Tuesday, March 31, 2009

BloggingFringe.com likes TheDailyCity.com's Fringe coverage plans

BloggingFringe.com wrote a favorable review of my Fringe coverage plans on TheDailyCity.com. Here's a snippet:
"Mark Baratelli’s incredible arts and culture blog is going after Fringe in a big way.... Find helpful links, ALL the reviews, festival info, shows, and awards, ALL ON ONE PAGE. That’s mobile-phone friendly, and you can’t beat that. Mark is a genius, and he’s proved it once again."
Thank you BloggingFringe.com!
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My niece playing piano

My talented niece being amazing:

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Facebook compliment

I got a friend request from someone someone on Facebook, and it included the following comment:
"You are simply amazing. Your flamboyant portrayal of Herod is refreshing, to say the least!"
Woo! And thank you.
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Monday, March 30, 2009

Pensacola lerve

I got a nice email from a Pensacola audience member today:
"I just wanted to let you know I saw JCS in Pensacola last week, and absolutely loved your performance as King Herod. FABULOUS!! (Loved the outfit, too - do you get to keep the clothes?!) The whole production was great, but your number was very necessary comic relief. Thanks and good luck in all that you do."

-Beth B.
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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Joe Pesci not dead, but looks it

What the hell happened to Joe Pesci? Is he dying? I hope it's just a life roughly led living off Goodfellas paychecks and whores thats caused him to look like a cross between Gaulum and George Michael, and not something more serious. There should be a phrase like "RIP" for people who look like death but ain't going anywhere soon. RIPS? (Rest in Peace Soon)

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Application in to Del Close Marathon 09

I submitted my show to the 2009 UCB Del Close Marathon that takes place Friday, August 14th through Sunday, August 16th.
"Hello! The UCB Theatre received an application for its annual Del Close Marathon for the show 'Mark Baratelli's Improv Cabaret' from this email address..."
I forgot about this event until I randomly came across a notice about it on some blog. I would LOVE to get the chance to perform my show at UCB. I've wanted to stick my face in there for so long. I took Level 1 intensives twice and tried to submit my show twice there and to the one in LA. So yeah wish me luck and if you know other improvisors who should know about Del Close Marathon, spread the word (especially those of you in Orlando!!!)
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Lindsay Lohan is making.. A MOVIE!

The trailer that grabs you

The commercial that spellbinds you
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There's an audience watching

Friday's two-show-day March 27, 2009, was awesome at Ruth Eckerd Hall:
-I had my own dressing room

-The wifi in the venue was excellent

-Rich people meet and greet after the show, thrown by the venue
I like these meet and greets because it reminds me that people are watching the show. Everyone in attendance at this one was a donor (ie: rich) One guy came up to and told me he was glad to see someone gay in the show. Um. Another told me I had an "interesting" take on my character. Oh. And then I had a great conversation with a donor who reminded me that the show has a great message. Do you know what he said the message was to him? "F*** it." I asked him what he meant and he said the show is all about letting life happen and taking what comes. Well ok I like that.

I spoke with many other donors and I brought the subject of arts funding up, over and over. I spoke to them about the dire straights Orlando Opera is in, how tours like this are going to go away if people don't attend them and how arts orgs might not disappear in this economic climate, but simply morph into different entities.

A couple people asked me what it's like to be on the road. I told them I was gratful to even be employed right now, but that the road is very hard. I don't know if they believed me. I think sometimes audiences see the show and forget what a traveling circus this thing is. Buses, hotel rooms, stress. And when you tell them, they just don't believe you because they see you as living some sort of dream. I'm just trying to pay a cell phone bill here, folks.
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Saturday, March 28, 2009

New York, New York

Someone told me they thought this was funny, so here's this.
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I'm #2 on wefollow.com/tag/improv

I am not aware the value of this stat, but for whatever its worth, I am #2 for the tag #improv on WeFollow.com, a "user-powered twitter directory" as of March 28, 2009.

