How to: Curate a Rory Scovel Comedy Show!

Step 1: Get a job

Thanks to the Tin Man Fund, Charles Jabour, a graduate from Eastern Michigan University, was hired for a year long internship in the performing arts administration and programming department at MASS MoCA.

(Picture by: girlingreendress)

Step 2: Get a job that lets you curate an event

As a part of the internship – Charlie began working with Rachel Chanoff, performing arts curator at MASS MoCA. In the course of this partnership he would eventually organize his own event at MASS MoCA. The event was set to take place on February 5. Now the question is…Out of all the types of performances-which one would you like to curate?

Step 3: Pick which type of performance you would like to curate

Charlie originally wanted to stick to his roots and curate a theater event.

(Eastern Michigan University production of Treasure Island…[you can spot Charlie in the blond wig on the left! hehe])

Charlie has written, directed, organized, and performed in numerous theatrical productions throughout his life but he felt the Alt-Cabaret series and the Club B-10 space was an ideal setting for a stand up comedian. NOW the question is…Out of all the comedians-which one do you choose?

Step 4: Choose a comedian

Some of you may be aware, but originally Kumail Nanjiani was the comedian Charlie chose for the Alt-Cabaret series. He was recommended to MASS MoCA by comedian Eugene Mirman. Charlie began researching Kumail and booked him because he was so funny…SO funny in fact: that he got an offer to be on Comedy Central and had to cancel his MASS MoCA gig (we totally understand, Kumail!). So NOW the question is…What OTHER comedian do you choose?

Step 5: Choose another comedian

Luckily, Kumail’s people recommended another hilarious comedian to Charlie.

Ladies and Gentlemen….RORY SCOVEL!

(That’s Rory)

“It’s amazing we have comedians who are so cool with giving each other work,” said Charlie. He feels Rory is great fit for the MASS MoCA and the Alt-Cabaret series.

Rory has a clever sense of humor, “It’s like talking to your really funny friend at the bar,” Charlie said.

Charlie also traveled to Albany and booked the Albany-based comic, Matt Kelly, to open the show along with the Williams College Improv Troupe, Combo Za!

And finally… You have to ask yourself: How do you get people to come to the event you curated?

Step 6: Promote your event!

A good idea is to ask your friend to write a witty blog about your event (hence the witty blog).

(That’s Charlie and Me at the Bhangra Funk Dance Party!)

We’ve also hung about 100 posters, put fliers in pizza boxes, posted videos on facebook, etc. And so we ask you…What are you doing this Saturday at 8pm? Coming to see the stand-up comedian, Rory Scovel, at MASS MoCA?…That’s what we thought!


Check out the Rory Scovel facebook event for more information on the comedians that will be performing at MASS MoCA!

In the meantime…click here to watch this great clip with RORY!

Posted February 4, 2011 by MASS MoCA
Filed under BLOG, Interns, Rory Scovel, Staff
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Cinematic Ventures in the Sol LeWitt Retrospective

Education intern Kate fills us in on lobby question number 2.

Our second installment on the question board in the lobby queried what movie patrons felt should be set in the Sol LeWitt Retrospective. The 105 wall drawings on view in Building 7 generated many ideas for actual films, but fictitious ones as well.

One thing that makes the Sol LeWitt Retrospective fantastic, is the fact that viewers are continually able to revisit it, and, quite frequently notice something (or many things) new each time they enter the galleries. The eclectic variety of movie titles demonstrated individual reactions to the different phases of LeWitt’s career represented in the Retrospective. Responses included family favorites, musicals, and contemporary films.

Here are some of our favorites:

Posted August 9, 2010 by Brittany Bishop
Filed under BLOG, Exhibitions, Interns, LeWitt
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What’s on your soundtrack?

Our Education department installed a cork board in the lobby featuring changing questions about the galleries, exhibitions, etc. Our Education intern Kate wrote the following blog about the first question on the board and the answers we got.

Petah Coyne’s exhibition Everything that Rises Must Converge has attracted viewers across all audiences. How can we tell? A question board in MASS MoCA’s lobby recently displayed patron’s selections for a hypothetical soundtrack accompaniment.


In many ways, all of us have personal soundtracks to our lives. With the innovation of MP3 players, particularly the iPod, it’s quite common to see someone out for a stroll casually bopping to their favorite tunes – whatever they may be. Curiously, the vast display of Petah Coyne’s artwork has evoked an equally vast musical response.

What’s interesting about these song selections is that in many ways they delineate the unique ways artwork has potential to move disparate audiences. Responses on the board eclipsed age differences and genres, spanning from Bach’s eighteenth century piano concertos, English rock hits such as Blackbird from the Beatles’ two-disc White Album, to contemporary singles by bands like The Postal Service, Smashing Pumpkins, and the artist Lady Gaga.

Though it may be hard to imagine a soundtrack juxtaposing songs such as Big River by Johnny Cash with Maurice Ravel’s solo piano rendition of Gaspard de la Nuit, below are my personal favorite responses for the Petah Coyne soundtrack:

The Everything that Rises Must Converge soundtrack is only the first question on the feedback board for the summer. Stay tuned for future questions in the MASS MoCA lobby.

Posted July 12, 2010 by Brittany Bishop
Filed under BLOG, Exhibitions, Interns, Petah Coyne
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Episode VI: Return of the Airstream?

A long time ago in a gallery far, far away…

Our courageous heroes aboard the Millennium Falcon have found their way out of the turbulent core of the MASS MoCA Galaxy. The outer edges of the galaxy, however, are not so different from the interior planets and star systems and Han and Chewy must remain bright-eyed and bushy-tailed if they are ever going to make it out of this galaxy in one piece.

