Full Bush Tour: Review

Nick Offerman talks woodworking, genitals and organized religion on his Full Bush tour.

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At the State Theater in Minneapolis on Thursday night, Nick Offerman’s set started off rocky to say the least. Offerman kept referring to the University and stating that they had asked him to clean up his act. It was a funny bit, but it went on for so long that audience members began to wonder if he knew were he was performing.

The humorist, as he dubs himself, told stories and jokes as well as played music over the course of two hours. A little long, sure, but it was entertaining the whole time.

Although audience members were concerned that Offerman wasn’t aware of his surroundings, he made some pretty good jokes about the situation. Including a joke about the birth of the PG-13 rating coinciding with his own sexual awakening as a thirteen-year-old. This was not the last time that Offerman referenced his sexual adventures.

More than once, Offerman referenced his well-known wife, Megan Mullally. It was a nice change of pace from many comedians of this generation, who will many poke fun at their wives habits or just ruthlessly pick apart their marriages. Offerman worshipped Mullally on stage. One of the best stories of the night was the story of Offerman and Mullally meeting for the first time.

They met on the set of a play that Offerman was doing carpentry for as well as acting in.  When Offerman was reading his Mullally assumed the part was not cast and Offerman was standing in.

“Wow the plumber is pretty good, they should just have him do it.”

Offerman told stories about starting off in really difficult field where he had to work as more than an actor on a production and it was cool to hear about those humble beginnings.

Offerman stuck out his woodworking career and still makes things in his shop in Los Angeles. If there is every an apocalypse, Offerman plans to use his skills to meet up with former co-star, Chris Pratt and survive off of the land.

His woodworking served him well during this set in particular. He wrote a song about making his own ukulele and played it on the ukulele that he made. Anyone who thought that he had not made the ukulele, and Offerman states that there have been some, clearly did not listen to the song, in which Offerman states that he made the ukulele.

Although Offerman presented material that was unique and quite different to the character that most people know him from, Ron Swanson, his best bit of the night came early on and had me in tears. Everyone loves a good Christianity joke, but it’s even better when part of the bit is just pronouncing Jesus Christ slightly wrong.

Hearing Jesus Christ pronounced phonetically is so beautifully simple and endlessly hilarious. Offerman didn’t use the premise of Christianity to be pious or holier-than-thou. He used it to ridicule the fact that some people believe that they are better than others because they believe a different set of wack stories. As he was referring to the bible as though it was a New York Times Best Seller, Offerman compared sins to spilling.

Offerman miming shooting hoops with paper towel for people to wipe up their spills with Oprah Style: “YOU GET A PAPER TOWEL!”

Offerman proved himself as a comedian and as a singer-songwriter but most importantly as more than Ron Swanson, a man we know and love.

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Chat with a Comic: Robert Fones

Five years ago, Robert Fones did his first open mic at Galactic Pizza.

Now he’s making plans to move to Los Angeles to continue work with Boy Kisses, a comedy group composed of Turner Barrowman, Drew Janda and Collin Clugg who are all currently residing in LA, as well as Fones. Although the weekly show at Universe Games is no longer happening, Boy Kisses is still doing video sketches and working together.

For Fones, and many others, staying motivated is one of the harder parts of comedy.
“Comedy requires that you’re always chipping away at something.”

Lately, Fones has been inspired less by stand up and more by other creative pursuits such as watching Fringe shows, going to concerts and finding ways to stay balanced. Fones believes it’s important to have a life outside of comedy.
“I think that comedy rewards this never-growing-up, Peter Pan, childish behavior that is not necessarily good,” Fones said. The advice he gives to combat that unhealthy mentality that tends to surround comedy is to make sure you aren’t neglecting other areas of your life and find some stability. For Fones, this meant signing a year long lease and taking more time to connect with old friends.

