GUEST: Lauren Uchalik
RESTAURANT: Polish Village Cafe, Hamtramck MI
Hamtramck is a city surrounded on all sides by Detroit, a former Polish enclave now home to a diverse array of city dwellers. Lauren Uchalik grew up on its streets, the daughter of a musician who made polka rock parodies, and she's pursued acting, voiceover work, roller derby, and standup comedy with equal fervor in her 29 years. After what might have been the heaviest meal consumed on this podcast so far, we headed back to Lauren's new house in Ferndale to hang out with Butterbeer the dog and talk about the creative process, the evolution of roller derby as a worldwide sport, the film industry in Michigan, and Lucky Charms marshmallows. It's a great hour!
GUEST: Tom Bagby
RESTAURANT: Golden Rule BBQ, Birmingham AL
We conclude our Alabama Trilogy of episodes with Birmingham man-about-town Tom Bagby! He cut his teeth as a rock and roll drummer in bands like Smithwick Machine, Astral Tramp and Pacific Stereo, before crawling out of the van for good and taking up cooking. After a stint running the kitchen at quasi-legendary venue Bottletree, he's now holding down the fort at Hot Diggity Dogs, thee hot new place in the Avondale neighborhood for a quick, unique bite and a can of beer. We get into it about music, food, making your scene better, touring low-buck style, and why Alabama barbecue joints have the best pie. It's almost 90 minutes and it's a great talk, so check it out!
GUEST: Celesta Riner
RESTAURANT: Southland Restaurant, Cottondale AL
Alabama rocker Celesta Riner has been making waves in the Tuscaloosa music scene since she migrated there from Georgia in the mid-1990s. First making her mark as a radio DJ (with the notorious "Wake Up Hard With Celesta" show on UA's campus station), she later played (and still plays) bass for the likes of Cicatrix, DC Moon and His Atomic Supermen, and Mary Tylosaur. She's battled life on many fronts -- an MS diagnosis, the death of her parents, and restoring order to the family house after three generations of hoarders, to name a few. She talks about it all here, candidly and with the Southern charm and flinty wit that's made her one of my favorite people for years now. Recorded live inside the hoarder house on the shore of Elledge Lake, and featuring some amazing strawberry cake for dessert, this hour is not to be missed.
GUEST: Ham Bagby
RESTAURANT: Dimitri's BBQ, Homewood AL
Straight from the back porch, complete with birds, lawnmowers, and my nephew Milo here and there, it's the first of our Alabama Trilogy of episodes! Ham Bagby is a renowned guitarist and singer based out of Birmingham, known for his sly, funky licks and his funny lyrics. Ham Bagby and the Siege play songs like "Shit's Crucial" and "I'm a Dick When I Drink," leavening their silly nature with some shit-hot soloing and boozy southern rock riffage. Ham sat down and talked to us about the evolution of his sound, gig stories from hell, balancing art and life, and demolishing some good-ass barbecue and fried turnovers.
WORLD PREMIERE! Listen after our chat for live solo recordings of TWO brand new Ham Bagby tunes, "Oh Reba" and the surprisingly poignant "Old As F**k."
GUEST: Mike Szar
RESTAURANT: Carlos Poco Loco, Toledo OH
He's a devoted student of comedy, a Toledo scene favorite and one of my best friends in comedy. Mike Szar and I smash some Mexican/Cuban fusion and then get deep into the writing process, the pros and cons of moving to the coasts, the evolution of our writing, maintaining relationships in a creative life, and hittin' the road to the sound of some Springsteen. And then there's churros! Lots of good comedy nerd talk here.
GUEST: Kurt Young
RESTAURANT: Manos Greek Restaurant, Toledo OH
Kurt Young is a workman's comp lawyer, the son of a Navy man, a proud member of the Christian left, a father of two and the husband of a minister -- and now he's running for Toledo City Council. After gyros and fries Uptown, we sat down and got into it about politics, the presidential election, religion, comedy, coming together for the greater good, and what makes Toledo great. Kurt's been behind the scenes in local Democratic politics for two decades; now he's taking center stage and he has a lot to say. A great talk!
GUEST: Sam Rager
RESTAURANT: Greg's Grill, Toledo OH
For our debut episode, I was honored to host my comedy BFF and tourmate Sam Rager! We had a delightful lunch at local "best kept secret" Greg's Grill, and then got into it for an hour of discussion about courage and self-deprecation in comedy, suicide and cutting, road stories and more. And then we went for dessert -- but Sam had given up sugar for Lent. Was her faith and will stronger than the temptation of Fruity Pebble Cheesecake from Greg's? Listen and find out!