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Just the Beginning: Episode 4

Road Tripping

Mar 7, 2019 · 24 min read

Kickstarter’s Just the Beginning podcast featuring stories about how independent creators bring their ideas to life. In this fourth episode, Join us for an audio road trip to two places that were created with the help of Kickstarter backers.

Subscribe via: Apple Podcasts | Stitcher | Google Podcasts | Spotify

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Ink Minx: Tattoo artist Shanzey Afzal realized that the sexism she faced working in traditional tattoo parlors also affected women getting tattoos. So she turned a vintage travel trailer into a mobile tattoo shop for women called Ink Minx and hit the road.

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Meow Wolf: Vince Kadlubek is CEO and cofounder of the Santa Fe artist collective Meow Wolf. With their wildly popular — and just plain wild — immersive installation, the House of Eternal Return, they’re creating new ways for artists to get paid, and shaking things up in the world of theme parks.

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Throw Throw Burrito: In our first Why Is This Cool? segment, Kickstarter product manager and tabletop games fan Karlee Esmailli tries to convince producer Michael Garofalo (whose games knowledge stops at Scrabble) that he’d enjoy Throw Throw Burrito, the new game from the team behind Exploding Kittens.


Zakiya Gibbons: From Kickstarter, this is Just the Beginning

[Theme music: Balún , Años Atrás]

In this episode: Road Tripping

Shanzey Afzal: I created Ink Minx in a mobile trailer so I could explore my own country.

Vince Kadlubek: This eight-year-old kid walks into the dream-like forest and immediately drops to his knees. And he puts his arms up, and he says, “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this.”

Karlee Esmailli: It’s one of the corners of the internet that is not like a complete cesspool of horrible awfulness…

ZG: Experiencing a really powerful creative work can almost be like visiting a place. We even talk about it that way — you know, how a well made film creates a world of its own, or how beautiful music transports us somewhere.

Nick Yulman: But sometimes people come to Kickstarter to create actual places. All kinds of physical spaces around the world have come to life with the help of backers:

ZG: A cat cafe in St Louis…

NY: A library and writers’ retreat on an old cattle ranch in the Colorado Rockies…

ZG: A Minneapolis restaurant that serves Native American food called Sioux Chef.

NY: Even a Mexican restaurant in London…that’s actually good.

ZG: In this episode we’ll take you on an audio road trip to visit a couple of these places: a mobile tattoo shop for women… and an art space that invites visitors to step into an alternate dimension.

NY: And for these creators… summoning an alternate version of reality was the whole idea behind opening their own spaces. They saw that following the traditional paths in the art world or the tattoo industry would lead them… nowhere.

So they created their own ways of doing things… their own roads ahead.

And Zakiya, you’ve got our first story.

ZG: Yeah, to get us started, we’re going to climb inside an icon of American road trips: the mobile trailer.

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Shanzey Afzal and the Ink Minx Trailer

Shanzey Afzal: Ok…I have a wall of stickers of places I’ve travelled.

ZG: That’s tattoo artist Shanzey Afzal who works under the name Ink Minx. And she’s showing me around her 1963 trailer that she converted into a travelling tattoo studio.

SA: The interior of the trailer I built to be the opposite of the traditional red brick walls and black tables and stuff. I went with a soft pink look and marble flooring. The hardest thing to do was the electrical work.

ZG: You did that yourself?

SA: Mm-hmm.

Z: We’re going to come back to the trailer to hear how Shanzey works with a client later. But before we get any deeper into the story, listeners should know that we’re going to be hearing about suicide and self-harm. If you want to skip ahead, the next story starts about 12 minutes into the show.

When we met up at her trailer, Shanzey told me that growing up in a Pakistani-Indian-American family, seeing the U.S. from the road is something she never got to do as a kid.

Shanzey Afzal (SA): I’m from a conservative Muslim family and my parents are immigrants. They really didn’t want me to be super Americanized. I’ve never gone trick-or-treating or gone to an American wedding or birthday parties and stuff. I had a really restricted childhood and I just wanted to experience everything that I was jealous of. So I created Ink Minx in a mobile trailer so I could explore my own country. It was kind of a selfish reason.

