Comfort those closest, entertain the rest.

David Bazan living room show

There’s this song David Bazan sings, that may or may not be autobiographical. It’s about this guy who’s pretty disillusioned with being on tour across the country. One night in a convenient store he tries to pick up a cashier, gets rejected, and sets a car on fire in the parking lot. At least that’s how I hear it. I’ve never been on tour, I’ve never tried to pick up a cashier at a convenient store, and I’ve never set a car on fire. But, dammit, when I sing along with David Bazan all sad and matter-of-fact, I fell all the self-loathing and regret that one would presumably feel, gas can in hand, standing in a wet parking lot in front of a blazing Honda.

That’s a songwriting gift.

This weekend I got to see Bazan play live in a living room with thirty other people. At eight o’clock, he walked in the front door, nodded to a room full of strangers, sat down on a stool, pulled out his guitar and started singing. It was pleasantly surreal.

A few songs in he greeted the audience and asked if anybody had any questions. That was the rhythm for the rest of the night. Few songs. A little conversation. Few songs. More talking. It was really fun. Bazan is incredibly warm and amiable. Afterwards Sara and I told him how much we enjoy what he does and I got a picture with him.

Great night.

Meeting People You Admire - Anthony Bourdain

So I’ve detailed in other posts a list of people that I wanted to meet - people whose work I enjoy or am inspired by; people whose hand I want to shake and say, “thanks, I like what you do.”

One big name on that list is Anthony Bourdain. I enjoy everything the man does, whether it’s writing, making television, or public speaking. He is a lovable curmudgeon. He is open-minded, but opinionated. He is a rockstar, and a chef, and a libertine, and a leftie, and a citizen of the world in the truest sense of the phrase. He has an insatiable appetite for life in all of it’s forms and it’s infectious.

Sara and I got a chance to see him speak a few years ago at the Kentucky Center in Louisville and we both loved it. His live talks give an interesting behind the scenes look at his show No Reservations and his travels around the world. So when we heard he was coming again, and this time bringing his best friend Eric Ripert, chef, author, and restaurant owner, we knew we had to go. This time, however, we decided to shell out a little extra cash and pay for the privilege to meet Mr. Bourdain and Mr. Ripert after their talk at a small reception.

Sara and I intended to make a day of it. We planned to go to Louisville early and have a nice dinner at one of several restaurants we’d been wanting to try - then leisurely making our way over to the Kentucky Center.

Unfortunately, poor Sara fought a migraine most of the day - so we ended up leaving as late as possible, grabbing fast food (which I promptly got all over my shirt) and then sliding into our seats moments before it all started.

Once we were in our seats (second row!!), though, the fast food and hectic pace disappeared into oblivion. The talk was great - two profane hours about Paula Deen, Iggy Pop, eating pig anus, and punching racists in the nose. And food. They also talked a lot about food.

One of the best parts of the night was during a Q&A at the end - someone in the audience asked Bourdain where he ate lunch. Bourdain said some really complimentary things about his meal at Proof On Main, a local restaurant. From the back of the room you heard someone shout, “I cooked that for you!” When you turned around and looked there was a kid at the back of the room with a smile you could have seen from space, practically dancing with excitement.

Afterwards Sara and I made our way to the reception where I was second in line to meet Bourdain and Ripert. I nervously handed Mr. Bourdain my copy of his Les Halles cookbook to sign and asked him some questions about the graphic novel that he recently wrote for Vertigo. He was nice and energetic and I was a complete nerdy spaz with Arby’s sauce on my shirt.

Best night ever.

One more off the list: Anthony Bourdain

Meeting People You Admire - continued

Some time ago, I made a post about my recently devised goal to shake hands with people I admire. At the time I had met:

The Avett Brothers

And Alton Brown

In the last three weeks I’ve been able to knock a couple more off the list. Namely:

Comic writer, Matt Fraction, the story of which I detail in a post a little further down this page

And then, on Saturday, I was able to meet author Donald Miller

Miller was speaking at a local church and Sara and I waited around afterwards to meet him. Miller is a great writer and a seemingly neat guy. He writes a lot about growing up without a father and so his writing has meant a lot to Sara. She told me after we left that she wanted to say a lot more to Miller than she did, but was afraid she’d break into tears.

We thanked him for his writings and I thanked him specifically for some of the things he’s written about politics. He signed a book for us and posed for a picture. It was really nice.

So, the tally at present:

The Avett Brothers
Alton Brown
Matt Fraction
Donald Miller
Anthony Bourdain
Joel McHale

I’m also considering adding a few more names. This isn’t the kind of list that should ever really be complete, I think.

Meeting people you admire

So, I decided a while back that I wanted to meet/shake hands with/talk to all of my… well, I don’t want to say heroes… that’s not really the word; more like, people whose work inspires me or that I want to emulate. Unfortunately, I came to this conclusion after already passing up opportunities to actually meet both Joel McHale and Donald Miller. Hopefully I’ll get another shot at both.

Proactively, I’m making plans, next year, to fly out to North Carolina for Heroes Con and meet Matt Fraction, my favorite comic book writer.

So who have I actually met so far? Glad you asked.

A couple of years ago, Sara and I got to meet the Avett Brothers and tell them one of their songs was going to be in our wedding. They seemed genuinely appreciative.

Patch & Seth Avett
Scotty Avett and Sara

And now, tonight, I got to meet Alton Brown of Good Eats fame. I love that Alton Brown doesn’t just have a cooking show, but has a cooking show that combines comedy, science, and all kinds of other nerdy stuff. It’s not like anything else on TV. When I met Mr. Brown I told him that I create creative content for my church and that his work is a big inspiration for me. He told me he makes videos for his church too. That was a nice moment for me, let me tell you. Sara was at the side, taking pictures like a madwoman.


So here’s the list and where I stand. I’ve been in the same (sometimes very large) room with everybody on the list but Fraction, but the crossed out names are people I’ve gotten to shake hands with and thank them for what they do.

The Avett Brothers
Alton Brown
Matt Fraction
Anthony Bourdain
Donald Miller
Joel McHale

I’ll keep you updated.