A Social Festival For All.

Repost from my blog entry on http://www.nationalimprovnetwork.com/a-social-festival-for-all/

So you have a Facebook and Twitter for your improv festival. You may even have a Google+ page. Sweet. Awesome. Now what? Many festival organizers and improv groups know they need a Facebook, Twitter, and all the things because everyone else has it. But most of the time those pages just sits their unused which can be your biggest mistake. By leaving your social untouched and unloved, you are missing out on one of your festival’s biggest assets to help not only promote, but also build your festival’s presence. Here are a few tips to help you get started make your Social Media well social.

1. Make it a part of your marketing plan.

Along with your website, interviews, and flyers, your Social Media should be considered in your marketing plan. As Ariel said, go where the people are. With nearly 30% of Americans getting their news via Social Media, it is a force that can not be ignored when it comes to promoting. Just posting everyone once in a while is cool, but it doesn’t get the word out. You get the word out by coming up with a plan for before, during, and after the festival. This can range from what you are posting, Facebook advertising, and hashtags for the event.
On anything you use for marketing, make sure it connects with your Social Media. For example, on flyers make sure you have your Facebook and Twitter handle. Connect your website with your social platforms. The main purpose of Social Media isn’t to sell sell sell, but think of it as a television commercial or radio spot, but online. While you can’t always connect directly to ticket sales, the proof will be in how well the word got out.

2. It’s Personal

Let your festival reflect the offline atmosphere online. That means all your posts shouldn’t be come to our show! Come to our workshops! Buy tickets! Some of your posts (which should maybe be 5-7 a week leading up to the festival) should be about the groups, some of the planning, fundraisers, or anything personal towards the festival. One of the 13th Phoenix Improv Festival’s most popular posts were photos of the performers as teenagers. Another was images from past festivals that built up nostalgia and got users excited for the upcoming festival. People in general relate to things more on a personal level. As a result, they are more likely to invest in seeing your festival, and are less likely to ignore your buy tickets posts when they do happen.

3. Get the performers involved

Piggy backing off point two, if your performers are having fun it will reflect in their shows. This can be done before the festival by featuring them in your social media, emailing asking for any of their promotion, or as the Phoenix Improv Festival likes to do, treat them like rockstars. Be creative in how you post or get them involved, and know they may not want to and that is alright. You may want to start with local groups and build from there. Those groups that are invested personally will your biggest advocates for your current festival and beyond.

4. Your audience isn’t just improvisors.

While the performers of the festival may be your biggest advocates, they aren’t the ones buying tickets. Sure their family and friends may purchase some, however you should try to appeal to the general public of your city. With your Social Media, make sure some of your posts are directed at people who love watching improv to those who have not seen it before. This can range from videos, photos, and getting the venue and local businesses involved. For example, any Tweet we were sure to mention the Herberger Theater and mention our Family Friendly shows. Also connect with your local audience because who knows your city better than you?

5. Have Fun!

At the end of the day, improv is adults playing make believe on stage. While we can have grounded moments, your social media shouldn’t be your Office Space type of job. Your Social Media should reflect the fun and beauty that is improv. Whether it is pictures from the event, quotes from the show, or what is going on backstage, let your audience, performers, and online community know the fun you are having. Don’t be an asshole.

Week 13: From Broke College Student to Chef

Background

The family that cooks together…

Like many families, food is a centralized part of my family. We eat when we are happy, sad, because it is Tuesday; we love food. And this week is no different. My cousin Mike has been trying to make many of his mom’s recipes for the last couple of weeks including salsa, carne asada, and other fine recipes. For this week’s blog Mikey talks about cooking his mom’s chile verde in the video and pictures below. We don’t have a recipe because most of this was done through hear say like “a pinch of this” and you make this with your hand, but if you really want to make it, you can google your own.

Chile Verde

Chile Verde

Just so you know, I decided to end this portion of the blog. If I find recipes I like, I will still post them, but not every week. I will still keep up my blog, but not just with cooking. Thank you to those that followed and sent recipes. I really enjoyed learning to cook, and have found a new love for it. It has helped me during a crazy semester, and couple months.So thank you for reading, enjoying, and whatever else.

