Then, audience members will get the chance to pick from Ann's collection of sheet music and sing their favorite songs.
Ann brings her special vibrant soulfulness to the music of Patsy Cline, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, The Beatles, and lots more.
Over the last seven years we have presented Sister Mary Ignatius Explains It All For You, Confessions Of The Easter Bunny, The Mousetrap (review), Waiting For Godot (review), Arsenic And Old Lace, A Christmas Carol, The Odd Couple, Yankee Tavern, Waiting For Godot, original works Confessions of The Easter Bunny, Hollywood and Hyde, and Christmasville. At The Mix Studio, we have continued our tradition of offering a wide range of performance, including spoken word, folk music, piano lounge nights, movie afternoons, standup open mics, staged readings, and more plays. Always more plays!
And we have Chili Challis, former staff writer for The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, holding his Comedy Dojo on Sunday afternoons, where he coaches the area's up-and-coming comics in the art of funny. Then, every Sunday night at 8pm, Chili holds an Open Mic at The Mix Studio Theater where his students mix with other more experienced comics to practice their craft.Sign up for the open mic or register for his Comedy Dojo by contacting Chili through his website at ChiliChallis.com.
Look for special discount ticket prices all season. Take advantage of the discounted prices and know that you are directly responsible for bringing more great theatre to the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area.
Please remember that we depend on you to keep us going. Emergent Arts is not a non-profit theatre at this point, which means we don't get grants and we don't typically receive donations. We live or die depending on you, and people like you, who buy tickets to our shows. Please show your support by coming to our shows, and bring your friends! We are in the business of loving theatre, and live performance. There is nothing like it, and you need to be there so we can be there.
Go see a show somewhere this week! Take the kids (but hire a babysitter for the UFO Show). You will talk about the experience for years to come.
This photo is not by me, but for obvious reasons, I kind of like it. It's from the shoot of the short film "Vanished Acres" in which I played Tom.
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Emergent Arts Memories
Excerpt from AnnArbor.com's review of The Mousetrap:
" It's a credit to both Agatha Christie's script for "The Mousetrap" and Emergent Arts - the local theater company currently staging the world's longest-running drama - that even though I knew precisely who the murderer was (since I'd seen the show before), I nonetheless enjoyed playing the game once again." -Jenn Mckee
Excerpts from AnnArbor.com's review of Waiting For Godot:
"...'Godot' is a highly ambitious undertaking for an amateur theater group, and Emergent Arts generally does itself proud."
"...(Tom) Underwood and (Peter) Knox, as the show’s secondary duo, perform their roles with sensitivity and physical skill, with Knox delivering a show-stopping version of Lucky's 'think' speech." -Jenn Mckee
"Photos by Tim Henning."