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BYOI – It’s Funny When You Explain It

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photoRyan here! It’s time for another show recap! Our dastardly Friday the 13th show took place at the even dastardlyer Artist’s Exchange in Cranston. The cast for the night included Daniel, Meredith, Drew, and myself. Time to make the doughnuts!

Jessica was our FAM for the evening. While we discovered that she used to be a nanny, we were not able to determine what she did for current employment. Was she a spy for the government? NSA computer whiz? Psychopathic sex worker? All we knew was that it wasn’t a nanny, because that is what she used to be. We took what we could and put together a dangerous game of Remake, where we all proved to be worse nannies than Jessica could ever be.

After warming up the crowd by channeling our inner Larry King, it was time for a little competition with Try That On For Size. At one point we were drawn back into the magical world of Harry Potter, but thankfully Drew brought us right back out. Daniel then wrote up a story for one of our audience members in a game of Typewriter. He wrote a mysterious mystery filled with tongueless sidekicks, crazy cat ladies, and pizza. I left the room for a bit after that in order to return as Madam Zelda and read into Drew’s future. The trouble was that when I entered the room, Drew wanted to be Madam Zelda, but he already knew all of the clues, which would make for a very quick game. So I told him to get out of my chair, but that would have messed everyone else up. So he stayed in the chair, but I was Madam Zelda, which he thought he was in the first place, even though he knew all the clues, so it would not have been much of a game.

What happened?

We then joked around with Blank Walks Into A Bar, however some of the commentary was funnier than the jokes themselves. Then again, some of the jokes were just fine on their own. After a quick break, Daniel and Meredith had a case of the Repeatees in a game of Say It Again. It’s contagious, because I had the same problem when I entered the scene. Weird. We then enjoyed a fun time at the amusement park in a game of Action Figures, followed by some artistic licensing with Short Cutz. The love and admiration was brimming at this point, so naturally we had to bring ourselves back into a competitive rage and ended with Debate Club. Truly, a good time was had by all.

Next Friday will once again be at the Artist’s Exchange in Cranston, just a hop, skip, and jump away from our usual spot at Theatre 82. Don’t forget to also join us each and every Sunday at the Warwick Museum of Art.

And…scene!

BYOI – The Show Gotham Deserves

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SeanThis is Ryan with the BYOI show recap for our 7/12 show in Cranston. The night’s class included Meredith, Ian, Paul, and myself. Onward and upward!

The night at Theatre 82 began with a great jam session right outside of the performance space. Once showtime hit, everyone was ready for some improv, including our FAM Sean. Sean’s a pretty laid back guy. A little piano here, a stop by Miller’s Crossing there. Give him a Rusty Nail and he’s set for the night. Although, he isn’t opposed to taking on the power of Say It Again. The cast explored the popular vacation spot of Orlando, where the beautiful never get sick because the ugly people do that for them. Enter at your own, superficial risk! Moving on to Freeze Tag, we came across some erotic dentistry as well as some interesting plumbing techniques. Fortunately they were not in the same scene.

World Without a Letter proved that trying to get down and boogie is extremely tough when you can’t use the letters A or L. Explaining the Time Warp alone is near impossible. Up next was Marriage Counselor, where Ian and one of our audience members had some tough goings. She was a neat freak, the computer was broken, and Ian was having trouble with his own hardware. It all worked out though, no thanks to a seemingly giant dog that may or may not exist. Before taking a break, we serenaded the crowd with a rendition of Do Run.

Coming back in the second half was Highlander. In probably one of the most bizarre scenes in the history of the game, two grave diggers were put on the spot as a rival grave digger, disguised as a grave inspector, tried to cause some grief. But where there is grief, there is also Batman, who served some gravel-voiced justice without the assistance of testicles. Did I mention it may have been the most bizarre scenes in the history of the game?

Audience member Bret was then part of our game of Typewriter. His biography, “Bret and His Dumbass Friends”, followed Bret on his journey to Wrestlemania, where Andre the Giant and The Iron Sheik joined our hero in a RAV3 for a Lilith Fair road trip. We also learned why The Iron Sheik kept changing nationalities, and why Andre is never allowed in a port-a-potty. Ever. We wrapped up the night with some Short Cutz. There were some unqualified nurses, more Batman, villains with STDs, and more RAV3 madness! Truly, the gas flowed like wine into the pool.

