#ACRTW – Facing my past in Singapore… Literally.

Here’s a little video I shot from my hotel room upon my arrival in Singapore:

I knew I was going to be in the same neighbourhood as where I had stayed with Second City some eight years prior, but I didn’t think I’d be that close — literally everything I remember was within a block of where I was staying.

It was kind of cool walking into the lobby of UE Square and seeing the same Delifrance exactly where I expected it to be (although there were no le financiers this time around). But walking through the lobby of the DBS Arts Centre felt nostalgic in an uncomfortable kind of way — I guess I’m not one who likes to dwell on the past too much…

The strangest thing is that I also remember an empty lot behind the Roberston Quay Hotel — who knew that I’d be staying at a brand-new hotel there seven years later?

Posted via web from Andrew Currie on Posterous

Nokia E90: 9 Questions with Canadian Comedy Mogul Klaus Schuller

This week I’ll be reporting on Nokia’s flagship business device, the E90. More on the in a couple of days — in the meantime…

Klaus Schuller with his Nokia E90The Second City is a comedy institution in North America, boasting alumni who have powered hit TV shows and movies from Saturday Night Live through SCTV to The Daily Show and Colbert Report.

Klaus Schuller is the producer of the Toronto franchise, and was my boss last year for a contract I had directing the theatre’s National Touring Company.

1. Nice phone! Where’d you get it?

In an effort to support local businesses, I ordered it online from SelectGSM.com here in Toronto –- who promptly had it shipped to me from the States.

2. What handset were you using prior to this?

I was using the Eten M700 Glofiish. A fun handset, but I found the Microsoft OS (and the phone) to be fragile and crash-prone. The older I get, the more I want things to just work. But I’m sad my new phone doesn’t have an adorable nickname like Glofiish. I would suggest we nickname it “The Monolith”.

3. How did you first hear about the E90?

Your blog, of course! Actually no. I found it online while comparing specs on smartphones. I ordered and received it back in January.

4. Were there other handsets you were also considering at that time? What made the E90 win out?

I looked at some HTC handsets/PDAs, particularly the TyTn II and that big honking one they had with the 7-inch screen. In the end, what sold me on the E90 was the combination of specs and reputation for quality. Until I started researching Nokia, I didn’t know much about them — and even thought they were probably Japanese. I mean, they’re called Nokia, not Finnsgrüven.

5. What are three-ish favourite things about your E90?

  1. Overall Quality – This thing is solidly built, substantial and has great sound/call quality. Many of the other PDAs feel like they’re going to fly apart in your hands. The E90 is solid, and could be used as a weapon. Really surprising battery life too. If I forget to charge it, I’m usually good for a second day.
  2. Features – GPS, 3G, great camera/camcorder.
  3. The real clincher for me was the keyboard. Full QWERTY plus number keys and shortcuts.

6. How about three or so things you wish it could do/do better?

  1. I don’t like that firmware upgrades wipe the phone. Reinstalling all your applications is a PITA.
  2. Outer Numeric Keypad is a bit small, even though there’s plenty of room to make it bigger.
  3. Camera button is touchy. You push it, wait and hope that a picture gets taken soon. They need to redesign this button to “click” in a satisfying way.

7. Favourite apps/games?

  • EmTube – now that Rogers has useful data plans, I use this all the time.
  • I rely on RoadSync at the moment, but will switch to Exchange for S60 once I find the patience to update my firmware.
  • Nokia Maps – again, only useful now that I have a big monthly data plan.

In general, I’ll give Nokia/Symbian full credit for having most of your needs preinstalled, from Adobe Acrobat to the Office programs. I’ve probably only used 1/10th of the preinstalled aps at this point.

8. Is there any other handset (cough, cough — iPhone — cough) that might woo you away from your E90?

Though I’m a loyal iMac/iPod user, I just can’t get comfortable with a touchscreen for typing. Maybe some day when they perfect that active screen technology that zaps your fingertips and makes you think you’re touching fur. And I always prefer technologies that are not quite as, well…smug as Apple. If you really want to tempt me, wave an E71 under my nose. Mmmmm, tiny.

9. Working in the comedy business, you must have a hilarious voicemail greeting, right?

Um…no.  I believe my greeting is “please leave a message”. No joke is funny enough to be endured every time someone calls you. Well, no clean jokes anyway.

The Perfect Pre-Show Playlist?

iTunes Logo

So my Conservatory Class’s grad show was a big success on Sunday, and we owe it all to my expert selection of pre-show music!

Of course I’m kidding, but I do take my house tunes very seriously and thought it might be worthwhile to publish a list of the tracks with their reasons for being there. Each track name links directly to the iTunes Music Store, where available… So if nothing else, you can check out some artists you may not have heard of before!

