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Since Fuzzy and I have been surrounded with the fascinating and incredibly entertaining world of professional wrestling for a while now, it seemed right to casually mention one night a couple months ago that all I needed to do was go to a monster truck rally and all my dreams would come true. Literally. I've been dreaming about monster truck rallies most of my life--more so when I was younger, but it's not atypical for one every now and then now.

A few weeks ago, he messages me.

"Do you have any plans tonight?"

I didn't!

"Can I take you out on a date?"

I would love that so much!

"Ok! Dress for a Skynyrd concert and bring your earplugs."

I was SO EXCITED. We could have been going to a concert, but deep down in my heart, I was hoping it was something else.

A Monster Truck Rally.

And it WAS!

And Ho-Ly shit. I was the most fun night ever.

Please enjoy these photos and videos from MORE MONSTER JAM at the Allstate Arena.

MONSTER JAM

MONSTER JAM

MONSTER JAM

MONSTER JAM
Scooby-Doo Monster Truck. Yep. There was also a Rottweiler.
Yeah, so I guess monster truck rallies are mostly for kids.

Which makes sense, cause I'm pretty much a 12 year old boy.

MONSTER JAM

MONSTER JAM

MONSTER JAM

MONSTER JAM

MONSTER JAM

MONSTER JAM

I know this means something other than what I WISH it meant, but it was still exciting.

MONSTER JAM

MONSTER JAM

We got a clump of dirt!

Towards the end, this started happening a lot:

MONSTER JAM

MONSTER JAM

It was scary, but everyone was ok.

Especially these guys!

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Thanks, Fuzzy!

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Photo Feb 05, 9 37 38 PM

WWE Holiday Show 2014

WWE Holiday Show Chicago

In 2015, NetherRealm Studios (the folks who make Mortal Kombat) is releasing a game with WWE called WWE Immortals.

This is a big deal, because Fuzzy is the producer.

We've had to be hush hush about it until now, but now that it is announced, I can say that this year, our lives have been consumed with professional wrestling. And I have to say, I love it.

I didn't know what to expect when we first started watching, but as a producer and a choreographer, I can say that the WWE is BRILLIANT. The moves and choreography are amazing. The spectacle and show is over the top. The camera work and commentating is admirable. And the wrestlers themselves--I love them.

Up until last night, I've only just watched it on TV, but for Christmas this year, Fuzzy got me tickets to the WWE Holiday Tour at the Allstate Arena, and through work set up a meet and greet with us and the wrestlers before the show. It was super awesome.

We got to meet some big guns, too.

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
Fuzzy and I with Bray Wyatt.

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
With The New Day: Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods (aka the nicest guys ever) and Tyler Breeze. (with a blurry walk-by of Bad News Barrett and Titus O'Neil--who is huge--in the background.)

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
A selfie with the super dreamy Roman Reigns.

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
Pre-show chillin, with Tyson Kidd.

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
Bray Wyatt

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
Our seats were awesome!

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
Excited for the show to start!

WWE Holiday Show Chicago

WWE Holiday Show Chicago

The energy of the crowd was amazing, and the show was non-stop excitement and entertainment. I loved it all.

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
The New Day in the ring with Goldust and Stardust.

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
Bray Wyatt's entrance.

Oh man, all the entrance and exit videos were super great, too.

WWE Holiday Show Chicago

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
Main Event: Dean Ambrose & Bray Wyatt.

Everyone kept chanting for a table. This match had lots of chairs, sticks and 2 tables. Here is how one of them went:

WWE Holiday Show Chicago
Happy Campers! Wrestling for the win! Thanks, Fuzzy!

Full photoset here!

One of my favorite times of year is when Shannon comes into town for the holidays. We always plan an epic day of hanging out and getting into trouble. A few months ago, she mentioned that she wanted to see the Bowie Is exhibit at the MCA, which I also wanted to see! So last Friday, we met up and headed downtown to experience the magic.

Bowie Is

"What's that sturgeon doing in that freshwater hydrant?!?!"

Bowie Is

Bowie Is

Bowie Is

Bowie Is

Bowie Is

The exhibit was amazing, of course. So much fashion, so much genius. It was so inspiring and amazing. Plus, the technology of the synched-up audio depending on what you were looking at was way mega cool. I loved looking at all his notebooks with crossed out lyrics and notes, cause it was similar to how my choreography notebook looks. I am in awe of how we all have our gifts: some people see music, some people have the gift of words, I was blessed with the gift of seeing movement when I hear music. I feel very lucky to be an artist, and I hope that I can make an impact to others in the world.

When going through the exhibit, I was also overwhelmed with life and how small it is and how fortunate I am to have the life that I have. What is my typical day in and day out is probably really amazing and crazy to others. I was specifically thinking about this when reading that Bowie was inspired by Kander and Ebb and Cabaret--I remembered a voice mail I once had from John Kander when I was working at the Goodman--and looking at a David Bowie/ Philip Glass collaboration--Philip Glass also did a show at the Goodman and was in and around the theatre a lot. So people that I have interacted with have inspired an iconic trailblazing musician who has inspired millions.

Then, it hit me. I am IN A PORTRAIT BOOK WITH DAVID BOWIE. Who is naked in his photo. We were photographed by the same photographer in the same studio.  How insane is that? All 3 of these experiences are from my time at the Goodman, which I am eternally grateful for. So yeah, life is pretty freaking great.

And now, I can't stop listening to Life on Mars? on repeat.

This outfit was in the exhibit. Shannon was obsessed with that tie, which was stunning in person.

Bowie Is

Thanks for a great day, Shannon!

Bowie Is

*That quote was regarding Bowie's costume for the Ashes to Ashes video. Now it's mine and Shannon's current favorite quote.

