Murder Mystery Parties in Tahoe, Reno, Carson!

How about a Murder Mystery Party?!

You’re looking for unique entertainment for your corporate/private shindig, but you’re not quite sure what to do. Well, LOOK NO FURTHER! Because the creators of Hump Train  have just the thing, starring Reno’s #1 comedy troupe, The Utility Players! And we’ll come to you! Tahoe, Reno, Carson, Narnia…

The best thing about Murder Mystery parties is that they’re funny and interactive (just like all of our other entertainment menu options, which can be found HERE).

Now that you’ve made the best entertainment decision possible, we have one more important decision for you to make: Shaken, or Stirred?

No, but seriously. We offer two types of Murder Mystery parties:

  • #murder mystery tahoe reno utility players1: Murder Mystery Party (guerilla-improv-style): We arrive at your party/event, presumably as the entertainment for the evening, but suddenly – A MURDER! Each Player arrives as him/herself, but “secrets”, which later become motives, begin to slip during the “pre-show mingling”. Later, once the event is reveal to be a murder mystery, our motives and accusations become more off the cuff and silly. This show is highly interactive, and can be tailored perfectly for your event! One of the most enjoyable things about this option is that: A) It requires less actors, and is therefore more affordable; and B) We can reallymess with your guests early on in the event because we’re playing ourselves! Your guests will simply believe that you have hired Reno’s #1 Comedy Troupe to entertain them for the evening with hilarious improv games and some standup comedy, little do they know…
  • #2: Murder Mystery Party Tahoe Reno CarsonMurder Mystery Party (original): An audience favorite! This is our all-original, scripted-yet-improvised murder mystery party called “Clash of the Holidays” – featuring all of the Utility Players as different holidays. It’s witty. It’s funny. It’s silly. It’s interactive. Your guests must figure out which holiday committed the crime and why! Click here to read more.

CONTACT US NOW TO BOOK YOUR MURDER MYSTERY PARTY THAT WILL HAVE ALL OF YOUR GUESTS THANKING YOU FOR BEING AN AWESOME PARTY PLANNER!

Call Jessica at (513)-604-7690
Or email: theutilityplayers@gmail.com.

Posted in Utility Players Comedy | Leave a comment

The Cycle of Hate

Given the events of the past week, I am reminded of a quote from one of my favorite philosophical gurus to date:

Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

Even if you do not appreciate the sagacious words of the one Yoda, his words are spot on with regards to the recent Family Research Council shooting that occurred almost a week ago. Floyd Lee Corkins II walked into the Family Research Council’s headquarters in D.C., spouted remarks about the Council’s political and social stances, and then opened fire, wounding a security guard in the process. Before I get into the meat and potatoes of my post, I want it explicitly known that I do not condone the actions of Corkins – nor violence as a solution to any problem – and I have nothing but the deepest sympathies for the employees of the Family Research Council for the trauma that they endured. They did not deserve to have their lives put in danger because someone disagrees with the policies of their place of employment. Much of the discussion after the fact has centered around the Southern Poverty Law Center’s classification of Family Research Council as a hate group for their stance on the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community.  The Center’s labeling of the Family Research Council as a hate group, some have suggested, gave license and agency to Corkins to do what he did.

The Family Research Council is infamously known for their derogatory, discriminatory, and unscientifically based remarks toward the queer community. Looking at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website, I see a litany of anti-LGBT quotations, beliefs, and sentiments from various members of the Family Research Council’s leadership. Some of the topics of said quotations include, homosexual men are more likely to engage in child abuse, letting gays into the military could damage effectiveness due to homosexuals assaulting officers, and part of the homosexual agenda is to do away with age of consent laws. These statements are presented as scientific fact with no evidence to support any of their claims. I believe that hate speech – which I would classify as those quotations as – increases the likelihood of hate crimes. Hate speech serves to rally believers around a common cause or belief while dehumanizing a segment of the population. Research shows that when an individual is dehumanized it is much easier for someone to take horrific and inhumane actions against them. While the Family Research Council has never advocated outright for violence against the LGBT population, their rhetoric certainly paints a colorful picture of queer people as demonizing, child molesters with our secret gay, gay, gay Liberace gay agendas. What sort of environment does that create for someone struggling with their sexuality? What messages does that send them about their morality? They must own their part in breeding a culture of fear and anger toward LGBT people. There are many individuals, who do not support LGBT equality that do not resort to inflammatory lies and degradation.

