Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ann Arbor Art Fair

I survived tabling at the Ann Arbor Art Fair in 99 degree heat (big shout outs to my cooler and Tom's of Maine deodorant)! And despite the ridiculously hot/humid weather, I had a great time.

Buttons that I helped sell at SMART's (Southeastern Michigan Animal Rights Team) booth.

My view from the VegMichigan table.

Displaying bumper stickers at the Animals and Society table.

One of the things I love about Art Fair is that you encounter so many interesting people and causes.

My favorite booth from the fair:

They also had a sign that said, "Free Bathing Suit With Every Donation," which featured a picture of a nude beach.

At one point, this mud man ran through the crowd with a camera crew in tow. Neither he nor his entourage provided any explanation whatsoever. Oh, Ann Arbor, how I love thee.

Another reason I love Ann Arbor: this new vegan lunch cart!

This is the Caesar salad I had, which was top notch.

Because, after all, what blog entry would be complete without a food pic?

Judith Butler is awesome, but apparently her fan club sucks at trivia

Last week, I had the pleasure of working with headliner, LA Hardy, in Northern Michigan. My main squeeze, Drew, also came along for the un-airconditioned ride.

Our first gig was in Pentwater, Michigan. The show was on a Tuesday, and it's hard to know what to expect crowd turn-out wise on week nights. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the place was packed when we walked in! And they were a great crowd filled with loud laughers! Plus, an audience member even bought me some popcorn. You see, it’s the little things in life that make Kate Brindle happy (like talking about myself in third person).

We then performed at two casinos near Traverse City. Before the show at Turtle Creek Casino, Drew and I attempted to play trivia.

That's us (also known by our team name: the Judith Butler Fan Club) after our unfortunate defeat. Had there been questions about movie quotes, social movement theory or useless video game/NKOTB facts, we could have been a serious force to be reckoned with. But, alas, there were a lot of sports questions, so we were pretty much dead in the water.

My friend, Renee, stopped by one of the casino shows and even let me test out my hotel room cuisine on her. Whenever I cook in hotel rooms, it always reminds me of camping in that you basically get creative with ingredients and cooking appliances, and you hope no major germs get in there. Although, with some of the hotel rooms I stay in, my immune system would probably fare better if I rolled my food in dirt first.

But, this was a nice hotel room (complete with a fridge), so I didn't have to worry much. For the meal, I boiled some pasta in my handy, little, plug-in teapot, cut up some tomatoes and microwaved soy sausage (soysage, if you will) and pasta sauce. And Drew borrowed a bottle opener from the front desk, bought some Sprite from the vending machine and mixed up some wine spritzers.

I swear, I should write a blog about my hotel room concoctions/draft a how-to guide to making creative things out of free breakfast buffet items.

Our last stop of the trip was Merrillville, Indiana, where I played at Wisecrackers Comedy Club. I really love that club. Not only do I enjoy the crowds there, but I also love the hotel where it’s located (the Radisson). It not only features two pools, but it also has two hot tubs, and a really nice work-out facility. I'm currently doing the couch-to-5k program, and I sweated and grunted my way through week 5 in the fitness center.

During the day, Drew and I watched the World Series of Poker Main Event on television. The small blinds at the table were, like, 10 times what I make per year. Depressing. Oh well, perhaps I can increase my income by selling my hotel room food after the shows. Because, after all, who wouldn't want toast made with an iron?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Summer entertainment and animal cruelty

Every summer, I always make big plans. I mean, big. In the months leading up to summer, I frequently repeat the mantra "this is going to be the best summer ever!" I tell myself over and over again, "I'm going to travel, I'm going to meet new people, I'm going to have life-changing experiences, it's going to be AWESOME!" Yeah, it's amazing how quickly that turns into, "I'm going to work at Starbucks, I'm going to drink beer in my parents' garage, I'm going to drive a car without air conditioning, it's going to be AWESOME!"

Not only do I love the hot weather that summer brings, but I love its myriad of entertainment choices. Sitting outside with a cold beer, listening to live music, and attending outdoor plays are like heaven to me. Plus, the fact that NKOTB hits the road every summer makes me elated!

Unfortunately, there are a lot of forms of summer "entertainment" in which animals suffer greatly. Specifically, I'm speaking of circuses and rodeos. The circus rips animals from their natural habitat, forces them to live most of their lives chained inside of trailers that are trucked across hundreds of miles, and then forces them to perform under the constant threat of punishment. Circus elephants are kept in chains for 95 percent of their lives and tigers are kept in chains 22 hours out of the day.

