A Trivial Hero

Love

This page is dedicated to the many wonderful things I have discovered along my travels. The first section will be a list of artists and performers that create in many different ways. The second section highlights great venues I have come across all around the United States. The third section will focus on cool projects people are putting together and carrying out all over the world. The fourth section will focus on cool stops and drives I made along my travels that are worth considering. The fifth section is for great food from all over the country. Enjoy!

*If you see any out of date or incorrect material, if you have something you would like us to consider including, or if you wish to have your project removed from the site, contact us at officiallytrivial@gmail.com.

Artists        Venues        Projects        Destinations        Food

Artists

     These are great people I discovered making art in many awesome ways from all over the country. Links are provided with artists when available.

Waking Fable These musicians in Austin, Texas create a unique sound so smoothe that they can make you feel like you're in a lounge in the twenties instead of listening through your car speakers. Look at their Website for more.

Gray Thomas Honestly, the best poem I have ever seen performed. Ever.

Mike Cheslik Amazing freelance animator and writer. One of the hardest workers I came across throughout my entire trip. He has lots of wonderful work on his Website.

iLike, iLike Designs These crafty sisters from Las Vegas, Nevada create fun, original accessories for people and pets! For people looking for unique style or gifts, they "promise you like!" Check out iLike iLike Designs!

Carey McComas This wonderful spirit is housed in the body of one of the cutest people you could possibly encounter. Her fun, folksy ukulele songs incite smiles every time. Her poems inspire. Most importantly, her happy energy is contagious. Check her out on Twitter.

Phil Jacobson This Chicago-based musician has a smooth voice and a genuine sound that allows him to connect with all audiences. Information is available on Reverb Nation.

Noah the Wordsmith This rapper/spoken-word poet from Southern California surprises with his thought provoking lyrics and natural flow. Music can be found online.

Peter and the Tribe This three-piece band from Seattle, Washington provides a robust and soulful sound in live performances despite such a small lineup. Check out their info and Music.

Matthew Shone This stand-up comedian from Las Vegas, Nevada uses a self-aware brand of comedy that is undeniably endearing. Follow him on Twitter.

Joey Hines Las Vegas-based singer/songwriter creates a blend of folk songs that range from silly to raw and brutally honest. Listen to him on Bandcamp

RJ Walker This poet is heavily involved in the slam scene in SLC as well as other areas. He has Poetry available online.

Soul Daddy As his name suggests, this MC and rapper is full of SOUL! He has a wonderful energy and a ton of talent. Give his Music a listen.

The Omaha Guitar Trio These three young men in Omaha, Nebraska put casual guitarists to shame with their amazing arrangements on classical guitars. You can find out more on Facebook.

Ivo Okafo This rapper and beat boxer uses voice loops to create entire beats from scratch. His presence emanates from the stage in any venue. He has much more information on Facebook.

Despicable Another Chicago-based singer/songwriter with a vast collection of folk songs. Inciteful lyrics and fun melodies found on his Website.

Brian Warren This gregarious musician is quite the personality throughout the Vermont and New Hampshire music scenes. Check out more information and his Music.

Ethan Diamond This comedian and cartoonist hails from Boston, Massachusetts. He displays his wit through his pictures and stand-up acts. Click to see Funny Stuff.

Sam Mulligan A singer/songwriter in the Boston area that blends acoustic songs with 8-bit sounds. Fun, funny, and talented. Check out his Music.

John Burke Here is a powerful poet from Jersey whose love flows through him as he recites his rhymes. Check out his sounds on Youtube.

Jahiti From Baltimore, Maryland, this singer/songwriter uses his powerful voice and energy to move a message of love and happiness wherever he can find ears to listen. He has Music online.

Ryan Bussiere Very cool singer/songwriter in Dallas, Texas with cinematic themes pulsing through his songs. Facebook can tell you more.

High Noon Narrative Young band in Las Vegas, Nevada lays soulful lyrics and melodies on top of flowing basslines and chord progressions. Check them out on Facebook.

Venues

     These are cool venues I came across throughout the U.S. that are fun to play if you get the chance. Links are provided for venues when available.

Kulaks Woodshed This was one of my favorite venues in the entire country. Located in North Hollywood, Kulak's woodshed is a haven for songwriters. Check out their Website.

Kupros Kupros is a fun bar in downtown Sacramento that looks like a Frat house from the outside, but it is much cooler inside... and I didn't have any fear of being hazed or roofied. The host of their open mic was one of the kindest people I encountered. Here is their Website.

