Aric McKeown | Pratfalls of Parenting Ep 150

10730933_10152646832600800_4779600305955428686_n“Maybe there’s a way to do something that’s well established, but maybe I’m going to build my own path.”

Aric McKeown is an improviser, a podcaster, and a serial creator of interesting internet projects like; Regret Labs, Mustache Rangers, Blank It, NoisePicnic, Better Strangers, Least Dangerous Game, Make Me Watch TV, Your Notness, and Feeding Objects.

In High School, Aric decided to become a vegetarian to see if he could maintain it.

Aric talks about how he reacts to frustration with creative solutions and ideas. He talks about his willingness to teach himself how to do any and everything needed to make an idea a reality.

Aric talks very openly about the process of adopting his daughter and becoming a father. He shares how his thinking has changed since fatherhood has also made his family trans-racial. And Aric talks a lot about how he wants to prepare himself to share as much of the world as possible with his daughter.


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Andrew Simonet | Pratfalls of Parenting Ep 149

Andrew Simonet

“We’re looking at building a movement, not a program.”

Andrew Simonet is a writer, artist, producer, documentary filmmaker, co-founder of Philadelphia’s Headlong Dance Theater, and founder and Director of Artists U.

In this episode of the podcast, Andrew talks about the assumption people make about others and how those assumptions inform how we think about ourselves. He talks about how he became a dancer and choreographer through sports, his transition from dancing all the time to being a writer and what role ambition can play in his and anyone’s art.

“I don’t want to talk about work/life balance with my kids. I want to talk about the circles of community that we’re a part of.”

Andrew speaks very openly about the difference between making his family his highest priority and making them his only priority. He talks about his book ‘Making Your Life As An Artist‘ and the idea of creating resources available for free as an investment in the creative community. And he talks about what he gets from the work he does serving other artists.


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Nora McInerny Purmort | Pratfalls of Parenting Ep 148

static1.squarespace“Grief is boring and isolating and exhausting.”

Writer, community builder and internet lover Nora McInerny Purmort talks about constantly writing out stories when she was a child, often with story prompts from her father who was a copywriter who secretly wrote novels. She talks about writing a regular column for the Southwest Journal when she was an adolescent and how she figured being a professional writer was just something that would happen in her life.

“As soon as the internet was a part of my life, I was enamored of it.”

Nora talks about she and her husband Aaron getting his initial pathology report and not understanding what it said, but knowing it wasn’t good. She talks about why she stopped looking up medical terms online, how much time and energy she’s put into keeping her shit together and the value of not trying to evaluate every feeling she has.

“I have never thought of myself as a person who can give anybody any type of valuable advice.”

Nora also talks very openly about trying to give her son a life full of stories about his dad without letting the loss of his dad a very early age define who he is.



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Laura Zimmermann | Pratfalls of Parenting Ep 147

Laura Zimmerman 2“No one should hand you a bunch of cash after college and say give the world yourself.”

Laura Zimmermann is a writer, a philanthropic leader and an all-around fantastic human being. Laura spent 18 years working for the McKnight Foundation, with a large portion of that time serving as the director of their artist fellowship program. She’s now spending her days writing books for young people, managing her family and serving on boards of community-focused organizations.

In this episode, Laura talks about how she loved making up and writing stories when she was young and always envisioned herself as a writer but grew up in a very practical household. She talks about how easy it can be to feel like the work you’re doing is the most important thing in the world. She also talks about having her kids read her unpublished novels, trying to find a literary agent, and shares her one golden piece of parental advice to all current and future parents.

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Laura Holway & Ben McGinley | Pratfalls of Parenting Ep 146

Ben & Laura

“I think we both knew that we liked each other, but I was a pretty damaged person.”

Laura Holway is a choreographer, theater maker, writer, producer, and creative maker of unstuckness. Ben McGinley is a video maker, producer, podcaster, and teller of stories. In their personal partnership Laura and Ben have collaborated on many projects from dance, to video, to intimate curated performances in their living room and they’ve also created a person.

“I don’t have to be married to a script. I can make my own script.”

Ben M greenOn this episode, Ben talks openly about his struggle with addiction and some of the issues at the roots of his not knowing how to keep himself healthy. He talks about how he got into making videos, making his own versions of JAWS as a child, and why he’s downshifted his creative work and found more personal fulfillment not making his fatherhood and marriage into an art project.


Laura HolwayLaura shares her journey from acting student to professional choreographer. She talks about her desire to connect with people and how that impacts her creative choices. She also shares how the performance series she and Ben curate, Small Art, is about creating intimacy and encouraging artists to be vulnerable.