While Fones is exploring other avenues of comedy, he still admires stand up comedians like Paul F. Tompkins, John Mulaney and Maria Bamford. He is interested in the storytelling style and format of jokes. In fact, one of the moments when he realized that comedy was something he could do was after he told a story that made him realize you could really talk about anything through stand up.

So what’s great about Minneapolis?
There is no shortage of stage time. Comedians can get at least some stage time every night of the week if that is something that they want. Fones says that that isn’t as common in a bigger town. Fones also said that the kind of do-it-yourself comedy shows that are more common in Chicago are starting to happen around this area which is a really cool thing.

Comedy is intriguing and entertaining and terrifying. Fones attributes some realization that this is something he could do to the fact that there isn’t a set path for achieving his goals and he isn’t alone in his pursuit.

“Honestly the thing that made it something that I could at least try was seeing that there are a lot of very funny people, in town, who also don’t know what they are doing and are just trying to figure it out too.”

Comedy Scene Social Hour November

As we fall into November you may be looking for something to do indoors, away from the Minnesota cold. Luckily, the Minneapolis comedy scene is booming and there is something to do every weekend. While the options are overwhelming, I’m going to give you with my top three must-see shows for November.

Kicking the month off the month of November, Comedy Corner Underground on the West Bank is hosting the University of Minnesota Comedy Club’s monthly showcase. The show begins at eight on Thursday November 2 and features sets from the club’s members as well as a headliner who, this month, is Andrew Friedman. Friedman is a comedy club alumnus and a well known Minneapolis comedian. The showcase is an excellent way to support student comedians and have a cheap Thursday night out.

Friday,  November 10, is the second Who is She? ever. Created by the University’s own Kate McCarthy, Who is She is a variety show hosted by a different character every month. This is an informal house show but it isn’t something that you want to miss. This month McCarthy has Shelly Paul and Greg Coleman performing stand up, Steven Kreager doing sketch, improv from GAY/STRAIGHT ALLIANCE and music from Joey and the Prayer. This a  free show from one of the greatest talents in the Minneapolis Comedy Scene.

Real Shit – A Comedic Storytelling Show is going to take place on November 23, so if you are looking for something to see on Thanksgiving that isn’t a movie, the Comedy Corner Underground is your destination. The show costs a mere seven dollars and features a variety of different comedians telling true and funny and truly funny tales.

Although these are by no means the only shows worth seeing in Minneapolis, they are certainly at the top of the list. These show are also some of the most accessible both in terms of cost and distance from the university.

 

Museum Interpretation & Visitor Engagement

WAM Collective

The Weisman Art Museum offers many opportunities for students to get involved, whether through the student tour guide program, the WAM Collective, employment as student staff, or internship opportunities. This spring semester, I am rounding out my coursework with an internship at the Weisman in museum interpretation and visitor engagement. After a semester of reading and researching interpretation and engagement strategies, observing visitors to the museum, and implementing different trial strategies at WAM, I will be presenting my findings to the Weisman’s staff.

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Right now I am in the research observation phase of the project and have been reading about everything from the history of museums, to studies on the demographics of visitors, and texts on different approaches to visitor engagement and education. The best part of this process is taking everything I have learned and applying it to the galleries.

One tactic for increasing visitor engagement and creating lasting impact…

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Winter Break Reading!!

As a college student, reading for pleasure has fallen by the wayside with the stress of tests, homework and extracurriculars. Luckily for me, I have had time during this winter break to get back in the saddle and knock some books off of my TBR list. Because I am reading, and am planning to read, some pretty fantastic books, I figured I could show case my list and share it with the entire internet. For convenience sake I have bolded the books I have finished already.

NORTHANGER ABBEY – JANE AUSTEN-  I decided to kick off break with a classic. Jane Austen is a woman and writer that I admire and every once and awhile I like to read another one of her books just to keep her in mind. Northanger Abbey is a gothic parody (or said to be) about Catherine, a young lady who goes to visit friends in Bath and ends up having some excellent adventures and of course falls in love, but not without some misfortune.

