Some traditions deserve being maintained, so here is my suggested battle plan for DCM 2014. You can’t see it all, you can’t do it all, so no disrespect intended to any shows I don’t include.
Go to the press conference if you’ve never been, or if you want a seat in the Chelsea Theater for that first block of shows. The line starts earlier and earlier every year, and for me having a seat can make or break being able to enjoy a solid block of shows. Also the press conference is fascinating and usually turns into a free improv lecture most of the time.
The Stepfathers at Midnight is going to be be an incredible show, but the only realistic way to get a seat for it is get on line early Friday, so no dice for me, but that is going to be one…hell of a show.
You see, I have just started a new job where I accrue my freedom at the rate of 1/3 of a day every two weeks, so I can’t take the day off to get in line. That’s why I’ll probably start my festival at the 8:30 Fwand show. It will probably be full but not sold out, so your festival pass would get you in. Not a guarantee, but I think a safe bet.
After that it’s off to UCB East. Hang out for a bit with the goal of getting in for the midnight block of shows, which are all pretty funny looking bit shows. I will make an embarrassing appearance in the shitshow that will be “Fratprov” (2003-2005 was a dark time in my life), and I’m really excited about seeing “Tom Waits Prov” - where everyone is Tom Waits.
I’ll probably make it through at least a few of the FIVE Beyonce-themed shows, before going to the party space and what the hell am I talking about I’m a tired old man and will probably be heading up to crash at that point. Which is okay! Only the young and the coked up try to do a full DCM without getting at least a few hours of decent sleep, and I’m neither.
If you’re an out of towner, use Saturday morning/early afternoon to do some New York…stuff. The city is as much a performer in the marathon as anyone else, so stroll around in Central Park. Walk across the Brooklyn bridge. Get a slice from Pizza Suprema on 31st and 8th.
Don’t waste the day, though. The Saturday afternoon block at Chelsea leading up to the 6:30pm theatre cleaning is one of the sleeper blocks of the festival. If you’re not too late, you’ll probably be able to walk right into the theater and get a seat.
The long-anticipated return of Ian Roberts’ Lazy Man to DCM, three back-to-back two-person sets with some big, big, big performers, all capped off by Ben Schwartz’s ridiculously named Snowpants. Folks, that’s a smoking lineup.
Part of the reason you’ll be able to get into the theater easily ( you decide what that means) is a big chunk of the festival crowd will be wanting to get in for the actual “UCB” show at the UCB theater after the 6:30pm cleaning. It’s always hilarious, and if you’ve never seen it before, there’s nothing quite like hearing “Please welcome to the stage the UCB!” AT the UCB theater. At the same time, I don’t think I’m revealing any secrets here, it’s often not a “formal” improv show. It’s funny, and sure it’s improvised, but it’s not always scenes like you’re expecting, sweep edits and the like. That’s generally saved for the end-of-festival Assscats. It’s a factor to consider in planning your night.
But since I’ll have seen that Saturday afternoon block, I’ll have to write off the Saturday night block at Chelsea, as great as the shows look. I’m going to skip over to the Beast and see if I can get in for the Two Man Movie. Probably a 50/50 shot at that.
Whether I get in or not, then I’ll head on over to Urban Stages where some team named “Greg” is performing. It seemed strange to put a “bit show” that early in the schedule, but so be it.
Then it’s party time. Yeah there’s lots of fun improv on Saturday night, but at that point I won’t want to wait in lines. 50/50 chance “Search History” doesn’t sell out, so might try to catch that before wrapping it up audience-member wise for the rest of the night. I just discovered Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey. It tastes like straight up maple syrup, so there will be that.
Sidebar - My policy of “fuck lines” applies to the party space, too. The free keg beer line is for the college kids. Real drunks bring their own booze.
Ah, Sunday. My favorite day of the marathon. In 2003, 2004, 2005 a stressful day, because I knew I’d have to fly back home to North Carolina. Now I love savoring the feeling home is a 30 minute subway ride away.
For me, that last block of shows at the Chelsea theater is what it’s all about. People will have rocked out hard Saturday night/Sunday morning, so you’ll probably be able to snag a seat if you don’t wait too long. Make sure to bring something to drink, to be ready to “hunker down” and ride things out.
The entire lineup is ridiculous. I’m excited about being able to FINALLY see a Strangers Wanted, but it all builds up to that Baby Wants Candy show. There’s NOTHING like the energy in that tiny, packed theater with that full band. All the BWC shows will be amazing at the other stages, but for my money if you’re not seeing them on the Chelsea stage at the tail end of the marathon, you’re not really seeing them.
But then it’s not over! Usually that’s the last or second to last show, but this year there are three more acts!
So I’ll ride out that block, be excreted from the theater, and then in a fantasy world see those Assscat shows. In reality, I don’t think there is much chance of getting in. They sold out in seconds, and not enough people will bail to justify waiting in line, especially if I’m committing to being at the Chelsea theater until Sunday evening. People will be getting on line way earlier than that to try for standby, I’m sure.
After that probably a little more time at the party space, and the back to accruing my freedom at the rate of .3 days every two weeks.
Have a great festival!