Z: The more I learned about Shanzey and what she’s doing, the harder it was to think of Ink Minx as selfish at all.

The 26-year-old artist has made it her mission to offer tattoos in a space that’s safe for people who often aren’t welcome in the traditional, male-dominated tattoo scene. It’s a mission that grew out of her own experiences.

SA: I was very depressed living such a conservative life. I felt restrained and so I moved out the day I turned 18. I was still in high school working a couple jobs and living in my own apartment. No one thought I could do it but I was just like, “Excuse me, I’m gonna do what I wanna do.”

[Music: ensemble, et al., A Beautiful Walk Through An Industrial Wasteland]

I also got my first tattoo the day I turned 18. It was a symbol of Islam which is the moon and crescent star, and I got it because I wanted to acknowledge where I come from. I felt that I would lose my identity without this tattoo.

ZG: Permanent tattoos are forbidden in Islamic culture, and while honoring her culture by getting a tattoo may seem a little contradictory…it all makes sense to Shanzey.

SA: I used to be a mehndi artist. Mehndi is what henna is called in my culture.

ZG: Henna tattoos are intricate, detailed body art often used in ceremonies or celebrations, like weddings. But they’re temporary.

SA: I craved the permanence of a real tattoo and I was always like, “I want Henna to last forever.”

ZG: She started creating her own designs, and landed an apprenticeship at a New York tattoo shop.

SA: I was doing Yankee tattoos, nothing really creative. And the clientele treated me really weird. I was asked to tattoo topless a lot.

ZG: Shanzey realized that the shop was also an unwelcoming place for women coming in to get tattoos. And even though she was still an just apprentice, she noticed that women often wanted her to be their artist.

SA: Nothing based on merit or experience made them want me to be their tattoo artist. It was purely the fact that I was the only female. And it made me realize there’s such a demand in the industry for something, whether it’s more female tattoo artists or more empathy or understanding when it comes to the meaning of a tattoo.

ZG: Shanzey wanted to meet that demand. So she quit her apprenticeship, started Ink Minx, and hit the road. And soon, she started to make a name for herself — for better or worse.

SA: I got a tattoo that symbolized an abortion that I had. It was a very traumatic experience and I got it a year after the abortion and it provided closure.

[Music: ensemble, et al., Confessions of an Honest Man]

It’s a bird’s nest with a broken egg in the middle and it was featured in a Huffington Post video. That video went a little viral and created such controversy so that I get death threats. I got called a flesh tube, an attention seeking whore. Honestly, it felt like my personal safety was at risk.

And half of my family completely disowned me. So when it comes to the death threats, I feel very sad to say that my family that disowned me would probably respond as if I deserve it.

ZG: But in the midst of all of this, Shanzey started hearing from people who admired her, and wanted to work with her BECAUSE she’s a tattooed woman from a conservative background.

SA: I tattoo a lot of conservative people, a lot of Jewish and Muslim women, and immigrants relate to me because I speak to their worst fears of their family disowning them. Like, Jewish people can’t be buried with their family if they have a tattoo. So it’s like people want to talk to me and be like, “How did you deal with that?”

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ZG: At the same time, Shanzey started to get more and more clients who felt that the traditional tattoo scene was too conservative for them — mainly queer and genderqueer people.

[Music: ensemble, et al., “Finding Simple Wonders As the Day Turns The Night”]

ZG: Spending time with Shanzey, I noticed a particular resilience she has — a strength beyond her 26 years that she musters to deal with all the flak she gets from the outside world. It’s one of the things that draws people to her. But it turns out that she developed that resilience because of something internal.

A few years ago she was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and she’s been dealing with the symptoms since she was a teenager.

SA: I didn’t recognize and nobody recognized that I was actually a schizophrenic. The lows are low, but all the positives in your life you’re incredibly grateful for.

ZG: Shanzey told me that living with schizophrenia has made her more empathetic. And that informs how she interacts with clients. It’s something that makes getting a tattoo in the Ink Minx trailer so different from getting one at most other tattoo shops.

