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Tim’s Picks: A bonus 'Joke. Joke. Joke.' edition ... plus Fiddlers and Civic's 10-Minute moments
Your weekly dose of five choice ideas for the weekend and beyond in Lafayette/West Lafayette, for June 22-28.
Thanks to ongoing support from The Long Center for the Performing Arts, which presents an all-ages show at Lafayette’s Loeb Stadium: Laser Dance Party featuring the music of Taylor Swift on July 27. Tickets are on sale now at longpac.org.
Welcome to a bonus edition of Tim’s Picks, Based in Lafayette’s weekly look at what’s going on in the coming week. Before correspondent Tim Brouk gets to his five Picks, here’s a sixth one, with a Q&A with L.A. comedian Brad Wenzel, making his Lafayette debut Saturday.
Here goes …
COMIC BRAD WENZEL BRINGS ‘JOKE. JOKE. JOKE.’ IN LAFAYETTE DEBUT THIS WEEKEND
By Tim Brouk / For Based in Lafayette
Bolstered by a hat trick of “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” stand-up performances and a debut record produced on vinyl for Jack White’s Third Man Records, comedian Brad Wenzel is thriving in Los Angeles after making a name for himself in the Midwest.
Born and raised in the Detroit area, Wenzel has been developing his non-sequitur, dry performance style singe age 17. Some of those many shows were within Indiana’s borders, but the young comic will make his Lafayette debut at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 24, at Knickerbocker Saloon. Alex Bozinovic (Detroit) and Neal Meyer (Bloomington) will open, and the event will be hosted by Lafayette’s own TJ Wharry. Tickets are $10. The show is presented by Z-7 Comedy.
Fresh from the debut of his new digital special, “Joke. Joke. Joke.,” Wenzel took a few minutes while on tour to answer some questions.
Question: Congratulations on "Joke. Joke. Joke." What is your process in putting together such a 40-minute special?
Brad Wenzel: Thanks, glad you liked it. The pandemic added probably a year-and-a-half to the process, but I basically worked on it for five years. Leading up to the recording, I headlined as much as I could on the road so I could put it together. I think I did 30 cities in 2022. It’s basically doing a 70-piece puzzle.
Q: I recently listened to Steven Wright's interview on Conan's podcast, and he mentioned rules in his writing which helped develop his style. What are your rules, if any?
Brad Wenzel: I avoid buzzwords, which is terrible for social media but that’s how I’ve always been. Like “millennial” and stuff like that.
Q: Speaking of Conan, your first appearance on his old show had to be huge. What are some memories of that first one as well as the rest?
Brad Wenzel: That was very surreal, and I’m lucky I got to do it. Meeting Conan was nice, he gives really thoughtful compliments. On my third one, he said something like, “I work on comedy all day, but I can’t predict the punchlines of any of your jokes.” That meant a lot. I got to meet Bob Newhart and Dana Carvey, which was very cool. My wife and I took pictures at the desk.
Q: The Detroit link makes sense getting in on Third Man back in the day. But could you give me some more details on how you got in?
Brad Wenzel: I did a stand-up show at the Third Man venue in Detroit, and the guys running it really liked it. At the time, I was looking for a label to distribute my first stand up album. I was going to record it first, then shop it around. So, when they offered to do something after seeing my show that night, it was all very right place, right time. They also mentioned Jack White had been with them talking about comedy and one-liner comics right before I did my show there. It was serendipitous.
Q: What's it like when you perform in a new town, like Lafayette, at this point in your career?
Brad Wenzel: It’s cool to go to new venues. There’s some mystery to it, but usually 30 seconds into a show, I know what I’m in for. In my head, I’ll be like, “Oh, it’s one of these rooms.”
And now, your regular (but always worthy) weekly dose of …
By Tim Brouk / For Based in Lafayette
Indiana Fiddlers’ Gathering, Friday-Sunday, June 23-25, Tippecanoe Battlefield Park, Battle Ground — For more than 50 years, Battle Ground, Indiana, population 1,838 in 2020, practically doubles in size every June when the beloved Indiana Fiddlers’ Gathering sets up again. Bolstered by pickers from across the nation, workshops, jam sessions, camping, open stages and delicious food, it’s no wonder traditional American music fans from all over the Midwest — and beyond — descend upon the tiny Tippecanoe County town. Headlining the 2023 edition will be Bloomington fiddler Brad Leftwitch and his Humdingers, a classic Americana string band of all seasoned players from the southern Indiana old-time music scene, and Hard Drive, “a hard-driving aural modern traditional old time authentic millennial bluegrass collective” led by young North Carolina fiddler Tatiana Hargreaves. Tickets.
