If revolution isn't what's in store, how can you care anymore?

HUGE build blog: Waiting

The boring updates are as follows:

The drywall guy is STILL going.  The Minneapolis electrical inspector just didn’t show for the inspection last week, which pushed everyone else back as well.  The wall guy was waiting for the inspector so he can close the walls, the electricians are waiting for the inspector and the wall guy, the plumber is waiting for the walls, tile and cement to dry, the cement guy was waiting for the wall guy to be done in the bathrooms so he didn’t make tracks in the new concrete – and all of them are waiting to find out what’s next.

Except the drywall guy, who is just waiting for the cement and the drywall mud to dry.

This week I have plenty to do in the meantime, which is better than just having to be there and trying to stay out of the way all day.

The stage is now handicapped accessible with a spiffy new ramp and some steps.  The tech booth now has the raised floor which allows the technician to literally (as opposed to psychologically) look down over everyone.  The dumpster was dropped off and filled before the sun came up, with another 2 dumpsters worth of scrap wood and drywall to go.  Now I’m waiting for it to be picked up.

In the meantime, the city of Minneapolis suddenly realized that they never had their mechanical reviewer sign off on our plans before giving us a building permit so now we have to scramble to get a mechanical engineer over to the space to certify that we meet the fresh air requirements for an assembly space – because we would hate to run out of air in the middle of a show.  Although that would provide an incredible amount of realism to the Mustache Rangers’ set….anyway.

I don’t know what day it is anymore.  It’s the side-effect of not having a “job” and all that.

I know that tomorrow the electricians are finally coming back and I am picking up the paint that will eventually adorn the lobby walls and possibly tiling the bathroom (depending on the drying of the walls) and sealing up the basement walls between our space and the landlord’s space – trying to get word back on what exactly we can get away with for one of those artsy bike racks and trying to coordinate some strong arms to unload the metal doors that are being delivered next week while I am out of town.

Show X has one more week at the Bryant Lake Bowl and I remain optimistic that it will move over to HUGE without a break and soon my blogging will be all about the fun of running shows instead of the slow march that is construction.

I cannot wait.

Our struggle still feels wonderful most days

“This shouldn’t hurt…but you might feel a slight discomfort”

We are struggling to clear the gap right now, today I am pushing out our continued effort to raise funds via the member campaign. I wish I didn’t have to badger the people I know for money and could just keep pushing out optimistic updates on how awesome this is going to be, but this is the uncomfortable part of my job.

I suspect anyone reading this blog has already looked at the links if they are going to but today I’m asking everyone (puts on Gary Oldman crazy…EVVVVERYYYOONNNEEE!!!) to pass this on to someone.

We have reached our audiences, performers, volunteers and loyal supporters as well as we can and what we need now is to extend the reach of our efforts rather than keep asking for more from the same people….not that we will turn down more support from the same people, mind you.

If you are so inclined, please consider sending this on to one or two people that might be able to give or might know someone that could. It makes a massive difference in the future of HUGE.

Humbly, I thank you all.


Just a little thought and a lot of feeling

Here it is, a little time to sit down and type before the real insanity takes hold – tomorrow morning at 7am the build officially begins in the space with the delivery and assembly of the lobby walls and the restroom plumbing.  I never thought I would be so excited about those two things.

We had another Overheard in Minneapolis rehearsal last night on the stage (it’s now actually “a stage” instead of “a box”) and it reminded me that I wanted to take a few minutes before this picks up any more speed and post some updates on what we’ve done and what is still in front of us.

The space hasn’t been inactive this entire time if we could help it – trying to get things done that we could accomplish without the builders and permits helped pare down the list of stuff we will have to worry about later but no matter how much you prep it seems there’s no avoiding the last-minute crush of the whole project slamming into the last couple weeks, days or hours.


Opening doors and closing curtains

Clearing the gap ::

This weekend, HUGE Theater enters scary territory.  This Sunday marks the final Improv A Go Go at the Brave New Workshop, our home for more than 8 years, and the new space has yet to open.  In fact the new space is yet to be completed.

We have now come to that gap that I have long feared – between the point of no turning back and the day we open our doors.

Honestly, we passed the point of making sense to turn around long ago when we signed the lease and began bleeding money into this building.  Sure, we could stop now and take the loss of money and credibility but the shows themselves and the comfortable status quo would remain largely unchanged.   Somehow the change to the environment seems so much more irreversible than something as fleeting as money.

The other scary factor is just the unknown – after tonight I am not able to say for certain when the next Improv A Go Go is, something that hasn’t happened in our long history.  We are taking submissions for the Improv Festival to happen in a venue that doesn’t exist yet.  I am still keeping my fingers crossed that if we throw all these things into the air, we can somehow pull off building a place for them to land…maybe on the second bounce.  That’s an unsettling metaphor.

