Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Vocal Warmup of the Day

Approved by Monaco J. Snackcracker
"A cold bowl of red noodles flavored with yogurt accentuated by cucumbers and cooked jellyfish." ... Doc Hattori, Iron Chef Japan

Friday, September 26, 2008

Stage Combat Club News

Enough people at MSCD continue to be interested in the fine arts of fake fighting. Many of them composed my little informal bands of performers that helped me immensely with my two booksigning events in Boulder last year. The Advanced Class you can read about on this blog was also a product of said interest.

After having waited to hear from the official officers of the MSCD Stage Combat Club, I decided to go ahead and make a meeting time that worked for me and see who showed. Unfortunately, our President, Wee Katie, has an opposite schedule to mine. Maybe she can be in charge of meetings on a day I'm not there. We'll have to see about that. ANYway,

The four gentlemen that came by are psyched and ready to start playing Tuesdays, 11:45-12:30 this semester, and are already looking forward to this summer's Advanced class as well. Now let's gather our folks, have an election, and get some fund-raising started. I want to start looking at plans for RMTA.

So for those interested: You have to be a MSCD student, and have to be free to play with us Tuesdays (for now--there may be more meetings later). You don't have to have any Stage Combat experience or you can be a professional, or anything in between. Once we get our official stuff going, there'll be a due of $5 per semester. Cheap!

MSCD Stage Combat Club news and posts will appear here on the Bonzuko blog, so anyone in it or interested in it should visit here often.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Number Nine...Number Nine...

No, I'm not going to tell a long, sickly-sweet story about how we met and fell in love and it was all flowers and happiness. Though it was happiness. More Legos than flowers. And pirates. And trapezes and the Renaissance Faire. Coffee or Chai?

The Unbeatable Bonzuko Team (that would be Jason and Jenn) celebrates their 9th wedding anniversary today. And no, it doesn't feel like it's been that long. It feels like yesterday, and an eternity. See? I'm already sounding like a slow-dance song from the '80s. Instead, here's a highlight reel (from Jenn's brain) of that fateful week back in 1999.

  • Swords presented together as an engagement present. We lived back in the house on Aurora then. Martial arts classes in the park under the storms.
  • Roommates cheerfully toting cases (yes, plural) of Beamish stout, jugs of Brendan's irish cream and Jameson's whiskey. Heard of the Irish Car Bomb cocktail? We discover it makes a good breakfast drink.
  • Either that Tuesday or Thursday went to Sushi Zanmai with all friends, local and otherwise. What ensued was the LARGEST boat of sushi anyone has ever seen. They play "Happy Birthday" for people who go there to celebrate-- a Japanese guy playing an electric mini-sax. We had what he called a "wedding song." It was odd. We tavern-cheered until the wait staff began to smile nervously. The tea room next to us joined in.
  • Wednesday was the bachelor/bachelorette party. It was combined: we're freethinking that way. R. Bryan Meeks and Leah D'abate made an elaborate treasure map. Everyone dressed in pirate garb and split up into two crews: Jason's and Jenn's. We went out into wild Wednesday Boulder and did all the things on the map. Cryptic things we could interpret how we wanted. Highlight for Jenn: in response to the request "Obtain a blessing from a public servant" Jenn drunkenly walks up to a police officer in his car, explains her mission. He slowly gets out of the car, looks at her pirate crew sidelong, takes her hand, and haltingly wishes happiness and joy on her forever.
  • Night before the wedding our friends haul us up to the mountain and engage in a hand-fasting ceremony. That was for them.
  • Extremely windy wedding ceremony with a drumming minister, a forgetful photographer, and many crows overhead. Oh, this was at Flagstaff amphitheatre. Awesome view. Jenn's bridesmaids freeze to death, and Jenn is nearly carried away on a cloud of tulle.
  • Trnasitional sushi at Zanmai, sporting newly-gifted crystal mala, we see the bridal suite @ Boulderado. Very burgundy and Victorian.
  • Reception at Boulderado. Much red wine and not a drop on the dress. Drunken relatives and friends. I think Kristin caught the bouquet. Jesse DJs and ends the night with the closing "yub-yub" song from Jedi. Many relatives end up down in the Catacombs.

