Posts Tagged ‘Art Hinty’

Art Appreciation

October 30, 2013

Sunday October 27th, 2013 – Springfield, IL/Madison, WI

I took a detour home from Springfield, IL today and drove up to Madison, WI to hang out with my friend Art Hinty. Art is a seasoned sportswriter by trade, and has an extremely creative mind. He has done standup comedy for years, and was part of Doug Stanhope’s inner circle for a while.

Like me, Art is originally from Milwaukee. He moved to the suburb of Sussex as a kid, but it’s not all that far from the city so he is very familiar with all things local. He totally gets where I am trying to go with my “Schlitz Happened!” show, and I wanted to pick his brain for my next run.

He’s already been very helpful with input, and I give him total credit. He’s the one that thought of the tag line “An Old Milwaukee Blatz from the Pabst” after I told him what my title was. He’s the perfect sounding board to bounce ideas off of, because he gets both comedy and local flavor.

Art came out to see the show when I was at Northern Lights Theatre at Potawatomi Casino last April, and took the time to write out a detailed three page critique and make suggestions of how I could grow it into a local hit. He was dead on with his observations, and I appreciate his interest.

I never thought I was smart enough to pull this project off by myself. I knew going in I’d need plenty of help and support, and I’ve gotten it from a lot of talented people. Vicki Quade of “Late Night Catechism” and many other successful plays has been very supportive, and she drove up in April from Chicago to not only see the show but bring a friend with clout who could help sell it.

Bob Rech and the entire staff at Northern Lights Theatre have been unbelievably supportive, as has Joe San Felippo from Bonkerz Comedy Clubs. He books the comedy shows in the theatre on Saturday nights, and gave me the thumbs up for the trial run in April. I’m grateful to everybody.

I’m going to need a lot more help and support, but I feel supremely confident that it will come. I have another run set to go in December, and I’m gearing up to make major improvements. I am still in the very beginning stages, and smart decisions need to be made as the show gets rolling.

Eventually I want to have local corporate sponsorship and a line of merchandise to sell, but for now I need to keep fleshing out the show and making it solid. I experimented a lot in April, and I also learned a lot. The audiences were there, and they got what I was talking about. That’s great, but now I need to take it to the next level and craft an actual set show that I can polish for years.

Art is the perfect choice to consult for this, and I bought him dinner at Longhorn Steak House as appreciation not only for his time and ideas, but for a really nice thing he did for me years ago when I was going to do my appearance on the Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on CBS TV. He passed the hat and asked local comedians to donate for my trip to LA. What a sweet gesture.

Getting money out of comedians for anything is nothing short of miraculous, and I never forgot how kind it was for him to do that. Art is a wonderful and talented person, and that alone made it worth my trip to thank him for doing that. As an added bonus, we watched the Packers stomp the purple out of the nefarious Minnesota Vikings and that was the perfect way to end the day. Steak and football can never go wrong, nor can comedy and friendship.

Art Hinty - sports writer, comedian, creative sounding board

Art Hinty – sports writer, comedian and creative sounding board


A Team Scheme

May 1, 2013

Tuesday April 30th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL

   I haven’t been able to stop thinking about ‘Schlitz Happened!’ since Saturday night. I thought I could let it sit until fall, but that’s not going to be the case at all. There are too many details to be looked after, and even though I won’t do any performances for a while I still need to improve on every aspect of it on stage and off. I’m not going to let myself flub this project like I have others.

   There was a very nice build throughout the entire month of April, but I guarantee the next time it runs I’ll have it at a much higher level in every facet. I have some good people on my team that I know will have input I can use to keep polishing this chunk of raw coal into a shiny diamond.

   In addition to the people I already thanked, I forgot to mention others like Todd Hunt who was kind enough to offer to listen to the recordings of my first shows and make notes. Todd’s insights are always welcomed, and I’m sure his input will take root immediately. That’s just one source.

   Art Hinty came out to the final show this last Saturday, and he’s as sharp as they come when it comes to tweaking and punching up existing ideas. He’s a newspaper reporter by trade, and he’s been a great source of ideas and realistic input on most of the stunts I’ve tried to pull off of late.

   Art has a real grasp of the real world, and he’s another one I listen to with reverence. He’ll put a heaping ladle full of solid ideas into the stew pot, and he already has. We went out to eat after the last show, and he gave me the thumbs up as far as a show concept but also loaded me down with some useful structure details from a writer’s viewpoint and he was dead on with his notes.