Be sure to check us out next time. We will be back at Theatre 82 next Friday. You can also be sure to join us at the Warwick Museum of Art every Sunday for our family-friendly goodness.

And…scene!

BYOI – It’s In My Pants!

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This is Ryan with another BYOI show recap. This is not just any recap, but a special birthday party recap, featuring Daniel, Drew, John, and myself. Once again we were invited to Goddard Park for Robbie’s birthday. It seems like only a year ago we were doing this. Also, like the last time, it was raining. Robbie, I hate to be “that guy”, but see if you can be born on a different day next year. After seeing how a year has changed our friend, Robbie helped the group out with a game of FAM Pillar, helping bring chaos to some scenes of video games and a competitive game of Tree. You got a rock? You lose!

The toilet needed fixing in a game of Catch Phrase. Let me give you some advice; if you are going to fix a toilet, don’t do it with a pile of wrenches and two Bobs, or one Bob and another man with an identity crisis. The end result will be a still-broken toilet. Seeing that it was a party, it was then time for Party Quirks. John hosted the party, which included a Creeper from Minecraft, the family dog, a bagel, and the game Pitfall. After that, it was on to the Trolley Stop, where Robbie and his friends certainly channeled some interesting characters. I want to party with these guys! Wait, I was…

Cleaning your room is hard enough, but cleaning it as a pair of Action Figures is a whole other ballgame. And by that I mean it doesn’t work out very well. Seeing the floor is usually a good first step when cleaning a room. Unless you have a Roomba. Those don’t have eyes. Right? That sounds like a horror movie: “The Roomba Has Eyes”. Speaking of movies, we ended the show with Highlander, where indeed there can be only one…person who can cash in the outrageous birthday check. According to this scene, however, all that matters is who is holding the check. Apparently they get the money. New bank rule. So stay away from that pesky Aunt.

Happy Birthday, Robbie!

And…scene!

BYOI – Curse of the Spitting Pepperoni

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Ryan here with the BYOI recap for May 24th. Joining me for the Cranston show is Daniel, Joe, Coburn, and Ian. Now come back in time with me and look to the wonders of improv!

Our FAM was Michael, who showed he has a sweet side by tending to gumball machines, as well as an even sweeter side by being able to crush you with his black belt skills. Just don’t make the man angry, which apparently can happen. If you see him, you might want to just drop to the group and curl up. Then again, he might hate people on the floor. You’re on your own! We then went into FAM inspired Greatest Hits, featuring Coburn tickling the ivories. We got to hear some well-known hits such as “Breakfast at St. Tiffany’s” and “Everyone Was Kung-Fu Biting”. Be sure to call Time Life and get your CD set today.

After Daniel warmed us up, the group then went into a game of Freeze Tag. For those of you out there who are new to the game, there is a great deal of freezing that happens. After there is freezing, then there is some tagging involved. It’s very important to remember that order. Not to mention even some of the biggest improv institutions in the country neglect to fully acknowledge this. Please, I implore you, remember this. Moving on to Center Piece, BYOI alum John joined us as the Center Piece. John proved that he did not lose a step after being away from the group, and he is still the same French pervert we all remembered. Kudos, John. Next we opened up the Everything Emporium, where you can get your flying nightstands on aisle seven. Not to mention you can get everything else on aisle seven. This is not a very well organized store.

The group discovered something very important during Blank Walks into a Bar; Abraham Lincoln may be long dead, but the jokes about him live. Not only that, they are still received very well. This tells me that there is hope for the penny. That tasteless humor brought us into a game of Do Run, where we mourned the passing of Martin Mull. He will forever be known as the greatest Col. Mustard. Up next was a game of Action Figures, where we learned it is very difficult to make pizza when someone else is moving you. But it certainly can be funny. You’ll remain hungry, but you’ll get your laugh for the day. And what is more important than that? Probably food.

