Friday, April 11, 2014

Psychology Today? Pure Insanity Tomorrow.

The lovely Mark Peters, a former student of mine, has given me a major shout out for being an inspiration to him. He even coined a term in my honor. So, that's cool.

Psychology Today

Monday, March 31, 2014

So. Many. Things.

Here are some of the many things coming up this spring that I hope you will find the time to sufficiently investigate and enjoy.

Please be merry and gay with us!  Robot vs. Dinosaur Presents:
The 4th Annual
St. Drunken’s Day!
A Holiday for the Drunken Masses
 The 2014 celebration features:
* St. Drunken’s Day pageant with songs and miracles * Drinking games such as beer pong and beer plinko * A silent auction with one-of-a-kind St. Drunken’s Day artwork * Raffle with prizes you'd actually want * More fun than a barrel of monks * And excessive amounts of beer and fun!
The Details:
What:      St. Drunken’s Day!
When:     Friday, April 4, 2014 from 7 p.m. to Midnight
Where:   HQ (located at 1914 N. Milwaukee Avenue)
Tickets:   $20 in advance, $25 at the door (see or email any member of RvD for tickets)
** The St. Drunken's pageant with sketches, songs, and miracles starts at 8 p.m. **
All proceeds will go to help fund our show that opens in May – Attack at Bikini Werewolf Beach Part 2!!
**(You must be 21 to attend St. Drunken’s Day.)**
For more information on Robot vs. Dinosaur, look for us on Facebook ( and Twitter (@RVDChicago)
About St. Drunken:

St. Drunken is the world’s mostly forgotten patron saint of drunks, inebriates, drinkers, imbibers and people who like to have fun.  He is responsible for finding arbitrary reasons for people to get together, enjoy each other’s company, shake off the weight of the world, and drink alcohol (usually to excess).

I will be guest starring in a live radio show on April 13th. (Click to enlarge. Insert dirty joke here.)

On Saturday, May 3rd, I'll be lying my ass off for fame and fortune.

Click HERE for more information.

And Robot vs. Dinosaur is mounting a big full-length musical! I co-wrote it. Do not miss this. Good times. 

Shhh...there is no part one. For tickets and info, swipe your razor sharp claws HERE.

AND... I'l be teaching another weekend writing intensive. "3 Plays. 3 Days." on May 16, 17 and 18. It ends on Sunday night with a staged reading by Chicago actors bringing one of your three plays to live in front of an audience. It rocks. Check out Gorilla Tango for details.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Christmas Letter From Jim Melweski

A Christmas Letter From Jim Melweski

Well, Hey, There and Merry Ho-Ho-Ho!

It’s that time of year, again. That time when I say Merry Christmas to you and yours and ours. I just put up the tree and decorated it all by myself. A little heavy on the tinsel on one side because my older brother Ed stopped by to help and he never got out of his chair. One hand on a Bush Lite and one hand flinging the shiny until he passed out. That Ed. He cracks me up.

Another year has ticked and tocked its way out the door. Where does the time go? I’m still working at the post office. Knock on wood! The gang from there – Holly, Chip, Rashida, Phillip, Willie, Tor and Yvonne all say hello and salutations, I’m sure. Tor said a funny thing the other day. We were sorting boxes in the back and he shook one real hard and said, “Sounds like someone’s been naughty!” He cracks me up. The thing on his nose looks like it’s getting bigger.

Artemio and his family downstairs seem like they are doing well. I hear them laughing and watching television. The other day, the police came by and took Artemio, Jr. away. Artemio saw me looking out my window and just shrugged his shoulders like, “Kids. What are you going do?” And he’s right. Kids. What are you going to do?

Missy, or The Furnado, as I like to call her, is doing better. She has stopped chewing on her butt and will let you pet her as long as you don’t sneak up on her. I don’t know why she’s so nervous. She won’t even let me give her late night bubble baths any more. Cats. What are you going to do?

Come Christmas, I’ll be spending the day at my Aunt Sheila’s. Her house smells like talcum powder and I’m sure she still wears girdles. She likes to cook Ed and me a dinner of ham, scalloped potatoes and green beans. For dessert, we’ll have ambrosia with lime Jell-O, mini-marshmallows and shredded coconut. It’s just not Christmas without my Aunt Sheila’s ambrosia. After dinner, Ed will sleep on the couch while Aunt Sheila and I watch “A Christmas Story” on the portable TV in the bathroom while I wash the sores on her back.