In a few minutes I’m off to the open house to let everyone come see the space – I hope everyone does

Then off to take the familiar stage that has been the home of the IAGG, from which all of this has grown.

A Tour of HUGE Theater

If you’d like to see how the space looks right now, here’s a little video tour featuring Butch Roy!

Take in what we are taking on

Updates on the HUGE build – it’s been a while since I’ve posted and while things with the city and permits don’t feel like they’ve moved at all we’ve actually gotten quite a bit accomplished for a small, scrappy little company with lots of help from those around us.  The Theater has become what I am eating, sleeping and breathing and almost the only thing I talk about these days so it’s easy to forget that not everyone knows where we are and what is going on.  Some highlights…

We have a stage – By that I mean we have a large box-like platform in the corner of the building which looks very much like a stage but is not secured to the structure itself…because that would be a stage….which would require a permit to build.

We have a BOX just doesn’t sound the same or have the same connotation.  George came up from Mankato with a truckload of tools and did most of the build himself and still managed to make it home before dawn.  You should all thank him.

We are.


The Pushback

A 30 mile estimation (that would be as the crow flies) to the nearest filling station…dangerous but worth a try

The shell of a building is slowly turning into a theater – the walls are primed and measurements have been taken, the city has moved our stack of papers from one desk to the next … soon enough we will no longer have to refer to it as “the old Lava Lounge building” and we will be filling the walls and space with laughs and fun.   The whole thing is really amazing to see from the inside and all the things that I used to worry about and allow to hold up the process (like how will we pay for every little thing) are now exciting and I can’t wait to take them on.

It’s a great way to feel when going to work every day.


Baby Steps!

I am writing to you from inside the HUGE Theater space, because Comcast stopped by today to install internet and phone, hooray!!

We’re just waiting for some final details with the city this week and then construction will start in earnest.  Butch has been doing the little things you can do to get ready – taking down lighting fixtures, priming the walls, removing the stylish sheet metal from what were the Lava Lounge dressing rooms, by where the bathrooms will be. Fortuitously, there just happen to be huge dry erase boards on the wall which are helping us organize this merry adventure.

Nels met the beat cop and I waved at the mailman, and I’ve already decided it’s financially dangerous to be this close to Fuji-Ya.  It’s starting to feel like home.

Looking for Technics turntables to Gramophones…

Intermittent build blogging:: the waiting continues

As mentioned in the first entry, we’re spending every free second in August trying to raise money for this insane project – and we’ve been incredibly lucky and overwhelmed by the support we’ve gotten so far.  Which means approaching people that have been long-time supporters and in most cases have already given us something and asking for all we can get.  A special mention is in order –


Shelter Architecture:  These. Guys. Kick. Ass.*

Not only are they donating design services to HUGE as we announced in March but since we’ve locked down the space they’ve generously given us their time and expertise in all things from handicapped accessibility to fire codes and sound suppression to help us create the coolest theater we can AND get it approved by the city for the September build.  They are creating our building plans  and some 3D models we hope to be able to post images from soon.  It all adds up to a great deal of their time and talent and we would not be anywhere near as ready were it not for them.

I don’t know how many of our supporters or readers of this blog are in a position to build a house or hire an architect these days but trying to drum up some business for them in trade for everything they’re giving us is the very least we can do.  They specialize in energy-efficient and sustainable design, they consistently turn out amazing ideas and are obviously just good people – support them.

Send them your business, or your friends’ business, or even just your friends.  They are awesome.

* Not the official tag line of Shelter Architecture…but it could be.  I also lobbied for “We build your house from the ground up…because the other way is impossible”

Build Blog 1

It’s been just over a week since we signed the lease and the space became “our” space and since then HUGE has been taking up a great deal of my conscious time (as well as my more stressful nightmares) – getting paperwork filled out, doing press interviews, getting price quotes, looking for sponsors and generally trying to squeeze money out of the universe.  But the space itself is still sitting there, unchanged, while it feels like everything is changing around and because of it.

I got a chance to go in and just get some work done in the space drawing my electrical diagrams and there was a quiet shift from “that space” to “our space” in my brain.  It was nice to just get in, set up my stuff on the floor and use the space as an office for a minute.  It felt good.  It felt like a place I want to come every day and work.  I hope that proves to be the case.

In terms of building, we aren’t doing much right now – we don’t actually take possession of the building until September but I have limited access to the inside and so far have discovered that we’ll need much less electrical work than previously thought!  That’s a big relief as well as a nice hefty savings thanks to the Lava Lounge stringing power outlets in the ceiling trusses.  Score.

Right now this is our starting point:

and this is our goal:

It doesn’t actually seem that insane a project, once we can get started.

Good thing I have plenty to keep me busy while we wait.