Friday, August 29, 2008

Eye Caramba!

Where the eyes go, the mind follows.

So stretch your eyes. Gently look in all <10> directions, holding each gaze at least four seconds.

This is at least as important as stretching your other muscles, if you use your eyes daily.

Ham and Bear Snack

Hamembert (Ham and Bear) Snack

A ham steak (nice thick cut, good quality, approx. one pound)
A small wheel of Camembert cheese
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 cup bourbon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place ham steak into shallow baking pan. Whisk honey, cayenne, bourbon for the glaze. Pour half over ham steak and place in oven until sizzling and singed on edges.

Flip ham steak, coat with other half of glaze and broil at 500 degrees F until sizzling and singed on edges.

While cooking second side of ham steak, heat heavy cream until near boiling. Lower temperature to simmer, add Camembert and yolk, whisk briskly for 90 seconds. Remove from heat until ham is finished.

Drizzle Camembert sauce over the ham and serve.

Add other cool stuff to your liking, Kojack. Maybe green onion slices or mango wedges. Let me know if you are stuck.

Thursday, August 28, 2008



We won't say much more for now. But we have a guilty product pleasure. We are sure you want to get one. Probably two.

Absolutely sure.

If there is anything more geekily and professionally satisfying at the same time, we don't even want to know about it.

You have wanted one since 1977. Or maybe only more recently ... if you are ... young? At least one of you may not even know yet, but you do want one. Bonzuko has a stock of four and counting. Stage props are integral to our business!

We'll keep you "posted!"


~Vocal Warmup of the Day~

All vocal warmups found on the Daily Cross-Swords have been officially approved by Monaco J. Snackcracker (seen at left) prior to posting.

Enjoy and use these freely in your own classes and venues!


“Zucchinis and oysters bear palatable similarities.”


Have a nice Trip! See ya next Fall!

Why does one relocate position?

Consider a throwing technique from the martial arts ... most devastating.

When thrown, a person's physical space is taken. Relocation is involuntary and receptive. Recovery is possible if one is properly trained or intuitively responsive. If not, one is vulnerable to major injury or total devastation.

When throwing, a person assumes the physical location of another person. Relocation is voluntary and invasive. It can be a strong strategic maneuver.

With proper form, one may be dominant and stable after executing a throw. Without training or when fueled by emotion, this attack is clumsy and easy to counter by a professional martial artist.

At Bonzuko we stress the importance of understanding ways of receiving and redirecting a fall of any kind. This is important from the earliest stages of martial arts training, and should be practiced on a daily basis and under various circumstances.

Age and physical condition will require adjustment to the intensity and methodology of this training. Yet there is no reason to consider this "advanced training." It is possible to adjust the level of training to accommodate.

Make no mistake: taking an unexpected fall of any kind is one of the most likely high-risk activities one may experience in everyday life.

There are times to roll, and times to simply receive a fall most safely. There are times when rolling to receive a throwing technique is absolutely inappropriate. Training must encompass all ways of dealing with this issue.

And yes, this applies to psychological falls, falling short of expectations, being "put down," and more.

So, have a nice trip! See ya next Fall.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Freshman never again

The Freshman Wheat from 2008. Named for Jason's return to school last Fall, and consumed within a week, we hardly knew ye.

It was one of our first batches. We love the German style wheat any time of the year.

It was so excellent that we have formulated a base recipe from that run which has become the Bonzuko House specialty. The name does not remain the same, however. Jason is deep into year two at MSCD. This is the end of the innocence.

So, we give you ... Sophomore Wheat. Creamy and fizzy, powered by Saaz hops this time, and in very short supply. We ran out of bottles too early. The good news is that we saved the runover for gourmet sciences. And cooking with it is damn near as good as drinking it. Really.

As always, if you ty it please let us know what you think!

Mind Your Melon

The Gal-Lager has been popped!

A nice lager character with ever-so-slight bitterness from the Saaz hops, kissed with a fruity finish from the addition of fresh watermelon during a tertiary fermentation.

We are glad to report that it is not too sweet, and the watermelon does not overpower the lager. Since it is real melon, there isn't that fake-fruit flavor like one gets from commercial brews.

It tastes like a smooth beer, accented with summer goodness.

This is a very limited release, but we plan to work it again in 2009. If you tried it, let us know what you think!

Fighting by the Book

I thought I'd post this article from October of last year for all you blog-lurkers out there who may not have seen it. The coolest picture ever, if I do say so myself.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Who Da Mastah?

Aw, no. Sho'nuff, as in the late Sho'nuff.

Julius J. Carry III (Sho'nuff in The Last Dragon) has passed away, age 56.

Not from barrel-dunking or kung fun, but pancreatic cancer. Ouch.

Respect, Julius. You had the glow.


Be sure to check the link below and give your personal moment of silence or laughter in honor of the man. He rocked.