SA: We spend a lot of time almost playing therapist with each other. I’m creating a safe space for my client but I also created a safe space for myself.

ZG: I got to see how she works with clients firsthand when a young woman named Paige Malo visited the Ink Minx trailer.

[Shanzey Afzal and Paige Malo greet each other]

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Paige Malo and Shanzey Afzal in the Ink Minx trailer

ZG: As part of her Kickstarter campaign, Shanzey offered the opportunity for one of her backers to pay for someone else to get a tattoo… and Paige was the recipient of that donation. We stepped into the trailer, and Paige laid down to get her tattoo.

[sound of tattoo needle]

SA: It’s just gonna be slow and steady. One line at a time. I sound like a grandma.


ZG: Paige played music on her phone while we all talked and laughed about the up’s and down’s of being in your 20’s. A couple hours later, the tattoo was done.

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SA: We’re done, honey!

ZG: Paige looked down at her leg in awe.

Paige Malo: It’s beautiful.

ZG: Her right thigh now bore three large, graceful roses surrounded by leaves. The tattoo was both hard and soft, hard in its largeness on her leg, dominating her thigh, and soft in the delicateness of the flowers.

PM: This is better than I could have ever imagined

SA: I just can’t believe how much this tattoo symbolizes and it feels really good to give it to you.

PM: I love it.

ZG: After Paige got cleaned up and bandaged, I asked about the story behind her tattoo.

PM: I’ve had depression since I was 14. I’m now 21. Every time I’ve been in a really bad place where I’m suicidal, my friends usually give me flowers just to remind me of the beauty in the world. And I just remember this one specific incident where I came home from a really bad day and my friend delivered flowers to my house, and it was three roses. And all I could think of was if I kill myself I would never be able to see these roses.

[Music: ensemble, et al., “Confessions of an Honest Man”]

PM: It’s always gonna be a part of me. But I have this beautiful tattoo on my thigh where I can’t self-harm on anymore. And I’ll be able to see it every day and remind myself of what this experience has been and where I’ve come from, and how far I’ll go.

ZG: It’s hard to imagine Paige walking into a typical tattoo shop and feeling comfortable enough to share her story like this.

SA: Women come in with such a powerful experience and it’s just like, done and done. So they don’t get that intense catharsis out of it. I think the client wants other people to understand what the tattoo means to them so if the person providing the tattoo doesn’t understand, they might feel like, “How is the world gonna understand?”

I feel like tattoos help articulate experiences. You go through pain and you end up with something beautiful. As you’re sitting through the pain the thoughts are, “This is worth it, this is worth it.”

ZG: That’s Shanzey Afzal. Since we recorded this, she’s hired more artists to give tattoos and is focusing more on the business side of things. Book an appointment at

Music in this story is by ensemble, et al.

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Vince Kadlubek | Photo: Kate Russell

NY: So in the episode we’re visiting places that have been brought to life on Kickstarter — a little audio road trip.

ZG: And Nick, for our next story, you’re going to take us out west — to a place that’s kind of trippy.

NY: Yeah we’ll head to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Some strange things are happening there in a seemingly normal, two-story Victorian house. Portals to another dimension have opened up, filled with enchanted forests, spaceships, and weird creatures. Here’s Vince Kadlubek, he knows a lot about what’s going on…

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The House of Eternal Return’s exterior | Photo: Kate Russell

Vince Kadlubek: You walk inside of the house, everything still seems relatively normal. Right around the time you get to the dining room, you start to realize that things are a little bit more mysterious and wonkier than you had first imagined.

[Music: Brian Mayhall, Squirrel]

The dining room table starts to shake and vibrate as if something senses your presence. Then you go to the kitchen, and when you open the refrigerator, that’s really the first wormhole.

It’s a hallway of really bright white light that you then walk through, and find yourself in an inter-dimensional travel agency.

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Step through the fridge into Portals Bermuda | Photos: Kate Russell

Emily Montoya: Welcome to Portals Bermuda, your gateway to the multiverse.

NY: So Vince is the co-founder and CEO of Meow Wolf, a Santa Fe based art collective, and he’s describing Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return, an immersive art installation that invites visitors to explore, touch, and get lost in 16,000 square feet of family-friendly psychedelia.

