This Friday, my son and I are going to the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul to see the season finale of Minnesota Public Radio’s Wits series. Each performance features an interview with a cultural icon, a musical guest and other guests. I purchased tickets for this one specifically because of the featured guest: Neil Gaiman. Mr. Gaiman is touring in support of the tenth anniversary of his first novel, the class American Gods.

I vividly remember the first time I read American Gods. I knew of Neil Gaiman through his groundbreaking comic, Sandman, but American Gods blew me away. I remember thinking, “How does this Englishman know of all these Midwest landmarks?!” And when they stopped at a Culvers just outside of Madison… It wasn’t until a few years later than I learned he had relocated to Wisconsin, not too far from the Minnesota border. The book’s take on mythology and its plot quickly made it a classic.

I had the opportunity to see Neil Gaiman speak and do a book signing a few years ago when his last collection of short stories, Fragile Things, was published. He’s an engaging speaker and listening to him read from his stories is a thrill in itself. (I also won the raffle in support of the CBLDF):

This week’s musical guess is Josh Ritter and the hosts are John Moe of MPR and John Munson. Mr. Munson was formerly in the bands Trip Shakespeare and Semisonic. Back in (probably) 1994, for the only time in my life, I won concert tickets on the radio from Mary Lucia at Rev105 to see a showcase of Minnesota acts at First Avenue. One band in particular, Pleasure, just blew me away – it was one of the tightest bands I’ve ever seen, and I didn’t know a single song. I moved out east and never heard about the band again. A year or two later, a friend from the Twin Cities moved out east to work with me, and I asked him about Pleasure. He excitedly informed me they had changed their name to Semisonic and I bought their debut album the same day. (You probably know them from their big hit, Closing Time).

In addition, guests at Wits this week appearing via the phone include Wil Wheaton, Adam Savage, and more.

Can’t wait – both for the show and to introduce my son to seeing Neil Gaiman live.