YouTube - Sho Nuff
...thanks for the pic

Monday, August 25, 2008

Harry Potter and the half-Baked Flashbacks

No I'm not quite in Squee-Land about Harry Potter, but suffice to say that (though I am a bitter, jaded, old-soul Fantasy geek) I have (ahem) enjoyed it quite a bit. Also I will add (cough, fidget) that the films have really been quite beautiful, if abbreviated, and the latest one actually was pretty artistic.....

Okay, okay, somewhere in all that I'm admitting I like Harry Potter. So the next film (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) was supposed to come out this Fall but has been pushed to Summer '09 to bank on all our cash. So now we all have a much longer time to slog through the very long 6th book again to get ready.

Or...check out this smart-and-snarky abbreviated parody of the book written by one MollyRingwraith. I equate her parodies to the Reduced Shakespeare Company's Complete Works of Shakespeare: it's hilarious, smart, detailed, and is obviously the product of a well-read person. Read her Half-Blood Prince parody here:


Friday, August 22, 2008


All vocal warmups found on the Daily Cross-Swords have been officially approved by Monaco J. Snackcracker (seen at left) prior to posting.

Enjoy and use these freely in your own classes and venues!


“Bare Barbies bobble buoyantly between bubblegum and beetles.”



Vocal power!

It's important as an actor and as a martial artist.

The martial artist accompanies technique with a vocal expression, or "ki-ai."* The actor delivers clarity
of speech through a similar vocal projection.**

An effective technique and character line will be delivered with proper attention to breath, appropriate accompanying physical gesture, and finishing the vocal projection with an elongated vowel.

If the word to be said ends in a consonant, it should be finished with an elongated, unvoiced vowel propelled by breath.***

Finishing a vocal expression with an elongated vowel carries the vibration of voice. This vibration has a tangible effect. It may stop an attacker in his tracks. It may induce an audience to weep. It will certainly redirect focus.

A harsh or lazy consonant at the end of a projection will cut off the vibration of the voice. This will weaken the inten
tion of the speaker, lessen the clarity of the intention, and cause tension in the jaws and neck.

The appropriate physical gesture may be a nod of the head on stage; a kick to the groin of an assailant; a yawn.

The line or the technique should be delivered at the top or the middle of the breath. When there is breath in reserve, there is power. It is an ancient secret truth that an attacker is most vulnerable when inhaling. Energetically, one receives when breathing in and sends forth when exhaling.

By practicing this holistic method of vocal projection, you will cultivate a better stage pr
esence and more effective command of voice. It will elevate your audition, performance, awareness, and self - defense skills and empower your intentions.

Peace. ~Jason

Thanks to Cookie at MSCD for inspiring this post with your recent lecture!

*Ki-ai = "union of intention with physical existence." At the advanced levels, the ki-ai may be silent while possessing the characteristics discussed here, minus the voice.

**There are times when an actor's expression may be silent while possessing the characteristics discussed here, minus the voice.

***Seek an expert.

Building a Demo / Telling a Story

As I think about what I'll do for my next TSD test, I'm thinking a lot about the difference between a martial arts exhibition, a demo for a skills test, and choreographing a fight scene for a play. I just told the MSCD Stage Combat class yesterday that stage combat isn't really about fighting, it's about telling a story. But these three types of staged fighting tend to get blended together in an unlearned audience's mind. Here's my encapsulation of the the three:
  1. Martial Arts Exhibition: Have you seen those karate competitions with all the spinning mirrored staffs, the aerial cartwheels, and the screaming? I wouldn't consider that martial arts, but an exhibition. I mean, look at them--they're scored based on difficulty of acrobatics just like a gymnast would be. It's not even a sport, with points scored on pins or throws. Even an exhibition like the BQC folks did a couple years ago at the Boulder Creek Fest is focused on flashy, cool-looking moves, not practical ones (though the BQC certainly were more practical than the karate demonstrations I mention), because the purpose of the demo is for spectacle.
  2. Skills Test: Again, it's about purpose. A skills test (whether in martial arts or stage combat) is meant to show a judge how well one does certain moves. So a demo for a skills test will be less overtly flashy, but still will have a prescribed number and list of moves that a judge expects to see. Again, I'm reminded (hi, Olympics) of gymnastics or ice skating, in that there is a list of certain moves that the demonstrator is expected to show, and the judgment is based on how well one accomplishes those. Showing off in a skills test doesn't necessarily get one the best score (or the certificate or next belt). The purpose of the skills test is assessment.
  3. Theatrical Fight Scene: A piece of choreography for a play has nothing to do with the above. A character is always going for an objective, a goal. She uses tactics to get the objective, and will run into obstacles on the way. A play begins when a character wants something, tension builds as the character tries to get it, then ends when the objective is achieved. In most plays, characters use words to accomplish their goals. When a character has used all her words to no avail, that's when she resorts to physicality. A fight scene erupts in a play when the characters run out of words to express themselves, and so must (so they feel) resort to violence. So the purpose of a theatrical fight scene is to further the action of the story.
My conclusion? I need to make sure, as we go through character-neutral physical techniques in the MSCD class, that I'm always reminding the students of this, so that later when we get to scene-integration, the drama won't get lost in exhibition.