Week 11: From Broke College Student to Chef

Background

Red Comfort

It has been a few weeks since I last updated my blog. I know. But life sometimes get in the way, like oh I don’t know a thesis to graduate from grad school. Let me tell you, not the easiest thing to write. Not that I ever thought it was, but thinking about it, and then actually doing it are two very, very different things. So the next couple of blog posts maybe centered around sugar,comfort food, and basically whatever else I want.

This week I baked some red velvet cupcakes.The problem with cupcakes is you can’t have just one. They seem small and not so dangerous. Now, you know it is not at all healthy to make some cupcakes, and eat it yourself. It would be good, don’t get me wrong, however unless you want to gain 500 pounds and have a bad tummy ache, would not recommend it. Therefore, the best solution is to make red velvet cupcakes for someone’s birthday, perhaps a red head if you got one. One of my favorites is my good friend Ginger; ironic I know. I made about 2 dozen red velvet cupcakes for her birthday recently, and although I didn’t get her review on video, as quickly as those went, I am going to assume people may have liked them.

Outside view

Outside view

Inside view

Inside view

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 fluid ounce red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Cream Cheese Frosting…yummy
  • Sprinkles because you can

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy( I need to buy one of these. Although, a spoon does work my arms out). Mix in the eggs, buttermilk, red food coloring and vanilla. Stir in the baking soda and vinegar. Combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt; stir into the batter just until blended. Spoon the batter into the prepared cups, dividing evenly.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in the pan set over a wire rack. When cool, arrange the cupcakes on a serving platter and frost with desired frosting.( I find if you watch a bad reality television show, and then put the frosting on, works the same)

I think they turned out very well. I loved them, but probably should only bake them on special occasions. And you don’t always need a red head, but if you do it helps.

Ginger

Ginger

Week 10: From Broke College Student to Chef

Background

When You Can’t Find Lamb…

Lamb Curry was suppose to be this week’s recipe, however doing shopping at the last minute will not always work for you especially if you can’t find a little thing called Lamb. I am not sure why, but I can’t find lamb shanks in all the city of Mesa. Okay so I didn’t look in many places, but let’s just say it is not that easy. I am not sure why or perhaps I never noticed, but I never realized how hard it was, therefore lamb curry is going to have to wait. So when you can’t find lamb, what to do? Steak Fajitas. I mean really, how can you go wrong? (this is not one of those where something does go wrong, just a question) It’s not like how my mom and aunts make it, but we were in a pinch. Still good and juicy. Found at simplyrecipes.com

Steak Fajitas

Steak Fajitas

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb of flank steak, skirt steak or carne asada (carne asada was used manly because it was easier to find)
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced with the grain, not against the grain as one would normally slice an onion. Slice first in half, and then slice off sections a half inch wide at widest point.
  • 2-3 bell peppers of various colors, stemmed, seeded, de-ribbed, sliced lengthwise into strips
  • Salt

Marinade:

  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 fresh Jalapeño pepper, seeded, ribs removed, finely chopped (just use it all)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, including stems

METHOD

1 Mix all marinade ingredients. Coat the steak with the marinade and let it sit at room temperature for an hour, or longer in the fridge. Before you cook the meat, wipe off most of the marinade and sprinkle the steak with salt.(Or pour the whole thing in the pan. Put some pepper in this as well.)

2 Set a large cast iron pan or griddle over high heat and let this heat up for 1-2 minutes. Add the tablespoon of oil to the pan and let this heat up for 1 minute. Add the steak, frying on each side for 3 minutes, or to desired doneness. 3 minutes per side will yield approximately medium rare doneness for an average cut of flank steak. Carne asada and skirt steak will need less time. If the pan starts to smoke too much, reduce the heat to medium-high. You want the steak browned, not burned. Remove from pan and let sit, tented with foil, for 5 minutes.