Ben and Laura also talking about their relationship getting stronger as a result of dealing with personal issues surrounding addiction, depression and how therapy has solidified who they are as individuals and helped them be ready to become parents.



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Arnie Niekamp | Pratfalls of Parenting Ep 145

ArnieArnie Niekamp is the director of the video game Drawful, writer and director for You Don’t Know Jack and Fibbage. He’s also the host of the podcast Hello from the Magic Tavern and a founding member of the improv group Whirled News Tonight in Chicago.

In this episode of the podcast, Arnie talks about having a daughter born several months early and how that’s impacted his early experiences with fatherhood. He also talks about the difference between performing for an audience and improvising for a podcast. And he shares how video game writing and direction works and how improv and game design are like parenting.

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Art Allen | Pratfalls of Parenting Ep 144


“The timing was ridiculous.”

Art Allen, through his company called Modern Antics, plans fun, experiential events like a pun slam competition called Pundamonium, a beard competition called Beard-Off, and a live interactive puzzle game called Riddle Room. He’s also in the 2nd year of putting on a fundraising concert called GOOFDA that features Minnesota musicians performing classic novelty songs.

“I wish comedy people liked me for these comedy sketches I haven’t written.”

In this episode of the podcast, Art talks about how he went from a guy who wanted to write comedy to putting on live events that typically create a space for comedy things to happen. He talks about taking an idea for building a starship bridge and actually making it a reality. And he shares a bit on what it feels like to now spend so much of his time doing administrative and business focused tasks.

Art also talks about his love of comedy, how closely he relates to the character Max Fischer from the film ‘Rushmore,’ and opens up about how he handles working long hours and traveling for work while having a brand new baby at home.


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Brian Wecht | Pratfalls of Parenting Ep 143

Prof Wecht“Your job is to constantly throw out ideas and 99% of them fail.”

Brian Wecht is a musician, comedian, and theoretical physicist. He’s held research positions at Harvard University, the Center for Theoretical Physics at MIT, the Institute for Advanced Study and was a faculty member at Queen Mary, University of London. He’s also half of the musical comedy duo “Ninja Sex Party,” a member of the nerdcore band “Starbomb,” and co-founder of the Story Collider, a live science-based storytelling podcast.

Ninja Sex Party“Essentially, I asked my wife to give up her career.”

Brian talks about stepping away from academics to focus on comedy and music and what that decision means for his family and his identity. He talks about how force of personality can be just as powerful and effective in the academic world as in the entertainment world. And he talks about studying improvised comedy while he was pursuing his PhD in Theoretical Physics.

Baby Ninja Brian


Brian talks about his love of music from a very early age. He shares the story of how comedy and music became one for him as an artist. Brian also talks about how fatherhood impacts the way he thinks about jokes and failure.

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Alexei Moon Casselle | Pratfalls of Parenting Ep 142

Alexei Casselle“I don’t think it was weird just for the sake of being weird.”

Alexei Moon Casselle is a parent, an artist, and an educator. In this episode, he talks about starting to take music seriously at age 15 and how that led to bands, record deals and tours. He shares the story of going from the hip-hop band Odd Jobs to the much more experimental Kill the Vultures.

Alexei talks about trying to connect as a teacher with a room of 20 8th graders and deciding how to introduce himself in different settings. He also talks about the feeling of being on the right path but realizing that your artistic and creative goals have changed. He also talks about parenting after divorce, raising a little girl, and draws the connective line of improvisation that runs through music, teaching, and fatherhood.

“I think it was a good thing I didn’t know what I was doing.”

Crescent Moon

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Adriana Zabala | Pratfalls of Parenting Ep 141

Adriana Zabala as Hopeful Joanna“You sing what you are made to sing; physiologically, physically, and temperamentally.”

Adriana Zabala is a mezzo soprano opera singer but she’s also so much more. In this episode of the show, Adriana shares her very dramatic opera origin story. She also talks about her obsession with classical music as a young person and how it became a form of religion.

“I’m pretension personified.”

Adriana talks about traveling the world as a performer and about process of making work and teaching art. She shares stories of profoundly disagreeing with a friend about a piece of art or culture. And does a bit of breaking down how opera works.

Adriana also talks about raising her two girls to be art lovers and having a plan for when to share significant works of art with her daughters.

“We lived 50 miles outside of Houston and I needed season tickets to the Houston Symphony.”

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