For the tag #theatre, I am number 23, right below the NeoFuturists:

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Snacks Paula Deen would love

A member of the cast kindly brought in some snacks. I have never seen snacks like this, even at Paula Deen's house of morbid obesity. I ate two of each while crying in my dressing room. Hate the choclate, love the sinner. These snacks belong on ThisIsWhyYoureFat.com, do they not? (PS: I am not hating on the nice person who brought these snacks in. She's the sweetest person in the goddamn cast.)

Mini oreo covered in chocolate, sitting on a choclate-covered potato chip

Chocolate-covered Ruffles potato chip

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Gas station doll

Me and my gas station doll
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Gay in Washington

I found two things that looked gay to me, without them meaning to be, in Washington DC a week ago. Wanted to share.

This looks gay to me
You look like you could use a backrub. (Washington, DC)

Hey boys
Hey boys. (Washington, DC)

March 27: Yankees Game!

I'm in Clearwater, Florida with the show Friday and Saturday, which is where the New York Yankees do Spring Training. One of our cast members' families... OWNS them. So, Friday night her family welcomed us into their luxury box (Box #1) to see a game. How freaking generous is that? So nice.

The best photos and video from the day below. To see all of them, go here.

The man who runs the Yankees stopped by. Richard Gere threw out the first pitch and then came up to our box to say hello. (!!!) The actor playing Judas in the show sang the national anthem before the game and our entire cast and crew sang "Take me out to the Ballgame" during the 7th inning ON THE FIELD.

Not to mention the food, the view of the field from way up top, the Baileys shots served in edible chocolate cups and veggie/tofu burger I ate topped with hot-dog-chili!

My favorite moment of the night, however, was the following. I am sitting on a couch and the game has ended (unbeknownst to me because I was in the luxury box the whole time as baseball is not something I know about) and I hear the song "New York, New York" playing. I guess this song is played at the end of every game? I dunno. I start to do a kick line with myself, look up and there is the Mother of the cast member from our show, the one whose family owns the Yankees. (!!!) She just happened to see me start to kick. I turn beet red from embarrassment but she comes right over, tells me she used to be a dancer, and then her, her daughter and me do kick-lines on the couch to "New York New York"! It was awesome. Oh, and I guess there was this.

Not only are we in the luxury boxes, but we're in Suite #1!

Walking to the Suite | Inside Suite #1

The view of the field | Richard Gere throwing the first pitch

He owns the Yankees | Richard Gere stopped by

The cast singing on the field "Take Me Out to the Ballgame"

Ending with a bang (fireworks)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Audition Tips with Mark- Headshots

Here's the show's Youtube Channel


I asked my Dad to take a photo of these two audience members who asked me for a photo. Who knows when this will ever happen again? Gotta take photos of it while it lasts.

Absolutely unacceptable

5am to 5pm I was on a bus with 20 people. Pure joy.

I rode on a bus for almost 500 miles, for 12 hours, with a bus FULL of people, from Pensacola to Clearwater. No words.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Audio- Newspaper interview

I had the opportunity to give a newspaper interview today over the phone. The writer was nice enough to let me record the interview so I could place it on my blog. We talk about improv, theatre, Jesus, my role and the economy. It's 16 minutes long. Click above to listen.

Pensacola- Dad and Kathy

My Dad and my step-mom Cathy saw the show tonight from the VERY last row in the top balcony. The worst seats in the house. I felt awful. Wish I could have gotten them beter seats, but they said they enjoyed the show and said they could hear every word I sang. Thats all that matters when you really think about it. Kidding.

We had dinner at a downtown sports bar before the show. Then I gave them a tour of the backstage area and they watched a mic check. I wish my Mom and my friends from Orlando could have come earlier so I could have done this with them, but my friend Denna had to work late and so they could only come to the show. But we got to hang out afterwards so that was nice.

The noose behind my Dad's head is the noose Judas kills himself with. Lovely.

