#chowdah
QuickTix: Just Do It Edition
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Just do it.

It’s March, and you still haven’t made use of the TIC box this year. Why not this month? As they do every couple weeks, our friends at the TIC box are here to let you know about upcoming arts events on- and off-campus, as well as some best-sellers of yesteryear. All shows can be accessed on the CUARTS website

Best-sellers before break:

  • Students for Justice in Palestine presents Born in Flames Concert feat. Invincible, Jean Grae, and Tamar Kali
  • Chowdah Sketch Comedy presents Better Living through Chowdah
  • Columbia Musical Theatre Society presents Stages
  • Columbia University Wind Ensemble presents The Festival of Winds

Upcoming on-campus events:

  • Fruit Paunch presents March Madness Improv Festival, Fri. Mar. 23 at 7:30 pm & 9:30 pm, Lerner Black Box, FREE.
  • ONYX Hip-Hop Dance Troupe presents Madhatters Put Ya Stunna’ Shades On! Fri. Mar. 23 at 11 pm, Lerner Party Space, $2-3
  • CUPAL Spring Showcase, Sat. Mar. 24 at 8 pm, Diana Oval, $5
  • OPS presents Chamak, Sat. Mar 24 at 8 pm,  Roone Alredge, $4
  • CISA presents Norooz 1391 Banquet Persian New Year, Sat. Mar. 24 at 7 pm, Lerner C555, banquet $20, after-party $9
  • Student Organization of Latinos presents Nuestra America: El Salvador, Sat. Mar. 24, banquet at 8 pm, after-party at 11:30 pm, banquet $3, after-party $1
  • Liga Filipina presents Manila, Mahal Kita, Sun. Mar 25 7:30 pm, Roone Alredge, $10.

Upcoming off-campus events:

  • Dress Rehearsal for The Metropolitan Opera’s La Traviata, Tues. Apr. 3 at 11 am. Students: Free with ticket; RSVP with CUARTS by Mar. 23rd
  • Peter and the Starcatcher, Tues. Apr. 12 at 7 pm, $41
  • Jazz at Lincoln Center Family Concert: What is New Orleans Jazz? Sat. Apr. 21 at 1 pm, $12.50-25.80.
  • Ballet Hispanico at the Joyce Theatre, Sun. Apr. 29 at 2 pm, $29
Footwear via Wikimedia
Head Downtown for Some Chowdah

The year is young, and any work that is assigned in January can pretty much be put off until February, so take advantage of the opportunity to get the hell out of Morningside Heights and enjoy yourself. Columbia’s only sketch comedy group, Chowdah, is performing at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre on Saturday January 28th. They are competing in the “Back Yard Brawl” against another upstart sketch comedy group. Reservations are required, and the theatre is small.

Bwog caught up with Charlie Dinkin from Chowdah for a quick chat:

Bwog: So, uh, what in the world is this?

Chowdah: As comedy geeks our favorite (and only…) date spot is the UCB, where you can see great comedy fo’ cheap or free every night of the week. This particular show we’d all heard of but never actually seen, but Charlie found out that NYU had been doing it for 8 months, got jealous and sent an email application with a sample sketch. We were only accepted last week so we don’t have much time to prepare…but we’re so excited and ready to do our best!

Bwog: NYU-envy. Cool. So, why are you worthy?

Chowdah: We sent a sketch and said a prayer…each week a team is eliminated so the turnover rate was probably in our favor. We didn’t have to battle any dragons, so we’re suspicious that the hard part is yet to come…

Bwog: Who are you matched up against? What are your odds? What’s the master plan?

Chowdah: We’re going to be ‘brawling’ against Dinner for One, which is a team of Emerson graduates. They’re great, so we need to bring our A-game, but we’re using some of our biggest and best sketches and we’re going to have more than one rehearsal. As model Columbia students we’re obviously there to WIN, but also we just want to have fun, give as many members of the group a chance to perform in this special theater, and share the evening with our friends and community.

Bwog: Alright. So the most important question: Why should we get off our of asses and actually LEAVE Morningside Heights?

Chowdah: Well, this is the best way to demonstrate some actual school pride for a Columbia team that doesn’t suck…it’s more fun than Butler, only $5, there’ll be a great atmosphere, you can look like you know all about fringe comedy in New York, and you can drink with Chowdah afterwards!! The winner is decided by a vote so you’ll be directly contributing to Chowdah’s landslide victory and exercising your democratic right. Also we’ll give you free tickets to our next (free) show!!! What a deal!!!

UCB logo via Dasariski

Funny People

Tonight may be dreary, but that’s no reason to spend it in your room pining for Thanksgiving Break. Not when some of Columbia’s funniest comedians will be at tonight’s Improvapalooza! To get a taste of the laughs they have in store for us, we asked some of the groups in the show a series of questions. Their answers appear below, but first: tonight’s full set list!

