Metro

Advanced Stage Combat

Remember a few months back, when I posted a series of pleas, extolling the virtues of my Stage Movement class, so that students at Auraria campus would sign up for it? I ended up with a good number of students in that one, and now I’m beginning a series of pleas about a new, vastly exciting course.

Well it’s not new, exactly, but the last time it was offered was …. gosh 8 years ago? Is that true? Anyway, suffice to say I wasn’t expecting the good folks in charge at Metro’s Theatre department to ever offer it again. But guess what? This Fall, it’s there, with a real course number and everything. It’s called ADVANCED STAGE COMBAT, and I am pleased as punch to be teaching this again. (At least, I’ll be teaching it if enough people sign up.)

I’m planning on putting up a post dedicated to each of the things about this course I’m most looking forward to, so let’s start with what’s the very first and very last fight scene the Advanced Stage Combat students do: the big group fight scene.

Big group fights are challenging, as there’s more that goes into a 3 person or more fight than just orchestrating pairs. For the first assignment in this course, I have the students do a full-class-member fight scene. One year, it was an 8-person fight. Another year? It was 12. One group set the opening scene of Romeo and Juliet on a pirate ship’s port, including cannons, ladders, “water” and grog along with the biting of the thumbs.

If you’re a student at any of the schools on auraria campus, do sign up for Advanced Stage Combat. I need 12 people to join me, or it’ll get cancelled. Plus, it’s a very unusual thing for an undergraduate program to have this robust a Stage Combat training offered to its theatre students. You’ll see it (sometimes) in MFA programs, but this is something special to have on your undergraduate cv. Take advantage of it.

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Musings Upon a New (ish) Semester

Well fuck. 

I use invective, lovely lurkers, with conscience and reason. Why I just used one of the words that would make my movie Rated R in America is that I just saw that the last post on this blog was posted in, like, mid-August. Seriously, what the fuck? Why do you tolerate this kind of behavior from me, huh? Are you all so busy reading Parallel Bars that you can’t be bothered? Can’t say I blame you, truth be told…

So I’m jogging in the reins of Week 4 at both Metro and Front Range, Week 2 of Regis, and the verrrry beginning of Week 1 at DU. And lemme tell ya about the cool shit that’s happening at all those fine institutions (okay, I’m going with this invective thing):

At Metro: I’m teaching that online Staging Cultures course I’ve told you about before. It’s a really good reading list, lovely lurkers. Let me know if you want it. I’m also doing a MW (that’s Monday & Wednesday, kids) Intro to Theatre, which is a delightful gen ed course I haven’t done in a while. Man are those First Year Success students bright eyed and enthusiastically bushy tailed! They’re just about to embark on their historical presentation projects AND their Raisin in the Sun unit, so wow how much good material can we stomach at 11am? A lot, apparently. Youthful energy, I’m tellin ya…

Beginning Stage Combat over at Metro is Friday mornings as is usual, but as is not usual, it’s SO FULL YOU GUYS! There’s, like, 24 or something people in it, and they’re all lovely young talented energetic insane theatre majors and I am having so much fun and getting so old…. They’re just about to start choreographing their Unarmed fights, and I could not be more excited!

At Regis: I have two lovely and talented grad students doing a one on one Writing the Novel course w me; and one other lovely and talented grad student doing my own self-constructed YA Literature course (one on one, natch. It’s nearly always one on one at Regis). It’s going to be some stellar writing, which will only make me wish I had more time to work on my own work….

At Front Range: it’s two evening courses: a Comp I and a Comp II. The former is revising their Mini-Essays as we speak (Er, as I type), and you know what that means! That’s right: the Mini-Essay Contest winner post is imminent! Let’s hope it’s not the next one, as I need to be more frequent than that here….

Comp II as is usual these days for me, functions under a theme of Creativity and Innovation. They just finished their (quite high quality) Elevator Pitches, and now have just been introduced to the Analyzing An Image essay, which is where they pick an ad or psa and analyze it in essay format. Should be some good reading.

And finally,

At DU: Children’s Literature started today! As my ancient, steam-powered laptop decided to become a doorstop recently, it was quite the challenge to get that course shell updated and ready to go for a fresh crop of Professional Writing graduate students. But I am nothing if not diligent. And, yes, I have a lot of work to do still, but hey at least it’s up and functioning, and thanks to the SO, I have a brand spanking new refurbished box I can now use to get everything even more ship-shape. Thanks to that generous soul…

Oh but that’s not all! I also continue to have professional endeavors:

Bronze Fox Burlesque is doing their next show at License no.1 under the loose theme of Clue (the movie) and murder mysteries in general. I am mulling over choreography for a duet and a new solo right now…

Metro is doing The Country Wife in a couple weeks, a ribald comedy of no manners at all, and I am consulting the period movement as well as choreographing and directing a raucous chick fight with fans. And maybe fisticuffs.

