You’ve seen the Twilight saga (it’s ok, this s safe place and any snickering on my part will subside soon enough) and now I present to you “Dunes” – a parody of the beloved movie franchise written as part of The Institution Theater’s Sketch 201 class featuring the most underused supernatural love interest.  I do suspect that after this sketch we’ll see more of “them” as romantic leads.  Yes, I’m being vague. I can’t go around spoiling things for you.  (Thankfully, you can’t see the YouTube still below, so it really will be a surprise.  Right? Right?!?!)

This is my second sketch to be filmed and I want to thank all the cast and crew involved in making it happen.  Thank you for your time, your energy, for letting me pay you in sodas, coffee, breakfast tacos and sandwiches.

Some special thanks to:

April – for helping me make the costume (we are now pros and our next supernatural costume of this sort will be even more awesome – lots.of lessons learned there), thanks for your ideas, for all the shopping trips, for letting us invade your space, re-arrange and decorate your room.  Also, huge thanks for all of the behind-the-scenes photos.  You were incredible as always.

Jonathan – thanks for taking care of the cast and crew, keeping everyone happy  and for knowing me well enough that when I get brain-locked, I don’t have to say a word – you just swoop in and do.  I hope you’re always available to PA.  You are awesome!

Richard – I cannot begin to thank you enough.  Without you and your talent this project wouldn’t have happened.  Thank you for volunteering so much of your time from filming to editing to providing the music, sound effects and of course the fantastic special effects.  You are terrific and it’s a great privilege to be a part of any shoot you’re on.  I truly feel guilty receiving any praise for this when so much of what made this work is you and your dedication.  I’m looking forward to shooting Clown Family and for borrowing you again to shoot my horrible family birthday sketch.


As promised –  my short film that was shown during our recent sketch review: The Moral Compass Rumpus

Huge thanks go to the cast, to all of my friends and family who I managed to wrangle at the last minute and to my outstanding crew who made it happen on a very tight schedule.  I couldn’t have done this without you.

See my earlier post: Hot Spots: Behind the Scenes if you’re not sure what’s going on.

Hot Spots: Behind the Scenes

Next week, after the run of our show has come to an end,  I plan to upload my short film onto something like YouTube, Vimeo, or Funny or Die. I haven’t decided which, but people with bigger thoughts than mine are being asked for their opinions and suggestions.  All those sites play videos, right? BUT before that even happens, I thought I’d give you some background on the short I created since it’s a little Austin inside-jokey. You see, there’s a rumor going around that some of you may not be from Austin.  It’s ok, your cities are good, too.  I bet they even have their own inside jokes.  They’re probably even funny, too.

Every year around March Austin hosts a film, music and media festival called South by Southwest (or SXSW)   It’s a festival that draws people from all over the world and showcases great talent.  Movies are premiered.  Favorite bands perform. Panels on a variety of topics are held.  From the mainstream to the off-beat, you can see it all (with a wristband and a great deal of luck).

This past year a clever ad agency had an idea to employ some of Austin’s homeless and turn them into Wi-Fi hotspots.  How it worked: Let’s say you were a hipster in need of internet access and Starbucks was packed, all you had to do was consult your trusty hotspot map, locate a homeless guy, pay them a recommended $2/15 minutes and log in.  It was a way to create needed hotspots during the festival, directly benefit the homeless involved and, as the ad agency argued, help make those individuals visible.

Needless to say, Austin earned a certain amount of attention over this creative use of the homeless.  We were even mentioned in The Daily Show.  (I don’t know about you, but whenever I hear Texas is getting any kind of national, or even worse, international (or Daily Show) attention I tend to cringe.  It’s usually for a good reason. One that  makes me want to point east and say, “Hey guys, look over there.  I think Alabama is doing something crazy!  Did you hear that guy in Missouri?  Insane, right? RIGHT?”)

When all of this was happening, I was starting one of my sketch classes and in need of material.  This topic looked perfect. Plus, I reckoned everyone else had taken their shot at it.  It was only fair that I got my turn.

That’s how Hot Spots came to be.

If you’re new to this controversy, I encourage you to read a bit more about it and watch the testimonials from the homeless involved.  You’ll then be armed and ready for my short. You see, I don’t want you blinking confusedly at your monitor and wandering aimlessly throughout your house. That would make me sad… especially if you bumped into things.

The Atlantic
Wi-Fi Hotspots Made of Homeless People: Not As Horrible as They Seem

The New York Times
Use of Homeless as Internet Hot Spots Backfires on Marketer

The Moral Compass Rumpus: A Sketch Comedy Review

Banner created by Asaf Ronen

Looking for another excuse to DVR True Blood the next few Sunday nights?  Feel like it’s your mission to “Keep Austin Weird”? Have $5 wadded up in your pockets that you just don’t know how you’ll spend? Then I’ve got just the thing!  Come see…


The Institution Theater presents The Moral Compass Rumpus: A Sketch Comedy Revue written by The Marshmallow Overthrow and performed by The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Minions.

The writers of The Marshmallow Overthrow are Richard G. Bingham II, Andy Hush, Beth Doughty, Roanna Flowers, and Jessica Green Salinas.

The performing members of The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Minions are Ben Carneiro, Roxy Castillo, Channon Ford, Topping Haggerty, Lucas Reilly, David Rosenbaum, Beth Shea, and Steve Wright.

You can find more details and purchase tickets by clicking on this link The Institution Theater.

You’ll laugh, you’ll get that warm fuzzy feeling of goodness and I will give each one of you a hug.  That’s right, I will hug! Now there’s a deal you can’t pass up.

I can’t wait to see you there!

A Plea to Stephen Colbert

Friends and Family (the rest of you are off the hook again – yipppee!)

I just want to thank you all for helping support The Institution Theater and Me – especially all of you past and present PBS folks.  It means a great deal to me and I know I owe you one.  You are now officially on the “Beth’s Favorite People Forever and Ever” list.  I know, it’s like Christmas has come early (or maybe really late).  Hrmm…  The rest of you, it’s still not too late to make the list, but you’re cutting it close.  Do you really want to be on the “other” list – a list you could avoid for a mere $10?  There are only a few more days left on the theater’s drive to make $20k and they’re still not there.  It’s going to be close.

So, the theater owners made a little video and here’s where you can help if $10 is like pulling really cheap teeth.  We all know we’re just six degrees from Kevin Bacon (I can make it in 4), which means we’re probably even closer to Stephen Colbert.  If you can’t give $10, maybe you could pass this video on to a friend who knows Stephen Colbert.  Then I could say I attend the Stephen T. Colbert Theater of Imagineering for a Better Better Tomorrow.  He might even name one of the owners after himself and finally put Perry’s Hair on the Threat Down list (unless he already did that and I missed the episode).