From a protest against the Circus Pages:

Circus Pages has failed to meet minimal federal standards for the care of animals used in exhibition as established in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cited Circus Pages for failure to have records of veterinary care, provide animals with sufficient space, and provide animals with appropriate food.

The rodeo is also filled with animal abuse. Standard rodeo events include calf roping, steer wrestling, bareback horse and bull riding, saddle bronc riding, steer roping, and barrel racing. Electric prods, spurs, and bucking straps are used to irritate and enrage animals in rodeos. The flank, or “bucking,” strap or rope is tightly cinched around the animals’ abdomens, which causes them to buck vigorously to try to rid themselves of the torment. When the flank strap is paired with spurring, it causes the animals to buck even more violently, often resulting in serious injuries. Also, cows and horses are often prodded with an electrical “hotshot” while in the chute to rile them, causing intense pain to the animals.

For more information about rodeos (specifically, one that will be taking place in Michigan), you can read the letter I wrote in Between the Lines Newspaper.

Luckily, the summer presents us with a unique opportunity to fight animal cruelty. And that's by boycotting forms of "entertainment" that use animals and encouraging others to do the same. Paying money to see animals suffer is not only callous, but pointless considering there are so many other non-cruel ways to celebrate the heat.

And, hey, if you're really looking for something to do, come drink some beer with me in the garage and go for a spin in my AC-free car.

Friday, July 8, 2011

South Dakota

Last weekend, I performed in South Dakota for the first time. I started off in Brookings and performed here:

Getting there was quite the adventure. After an 18 hour drive, I crossed the border into South Dakota, where I got pulled over by *two* cop cars for having an air freshener hanging from my rear-view mirror. Apparently, they take their window obstruction offenses very seriously there.

Luckily, I got away with just a warning! I think they thought I had drugs because the one officer asked me A LOT of questions about where I was headed, and he kept peering into my back window. Then, about 300 yards up the road, I saw another cop searching someone's trunk. They would have been mighty disappointed if they searched my car because all they would have found were Tupac cassette tapes and peanut chew wrappers.

The show in Brookings was fun. The crowd was sparse, but the audience members we did have were good laughers and really nice people (read: they bought me beer).

On the day after the show, I ran on South Dakota State University's campus. How much do I love running in flat areas? It's just like running on a treadmill at the gym without having to stare at the person in front of you's butt sweat.

While I was on my run, I discovered their botanical gardens. So pretty!

After Brookings, I headed down to Sioux Falls to perform at Fat Daddy's Comedy Club, which is a great little venue located downtown. The staff members at Fat Daddy's were so nice, and the audiences were really fun! I tried a bunch of new jokes and even improvised with the crowd quite a bit.

During the day, I got to check out the Sioux Falls Farmers' Market and Falls Park. I was certainly impressed by how pretty the city was, and I'm excited to go back.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Adventures in Cleveland

Last week, I performed at the Funny Stop Comedy Club in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio for the first time. I worked with headliner Bruce Haynes and MC Rodney Bengston.

On Saturday, Rodney acted as a tour guide and took me, his girlfriend, Roberta, and fellow comic John Richardson (he was performing at the Cleveland Improv) all around Cleveland. And I must say, I completely dug the city! Seeing as this little video was all I knew about Cleveland, I had no idea I'd enjoy it so much.

One first stop was a neighborhood art fair and installation art gallery.

Here are some of the rooms at the gallery:

A picture I particularly liked:

At the fair, there were belly dancers, magicians and people participating in drum circles. Also, the local college radio station was giving away free CD's, and I'm happy to report I scored some Dar Williams.

A cool shirt I saw at a vintage store:

That's Roberta with the Ramones t-shirt she scored.

Looksy what I found at another vintage store:

After the art fair, we headed to Johnny Mango, which was a cute little cafe with lots of vegan-friendly food choices.

The burrito that's now in my stomach.

Once our bellies were full, we headed to downtown Cleveland. Isn't it cute?

We then took a tour of Hilarities Comedy Club. Wow, was the showroom ever beautiful! The pictures I took of the club didn't do it much justice, but I did get this shot of one of its many chandeliers.

That's John testing out the stage.

Not only did I have a great adventure in Cleveland, but I had a blast at the club. The staff was super nice, and all of the comics (including those who showed up to do guest sets) were really funny and very welcoming to me.

I'm definitely looking forward to returning to Cleveland when I go to the Britney Spears concert at the end of this month. Yep, that's right, I'm going to see BritBrit. I might even dress up like her. Pictures will definitely be posted.