Tuesday, December 7, 2021

December's a thing

It snowed! 

It snowed. 

It's fine. 

Spiked 3! was an absolute hoot, and dang the talent. Many many thanks to Jim and Dennis for letting me play a couple of songs!!


 - A couple more Family Dinners at HUGE. 

 - Some Monday Show Xs.

 - And then suddenly, it's December 19th, and it's off to family. And then it's the END OF THE YEAR AND HOW STRANGE. 

- I'm subbing for a charter school is NE Minneapolis. It has me busier than I've been in literally years: I can feel it in my nervous system. I'll finish up (my last day is the 17th), and wheewwwwwwwww. 8th grade, you're practically teenagers. 7th grade, you are something unto yourself and life is so damned hard. It gets better, but oh man. 

They're funny though. Sometimes. Often. 

Something dear and sweet and also a bummer: Show X is coming to a close. After 10+ years, the every Monday celebration is finishing up. I understand it, and it's also, truly, a bummer. Show X was an indulgence of the best kind: playing with mind-blowing folks, many of whom happen to be old friends. The connection, and laughing to the point of tears. It felt special to be a part of it, and I'm sad to see it go. And I understand why. 

Last week, it was Butch, Tim, Rita, and I, and we had ridiculous fun. This week, it was Butch, Nels, and I, and I'm still riding off of that. Love and so many thanks. 

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Vulnerability Hangover

Real quick!
I saw Jacqueline Novak's "Get On Your Knees" on Friday, sold out show at the Parkway. 

It is a rare rare thing to see such a complete work of art. 

Someone who's figured out their voice so completely, drops hints and bits throughout a 1.5 show, and then wraps it up with the most impossible bow. AND THEN DOES IT AGAIN ON TOUR. 

She made me cry. Not sad cry, but more like awe-experience-overlwhelm cry. 

She did it. 

AND THEN... Penny and the Bandits had their first show!!

Thank you to Samantha Baker-Harris and James Rone for supporting the whole thing, between amazing singing, amazing playing, and THE BEST between song patter. Thank you to Jim and Dennis of Table Salt for producing it. Thanks to the Bryant Lake Bowl for support, tech, food, drink, and space. Thanks to Cliff Zawatsky for amazing photos. Thank you to Barb Abney for press. Thank you to everyone who came (AND ALSO GIGGLED). Whewwwwwww!

That's more weekend than I've weekend-end in a very very very long time. 

This morning, I dreamt of a daytime post-show car crash, and was so mad at David Dastmalchian going through my car, and picking through the bits for insurance. I thought he was stealing my crap. I shakily got up and took my ukulele out of the crashed Subaru, leaving baby clothes and other things. Sarah Jessica-Parker showed up: she fit the astronaut halloween costume that had also been inside the car. 

I'm off to make more coffee. 

All the love. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Holidays??? on nice - - November 2021

November is here..!

Halloween is (and was) the perfect holiday. 

 - No family expectation!
 - Choose your level of involvement!
 - It's social by nature, but controlled social. If you choose to be involved, you know exactly what you have to do! If you choose to be involved, you know exactly what you have to do! And then, enjoy!
 - The reward is costumes and candy! Silliness and cleverness! Or NOT. 

So. Yes. Halloween was very sweet, all puns intended. 

This are happening. November is busier, even as we slide into another possible COVID-winter? Who knows. But can I tell you about things?

Please join me along with the incredible Seniz Yargici (School for Girls), James Rone (School for Girls), Samantha Baker Harris, and possibly others?! as Penny and the Bandits at the Bryant Lake Bowl & Theater for an evening of all original music.

Presented by Table Salt Productions (and please check out all of their offerings this holiday season at the BLB.. Such goodness!) 

Saturday Nov. 20th
7 p.m. show
Bryant Lake Bowl, 825 W Lake St, Minneapolis MN 55408
Proof of vax required
Tickets and details can be found here

Take a pandemic's worth of music (well.. go through it first), and throw it on stage with very nice people who will sing like angels. 

