Rest In Paradise, Gus Lynch

The first time I met Gus Lynch, in 2009?, he looked like an over-sized leprechan. I may have been influenced by the fact that he approached me in front of Kieran’s Irish Pub.  He also had a big red beard at the time. And I think he was carrying a pot of gold.

Me and Gus at the Akumal Comedy Festival, 2013

Me and Gus at the Akumal Comedy Festival, 2013

ANYWAY, he asked me about the Rockstar Storyteller open mic we had started a couple months earlier and had just finished for the evening. I don’t remember our exact conversation, but I remember being excited about meeting this new performer who made me feel like I was a part of something great with his warm inquisitiveness about how to become involved.

Gus doing stand-up comedy at Siberia in New Orleans. Gus was a great stand-up comic and actor, as well as a husband and father.

Gus doing stand-up comedy at Siberia in New Orleans. Gus was a great stand-up comic and actor, as well as a husband and father.

We learned that Gus died yesterday. I say “died” and not “passed away,” because I had the pleasure of getting to eventually call Gus Lynch my friend, and I know he would probably just prefer I tell it straight.

He fell off a pyramid in Mexico while vacationing with his family. He broke several bones, punctured a lung, and did not make it through surgery. *EDIT: he did make it through surgery, but died of a cardiac arrest the next day.

Gus Lynch was a huge force. I am not unfamiliar with what that’s like, though I don’t think Gus and I share similar brain chemistries, or if we did, he hid it way better. But Gus was large, physically and meta-physically, and he was loud and he was misunderstood, I think, by me. But he fell off a pyramid. I feel like, for what I know of Gus, that was the way that would sell the most tickets to the great playwright in the sky’s blockbuster movie about Gus Lynch, hilarious, gruff, lovable and tough action star.  He fell off a fucking pyramid. In Mexico.

At this year's 10000 Laughs Festival, at Bedlam Lowertown. Taken right after Gus gave me a rightfully hard time about taking pictures of the shows and not cutting out the empty tables.

At this year’s 10000 Laughs Festival, at Bedlam Lowertown. Taken right after Gus gave me a rightfully hard time about taking pictures of the shows and not cutting out the empty tables.

Gus, there were moments I was scared of you. You were instant business the moment you felt like you weren’t being respected or taken seriously, and due to my past experiences with loud, brash men, you automatically had a one-up on my power, and I was a little fearful of you.  But you always, always respected my boundaries.  (I should make it clear in case this sounds weird: Gus and I were friends, collaborators, and contemporaries. That’s it.)  And you were such a champion of my work. Thank you for believing in me over and over again.

In the days we didn’t know were Gus’ last, he and I had a very short back-and-forth on the ole Facebook. It doesn’t really matter what it was about, but it was a personal turning point for me, oddly enough, in what I felt was standing up for myself and picking battles.  And I felt like it was enough for me to send him a message telling him no matter what our differing opinions, I still love him.  The message was also thanking him for getting me on The Hell Yes Festival in New Orleans… something I had neglected to do till that moment.

I never heard back from him, so he may have died annoyed with me.  But I know it would have been a temporary thing; I am a fiery lady and he’s a fiery dude and I know that he liked, respected, and appreciated that about me, or was learning to, as I was learning to about him.

In New Orleans, with Brittany O. and Adam Quesnell

In New Orleans, with Brittany O. and Adam Quesnell

BUT, a couple weeks before, one of the last times I saw him, we sat next to each other at a Hell Yes show at Siberia in New Orleans, and I don’t even know what we talked about, but I remember having that lovely heart-to-heart friendship connection spark with him, an earnest moment where I didn’t feel the need to have my guard up, which I do around intimidating men, and he was a big ole teddy bear. I am super grateful for experiencing that moment with Gus. We’ve had a lot of really fun times, most especially in Akumal, Mexico for the Akumal Comedy Festival, and Gus has been a champion of mine for years, since the START of the Dirty Curls he’s been a fan, no matter what (even through the 2010 Rape Joke Thing!). Gus has taken care of me comedically and socially and probably even bought me a drink or two.  Ha! That reminds me of the time he asked if I had my Akumal coin (I’ll tell you later), and I didn’t.  An hour later, he whips his out with 3 other comics at the bar, and I had to pay for the round. Sonofabitch.

