Laugh It Off- in the Chico News-Tribune

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Laugh it off
The trial-and-error comedy of Virginia Jones

By Robin Bacior

This article was published on 04.06.17.

Virginia Jones, one of 50 comedians coming to the Chico Comedy Festival.
PHOTO COURTESY OF VIRGINIA JONES
Preview:
Chico Comedy Festival, April 8-9.
April 8: Early evening shows, 8-10 p.m., at Duffy’s Tavern, LaRocca Tasting Room, B Street Public House, Has Beans and Trucker. Late-night shows, 10 p.m., at The Pageant and Blue Room theatres.
April 9: Headliner show at Sierra Nevada Big Room, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: Free to $20 (depending on event)
More info at www.standupsantacruz.com

The life of a comedian can be glamorous, but often it’s far from that. Lately, comedians have started to shed some mainstream light on the latter reality, such as Mike Birbiglia in his film Don’t Think Twice or Pete Holmes and his new HBO series, Crashing, both centering around how endlessly challenging it can be to tell jokes for a living.

“I had a conversation with a musician friend of mine a couple years ago,” said comedian Virginia Jones during a recent phone interview. “He said, ‘You know, when you’re playing music at a bar, people are at least gonna clap, they’re going to do something in between songs. And when you’re doing comedy at a bar, you not only need a response, but a positive response a couple times a minute.’”

Jones, originally from Texas, got her start doing comedy in Portland in 2006.

“It had always been a bucket-list thing,” Jones said. “For a year I just wrote down anything that I’ve ever said that I thought was funny, and then tried to edit that down. It was a really long process.”

She now lives in L.A. (where she’s been since 2012). The move allowed Jones the opportunity to sharpen her skills in one of the industry’s hubs, and a more competitive community.

“I felt so much truth in La La Land: [Emma Stone’s character] puts everything into one show and nobody shows up and it breaks her heart,” Jones said. “If you do that times 600, that’s what doing stand-up in L.A. feels like. I knew that struggle: Something you do resonates with someone and you don’t even know why, and you didn’t know why the other things don’t work. It’s maddening.”

Jones delivers jokes with slow, deadpan ease, often with a confessional tone. She has toured the West Coast several times, including performances at Portland’s Bridgetown and All Jane comedy festival
s, and the San Francisco Comedy Competition (in which she was a semi-finalist in 2013).

“Stand-up is where my heart is. It’s an art form that I’ve always had a lot of passion for, and I’m out here doing it,” Jones said. “If I do get national recognition, if I ever get to headline clubs on the road, no matter what happens I know that I’ve really worked on my craft and really committed to it, and that’s a really good feeling.”

After she performs at the Chico Comedy Festival (doing sets at Duffy’s Tavern, LaRocca Tasting Room and the Naked Lounge on April 8, and at Sierra Nevada Big Room on April 9), Jones will return to L.A., where she’ll continue her pursuit. It’s not always easy, but at the very least, it’s comical.

“In real life, Pete Holmes lives in my neighborhood,” Jones said. “On Saturday night, I was doing a show—I have a nightclub act where I’m a goth girl and sing songs. Anyway, I’m going to the show and I’ve got a big pink wig on, and the one white Marilyn Manson contact in, and I’m driving down the street and I kind of notice this guy who’s wearing a hoodie that’s pulled all the way around his face. He’s got it all closed up like a kid. I realize it’s Pete Holmes and he’s trying to go incognito, and I stare at him and he’s staring at me and I thought, ‘No, I’m not the weirdo; Pete, you are the weirdo. Nobody does that with their hoodie.’ That’s L.A. life.”

I, Sexbot!

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The next generation of interactive sex robot will be available starting next year. New tech includes warm skin and warm sex organs, the ability to have simple conversations and to have simulated orgasms, something that is hardwired as sexy and desirable for men. And it’s scaring the crap out of us.


Sexy female robot bite lips portrait artificial intelligenceWe’re so worried about it that there’s already a website about the campaign against sex robots, (campaignagainstsexrobots.org). There’s also an international meeting taking place in London in December promoting and exploring the problems and benefits of sex and love with robots.

We’re so worried that over and over articles go up saying “Holy crap sexbots!”

What is it that we are we afraid of?

We’re afraid of men becoming accustomed to, or preferring, asymmetrical relationships with a robot, who is never in a bad mood or busy or tired, and who never rejects them. A sex robot is always up for anything. How will this affect men’s relationships with real women? We’re afraid that sex robot use will make men forget about consent– a sex robot has no boundaries and doesn’t say no.

And the proposed user is universally male- just as the existing sex doll market is aimed at straight men. There are male dolls for gay male customers, but the sex doll market is not a big one for straight women, just as there isn’t a huge market for straight male prostitutes.

We’re afraid that sex with a perfect, endlessly pleasing, endlessly servile, endlessly sexy robot will replace sex between humans, eventually reducing our birth rate.

We’re afraid about our expensive sex robots getting out of date- imagine how embarrassing it’ll be when your friend’s new-fangled robot can speak in four languages and flutter her eyelashes and your robot can only moan and point at stuff!

We’re afraid of the end of human intimacy, that men will fall in love with sex robots. We’re afraid that men will become addicted, never leaving their house, ordering all of their groceries online and filling their days and nights with computer games and dirty robots. We’ll be a world of single people, men at home with their sex robots, and women making and sharing increasingly intricate Pinterest pages and Etsy crafts.