They find themselves slipping through a narrow gap after Chewy absentmindedly steered them directly towards an asteroid. And the two pilots had to perform some cunning and agile aeronautics to get themselves through that tangled mess of an moon-sized, run-down power station. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted March 3, 2010 by Brittany Bishop
Filed under BLOG, Interns
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Tripod Quiz


As Tripod Versus the Dragon show time approaches, fantastic Performing Arts interns Maggie and Jesse have been increasingly excited about seeing our resident artists in action. They decided that they wanted to get to know Scod, Yon, Gatesy, and The Dragon a little better, and are sharing the wealth. Take the quiz below or on facebook and see who you are most like!

1. What is your spirit animal?

a. A dog. But a lazy one that sleeps in front of the fire all day

b. Panther

c. The mighty shitzu…

d. Manticore

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted January 28, 2010 by Brittany Bishop
Filed under BLOG, Interns, Music, Tripod
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D&D Cheat-Sheet

Super great new Marketing Intern Jess has been brushing up on her D&D knowledge to help even the RPG novice feel prepared for the greatness that will be Tripod Versus the Dragon!

I have a confession to make.  It’s been a long time coming, but I knew I would have to cop to it eventually.

I have been faking my geek.

I know, I know.  It’s hard to believe.  I can recite all the Batman movies by heart.  I could tell Aayla Secura from Zuckuss if I found myself in a galaxy far, far away.  In college, I took a class called The Physics of Marine Mammals because it sounded awesome (and it totally was).  But when it comes down to where it counts, I was faking it.  And where it counts is D&D.

Dungeons and Dragons, the role-playing game that started role-playing games, was a language I did not speak until 2 weeks ago.  I laughed at jokes I did not understand about orcs and mages and dice with more sides than anyone could possibly need.  I nodded and smiled when told I’d make a great DM.  However, when I learned I had been out-geeked by Vin Diesel, I knew it had to stop.

This weekend, MASS MoCA will debut an opera titled Tripod Versus the Dragon, and I am going to laugh at every joke.  For the first time, it will be the laugh of “Yes, I got that, because I am geeky and fabulous.”  If you are nervous about not speaking Ye Olde D&D, I encourage you to share in my cheat-sheet.

D&D Data&Dialect

(all instructions based on the 4th edition of the game, unless otherwise noted)


D&D, DnD – Dungeons and Dragons; very popular, complicated, mythical game involving a usually set but possibly rotating group of individuals who act out scenarios as characters they create

RPG – Role-Playing Game; players act and speak as characters they create during game play

DM – Dungeon Master; guide, storyteller, referee


PC – Player Characters; everyone who is not a DM

NPC – Non-Player Characters, such as monsters, etc.; played by the DM

Monsters – animals, mythical creatures, general antagonists

Dragon – most dangerous creature, fantastic singing voice

Girl – strange mythological creature; most sightings unconfirmed

BooksPlayer’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and Dungeon Master’s Guide are the 3 core ones; others may be used but are not required


Designing Characters

Ability Scores – traits that dictate a character’s skills such as Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Intelligence, Wisdom, Charisma; determined by dice roll


Race – species; Dragonborn, Dwarf, Eladrin, Elf/High Elf, Gnome/Rock Gnome, Half-Elf, Half-Orc, Halfling, Human, Tiefling


Character Class – call of duty, roll

Cleric, Clr – healer

Fighter, Ftr – defending warrior

Paladin, Pal – holy knight, divine spellcaster

Ranger, Rgr – skilled woodsman, agile striker

Rogue, Rog – sneaky, nimble trickster

Warlock, Wlk – dark leader, invokes magic through darkened soul

Warlord, Wld – master tactician, commander

Wizard, Wiz – arcane magic user

Alignment – ethical and moral perspective; typically illustrated in 3×3 grid but 4th edition offers a streamlined view with only Lawful Good, Good, Unaligned, Evil, and Chaotic Evil

Lawful Good – crusader; Dick Tracy, Seeley Booth

Neutral Good – benefactor; Aslan, Albus Dumbledore

Chaotic Good – rebel with a conscience; Robin Hood, Captain Mal

Lawful Neutral – judge; James Bond, Inspector Javert

Neutral – balancer; Rick Blaine, Han Solo

Chaotic Neutral – anarchist, free spirit; Tyler Durden, The Plague

Lawful Evil – tyrant; Megatron, Voldemort

Neutral Evil – selfish malefactor; Bob Ewell, Fenrir Greyback

Chaotic Evil – destroyer; Sweeney Todd, Reavers


Game Play – requires 7 2 Liter bottles of carbonated beverage, several bags of snacks; players discuss plans with DM in character

Campaign – series of related adventures

Dice – 5 dice of different sides (a typical 6-sided die is written as a d6) used to determine penalties, processes, etc.; d4, d6, d8, d20, 2 d10 (used together as a d100)


Figures, Grid – assumed but not required; can be bought or made

game play

Dressing Up – also not required, but potentially awesome

Experience Points, XP – increase with level, awarded to characters for doing tricky things

Hit Points, HP – measure of life; lost by characters when attacked successfully

Attack Bonus – quantitative measure of fighting prowess

Saving Throw – a high number rolled will reduce or avoid damage from an attack

Happy spell casting, and enjoy the show!

Marketing Intern Jess has nightmares about Grell.

Posted January 26, 2010 by Brittany Bishop
Filed under BLOG, Interns

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