UPDATE: you can read the story about the Akumal coin here in The Growler’s article about Gus.

Court, Jen, Gus, and Quinn at Akumal, 2013

Court, Jen, Gus, and Quinn at Akumal, 2013

I thought I knew Gus until that moment in New Orleans a few weeks ago. It just felt like a moment of vulnerability that I had never seen in him. We were both drunk or inebriated in some fashion, of course, but you know what inebriates do.  You can’t drive, but you can see much better, at least during part. I really regret not getting to know Gus better, I feel like he would have been one of the people to really push me through this tissue I refuse to break (I’m experiencing a lot of creative resistance right now, ugh, boring).  But perhaps this is what it took. The imagining of the future of our friendship due to his death, because as scary as Gus was to me, and I feel like, based on the testimonies of our mutual friends I love and trust, Gus would have been a little hurt to know that he freaked me out a bit.  But I think he would have put his arm around my shoulder and said something like, “Boy Named Sue,” a cryptic way of telling me that he did it for my own good.

Oh, Gus. You are in the hammock on the beach in the sky, my brother. Party on.

Gus in party form.

Gus in party form. This is a photo of a photo by Scott Brown.

FUNDED! THANK YOU!!

Curlfriends!  Since I had been so busy with 10,000 Laughs Fest, I kinda lagged on doing a lot of promotion for the Indiegogo for my fall tour, BUT! I still raised almost $1200, which was my baseline goal!!  This will take care of my car issues to get me on the road in the least expensive way possible and hopefully cover my gas for the entire trip. Food and places to sleep? WHO NEEDS ‘EM?  Jk – I got friends all over.

THANK YOU SO MUCH to my funders:

Sarah Lybrand, Joseph Bozic, Green Sea Productions, Jenn Schaal, Rachel Wandrei, Brian Wene, Florence Brammer, Jenn Newman, Rachel Swan, Anonymous, Jodi Steenson, Emily & Art, Robyn Hendrix, Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous, Colin McLean (thanks, bro!), Daniel Elias, adam12780, Tim Caldwell, Anonymous, Sam Veldhouse, trek5200r, ethuiannen, Heather West, Derek Reise, Jonathan Harford, Max Wirsing, Skyler Tamura, heyjennyslater, Anonymous, mjgfoster, Mark Long, Tracy Lee, Mike Fotis, Kate Price Prevot, and Isaac Rysdahl.

Y’all are the bomb; I appreciate your support ten-billion fold.

So, here’s what’s happening now: I’m going on a tour down to New Orleans, where I’ll be performing a couple of times in the Hell Yes Fest. I’ll be making stops and playing the naughtybilly and making the people laugh along the way… and I’m going to film the whole thing, edit it, and create a documentary tour movie for all to enjoy! Of course, my funders will get it first, and will get to see the creation of it as it happens.  Wheeeeeeee!

This is the place to catch all the tour updates (here’s the list of the places I’m playing!)... I’ll see you on the road!!

FREE SHOW! Ballerween, Y’all! And introducing… MADOO!

What do you get when you take The Dirty Curls, hack ‘em up with a little Fuzzy Machete, feed them to some Trendy, Trendy Space Vegans, and allow them to shit all over some Valley Meadows?

Court – what in the hell are you trying to say?

This:

Ballerween 2014

I am STOKED to be playing this show with some of my favorite people in the whole world, including the City Pages’ Best Local Comedian, Mr. Chris “Madoo” “The Ole Mad Dogger” Maddock. No, Madoo isn’t doing standup comedy; he’ll be playing BASS for the Curls!  Tomorrow night will be Madoo, Lacey, and McClean repping the Curls and if last night’s rehearsal was any indication, we’re going to tear you a new one with how fast and furious we’re playing.  I might have to add some songs to the set list.  Hope to see you there tomorrow night! FREE SHOW!    Wear a sexy costume.

Pundamonium! 10,000 Laughs Festival! … Veldie’s Last Show

CURLFRIENDS.

I am SO SORRY you have not heard word ONE from us if this is the way you’re following us (dude – Twitter! Facebook! I mean, I do want you to read this, but obviously not that much or else I would update more? No, keep reading. I’m working on it).