10-Minute Play Festival, 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 23 and 24, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 25, Civic Theatre of Greater Lafayette, 313 N. Fifth St., Lafayette — One of the most exciting events on the Civic Theatre event calendar occurs in the summer. For 11 years, the 10-Minute Play Festival features the quick talents of local actors and playwrights producing their own, original short plays. From the comedic to the dramatic, these original works are presented in one night in a relaxed atmosphere with drinks in the lobby bar; local musicians Sheeza (Friday), Raul Rojas (Saturday) and Vickie Maris (Sunday) with preshow sets; and savory slices from Rolling in the Dough Pizza Truck. The plays are penned by such local theater pillars as Kyle Brown, TJ Rosa, Laurie Russell, Steve Martin, Eric Margerum, Craig Martin, Marisa Simmons and many more. Some of the writers appear in other playwrights’ plays as actors. Many of the other cast members have starred in numerous Civic MainStage shows — Martin Fernandez, Kate Martin and Abby McClure Laufman, just to name a few. Seventeen works will be featured at this unique local theater extravaganza. $12 or by the “roll of the dice.” One of the first local arts organizations to introduce the “pay what you can” concept for some of its shows, Civic again brings the creative ticketing experience. Patrons can decide to take a throw of the dice for their admission charge — $2-$12 depending on how those bones roll.
TODAY’S A GOOD DAY TO SUBSCRIBE TO BASED IN LAFAYETTE. FREE AND TRICKED OUT VERSIONS AVAILABLE HERE.
Doom Room Field Day with Kryptik Mutation, Selenoplexia, Throne and many more, 5 p.m. Saturday, June 24, Tippecanoe County Amphitheater, 4449 Indiana 43 North, West Lafayette — Exercise, sportsmanship and death metal collide at the eighth annual Doom Room Field Day. Arrive at 3 p.m. to sign up for all the team games and activities while helping a good cause: Proceeds from the event will go to Kaira Maxson, niece of Doom Room demigod Nick Maxson. Young Kaira was recently diagnosed with cancer. Funds will help her fight against the disease. The band lineup consists of a murderer’s row of death metal and hardcore acts from all over the country — Kryptik Mutation (Texas), Selenoplexia (Chicago), Throne (Michigan), Crusadist (Chicago), Seventh Crown (Fort Wayne) and Lafayette’s own Protrusion. Guac Box food truck will be on hand to fuel all the team competition and, later, moshing. $15. Kids 10-and-under are free. Tickets.
Swing into Summer with The Big Swing Band, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 24, Columbian Park Memorial Island Amphitheater — Not only is it the new home for Lafayette Citizens Band, the gorgeous, new and improved Memorial Island Amphitheater nestled within Columbian Park also hosts spot shows like this weekend’s summer concert spectacular with our town’s Big Swing Band. Bandleader and trumpeter Steve Cotten promised some new tunes, old favorites and some deep cuts from yesteryear for this special outdoor gig. Summer is heating up, so might as well swing it. Free.
Pink Reason with The Jackies, Data Unknown, Share and DJ T-Murder, 9 p.m. Saturday, June 24, The Spot Tavern, 409 S. Fourth St., Lafayette — Party like it’s 2009 again with the return of Pink Reason, a Columbus, Ohio, garage punk outfit that graced our scene bunches in the late 2000s and early ’10s, playing The Black Sparrow back when it hosted insane rock shows. Established about 15 years ago, the band now features Shawn Ghost, original bassist for Lafayette legends TV Ghost. The reunion continues with Scott “Scooter” Guinn’s Indianapolis punk/noise with a beat project, Data Unknown. With a sound sort of like Suicide on speed, Data Unknown released several EPs and singles the last couple years. Wild, noisy and insane yet enough rhythm to move to, Data Unknown is a must listen/experience with Guinn (Sweet Sixteens), one of the greatest frontmen in Lafayette music history, on vocals/guitar/noise and his studio partner Brandon Stacy on electronics and guitar. When performing live, the project employs a bassist and drummer. More 2000s Lafayette punk scene alumni all grown up: Share is a new project from Jordan Allen (Eric and the Happy Thoughts, Crazy Doberman) and Indy scene vets Mark Tester and Tony Beemer. Joining the fray will be Lafayette’s own The Jackies, featuring Shawn Mullins (Half Rats, Trent and The Rippers) on bass, who shared many a bill/good times with Ghost, Guinn and Allen way back in those nostalgic aughts. $10 or pay what you can.
Tim Brouk is a longtime arts and entertainment reporter. He writes here (almost) weekly, tracking things to do for Based in Lafayette.
Thanks, again, to sponsorship help from The Long Center for the Performing Arts. Check out shows at www.longpac.org.
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