Kelly's Olympian Cool bar right in the middle of downtown Portland. It has a separate room with a big stage and great sound system. Learn more on their Website.

Darrell's Tavern Small bar on the northern end of Seattle. They do a great open mic with lots of energy and talent. Check them out on their Website.

Lizard Lounge Cool bar in Boston right in Harvard square. They house an open mic in their basement that floods with talent and ingenuity from songwriters. Learn more on their Website.

The Beat This is a very cool venue in Downtown Las Vegas. They host the Human Experience which is one of the most consistently, well attended open mics I have seen anywhere in the U.S. They host the occasional concert as well. Definitely see when you can catch some fun on their Website.

Greenhouse Effect This houses a great community of writers from poets to songwriters to comedians. An intimate cafe feel in Salt Lake City. Learn all about their open mic on Facebook.

The Walnut Room The area of Denver this bar is located in seems sketchy, but it is a diamond in the rough. Once inside, this bar contains a large room with a great stage and is probably one of the top three sounding venues I performed in on my whole trip. Give their Website a look.

402 Arts Collective This venue can be found in Omaha's Benson district. It appears to be a small cafe, but it contains a large stage and great sound system that allows for a nice blend of intimacy between performers and audiences while still having a big stage feel. Read about the great things they are doing on their Website.

Firehouse Hostel This hostel in Austin, Texas hides a bar/lounge that appears to be straight out of the 20's. You slide back a bookshelf to find a great, intimate venue with some of the best sound I encountered across the country. Definitely in my top three. Learn all about it on their Website.

Lilly's Chicago This is a very small bar in Chicago, but it hosts a great open mic and is conveniently located. Keep up to date with them on Facebook.

Club Cafe This venue in Pittsburgh provides a great stage with clear sound. It's got a bit of a lounge atmosphere to it, but is well worth checking out their Website at least.

Club Passim Another great venue in Harvard square. This small restaurant provides a big stage and friendly audience. Their Website can tell you more.

Bwe Kafe Small, intimate cafe space in Hoboken, New Jersey. They hold Hoboken spoken and provide a great outlet for many talented artists to share. Check it out on their Website.

Open Mic Downstairs This was one of the coolest open mics in the whole country. In New York City, tons of talented people fill this space, though this one leans more heavily on the comedic side than many other open mics. Feel comfortable in this great workshopping space. And of course, here is the Website.

The Bitter End Another great venue in New York City, the Bitter End is right near the NYU campus and provides a great stage with clear sound and access to a good audience. Check them out on their Website.

Sidewalk Cafe Cool cafe space in New York City with a great stage and good listening room. Read all about it on their Website.

Peace and a Cup of Joe This is a small cafe space in downtown Baltimore, but wow were the people running their open mic kind. Some of the kindest, most talented, and warm people visit this venue regularly. Check them out on Facebook.

Circus Freaks Open Stage This is a very cool show in Plano, Texas (a suburb of Dallas on the northern end). The acts at this show vary across a wide spectrum providing fun entertainment on a regular basis. See how you can get involved on their Website.

Opening Bell Coffeehouse This is a very cool venue in Dallas, Texas. It's got a good, low stage with an intimate cafe feel. Seems to be a popular spot as well, so see when you'd need to arrive by checking out their Website.

Speakeasy This downtown Austin bar is several stories high with a whole lot to offer. From a big stage to a bowling alley to a rooftop bar, this bar is just plain fun. Learn more from their Website.

Brickyard Pizza Right across from the campus of the University of Albuquerque, Brickyard Pizza pulls a fun college crowd. It's a small bar space, but they pack it with fun. Read more on their Website.

Tempe Center for the Arts This is a large venue with multiple stages and theaters to put on a variety of different shows. It is very close to the ASU campus in Tempe, Arizona. Check out their programs on their Website.

CASA Sunba This is a very small space, but it is an absolute blast to play. Again, right near the ASU campus in Tempe, this bar just brings the fun for performances. See what's on their schedule on their Website.

The Crepe This cafe space is located on the west side of Las Vegas. The owners support local acts and hope to nurture talent to grow. Check out their Website.

Projects

     These are various initiatives worth checking out. Projects range from people supporting local scenes to promoting mental health in cool collective ways.

Punks in Vegas These guys do such a great job supporting the music scene out in Vegas, and not just for punk rock. They do some awesome things interacting both with local acts and large, out of state acts. They can be found taking pictures at pretty much every major show in town, but then you can check out local, unknown bands on their youtube. Definitely look into all of the great things Punks in Vegas are doing on their Website.

