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Meet John Kaufmann, an enchilada-loving theatre professor

February 27, 2012

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Name: John Kaufmann
Assistant professor, department of theatre, dance, and media studies.
Born and raised in Iowa, lived in Seattle for a dozen years, and happy to be in Beloit.
You may have seen me:
Running by the river with Hattie in her jogger-stroller, hoping she stays asleep!
What are a few of your favorite things?
  Brynn, my wife; Hattie, my daughter; and three months of free HBO that gets extended if you call and say that you really like it but you're just not sure, and you'd hate to leave the mediated utopia of AT&T's idyllic "Uverse," but could you please please have a little longer to decide?
What’s on your desert island jukebox?
  Elvis Costello, The Bird and the Bee, and Dr. Dog.
Any do-over requests to lodge with the universe? Explain. I don't like it when I'm in somebody's way, or they're in my way and I say "excuse me" and then they say "oh, you're fine." I don't need these people to approve of my "fine-ness." I'm fine, I just want to get around them. I also don't like it when people have kids and then they suddenly no longer include pictures of themselves on the holiday cards they send out. Like if you birth a cute baby you suddenly cease to exist yourself. I also think there should be an assumed perimeter three feet around the baggage claim belt. If everybody honored this perimeter, everybody could see clearly, and people could easily step forward to retrieve their luggage.  
Favorite meal? I never met an enchilada I didn't like. My mom's chicken enchiladas, Bandito's carnitas in Iowa City, enchiladas from a Mexican Cantina, frozen little enchilada meals from Trader Joe’s. I love them all. I guess you could mess up enchiladas, but it would be really hard. I love enchiladas! You'd think I'd like burritos, too, and they're okay, but there are lots of ways to mess up burritos, and I've experienced many of them. What is it about enchiladas? 
Any advice?
  So often in my life I've been afraid, or intimidated, or tentative. Sometimes I thought about doing or saying the thing I was afraid of, and sometimes I did it. It was always better when I did it.
What do you do in your free time?
  Brynn and I like to play ping-pong and go out to eat and play with Hattie. But we're just kind of marking time with her until she falls asleep so we can watch free HBO.
Who are your heroes?
People who speak the truth in accessible (Elizabeth Warren), challenging (Noam Chomsky), inspiring (Ken Wilber), or humorous (Bill Maher) ways.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I wish I could read music and play piano. I'd get all honky-tonk sometimes!
What’s your favorite hidden gem here in the area?
  Brynn and I sure did have a good time at the Butterfly Club the other week. We also like Nardo's for breakfast, even though it's not an ideal name for a dining establishment.
Proudest moment?
I'm proud every time I get married, have a child or open a play. Except for "Prairie Fire." That was an unfortunate theatrical experience.
If you were auditioning for American Idol, what song would you sing?
  There are many questions, and this is one of them, where the answer is Duran Duran's "Hungry Like the Wolf."
What are you most looking forward to?
The opening of Pretty Theft! Terrarium fans unite!

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