Collaborations with Julie Brown

Starting in 2013, I was part of a number of collaborations with comedian, Julie Brown. Julie Brown is best known for her work in the 1980’s where she often played a quintessential valley girl character including in her music video, Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun, and her film, Earth Girls Are Easy. Much of Julie Brown’s comedy comes from parodying celebrities like Madonna, the subject of her Showtime special, Medusa: Dare to Be Truthful. I collaborated with Julie Brown on Homecoming Queen’s Got a Musical, Julie & Maria Witch Hunters,  and her performances at UnCabaret and with Improvatorium – The Next Generation.


Homecoming Queen’s Got a Musical

Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun, Julie Brown, Drew Droege, humanette puppet design, Marsian De Lellis, photo Mike Pingel
Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun, Julie Brown, Drew Droege,  photo Mike Pingel

In Homecoming Queen’s Got a Musical, something’s not right at Betty Ford High – people are dropping dead, but no one has time for that, because there’s a new a Homecoming Queen to crown! Like for sure!  Written by Julie Brown and director, Kurt Koehler, Homecoming Queen featured Julie Brown and her best friend Debbie Dickey (Drew Droege) as they count down the minutes and the student bodies until homecoming.  The cast included Sam Pancake, Natalie Lander, Chris Pudlo, Craig Taggart, Jaci Pund, Beth Crosby, Jen Dohn, Cole Gerdes, and myself.

I was first brought onto Homecoming Queen, an adaptation of Julie Brown’s music video for Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun, to design and fabricate a humanette puppet for Drew Droege who was performing in the title role.  I was also a supporting cast member in a number of varied roles from an annoying year book editor (the first to be murdered) to Nancy Reagan.

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humanette* puppet design for Home Coming Queen’s Got a Musical with Drew Droege, 2013

Homecoming Queen had two runs at Cavern Club Theater in Los Angeles and went on to be presented by Peaches Christ at the Brava Theater in San Francisco for at Sketch Fest. There are plans for a remount in 2017 in Los Angeles and 2018 in San Francisco. Stay tuned.

2015 – Brava Theater Center, Sketch Fest, San Francisco
2014 – Cavern Club Theatre, Silverlake, Los Angeles
2013 – Cavern Club Theatre, Silverlake, Los Angeles


Julie & Maria Witch Hunters

Julie & Maria Witch Hunters, September 20th, 2013

Julie & Maria Witch Hunters was a monthly show hosted by Julie Brown and Maria Ciampa in which comedians got to play other people. It ran in 2013 at iO West Theatre in Hollywood. The iO West (formerly known as the “ImprovOlympic West”) is the Los Angeles branch of the iO in Chicago.

September 20, 2013 – Julie & Maria Witch Hunters

For the  September 20th, 2013 edition of Julie & Maria Witch Hunters at iO West, I was a dancer for Julie Brown’s song, Girl Fight Tonight. Also in the lineup were Radcliffe Comedy, Bayli Ryan, Zachariah Jobe, Petey Gibson, and Jessica Pohly.

August 30, 2013 – Julie & Maria Witch Hunters

For the August 30, 2013 edition of  Julie & Maria Witch Hunters at iO West, I was a dancer for Julie Brown’s Vague and Party In My Pants. Also in the lineup were were Maria Ciampa, Radcliffe Comedy, Kurt Koehler as Cassie Roll, Bayli Ryan, Henry Watkins, and Michelle Flanagan.

July 18th, 2013 – Julie & Maria Witch Hunters

For the July 18th, 2013 edition of  Julie & Maria Witch Hunters at iO West, I performed Ham In A Wig. Sung as Elton John to the tune of Candles in the Wind,  Ham In A Wig focused on the self-inflicted demise of Paula Deen who was in the news for using racially derogatory language. Also in the line up were Becky Thyre, Mo Welch, Kristina Wong, Laura Clark, and Michelle Flanagan.

June 30th, 2013 – Julie & Maria: Witch Hunters

For the June 30th, 2013 edition of Julie & Maria: Witch Hunters at iO West, I performed Ham In A Wig. Sung as Elton John to the tune of Candles in the Wind,  Ham In A Wig focused on the self-inflicted demise of Paula Deen who was in the news for using racially derogatory language.  Also in the line up were Nicole Blume, Lauren Burns, Jet Eveleth, Kaitlin Moose, and Bayli Ryan. 

May 14th, 2013 –  Julie & Maria Witch Hunters

For the May 14th, 2013 edition of  Julie & Maria Witch Hunters at iO West, I was a dancer in la Frida Loca, a parody of Ricky Martin’s Livin’ la Vida Loca, with Julie Brown as Frida Khalo. Also in the line up were Becky Thyre, Baron Vaugn, Jaci Denning, Chris Fleming, Kurt Koehler, Sean George, and Petey Gibson.

March 23rd, 2013 – Julie & Maria Witch Hunters

Fort the March 23rd, 2013 edition of  Julie & Maria Witch Hunters at iO West, I was a dancer in la Frida Loca, a parody of Ricky Martin’s Livin’ la Vida Loca, with Julie Brown singing as Frida Khalo. Also in the line up were Lauren Burns, Megan Koester, Nadya Ginsburg, Glennis McCarthy, and the Walsh Brothers.


UnCabaret

For the March 31, 2013 edition of UnCabaret at AuLac in downtown Los Angeles, I was a dancer in la Frida Loca, a parody of Ricky Martin’s Livin’ la Vida Loca, with Julie Brown singing as Frida Khalo.  UnCabaret, arguably the first ‘alternative comedy’ show, hosted by Beth Lapides prides itself on soul-baring, mind bending, intimate, conversational, idiosyncratic comedy. UnCabaret, which was arguably the first ‘alternative comedy’ show was, and has remained, a hotbed of personal storytelling


Improvatorium – The Next Generation

Improvatorium - The Next Generation, July 25th, 2013, poster: Marsian De Lellis

On July 25th, 2013, I performed in Improvatorium – The Next Generation, a live improv show at Theatre Asylum in Los Angeles. Directed by Jayne Entwistle, Improvatorium – The Next Generation featured Chris Sheets, Debra Eckloff, Alexandra Hoover, Frank Banz, Javier Estrella, Paul O’Flaherty, and myself with musical guest, Dan Ring, and special guests Vanessa Whitney, Grant Baciocco, and Julie Brown.

Patrick Bristow’s Improvatorium began as a series of classes for improvisational actors who wanted to explore doing extended narrative improvisation in various film and theatre styles. Since 2008 Improvatorim has presented L.A. Extemporential, a film noir inspired improvised show, Noir Town and No Place Like Rome, an improvised double feature of film noir and Roman Epic, Death, Lies and Alibis!, an improvised Agatha Christie show, and  unleashed Zombiénce!, an improvised Zombie musical! Improvitorium – The Next Generation was Improvatorium’s student company.


*note: Humanette definition from puppetsudio:

Humanette – A puppet-proportioned body hangs from the puppeteer’s neck. If the performer dresses in black and performs against black, the illusion is that the human head appears on a small, comic body. The puppeteer, wearing black gloves, manipulates the limbs with rods attached to the hands and heels. The performer’s hands might also fit into small shoes to operate the feet with a second puppeteer manipulating the arms. The “triplets” number from the classic Fred Asatire movie “Bandwagon” is a perfect example of a humanette.