CUCKOO’S CALLING – ROBERT GALBRAITH- Robert Galbraith is not who you think he is, unless you happen to think that he is J.K. Rowling in which case you are right and I shouldn’t even need to tell you why this was on my reading list. Cuckoo’s Calling is about a private detective (Cormoran Strike) and he accidental assistant (Robin). In this adventure, the duo is investigating a supermodel whose brother believes that her death was not the suicide it was classified as. Honestly this series has had me very focused for most of break, it’s a thriller I could not put down.

HOW TO BE PARISIAN WHEREVER YOU ARE – ANNE BEREST- You may recognize the name of this book from my summer reading list because I have been waiting just that long to get to it. This book was a nice little break from the high speed world of crime that Jo Rowling has gotten me so deep into. This is just a few style tips and life lesson after the influence of the French. If only I wasn’t so gosh darn bad at language classes maybe I’d be a more successful Parisian.

ASKING FOR IT – LOUISE O’NEILL- WOWIE this book was Intense. I was drawn in by the cover and the title (yes, I judge), but I stayed for the whole ride and boy was I glad I did. Asking For It follows Emma through some regular high school trials and through a party that changes her life and not for the better. The reason I liked this book was that it felt raw and real and honestly a little bit terrifying and you don’t always get that in YA Lit. Although the ending was a little ambiguous, I think this book is worth the read and I’m going to be looking out for more by Louise O’Neill in the future. TW RAPE

THE SILKWORM – ROBERT GALBRAITH- Well if I read the first one I have to read the next two, now I am invested. The Silkworm is again about Robin and Strike, but this time they are hired (well really they take this client for free) to find an author that stormed out on his family. One thing leads to another and Strike spends most of the novel trying to tie together the clues that the author left behind. I can’t say too much because no spoilies but I can tell you I went straight to the bookstore after I finished it to pick up the next one (Career of Evil) which I will be reading promptly.

THE NEW JIM CROW – MICHELLE ALEXANDER- I have never read anything by this author but I am really looking forward to this read. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness sheds a light on how the racism isn’t gone, it’s just been redesigned. Looking forward to the next four years, I think education on the social issues is more important than it has ever been.

HOLDING UP THE UNIVERSE – JENNIFER NIVEN- As many of you know Jennifer Niven’s debut novel is one of my favorite books, All the Bright Places stole my heart. Because of All the Bright Places, Holding Up The Universe automatically made it’s way on my list. From what I understand two out of place teens are going to find themselves and each other and high school will probably suck less for both of them because of it. But Niven has taken high school scenarios to completely different levels before and I’m really counting on her to do it again.

THE STORYTELLER – JODI PICOULT – Lastly, (for this post, my TBR list is longer than my lifespan) I chose a Jodi Picoult because she is reliable and I can trust her to tell a great and emotional story. The Storyteller happens when a young woman befriends an old man and one day he asks her to kill him. Were the mistakes of his past worth ending his life as an old man? I don’t know yet but I am certainly going to find out!

Enough — WAM Collective

Last year the WAM Collective had the privilege to work with local dance collective Kelvin Wailey for our performance intermission at the 2016 Design Showcase. One of Kelvin Wailey’s members Leila Awadallah created the following video piece this week in response to the violent islamophobic and racist vandalism that occurred across the University of Minnesota campus last week. […]

via Enough — WAM Collective

On Wisconsin

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Because I do, in fact live in Wisconsin, and have my entire life (up until going to college) I consider myself a bit of an expert on what to do while you are in the land of cheese. For me, August has been full of all sort of fun Wisconsin things making the best of my last month before going back to Minnesota. These adventures include but aren’t limited to races, festivals, fairs, state parks, and campgrounds. Not a bad way to spend the summer and everyone knows I love sharing adventures and tips to anyone who will read them.