3 Cook the vegetables while the meat is resting. Add a little more oil to the pan if necessary, then add the onions and bell peppers. Let these sear for 1 minute before stirring, then stir every 90 seconds or so as the veggies sear. Cook for 5-6 minutes total.

4 Slice the meat against the grain into thin slices. If you slice the meat at an angle, you will be able to get your slices pretty thin. These cuts of steak are flavorful but can be a little tough, so thin slices will really help make it easier to eat.

5 Serve immediately with shredded cheese, salsa shredded iceberg lettuce, sour cream(gross), and warm flour tortillas.

Pretty simple if you ask me. Yea does it take time to marinate, but it is quick after that. Below is a review from Jin, Karli, and Mike. Until next week…


Week 9: From Broke College Student to Chef

Background

West Coast Girls Become a Little Southern

How I understand Fat Tuesday goes a little something like this: Day before Ash Wednesday, therefore you indulge is one of the seven deadly sins. Actually that is not the story, however it is a great set up for why we indulge in the sin of eating way too much and celebrating a Fat Tuesday with some of my girls

Now I know on the west coast we have our own dishes like Mexican Food. In fact I was prepared to cook some Mexican food this week because really where can you go wrong, when I saw a little story on the news about celebrating Fat Tuesday with some traditional New Orleans Cuisine. One of the dishes they were preparing was BBQ Shrimp(which is not actually made of BBQ thank you Man vs. Food). I decided that Mexican can be good anytime, and decided that some BBQ Shrimp, Cornbread, and Asparagus (you know to keep it healthier) screamed New Orleans at least to this west coast girl, no beads needed. All recipes can be found at allreciepes.com. And please beware of the butter content. We are not trying to be Ms. Childs here

 

BBQ Shrimp

BBQ Shrimp

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds medium shrimp, with shells( If you are feeding four women, you only need a pound and a half of the extra large ones)
  • 2 pounds butter(maybe it is a Southern thing, but listen. We do not need anyone dying of a heart attack. A pound does the same work, and you will get less of a heart burn)
  • 1 medium sweet onion, minced
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Arrange the shrimp in a single layer in as many baking dishes as you need. Set aside.
  2. Melt 1/2 cup of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery, parsley, Creole seasoning and rosemary. Cook and stir for a few minutes, until onion is tender. Add the rest of the butter and cook until melted over low heat. Stir in the pepper, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice. Pour this mixture over the shrimp so that the shrimp are completely submerged.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until shrimp are pink, 15 to 20 minutes.(for me it took about 16 minutes, and then I put them in a crock pot for more flavor)
Although good, this dish is muy muy greasy, but that didn’t stop us from this:
And this was just Karli's Dish

And this was just Karli's Dish

And now to the sides:

Asparagus

Asparagus

Directions:

  1. Grill in a large pan with some butter. If you screw this up, give up on cooking
  2. No further instructions
Corn Bread

Corn Bread

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups milk
  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Combine the eggs and milk. Combine flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with egg mixture.
  2. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees F for 22-27 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cut into squares; serve warm.

Let me end by saying this. If you are not use to greasy foods, have a sensitive tummy, or are not from the South, eat this meal with precaution. You may develop a slight stomach ache and/or a southern accent as demonstrated by Karli, Cristalle, and Aubrey below. Wear stretchy pants. Thanks for the recipes, and keep them coming!

Week 8:From Broke College Student to Chef

Background

Not Paying Attention May Work in your Favor

A little (no so secret) about grad school; there is always work. Therefore if you want to go on vacation you have to spend the week before doing work, and possibly forgoing any fun things for those precious days. What I am trying to do is give my reason why I didn’t cook last week.