Who Dat!

Last week, we had the pleasure of going to the Saints at Bears game, courtesy of our awesome friends Zach and Brynn. I've always wanted to go to a Bears Game (I'll never forget the way they thrilled the nation with their T-Formation), and when the tickets they had turned out to be a rare free night in Team Gerdes-land, we were thrilled! The icing on the cake was that it was also a Saints game. WOOO! Sadly, Brynn had to miss the game due to work, but we rocked it out with their friend Bill. The evening was a total blast--it was cold and there was no cotton candy, but I was willing to overlook those issues for the fact that the seats were awesome, the game was great, and the experience was incredible. Here are some pics!

Saints!

I was not afraid to rock my Saints wear in the United Club. There were a few of us representing in there, though it was mostly blue and orange. Everyone around where we sat hated me, cause I cheered a LOT for the Saints.

Saints!

Saints!

Party People!

Saints!

I have a friend on the drumline somewhere out there!

Saints!

Bear Down! I was actually super happy the Bears scored a couple of touchdowns, cause I love the fight song soooooo much.

Saints!

There were lots of pyrotechnics and fireworks.

Saints!

Saints!

Saints!

Stretch it out, Drew Brees.

Saints!

Saints!

Thanks, Zach and Brynn! Geaux Saints!

Hurricane: He Got Clout

Check out this image from Amy's Instagram account.

Later gram @shescraftychi 's DJ ENRG givin props to @djhurricane1 #Sabotage #beastieBoys #halloween

A photo posted by thesumpt (@thesumpt) on

Check out the likes.

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AW YEAH!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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Photo by the wonderful and beautiful and amazing Rebecca!

Zombies! from Fuzzy Gerdes on Vimeo.

Space Lincoln

I had the honor and privilege of being a guest on my friends Stephen and Ben's Star Trek Podcast, Space Lincoln. We talk about our personal Star Trek origin stories, our names, my family, and come up with perhaps the best idea for a burlesque show ever. It was such a blast, and I hope you enjoy!

Listen here!

Fuzzy and Erica

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Tonight, the perfect and wonderful Fuzzy took me out on a Mystery Date. He asked me to hold the date over a month ago, and I had no idea what he had in store for us. It was so exciting! So often we have to work at night, or have rehearsals, or have shows, so we rarely get to just GO OUT and enjoy an evening and a nice dinner in a fun restaurant. So I picked him up from work, and I guessed a million places I thought we might be going to. I was wrong on all of them, which was even more exciting.

We had 3 stops in our evening, the first of which was to a "doodle date" with Jana Kinsman of Doodle Booth.  She was lovely and we had a nice conversation and now Fuzzy and I have this freaking adorable new piece of art for our home! It is the sweetest thing ever--I love that Fuzzy thought of this. Plus, look how cute and sincere his little eyes are in the drawing. Also, those are my trusty black tagua nut earrings, and I haven't worn them in a while. I pulled them out again today and thought "well, sorry, other earrings, but I'll be wearing these again for a while." So now they are captured in a portrait.

Thanks, Jana, for the amazing art, and thank you Fuzzy, for the wonderful gift!

Los Angeles Feline Film Festival

A few months ago, my buddy Steve, aka the Cat Drawing Guy, asked if I wanted to accompany him to the LA Feline Film Festival in September. Steve was to be one of the VIPs of the festival, along with internet sensation Lil Bub. This was essentially the same thing as someone asking if I wanted a million dollars. Needless to say, I was in.

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I flew out late Saturday night. I officiated a wedding earlier in the day, and had to deal with plane delays, but made it to California at about 3am Chicago time, so I was beat. We got up early the next morning for breakfast and to head to the festival to set up. Along the way, we saw another celebrity cat:

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(Felix, looking like he's doing Sasha's "be cool" walk if "we have a fire" in Don't Spit the Water.)

We got everything set up and ready to go for a day of commerce. I would sell the drawings, t-shirts, etc, and pet all the cats, while Steve would draw the cats on the spot. We had a good system.

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Once we were set up, I looked across the way, and saw a very familiar face. "There's Lil Bub" I said, and Steve was like "Oh, let's go meet them." So we did.

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Her owner/Bub's Dude/ Mike Bridavsky was super nice and real and let me pet Bub and take some pictures of her. I surprisingly didn't cry.

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She was so soft and sweet.

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She told some secrets to Steve.

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We also met other celebrity cats.

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Aragon, who plays Lord Tubbington on Glee.

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Tara the Hero Cat.

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Dusty the Klepto Cat.

Cats were welcome at the festival, so many people brought their kitties with them in bags or on leashes. Like these:

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(Yes, this cat is wearing deely-bopper sunglasses and sitting like that)

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The festival was also an adoption event, so many shelters were there hopefully pairing numerous kitties with their new homes.

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(This was taken before all the people arrived. The adoption kitties were very popular.)

There were also tents of other merchants selling their cat wares. I saw so many things that Parker would have loved (costumes, toys, treats), but not so much for our tiny old little Latte. I got her some treats.

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We were slammed all day. The place to sell cat drawings is, by far, a cat festival. And I don't think it was an exaggeration to say that I was in my own personal Heaven. We met so many amazing people, and so many amazing cats. I felt very at home at a cat festival.

Then, early the next morning, we were on a flight back to Chicago. My second time in California was way too short. But it was nice to get home to my own little kitty and to my amazingly sweet husband.

I'm grateful to Steve for the invitation, and to the festival for hosting.  It was a long day, but an awesome one, and one I will never ever forget.

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Check out this LA Times feature and video, with a cameo by one of Steve's drawings!