I got an email from someone in Pensacola already:
"Thank you for giving us a wonderful performance this evening in Pensacola at the grand re-opening of the Saenger Theatre. My husband and I thought you were excellent."
-DJ Zemenick
And unrelated, I noticed that this message board on ESPN.com linked to a photo of mine I took in Soutside Park, Sacremento, California.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Daytona Beach- Flowers for Alger-Mom

Orlando represent! Mommatelli, Denna and Jeremy drove down from Orlando to Daytona Beach to catch the show. We went out to dinner afterwards. Thank you for coming!The flowers Mommatelli is holding came from TN himself. At curtain call this man and woman dressed as hippies walked right up to the orchestra pit and threw a bouquet of flowers on the stage They landed near my feet. I saw the possibility for a bit. I knew they were for TN, but I picked them up as if they were for me and smiled at the man. He did just what I hoped he do: pointed to TN and said they were for him. I pointed at TN as if asking "These are for him?" The man nodded his head and I threw the bouquet of flowers at TN's feet and walked off stage. After the cast started walking offstage and the exit music played, I found TN on the other side of the stage. He saw me, smiled and gave me a big hug. He told me to give his flowers to my Mom. So cool! She loved them.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Coco raps in Platteville, Wisconsin

March 5, 2009. Backstage in Platteville, Wisconsin

Sarasota is not hot crap. I am.

Look how far we traveled! Good Christ! Shoot me in the face with razor blades!

Tuesday March 24, 2009: I got on the bus at 5am in Savannah, Georgia, stopped for lunch in Orlando (unbeknownst to me until 5 minutes before we stopped) and got off at 3pm in Sarasota, Florida. Long bus day. Good Christ.

The lunch stop in Orlando was at "Crossroads," a shopping center at Disney World you Orlandoeans will know all too well. I took walk instead of eating (I wasn't hungry after that horrid Paula Deen food) on Disney property all the way to Disney Village. My hair has grown out way too long, I wasn't shaved and I was wearing dirty clothes I woke up in. I looked a hot mess walking amongst the clean families. I fell down on purpose and scraped my knee (drawing blood) to get some attention. No one helped said boo. One mother called the cops on me and grasped her two daughters in fear behind the Trader Pins shop side entrance.

And then we ride on to Sarasota and the beautiful Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. See pictures below...

The Van Wezel, Sarasota, Florida
The very purple Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall entrance

The Van Wezel
The very purple lobby with this woman staring at me. Hi!

The Van Wezel, Sarasota, Florida
This is what it felt like I was performing in front of. But thank Christ they even came.

The Show: I know you can't judge an audience by their reaction, and I am by no means making a judgement negative or positive on this Sarasota audience. (Um, they're paying my paycheck. Thanks guys! And in this economy, THANKS GUYS!) but I told someone after I walked offstage in my gold boots that it felt like performing in an empty house during a dress rehearsal. The audience was silent during my song. I know that doesn't mean they thought I was hot crap on a plate made of pubic hair, but still. Performing a supposedly funny number to silence is not a walk in the Sarasota park, especially when it's a SOLD OUT HOUSE of over 1,900. But still, I enjoyed myself knowing I thought I was talented. That was a joke. I am actually hot crap on a paper plate made of pubic hair.

Paula Deen is fat for a reason

My Paula Deen meal- fat fat fat fat fat
Click to view full-size

Monday March 23, 2009: I grabbed a bus in Savannah and rode 6 miles from my hotel to the lovely, tree-shaded streets of downtown. So pretty. I was tootin' around, listning to podcasts and taking phoos of door knobs and sidewalks when I run into a few fun people from the cast. They were on their way to Paula Deen's restaurant called The Lady And Sons. She is "the lady" and the "sons" must be dead from her cooking. Good Christ the woman lover her butter and oil and bacon fat.