Even though the media would like to make it seem as if a grand majority of Americans share these values and beliefs, the truth is that they don’t. There are plenty of religious affiliated individuals, conservatives, and Republicans who proudly support and advocate for equity for all people not just members of the LGBT community. Their efforts often go unrecognized or overshadowed by their more extremist peers. Through positive interactions with queer people their attitudes and beliefs begin to shift.

Often, when news travels down the grapevine of some extremist religious figure denouncing queer people as minions of Satan, my activist friends will lambaste their Facebook pages and twitter feeds with vile comments about “Stupid Republicans”, “Evil Conservatives”, and “Homophobic Christians”. One of my friends went as far as wishing that people would choke on their “Chick-Fil-A”s, as funny as that imagery is, it is not beneficial to the movement and ultimately sabotaging our efforts toward equality. We need to be careful in scapegoating and generalizing an entire community of people based upon the radical actions of a few members. Vilifying the “opposition” is not the answer to achieving social equity. Respect and understanding create the foundational groundwork needed to build friendship as we move forward. Disagreements are permissible in a healthy relationship but name-calling, threats, and violent actions will only lead to more of the same.  As we move forward toward healing and rebuilding America, I hope we learn that vicious animosity will only continue to breed anger, misunderstanding, and continued violence. I pray that even if we disagree on some social issues, there is a firm belief on both sides, that harassment – both physical and verbal – is unacceptable as a means to achieve one’s goals.

 

 

 

Posted in Gay Marriage, LGBTQ....LMNOPXYZ., Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

To Vote or Not to Vote – There Really is No Question There

Dear Friends, Family, and Strangers,

Every election is important. There always seems to be a dire air surrounding the outcome of any election. One candidate will lead us to the Promised Land; a golden age of economic, social, and political prosperity. The other candidate will invariably lead to the eventual collapse of America and democracy as we know it. This election cycle is no different. There is much at stake. However, more than ever a growing majority of apathetic voters are recusing themselves from the electoral cycle and proudly proclaiming that they are not voting. Here is my response to my friends, family, and random strangers I have never met who are actively choosing to not vote in this upcoming election.

You are not an individual. You may be exercising your individual free will by not voting but that action does not make you an individual. You are not a rebel, you’re not unique, and are certainly not above it all. I’m sorry that you feel that the government and political system is so corruptible and beyond repair that are you simply going to wash your hands of it. I’m sorry that even though you believe the government to be a hot mess and not worthy of your civic participation, you still expect the government to continue operating on your behalf. I’m sorry that you feel the need to complain about everything wrong with the system and yet feel no need to enact change and make it better.

I’m sorry that you do not have the time and impetus to educate yourself on the candidates – local, state, and federal – and the issues they advocate for or against. I’m sorry that you feel that certain issues – whether they be gay marriage, birth control, the Dream Act, and/or health care – are not important because they do not personally impact you. I’m sorry to tell you, that they do, whether you can see it or not. 

I’m sorry that you do not have the time to vote. In the age of twitter feeds, instagramming photos of your meals and viral YouTube videos that you must show all your friends, you do not have the five minutes it takes to register to vote. I’m sorry that honoring those individuals that tirelessly and valiantly fought for the right to vote so everyone’s voice could be heard is too much of an inconvenience. I am also sorry that the ability to vote early or via absentee ballot is not enough to mitigate the inconvenience of standing in line at the polls.      

