Actor; Comedian; Poet; term
In 1992, I started college at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and was heavily involved in theater, joining the Masque and MW Repertory Theater groups as an actor (and even once a director), as well as being inducted into the national theater honor fraternity Alpha Psi Omega. In my first year at college, I became involved in Chain Link Fence, which was WPI’s improvisational acting troupe. I was actively involved with the troupe until my graduation in 1996, occasionally helping out when they performed at reunions I happened to be at. I moved to Utah immediately after receiving my computer science degree, taking a long break from acting and improv to focus on work and family. In 2001, I took a class with the Skinny Lincoln’s Lincoln Hoppe because I missed improv and I was reintroduced to the art form I loved. I then took workshops with Quick Wits’ Bob Bedore and Knock Your Socks Off’s (KYSOff’s) Joseph Kyle Rogan and was asked to join KYSOff in November of 2001. In September of 2003, Joseph Kyle Rogan and I formed an improv duo called JoKyR and Jesster, based off of our respective nicknames. We had our festival debut at the Phoenix Improv Festival and have since performed and taught in the Toronto Improv Festival, Chicago Improv Festival, and dozens more. In 2005, while conducting an experimental workshop series called "Four Weeks a Form," I created an improvised show using a combination of improvised poetry, music, and scenework called "The Hook" and brought that show to the Phoenix Improv Festival, Denver Improv Festival, Chicago Improv Festival, and the Del Close Marathon in New York City. I have taken workshops with Andy Eninger, Charna Halpern, Joe Bill, Mark Sutton, Todd Stashwick, Gary Austin, Ross White, Zach Ward, Matt Elwell, Peter Gwinn, Noah Gregoropoulos, Craig Cackowski, Dave Razowsky, Shaun Landry, Nick Johne, Asaf Ronen, Liz Allen, Jimmy Carrane, TJ Jagadowski and Mick Napier. I have taught improv classes locally in Utah for Laughing Stock, KYSOff, Quick Wits Clearfield, ComedySportz Provo, TBA – In No Particular Order, Off the Cuff, and Off the Wall. I have also taught and coached groups in Washington, Arizona, Texas, Massachusetts, Chicago, Florida, North Carolina and in several other locations. Currently, I still tour as one half of JoKyR and Jesster and perform regularly with Laughing Stock, Utah’s longest running improv troupe. I entered the world of performance poetry in December 2006 after touring for a few years with the poetry/music/improv show I created called "The Hook." Looking for new directions I could take "The Hook," I stumbled upon an advertised poetry slam at Cup of Joe’s in Salt Lake City, UT that said they would be doing an improvised poetry slam. Although I was the only one who improvised, I saw a lot of talent at that show and surrendered to one of my biggest fears: writing down my work. Since then I have tried out for and made every Salt City Slam team since 2007. In 2007, I took over the task of SlamMaster, the organizer of the poetry slam that keeps each local slam in compliance with our national body, Poetry Slam, Inc. I helped to implement and keep track of a point system that allowed poets to accumulate points based on how they did in our poetry slams in order to earn the right to compete for a spot on the Salt City Slam team. In addition to earning a spot on Salt City Slam’s teams, I also have won our team selection finals in 2008, 2010, and 2011. I served as the coach of the 2007, 2008, and 2010 Salt City Slam teams. In 2012, I won the honor to represent the newly certified Coffeehouse Slam in Riverton, UT as their representative at the 2012 Individual World Poetry Slam. In both 2010 and 2011, I attended the Individual World Poetry Slam and took second place in each of those events. In 2011, Salt City Slam made its first ever semifinal appearance at the National Poetry Slam and finished tied for 8th place out of 76 competing teams. We repeated this feat in 2012, finishing 8th out 72 competing teams. I also competed at the National Underground Poetry Individual Competition (NUPIC), held at the National Poetry Slam, in 2011 and 2012 and finished in the final four (semifinal round) both times. I have featured in at the Bowery Poetry Club in New York City, Mesa Poetry Slam in Mesa, AZ, Las Vegas Poetry Slam in Las Vegas, NV, Boise Poetry Slam in Boise, ID, and Portland Poetry Slam in Portland, OR. I have published 4 poetry chapbooks, all of them self-published: Ink on Paper (2007), Flattened Braille (2008), To the Baby in My Belly (You Were Delicious) (2010), and Hit After Hit (2012). In 2012, Sargent Press approached me about publishing a full length book of my poetry. That book, The Noise That Is Not You, was released in August of 2012. Also in 2012, Lawn Gnome Publishing approached me about publishing a chapbook of persona poems that will be called Like a Thin Veil. I have also been published in Borderline Online Poetry Journal (November 2010 & February 2012), New Graffiti (February 2011), in the Requiem Press fairy tale anthology, Once Upon a Time, and in the Write Bloody zombie poetry anthology, Aim for the Head. I have also served on the Executive Council, or non-profit board, for Poetry Slam, Inc., the non-profit entity responsible for organizing the National Poetry Slam, Individual World Poetry Slam, and Women of the World Poetry Slam events. I served as trustee in 2009, treasurer in 2010, and after being re-elected in 2012, I have since served as secretary. I continue to help organize the poetry slams held on the last Monday of every month in Salt Lake City, UT. I am currently the partner of Salt City Indie Arts, an LLC that seeks to provide opportunities for spoken word artists and musicians to share their art.