During Guidance Counselor, we met the insane, the self-absorbed, and a time traveler. All in a day’s work at BYOI High. Finally, it was time to finish up the show with some Debate Club. Things got vicious as tensions mounted on both sides of the aisle. But while we may not all agree on everything, we do agree that Coburn is a big baby. Sorry, Coburn.

Be sure to join us at our next show. We are in Cranston every Friday at Theatre 82, and every Sunday at the Warwick Museum of Art.

And…scene!

BYOI – The Windowizer 3000

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Ryan here with the BYOI show recap for our 4/19 show. Once again we were at Theatre 82 in Cranston, RI. The cast for the night included Erich, Ian, Meredith, Joe, and myself. Let’s get this clambake moving!

Our FAM for the evening was John. John considers himself a do-it-yourself kind of guy. If it’s broke, he’ll study up, and then he’ll fix it. Leaky toilet? No problem. Too many books and not enough shelf? He’s the man. Low self-esteem? You’re on your own. John always has a hammer on hand, because you just never know. And please, people, keep the “massive caulk” jokes to yourself. With John’s interview, we went into a FAM-inspired game of Say It Again. Which reminds me, this blog entry is brought to you be the Windowizer 3000. Tired of dirty windows and a healthy spine? With the Windowizer 3000, all of your problems are solved. Just put it on, lock your eyes onto that grime, and let the Windowizer 3000 do the rest. Ask us about our supportive crotch-strap. The Windowizer 3000: No Pane, No Gain.

The cast then went through a bit of Growing and Shrinking. Did you know that competitive chess can get really rowdy? Seriously, I have seen less drinking at a frat party. Also, the cure for arthritis is still a long way away. I’m sorry, but this is a truth we will all have to accept for the time being. Once that was done, it was on to Rope, where we learned making the joke longer will not actually save you from having to start over. Rope is a vicious mistress, and she shows mercy to no one. But once in a while, she will just let you go on. Rope is as inconsistent as she is vicious. So you do have that on your side.

I want to take this time to apologize for being late to work, and was forced to make up some Excuses, Excuses. As it turns out, being late for getting caught up in the news or re-shoeing a horse is outrageous. Tell your boss you were stealing a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow so you could quit. That they will believe. In Sit, Stand, Lie Down, we learned a plumber’s trade secret for getting someone out of a giant drain: scare them with sensuality. Who knew the crack in the back was supposed to be enticing?

Revolver showed us that the best job in the world is being a professional cereal eater. You never go hungry, and you absolutely can’t get fired. It’s wonderful! I have to admit, however, that it seemed to be too good to be true. I figured that there must be a catch. But it turns out it was much more pleasurable than I realized. Moving on to Slogans, the group looked deeper into the world of babysitting. Which reminds me, are you tired of watching kids that are not yours? With the Windowizer 3000, all of your problems are solved. Just put it on, lock your eyes onto that grime, and let the Windowizer 3000 do the rest. Ask us about our supportive crotch-strap. The Windowizer 3000: No Pane, No Gain.

Next up was Freeze Tag, and a classic tale of young love. Boy meets girl. Girl denies boy. Boy spazzes out. Sort of brings a tear to your eye, doesn’t it? We then ended the night with a musical round of Do Run, sending everyone home with smiles on their faces and doo-wop in their hearts.

Be sure to join us every Friday at Theatre 82 in Cranston, as well as every Sunday at the Warwick Museum of Art.

And…scene!

Saying “Yes, And” to the Boston Marathon

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The picture above was taken today, April 16th, in front of the Charles River in Cambridge, MA. One day removed from the tremendous tragedy that took place at the Boston Marathon, members of the Boston community run. Morning breaks, they rise, and they run. Some run right along the police blockade that currently separates the city’s inhabitants from a site that will never be traversed in the same way again. Boylston Street will forever be a place of remembrance. There will always be this unexplainable moment that lingers. That moment might fade as time goes on, but it will never fully go away.

I have a connection with Boston. I have had the privileged of doing some theatre work in that very area. It’s a slight connection in comparison, but I’ve had my moments walking down Devonshire at night, a mile away from the blast, and thinking that this was a city I could fall in love with. I’m someone that looks forward to riding the Red Line, and I’ve been pleasantly stranded at South Station at least once. I can’t say it is my home away from home, but I’ve found comfort and solace in Boston. On Monday, in one fell swoop, it was shaken. I was shaken. I know that the people are strong enough to move forward. Many of which moved forward in that moment, not thinking of themselves and doing what they could. But the adrenaline has gone down, my head is clear, and a good amount has been processed.

