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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Dr. Robert Zeitlin | Pratfalls of Parenting Ep 140

Dr-Robert-Zeitlin-AuthorDr. Robert Zeitlin is an author, speaker, psychologist, and perhaps most importantly a father. On this episode of the podcast, Dr. Zeitlin talks about his book, Laugh More, Yell Less. He also talks about his work with adolescents, balance a busy schedule as a psychologist with raising two children, and he shares stories of trying to stay in dad mode rather than putting on his Dr hat when parenting his own children. Dr. Zeitlin also talks about the psychology of parent, the psychology of young people and how those two things bump up against one another.

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Kate Hopper | Pratfalls of Parenting Ep 139

415407_2911398509111_1038312012_o“Once we start to share our stories, everybody feels less alone.”

Episode 139 features writer and educator Kate Hopper. Kate talks about the shifting understandings of motherhood and moms that comes from parenthood and adulthood. Kate talks about getting burned out as a writer and how she’s trying to deal with that. Kate shares stories of how motherhood seeps into everything. Plus, Kate talks about wanting to raise strong girls and how to be direct and open about sex education.


“Becoming a mother really made me a writer.”


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Dan Kois | Pratfalls of Parenting Ep 138

Dan Kois“I have found ways to exploit all the things I am good at and the things I’m okay at.”

Dan Kois is co-host of Slate’s Mom & Dad Are Fighting podcast and Slate’s culture editor. On this episode of the podcast Dan talks about the idea that parents and the adults in children’s lives tell us what we are good at when we’re young and how large an impact that can have on their adult paths. He talks about what it’s like to have a daughter very much like you and what it’s like to have a daughter who is very different from you. Dan also talks about trying to explain how much hard work it takes to actually do creative things.

Dan shares stories of the tension of whether to push your kids to stick with something when they lose interest versus letting them move on from something and how that can inform ways young people think about hard work. And he get’s into questions of how much to share about your kids publicly.

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Philip Sheppard | Pratfalls of Parenting Ep 137

K98GLJs3_400x400Composer and educator Philip Sheppard has been making music for a very long time. In this episode of the podcast, Philip talks about growing up in a musical home, how he thinks about collaboration, and the difference between writing music and playing music.

Philip also talks about raising creative children, how hard it can be to find true creative freedom, living out his childhood dreams of being a part of Star Wars and meeting astronauts, and creating ‘Compose Yourself’ as a way to let anyone make music.



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Tim Gihring | Pratfalls of Parenting Ep 136

Tim Gihring“Storytelling is a pretty good way to tell art history, science, you name it.”

Tim Gihring is the Brand Narrator at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and a former editor of Minnesota Monthly magazine. His reporting and essays have appeared in Best Food Writing, Fodor’s, Salon, and newspapers around the world.

In this episode, Tim talks about creating stories and developing voice as a writer and editor. He talks about the similarities and differences between the magazine world and the museum world. He also shares the story of how he started writing his Debut Dad column in the Star Tribune and talks about what he’s learned by writing it and seeing how people react to it.

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Meghan Wilker | Pratfalls of Parenting Ep 135

Meghan Wilker“Not everybody’s a parent and not everybody wants to be around kids.”

Meghan Wilker is Chief Operating Officer at Clockwork. She’s also the Author of Interactive Project Management: People, Pixels, and Process, Founder of Geek Girls Guide and Twin Cities Interactive Project Management Meetup and a Board Member, Bollywood Dance Scene.

In the show, Meghan talks about being a mother to a 9 and 6-year old. She talks about starting the Babies at Work program at Clockwork. She tells stories about having a baby and loving motherhood but also loving work and wanting to get back to working.

Meghan also talks about getting excited about how technology let’s her connect with other people at an early age, how she worked for a lot of places that were not very human-focused and finding her people. Meghan also talks about her relationship to other people’s opinions regarding parenting choices.

“You can still be a girl and like technology and enjoy it and do it for a job.”

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