Committee Doc Trunk Show in San Francisco, November 30th.

Committee Invite 2018 Nov 30 - FINAL2

On Friday November 30th, we’re presenting a show and tell of choice material from our project The Committee: A Secret History of American Comedy in San Francisco. The Committee Doc Trunk Show will include a display of photos and poster art by Jerry Wainwright & Howard Hesseman and John Byrne Cooke and a slide show and silent film roll featuring favorite finds from our multi-year deep dive into The Committee, their comedy, and their influence.

This is a casual “happy hour”-style event for supporters of our doc and friends of The Committee, and if you are in the Bay Area, we hope you can come by. The event takes place in the bar at PianoFight, our favorite independent theater and bar megaplex. PianoFight has a full dinner menu and an evening of performances (we recommend Fuck Tinder if you want to make a night of it). Max Chanowitz, Jazz Banshee will be ticking the ivories all night long. See you there or see you soon!


Committee Doc Trunk Show
With Sam Shaw and Jamie Wright
Friday Nov 30th
6:30pm
PianoFight, 144 Taylor, San Francisco

Barbaric Intrusion

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A Herbert Gold story in the March 1970 issue of Holiday magazine features a portrait of a rare Scott Beach-directed Committee cast.

“So far [The Committee’s] great achievement – due partly to talent and partly to San Francisco tolerance – has been to survive without silicone for nearly a decade in its handsome cabaret in the topless playground.”

Pictured: Dan Barrows, Kertia Thomas, Bruce Mackey, Julie Payne, Scott Beach, David Ogden Stiers, Ruth Silveira, and Jim Cranna.

Spring Update

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Since we last checked in, much has been accomplished. We’re bearing down on our fundraising, editing our first episode (1963-66), lining up our next interviews, and more.

We are fully ensconced in our headquarters – the incubator program at Ninth Street Independent Film Center in San Francisco. The space accommodates three workstations, a projection screen, and centralized storage for our growing digital and physical archive of Committee-related materials. We also have access to a 60-seat screening room which we used just this month for a viewing of Jerry Wainwright’s photography archives with Jerry’s family & interested parties. We love it here.

In the coming months we’ll host an office-warming, listening parties and screenings to support our vision of the episodic documentary The Committee: A Secret History of American Comedy. Stay tuned.

Interested and able parties can now support our work with a tax-deductible donation of cash, stock, or securities via our fiscal sponsor SFFILM. Our 2013 Kickstarter funds – which paid for most of our 30 + interviews – have been depleted, so we’re fortunate to have SFFILM as a partner as we begin a new round of fundraising.

Since January we’ve raised more than $10,000 in new funds, including a significant boost from the family of Committee friend and investor Maxwell Myers. We are looking to bulk up our production team, as well as our army of patrons. Please consider spreading the word about our project. We are confident in the demand for The Committee’s story, and we will pitch this project to anyone, anywhere.

Here are some more highlights from the last few months:

  • We interviewed Ronnie Davis at his San Francisco home in February. Ronnie was a great host and subject, and gave us a very well-argued contrarian point of view regarding improvisational theater (and much more).
  • We interviewed Kathy Lerner, Alan’s secretary and ex-wife of cast member Howard Hesseman. Kathy was forthcoming about the position of women in the counterculture, giving us an important point of view to consider in the #MeToo era and a lot of think about.
  • We are finishing integrating new project management tools that are further organizing and tracking our work and allowing us to fold in volunteers and new team members into our project. This is a huge help in ensuring that we don’t lose track of the hundreds of archive elements and many investigative threads that we’ve discovered since we started.
  • We uncovered a new piece of gold: The Marin County Medical Society-produced, Sid Davis Productions-distributed 18 minute educational short Too Tough to Care (1964). This hilarious piece of satire captures original Committe castmembers Scott Beach, Larry Hankin, Hamilton Camp, Dick Stahl, and Garry Goodrow, within two years of their arrival to San Francisco. This piece is smart, well-performed, and totally prescient, considering the tobacco-related lawsuits of the generations that followed. Enjoy.

Thanks for your interest in The Committee: A Secret History of American Comedy. We are always on the hunt for archival material – home movies, audio tape, print ads, whatever. If you’re sitting on something that might be valuable to our story, we’d like to see it. Hit us up!

Jamie Wright and Sam Shaw

jamie@lekkermedia.com
sam@lekkermedia.com

 

David Ogden Stiers.

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There was a lot we wanted to ask David Ogden Stiers about a wide range of subjects.

David Ogden Stiers was approached twice by Alan Myerson to join The Committee, until he finally signed on in the summer of 1967, performing alongside Don Sturdy at The Committee Theater (“America Hurrah”, directed by Joe Chaikin) and then with the revue players at 622 Montgomery. 1967-68 was a peak transition year for The Committee, when the company was preparing to open up a run at The Tiffany in Los Angeles while maintaining two theaters in San Francisco and expanding its workshop program.

Stiers performed in two Del Close-directed shows at 622 Broadway in late 1967 and early 1968 and it’s a joy to imagine Stiers arriving at Juilliard with an understanding of the earliest beginnings of longform improvisation (The Committee’s fall ‘67 show included a Harold) and the experience of playing with Committee performers old and new, from Garry Goodrow to Gary Austin.

He flew east for Juilliard in 1968, but not before joining in on the fun at The Committee’s June Satirathon, which featured pretty much everybody. That Satirathon was recorded in full, and maybe someday we’ll find a full tape and hear him improvise, or even ask for suggestions. For now, we’ll settle with this gorgeous picture of David Ogden Stiers from that night, shot by the late John Byrne Cooke. RIP.