May 19-31: Chapel Hill, DC, Baltimore, Bethlehem and NYC

Dear Diary,

My goodness, how are you?? The last couple weeks have been a wild ride, Diary, and Tuesday, June 6 was our four week road anniversary! Can you believe it? We only have four more weeks to go. No, diary, it's too soon--the cold dive back into reality will be quite a shock...but we are far from that plunge. Indeed, we are in Hartford! Ah, we skip ahead, diary. I believe we left off in Chapel Hill.

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Yes, we spent a wonderful weekend with Dirty South Improv Comedy doing two shows and a workshop and, my god, were these improvisers fantastically friendly. After our first show on Friday night, the 10pm troupe invited us to join them on stage and we jumped into their delightful Armando-esque, storytelling format. On Saturday, we did a clowning for improvisers workshop and saw the FUNNIEST FARTING SCENE EVER. Imagine a man attending the opera and farting uncontrollably but trying desperately to remain calm. The laughter, dear Diary, was wild. Thank you DSI Comedy for a wonderful weekend! 

And thanks to Shara's brother's best friend, Eric F., from middle school's 2-year-old son Ezra for hosting us! He asked us the most important question all weekend, which was, "Are you going to have a baby?" Good inquiry, Ezra, and the answer is NOPE. But thanks for your hospitality!

From Chapel Hill, we drove to D.C. and enjoyed many different forms of car entertainment: delicious snacks given to us by Heidi and Bob M., delightful Mad Libs given to us by Steven M., and so many fun toys given to us by Rebecca P. Still have yet to unwrap the maracas, but we've got time.

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In D.C., we stayed with Mona's parents, the family cat and...HER SISTER! Yes, Lizzie T. whooshed into town, surprising Mona and Shara (and no one else) so much sister time was had. 

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Beyond the fantastic family time, delicious home-cooked meals, and a couple loads of laundry, we taught a loud, boisterous Shakespeare workshop in a kindergarten classroom with tiny chairs and improvised a comedy-horror vampire story for an audience of mostly Mona-people at a Washington Improv Theater show. Oh, and we performed at Mona's high school, Georgetown Day School. Diary, 'twas a RAPT AUDIENCE. Ha, just kidding. But it was fun. All in all, PRETTY STELLAR, D.C. THANKS.

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On Friday, we headed to Baltimore for a one-night stay. Short but very sweet as it turned out. We crashed on the couches of a friend of a friend of a friend. We thought he knew our friend, Austin M., but he did NOT. Even though we were one degree more removed than we thought, he and the other Johns Hokpkins med students in the apartment were very generous. Thanks Matt M. and Company! P.S. The rent on this three floor, three bedroom apartment was AMAZING and the city was COOL. Conclusion: Everybody should move to Baltimore. You heard it here--make it the new place to be. 


Ah, and the improv! We played with Hostel, a Baltimore Improv Group...group, and they were awesome hosts. Afterwards, they treated us to Baltimore beers and pizza with Indian cuisine toppings. TOO GOOD. Diary, Baltimore was a not-so-hidden gem. Grazie mille BIG and Hostel and Baltimore! 


Saturday, we jumped into our trusty VW steed and journeyed to Bethlehem, PA where Shara connected with old friends and met many new friends. A couple years ago, Shara lived in PA working as an intern with Men's Health magazine--a great time of self-discovery for her--and she weaseled her way into the improv scene while she was there. 'Twas fun to come back and see how the community had grown/changed! We guested with two groups in their Power Hour show at Steel Stacks and taught two workshops, one of which was a fantastic Sex and Violence workshop led by Mona that left people jazzed about life. 

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We also looked for some new group names. The two above are the big contenders. Send any thoughts to monaandsharadoimprov@gmail.com.

Woo, and then we made it to the BIG TIMES in the BIG APPLE! New York Ci-tay. What a place. For a few days, we lived the city life--hanging out with friends, eating bagels, Central Park-ing, and actual parking. Yes, to secure a parking spot in Manhattan, we sat in our car for 1 hour and 45 minutes so we could immediately repark after the street sweeper passed. Turns out the street sweeper wailed past us, no cleaning necessary, and we only had to move when a couple police officers started ticketing. But we did it! Felt very rebellious AND got free parking. 

We spent our first lovely evening in a Brooklyn brownstone with Mona's relatives: Annie, Jeff, Eleanor, Isabel and Will. Thank you all for a great stay, and thank you especially to the kids for a fantastic rendition of Hamilton's "My Shot." And then we moved on to Manhattan where Gnarly, this elegant New York dog, hosted us in his apartment with his humans, Michael, Grace and Theo. Thanks for the wonderful NYC hospitality, Gnarly and friends! 

Oh and we did some improv! Two shows, two casts, two audiences, two great times. The first one was at the Magnet Theater with the normal cast: Mona and Shara. But at the PIT, we were joined by three SF-to-NYC improvisers for a Shakespeare show. Called "Death Amongst Thieves", it blew some minds. Mostly, Mona's relatives' minds because again, the audience was full of them. But thanks Ben S., Joe G. and Jessia H. for joining us! Truly a blast. 

Diary, we started this blog post while were in NY, and since then, we've been to Boston, New Haven and Hartford, but those updates will come LATER. Our apologies, diary, for the delay, but we will talk to ya soon and peace out. Stay chill, Diary! 


May 11-18: Tucson, Marfa, Austin, Vicksburg, Knoxville & Atlanta

Dear Diary, 

Oh, what fun this trip has been! So much fun that we have neglected you, dear diary, but a moment of respite in Chapel Hill has returned us to you. We will start back in Tucson...

