Miami New Times' Mastermind Awards honors the city's most inspiring creatives. This year, we received more than 100 submissions, which our staff narrowed to an elite group of 30. We'll be profiling those honorable mentions, and eventually the finalists, in the weeks to come. This year's three Mastermind Award winners will be announced February 27 at Artopia, our annual soiree celebrating Miami culture. For tickets and more information, visit the website.
Comedy is an art, and though we might celebrate those actors who excel in dramatic works, making people laugh ain't easy. And if you're a bombshell broad, forgedaboudit! But it's funny (and hot) ladies like Jessica Farr who show the world that women in comedy are a serious thing.
If you haven't heard the name Jessica Farr yet, take note This funny girl has her sights set on taking over the comedy scene. Actor, playwright, and stand up comedian, Farr is a solid triple-threat, and as an alumni of New World School of the Arts and Fordham University, she currently calls the Mad Cat Theatre home.
Cultist: You're quite talented and well versed in the arts; from comedian to playwright, is there one mask you prefer to wear?
Jessica Farr: Thank you! I'm used to wearing several 'hats' at any given point, so I'm reluctant to choose one, but I would say that making people laugh is one of the highest glories of human existence. So yeah, comedy would be up there on the top my list.
Tell us about your latest play, "Nadie."
I've had a few plays produced in Miami so far; "Charming Acts of Misery" at The South Beach Comedy Festival 2013, and "Blow Me" at Mad Cat last August, among others. "Nadie" is my latest. I wrote it the week I found out about Reefa. I needed to write something that reflected the mounting tensions. I just woke up one day out of a nightmare and started typing. What came out of that was what became "Nadie."
What's it like being a part of the Mad Cat Theater company? Are you a mad-catter? (That was our Mad Hatter pun).
Every member of Mad Cat is an electrical conduit of creativity and energy. There's a chaotic balance to working with them that I have always connected with. And they're all hilarious, beautiful people. We've got a good crew. We go bowling together. 'Nuff said.
Can you share with us any jokes you might be working on for the South Beach Comedy Festival?
Well, that is top secret. I'm part of a writing team right now; myself, Theo Reyna and Paul Tei. The piece is irreverent and political, [it's titled "Gerald Ford Superfreak" and the blurb for the show is "Just one of the 77,038 stories about the most kick ass president no one voted for. This one's a doozy."]. I don't want to give away too much, but I'll give you a hint: there are more things named after Ronald Reagan in this country than any other historical or political figure. Are you laughing or crying? That may gauge your interest in the piece.
Shia LaBeouf once said, "Dying is easy. Comedy is hard." Thoughts?
I love that Shia LeBeouf wants to take credit for that. What a special guy. Comedy IS hard! I'll give him that; although, I have a strong belief that some people are just born with it. This is not to say it doesn't take craft, but not every idiot can just walk on to a stage and make people give a rat's ass. You're either funny or the red light flashes way earlier than it should have.
Wanna see more MasterMinds? At Artopia, presented by Miracle Mile and Downtown Coral Gables, you can check out work by 2014's ten MasterMind award finalists and watch as the three Mastermind Award winners are announced. And that's just the beginning. Artopia will also include live entertainment by Bottle & Bottega, CircX, and Flamenco Puro; local art by Tesoro Carolina, Trek 6, 8 Bit Lexicon, Hec One Love, Ivan Roque, and Jay Bellicchi; and DJ sets by Main Event Productions, Phaxas, Golden San, Skinny Hendrix, and DJ Supersede. Other sponsors include Rums of Puerto Rico (Official Rum sponsor), Car2Go, El Palacios de los Jugos, Beck's (official beer sponsor), and Vero Water (official water sponsor). Early bird tickets are available through Feb. 2. Visit the official Artopia website.
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