   Mark Fenske is another friend that took time to come up from Chicago to see the show. He has lived in L.A. for years, and did some acting as well as standup comedy. He went to school to be a director, and he sat through two shows and made some notes as well. I’ll take all I can from all of these sources, and also keep making my own notes as I go. I already feel a lot of positive growth.

   Then there’s the off stage side of it. I need to keep working with Mark Filwett on website stuff, as content creation is always crucial. I’ll need to create products too, and also keep reading up on all things older Milwaukee so I can expand what I already have going. This will also take work.

   I don’t mind working, but my question is what’s the right work to be doing at a given time? It’s always a time management issue, and I don’t want to waste a second this late into the game. I am always biting off more than I can chew, so I’ll either need to start chewing or spit something out.

   I also need to start delegating a whole lot more or I’ll never get anywhere with anything. I just can’t do everything, and I’m proving that every day. Making myself the project leader of several teams is the way to go, and that’s what I’m going to do. There’s no way I can do it all by myself.

   As of now, ‘Team Schlitz’ is operating pretty smoothly. I have the people I need in place to get what I need for the immediate future, and I have a clear idea of who I need to engage after that to keep things moving. If I didn’t have so much other stuff going, I’m sure I’d be able to pull it off.

   The trick now is to get all the teams running like this, but I’m not there by a long shot. I have a lot of scattered and half baked projects that could be working smoothly but just aren’t because of my admitted lack of focus. I do believe this is all doable though, and it’s a matter of creating one big master plan with a lot of little mini plans woven in. It won’t be easy, but what in life ever is?

Detail Disoriented

May 7, 2010

Wednesday May 5th, 2010 – Milwaukee, WI

Up to Milwaukee today to keep pecking at that egg shell. I have a big job ahead with all that needs to be done to get this one man show up and running from just an idea. I have a lot of details to look after, and that’s my weakest trait. If nothing else, I’ll learn something and improve along the way. Good thing I’ve given myself a few months to do all of this.

Today’s adventure started out with a big mistake. I was supposed to have lunch with my friend Tom Skibosh, former P.R. director of the Milwaukee Brewers. I wanted to go over several aspects of all this with him, and he graciously agreed to meet up to hash it all out.

For whatever reason, we got our times mixed up and I was late and missed him entirely. I don’t remember the last time that’s happened with anyone and I felt like a total stooge’s weenie. I didn’t have a cell number for him and I didn’t confirm the day before like usual.

I just assumed we’d be ok and everything would work out. Wrong. I blew a few details right there, and I’m already learning I need to improve. It’s no big deal, and Sky is a great guy and wasn’t upset at all. We’ll reschedule, and next time I’ll take care of business a lot better. I sat and ate my Chinese buffet alone and planned the rest of my day’s direction.

I had two scheduled appointments to see potential venues to perform the show. I’m not used to making appointments to do shows, so the whole process seems odd. I looked over the venues and both are small theatres that should work very well…IF people show up.

That’s one gigantic enormous humongous ‘if‘. I’ll need to put up posters, take out ads and work my list. Oops. Correction. First I’ll need to CREATE a poster, get them printed, then WRITE an ad, and BUILD a ‘list’. Then, I can think about getting the show running.

I had no delusions about any of this when I had the idea. I know it will be a ton of work, but I’m up for the challenge. Sponsorship would be great, as would publicity, but that’s a building process just like the rest of it. I have some past experience from my time spent as a pro wrestling promoter, even though that was many years ago. The process is the same.

I took that business and was able to pop it up a notch from where it always was. I put all my energy into getting publicity and creating an image for the brand and it totally worked. Again, the hard part was the details like getting the actual ring set up and then taken down after the shows. Comedy sure has a lot of advantages. All I really need is a microphone.

Who knows if these venues are right for what I’m doing, but I now have the connection with both owners and will see how it pans out. Obviously, they’d get business too so they want this to work so we can all make a buck. It’s a different dynamic than comedy clubs.

I had dinner with another friend Art Hinty. He’s promoted a few of his own shows and I know he knows the local scene these days a lot better than I do. By the time I got home it was 10pm and I’d put in a solid twelve hour day. Whoever said show business was easy?