You are not throwing away your vote by casting a ballot for the green, libertarian, or any other 3rd party. You throw away your vote when you disvalue the worth of your vote and choose to not vote at all. You won’t win them all; your candidate will not always come out on top. It’s a disheartening day when you learn that your candidate didn’t secure the victory or your party didn’t gain the majority in Congress. However, it’s no excuse to complain endlessly about how American is now doomed and will spiral downward into chaos and fiscal irresponsibility. It’s no excuse to inundate your friends and family with threats of defecting to Canada if your party loses – because lord knows Canada doesn’t have its own problems. The President, no matter what party they hail from, is still your President and therefore there to advocate for and be accountable to all citizens.     

Perhaps if we spent less time vilifying other parties and their candidates we would notice that said candidates have scarcely discussed the issues that mean so much to us. Perhaps if we pressed our candidates for more concrete solutions and articulated plans for the future they would be less inclined to devote their time to smearing the name of the other candidate. Instead, we occupy our energies and time with birth certificates, tax records, and the “he said, she said” of politics. We get distracted in the high school student council parade that politics has become and forget that these individuals will make important decisions that impact our daily lives.

So in the end, I don’t care who you vote for. I don’t care what party you choose to affiliate yourself with. I do not care if you choose a candidate from the list provided or write in a name. I do care if you vote. I care that you take a stand for something, whether I personally agree with it or not. I care that you take part in bettering America even if your answers to how to achieve that differ from my own. So care during this upcoming election as opposed to withdrawing into a disillusioned state of jadedness. Take the time, register, and vote.      

Sincerly,                                                                                

  Christopher Daniels                                                          

Concerned activist, educator, ginger, and voter.

Post written by Christopher Daniels. Christopher Daniels has actively been involved in the LGBTQ community for the past twelve years, majoring in Psychology, Women’s Studies, and LGBT Studies at the University of Wisconsin Madison. Currently, Christopher works as a Community Educator in Reno, NV and is a firm supporter of social equity and true social justice for underrepresented communities and populations.

Posted in Birth Control, Gay Marriage, Legislation, LGBTQ....LMNOPXYZ., Nevada, Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , , | 48 Comments

I Stopped Eating Chick-Fil-A, Now What???

I am not naïve to the discriminatory practices of corporate businesses or new to the tactless and thoughtless behaviors humanity engages in to protect and promote their moral superiority. I began advocating for the equal treatment of minorities back in my conservative private high school in Detroit, Mi where I, along with a band of committed students, ran a diversity council attempting to bring awareness and understanding to a number of sensitive and divisive issues. My experiences there led me to work for two statewide LGBTQ organizations, battling against discriminatory amendments aimed at denying rights to their citizens; citizens of all ages, races, backgrounds, and sexual orientations. As I traveled around the state, appealing to the compassion of people and informing these individuals about the potential ramifications of such legislation and how pervasive the consequences would be, I was often met with fervent support or ardent opposition for my cause. More often than not though, I was met with bland indifference. People often did not care or were blithely unaware of the issues at large, or some even gave me the “governments are corrupted and therefore I am not going to participate in politics” shtick – these same individuals would complain endlessly about raising tuition prices, climbing unemployment rates, or lack of health insurance coverage.

 As I logged onto Facebook this morning, I was inundated with friends’ frustrated statuses regarding the Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day and the overall controversy. My friends were outraged that a business donates money to anti-gay causes and organizations and dismay that people, knowing full well the hateful politics of Chick-Fil-A, would continue to support Chick-Fil-A and more so now because of their anti-marriage stance.

