Friday, June 24, 2011
Tonight was the final show of the 2011 season of Wits. Now a tradition, we dined with Miranda and Adam before the show; this time at The Liffey. An added bonus was a brief appearance by Kyle Delahunt. We then arrived at The Fitzgerald at the exact time my friend, Allie and her boyfriend, Dan and friend, Nuria arrived. A great start to fantastic live performances by Neil Gaiman and Josh Ritter; phone chats with Wil Wheaton and Adam Savage. One of the highlights was getting to pet Neil Gaiman's dogs (oh and being one of 12 winners of a Wits prize - mine was a free drink).
Our other Wits dates:
Wits featuring Patton Oswalt & Grant Lee Philips
Wits featuring Chuck Klosterman & Craig Finn
Wits featuring Sandra Bernhard & Roseanne Cash
Friday, May 20, 2011
Scott and I met Miranda and Adam at Fuji-Ya in St. Paul for dinner and drinks before the third Wits of the season. I have so much fun talking to Miranda and Adam and always look forward to these double dates. The only snafu of the evening was our late arrival to the restaurant due to commuter traffic. After dinner, we headed over to the Fitzgerald and enjoyed the pre-show tweets on the screen and the strolling accordion, which apparently is a divisive entertainment option according to the Twitter stream. Sandra Bernhard and Rosanne Cash were the in-person guests and Eugene Mirman called in. It was a fabulous night and I look forward to the fourth and final Wits of the 2011 season.
Friday, April 15, 2011
It was another great evening in St. Paul for dinner, drinks and Wits with friends. Scott and I met up with Miranda (@mirjohns), Adam, Alex and Nick at Great Waters Brewing Company. Scott (@scottoberfest) and I enjoyed learning about bike polo, chatting about movies that are so bad they're good and documentaries we want to watch. After a relatively smooth start to the evening, Miranda's weird spell on me took hold and as you see in the top right photo, I seemed to have misplaced my tickets and I'm scrounging through my giant camera bag/purse that doesn't seem to work great for either purpose! After arriving to The Fitzgerald Theatre, we had no problems replacing our lost tickets at the Box Office. Once we settled into our balcony seats, I took in the views of Joseph Scrimshaw (@JosephScrimshaw) and Bill Corbett (@BillCorbett) in the box seats. You may notice already that this is a twitter friendly (encouraged!) event and Bill and Joseph provided the "halftime entertainment" by way of ribbing John Munson (@munsongs), John Moe (@johnmoe) about their respective slips- Leslie Gore and Superman and his "magic powers". The in person guests, Chuck Klosterman (@CKlosterman) and Craig Finn of The Hold Steady were amazing. Chuck made me want to go back to school and take more history of rock and roll classes (yes, I took one my senior year!) as he played samples of his formative music memories. Craig played never before played solo songs for us as well as a cover of The Beach Boys "Get Around" and Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy" as the end of the evening sing-along. The phone-in guests were Nikki Sixx (@NikkiSixx), co-founder and bassist of the band Mötley Crüe and Maria Bamford (@mariabamfoo), a comedian originally from Duluth, known by me from her appearances on Target commercials and Marc Maron's WTF podcast.
An added bonus for me was getting a chance to chat with Julia Schrenkler (@juliaschrenkler), Interactive Producer for American Public Media & Minnesota Public Radio. I met her at MinneWebCon and she is fantastic. So glad to know so many amazingly talented people in my own backyard!
A great evening all around!
Friday, March 25, 2011
A comedy of errors almost ruined a date night planned with my co-worker and friend, Miranda and her boyfriend, Adam. First, during the planning of the start time of our pre-show dinner and I was operating under the assumption that Wits started at 7:00 PM because that is how I entered it into my calendar. Miranda suggested 6:00 PM for our dinner at Sawatdee which I thought was cutting it close but didn't want to come across as a stressball (which I am). We both said we'd try to arrive closer to 5:30 which was Miranda's way of politely appeasing me. Scott and I were merrily on our way to St. Paul from SW Minneapolis and planned on a leisurely start to our date night with a walk around downtown St. Paul. That was ruined at the Vandalia-Cretin exit on I-94 where I realized I forgot our tickets at home! So, we turned around and spent an extra 30 minutes in the car, all the while texting Miranda with updates. She and Adam were at Sawatdee and she offered to order for us so I agreed to an appetizer which I thought was all we'd have time to eat. She also told us that doors opened at 7:00 PM which I thought was strange because I distinctly remembered John Moe announcing a tweet-up happy hour in the lobby before the show. So, sorry Miranda but I thought you had your facts wrong.
Scott and I just had one snafu with finding parking and somehow walked the wrong direction to get to the restaurant, adding an extra block to get to our destination. It was at this point that I finally looked at the ticket and discovered the 8:00 PM start time. So, as per usual, I met Adam with my special brand of "I'm a little wound up borderline crazy" first impression.
We all laughed at my "series of 'f-ups'" as Scott so eloquently put it, and then moved on with our evening of laughs. It was fun to get to know Adam and be with Miranda outside of work. We all liked our meals at Sawatdee even though Scott's mouth was on fire from his level 5 dish.
We made our way to the Fitzgerald Theatre in just enough time to grab 4 seats together in the center balcony. It was a great view and I enjoyed having the sound board and event photographer in my purview because I'm a nerd like that. The show itself was so much fun. John Moe is brilliant for creating a series of shows that highlight some of the best creative talent working today. I love comedy so it was a bonus for the season's first guests be Patton Oswalt and Paul F. Tomkins. I somehow convinced myself that Paul was going to surprise us by being in person since that is what John Moe did with Neil Gaiman last year. But, as Patton tweeted last night "Even on crutches, Grant-Lee Phillips is brilliant. Even over the phone and 1/2 a world away, @PFTompkins is hilarious. #twits" The music was fantastic. I'll admit I lost touch with Grant-Lee over the years but I listened to "Mighty Joe Moon" on repeat during college and revisit "Honey Don't Think" often. Grant-Lee played a cover of The Church's "Under The Milkyway Tonight" which inspired me to purchase his "Nighteeneightees" album this morning.
I can't wait to listen to the show again which is airing on The Current Sunday, April 10 at 9 p.m. and on MPR News Sunday, August 7 at 6 p.m. For my out of town friends, you can stream both!
I attempted my first 365 photo project in 2011. I made it to Day 246.
The Nivens Family