Originally from Iowa, Brandon graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2008 with a BA in History. He taught English in Busan, South Korea, returned to Minnesota to serve with AmeriCorps, and after two years of service, he co-founded the Theater of Public Policy with Tane Danger. He is currently an Artist in Residence at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.
1) What about your college experience influenced where you are today?
My college was located in a small city, which often meant that we needed to create our own opportunities or invent new organizations when we wanted to accomplish something. The school and staff were very supportive of these initiatives which helped me understand the mantra, “We are the people that we’ve been waiting for.”
2) What is the most exciting thing that you do in your job?
It’s my job to make things fun. While the process can be irksome at times, the results are always entertaining. What I love most is the range of requests. Someone might ask to make a meeting more fun or to make biofuels more interesting. The more difficult requests are best because when I deliver, people enjoy it the most. Nothing gets my adrenaline pumping more than being surprised 5 minutes beforehand that I’ve got to present an entertaining and motivating activity for the next 30 minutes.
3) What book should everybody read, and why?
I’m one of those cranks who think that there’s enough classical literature for people to pour through before they start reading modern works. I will admit that I break my own rule, but I do think many of the older works challenge you in a way that’s lacking with more modern works. I read John Grisham in the 7th grade and even then it was easy.
4) Who or what is inspiring your work these days?
Social satirists are the people I often turn to when looking for inspiration. Whether it’s Shakespeare, Voltaire, Twain, or someone more contemporary like Stephen Colbert, I find these giants’ shoulders a comfortable place to stand.
5) What are you passionate about?
Whether you’re at a restaurant, cooking at home, or enjoying libations I think people should appreciate food at its highest levels. Good ingredients aren’t hard to come by and Julia Childes showed us that even those who drop a chicken on the floor can still make great food.