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New Book By Finest City Improv's Founder Puts Improvisation Skills To Daily Use

The cover art for Amy Lisewski's new book on improv entitled "Relax, We're All Just Making This Stuff up!"
Finest City Media
The cover art for Amy Lisewski's new book on improv entitled "Relax, We're All Just Making This Stuff up!"

You can meet the author at Wednesday's book release party at Hillcrest Brewing Co.

New Book By Finest City Improv's Founder Puts Improvisation Skills To Daily Use
GUESTS:Amy Lisewski, author, "Relax, We're All Just Making This Stuff Up!" Beth Accomando, arts and culture reporter, KPBS News

This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. Amy larsen SK -- Amy Lisewski is an author her new book is called "Relax, We're All Just Making This Stuff Up!" . It's a guide to putting the tools of improv into use in daily life. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando spoke to Amy Lisewski before one of her classes. Amy, you been doing improv for a long time . Now you have a book out. Tell me what it's about? I wrote the book for people that have heard of improv and haven't done it and are scared of this thing called improv. It tells people how we as improvisers get up on stage and make things up. Everybody in their life -- constantly asked to make things up. I find a lot of people come to improv to get more comfortable with change, with themselves and being around others. What's the format of the book? Is it instructions or a guide? My personal journey with improv and I realized it could give people courage. I talk about what the students learn when they come through. Many of them find huge changes in their life, more confidence, more courage. They agreed to let me talk to them and write up their stories. Finally there are games, there are games that I described and why we teach them and what people learn from that. If you never step in an improv class, there is something for you. What are misconceptions? One thing I thought was that improv is about being funny but that's not necessarily the key thing. The biggest misconception or misperception is that you have to be witty and you have to think quick on your feet and you have to know jokes. I don't think I can tell you a single joke. I can listen really well. I can respond with a yes attitude. I can learn to be okay if I fail. That's a huge lesson that we learn in improv. Improv is about learning how to work in a group. Absolutely. The first thing you do is to get to know the other people in the class. You have to have a foundation with the other people. You have to have each other's backs. If we are looking at our phones and on our commuter there is a disconnect. We reconnect with people, we play games. We build the foundation of support and trust so we can go on and expand our comfort zones. I spoke with Mike and he told me about the key foundation of trust. He is very supportive of the improv community. The tenants that we live on stage, to pull off a show out of nothing just a single suggestion. We tend to put that in our lives. We look for people in what they are saying and try to make everything as positive as possible. We trust people more and we trust we will have each other's backs and we will make the most of every situation together. With this book, do you think this might encourage people to come to improv and take some of the more advanced classes? Absolutely. That is my hope. Just level one even, the spark is ignited in our level one classes. We find if you get through level I and I say get through because it's extremely difficult. I've had people that are performing on stage, Alisa would stand outside the door and it took her a long time to walk through the door. She would panic, she would check or receipt to make sure she was in the right place and she even walked away a few times. Once she walked through the door she found out there were 13 other people with similar for William -- feelings. There are lots of ways you can do it, improv is my favorite, there is so much playfulness and laughter, if you can laugh for two hours every week and you will. You are than on a good path. Tell me about finest city improv? Finest City Improv started four years ago, Thursday through Sunday we have a huge variety of improv from people who are just starting out to our professionals. Every half an hour you will see a different team on the stage. We have featured shows such as this fall we have a sketch review and a second city style and we have our Christmas show. It's very irreverent. You can come to training, we have five levels of classes. The third part is that we have corporate teambuilding and public speaking training that we use improv for. Of you seen the community grow? I think one of the things that we provide is a stage that opened to any team that wants to play and we give them a slot. What happened is that we got to the pot where we only had so much stage time and rehearsal space. Other people have branched often created shows here and there doing different workshops. I'm excited about that. Improv in San Diego has tons were going to do. How did you get your book published? Was this a long time in the making is itself published? I wanted to write a book and I started to put words to paper. I finally, I was at a workshop and I met a book publishing consultant named Bethany Kelly I hired her and had her help me lay out the book. Itself polished and finest city media will hopefully be doing more books. Remind everyone. The book is called "Relax, We're All Just Making This Stuff Up!" you can find it on Amazon if you Google relax and Amy Lisewski. Thank you very much. The book release party for "Relax, We're All Just Making This Stuff Up!" begins tonight at 6 PM at Hillcrest Brewing Company. We like you to take part and be part of a special live town Hall event next Wednesday We like you to take part and be part of a special live town Hall event next Wednesday, September 7. As midday edition joins a California counts for them on proposition 62. A state measure that would abolish the death penalty. For more information visit tran 29/townhall. Join us again tomorrow for KPBS Midday Edition at noon. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. Thank you for listening.

Finest City Improv's Amy Lisewski Publishes New Book
Amy Lisewski is the founder and artistic director of Finest City Improv. She’s also the author of a new book about using the tools of improvisation in daily life. You can meet the author at Wednesday's book release party at Hillcrest Brewing Co.

Amy Lisewski is the founder and artistic director of Finest City Improv. She’s also the author of a new book about using the tools of improvisation in daily life. You can meet her at Wednesday's book release party from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Hillcrest Brewing Co.

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Lisewski’s new book "Relax, We're All Just Making This Stuff Up!" was written for people who have never done improv and who may even be a little scared of it.

"It tells people how we, as improvisers, we get up on stage and make things up," Lisewski said. "Well, everybody in their life is constantly making things up whether you planned it or not, so how can we be a little more comfortable with that? I find that people come to improv for that reason, to be a little more comfortable with change, with themselves, and being around other people."

Lisewski started working on the book a year ago and it includes stories about how she fell in love with improv, about students she has had, and even offers some games to warm you up to the idea of improv.

"I did a workshop connecting women of influence and I met a book publishing consultant — her name is Betheny Kelly, and I decided to hire her and have her help me with the process of laying it out, getting the book cover designed and so it’s self published and hopefully Finest City Media will be doing more books," Lisewski said.

Lisewski describes herself as a "book nerd" with a master's degree in library science. She held one book release event at her hometown library but she wanted to hold more of a party to announce the book to the public.

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"I wanted to give the community something that’s just super fun where we can just laugh and have a drink and have a great time so you can really get the feeling of what we are going for when we are doing improv," Lisewski said. "We partnered with our good friends at Hillcrest Brewing Co., which we love and they are going to throw a great little party for us out on the patio with dozens of people there, we are going to have books, do some readings, we’ll have some of the people who are in the book, we got appetizers, there will be drink specials. Hillcrest Brewing Co. we love them they are as diverse and wonderful community as Finest City Improv is."

Here is a video about Finest City Improv:

Finest City Improv: Staging Comic Mutiny And Fearless, Unscripted Comedy

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