If hiking is your jam then you’re going to want to grab your favorite wilderness explorer and head over to Devil’s Lake State Park like Steph and I did. It’s located near the Dells and if we can find it so can you. It only took us two and a half hours to drive there, but it took us almost twice that time to figure out where the lake was and how to hike there. One thing we would have done differently is parking, I suggest you take a good long look at a map before you follow your GPS because it would have been more beneficial for us to park by the lake and then hike up the bluffs, instead of having to find our way to the lake from a parking lot in the middle of nowhere. Also remember to by a state park sticker so you don’t get a parking ticket. I think it would have saved us a lot of trouble.

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If paddling is more your style you’re not out of luck. On August 6th, the second annual Half Moon Dragon Boat Festival was held in Eau Claire, and boy was it a good time, most of my family participated and we picked up a few last minute team members. The Dragon Boat race was a great way to spend some time in the sun, get some exercise and work on some team building. If you aren’t into being so competitive, but still want to hit the water, the Wisconsin River (also located near the dells) is always there for you. When the Gengler family embarked on that journey we put in at Sauk City and picked a campsite on one of the many sand bars to have a nice fire and enjoy each other’s company. It was not quite the same pace as the Dragon Boat race but still a nice was to get some sun.

Of course, Wisconsin has a lot to offer that isn’t so much work to do. Throughout the summer there are tons of music festivals, including: Summerfest in Milwaukee, Rockfest and Countryfest in Cadott, Country Jam in Eau Claire, and of course Eaux Claires, which I am still mourning even though I’m in Europe right now.

If you’re in the Milwaukee area you can always go cheer on the Brew Crew, even though we lost Lucroy we still have Scooter and that is equally fun to say. The State Fair in August is also a great way to kill some time, this year a group of adolescents were singing Hamilton and I don’t think I’ve run to a stage so fast in my life. What I’m saying is that even if Wisconsin isn’t the coolest place in the world, it doesn’t have to be the worst. Of course it doesn’t hurt to have some good company.

Adventures in Milwaukee and Chicago

I am super duper late on this post but what can I say, I’ve been pretty busy. I spent a good portion of time in Southern Wisconsin for the Fourth of July and as the week went on I was able to make it as far as Chicago. As you can imagine, it was a long trip and there is lots to talk about so I’ll try to cover everything or at least the really stand out moments so I don’t end up writing you a novel about my four day long trip.

I kicked off the week by driving down to Milwaukee after work on Sunday, and as far as the fourth goes, it was pretty uneventful. We wandering the beach, watched some fireworks, met up with ShawnPoirier (one of my favorite partners in crime). I ate a bunch of corn and that was that, it is always good to spend some time with the family. You know, just your average Fourth of July.

The real excitement began on July 5th. That was the day I picked up my favorite adventure pal from Kenosha and braved the Summerfest crowds. The day began well as seems to be the trend for this particular adventure.It was a peaceful and warm day we spent just hopping from band to band and eating the ice out of the lemonade cup. After a couple of hours of moseying around with Chris, my friend Ally joined us. Ally and I started off the night strong by walking directly into the men’s bathroom, only really realizing it when some man said “wrong bathroom ladies”. So far, that is the second time in my life that I have walked in to a men’s room unintentionally. We wasted a lot of time just walking around and catching up. It was then we realized that the ferris wheel was the only thing worth our attention at that moment. We boarded only after every one of us failed to guess the correct color of the seat we would be in. Chris took some A1 pictures at the top and Ally got a video of me sounding extremely whiney a win-win really.

