# Calculus: The Musical

On Tuesday a friend invite me to join him for a show at Huge Improv Theater called Calculus: The Musical. It was a small production. Two actors portrayed many different characters, there was no intermission, and there were several frenzied costume changes during the show. Both actors played guitar at points, and one had several pieces on an electric keyboard. It had all the elements that I love in a musical comedy: Witty characters, fast-paced dialogue and action, a dash of slapstick, various overdone accents, a multimedia presentation, a blending of musical styles (from classical to rap and a lot in between), and a man playing Sir Isaac Newton talking to a little action figure of himself (“Little Isaac”) and then having the action figure answer back in a higher-pitched version of his true voice. Okay, that last was specific to Calculus: The Musical and not at all something I look for in musical comedies.

As the name might imply to those among you who are particularly quick-witted, it was about calculus. As a mathphobe who never made it all the way through a calculus course I was worried that all of the jokes would go right over my head. I did miss some of them; several times my friend’s giggling indicated that something humorous had transpired on stage after some dialoguey gobbledygook about derivitives, functions, limits and infinite series. But the writer managed to incorporate calculus without making the storyline completely unintelligible to the uninitiated.

You can listen to songs from the musical at maththeater.com. Here are the lyrics from the only song that I can actually claim to have understood entirely. It’s called 5 Sizes of Numbers:

There are 5 sizes of numbers,
Big Infinity and small Zero,
And the Finite in the middle,
They’re the ones, I’m sure you know.

But now we look between Finite and Zero.
To numbers so small, they’re nothing at all,
But still a little larger than a Zero.
Their name is Infinitesimal.

On the other side of Finite,
There are numbers too large to say,
Infinites are what we call them,
They are big, in every way.

But they will never quite be Infinity,
They’re not quite as big, not even close.
We’ll use all of these numbers in Cal-cu-lus,
The numbers, I love the most.

It only gets nerdier from there. They have a song about Bernhard Reimann in the style of Eminem’s Without Me. Just sayin’.

Calculus: The Musical has been touring nationally for six years, and it stopped in Minneapolis only for a couple of days. But they have shows scheduled from now through May of 2012 in different parts of the country. I had a good time, maybe even learned a thing or two, and it reminded me that I really need to stop procrastinating and start reading that copy of Jennifer Ouellette’s Calculus Diaries that I got for Christmas and have left languishing on my bookshelf for the last year!

# Go Buy Tim Minchin Tickets!

Hey Twin Cities friends!

Did you know that TIM MINCHIN is going to be doing a rare live performance in Minneapolis on July 16th at the Pantages Theater???

Photo Source

Are you going? Do you already have tickets? I have tickets!

If you haven’t heard of Tim Minchin, hell’s bells, go YouTube him! He writes, plays piano and sings about rationality, sex, common sense, boobs, prejudice, sex, skepticism, boobs and religion…to name a few. Also boobs and sex. Oh, and he wrote the music and songs for a musical stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Matilda with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He’s a hell of a showman and comedian, and according to his website he has an enormous…sense of occasion. Yea, a man of many talents.

I’ve posted this before; it’s one of my favorite Tim Minchin songs:

I know, right? AWESOME! So get out of here – go buy tickets! They’re only \$28 if you buy at the door, \$40 to buy online (thanks for that kick in the ass, Ticketmaster).

If you’re in Portland, Seattle, Austin, Anaheim, San Fran, Atlanta, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. or Montreal, Tim Minchin is also coming your way in June or July. Check out his full calendar here.

Squee!

# The Big Beginning (SoS)

Yay – new Symphony of Science!  I like the way this one turned out, but my favorite is still Poetry of Reality.

# T-Mobile Flash Mob

I LOVE flash mobs!  I don’t even care that this is a marketing gimmick; this was so much fun to watch:

# Marian Call in Minneapolis(ish)

I’m going to see her tonight!

I only recently heard about Marian Call through Twitter, and again through her performances at W00tstock.  I joined her Facebook fan page not too long ago, listened to her music for free through her website and bought her CD Got to Fly via iTunes.  Have I mentioned how much I love the internet and social networking?

Anyway, Marian Call sings folksy, acoustic-type music with a heavy emphasis on geek culture and humor.  She’s known for her fan music about Firefly and Battlestar Galactica.

She’s a biiiiiig geek, and I <3 that.

The cool/scary thing about the performance tonight is that it’s going to be at Dunn Bros. in Roseville.  I love small shows like this.  People are being encouraged to bring their own chairs, and with such a large geek/nerd contingent in the Twin Cities (W00tstock Minneapolis sold out like *that* – imagine me snapping my fingers there), I have no doubt that there will be a lot of people standing.  Which is good, and I’ll have a chance to get (really) up close and personal with my fellow geeks.

I should definitely do a deoderant re-apply before I get there.

Anyway, my bit o’ geek for the day is that I’m taking off early to go hang out at Dunn Bros. so I can try to get a decent seat.  Also, this is an excuse to leave work early and continue re-reading The Demon-Haunted World in remembrance of Carl Sagan’s birthday.  Carl Sagan died in 1996, but today he would have been 76.

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Update with PHOTOS!

Marian Call was awesome.  I actually did arrive about four hours early for the show, but a couple of my other friends also showed up around then.  I didn’t get much reading done in Demon-Haunted World, but we all hung out, played on our computers and had a grand old time.  One of my friends actually crocheted me a Jayne Hat in a little less than two hours in honor of the show and Marian’s Firefly fan songs.

Marian was friendly and chatty, the crowd was waaaay smaller than I expected (I’m bad at estimating, but…maybe 50 people?) and very well-behaved, and the sound was good.  This was probably the smallest, most intimate concert I’ve attended.  At the mid-show break and after the show Marian hung out and spoke with the audience and took pics with people.  Everything was very laid back and enjoyable.

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Marian in Saffron garb for It Was Good For You Too

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Photo by @belmikey and posted with permission.  His complete set of pictures from the evening can be found here.

#### They’re goofy, and I love vocal harmony, and so now I’m completely smitten with this group, and excuse me I have to gopurchase a CD from their website nao, kthxbai.

I don’t post a lot of NSFW (not safe for work) content on this blog, but this…this is completely, awesome and worth the NSFW rating.

Disclaimer/Warning: An intelligent woman sings very graphically about wanting to have sex with an intelligent man.  If the idea of an intelligent woman having sexual desires offends you, you may wish to skip this video. Hehehe.  Oh, and if you have a low tolerance for pop, just suck it up and concentrate on the lyrics.

# Blues for Mr. Scopes

This video is for those of you who want to know more about the Scopes Monkey Trial, or maybe just see it in a completely new way.

Well done, sir!

Richard Milner has more Darwin videos at his Youtube channel.

The most sacred thing a man can do
is to tell the world what he believes is really true.