After a delightful Greek dinner with Shara's aunt, uncle and cousin, we stayed in a lovely AirBnb and then woke early to meet our fellow travelers, Teddy S.  and his friend, Nathan, for breakfast. We ate at ye' ol' Welcome Diner and caught up on life and stuff. Good luck on your move, Nathan! Then, we parted ways for the last time...or so we thought. 

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Literally, one hour later, we stopped to see The Thing, a weird roadside attraction. And who pulls in right after us but Teddy S. and Nathan?! The four of us, a happy gang once again, toured the strange little museum and then we said, ENOUGH. THIS IS OUR ROAD TRIP. That was the last we've seen of Teddy S. and Nathan. We hope you're well. 

A day of driving through the desert of west Texas, during which we may have hit a tumbleweed or two, we arrived in Marfa. This small town has attracted a community of artists and cool people, and is now the subject of a new TV show with the inimitable Kathryn Hahn, I Love Dick. But now you know we were there first, diary! Before all the hype that's coming! We stayed at El Cosmico, a hip campsite, that Shara's friend Suzy works at and woke to the sunrise above. 

Suzy S. also hooked us up with the Marfa West Texas Talk public radio team for an 8am interview about improv and clowning. If you missed the scheduled show on 93.5, you can now listen, diary, at West Texas Talk online. We played an improv game with our hosts, Diana N. and Zoe K. Pretty sure it's entertaining AF. 

From Marfa, we drove to Austin where Anakin, this beautiful black lab, was gracious enough to let us crash in his bonus room. He set up the trundle bed and everything and introduced us to his humans, John and Holly. Both very lovely humans! They allowed us to crash their Mother's Day brunch, which was a delight. Thanks for a great stay, Anakin!  

In Austin, we performed our first two shows and taught our inaugural workshop at The Hideout Theatre! And diary, this theater had a great space, which included a cafe/bar. What a fresh idea! The shows were a blast, and Shara's brother came to both despite the fact that his normal bedtime is 9:30pm. He particularly liked a scene where Mona played a flock of four or five chickens. You da best, Chris. 

On Sunday morning, Anakin fed us a hearty meal of crepes and omelettes and then we barged through a few states heading towards Knoxville, Tennessee. As you know, dear diary, Knoxville is Shara's hometown and this was the first time she's been back in about three years so she was PRETTY EXCITED. There was a lot of relaxing at the pool in Knoxville, but we also led an Intro to Improv workshop for Shara's parents and their friends and co-workers. Diary, it was pretty magical to have kids and adults in the same workshop. Might work on that concept more when we get back. We also had drinks with one of the 2.5 improv groups in Knoxville called Full Disclosure. Go check 'em out if you live in K-town. 


We also, of course, stopped by Shara's childhood home and checked up on her room. Hanging on the wall was a poster she got when she graduated from her college improv team and if you zoom in, diary, you will see that Mona commented on the poster. (Mona also designed and printed all the posters for the seniors--BELATED THANK YOU!) And who would have thought that six years later, we have now actually become improv twins? Eh, it was probably obvious.

Rejuvenated, we left Knoxville and headed to Atlanta for ONE NIGHT ONLY. We stayed with Shara's high school friends, Tommy W. and Rebecca N. and their two cats. Diary, did you know that Shara is allergic cats? And did you know that a lot of people really love cats? Hm. Despite the dander, Shara had a great time catching up with Tommy and Rebecca and we both had an AWESOME time at the Dad's Garage improv theater. Everyone was so welcoming and lovely performers, and Shara made it into the top 3 of their 12 improviser Elimination Challenge. REPRESENT.

Now, we are in Chapel Hill, NC doing a couple shows and a workshop. Look at all the states we had to drive through to get there! Sorry, South Carolina, we weren't paying attention when we got to you. And diary, can you guess the blurry state sign? It's in between Louisiana and Alabama. We really tried our best. 

Tomorrow, we continue our journey to the nation's capital and beyond! Don't worry, diary, we'll check back in soon.

See ya on the flipside. 

May 9-10: SF, LA and Tucson

Dear Diary,

For the past year, the world has been holding its breath while we've been planning this road trip. And now you can exhale because...WE ARE OFFICIALLY ON THE ROAD, WORLD. 

Yesterday, we moved our lives from our humble Noe Valley abode into our new mobile abode, Shara's 2012 VW Jetta. I mean, maybe we didn't need to bring all the clothes that we have ever bought and owned, but they're in the car now. And you never really know when you might need to whip out a pair of red-and-white checkered bike shorts, or an equivalent, that you have LITERALLY NEVER WORN BEFORE. Look, the lesson here is be prepared. 

A day of driving brought us to Los Angeles and this dog, Zora. She allowed us to stay at her house in her incredibly comfortable guest room, and even hang out with her indomitable human pets, Sophie C and Victor J. Thanks Zora! 

Waking up in the morning, we headed to breakfast in LA on the very chic Larchmont Street. We wanted bagels. Duh. After turning down three or four breakfast spots, we decided on Sam's Bagels--great little spot. And who is in line in front of us but TEDDY S.?! We both performed with him in college! There he was! Getting bagels! Gosh, it's a small world. Even smaller, really, because Teddy was also driving from LA to our next stop, Tucson, the very same day. COME ON WORLD. CALM DOWN.

So leaving our furry host to deal with a flurry of lucrative acting spots and Teddy to find his own way, we left California for the alien landscape of Arizona. 

A perfect cloud, shrub and mountain sandwich. 

On our way to Tucson, we averted our very first emergency, which we will code Number 1. Maybe you've cracked it, but yeah, Shara had to pee REAL BAD. Don't worry though! We made it to the mecca Circle K in the great town of Casa Grandes so Day 2 did not end in disaster. 

Wooo! We'll keep on truckin' so see ya on the flipside.