Apparently you need reservations to eat at Lady and Dead Sons, or so we heard. Not the case, at least with us. We walked right up and got sat within 5 minutes. We all chose to eat the buffet so we were off and running as soon as we sat down.

Good Christ the food, though tasty, was the antithesis of self-love. Salt, butter, fat... and that was just breathing in the restaurant's air. Who eats like this? There was more salt than green beans in the green beans. The butter had butter in it, topped with butter. However unhealthy the food was, it was fun to relax in the darkly-lit restaurant and chill with funny people and enjoy "good" country cookin... that will kill everyone who eats it.

After we ate, taking the elevator from the 3rd floor.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Bye Washington

I dislike the Mall and the Smithsonian in Washington DC. Its all funded by tax payers. They're not free museums. They should be open 24 hours then, not closed at 5:30pm. And stop busing in 3,000 high school-ers per museum who only care about talking to each other and bumping into me.

A whole lot of this all damn day.

Museum of Natural History: WOW!
The mammal room looked like the interior of a Coach purse shop: each stuffed animal was positioned on a light-wood shelf behind a glass wall or case. The department store lighting was diffused and crisp. Every few minutes the sound of a tropical rainstorm would thunder out from (good) ceiling-mounted speakers as the lights lowered and turned blue and tv screens played video of fast-moving rain clouds twirling by. It reminded me of the vegetable department at some grocery stores and a fashion show.

Something killed a something in a tree

Run, bitch.

The ocean room had the bones of a huge pre-whale swirling overhead and jars of dead squid lit behind glass cases. Eveything was blue. The top of the walls had projections of film showing fish swimming by. The whole room was moving it seemed.

A stuffed squid

I couldn't stand to be in the place much longer due to the husbands and wives who allowed their tiny baby/children to walk by my feet, causing me to almost crush them, time after time. And those goddamn high schoolers listening to their ipods and looking cooler than I ever will.

Botanical Gardens building
You MUST go here. Beautiful flowers and plants everywhere. The ceiling was glass each room had a different temp and moisture level, and everyone was (a) an adult and (b) LOVING everything. Except that little girl above behind the flower. But even she was enjoying the place. I swear, eevryone was on drugs. They were all walking slow, smiling and very polite


Friday, March 20, 2009

Google Voice works

Click the play button and hear 45 seconds of me trying out the new google voice. This recording gets funnier (to us anyways) the more times you listen to it. And yes at the end I say a vulgarity. So be warned!

Washington Day whatever


Yesterday I went to the Halocaust museum. Wow. Highly recommended. It is a well-designed museum. It's almost like a Disney walk-through ride. The lighting, the colors, the sounds, the signage is all designed and gives you (of course) a downbeat feeling. But they didn't just throw info at you. I can't explain. It is very well done.

Today is the last day of all-day freedom. Sat and Sun I have matinees and night shows. So today... I've laid in bed till noon. Yay productivity. Screw it. The weather is crap, all the architecture in this downtown area (and the mall) is the same and boring. And, I have enjoyed holing myself up and working on my orlando arts blog, reading some and learning how to handle Facebook. It's so tricky.

The Puppet Slam is on! John D is available for almost all of the shows. And James said he wants to use us as much as he can. Woo! So maybe we can get a few shows in. Will be nice to be a part of Fringe this year. But mostly I will be an audience member. Hey maybe I'll write reviews. Oh dear maybe maybe not. :) God knows I am hard to please and will "Baratelli" a show at a moment's notice. But that sounds like fun! :)

Turds and me?

I got asked to be in James Donmeyer's 2009 Orlando Fringe show, Puppet Slam! I had the honor of performing in his Puppet Slam/Puppets From the Edge show back in 2007 (with Jim Rhinehart on piano!) and I have to say it was one of the most fun improv experiences I ever had. We basically did Improv Cabaret with a puppet co-star, a turtle puppet I named "Turds."