  1. Sea World by The Phoenix Foundation. “Enter a magical realm where the rules of banality no longer apply…” As incredibly gay-tarded as that sounds it’s generally the idea here, to have the audience enter the theatre to the sounds of a slightly off-putting instrumental, letting them know that they’re in for something unusual. This track, by the way, is from Eagle vs. Shark, the perfect date movie which I haven’t yet found the perfect date for. I’m working on it.
  2. Vulture Kisses by So So Modern. Where the first track clears the air, the insane odd-time signature chorus in this synth-punk number sends the not so subtle message to the audience that they won’t be spoon fed easy laughs, but are going to be challenged. So So Modern, like The Phoenix Foundation, is another band from New Zealand. Their CD was playing in a Wellington music store when I was there last summer and I bought it on the spot.
  3. The Looks by MSTRKRFT. The subliminal message here would be something to the effect of: “How will you possibly be able to resist us when we are clearly so fucking bad-ass?” So now, with all our cards on the table, we set off down the road to build the energy for the Act One curtain call.
  4. Archaeologists by Wintersleep. A driving groove, sloppy drum fills and Canadian content, all present and accounted for.
  5. Bodysnatchers by Radiohead. You need at least one Radiohead track to appease all the rock snobs in the crowd, and this one got the nod.
  6. Away From Here by The Enemy. Nothing wrong with a tasty little anti-establishment anthem, is there?
  7. Lydia by Dog Day. A good track and my bad attempt at affirmative action. I realized at this point that the playlist was lacking in female vocalists, and this one seemed like the best fit to the mix, despite having only backing female vocals.
  8. Under the Underground Water by Telefauna. How this quirky band of Montrealers manages to rock out with a drum machine is beyond me, but it works!
  9. Nighthawks by Two Hours Traffic. A quick tempo and twangy guitars worked the audience into a fever pitch. Didn’t it?
  10. Julianna by Bend Sister. Some retro glam-rock bravura for the penultimate track before Act One.
  11. September / The Joker by Fatboy Slim. This was a last-minute choice — for me it was a defining moment of the movie Babel but on its own didn’t seem like enough of a remix to save me from dating myself. I hemmed and hawed but ended up keeping it as a schmaltzy pre-curtain tip of the hat to the time my class and I have spent together since last autumn. Awww…
  12. The Wishes Pile Up by Jim Bryson. Getting out of Act One into the intermission can be tricky — you don’t want to eclipse the energy of the closing scene but you don’t want some dirgy-ass ballad to bring things down either. I don’t really get what “roots” music is, but this roots track by Jim Bryson worked perfectly.
  13. My Moon My Man (Boyz Noise Remix) by Feist. Grrl power but not some recycled iPod TV ad music, oh no no no… The music snobs in the crowd will be having none of that!
  14. Starlight – Young Heart Attack. On it’s own this knock-off of The Who’s Won’t Get Fooled Again is pure cheese. But as a lead-in a CSI: Miami parody it is the stuff of genius.
  15. Someone Else’s Problem by JJ Appleton. A parting tongue-in-cheek jab at the cast. It played as the house lights came up at the end of the show. But as they were too busy getting accolades from friends and family, nobody seemed to be paying attention to the lyrics.

It’s specific enough that I couldn’t guarantee it to produce the same results anywhere else, but this very playlist got us a standing ovation at The Second City last Sunday afternoon — although I suppose a talented cast, solid material and a house packed in our favour also had something to do with it…


Blogging Break

Pandora's Lunchbox

Forgive me for my single post this week; I’m finding that all my free time is being directed towards the Conservatory Grad Show that’s going up on the Mainstage this Sunday. Details can be read off the poster or by clicking through to the Second City site proper.

Hope to see you there, and I’ll be back to blogging next week!

New Zealand, Sucka!

Screen grab from Eagle vs. Shark

(That title will make a lot more sense once this awesome film sees its rightful North American release…)

So it’s August of 2002 and a younger, blonder AC is sharing an elevator ride to the lobby of his Sydney hotel with a Friendly Kiwi.

“Where you from?” he inquires.
“Canada.” I reply.
“Going to New Zealand?”
“Not this time, I’m afraid…”
“Why not?”

Cut to five years later where a slightly older and less peroxided AC has just taken Air New Zealand up on their offer of discounted passage to Auckland and Wellington, where I’ll be checking in on Second City alumnus Derek Flores.

August has traditionally been a slow month for work, and with both my TourCo and Neutrino gigs wrapping at the end of July this year will be no exception.

And hey, what better way to celebrate unemployment than to spend a whack of money travelling to another hemisphere?