Well, I hope you and your family had a good year and has an even better one in 2014. If you’re not doing anything on New Year’s Eve, let me know. I’m going to have some friends over to watch the ball drop on the television. I will warm-up some bite-sized pizza rounds and spring for a case of Bush Lite. Ed falls asleep around 11pm. I like to stay up and see the New Year being rung in in the different time zones. It makes me feel like I’m from the future! And I like to see what rock and roll musical acts are popular these days. It’s not the same without old Dick Clark, but it’s something.

Merry Christmas!

Until Next Year!
                     Jim Melewski

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Joe Janes Writes Six 10-Minute Plays In One Day In The Lobby Of Stage773 While Some Jerks Try To Distract Him

 (Joe Janes writes a play while the Chicago skyline attempts to distract him. Nice try, Willis Tower. Nice try.)

On the morning of Saturday, October 19th, Joe Janes will meet with six directors and eighteen actors. He will spend the rest of the day at the bar in the lobby of Stage773 writing six ten-minute plays for them. While he does this, you and special guests are invited to stop by and distract him. Some confirmed guests include a singer, a contortionist, a Shakespearean actor and a demonstration on catching demons.

Sunday, October 20th, the actors and directors will return and rehearse their plays all day and perform them that night at 7:30pm.
Stage773, 1225 West Belmont, Chicago, IL
Sunday October 20, 2013 7:30pm
Tickets $10 (plus some stupid fees) or by calling 773-327-5252

Joe Janes does not believe in writer’s block and seems to enjoy going out of his way to prove it doesn’t exist. “There’s either writing or not writing. You never hear an improviser say, ‘I was going to improvise, but I couldn’t think of anything to say.’”

Every year for the past four years, Joe Janes has challenged himself to write. In 2009-10, he wrote a comedy sketch a day for a year. In 2011, he collected 50 10-minute plays, 36 of which were written in two months, for a production at Strawdog Theater. In the summer of 2012, he wrote Seven Deadly Plays – a 10-minute play-a-day for a week culminating in all of them being presented on the seventh day.  Collections of his produced works are available on-line and at Quimby’s bookstore.

Cassie Ahiers - Cassie Ahiers is a Director, Improviser and Writer. She recently graduated from Columbia College with a degree in Sloth Appreciation.

Jesus Contreras - Wishes Bertolt Brecht was alive today. And his friend.

Stephanie Douglass - Stephanie Douglass is a farmer, writer, and performer. In New York, Stephanie is a co-founder of The TEAM, and in Chicago, she improvises with Eleanor, and has been featured at Here's the Story, This Much Is True, Real Talk Live, Paper Machete, Write Club, Story Club South Side, Adult Education, I Sh*t You Not, and all kinds of other story-filled events. She is a Moth GrandSLAM winner, and during the week, she grows delicious, organic veggies and trains people with employment barriers for Growing Home.

Katie Horwitz - Katie is an artistic associate at Stage Left Theatre. She most recently assistant directed "Warped" by Barbara Lhota.

John Jughead Pierson - John Jughead Pierson is the co-founder and guitarist for the acoustic band Even In Blackouts and the punk band formerly known as Screeching Weasel. He is a Neo-Futurist. He has published two novels: Weasels In A Box and The Last Temptation of Clarence Odbody.

J. Cody Spellman - J. Cody Spellman is a freelance director, dramaturg, and producer who has graduated from the directing theater program at Columbia College Chicago. He is an artistic associate of The Fine Print Theatre Co. and Stage 773, as well as the producing manager of Blood Oath Improv.

Featuring: Johnathan Wallace, Matt Ulrich, Paige Saliba, Monica Gilley, Erin O'Brien, Jack Gallagher, Zachary Kirk Lutz, Anthony Lombard, Jeff Irlbeck, Jordan Hoisington, Brad Bankemper, Katie Utterback, Deanna Moffitt, Xavier Jordan and more!

Joe Janes is an Emmy award winning writer and teaches comedy writing at The Second City and Columbia College. He has written for Jellyvision's You Don't Know Jack and SNL's Weekend Update. He has three books of his produced work: 365 Sketches, 50 Plays and Seven Deadly Plays. His full-length plays include Metaluna and the Science of the Mind Revue, A Hard Day's Journey Into Night and Always Never. He writes regularly for WNEP Theatre and Robot vs Dinosaur.