I emailed Jim R and John D to see if either of them are available for any of the dates. Puppet Slam is a variety show, so every performance has a different cast. So they'd only need us to be available for one performance. I hope it works out. It would be a fun mini reunion. And if it doesn't work out, I'm gonna do the show anyways with James and his turtle puppet, Turds. i am sure we can figure something out.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Review: Maryland blogger Charles Jensen

I love the last line of this paragraph from a review of the show by Maryland filmmaker and blogger Charles Jenson:

"In the touring show, the stand out was Herod, whose role affords him the most latitude in performance. This show's Herod sang a Calypso version of his solo, with four Carmen Miranda-like back up singers. My only reservation is that the actor played Herod as a kind of mincing bitchy queen--and the last thing the gays need right now is to be connected to the crucifixion of Jesus, if you ask me. But he was funny, and he incorporated the most anachronism into his brief moment on stage, combining a divaness with the kind of critcal rancor usually reserved for restaurant reviews and NPR film reviews."
-Charles Jensen, Kinema Poetics, March 19, 2009

And check out his tweet:

"thinks King Herod stole the show"
-Charles Jensen, @chasjens, Twitter status update, March 18, 2009

Thanks Charles. I'm unemployed come May 3. Put me in one of your movies.

So funny: Marla Weiner Colors of the Wind

Marla Weiner and her "Colors of the Wind" made me laugh in 2007 and still does. Someone made a tribute video. Enjoy the magic of the Weiner.

Review: Washington Post


"'Herod's Song' always serves as the brief comic relief from the drama, but Mark Baratelli, who performed this version, made it fresh. Baratelli turned Herod into an inebriated diva who delivered little barbs between vocals, such as "move please" as he elbowed his way through his harem between verses."
-Stephanie Merry, Washington Post, March 19, 2009

DCTheatreScene.com Review


"Special praise must be given to Mark Baratelli’s fabulous comic turn as King Herod. He takes the role to another level with a deliciously timed mix of nonchalance and flamboyance, supported by a group of women from Herod’s household."
-March 19, 2009, DCTheatreScene.com, by Steven McKnight

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Washington Day 2 and 3

Tuesday: The NEwseum is a museum about news-gathering. Funny topic considering the change newspapers and media are going through right now. The whole place wreaked of a pro-media smell. Like, without the existence of the media as it sits right now, our country would suck and the world would be shit. Well both are true and the media as it sits now sucks. So, what are we gonns do? The Pulitzer Prize photo gallery is fascinating. The cafeteria is too. But my fear of heights prevented me from experiencing floors 2 through 6, so I got a refund.

Some art museum
Tuesday: Dunno what it was called, but it was on the National Mall and was one man's collection of art. He was rich and traveled the world collecting it. He built a museum with his name on it to house it. What an ass.

The show opened Tuesday night with all the producers slung up in the audience watching. Good Christ nerves! I will say I love my new blocking. Afterwards the producers threw us a small gathering in a basement bar.

Wednesday I sat in my bed all day getting caught up with online crap, and tonight I found out a venue in Orlando is interested in booking my show this Spring and Summer. That would be awesome for the bank account, as I am jobless beginning May 3. Also, it would give me a great opportunity to practice the longer-form show in front of an audience, once I have the longer-form show prepared with the help of Chris. Let's hope it comes to pass.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Washington Day 1: Sleep

Got into my Washington DC hotel after a 5am-3pm bus ride and went back to sleep. I woke up and took a 9:30pm walk around rainy, dark Washington and saw two cool sites below.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

My collage of Morganton, North Carolina

We drove 2 hours to the Morganton, North Carolina theatre and did a matinee. They served a yummy fried chicken catered lunch beforehand (see above). The stage was repainted so it was sticky. It got on a few peoples' costumes and it made it slightly more difficult for me to do my backslide. I enjoyed the student art show in the theatre lobby and the free wifi. Now that the show is over, we ride to the hotel and spend the night relaxing till our hell-drive to Washington, DC.