Corporate boycotts based upon religious and moral ideology seem to be the current trend in the ongoing Culture War phenomenon. With greater accessibility to news information and greater ability to share said information through social networking sites, individuals are more in tune and waking up more to the social injustices that exist. More than ever before, people are concerned about where their food is coming from and how it is prepared, the ethical policies of businesses, and the political, social, and cultural values that corporations and the leaders of said corporations uphold. We have known for awhile that businesses have funded political candidates, charities and organizations, as well backed political candidates. The President of Urban Outfitters donated money to formal presidential candidate Rick Santorum while Best Buy donated money to the campaign of socially conservative Minnesota candidate Tom Emmer. We also are aware that a number of states and businesses allow for workplace discrimination and termination based upon actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.  The Boy Scouts of America openly bars queer people from serving in positions in authority and Exxon Mobile earned the Human Rights Campaign’s first-ever negative score on their annual Corporate Equality Index. We also know corporations explore loopholes in legislative regulations to reduce costs and profits at the detriment of consumer health and environmental sustainability. So my question is, “why do the anti-discriminatory comments of Chick-Fil-A come as a shock?” Also follow-up question, “what are you going to do about it?”

Boycotting Chick-Fil-A is an ok start. I don’t eat at Chick-Fil-A and there are none in the city of Reno, so I couldn’t indulge in the genetically modified, hormone-dripping, chicken byproduct even if I wanted to. So what’s next?  I could write a scathing Facebook status about the awful practices of Chick-Fil-A and encourage all of my friends to not eat there. Check! So far I have received thirty-two likes and ten comments of enthusiastic support.  However the majority of my friends are (A) Queer (B) Activists (C) Queer Activists and therefore my comments would probably be read by like-minded individuals. So what’s next?

I feel that for the majority of individuals, their political activism ends there. For many, there is a belief that liking a Facebook status or generating one your own is the equivalent of voting or sending a letter to your local representative. In my opinion, they are not the same thing and in no way equivalent to one another. Chick-Fil-A is a very small drop in a much larger bucket. We are outraged today by Chick-Fil-A but what about all the other businesses that promote, fund, and/or encourage anti-queer policies, initiatives, and beliefs.

 We are in the midst of an election cycle where citizens will have the ability to determine which political leaders will guide this nation into the future. Do not assume your vote is pointless or lack of knowledge of local candidates/ordinances is a justifiable excuse for not voting. Do not assume that everything will work out with little effort or initiative on your part. Do not assume someone else will fight your battle for you nor assume that others’ battles do not concern you.  Get mad, get educated, get madder, and then go out and do something about it.

  Tabling at events, registering neighbors to vote, and educating yourself on the issues seems daunting and time-consuming; far more time-consuming then simply clicking a “like” button. However, these methods are certainly more impactful. So, as a queer man, I understand the frustration of my fellow community members and allies, however I then challenge us to question “What else could we be doing to help, to organize, and to protest?”

Post written by Christopher Daniels. Christopher Daniels has actively been involved in the LGBTQ community for the past twelve years, majoring in Psychology, Women’s Studies, and LGBT Studies at the University of Wisconsin Madison. Currently, Christopher works as a Community Educator in Reno, NV and is a firm supporter of social equity and true social justice for underrepresented communities and populations.

Posted in Gay Marriage, Gender, Legislation, LGBTQ....LMNOPXYZ., Nevada, Pop Culture, Social Justice | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Best Improv Comedy Show in Reno, tomorrow night – 4/12/12

Join Hump Train hosts Jessica Levity and Christopher Daniels, along with the rest of The Utility Players THIS Thursday night for the best comedy show in Reno — 90 minutes of side-splitting laughter, guaranteed.

Next Show: 4/12/12, 7:30pm at Pioneer Underground, 100 S. Virginia St.
Tickets available at Pioneer Box Office or Online. Pre-sale price only $11.

The Utility Players. Make ya laugh til you cry.

Meet The Utility Players - voted “Best Comedy Troupe” in Reno [RN&R 2010] and named Reno’s Best Bet for Comedy [Reno Gazette Journal, Metromix, 2011]. We are also Reno’s silliest family, and we promise to keep you laughing all night. Our show features 90 minutes of hard-hitting improv comedy that will keep audiences entertained all night. See it once or see it a millions times, the humor is always fresh, and the improv is guaranteed to hit the spot.

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