A LOT has been happening the past few months, like we had a totally SELL OUT run of “The Sex (Ed) Show!” in the Minnesota Fringe Festival.

We performed at Arts Midwest too and made NO bookings, but I did hand our CD to Garfunkel & Oates’ agent and told him we were funnier.  So, we’ll see how that works.

Well, this is tonight.  And… it’s Veldie’s last show.

Naked Cartoon Drawing of the Dirty Curls (yeah, get yo' images on)

Illustrated by the illustrious Doug Kallberg

I am really sad to announce that our guitarist Samantha “Veldie” Veldhouse is departing the Curls (at least for regulars, we’re remounting The Sex (Ed) Show! in Duluth in January – more details soon – and she’ll join us for that). She’s made amazing strides in her acting career and she’s finding that that’s taking up all her time.  We wish her all the best and look forward to the occasions when she’ll grace us and you, Curlfriends, with her presence again.  I had her write a lil’ thing for our blog… and here it is:

Veldie is leaving sex band.

When I said yes to taking Cherrie Mae’s place as the Curls’ regular guitar player back in 2012, I had no idea of the adventure that would follow. After two years of strumming my six string and singing a harmony here and there, my time playing with the Twin Cities’ favorite naughtybilly band has come to an end. It’s a choice that wasn’t easy to make. I’ve learned that being in a band is akin to that of being in a relationship: there are good times, there are tough times, but overall you are a part of something that has become part of who you are as a person; you can’t quite imagine your life without it.

Still, I’ve started to pursue other interests beyond dirty comedy music. Of all things that have taken my focus from using my beginner guitar skills to play songs about butt sex and nicknames for your privates, Shakespeare and learning about classical acting are taking precedence for me. It seems like an improbable step, but a little research shows that Shakespeare is just as (if not more) provocative as Courtney’s lyrics. I’ve spent most of 2014 working with Classical Actors Ensemble and in a mere month, will be opening my second repertory with them. Getting back to my theater roots has been refreshing and a huge reminder of why I do this stuff in the first place. I have to admit that I had a fear of theater in the big bad city when I first moved here 8 years ago. To get my stage time fix, I started taking improv classes from which I fell into the Minnesota Fringe Festival which ultimately lead me to being Court’s right-hand guitar strumming lady for the past two years. It’s been an amazing ride that I’d never thought I’d go on. I’ve gotten to play in Chicago, Milwaukee, Fargo, Cedar Rapids, Duluth, and even Mexico along with multiple venues around our very own Twin Cities. I’ve learned a lot about what being in a band means and it’s an experience I’ll never forget. But the theater beckons, and I’m going to foolishly follow its call (because let’s face it, there’s no career for me in the theater world what with me being 30 and just starting out, but hey! There’s no time like the present.).

 I’ll miss you Curls! But that’s not to say I won’t try to catch a show or even step in to back up Court when I’m able. Being in a sex band is the last thing I thought I’d do, but it’s ironically brought me closer to the thing I wanted all along by giving me the confidence to get up on stage and entertain the masses. Thanks for everything, Curls!

“O Tis tragedy for me to abandon sex band, but hark! My way is paved in fortunes found on the stage.” –Not Shakespeare 

SO. Come out tonight and join us in wishing Veldie well.  We’d love to see you. Show starts at 7:30 at Comedy Corner Underground (here’s all the details), it’s $13 (SO amazingly worth it – if you’ve never seen a Pundamonium show – it’s a show of comedians making up puns on the spot on categories they’re given moments before they take the stage. And it just ends up being amazingly hilarious).

VELDIE DON’T GO!

We Should Be The Next Big Thing (according to this blog)

Well, this is exciting.  I didn’t even need my eponymous Google alert since a Facebook friend posted it on my wall:  The Curls were voted one of “24 Local Artists That Aren’t the Next Big Thing – But Totally Should Be” on a blog I had never heard of before, Newscastic. But, hey, who cares!  That’s pretty rad.

I picked this most flattering screenshot.

I picked this most flattering screenshot.

Thanks, Newscastic!

 

SUPPORT THIS KICKSTARTER that isn’t ours! (It’s our director, Cristi’s!)