VK: You might find yourself in a cave system that has a mastodon skeleton whose ribs you can play like a marimba. A fantastical, dream-like forest with multi-colored mushrooms. The Eyeball Dome is one of my favorites. I think Meow Wolf has one of the best Eyeball Domes in the country. It’s just like 70 plus rooms, and there’s a soundtrack to every space and so you really are immersed in what feels like a movie or a dream.

[Music: David Last, Forrest Night]

VK: Another wormhole is the dryer in the laundry room. It’s the other dimension where all of your lost socks have gone. The fridge and the dryer are really are two of the most popular things that we have. If we’ve discovered anything, it’s that humans really want to climb through their household appliances.

NY: As you walk from room to room, you realize that they’re each created by different artists but somehow all tie into this grander vision and story. It’s less like a group show and more like a mindmeld.

VK: We had about 150 full-time people working on The House of Eternal Return in all mediums of art.

Caity Kennedy: My name is Caity Kennedy. I am responsible for the Desert Trailer…

Oliver Polsen: My name is Oliver Polsen, and I’m the artist on the Forest Floor…

EM: My name is Emily Montoya. Portals Bermuda is an inter-dimensional travel agency. It’s a dystopian utopia…

Benji Geary: Hey, I’m Benji Geary, and this is Wiggy’s Plasma Plex! Obviously, this arcade belongs to Wiggy…

Nico Salazar: Hi, my name’s Nico Salazar, and you are in Hidden Capsule. When I was drawing this room, I was actually possessed by a six-eyed blob demon from another dimension…

VK: We had another 250 people who were part-time volunteers. We no longer do volunteer-based stuff. If anyone’s going to work for us, they’re going to get paid. But for The House of Eternal Return, we were scraping to get by, and so it was a real blood, sweat and tears period of time for us.

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Hidden Capsule and the Rabbit Room | Photos: Kate Russell

NY: Some artists even got their families involved.

[Music: Feathericci, Rabbit Room]

Sarah Bradley: This is Sarah Bradley, and this is The Rabbit Room. It was just an incredible time crunch for the show at large. So there weren’t a lot of hands available to help. I was really fortunate to have my dad there. He was able to build some scaffolding for me, and do some light welding. Without that, there’s absolutely no way I could have made this piece.

[Music: MI, Kevin Zoernig, Tara Khozein, “Beamspace Ambient”]

VK: One of the first couple of weeks that we were open, this eight year old kid walks into the dream-like forest and immediately drops to his knees. He puts his arms up, and he says, “I’ve been waiting my whole life for this.”

That was my favorite moment. And that’s what we strive for. If we can captivate a child more than the actual world around them, we’re really doing something special. It’s what video games do. And my opinion is that the physical world needs to catch up. It’s not let’s hate on our screens and hate on our technology. Let’s make reality just as fantastic.

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Photo: Kate Russell

NY: It turns out a lot people want reality to step up its game. The House of Eternal Return has become one of New Mexico’s most popular tourist attractions. It’s a long way from Meow Wolf’s beginnings as a dumpster diving artist collective.

[Music: David Last, Dave’s Alley Electroacoustic]

VK: It was meant to just be like a clubhouse for expression. No business, no money. Just a place to hang out, throw music shows. We would make these immersive environments. They were temporary, they were made out of materials that we found in dumpsters. And We would open the exhibit and we would say, “If you feel like you want to throw some money in the donation box, please do.” And maybe we’d make $100.

There was a realization that happened at one of our shows where a mother came up to me and she said, “Thank you so much for this experience. It’s the only thing that has pulled my son away from video games all summer long.”

And that made me realize that we’re not just making art for the underground scene, we’re not just making art for the art world. We’re making art for the general public, and that’s okay. It’s more than okay, it’s awesome.

It doesn’t hurt our credibility as artists. It actually is something to be proud of that we’re bringing creative experiences to the 95% of the world that doesn’t feel welcome in existing venues for creative expression. And with that comes the business model.

