Radio Picture Show creators Lauren Cook, Shauna McGarry and Marion Hodges discuss Nicki Minaj, Newsies and their monthly storytelling show at the Virgil
By Michael Juliano|
Radio Picture Show is staking its claim on the comedy scene that has settled into the Virgil, a low-key bar on the edge of Silver Lake. Every month, the storytelling show's comedian-heavy lineup bucks assigned themes and prompts (a standard within the Moth school of storytelling) for a simple rule: incorporate a song or image into the performance. This doesn't mean glossing over a lyric or two—Lauren Cook and Shauna McGarry, comedians and Radio Picture Show creators, want storytellers to really take advantage of the audiovisual element, whether to set the tone or restage an awkward moment. KCRW DJ Marion Hodges cues up the performers' music during the storytelling sets, and she also helms the turntables for the post-show dance party. We sat down with the three showrunners to discuss the future of Radio Picture Show.
Time Out Los Angeles: It's almost impossible not to think about your own connections with songs during the show—the storytelling is really infectious.
Lauren Cook: We are finding that after each storytelling show, people want to chat. They want to hang out and be like, "Oh my god, that reminds me of the time this happened." We want to foster that with, "Let's listen to more music and everyone have chats."
Shauna McGarry: It's really about the media integration—I think that is what's unique about us in a great way. [Comedian and monologist] Greg Walloch performed and talked about how he had just moved to West Hollywood and no matter where he goes he's bombarded with this Nicki Minaj song.
Marion Hodges: His note to me was just like, I know I want it played here and here, but any place else, just throw it anywhere and I'll go with it.
Time Out: Do you specifically want the performers to be comedians?
MH: We're hoping over the next year or so that we bring in more musicians, visual artists and people who are really playing in the mediums that we're celebrating.
LC: I feel like comedians are great storytellers inherently because they often tell stories in their sets. They're performers. While it's important to have somebody who has a great story, it's also important that they can perform it well. I think it's also good to have a lot of laughs in the story. We never prescribe what a person's story should be about, but it's a fun night when there are at least a few comedians there to lighten the mood.
Time Out: Have you thought of releasing the show recordings online?
LC: I think eventually a podcast would be cool. We'd also like to perform in different venues—maybe a museum, for instance, where people are inspired by the art, and they tell a story inspired by the art… But we're not leaving the Virgil. The audience there is especially great.
Time Out: The show seems to really fit the area.
SM: We got our projector stand at the Echo Park Film Center. Everything is very Eastside. A lot of the people who help us are predominantly Eastside. It was a discussion when we started this because we wanted it to be a central location. I think the Virgil sort of rides that border.
MH: We're either going to Silver Lake or going to Venice. Never the twain shall meet.
Time Out: Are you starting to have a regular following?
LC: The last show was a pretty good example. It was half newsies, half oldsies.
SM: Just newsies. Lots of Christian Bale fans.
MH: That's what we're aiming for—a lot of caps. If every seat is filled with a pageboy cap then we've done our job.
Radio Picture Show takes place the second Wednesday of each month at the Virgil. Tickets are $5 at the door.