Please join us for ALL of the improv, November 17th & 18th at HUGE Theater, as part of Give to the Max Day. I'll be performing with Adorable, Nudge, and Nimblicity, and boy howdy would we like your money... (And your presence! Free improv!) <3 
An improvised family holiday dinner, Fridays and Saturdays at HUGE Theater, 8 p.m. show, proof of vax and masked. A show that's near and dear to so many of us, watch us be the family you never wished you had. 

Come join us every Monday at 8 p.m., HUGE Theater. We will improvise our little hearts out for you.  

Back in the ancient times, there was a sweet sweet holiday show called Spiked! There was comedy and singing, and lo, were the people charmed. Alas, 2021 gives gifts anew! Spiked returns as SPIKED 3! as presented by Table Salt Productions. 

November 28th & 29th, 6 p.m. doors, 7 p.m. Show. Bryant Lake Bowl Theater

How lucky are we? Stupidly stupidly lucky. Hoping things are good and that you are well. <3!

Monday, October 25, 2021

Subscribe to my mailing list!

 Oh yes. Doing that thing. OOOH!


Please jump on my mailing list for a monthly heads up on all-ish things Jen... I promise to not sell your information, and I also promise to work on the number of ellipses I include in each email. 

You're great and thank you!!

 Coach Beard for attention.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

That 80/20 Split

My storytelling piece from Fortune Fool's Theatre's most recent (COVID-safe) storytelling show called You Who I Always/Never/Once Loved. I'm first up.. I hope you enjoy! 

Monday, October 4, 2021

Tis the season OF SPOOKY

We are four days into October! FOUR DAYS! 


Everything's tentative and strange. Scripted theater, a tenuous thing to begin with, continues on! Or, at least, we try!

The Bungalow Loft produced by Fearless Comedy, written by Shanan Custer, directed by Dawn Krosnowski, and featuring the Ambrosia Jasmine Webb, Angela Fox, Sarah Broude, and me! 

We've opened; I am so grateful for everyone involved in this production. We play Fridays and Saturdays through October 16th at the Mounds Theater in deeeeep St. Paul. 

Improvised theater also zips along! Show X is back and we'd love to see you. Mondays, HUGE Theater, 8 p.m.

Family Dinner rehearsals start soon! Please watch us be awkward and love each other, November/December at HUGE Theater. More info to come! 

Teaching-wise, there are now tours scheduled at the Bakken Museum. I'm with a beautiful in-person Improv 101 class at HUGE. Doing some subbing at Circus Juventas

In-person schooling continues to be a moving target: my kiddo's third grade class is currently in a two-week quarantine, which doesn't leave much room for anything else, time or energy-wise. We're still all recovering from last week. But still, very lucky. 

Also, it's my birthday month. Happy birthday to all Libras and baby Scorpios sniffing out pumpkin spice, orange leaves, and decorative plastic gravestones. 


Thursday, September 16, 2021

Do you remember? something something.. SEPTEMBER!

 It IS September.! And there is stuff to share!

I think these things are happening, as much as we can be sure of anything progressing... All COVID-safe as we can be (proof of vaccination and audience masking required). 

 -  You who I always/never/once loved for Fortune's Fool Theatre, September 16th - 18th, at the Crane Theater. We just teched last night and it's lovely. Come be in a space with us. I yell a LOT. 

 - SHOW X IS BACK!!! BWAHAHAHA! Our first performance back was a joy and dumb and Hannah made everyone cry. Mondays, HUGE Theater, 8 p.m.

 - The Bungalow Loft! Produced by Fearless Comedy, written by Shanan Custer, directed by Dawn Krosnowski, and featuring the amazing Ambrosia Jasmine Webb, Angela Fox, Sarah Broude, and me! Playing Fridays and Saturdays, October 1st - 23rd at the very haunted Mounds Theater. The scripted is wonderful, the people are wonderful, the theater is haunted - - please come to St. Paul!