Roads to Courage I had the pleasure of meeting these two phenomenal Europeans on their journey through South America and the U.S. They hitchhiked and interviewed people about what fear and courage mean from different perspectives. What they will turn it all into will truly be a wonder to behold. You can keep up with the project on their Website.

Couchsurfing For travelers, this is one of the coolest, smartest things you can be part of. It's not only for cheap travel, but for amazing experiences and new, cool people to become part of your life. Learn more from their Website.

402 Arts Collective These guys in Omaha, Nebraska offer so much help to artists, especially young, developing ones. They provide a great stage, recording assistance, lessons, and much more. Get it straight from the source on their Website.

E.V.I.L. The Existential Variety Improv Lab is a project put forth by Circus Freaks just north of Dallas, Texas. They do some awesome workshops and really help people grow and develop their performance skills. Check it out on their Website.

Arcosanti An architect with a dream of a sustainable future thought up the idea of "arcologies" which would blend architecture and ecology. He designed cities for specific areas to take advantage of what the landscape and climate provide instead of creating suburban sprawl. Arcosanti is the only one to currently be in action, and even so, only a small percentage of the plans exist, but it is definitely something worth checking out and supporting. Learn more from their Website.

Destinations

     These are random, possibly under the radar visits I made on my roadtrip that I would recommend to all travelers out there.

The Pacific Coast Highway If you are traveling through any of the states along the Pacific Ocean, it is well worth it to take a strecth of the Pacific Coast Highway, or the PCH for short. It will add time to your travel, but it will also add beauty and wonder. This road traces the coast so you are driving right along the water, winding around cliffs and through redwood forests. Stop at Big Sur and look out at the horizon to feel the vastness of our world. More information here.

Powell's Books This huge bookstore in downtown Portland is an avid reader's wet dream. An entire city block and multiple stories weave through every genre of book imaginable. Learn all about the magic here.

The Experience Music Project This museum in Seattle is right next door to the Space Needle, and in my opinion, it is much more worth the visit than the Space Needle is. The EMP provides a hands-learning experience that thrusts visitors into the vibrant Seattle music scene. Learn what you can experience here.

Beacon Rock There is tons of great hiking in the Pacific Northwest, but a fairly simple one that provides amazing views is Beacon Rock. This large rock right on the Oregon-Washington border can be summitted in under half an hour if you hustle, and it ends with an awesome perspective full of green. Read all about it here.

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City Creek Canyon in Salt Lake City Right near downtown, there is a creek that descends until you forget you are in the middle of a city. Great for runs and bike rides, City Creek offers a nice respite from the hustle and bustle of a downtown area. Read about it here.

Denver Museum of Nature and Science A huge museum in a great city, this place is just plain fun. Educational on all aspects of science complete with a planetarium. Loved this museum. Learn more here.

The Second City This comedy show with a residency in Chicago is the funniest thing I have ever had the pleasure of seeing. With a list of alumnis like Tina Fey, Chris Farly, Mike Myers, and many more, this show clearly holds a high standard and is guaranteed to make you laugh every time.Learn how you can book an evening of laughs here.

Ben and Jerry's Tour Factory I was in the middle of Vermont without a clue of what to do when a friend suggested I tour the Ben and Jerry's factory. I had no idea it was in Vermont. I drove there immediately and bought a ticket for the next tour. $4.00 got me a half hour tour of the factory that taught me all about the company and its history (it's a really cool company too!) and then the tour ended in their "Laboratory" where they create ice cream flavors. You get a sample of an experimental flavor of ice cream that changes daily. How can anyone say "no" to that? Check it out here.

The Dartmouth Campus As one might imagine, this campus is simply stunning. The library is full of artwork and wonderful things including a Dr. Seuss study room. Who knew that Dr. Seuss was a Dartmouth graduate? Learn about the fantastic school here.

Strand Bookstore Similar to Powell's in Portland, this New York City bookstore offers tons of books at bargain prices. Additionally, they have a resident dog that is all over their Instagram. Learn more here.

The Jersey Shore Contrary to what reality television portrays, the Jersey Shore is actually pretty cool to visit. You are charged to step onto the sand, but it is worth the price of admission because they keep it looking pristine. The boardwalk is full of delicious snacks and little shops. You can get delicious New York pizza there. They have more information here.

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Edgar Allan Poe's Grave This great American author died in Baltimore, Maryland. They have a wonderful tribute to him and his family located there. You can read about it here.

