Bryan: So Cami, the tables have turned! You’re the one who typically does the Meet The Inmates interviews.
B: How does it feel to be on the other side of the table?
C: Pretty awesome.
B: So how long have you been with Improv Asylum, and how did you get your start?
C: I have been here for eight months now. I started in January. I was scrambling for a co-op with Northeastern for the second half of 2015. In December, I actually interviewed at Laugh Boston and Bob Melley was like, “Hey, Improv Asylum needs you,” so I ended up here. I’m very grateful.
B: What do you typically do on a daily basis here?
C: Well I’ll walk in and usually have a couple graphic design projects waiting for me in my emails. I design the Half Cocked graphics. I manage a lot of the listings and do some social media promotion. I make the Facebook events, do social media promotion. I also write releases and pitches for various outlets that cover or promote the company.
B: And you’re an usher at Improv Asylum.
C: Yeah, I started ushering about 3-4 months into my co-op. I kept getting bothered by Mike to apply to be an usher, so I was like, fine, I’ll take the extra money. And it’s super easy to just go downstairs for my night shift anyway.
B: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever seen in our theater?
C: Jesus. I got puked on once.
B: Oh, please tell us about that.
C: Okay, so this guy was blackout drunk. He was in the most inconvenient section from which to walk someone across the stage for a bathroom emergency. I did not realize the urgency in this man’s face when he stood up in the middle of the scene, so I asked him, “Is this an emergency or can you wait?” He was immediately like “No, I can’t-” and then he threw up on himself and ran past me, brushing up against me. I was just in so much shock.
B: So you basically got drive-by puked on?
C: Yeah, it was a passing of the puke. As soon as it happened, I was told not to worry about the scene and to just follow him out and make sure he was alright, but I was like screw this guy! He’s like 40 and can’t handle his alcohol, and I got puke all over me right now! I went to the kitchen and I cried for about five minutes as I washed everything off my arm. I grabbed all the scented sawdust we have for puke messes and poured them on my body. I was like, can I go home now. It was crazy.
B: Well, what’s your favorite part of being an usher?
C: Aw, I love all my coworkers. They really make my day. Sometimes I’ll be kind of down and they’ll just cheer me up instantly. They’re very supportive. There’s always jokes being thrown across the room, everyone’s doing bits all the time, it’s never-ending fun. I’m really glad I started working down there. I’ve made a lot of friends.
B: Cool! So, you’re originally from Florida correct?
C: Well - that’s not true. I’m originally from Puerto Rico, but I did grow up in Florida.
B: So even cooler.
C: Yeah, yeah.
B: What made you wanna come to Boston?
C: I got a full scholarship to Northeastern.
B: That’s a good reason.
C: I immediately was like “Yeah, I’ll take it.”
B: And you are a founding member of Boston Flow, correct?
B: Tell me a little more about Boston Flow!
C: So my best friend Sarah Tamburelli and I founded it in 2014. We met at Hempfest, just hooping -
B: Wait, stop. Tell us about hooping.
C: It’s a form of dance with a hula hoop. It falls under the category known as Spinning Arts, or Flow, which is just dancing with or manipulating some sort of prop - hula hoops, juggling balls or clubs. People spin poi, people spin staffs. There’s new toys being invented all the time. There’s levitation wands, dragon staffs, fans, silks, orbiters, rope dart, puppy hammers. You can set most of them on fire. They get weirder and weirder, and harder to use.
B: And how long have you been hooping?
C: A little over two years, but at the time Boston Flow was founded, I was just a beginner. Sarah was doing a trick I really wanted to learn, so I just approached her and asked her to teach me. We sat down for a second and were like “Hey, I feel like there’s a lot of spinners in Boston, but the community is sort of segregated.” There were a few spinjams around the city, but nobody was bringing these people together to do more than just spin in the same space. The cool thing about these people who spin toys and stuff is that a lot of them are itching to make making a difference. They’re generally pretty progressive people. But there aren’t many fun outlets or ways to make a difference. There should be a way to make a difference while doing what you love. So, we made the Boston Flow Facebook group and started hosting spinjams that doubled as food drives, beach cleanups, and nonprofit fundraisers.
B: How large is the community now?
C: Just over 780 members, and we do a lot more than just spinjams now.
B: You’ve performed at a couple festivals this year, correct?
C: Sort of - I was supposed to perform at Tent City in June with my friend Hoopercat, but somebody in the community passed away, so that didn’t really happen. Most of our performances take place at the events we host ourselves. The Boston music and performing arts scene can be difficult to navigate if you’re an indie artist. Sometimes it can be easier to just make your own gigs. So that’s what we do.
B: So that must be your mentality about performing at Boston Floyd. Wanna tell me a little about that?
C: Yeah! So this Wednesday the Boston Flow Troupe and a bunch of other local flow performers will be performing at Boston Floyd. It’s a Boston Flow production for a good cause - a charity event for the Rafael Hernandez School in JP which currently has no water fountains. We have all these volunteer flow artists, bands, visual artists, and live painters who are donating their time to contribute to the experience. But what I’m most excited for regarding Boston Floyd is seeing Pink Floyd light patterns coming out of the smart LED hoops, which you can download or design your own patterns to. It’s like the future of dance. Oh, and hearing Great Gig in the Sky.
B: So when is that? What are the details?
C: It’s this Wednesday, August 24th at Laugh Boston! They were super cool and were just like “Hey, yeah, we’ll go halfsies with you on this event.” Which is dope, because finding a venue in Boston is very difficult, especially one that is open to flow props and people going all out in expressing themselves. A lot of venues won’t even let you in if you have too much of a getup going on. So this is something different. We want people to come as they are - whatever you spin, however you flow, whatever your art is, just come through and enjoy the music with us.
B: That’s awesome! Shameless plug, everyone needs to come.
C: Yeah, it’s gonna be dope. Especially if you love Pink Floyd as much as I do. The bands we have performing, they’re so awesome. They’re all volunteering their time. We’ve got them covering the Animals, Dark Side of the Moon, there’s some Grateful Dead mashups going on...lots of awesome stuff.
B: Dope! August 24th, Laugh Boston, 9PM. I’ll see you there!