Venice

This story follows Florence 2/Pisa in my collection of Italy Stories.

Mark Twain on the alkaki desert in Roughing It:

“The sun beats down with dead, blistering, relentless malignity; the perspiration is welling from every pore in man and beast, but scarily a sign of it finds its way to the surface…”

That’s how I felt about Venice.

Stepping out of the train from Florence, and on to the sizzling concrete and stone landscape, which composes Venice’s walkable portions, was the first of many regrettably hot situations to be experienced over the next two days.

Kay purchased a sun-hat in Rome, but had left it somewhere since then, and so to protect her face from the freckle-inducing sun she was using a map held above her head as a substitute. The hard, flat ground seemed to absorb heat as well as reflect it back at us, so any sliver of shaded space was bumped up to “shelter” status. Small areas of shade would have to do until we could locate our hostel, which was incredibly difficult to find within the watery maze that is Venice, Italy. There are no places for cars to drive or bikes to ride, because the streets are too small and bridges made with stairways are too frequent, so identifying major streets is difficult, and understanding whether the alley or cranny you’re walking through is indeed the same one you’re looking at on your map is near impossible. The only other way to travel is by boating through the waterways, which weave through the city in a manner so random it almost seems deliberately confusing. But we were boatless, and so we navigated, poorly, by foot. I felt like I was a child again, desperately wandering through the Water Temple from Ocarina of Time, and our map was a lazily written Nintendo Power Magazine. Except I really didn’t have access to the map, because it was Kay’s hat at the moment, and so she mostly led the way.

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Cool Dad Podcast Episode 3 w/ Megan Gailey!

 

When I started doing comedy in Chicago, Megan Gailey was one of the comedians I looked up to the most. Now she lives and performs in New York City, but we were lucky to snag her for a little bit for a conversation while she was in town for the Comedy Exposition of 2014. As always, we discussed her dad and then surprised her by bring her ACTUAL REAL LIFE DAD into the studio. This was a hilarious episode and I hope you give it a listen.

[featuring Chicago comic Tommy McNamara]

Florence 2 and Pisa

This story follows Florence 1 & Cinque Terre in my series of Italy Stories.

PART 1: PISA

The train ride from Florence to Pisa is a short ride, and the town of Pisa is a small one. There isn’t much to do in Pisa outside of taking a gander at Italy’s most famous architectural mistake, so we only planned on spending a couple hours there. The train station is on the south side of Pisa, and the Leaning Tower is on the north side, but we did not realize this at first, for the mounted public map had both locations scratched off, so that the symbols could no longer be seen nor could the words be read. I imagine this act of inconveniencing tourists was either performed by embittered locals, who are reasonably annoyed by the throngs of travelers who invade their underwhelming town, clogging their would-be boring, empty streets, just to see a well-preserved error in construction—or it’s a collective weathering, caused over time by a series of scratches and scrapes from coins and keys, by traveling turds from all over the world.

Anyway, it didn’t take us long to figure out that we were standing at one scratched-away landmark and needed to walk to the other scratched-away landmark, so we got a move on. The walk through town and across the River Arno wasn’t terribly exciting nor extraordinarily pretty. It was pleasant enough, but just not very interesting—it’s the cheese pizza of towns.

A thing in Pisa

A thing in Pisa

The most popular thing to do in Pisa, apparently, is to have your friends and family snap a photo of you at an angle where it looks like you’re propping up the distant tower, as if to suggest that if it weren’t for you and your strength, the tower would suddenly and finally be trounced by the power of gravity and crush a few dozen people, who are doing the exact same thing you are—like a subsidiary Atlas, but with a fanny pack and a shit-eating grin.

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Cool Dad Podcast Episode 2

Hello my fathered friends, episode 2 of The Cool Dad Podcast staring myself and Dan Sheehan (I Suck at Tinder) is up on iTunes and on other places around the Web. This episode features an interview from Dan Friesen (friesenpoint.com) about his dad, his Mennonite upbringing, and other fun stuff. Oh, and then there’s an appearance from his REAL DAD!*

Listen above or subscribe on iTunes!

*Chris Damen, hilarious comedian and terrifying history buff.

Double Feature Returns Tonight!

 

Flyer by James Webb!

Flyer by James Webb!

I’m a new producer of Chicago’s only live standup/taped sketch showcase, Double Feature. I’m thrilled to be apart of this great show–one of the first shows I really loved when I moved to Chicago. And tonight I will be co-hosting it with one of my first friends I made when I moved here, the hilarious Mitch Kurka.

We’ve got stand up from some killer local comics, Tommy Mac, Erica Clarke, and Nick Rouley.

We’ve got sketch from Nix Bros, WOMEN, Kill All Comedy, and more!

Comedy is Sexy

Comedy is Sexy

I recently got to be a part of great Chicago showcase called Performance Anxiety, which takes place in a sex shop called The Pleasure Chest. The Chicagoist was nice enough to do a writeup of the show and mentioned me, LA comic CJ Toledano, and said some real nice things about the nice show. Check it out!

Father’s Day

tylersnodgrass:

Here is the blog I wrote last year for my dad. I’ve only grown more like him in the last year, I still miss getting to see him as often, and the sentiment I wrote a year ago still applies.

Originally posted on [The website and blog of] Tyler Snodgrass:

This is the first Father’s Day I’m not spending with my dad.

I was thinking a lot about my dad this week. And though I am still very happily in the “honeymoon” stage of my life in Chicago and I’m living out my silly dreams or whatever, I do miss him, and I miss having him so close by.

Not me.

Rumor has it that my dad named me after Ty Cobb, and that my name was originally supposed be Tyrus (as in Tyrus Raymond Cobb). But because supposedly the idea caused my aunt to “cuss him out,” I was birthed and then christened just as Tyler Ray Snodgrass. And maybe because my name was not that of the legendary baseball player, I never achieved my destiny as baseball’s next young star. Also, unlike Ty Cobb, I never achieved my status as an alleged racist.

But for my dad, I…

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