That's Jenn's fragmented memories. Drink a bottle of pirate rum or a car-bomb in honor of us today, and remember it if you were there! ~Jenn

The pictures above are what we both looked like when we first met. We did the dagger-throw trick at RenFaire and the rest is history. Pictured are: Jason in his Renfaire gear in '97, Jenn in rehearsal at Frequent Flyers Dance Co., also in '97. Ah, they grow up so fast...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Wrapped Scallion

The Wrapped Scallion is Jason's alter-ego online, commenting on mystique gastronomique. Beers, foods, restaurants, cooking, ....

Check it.

Feeds will show at the bottom of the page, below our columns as they are posted.




Vocal Warmup of the Day

All VoWoD entries have been officially approved by Monaco J. Snackcracker (pictured). Enjoy and use these freely in your classes and venues!


"Today in this tiny Tennessee town I test the taste of true whiskey."


Sunday, September 21, 2008

SKH Seminar

Okay, so it's not the coolest picture in the world. But the seminar was really fun.

Did you go and look up Stephen K. Hayes so I don't have to explain who he is? Good. :)

He was out at the Boulder Quest Center on the 13th and 14th and the theme for the seminar was Shinden Fudo Ryu style ninjutsu. The emphasis throughout was on natural movement, or techniques "without a lot of extra junk."

It was an interesting group dynamic (several TSD black belts from everywhichwhere, lots of local folks, some kids included), and I noticed the altitude was getting to some. The way Mr. Hayes went about showing us the material was in short phases: he'd show one attack, and have us mix-and-mingle to try it on a few different people, then he'd call us back and add the defense. Then the counter. Then the counter to that. Then the counter to that. And so on. I understand this is the way the TSD black belt training tends to be.

He did well catering to all the ranks (and abilities) that were present, and had some talks too, about many facets of martial arts philosophy, as well as how great TSD is and how excited he is at its growth. He has a way of asking questions and asking that people raise their hands to respond to him--by the end of the first day, hands were bobbing up and down all over the place!

Then the evening of the 13th, a bunch of the attendees went up to Kim's house and had a meditation session, then more people showed up to watch the BQC's first black belts do their demos and get their belts. It was really neato to watch the boys' demos with such scenery as a backdrop! I mean, look at the view (pic is of Kevin and Jeff F. doing a demo with padded weapons)!

And the other cool thing is that I was able to exchange books with Mr. Hayes--he signed one of his for me and I signed mine for him. He was very sweet and enthusiastic about the book, which made me happy. After all, I cited one of his Ninja books because I use those Feeling Presence exercises all the time in my classes for my actors to discover spatial awareness and distancing. He remarked that he likes to go to blogs and quote from them, so any of you that are on his forum, keep your eyes out for Bonzuko pearls! :) And of course, I hope that Mr. Hayes feels free to comment profusely here as well--keeping up the dialogue is how movement arts evolve.

When he had the two black belt candidates up in front of him going for their belts, he asked them why they were there--why did they want to get their black belt in TSD? I have lots of thoughts about this question myself. I'll hopefully be able to gather my thoughts enough in the next few months to post some musings on the subject.

Anyway, suffice to say that it was nifty having Stephen Hayes out here and great to work with some new and old friends. Thanks for this seminar, BQC!
The picture above is from the previous Stephen Hayes seminar, in 2006. Pictured (L to R): Stephen Hayes, Jenn, Rumiko Hayes.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Blast From the Past

Was chatting the other day in the MSCD Stage Combat class about Ren Faire. It always sounds like the coolest thing in the world to those who first hear of it (particularly the quaint way Jas and I met there). But I, in my bitter, jaded, theatre-professional cantankerousness, always wryly smile, roll my eyes, and remark how much of a pain it was.