When we got off the Ferris Wheel we realized we had about five minutes to get to the concert we went to Summerfest for. Jason DeRulo was the main event at the Miller Lite Oasis and let me tell you, his fans are animals. It was packed when we rolled up to the scene. Ally and I wanted to get closer because it’s hardly an experience to listen from the back, Chris would have been content anywhere else I’m pretty sure. Deciding to go closer was either the worst idea I have ever had or the best. It’s hard to say. Trying to get up to the screen was such a  difficult task, and that’s as far as we got we fought our way through and didn’t even see Jason. Throughout our journey to the jumbotron, Ally got a joint dropped on her, the same guy spilled three drinks on us, a very sweaty guy told me he was on ecstasy, and a girl passed out on top of us. We all were elbowed in the head and pushed into people, I even got a cut on my leg from the bleachers. It was not a child friendly environment. The concert in itself I really didn’t love. It was fine, but not great. I think it was really the experience. When we went to meet up with my family afterwords, my sisters who had a spot on the bleachers were still pretty and happy, meanwhile Ally, Chris, and I emerged bruised and sweaty, looking like we had just fought for our lives. Actually, that might not be too far off. Like I said, it’s the experience.

It was the day after that that my family headed for home and Chris and I headed for Chicago. We were expecting to encounter a lot of traffic because of Taste of Chicago and whatnot, but the drive was great and short. We got in a little after noon and we were able to begin adventuring right away. The whole day was like that, super easy and wonderful. Thanks to Chris’s aunt and uncle we got free parking and got into the museum for free, it was the nicest thing. The first thing we got to was Millennium Park because how could we not see The Bean? We listened to some sweet orchestra jams and looked on to the silent movie they were showing before making our way to the art museum. I was in heaven with their special exhibit, as it featured Georgia O’Keeffe who is my favorite everything. Chris let me wonder around babbling about all the pieces while he was busy finding new subjects for his snapchat masterpieces. It was a good time for both of us. After that we walked the Mag Mile like a couple of dumb tourists and Chris found a neat little record store. We ate dinner at a cute Chinese restaurant with Chris’s relatives, who were very kind and funny. The last thing on our list for the day was Navy Pier. It was a beautiful night on the pier, the weather was perfect. We sat and listened to some nice Chicago jazz as others danced. The last thing we did in Chicago was the Centennial Wheel, we were going to stay for the fireworks but we were just so darn tired from the concert that we decided to go back and spend the night watching It’s Always Sunny.

It was when we got to the hotel that we realized the day had gone just a little to perfectly. As I went to check into the room I booked, the clerk brought something to my attention that had not been an issue a few years previously, Illinois does not allow anyone under age 21 to check into a hotel. So it goes. Chris and I went back to Wisconsin, forfeited our second day in Chicago, and the Shea family was nice enough to let me stay in their house and cuddle Fenway.

Even though our last adventure day was not spent in Chicago, I still had a lot of fun. As we have done every time I have gone to Kenosha, Chris and I went to the lake. We had a lovely breakfast of Dunkin Donuts at the beach and watched the birds. Then we took on the Kenosha Public museum, there was a ton of cool art as well as a wooly mammoth. After I met Chris’s other friends, unfortunately I had to head home and say goodbye to my adventure pal.

I carpooled with my dad on the way back to Milwaukee and it took me almost no time to fall asleep in the passenger side.

Summer Reading

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If you’re looking for a fun summer pastime you have come to the right place. Reading is something I will never get sick of, and like many other people out there, I have a summer reading list. Because June is over, meaning that summer is quite underway, I have already gotten through a couple of the books and I will hopefully get through the rest before I move into my new apartment in August.

The list is as follows:

  1. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo
  2. The Knockoff
  3. How to be Parisian Wherever You Are
  4. Summer Days and Summer Nights
  5. The Unexpected Everything
  6. The Cuckoo’s Calling

I know, I know, this list doesn’t seem unattainable. It probably isn’t but I would like you to keep in mind some books are series (The Girl Who Played With Fire / The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest), sometimes I add books as soon as I find out they exist (The Unexpected Everything ), and sometimes books I feel like I need to read to get better at something in life (The Photographer’s Eye / Unofficial Guide to GoPro).