I’ve been involved with improv for about ten years. My philosophy on the craft and on life have sort of intertwined. I accept certain things much easier than I used to, and I don’t take reacting for granted as much. My experience has been built on the notion that if we don’t react, we cease in every way. And if we have not ceased, give it a minute. Our lives generally don’t erupt into chaos because every so often we say “no”, however there are some things we can’t negate.

I think it is very easy for all of us to want to negate what happened. Every aspect of this event is something we want to say “no” to. We don’t want to accept terror on our front steps. There are families and loved ones that will be saying “no” to this for the rest of their lives, and they have every single right to. If we could erase this event, along with its consequences, there is no doubt in my mind that we would do just that. We can’t do that. And like in improv, we can’t move forward if we say “no”.

There are those who might say that we have to accept that these things happen as a sort of normality. This is the world that we now live in. I don’t know if I agree with that, but I do know that we have to accept that this event happened. No one event can define the lives of a generation, but it does become part of those lives. It’s not easy to accept, but as an event, we don’t have a choice but to accept. I am not concerned with the “yes”. How we follow up is the important thing. What we do after accepting this terrible event into our beings is how our sons and daughters will define us. Yes, I witnessed a truly evil act in my lifetime right where I live. Yes, the tragedy at the Boston Marathon affected my life…

And now I’m going to appreciate the people around me that much more. And now I am going to acknowledge those who fought to make this better the second this happened and not those who merely seek blood. And now I am going to find patience and realize that the right thing will happen. And now I am going to love those I am meant to love and remind them of that. And now I will refuse to take this life for granted, and I will refuse to have this life dictated by fear.

We will take our time to mourn. We will always remember. When we accept, we will react with goodness in our hearts. We will move this life forward and upwards. Running.

BYOI – Not Nearly Enough Tuba

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Ryan here with the BYOI Show Recap for our Friday, April 12th show. This was our second show at our new space in Cranston, and the cast featured Erich, Anthea, Evan, Ashley, and myself. Onward with looking backward!

We had a very special FAM over at Theatre 82. Maren has been a very dedicated audience member, and has been to enough shows where she has earned her very own BYOI t-shirt. A dozen or so more shows and she gets the official “You’re Still Here?” iron-on patch. Maren says that she does a lot of research with water, but I think she is just trying to say that she likes to splash in puddles after it rains. And if you are going to wear water-proof boots, what’s the point? At any rate, the gang created some great FAM-inspired scenes in a game of Revolver. We saw The Mighty Ducks: On Ice, flirted with Tiger Woods, and proved that we could use smart words. That’s right, smart words. Stephen Hawking who?

Over at Fortunately/Unfortunately, we enjoyed the nightlife and indeed liked to boogie. But when the dance fever cooled down, it was time to rip some tasty licks on the tuba. FREEBIRD! Villainy was afoot in Curses, Foiled Again! Thankfully we had a team of mistake-ridden heroes and musically-inclined strippers to save the day. And what did the strippers play? MORE TUBA!

Evan was then on hand to open up the Everything Emporium. Through his MFA in Retail, he was able to satisfy customers with sob-inducing blenders, Wonder Woman pizza-shooters, and cat litter (dog edition). After all of this comedy, things had to get quite serious for a moment in Serious Scene. Class was in session, and the fiscal cliff just wasn’t geographically accurate enough for this rag-tag band of jerks.

Don’t blink, or you’ll miss the Quick Scenes! Oh! See what you did there. Let us now remember the sketch you missed with some Famous Last Words. “Three was never enough for me!” Yowza! Moving on to Follow That Action, we found that smoke signals just make angels cough a lot, and the Lego army will soon be upon us. Fortunately the safe, not-nearly-as-painful Duplo will see that humanity lives on.

We wrapped up the night by serenading Maren with Do Run. By serenade, I mean we talked rhythmically with the intention of rhyming. By talked rhythmically with the intention of rhyming, I mean we wrapped up the night.