Cooper's Rock State Forest West Virginia is full of green, and for a desert boy, it is astounding to the senses. This state forest is full of awesome hikes and great views. See what their take on it all is here.

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The Musician's Hall of Fame As I drove through Ohio, I stopped at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame which is cool, but loses a sense of intimacy. The Musician's Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee focuses on the musicians that are behind the scenes recording many of these great albums that we know today. Instead of focusing on the famous names we see in the headlines, the Musicians Hall of Fame celebrates the unsung heroes of music. Learn about their programs here.

Graffiti Park at Castle Hills This section of Austin, Texas legalizes graffiti for street artists to express themselves. It is free to visit and explore and take pictures. Check out this cool site here.

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Petroglyph National Monument A great spot for hiking in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It is a flat, desert landscape packed with petroglyphs. On a clear day, you can lose yourself on an easy walk while reading prehistoric messages on the rocks. Look at their website for more information.

Driving through Arizona I honestly think that Arizona may very well be the most beautiful state in the union. It has two of the world's seven natural wonders. As you drive through it, the landscape flows from forest to desert to amazing rock formations. I recommend using the smaller freeways instead of the main highway every time. It will add time to your drive, but it will also add experience. Read more here.

Red Rock Canyon In my hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, there are hidden treasures of which people are unaware. Vegas has so much more than the strip and casinos. On the west side of town, there are some of the most beautiful rocks for hiking and climbing that you will find anywhere in the world. This conservation area is a must see when visitng Vegas if you can stay sober long enough for a hike. Learn all about their trails here.

Food

     These are various, delicious foods I ate throughout my travels that I would recommend to anyone that enjoys eating... so basically everyone.

Li'l Woody's Honestly, the BEST burger I have ever had in my life was from this restaurant and it was called the Fig and Pig. You can also try their signature dipping sauce called "Crack" which is a tiny milkshake to dip your fries in. Check out Li'l Woody's.

BRGR If the Fig and Pig from Li'l Woody's is the best burger I've ever had, this is the second best. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the BRGR Bar serves great gourmet burgers. The Button Buster or the King Salmon are excellent choices. See what else they've got here.

Eggslut Awesome food from an unexpected source in downtown Los Angeles. If you like breakfast (and any person that doesn't is missing out) Eggslut serves some tasty sandwiches. Read about it Website here.

Piroshky These delightful Russian pastries can be found all over Seattle, Washington. I honestly do not know why they aren't served all over America because they are delicious. The most popular bakery for them can be found here.

Crab Cakes at Lexington Market I'm not sure how well Maryland does football, but the crab cakes are absolutely on point. They are humongous and full of crab instead of being a ball of breading sprinkled with crab pieces. Complete with the Old Bay taste synonymous with Maryland food, read about these award winning creations here.

Pie Face It blows my mind that this Australian staple hasn't made its way across the pond in a stronger way. These pies are filled with various meats and cheeses and flavors and goodness. The only place I know of that has a strong presence of these "Aussie Pies" is in New York City. This chain started in Australia and has moved into NYC. If you are in the New York area, get youself some Pie Face.

Lou's Restaurant This cafe/diner just off the Dartmouth campus is famous for its crueller French toast. See the rest of their menu here.

Ray's Hellburger This burger joint around DC offers an awesome selection of burgers, sandwiches, barbecue, and milkshakes. Let your mouth water as you check them out here.

Rude Boy Cookies In Albuquerque, New Mexico, right by the University campus, there are lots of bars and restaurants creating a fun, youthful environment. Rude Boy Cookies is among this strip of food and offers a unique dessert to follow any meal. They have a plethora of gourmet cookies and a "milk bar" where you create different flavors of milk by mix in anything from caramel to banana to mint. See all their wonder here.

POPS This is a classic stop on the famous Route 66 in Oklahoma between Tulsa and Oklahoma City. It has different sodas from all over the world and a classic diner menu. If you find yourself in the area, at least stop to get a picture by the iconic soda bottle by the road. They have their own website.

Lobster Rolls and Whoopie Pies So if you are going to Maine, you have to eat Lobster. It is pretty much a rule. Their lobster is delicious, and you can go to a wide variety of places to get your fix. But a lesser known food tip is the Whoopie Pie. These large desserts are served throughout the state. They are like two huge pieces of cake with a creamy icing sandwiched in the middle. It's enough calories to last you a few days, but it is delicious. I got mine from here.