Hey Curlfriends! You have probably enjoyed our most recent music videos, “Hey, Joe Biden!” and/or “When Baby Becomes Legal.” No? Well… keep reading. I’ll put them at the bottom of this page. Or just click on the titles above.

Seriously, you haven’t seen the videos, yet you’re reading our blog?

ANYWAY. Both these videos were directed by Cristi Rumpza at Girls Aren’t Funny Productions. She did an amazing job, so much so that she’s directing a THIRD video of ours, “In Public,” which will be released in the next month or two.

BUT HERE’S WHAT I REALLY WANT TO TELL YOU ABOUT: Cristi and her partner-in-crime, Emily Schmidt (who wrote me a part in her 2013 Fringe play “The Education Of Murray Sanderson“), are making a film. It’s a 30-minute short film set against the backdrop of the Cranberry Festival in Stone Lake, Wisconsin.  Here’s the synopsis:

CROSS STITCH is a character-driven dark comedy set at Stone Lake, Wisconsin’s famous annual Cranberry Festival. How far will one woman go to win the festival’s Bake-Off? Can she maintain her reputation in this tiny lakefront town? How many products can be made from cranberries?  

And they’re doing a Kickstarter to raise funds and you should back their project.

WHY?

Because I, Courtney McLean, have worked with both of these ladies and they are:

- COMMITTED. (not like, in an asylum) These ladies are amazingly dedicated workers; they channel my stoner-flakiness into end-products that have wooed audiences near and far, live and internet.

- FUNNY. Emily’s knack for quick-witted, snappy, and laugh-a-minute dialogue (if I may use ALL the cliches) outpaces many writers with stable writing jobs today. Cristi’s penchant for drawing the most hilarious visuals from words placed in front of her is blatantly apparent in both our most recent music videos, and there are layers and layers of gorgeous, thoughtful hilarity.

- FEMINIST. Both Emily and Cristi take women’s place in comedy and film seriously, but with the healthy helping of FUN that is not missing from recent female-driven comedy projects like “Bridesmaids.” Strong female characters are at the forefront of Emily and Cristi’s endeavors, and Cross Stitch is no different. I hope you will consider backing Emily & Cristi’s Kickstarter. They have 11 days left, and only $3000 of their goal left to go! At this point, every little bit helps, seriously.

Thank you for your support!

PS – these are the videos Cristi has directed for us!

“This One’s For Dad” AVAILABLE NOW!

Curlfriends! In case you’ve been too wrapped up in your own lives to notice what’s happening over in this filthy corner of the internet, we released our album 6 days ago.

I’ve been too wrapped up in my life to post about it!  But here you go… you can click on the picture and it’ll take you right to our iTunes page where you can buy it digitally there.

"This One's For Dad" - Cover art by Sarah Hedlund Illustration - http://cargocollective.com/sarahhedlund

Cover art by Sarah Hedlund Illustration – http://cargocollective.com/sarahhedlund

 

BUT(t) – if you are a person of the 90’s, like me (obviously), you may want the physical, tangible, tactile, and other words for touch, copy in your greezy hands.

Also, DO YOU LOVE SECRET TRACKS?  Because we’ve got TWO! Although, if you buy the actual CD, do be warned… my bonehead “first CD” move (even though it’s technically my 2nd) was making a “secret” track 69 (person of the 90’s) and making tracks 18 – 68 all seven second blank tracks.

But we don’t just listen to CDs anymore, do we? Except maybe our cars, because now my artist friends who can afford new cars have at least stepped it up to cars with CD players as standard.  But, no, we don’t just pop a CD on the player (also except certain exes I know that insist on keeping their 100-disc changer out on display instead of just consolidating that shizz to an iPod), we import.

So, you either import tracks 18-68 and select all and delete, which I think is the best option, or you can just uncheck them upon importing. I don’t know. I’m sure it’s easier than I think it is. I literally have not bothered to even check out how it’s done because I am that much a person of the 90’s.

The 90’s ARE back though, so…

ANYWAY.  You can buy the physical CD here or the digital album here.  You don’t get the secret tracks with the digital album or the pictures inside and stuff, but you do get saved hassle.  Hehe.

THANK YOU to everyone that’s bought a copy so far.  I really hope you’re loving it!