Set List

  • Torsten Odland
  • Alex Curtis
  • Control Top
  • Jon Edelman
  • Chowdah
  • Charlie Dinkin
  • Fruit Paunch
  • Eli Grober
  • Alfred Musical Improv
  • A Million Shetland Ponies
  • Dog Court
  • IMPROV JAM (see below)

Will Cybriwsky, of Alfred Musical Improv

What makes your group special? Music! Shit, Bwog, do your research.

Why are you excited about Improvapalooza? I’ll no longer have to be planning Improvapalooza! Also: the Improv Jam, when members from all the groups will be performing with volunteers from the audience.

Who’s your favorite comedian? God. He has this hilarious bit where humans still subjugate and kill each other despite millennia of technological progress enabling a post-material existence that you should definitely check out.

What’s the funniest thing about Columbia? The quadruplicate forms used whenever you make a purchase. Get me every time.

Your suggestion is: “turkey.” What’s your next move? I used to be really uncomfortable with America killing so many turkeys every year, but then I learned in freshman bio that turkeys are genetically coded to be EXTREME RACISTS. Problem solved.
Read on for Fruit Paunch, Control Top, and more!

Review: Miss Chowdah’s Guide to Proper Etiquette

On Friday evening, Alex Jones learned some manners at Chowdah’s latest offering, Miss Chowdah’s Guide to Proper Etiquette, in the Lerner Black Box.

Columbia improv comedy group Fruit Paunch opened the show riffing on the word(s), “battle axe.”  The audience learned several life lessons, such as: never wave a gun around in hope of intimidating somebody, and that hippies will chain themselves to just about anything.

Chowdah then took the stage and presented eight different sketches for the remaining 50 minutes. “The Other A.A.,” about an Afrin addiction support group, was the best of the bunch.  Also notable were the hilarious one-liners from “Under the Seazy” which documented the career change of a Little Mermaid on Ice actress played by Lori Goldman. Lil’ Mermaid Ariel, channeling Nicki Minaj, attempts to bring her character back to her tough roots in the hood (Didn’t you hear that “Under the Sea was rough, yo?”) All the sketches got laughs, and the enthusiastic audience really buoyed the performance.

The show was narrated by the playful elderly duo of Ms. Chowdah and Margaret, played by Rami Levi and Reni Calister. Perhaps I have a thing for men in drag, but Rami was particularly entertaining when scolding youthful indulgence or recovering from a tumultuous costume change. However, their senile banter was at times difficult to follow.

Overall Chowdah was moderately entertaining, but the troupe still remains, in this reviewer’s opinion, secondary to Fruit Paunch or Late Nite. This is not to say that their next performance should be missed, but it would definitely be enhanced by the company of a few friends (and a few drinks beforehand).

Image via Chowdah.

QuickTix: On Stage and Screen Edition

Another alternate Wednesday, another QuickTix! This week: Etiquette, Vaginas, and Athena.

Tickets sold for on campus events this week: 1381

On campus events on sale now:

  • The Vagina Monologues: February 11th, 9-11pm, 12th, 1-3pm, and 13th, 2-4pm, Roone, $5 w/CUID, Tickets.
  • Athena Film Festival: February 11th-13th, Barnard Campus, $5 Students, Tickets.
  • Chowdah Sketch Comedy Presents: Miss Chowdah’s Guide to Proper Etiquette: February 11th and 12th, 9pm, Lerner Hall Black Box, $3, Tickets.

Tickets sold for off campus events this week: 1336

Off campus events on sale now:

  • Nixon in China: February 19th, 8pm, $48.50, Tickets.
  • La Cage: February 24th, 8 pm, $41.50, Tickets.
  • How to Succeed: March 3rd, 8 pm, $53, Tickets.
  • Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here: March 9th, 7:30pm, $31, Tickets.
Bwoglines: Pimps, Pranks, and Premeds Edition

Former City Council candidate Peter Gleason accuses the J-School’s Wayne Barrett of working for a “Publishing Pimp.” (NYPost)

Premed students may have more options by the time they graduate. (NYT)

Feeling generous and a fan of Chowdah? Why, you’re in luck! (eBay)

But not nearly as lucky as this grad student who was hit by the 1 train and only suffered minor injuries. (Spec)

Celebrating the start of E-Week, ESC recently pranked CCSC and Bwog’s own Sean Zimmermann caught on camera all the phases of a good engineering project: design, implementation, and damage control.

Sexual Healing: Chowdah’s 2010 Valentine’s Day Sextravaganza

As Valentine’s Day approaches, Columbia celebrates Love in all its shapes and forms. Today, Bwog’s bawdy buffoonery expert Hannah Goldstein reports on Chowdah’s tribute to the all-too-familiar awkward sexual side of Cupid’s holiday in the comedy club’s latest show, Sextravaganza.