Monday, August 18, 2008


When I asked the 12th-Night kids if anyone knew what the word "isolation" meant, several raised their hand. One boy said, "It's when one thing is separated from other things, by itself."

I thought this was such a cool definition, especially when it comes to the term when used in reference to movement. I then said, "Yes, so when you move one body part separate from the rest of your body parts, you're isolating that body part."

In stage combat, I'm realizing more and more that isolation is really the key to clear physical storytelling. An audience can't tell what is going on unless good isolation happens, pinpointing a body part, thereby pinpointing an audience's focus. We worked mainly with isolation in partners last week in the MSCD stage combat class, and I noticed when watching the students try it that this concept of isolation is pretty difficult in practice. So we'll try our jedi pushes this week, I think, and start to get isolation a little more in our bodies.

Isolation Game of the Week: fake pushes. Partner A places hand on Partner B, Partner B moves just that body part away from the hand, then isolates the spot by curling around it with her whole body. Then move to the jedi version (doing this without touch).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Try to Remember Chris Dezember...

Former student and co-catalyst of the MSCD Stage Combat club, Chris D., has been eaten by Disney. Yes, well, it can happen to the best of us. Have fun in Mouse Town, Chris, and we hope you annoy the stunt show guys enough that they let you into the show. :) :D That was meant with love. Best wishes and we'll expect comments here! ~Jenn

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Twelfth Night Performances

Well the Twelfth Night Kids performed at Curious Theatre Monday night, and they'll be performing again this Thursday the 14th at Clement Park at 6:30 pm. I can't go, but I wish a large fun audience on them! Break a leg, kids! ~Jenn

PVC sword workshop, 7/24/08.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Back to School

It was our first day back at school (well, Jenn's first day; Jason started Monday), and the future's so bright, we've gotta wear shades.

Stage Combat looks like a lark--Jenn will put updates here every so often (students should look at metroconnect for in-class info), and heck maybe a picture or two. So much looking forward to it, and we'll see what Jason says about the Ensemble Performance class after Friday.

Yes, the Stage Combat book is the required textbook for MSCD's Stage Combat Class. Yes, Jenn wrote it. Does she have a problem with that? Nope.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

How About Them Olympics?

It's here! Did you all see the opening ceremonies? We saw part of them, but the rain and storms were so bad in Denver that the cable reception was awful, and a whole section of the dance was in silence. At least, they said it was the rain, but I do wonder who's getting fired over at NBC right now.

But anyway, the real reason I wanted to post about it is that this is a blog done by movement professionals, and several of the dance pieces in those ceremonies really were the epitome of good movement performance. The one that hits me in particular is the beginning, when you had the giant "scroll" unrolling on the stage, and dancers proceeded to do a very taihenjutsu-heavy dance across it, holding ink pads that were so subtle, you couldn't see them very well. But the result was a calligraphy-style picture on the floor after the dancers left their literal footprints, which was then raised off the floor to be shown like the painting it was.

Talk about a way to combine writing and dance! :) So you can tell I was mightily impressed. The picture above is from the "boat oar dance," where all these dancers had these giant oars, which showed ships sailing when held upright side by side, and then would open and close like blinds, and wave in very cool. I wish I had a budget; so many ideas.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008


So the Advanced class was asking about where I get my various geek-themed T-shirts, well check out this link:

What could be a better example of that particular T-shirt? Nick looks like he's having fun being punched by a girl... thanks for modeling and thanks to Chris for an excellent angle to show off the shirt.


Summer's Almost Gone...

Next week is the (early!) beginning of school, and we're getting geared up here at Bonzuko. Here's how we prepare for another Fall of getting us some book-learnin':
  1. Gal-Lager, the watermelon lager, is in the tertiary fermenter, to be bottled in a week. Talk about a smashingly refreshing beverage for the change of seasons!
  2. Sitting on the edge of our seats for the season finales of Last Comic Standing and America's Got Issues, er, Talent. Getting the dumb summer shows out of the way to make room for smarts!
  3. Reading Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, to prepare for Jason's ensemble performance class. Jenn is jealous.
  4. Making syllabi and creating online shells, of course. Concocting textbooks. Not as fun as Alice.
  5. Sampling Boulder's array of patio and rooftop pubs with gorgeous views. Yes, we have lots of sunscreen, don't worry.
  6. Actually, who are we kidding: we're hiding at home in the air conditioning. But it's a nice thought.
  7. Hey, we got a chin-up bar!! The office has never been so pumped! Do you smell that fitness? I do...

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Remembering Twelfth Night Shenanigans

Natalie posted some photos of the Unarmed half of the Stage Combat workshop for her 12th Night kid group. Look here:

I'll let you all know when and where their performance is once I know. ~Jenn