 - Am I still making music! Oh goodness yesh. Penny & the Bandits.. Adding possible bandits soon.. :) 

What else? Teaching at HUGE starts soon, I'm getting my house in North Minneapolis ready for sale (so much paint, so much gray).. I'm taking another couple classes from the Nursery Theatre online, because I love joy. Other teaching stuff seems to be waiting

School has started again, and there's been a number of outdoor, wonderful get togethers around that fact, mostly involving Painter Park in Minneapolis (and one with actual other adults! MEEP!) 

Thinking of you, out there, and sending so much love. 

Saturday, August 14, 2021

I want a goddamn cloak

 Posting this from November's Fortune Fool's Theatre's storytelling show "To Breed Or Not to Breed"... I'm first up, and it's about 8? minutes long. Love!

Sunday, August 1, 2021

This might be a two-fer.. August 2021


We are still traveling. 

<--- Considerate ghost follows mask mandate. 

 - Ham. We've eaten so much ham. Ham is abundant. My kids have been served a plate of potato chips with a slice of ham next to the chips. This is amusing to me. 

 - Big city is full of characters if you actually have the chance to slow down and not be run over. This is great. Nothing is simple in said big city, and it's a lovely place at times. 

 - Went on a large ferris wheel. Confirmed my fear of heights. 

 - We're traveling with an almost four year old, which means peeing on parks. Fancy parks with sculpted trees. Possibly a hammer/nail situation. 

 - We've gone through moist weather which molds your clothes, to getting punched in the skin by the sun for five days, and back to.. moderate? I worry for Minneapolis, am ready to get back, and am also anxious for the return... which is a strange thing to work around. This travel has felt like an extension of COVID lockdown, and not seeing people feels almost natural. And it's certainly not. 

This fall, there is (tentative?) stuff!

 - The Bungalow Loft! Produced by Fearless Comedy, written by Shanan Custer, directed by Dawn Krosnowski, and featuring Ambrosia Jasmine Webb, Angela Fox, Sarah Broude, and me! Playing Fridays and Saturdays, October 1st - 23rd at the Mounds Theater! The scripted is wonderful, the people are wonderful - - please come to haunted St. Paul!

 - Storytelling for Fortune's Fool Theatre, September 16th - 18th, at the Crane Theater. The title is currently You who I always/never/once loved, and the collection of storytellers is lovely.

 - The Twin Cities Horror Fest 2021! Taj Ruler and I are creating something.. more news to come!

 - SHOW X at HUGE THEATER MAYBE IN SEPTEMBER!?!?! OH YES PLEASE! (I honestly don't know if we start in September, but I'm just going to send some love and hope out for this..) 

 - I'm still making and sharing music at Penny & the Bandits... Hoping to figure out some sort of actual recording situation soon. :) 

Love and miss you, and seeing you face would be the best. 


Saturday, July 10, 2021

July - A certain je ne sais quoi

 Hi. hi hi hi. 

I am currently not in Minneapolis. We are HARDCORE visiting family.. for two months in another country... with two children under 10. 

You might be thinking: oh, how lucky! or perhaps, oh, how stupid! And you would be right on both accounts. 

It's an incredibly privileged thing to do. We are incredibly tired. 

Things I've forgotten:

 - If you go to a big sprawling city, start drinking water. Pre-game the water. Big sprawling cities steal all hydration and leave only headaches. 

 - Remember to eat a vegetable. (I really haven't.)

 - Travel is all transitions. 

 - Nothing is convenient. America, you convenient jerk. Giant coffees and granola bars. And sometimes some convenience is really really nice. 

Everything's sort of ground to an understandable halt, but...

 - I brought a pink $20 ukulele that sounds like it's being played through a radio. I've got at least one new song up here

 - Got to see one of my classmates from the Nursery's Musical Improv Genre Rollercoaster class. The future is wild. 

