The Austin Improv Potluck
The Austin Improv Potluck is an annual potluck for the Austin Improv community.
The potluck occurs every year on the Sunday before Thanskgiving. Everyone in the Austin-improv community is invited, and typically about a hundred people show up for the event. The potluck is one of the few events still under the aegis of The Austin Improv Collective. At some point during every potluck, all the improvisors gather together for a massive group photo.
"Love notes", a potluck tradition, are short affectionate notes exchanged among improvisors.
Every year at the potluck, the organizers provide a stack of manila envelopes and markers. Should you want to receive love notes that year, you take a manila envelope, write your name on it, and place it where everyone can access it. (Some years, there have been clotheslines strung up for this purpose; other years, manila envelopes were all masking-taped to a wall.) Then, anyone who wishes can write a short note about you, either anonymously or not, and leave it in your envelope. At the end of the night, you gather up your envelope, and with it, all the kind notes people have written about you.
The first annual potluck was held in 2005, upstairs at The Hideout. It was organized by Andy Crouch. At the time, nobody realized it would become an annual event, and no group photo was taken.
Starting in 2006, organized By Rachel Madorksy and Valerie Ward (acting under the auspices of the AIC),the Love Notes tradition was introduced. The same year included an awards ceremony as well. In 2009, the awards ceremony became more of a celebration of each theatre, with community members preparing humorous sketches as tribute to the theatres and various well-respected community members. The awards section or any idea of formal programming was abandoned after the 2010 potluck in favor of everyone just hanging out and having a good time.
Earlier potlucks were held at improvisors' houses, but the potluck has grown too large to be hosted by individuals, and now the Austin Improv Collective rents a sizable venue every year for the event.
- 2005: The Hideout Theatre, upstairs
- 2006: Jen Cargill and Erin Plischke's house.
- 2007: Shannon McCormick's house.
- 2008: Julie Gillis's house.
- 2009: Café Caffeine
- 2010: Julie Gillis's house.
- 2011: The Institution Theater
- 2012: The Elks Lodge
- 2013-2015: The Moose Lodge
- Brainstorming notes about the local improv scene from the 2005 potluck.
- A photoset of the annual group photos from 2006 to the present.
- A photoset of the 2007 potluck.
- A photoset by Jon Bolden of the 2008 potluck.
- Photoset by Kevin Miller of the 2010 potluck.
- Photoset by Roy Moore of the 2011 potluck.
- The 2011 and 2012 group photos, as shot by Steve Rogers.
- Photoset by Steve Rogers from the photobooth at the 2013 potluck.