Detroit: Audio-only

I found this online tonight. Thanks VivaLaSam!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I got a million dollars in my bank account

Ignite Orlando mention

Me and my Orlando arts and culture blog got a shout-out from Greg Rollett at the March 4th Ignite Orlando event held at Slingapours in downtown Orlando. What is Ignite Orlando? Orlando Weekly writer Seth Kubersky explains it succinctly:
"Each speaker gives a five-minute PowerPoint presentation – 20 slides changed every 15 seconds, no more or less – on any topic they want. Topics are usually technocentric, but run an eclectic range; the only requirement is that the speaker be passionate about the subject. The format has since spread around the world."
Gen-Y marketing guru Greg Rollett mentioned me in his presentation, Using New Media to Make Orlando Cooler. (His entire presentation is in the video above). I found out about it from this article by Kubersky that ran in the Orlando Weekly newspaper:
"Greg Rollett explained how new media is building communities that “make Orlando cool(er),” giving props to Mark Baratelli’s Daily City (thedailycity.com) and the Sentinel’s blogs."
Thank you for the shout-out, Greg, and thank you Seth for mentioning me in your article. Below is the slide from Rollett's presentation:

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

March 11, 2009: Richmond Virginia Day One

This says so much.

Main Street Train Station, built in 1901 and totally refurbished. On the site of the station once stood a hotel with a "slave auction stage."

The more I see of the USA as I travel, I am seeing how we deify Americans. It's happening currently to Ronald Regan.

Lobby of Jefferson Hotel. The hotel was put up for sale in the 1970s. The gov't wanted to tear it down and build an office building. A real estate company wanted to refurbish it. The real estate company won out.

March 11, 2009: John Paul Jones Arena

This is the stage in the middle of a basketball court at the John Paul Jones Arena at some university in Virginia. The show was fun and the highlight for me was eating dinner before the show in the athlete's dining hall. All you can eat EVERYthing.

I almost busted my ass in my gold boots tripping over the tongs on that forklift backstage.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

3-8-09: Knoxville Friends!

Krisha, James and I in Knoxville
Today I rode from Durham, NC to Knoxville, TN 6:30am-2pm. After I got off the bus, I usually force myself to get up and go for a walk. Not today. I was dead. I slid under the covers of my hotel bed and slept till 4:45. My bus call time was 5pm.

We had a company meeting where it was brought up that we are getting into that "end of tour" period where we need to make sure we stay positive and not stress out. I agree, but it will be hard. There's so much to stress out about, not the least of which being unemployment come May 3.

The show tonight was fun. The theatre was gorgeous and newly remodeled and backstage the dressing rooms were brand new... with free wi-fi!

Two friends and their family came to the show tonight. Afterwards, they drove their family home, dropped them off and returned to pick me up at the theatre. While I was waiting for them in the front of the theatre on the corner, a small group of audience members came at me asking for autographs just as Kames and Krisha pulled up. It was a picture-perfect moment. I turned to them, waving the poster I was signing and yelled "Hold on guys! Autographs! I'm a little busy!" It was funny at the time because, what better situation would you want your friends you haven't seen in awhile than signing autographs! Loved it. Wish I had gotten a picture.

Most of the restaurants were closed by the time the show let out, so we went to a bar and had food from their late-night menu. After a week of eating healthy, I dug into a bowl of nachos. It was great to catch up and hear how they're doing and to just be around old friends.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Travel Day: Atlanta to Durham

Friday March 6; Travel Day and a show After the 7am-3pm bus ride from Atlanta, GA to Durham NC, I took a 1.5 hour walk from my hotel to our venue, the Durham Performing Arts Center. I didn't want to walk; I wanted to sleep. But I'm finding you have to force yourself to get any exercise on a travel day. Its weird. You sleep the whole way, and then when you get to your destination, you're tired. Why? You slept all day! Oh yeah... and then I did a show that night at 8pm.

Side view of Durham Performing Arts Center by night

Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC)
Front view by day