Be sure to see us soon. Remember, we are in Warwick every Sunday at the Warwick Museum of Art, and now each and every Friday at Theatre 82, located on beautiful Rolfe Square in Cranston.

Before I officially sign-off on this blog, on behalf of the group I’d like to wish Anthea all the success in the world in her future endeavors. Anthea is joining the ranks of our Alumni, and it’s been a joy to perform with her in Boston and beyond. Be sure to visit sometime, Anthea, and best of luck.

And…scene!

BYOI – Big Boy

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It’s time for the BYOI show recap for Friday, March 8th, 2013. Once again the show was presented at 95 Empire in beautiful, “I-just-escaped-the-snow-by-my-grandmother’s-wig” Providence, RI. The night’s cast included Daniel, Drew, Krissy, Erich, Evan, and me (hey now!) Ryan. On with the show-that-was!

Our FAM for the evening was Diego, a man who appreciates a good bass, but not the dishes. Do you know how hard it is to jam that line with dish-pan hands? Diego also has quite the interest in robots. In the past he has been able to make them hit wiffle balls, as well as other actions in a hope to replace real children. Will robots take over the world? It’s fine by Diego, just as long as he and Mr. Big Boy get their omelets. With this vital information, we were able to construct a FAM-powered Growing & Shrinking Machine. While no wiffle balls were hit, there was plenty of weight loss and dress rehearsals to go around.

I warmed up the crowd with some sly duck talk right before we moved on to some Tableau. There were visions for the visually-impaired as well as an adults-only Slurpee machine. Next up, we created a thrilling action-less action movie in Remake. You see this here? It’s a Styrofoam burger with the works. Now you have to ask yourself: did I get six toppings or seven? Do you feel lucky? Well do you, Big Boy?!

Next, it was off to the carnival with Pavlovian Response. Come see the amazing Bobbing Water-Bird Man! Swoon as he swoons! And can you even begin to comprehend the death-defying Spinning Audience Member? Gasp as he uses way too much product! We then moved on to Centerpiece. Daniel was our centerpiece for this edition, and the audience got to watch him grow from a young lad that throws whatever he can grab into the ocean, to a dashing young man with a complex date schedule. *Sniff!* They grow up so fast!

Callbacks might be king, but Post-It’s are forever complicated to use in an improv show. Nevertheless, BYOI played a great game of Post-It, where the lawyers are sexy and smooth. Check out that habeas corpus…

Drew was late for work, but luckily was able to come up with some Excuses, Excuses. He wasn’t so convincing when he claimed he missed the bus, nor did it work when he stated that he delivered his own twins. But getting caught behind the marching band will get you every time! In The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly, we all learned that a fly in the soup is bad, but a grandma in the soup can be so much worse! Forget it! I don’t even want the free meal!

Meanwhile, during Meanwhile, there was a deceptive Heaven and some intense Tic Tac Toe. But thankfully things settled down in time for a good ol’ game of Do Run.

That’s all for this edition, but be sure to check out are next show, where YOU can be a star!

And…scene!

BYOI – Bob Dylan

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Greetings, salutations, and hiyas. This is Ryan with the BYOI show recap for the Friday, January 25th show at the beautiful 95 Empire Hotel and Casino. The night’s show featured Daniel, Paul, Evan, and myself. In honor of being up in the dance studio for the night, let’s boogie!

Our FAM for the evening was Dan. Dan has experience as a bartender, and his dad works in waste management. Does that mean Dan has worked in “wasted management”? Huh? Get it? It’s because people get drunk at the bar! Well…anyway…Dan hopes to one day open up a food truck that specializes in “drunk food”. The main dish: a burger sausage. Watch your back, bacon!