 - Reading N. K. Jemisin's The City We Became, and it's so damn good, spooky and fun. If you've been in NYC, or lived in NYC, or been stunned at NYC... Plus it's one big chunk X-Men and one very meta-chunk taking eldritch horror from Lovecraft. 

And mostly, I've been eaten up by traveling with tired children. 

But, you're great. And can't wait to see you (in person!? GASP!!!) soon. 

Until then, look at this goddamn couch and wall!! LOOK AT IT. 

Monday, June 7, 2021

June-y June June

 IT'S JUNE!!??!

I'm going to start every blog with being absolutely astonished at day it is. Seems fair. 

What's happening?

The 401 I was teaching at HUGE Theater finished up, had their sharing, and rocked it so hard. 

I'm doing a little memoir cultivation (curated conversation?) at Abiitan Mill City with their memory care folks.  

That beautiful online Musical Improv Genre Rollercoaster class from the Nursery Theatre in London continues! We are the luckiest jerks! This week was opera, last week was ska, the week before that Gregorian chant. So incredibly fun. 

It makes one wonder, and grateful for, a blank-ish slate, filled with talented strangers (soon friends) committing hard. Would we commit so hard in our home contexts? I hope so, but it is forcing us to jump big. And that's awesome. Dreamy. 

We go to visit family far out of town soon, just as Minneapolis is opening truly up. Alas. 

In the meantime though, I've started to release songs as Penny and the Bandits (there are currently not bandits, so the name's a straight up lie). Check them out here, and someday I'll get a decent enough recording to be all BandCamp fancy. 

I don't have much in the way of screen shots or photos, but please enjoy this video.. even though it's hot hot hot now, we've had some beautiful days. 


Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Every May pun you could hope for...

 Hi. I'm someone who was born in 1975, and have no idea what song "It's gonna be May" refers. 

"Just so typically May", I can follow. 


It is May, and May in Minneapolis means it actually might be spring. Finally realizing that we truly have 6 months of winter here. Period. Enjoy. 

Teaching: My Children's Theatre class ends this Saturday!

My HUGE 401 thankfully has a couple of weeks to go. 

My Memoir class is getting the gang back together! GOOD GRACIOUS. Report to come. 

Taking: I've been taking an Online Musical Improv Genre Rollercoaster class from the Nursery in London. It finished up yesterday and IT WAS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL THING. 

The last genre we completed was New Romantic, and if you'd like to see a bunch of mostly-Brits lose their collective beautiful minds, tell them we'll be doing New Romantic. And then tell them that costumes are encouraged. 

I love them all and feel so lucky. Screen shots of Zoom windows won't and can't tell anything. Just know. They're great. 

Still taking Voice Lessons with Brianna Lane, and you should too!

I started taking a one hour Improv Puppet class with Josh of the Josh and Tamra Show. I am so far delighted. The other two in the class are younger, and have very specifics questions about puppetry. I have come to realize I'm in it for the joy (and the bounce)

Performing: Please join us for A Little of Show X every Monday at 8 p.m. CST, or forever on youtube

And that's about it... Starting the slow decline to summer. 

I'm all fully vaccinated, and have begun to see beautiful loves and actually strained my introvert early this week. I got cocky, and sort of just recovered. GREAT KID, DON'T GET COCKY, indeed. 

Love and miss you all!

P.S. I never listened to New Romantic music... and Adam Ant's Prince Charming lives now, happily, rent free in my head. You probably need to watch it. Right?

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

April on 420

Black Lives Matter. Daunte Wright. 

There's not words, as words can be merely performative. 

Everything hurts right now, and we have to work for change. Have to. We can't, anymore, this way, whether blindly complicit or well aware. 

Please show up as you can, whether that's by donation, or in person, or by writing your representative. 

 - MPD150

A very incomplete list, but places to start. 

Life update: 

 - I've started back at Abiitan, doing memoir work with memory care. Very lucky. 

 - I'm also doing memoir work through COMPAS with an organization called Family Means.. again, so very lucky. 