I’m still writing for Parallel Bars and Your Boulder, editing the SO’s spectacular new book, and I’m just now starting to think I could remount my Retro Reviews of Sherlock, over on Sherlock’s Home, now the 4th season is far enough away…..

So.

Megan shows my Intro students the ropes. Literally.

Hm.

I guess there’s a reason it’s taken me so long to post here. Yeah, well. NO FUCKING EXCUSES, AMIRITE?

Ahem. Carry on….

Grammar Lesson Videos

This post is just for my own use, lovely lurkers, and yet I can’t help but think you’ll all enjoy these too. These are some highlights of the Video Grammar Lesson assignment I always give to my Comp I students at any school at which I teach. These are from Metro and Front Range students from semesters past, and I will be using most if not all of them as examples tomorrow as I assign the project to my classes. Please to enjoy the creativity of these students…

NOTE TO FORMER STUDENTS: If you find a video you’ve made here and don’t want it here, please don’t hesitate to let me know, and I will remove it immediately.

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Ze Grammar Nazis (Metro Spring 2013)
NOTE: love that they just did all this on their phone, and composed music!

A Brief History of Punctuation (FRCC Fall 2015)
NOTE: apart from a couple spelling errors, a gorgeous aesthetic piece on punctuation.

A Brief History of Punctuation. from Henna Taylor on Vimeo.

Man on the Street: Punctuation (FRCC Fall 2015)
NOTE: the man-on-the-street interview idea is stellar. Too bad it wasn’t executed as well as it could have been.

Conjunction Junction (FRCC Fall 2015)
NOTE: not embeddable, but I did find this cover to be well sung.
https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/104206897584835404610/albums/6201143377010592689/6201143376655063330?pid=6201143376655063330&oid=104206897584835404610

Dudebro Run-on Sentences (FRCC Fall 2015)
NOTE: I like the text dialogue into the theatrical scene.

Parts of Speech (Metro Spring 2013)
NOTE: I especially think the Google search w/narration is entertaining and witty.

ENG1020studentvidspr2013 from Jenn Zuko on Vimeo.

Direct and Indirect Objects (FRCC Fall 2015)
NOTE: Another one with a fantastic idea that could have had better execution.

Alliteration (FRCC Fall 2015)
NOTE: An unusual subject to teach about.

Commas (FRCC Fall 2015)
NOTE: I esepcially enjoy the snarky humor of this group.

The Semicolon (FRCC Fall 2015)
NOTE: an elegant rundown of a difficult punctuation. Particularly fun is the zombie-themed section.

Every link rings true

Look, lovely lurkers, I know I very recently made a brilliant and comprehensive Link List post, but I’ll tell ya: I feel the need to post this one for you too, and I’ll tell you why (my reasons are twofold): 

1) I was inspired by my Creativity and Innovation class last night. They had three reading assignments from the past couple weeks under their belts, and I sat them down at the beginning of class and said, “Hey, let’s talk about our readings.” What ensued was a fricking hour and a half of good discussion, of all the readings and then some. I mean…seriously. No blank stares, no “I didn’t do it,” just rich conversation. And they also made connections between the readings and previous ones, and with their current assignment. It’s just…really. I throw readings at you and you a) synthesize, and b) engage in stimulating conversation? Wow. That’s college. Or should be, anyway.   

2) I was digging through some archives from the stage combat course at Metro which hasn’t run for the past couple years and rediscovered many excellent resources besides (ahem) my book, which were very worth a re-read. Since so many of you lovely lurkers are new followers, too, you won’t have gotten these from me before. 

So. 

Without further ado: these are all required readings for my stage combat students. Since I have none right now, you all are them. Yer welcome.

Ne’er the Twain: an excellent scholarly musing about the martial and theatrical arts dichotomy.

David Bordwell compares Bond vs. Chan, showing what constitutes a good fight scene in cinema.

Striking Distance is actually a recent article from American Theatre magazine, which deconstructs different flavors of direct and indirect violence onstage.

5 Ways to Fight Like Mamet Writes. The title says it all, methinks.

Oh, and bonus points if you know from where I took the title of this post.

(The below meme was posted by a Metro student on the class blog.)