Our interview with Dan led to a game of Growing & Shrinking, which started with Paul unable to contemplate the economical weight of an umbrella in a fruity drink, and ended with all of us competing in a game for a throne. A Game of Thrones, as it were. Don’t sue, HBO. Besides, at no point did any of say “Winter is coming.” Oh shoot…

Daniel got us warmed up, and then it was on to Excuses, Excuses. Our volunteer Ray was late for work, so Evan, myself, and another audience member had to help with the excuses. It turns out that first Ray lost his laptop, then got his period, and then was abducted by Godzilla. Crazy, right? Who loses a laptop? From there, it was on to Revolver, where we learned that alligators can also be passive-aggressive, that girl Linda is just plain ignorant, what’s a good home without access to a beach, and stay out of South Providence. We didn’t necessarily learn in that order because, after all, it is Revolver.

Paul lost a few digits in Rope, but managed to get them back for Highlander. While I realize there can be only one, it usually helps if there is at least two for a human wheelbarrow. But one is much more amusing. And painful.

After the break and a lesson in observing your surroundings, we played some Lines from a Cup. Things started getting weird when some hooligans wanted to see Beyonce in concert, however that concert was the inaugural address. We then had to move on to Debate Club, where we debated over if drunk sex was indeed a good thing. The matter is still up for debate.

Short Cutz presented a hilarious but deadly way to donate blood, and we then ended the night with Greatest Hits. We took a look back at The Life of Dan, which included his dreams going up in flames, Bob Dylan’s career going up in flames, and lemur going up in flames. A smell a theme.

Thanks for reading, assuming you didn’t skip down to this last line. Be sure to join us next time at one of our late night shows here at 95 Empire, or catch us on Sunday for our family-friendly show at the Warwick Museum of Art.

And…scene!

BYOI – Le Cosby

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Hello, folks. Ryan here with the show recap for 12/14/12, along with some assistance from the ever-lovable Paul. It was another night at 95 Empire with Joe, Erich, Evan, Ian, and myself. Onward!

Our FAM for the evening was Deric, and using the powers of deduction we used his answers to interpret that Deric hated Evan’s face. Well, that is, I heard that and wrote it on the board. Well, that is, I wrote it on the board. This is not something I wanted to write as Evan is clearly the eye candy of BYOI. In any case, Deric also helped us with a FAM version of Movie Critics, which featured ninjas, love, and betrayal. It’s sure to be the white-knuckle thrill ride of the year! As Paul would say, you will pay for the whole seat, but you’ll only need the edge!

To warm up the crowd, we tried to do the wave. I say try because it’s apparently very tricky getting people to do a really enthusiastic wave unless there is a baseball game in front of them. So it was more like small gust on a puddle. The wave was foiled, which was a perfect segue into Curses, Foiled Again! See how we did that? It’s because we are pros!

We then constructed a Growing & Shrinking Machine, which showed us that an event is only really cool when it has a Facebook invite. So that must be the reason no one goes to my all-night viewing parties of Don Knots movies. It couldn’t be for any other reason. We then moved on to Pavlovian response, where a ticklish Evan was on the receiving end of some very awkward kisses. I’m telling you, he’s the eye candy for a reason. Also, Joe was desperately trying to get people to make him jump. And none of you helped him! For shame! Come back to read the rest of this entry once you’ve thought about what you’ve done!

Welcome back! Helping Hands showed us that cooking shows are not just informative, but entertaining. Well, they are more entertaining when someone else acts as the host’s hands. If only Julia Child did this, then people would know who she is. Lesson learned. Speaking of lessons learned, the audience learned about the building block of all improv, the almighty “Yes, and…”. Marvel at its structure and simplicity!

The next scene was very serious, as it was a Serious Scene. Nothing but pure drama from a group of serious actors. That same group went on to buy some High Boots, giant quinoa, and a Hello Kitty machete at the Everything Emporium. Now that’s range!

Story, Story, Die brought us a lovely tale of a lovely mailman named Joe who would recycle children in Pawtucket, the child-recycling capital of the world, and ended with mailing things to Bill Cosby in France. Zip, zop, le zuda zow! Follow that Action certainly had action to provide. Strippers! Techno! Costco! And…is that? IT IS! THE LAST TWINKIE! But if you are reading this, it’s probably gone by now. Curses, foiled again! See that? We call that a callback in the business.

We wrapped things up with a festive round of Do Run. The next time you see us at 95 Empire, it will be 2013. And it will probably be a lot more like Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. See you with your spikes and chaps, folks!

And…scene!