 

I have made a bit of progress in my list so far. I’ve finished Stieg Larson’s first of the trilogy, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and I’m halfway through the second book. I actually tried to read this series once before in high school but couldn’t get into it. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. This time around I finished the first book in two days. I get why they were so popular a few years ago, these books are intelligent and well written. I can’t read them fast enough. Larson is a genius.

Also in my done pile is Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza’s book, The Knockoff. There were a couple reasons I didn’t love this book. I think number one might just be that I read it in the wake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and may have been suffering a bit of a book hangover. The other reason I had kind of a qualm with this one was it seemed to demonize technology and make millennials out to be a little bit crazy. I might be biased though because of my millennial tendencies. Needless to say, this was no Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

I’m about half way through How to Be Parisian…, it kind of took a back seat once I started the Millennium Trilogy.

The other three books I picked based on past reading material. Summer Days and Summer Nights seemed like a great summer read, first of all. Secondly, I really loved the My True L0ve Gave to Me Christmas short stories put together by the same person, the lovely Stephanie Perkins, author of Anna and the French Kiss. I chose The Unexpected Everything because Morgan Matson is the bomb.com. She has never once disappointed me, even when I doubted the future of YA literature. If you pick up Second Chance Summer, Amy and Rodger’s Epic Detour, or Since You’ve Been Gone you will not be disappointed. I am very excited to read this one. My last pick is Cuckoo’s Calling simply because J.K. Rowling. I don’t feel as though I need to say more.

So, whether you are just trying to squeeze in some reading on break at work or looking for something to take with you while you sunbathe, I stand by my list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PSA WE FOUND A GREAT SCARY MOVIE ON NETFLIX

Have you ever just really been in the mood to watch a scary movie? If you are anything like myself or my little sister the answer to that is absolutely. Many, many times Netflix has disappointed me. Don’t get me wrong, I love Netflix. It fills all my comedy sitcom needs but there is a lack of quality scary movies to stream. It’s a serious downfall, but it just may be that the scary movie draught is over.

My dear friend Tessa and I were presented with this conundrum on a rainy Saturday night. Like many deep thinkers, we did not discover the solution right away. We first tried streaming a movie called Stonehearst Asylum but a half an hour in we could tell it wasn’t our cup of tea. It wasn’t freaking us out or holding our attention and those are important factors in a movie. If it doesn’t catch my attention in the first half hour it doesn’t deserve my attention for the rest of the time. When we returned back to the browse horror section our eyes caught on something we previously missed. Hush (2016) was the first movie recommendation and it had good ratings on Netflix. We decided to give it a shot and prayed that we could last more than a half hour with this one.

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This story is about an author who is blind, deaf, beautiful, and alone, the perfect equation for a scary movie. The movie starts with a visit by the author (Maddie’s) friend. But it really picks up after the friend has left when the friend runs back to the home pounding on Maddie’s door. From then on the Maddie, played by Kate Siegel, fights to find a way to survive the man in the mask outside of her house.

Of course there are many scary movies about being trapped in a house, but this is one of the first that I felt was different. A definite extra element was added because of Maddie’s inability to hear or speak. It made the movie much more complicated and suspenseful and interesting. This movie held my attention the entire time. Another nice thing, if you’re one of the scary movie commentators like Tessa or I, is that while we were working things out out loud, everything made sense. It wasn’t one of those where the characters do something that is almost certain to get them killed. It also has amazing special effects, there is one moment where her hand gets injured and boy is that a sight to see. I was so impressed.

Although the special effects were great and the whole movie wasn’t predictable, my absolute favorite part was Kate Siegel’s character, Maddie. I have never cared so much about a character in a horror movie, mostly because a majority of them die. But I would even consider this fictional character a role model, I was hardcore rooting for this woman. She was also #relatable. When her text message popped up on my computer I thought it was mine. I just really loved her.

The next time you have an evening you want to spend with Netflix, I suggest Hush. It was interesting, scary, and fun. I hope you have as good of a time as Tessa and I had last night watching it.