At least among college students, sex humor never really gets old. (If you don’t agree, try turning to the numerous snow penises on campus after yesterday’s storm.) As far as comedy goes, sex just happens to make for a pretty dependable source of laughs. It should come as no surprise, then, that the most successful sketches at Chowdah’s Valentine’s Day Sextravaganza all revolved around hypersexual setups and easy one-liners: there were strangers at a bar exchanging embarrassingly bad pickup lines, dogs mating in bizarre tantric positions, and couples engaging in a very literal sort of role play. “There’s a lot of sex,” said Lily Feinn, BC ’10, who happened to play some of the funnier parts in these sketches. “[In the show,] I have sex with a lot of people.” (more…)

This Week in Procrastination: Six Weeks Left

It’s the final stretch.  Post-break, you might have time for a few distractions.

 Photo via mycaricatures.co.uk

Monday

Society, Toleration, and the Jews: Ira Katznelson, professor of political science and history, will discuss toleration “as an alternative to persecution.”  Sounds good to us.  6:15 PM @ Low Rotunda.

Tuesday

Brinkley, Foner, and Stiglitz: Capitalism is in crisis.  How will it affect our politics?  Probably the same way every other economic crisis has: protectionism.  7:30 PM @ 309 Havemeyer.

Indian Chief Justice P.N. Bhagwati: Interpreting the country’s relatively new constitution in favor of broad human rights.  5:00 PM @ 101 Jerome Greene Hall.

Wednesday

New York City at 400: Representations of the island through time; part of a year-long celebration of a really old city.  7:00 PM @ Deutsches Haus 420 W. 116th St

Thursday

Free screening of Defiance: Hosted by Ferris Reel.  7:30 @ Roone Cinema.

Unexpectedly Dancing in Boise: A CC senior’s thesis has gone off-broadway.  TRF, 8:00 PM @ The Producer’s Club Theatres, 44th St. between 8th and 9th Ave.

Friday

Chowdah: Brand new, sexy material.  9:00 PM @ Wien Lounge.

Review: The Chowdah Clip Show

chowdah bios
 Image courtesy of Chowdah

Bwog Comic Curmudgeon Jon Hill caught Chowdah’s fifth anniversary last night in Lerner.

If you’re reading this now and haven’t seen Chowdah’s fifth anniversary show, you’re unfortunately too late. The show closed Saturday, so given the time constraints, this review won’t be able to convince you whether to buy a ticket.

Rather than call the whole thing off, though, perhaps instead this space can best be used to figure out where to go from here. Chowdah’s show this weekend was by no means perfect, but the “best of” collection of 14 sketches did offer three valuable lessons on how to execute a successful comedy show. Other performance troupes on campus would do well to follow Chowdah’s lead.

Keep Scenes Short: Chowdah was smart to limit its sketches to lengths of fewer than 10 minutes. This way, even if the concept behind the sketch isn’t resonating with audience, at least they won’t be long suffering. Timing is crucial to short-form comedy, and though an editor’s blue pencil might have been useful in tidying up a few of the sketches, the vast majority of the vignettes felt cozily concise. The emphasis should be on “felt,” too — no matter what the actual run-time is, if the audience perceives a sketch is dragging, the sketch is dragging. Sitting among the sold-out Black Box crowd, though, one never got the sense of a jaded audience. Chowdah’s snappy pace kept everyone fresh. (more…)

“We follow the teachings of the three prophets: Mitch Hedberg, Steve Martin, and Marky Mark.”

In spite of this busy time of year, Bwog did manage to get away for a few moments and witness Chowdah and Sweeps’ self-proclaimed “Very Special Holiday Special” in Furnald Lounge tonight. Sweeps performed a domino chain of improv skits complete with reference to broken families, broken chia pets, peanut butter blasphemy, and linear references that would have put The Geometer in fits. Hilarity also ensued in Chowdah’s performance, which joyously embraced the arrival of Comikkah season. While the show included an array of candy-addict rabbits, Bad News Bears and partial nudity, in the end the troop proved that no holiday sketch is complete without the arrival of Charlton Heston in his magic sleigh — quite possibly in the likeness of Moses from The Ten Commandments.

And you thought everyone at Columbia was Jewish!

 More photos after the jump.

(more…)

Teen Angst Comes to Columbia

are you there god?

Publicity-whoring Bwog tipster Justin Grace writes:

Just so you happening kids know, Chowdah is going to be doing a reading of children’s classic Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret on the sundial starting at 8:30 AM and ending at 6 PM. It’s in celebration of our first night of auditions, which start at 7 PM that night in Hamilton. Also, training bras.

Kisses and hugs,

Justin

Update: The event hasn’t gone exactly as Chowdah planned. They were unable to secure the right permits, and were thus kicked off the Sundial twenty minutes after beginning. Chowdah members are now wandering around Low Steps reading from Judy Blume, presumably avoiding capture by Columbia Public Safety.  God is dead.

Update: (2:28 PM) Chowdah has reached the part where Margaret declares her desire to have a bra.