1225 West Belmont
Sunday October 20, 2013 7:30pm
Tickets $10 (plus some stupid fees) or by calling 773-327-5252

Thursday, October 3, 2013


SEEKING DISTRACTIONS - on Saturday, October 19th, from 11am to midnight, I will be at the bar at Stage773 writing six 10-minute plays. I'm looking for volunteers to come distract me every half hour for a few minutes. If you just want to stop by and visit, you can do that anytime. If you'd like to come by and sing me a song, show me a magic trick, tell me a joke, juggle some chain saws, show me your latest interpretive dance, whatever, then let me know in the comments section and I will schedule you for a slot! If you know anyone who might be interested, please let them know. Thanks!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

What's Joe-ing On?

I promise I will never, ever use that title ever again. Ever.


Staged Reading of selections from 
Seven Deadly Plays and Thensome 
Quimby's Bookstore, 1854 West North Avenue in Chicago. 
7PM. Free! 

This is from Quimby's website...

In Joe Janes’s new book Seven Deadly Plays, he assembles seven plays he wrote that are set in dangerous places in and around Chicago. All the plays were written in one week and then presented at Strawdog Theatre in the summer of 2012. The locations include a speedboat on Lake Michigan, an urban farm in Englewood, the abandoned Damen Silos, a haunted cemetery, a fun house, up in a big tree and Lower Wacker. The approach was similar to how many 24-Hour projects are constructed. Directors and casts were predetermined. Janes visited each site and then wrote a play that day which was submitted to the director and actors the following morning. The first group had six days to prep their play. The last group had the day of opening night to get ready. The result was a dynamic mix of comedy and drama in some very unusual settings.

Joe Janes is an Emmy award winning writer and former stand-up who teaches comedy writing at The Second City and Columbia College. He has written for Jellyvision's You Don't Know Jack and SNL's Weekend Update. He has written three books: 365 Sketches, 50 Plays and Seven Deadly Plays. His full-length plays include Metaluna and the Science of the Mind Revue, A Hard Day's Journey Into Night and Always Never. He writes regularly for WNEP Theatre and Robot vs Dinosaur. He has been a director for Second City for over ten years including directing the national touring company and Second City main stages in Las Vegas and Detroit.

"Silly, bizarre, violent, and provocative...the pieces showcase Janes's willingness to take risks of all kinds." - Chicago Reader on 50 Plays

The reading will feature Joe, Janes, Paige Saliba, Jill Olson, Derrick Gaetke, Ricky Staffieri, Ryan Hake, Jared Popkin, Natalie Danger O'Sullivan, Nat Topping, Rammel Chan and Stephanie Douglass

The book is now available at Quimby's or on-line at Lulu. It's only $10.



Six Directors. Eighteen Actors. One Distracted Writer.

It's like a 24-hour play festival with just one writer writing six 10-minute plays in one day in the lobby of a theatre. I'll write the plays at the bar (of course) of Stage773 on Saturday, October 19th. Feel free to stop by and distract me. On Sunday, the actors and directors get their scripts and work all day to put them up at 7:30pm. Nuts.

The directors include Stephanie Douglass, Katie Horwitz, Cassie Ahiers and Cody Spellman.

Tickets will be $10. They're not on sale yet. Will let you know. Strongly recommend they be purchased in advance on this one. 


"3 Plays. 3 Days. An Intense Writing Intensive with Joe Janes" returns! 

In three days, participants will learn how to write improvisationally, ultimately generating three ten-minute plays. Each student will have one of their plays performed in a staged reading on the third day by some of Chicago's finest actors. Some writing experience is recommended. Class size is limited to 7. $150 until 10/20/13; $175 after. REG DEADLINE IS 10/31/13.

PLEASE NOTE: Class times are Friday 11/8 from 6-9 pm; Saturday 11/9 from 12-6 pm, and Sunday 11/10 from 12-6 pm with the final showcase at 7:30 pm that evening. Tickets to the public reading are $5 and may be purchased at or at the door.

The workshop went so well, Gorilla Tango wanted to book another one right away. So, we did. Here's what some of the students from last time had to say...

"I was flat out terrified to take the class (and seriously considered skipping) but I am so glad that I did. It was a great experience and I really enjoyed working with everyone in the class. I think regardless of the level you're at, you will be able to participate in and take a lot away from the class. I would also say there is a lot more to the experience than just the writing, and it is an excellent experience." - Alexandra

"Every writer hoping to expand their skills should take Joe Jane's class. It will be impossible to become the next  Shakespeare or Williams without doing so." - Patrick

Hear that, next Shakespeare-wannabe? Better sign-up for this workshop. You can do that by clicking HERE.