10 Reasons This Class Will Be Awesome

Yesterday I announced that I will be teaching a class at Upstairs Gallery in June and July. Here are 10 reasons why this class will be awesome.

  1. Kevin Mullaney (me) is one of the most experienced teachers in Chicago. He has been coaching long form improv since 1995 and teaching since 1997. He taught well over 100 classes in New York for the Upright Citizen’s Brigade Theater.
  2. Smaller class size: This class will have 14 people or less in it. I’ve seen classes in Chicago with more than 20 people in them. Honestly, that sucks for the student. Smaller class sizes mean more chances to try exercises and to learn by doing.
  3. Smaller team size: Team size will be limited to 7 people max for performances. New performers in Chicago are typically put on teams with 10 players, sometimes more. That’s too many people. 7 people per team means that each person will have plenty of room to contribute to the shows.
  4. Less expensive: $175, about half the cost of a regular improv class.
  5. 4 performances: Most improv classes only have 1 performance.
  6. Performances begin in the middle of the session, not after the class is over. This means we will be able to work in class on problems that arise in the shows.
  7. Shows are free! Invite your friends to come see you for free. Or if the class decides to, they can ask for donations and split the money.
  8. Shows are BYOB! Even more reason to invite your friends.
  9. Upstairs Gallery is a beautiful space to rehearse and perform in and the people that run it are super nice.
  10. After class, you get to hang out in Andersonville, a truly awesome neighborhood.

Performance Class at Upstairs Gallery Taught by Kevin Mullaney

Kevin Mullaney
Kevin Mullaney
This is an eight week class for intermediate and advanced improv students with some long form improv experience. You will learn how to create fun, interesting, two-person scenes; explore different ways to create second beats from those scenes; and try connecting different threads at the end of your piece. We will work on games within scenes and how to build group scenes and group games.

Best of all, the class includes four performances at Upstairs Gallery in Andersonville. Each show will be hosted by your teacher and you will receive notes after the show. The following week, in class, will feature exercises to work on the specific areas of potential improvement identified from the last show.

Who is Kevin Mullaney?

Kevin Mullaney was the original Artistic Director for the UCB Theatre in New York. He was also the first director of their training program. Before that he taught at iO Theatre and directed their touring company, the iO Road Show. He is the host of the Improv Resource Center Podcast and most recently one of the Co-Artistic Directors at the Chicago Improv Festival. Find out more about Kevin Mullaney here.

When is the class?

Class meets Saturdays 2-5pm, June 9th to July 28th (8 classes)
Performances are Sundays at 8pm, July 8 to July 29th (4 performances)

Where is the class?

Upstairs Gallery
5219 N Clark Ave
3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60640

How much will it cost?


How many students will be in the class?

Maximum number of students will be 14

How will teams be created?

For each performance, the teacher will break up the class into two teams. You will work with that team during the Saturday class before the show on Sunday. There will be 7 people on each team at the most.

What if I miss a class?

If you miss the class directly before a show, you cannot perform in that weekend’s show. If you miss more than two classes, you cannot perform in any remaining shows, however you are welcome to come to the remaining classes.

How much will tickets be for the show?

Upstairs Gallery shows are typically free with a five dollar suggested donation. The class will decide whether or not to ask for donations.

Who gets money from the donations?

The students do. The cost of renting the space for the show is included in the price of the class. Any donations will be split equally between the participants of the show.

How do I get into the class?

Students can apply to be in this class by filling out this form before Sunday May 20th. Students will be chosen from the pool of applicants. If you are chosen for the class, you’ll be notified by Tuesday, May 22nd. You will need to pay a deposit of $50 to hold your spot in the class by May 29th.

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Sunday Punch (hosted by Joy Joy Tragedy)

Sunday Punch
Sunday Punch hosted by Joy Joy Tragedy

Joy Joy Tragedy is back with a new show, Sunday Punch, a variety show with sketch, standup, music, clown and other solo performances and of course an improv set with Joy Joy Tragedy (Amrita Dhaliwal and Kevin Mullaney).

Every week a new spiked fruit punch to sample!

WHERE: Upstairs Gallery, 5219 North Clark Street, Chicago
WHEN: Sunday nights at 7:30pm, October 18th through December 18th
HOW: FREE and BYOB (suggested $5 donation)

The first week will feature Ever Mainard:

And then some music by Daniel Byshenk:

And sketch comedy by RAM Chicago: Matt Mages, Kate Cohen, Mike Girts and Robert Reid.

What is a Mullaney Chain?

I’m trying out a new show called Mullaney Chain. It’s a bit like Messing with a Friend, but instead of asking one friend to play with me, I’m going to assemble a team for each show. It will work like this: I’ll ask one person to sit in with me, they will ask a third person and then they will ask a fourth. I like the idea that I won’t be picking that third and fourth person. I’ll just trust that each person in the chain will ask someone fun to play with us.

The first couple of shows will be at the Underground Lounge (952 West Newport Avenue), Tuesday July 12th and Tuesday July 26th, at 8pm. I’ve sent out some invites for the initial shows, but I’m still working on lining up the guests. I’ll announce my guest performers here and on my twitter feed when I have them confirmed. I hope to do many more of these shows in the coming months.

Oh! And those shows at the Underground Lounge are FREE!

New Improv Class, July in Chicago

The Details

  • Where: Theatre Momentum Studio at 1800 W. Cornelia Avenue
  • Dates: July 10, 17, 24, 31
  • When: Noon to 4pm (class is noon to 2:45 with a bonus practice hour from 3 to 4).
  • Cost: $89, $59 if you sign up and pay before July 4th.
  • For intermediate and advanced improv students. Limit 14 students.

New Apps for Your Improv Scenes

In this four week workshop, we will download some new apps that you can use in the middle of any scene to make it better. These techniques will make your so-so scenes good and your good scenes great. You’ll learn to better connect with your scene partner by noticing their emotions and behavior and by reacting from your gut. You’ll also learn a variety of tools to add texture, detail and spontaneity to your scenes.

Continue reading “New Improv Class, July in Chicago”

How to Add an Image to Your Podcast

IRC Podcast with Kevin Mullaney
IRC Podcast image
A few months ago, I started a podcast on improv. To publish the actual RSS feed for the podcast I used an open source PHP script called Podcast Generator. I’ve been very happy with it. It allowed me to setup the website for the podcast very quickly. It doesn’t even require a MySQL database. It handled everything seamlessly. My podcast was listed on iTunes within minutes of uploading the first mp3 file to my site.

However, there was a problem. One of the things that I assumed it would handle was the image that you see on your iPod while it is playing. When you add a new podcast to the RSS stream, the script requires you to assign an image for iTunes. And when you search for the podcast on iTunes, you do see an image for the show. But that was not enough to get the image on my iPod. When you listen to the first 10 episodes of my podcast, you won’t see an image on your iPod.

I finally decided to research it today. The solution is pretty simple. You have to embed the image into the mp3 file before you upload it to your website. Continue reading “How to Add an Image to Your Podcast”