 - I finished a week of MADZOOMING with Foundary10 out of Seattle, WA, and was lucky enough to get paired with the most incredible group of teaching artist nerds. We had so much fun. 

 - Started with a 401 with HUGE Theater, and they are most beautiful. <3 

 - Starting taking an online musical improv class out with the Nursery Theatre in London, England, and boyhowdy... Is it the most ridiculous, most charming, hard laughing thing ever? Might be. 

 - I got cast for a commercial thing. That was loveliness. Here's the spot... I'm at :36 and at 1:02... It's a hot second of a moment, but so much fun to do. 

We love and miss you. We look to the future and work towards hope. We try. 


Thursday, March 25, 2021



 - I got my first vaccine shot. Feeling many things about it. 

 - I finished up an online music recording class with She Rock She Rock. They are a fantastic organization.. go!

 - Finished up teaching a beautiful level 201 improv class online with HUGE Theater

 - Overview Effect competed in a 3 on 3 International Improv tournament through Queen City Comedy! We did not win, but I am proud of what we did (it was very different from what the very funny other teams brought). Plus, we were all cold and felt badass about it. Check us out starting around 01:06:00.. <3

 - A Little Bit of Show X continues to fill the soul. 

 - The Bakken Museum is now offering online classes! I've taught some sound and some Mary Shelley. 

 - Got to coach the second iteration of HUGE's Duo for a Day! 

 - I went in and had my first in-person memoir session in over a year, with memory care residents at Abiitan Mill City. Incredibly lucky. 

 - My eldest kid turned 8! We were blessed with an incredibly warm Saturday and people with nothing to do! I should have made more cake!?

 - I am doing an at-home practice. It involves a ukulele, songwriting, and singing. I write to have songs to sing, and then I practice singing to sing those songs better. It's cyclical. I'm figuring out how best to share these songs, while pausing the practice enough to record them in their not-perfectness. 

(The songs are *mostly* based off of prompts from the wonderful Laura Vier's cards.. I hope she makes more soon!)

The current goal with these songs is a porchfest. But to have the songs online so when/if a porchfest happens, I can say something sly like "check out my soundcloud" or "here's my bandcamp" or "MY GOD HAVE YOU WATCHED STEVEN UNIVERSE?"

That means recording the songs. That means.. a lot of things. But mostly it means singing and playing ukulele. 

Does it sound like a 45 year old who maybe has watched a LOT of Steven Universe the last two months? MAYBE. Hey Jen, how's that finger picking? NOT THERE I'M HERE FOR STRUMMING THANK YOU. 

Anywhoo. The beginning of April looks busier than I've experienced in over a year! WHAT WILL HAPPEN? 

Love and miss you, as always. 

Friday, February 12, 2021

February 2021

Hi friends! 

 Teaching online with HUGE Theater was resumed! An incredible group of 201's! 

 Teaching online with Children's Theatre Company has also resumed. Here we go! 

 Got to direct a group for for Duo for a Day - - check out the beautiful results here! 

 Got to be a part of the HUGE Theater 10 Year Anniversary show.. What an amazing thing. So lovely to play (and also lovely to chat with the always incredible Tom Reed).

 Show X is back, digitally! Please check out a Little Bit of Show X, every Monday, 8 p.m. CST.

 Please check out HUGE's youtube channel for updates!

Strange times. 

I've been working on the art of practice. I LOVE THE ART OF CREATION. Boy howdy, that's a hoot. But, actually practicing what you've made into something consumable is another thing entirely. Luckily, I've been enjoying what I've been making, and it's nice to have these little friends running through my head. I'm also way more invested in practicing them as they're my shit. Anywhoo, I don't know if anyone else is interested, but I'll post some videos soon. (Warning. They're mostly on ukulele. As I have no emotional connection to ukuleles. They are a tool, and that's really cool, rhyme not-withstanding.) As my bff told me, "You don't need to have a good voice. You need to have an interesting one." and I'm standing by that forever... <3 

All love!