Women are afraid of being jealous of sex robots, who don’t gain weight or sweat or have body hair, unless you have requested some on the order form.

The fact is, technology has always been scary in the bedroom. Vibrators were originally developed as an easy way for doctors to give women orgasms as treatment for “hysteria”, which was medical talk for women being stressed out by a life of responsibilities without the release of orgasms, because their spouses didn’t believe women could have them. The vibrator has existed since the 19th century, and men still regard them with suspicion, worried that women prefer them to sex with a partner, instead of being used along with or in the absence of a partner. I think sex robots will be much the same- no matter how good they get, they won’t be the same as sex with a person. When we say people are “in love” with their sex robots, that’s the fallacy. They may enjoy their experience, but it’s not love. I like my vibrator, but it’s a tool. I don’t connect with it. Even if it was attached to the Hugh Jackman RealDoll I have been asking the RealDoll company to send me as sponsorship for advertising, I wouldn’t love it. I don’t care if silicon Hugh Jackman has an orgasm or experiences pleasure, and I can’t connect or bond with him, and that’s a big part of having sex with another person.  There is no eye contact with the Hugh Jackman RealDoll, who also doesn’t exist, because I just made him up.  The smell of another person, the feel of their touch, the look in their eyes, the condition of being desired by another person– these won’t be replaced.

When we examine these fears for a second, and are rational, we can say: there will be outlier men who are so challenged and frustrated with human relationships that they will purchase sex robots and only interact with them. But they will always be a minority.

Sex robots could be a practical comfort on long trips, during space exploration, during breakups or between relationships, or when you are otherwise unable to be with a partner, but to say that all men want from relationships is subordinate sex is to grossly oversimplify what relationships are. To believe that sex equals love is childish. Having a realistic sex robot doesn’t stave off loneliness. Like legalized weed won’t make for a world of marijuana abuse, sex robots will only add to the human sexual experience, not replace it.

– See more at: http://www.lovetv.co/i-sexbot/2/#sthash.IMVtii6G.dpuf

Practical Ghost Story- From HAUNTED, hosted by the amazing Rebecca Leib

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This is a real ghost story from Portland, OR.  I used to have a house there, and it was in a nice neighborhood, like, there was a brunch place in walking distance where they’d just put a basket of scones on the table when you sat down.  Just put ‘em there.  And when you got them scones, you’d need ‘em, cos you’d been standing outside for an hour, holding a cold coffee and a newspaper.  Technically, you coulda took a scone and left, but that’s against Brunch Code.  Before it was Fancy Brunch Place, it was an old bar where they would fry something that was technically breakfast and you could eat it while smelling every drink from fifty years before soaked in the wood paneling.  So that was the neighborhood, it was getting nicefied. I’m sure it’s even nicer now, but ex-husband lives there with third wife, so I don’t go.  That’s not the awful thing I’m telling. This is about another awful thing.
Anyway. No matter how nice a place is, bad stuff happens there.  A woman in my neighborhood had been kidnapped and kept in a basement for a couple of weeks, and she managed to stretch her restraints to one window and get one finger out of the blinds and was trying to signal for help, but nobody saw, not even my friend who lived next door.
My friend felt terrible, but in her defense, would have to be a pretty sharp eyed observer to see one finger scratching at a basement window and think, I should see if there’s someone down there.
This is not about that awful thing. This story is about another awful thing.
My next door neighbor’s house had been rented to a few groups of people, and then it was renovated and sold, and the woman who bought it moved in, and I tried to introduce myself to her a couple of times, but she always seemed tired and upset and kind of drawn-looking.  When a friend looks upset, it’s OK to say, hey, are you OK?  But when it’s a stranger, you’re too embarrassed to say, hey, you seem fucked up, are you OK?  Unhappiness is embarrassing.  Ask Facebook.  So, I avoided her.  She just never seemed to be in the mood for a chat. I didn’t see her much anyway.

One day that Spring, I see her in front, planting flowers and looking like a different person, and I went over to say hi. I introduced myself and we talked about the really boring stuff people talk about who have nothing in common except for living next to each other, and finally I say, I’m sorry this isn’t my business, but you look so happy and different! I’m glad you’re feeling better?  And she looked at me happily and said yes, I’m much better!  And then she explained: my house was haunted. And I said, how did you know?  And she said, the first night I slept there, a man appeared and beat the shit out of me.  And I said oh wow, did you call the police? And she said, no, because he was a ghost.  And that’s true. Police don’t come out for ghosts.  And she said, it happened the second night too, just for months, every night this ghost would appear and beat the shit out of me.  And I said wow that sounds bad, because what else do you say?  I didn’t know.  She said, at first I thought I’d sell the house, or find out if I could cancel the sale, but then I realized, what if the next buyer has a kid, someone who can’t defend themselves or take action, so I thought I’d have to take care of it myself.  And I said, what did you do?  And she said I found a great exorcist who smudged the house and BOOM!  The ghost disappeared and I’m finally enjoying my house!  I’m planting these flowers, and the next thing I need to do is get rid of some furniture and stuff, because it’s really too crowded in there, and I said, isn’t it a two story house that you’re in by yourself? And she said well yeah but. I couldn’t afford to get the upstairs smudged yet, and I’m afraid the ghost just moved upstairs, so I just stay on the ground floor.
HAPPY HALLOWEEN!