Happy Birthday Lenny Bruce!

Tomorrow is legendary comedian/social critic Lenny Bruce‘s birthday. Had Bruce not died in 1966 of “acute morphine poisoning caused by accidental overdose” in his home in the Hollywood Hills, he would be celebrating his 86th birthday. Despite his success, Bruce led a tortured life and he used comedy as an outlet for his frustrations with, not only his personal life, but with American culture in general.

He had good reason to be frustrated, his performances often ended with him being taken away in handcuffs by police officers who deemed his comedic style obscene and offensive. Social criticism and obscenities are commonplace amongst today’s stand-up comedians, but this is due to the pioneering work of Lenny Bruce and the multiple injustices that he was forced to endure. It’s clear when one looks at comedians before Bruce and after. Just compare Bob Hope or Bob Newhart to say Richard Pryor or George Carlin. The difference is night and day and neither Pryor or Carlin  would have achieved the level of success that they did, without Lenny Bruce blazing the trail for them. He pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable and challenged his audiences to think about the world around them and essentially changed the face of stand-up for the latter half of the twentieth century. Today, tons of comedians use risqué language, outlandish behavior and controversial subject matter to drive their material. They don’t have to rely on what’s “safe” or predictable, they can push the boundaries and every one of those comedians owes something to Lenny Bruce.
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Comedy >

TONIGHT in Seattle: Communicating with the Press: A Workshop for Visual Artists featuring Jen Graves

Promotion can be challenging. Whether you’re a band, club, music festival, local theater, derby league or food tour, it can be hard to stand out amongst the thousands of events and organizations that take place in any given city during any given week. Usually independent producers don’t have the cash to spend on a publicist or a spendy ad campaign so getting the attention of the media may be your only chance to get a buzz around your event.
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News >

SxSeattle Kickoff Party!!

We love to support the music community, and have some awesome plans for SXSW this year. I’m particularly excited about our involvement with the SxSeattle group, which helps Seattle artists get an audience down in Austin.

Playing at SXSW can be instrumental in an artists’ career – being in front of the right audience can lead to record deals, agent relationships, and perhaps the best part, new fans! It’s great exposure.

Each year, SxSeattle throws a party in Austin to showcase some of the best bands from our hometown. Before the conference, there’s also a local event to kick-off the fun and help raise funds for the trip to Austin. Brown Paper Tickets is proud to be a co-sponsor of all the fun down in Texas, and I’m a member of the planning committee for SxSeattle. Here’s more about what we have planned:
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Music >

BPT’s Favorite Venues: The Can Can

In the heart of the Pike Place Market, here in Seattle, we’re lucky enough to have a little gem of a nightclub called the The Can Can a subterranean cabaret that’s become one of the most popular night-life destinations in town.

The Can Can’s aesthetic is steeped in Moulin Rouge-era Paris but maintains a modern edge. Descending into the basement night-club visitors anticipate a show heavy on nostalgic naughtiness. However, The Castaways, the Can Can’s in-house dance troupe, are not retro bump and grinders. These guys and gals perform burlesque with a edgy, surreal twist. My band has performed with them quite often and they constantly blow me away with their aggressive, high-energy, ultra-sexy dance moves. Always heavy on quirk and humor, they manage to trick audiences into watching modern dance by disguising it as a burlesque show.
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Arts >