When I actually think back, though, it was fun most of the time. Tiring, yes, but how thin, lithe, and tan was I back in those days (the aerial dance didn't hurt either. Or did. You know what I mean...)? And let's face it, I was getting paid to write, assist with choreographing, and perform nine really cool fights. This is the kind of thing the MSCD Stage Combat club is interested in, and I'm not sure I'm not either. Anyway, I thought I'd put up an old pic from Ren Faire for kicks and giggles. I call this one "Broad's Swords." :)

Students: we're talking about eye contact and focus. This picture was taken right before me (center) and Geoffe (R) "accidentally" clash weapons. Can you see how he has set up this "mistake" already, and how I'm looking right at my target? I can assure you that the audience didn't see this moment, but it was essential to the realistic and safe execution of the joke.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


So in a previous week, we tempted you with cryptic reference to a series of toys we know you'll love, and have wanted since 1977 if you've been alive that long. Here's a second hint about what they are:

"An elegant weapon, for a more civilized age."

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pas de Posts

Okay, so the reason I've been remiss in posting is that I've been at a weekend-long seminar headed by Stephen K. Hayes himself. I'm still gathering my thoughts and notes and having no time and catching up with grading and waiting for what I hope is the coolest picture ever (wait and see), but for now, here's a taste of the event until the "real" post goes up. It's part of Thomas' black belt test demo. While you're waiting, look up Stephen K. Hayes and see who he is and why he's famous in martial arts circles. Be back here soon with details. ~Jenn

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wii Would Like to Play

We in the Bonzuko household love our elegant, geek-themed, brain-expanding-yet-addictive toys. In an earlier post, we expounded on the virtues of...oh that's right, we haven't told you what that toy is that you want. Oh yes, you want it.

But now, listen up kids, our latest healthy addiction is the Wii Fit game. Once you log in your BMI and play some very odd balance games, you can't wait to sully that pristine white plastic surface of the board with your feet again.

I'd encourage everyone to have this very awesome addition to and motivator for your exercise regime, but it looks as though Wii systems are insanely hard to get (let alone expensive) and the game itself is even harder. Oh well, we'll have to have a Bonzuko Fitness (and then homebrew?) party sometime soon I suppose.

Jenn's Favorite Wii Fit games: most yoga is fun; that one where you're in a penguin suit and catching fish; the put-the-ball-in-the-hole game; Rhythmic Boxing, and...well most of them are fun. What's yours?


Friday, September 5, 2008

Spontenaeity, Not Improv

This is spurred from Late Night on Sep. 3rd, in which it looked as though Dr. Phil pushed Letterman pretty hard and made him not only stumble, but comment on it.

There's a rule about Stage Combat and Improvisation: they don't mix. NEVER improvise a staged fight--it's just not a good idea--there are countless ways to get hurt.

Having said that, I know very well that none of my students obey this rule. So I must elaborate:
  • If you are going to fight non-scripted, have many fight bits (or phrases) set up and thoroughly rehearsed ahead of time. That way, both actors can recognize what's coming even if it isn't planned. Think of it like the ancient commedia dell'arte: though unscripted and spontaneous, each person knew not only a general stock character, but had a myriad of zanni, or movement bits, that a simple cue could catalyze. The bigger one's movement vocabulary, the more sentences one can make on the fly. Safe sentences.
  • ALWAYS always always make eye contact. Always.
  • Keep dialogue going--talk to each other. Know a safety word just in case.
  • If you see someone about to do something stage-combat-y to you, and you don't know what's coming, STOP. I don't care how big an audience or an ego you have. Relax. Don't do it. (Thanks Frankie.)
  • Seriously. ~JennWee Katie and Loren demonstrating at the Barnes & Noble Booksigning, 2007. Safely.

Level Up!

Yes, it's happened again: I traveled through BQC-land and racked up enough experience points and side quests to level up my ninja guy.

Jenn's Green-Black belt test highlights:
  • Jenn & Kim's Wind Demo has been dubbed by owner Mary "the funniest demo ever in the history of the Boulder Quest Center." How did we do it? How did we top the hoody-ninja and the tobi-ori off the red wall? A simple acting school game called "dubbing." Good TSD technique + moving one's mouth + two voiceover people = comedy gold.
  • Shout out to Thomas and Jeff for their vocal improv skills. We'll be talking about that one for a while to come.
  • Especially because apparently, none of it got recorded. Camera SNAFU. :sigh: Ah, the ephemeral art that is theatre...
  • Snax at 4580. A bit high-priced for Jenn's regular habits, but they make killer dates-wrapped-in-bacon, and gourmet fries. Oh, and lamb dolmas. Mmmmmm...