So onto this week….shocking yet true. I am not Italian. Although I have been to Italy, been mistaken for it, and have a thing for the Jersey Shore (especially Pauly D), I don’t believe I have any Italian in me. However I am a big, big fan of  Italian food manly because of the bread. I know they say carbs are the enemy, but I think I am in love. This is why this week I cooked Lasagna . Let me start by saying this was a lot harder than I thought it would be. I didn’t follow the exact layer order, didn’t use enough sauce, and spilled a little on my clothes. I was almost down for the count, but I covered mistakes and doubts with cheese, wine , and prayer, and it came out better than I thought. Winning… I got this week’s recipe from allrecipes.com. Although it doesn’t say, probably should boil the noodles a couple of minutes before cooking. I didn’t know, and it was a little crunchy at the ends.

Lasagna Top View

Lasagna Top View

Inside view of Lasagna

Inside view of Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (28 ounce) jar sausage flavored spaghetti sauce(you are probably going to need 2)
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce(read above)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced(I used 6 because I thought it would add more flavor)
  • 1 small onion, diced(or a medium if the grocery doesn’t have a small one)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 8 ounces provolone cheese, shredded
  • 1 (15 ounce) container ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 9 lasagna noodles(make sure they fit the container you are using or just double it up)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a skillet over medium heat season ground beef with garlic powder and oregano. Brown the meat and drain.
  3. In a large sauce pan add spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce, and oregano; set aside. In a skillet heat olive oil. Saute garlic and onions for about 5 minutes. Mix sauteed onions and garlic with meat into the sauce and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.
  4. While doing all this, boil the noodles. May cut cooking time
  5. Combine mozzarella and provolone cheeses in a medium bowl. In a medium bowl mix ricotta cheese, eggs, milk, and oregano.
  6. Layer a 9×13 inch baking pan with just enough sauce to cover the bottom of the pan. (read all this before you continue)Lay three lasagna noodles in the pan. Cover with sauce, then with ricotta mixture then sprinkle with mozzarella/provolone mixture; repeat layering. Finish with a layer of noodles and remaining sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake covered in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes

Overall I think the taste was pretty good. Could have it been better? Sure as can anything. With time, I this will become better, and maybe add some more sauce and cheese. And dry clean my clothes. The video below is a review by Steve and I covering topics like food, my mother, and all shot by my bfffla Cristalle.

Week 7:From Broke College Student to Chef

There is always time and room for chocolate

A funny yet true story. When I was16, Cristalle and I made a cake for a friends birthday (I am not going to say who because we are both still friends with this person) It was one of those betty crocker cakes where you follow step by step, and unless you don’t pay atleast like 75 percent of your attention to you, you can’t screw up. Cristalle and I were focus probably on the latest high school drama, and before we knew it we had to leave for our friends party, with an under cook cake. We covered and smoothered that cake in frosting, and we were on our way. We waited while people tried the cake  before we had a piece. Everyone loved our under cooked cake, and no one found out until well now. I don’t even think we ate that cake.

I tell you this story to set up where I started to where I am now 8 years later. This week I made Chocolate Chip Yellow Cake. The reciepe started with just yellow cake I found online, but it seemed too simple. Plus I really wanted some chocolate chips. So I came up with Chocolate Chip Yellow Cake from scatch with a little help with some betty crocker frosting. I made sure to cook this one all the way. The yellow cake portion come from about.com

Chocolate Chip Yellow Cake

Chocolate Chip Yellow Cake

 

Side view

Side View

 

 Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup of chocolate chips

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour pan (cooking spray also does the job)
In bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt with a wire whisk. (a wood spoon works the same. My mother also suggested I buy a beater. She was shocked that I didn’t have one. I was shocked she think I would)

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla and mix until completely combines. Slowly add flour alternately with milk. At end of addition batter should be smooth.

Bake Yellow Cake Recipe for 20 to 25 minutes. (I did about 30 minutes without buring it) Cool 5 minutes in pan, then invert onto a rack and cool completely before frosting.(this still melted the frosting still, but if you put it in the freezer then you might be alright)

You may not like cake, chocolate, or whatever, but with desert you can’t go wrong. Well actually can, but when done right, desert can always put a smile on your face and belly. I think my cake could have been more fluffy had I had the right equipment, maybe more milk, or make more chocolate. Thank you for those sending in recipes, and keep sending them. Below is my dad’s review of the cake.