Instead of asking the one percent to give us a $100,000 handout via a grant application, and instead of charging $20,000 a painting or a sculpture, we are turning it around and saying, “We’ll charge 20 bucks, and say that there’s enough people to make this whole thing way more successful. And that’s where we find ourselves. We’re now grossing over $13 million dollars a year in Santa Fe. We are employing over 400 people full time with full benefits.

And we actually are a company filled with people who in the “real world” could very easily find themselves on a path towards being labeled a nuisance or a criminal.

NY: Vince would know, he was on that path himself:

[Music: David Last, Rise Up]

VK: It dates back as long as I remember. I mean, elementary school I didn’t want to listen to my teacher. I was such a punk kid. So there’s always been this rebellious tone, and in that transitioned to my early adulthood where it’s like, I didn’t go to college. I stuck around, I threw parties. I was very much somebody who was trying to disrupt the social fabric. I was a scam artist. To really put it bluntly, I was a scam artist. And I got caught twice shoplifting, and arrested.

I was looking at systems, and I was saying, “How I can I scam this system?”

It wasn’t until I got into the business side of things where I realized all my energy and all of my sort of mentality could be routed towards something positive. When I found out that there people out there who actually wanted to fund my ideas because of my personality, that was just like mind blowing to me.

Artists and creatives are probably closer to entrepreneurs than anyone else in the world. But the divide in our culture between art and business is like so vast.

It’s a two-way street. Business needs to open up their minds to the brilliance of artists, but artists also need to own the fact that business is fine. It’s okay.

However we got here, we got to a place where the creative class has accepted the role of not being valued in a monetary way. If more artists were business people, the business world would become so much more socially responsible. I truly believe that.

NY: Vince didn’t have to look far to find an example of an artist running a creative business. Game of Thrones creator George RR Martin lives in Santa Fe and owns an independent movie theater there. Vince was looking for a side gig during the early days of Meow Wolf and applied for a job there.

[Music: David Last, Dave’s Alley]

VK: I got a call back saying, “You have your job interview next week, and it’s going to be with George.” I was like, “Are you kidding me?” This is a small time little job at like a 100 person art house theater in Santa Fe, yet George himself is interviewing me for the position. So when I learned that, I then brought a bunch of Meow Wolf materials to the job interview. He much more interested in those Meow Wolf materials than he was talking about the job.

I got the job. It was okay. He ended up firing me. We didn’t see eye to eye. After I got fired, I rented out his theater and threw an event there that was a panel discussion on how to get Santa Fe to be a younger city. And he really loved that event, and he told me, “Hey, if you want to work on something bigger, let me know.” I just jumped on that opportunity. I sent him a real estate offering for this 30,000 square foot run down old bowling alley. He ended up buying the bowling alley and renting it to us. And that’s the house of Eternal return. He was first my boss who fired me, and then he was my landlord.

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Meow Wolf’s Santa Fe location in a former bowling alley. Photo: Kate Russell

[Music: Brian Mayhall, “Up for Grabs”]

NY: Meow Wolf set out to change the art world. But without realizing it, they were also shaking things up in the world of theme parks.

In the first year that the House of Eternal Return was open, they won an award from the Themed Entertainment Association — it’s basically the Oscars of amusement parks. It’s the kind of thing that often goes to places like Disneyland or Universal Studios.

VK: That made us realize a bit of an egg that we were cracking in this industry as well. Disney is the forefather of this immersive themed entertainment. What then happened over the next 60 years is that everybody copied him, and so everything’s fiberglass, safe, family friendly, limited on its texture and detail. But the people making that stuff are, like, brilliant artists. They can make stuff that is wild.

Some of biggest inspirations artistically, just personally, it’s like the burning of a 40 foot puppet in Santa Fe called Zozobra is one of them, and then Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland is the other. Pirates is the world that I wanted to live in, and I wanted to smell that water, and I wanted to hear those crickets and see those lightning bugs.

The House of Eternal Return is like the first node to a larger Meow Wolf story universe. And that story universe will be told through other location based attractions.

We have a dark ride called Kaleidoscape, that’s going to be opening at Elitch Gardens, a theme park in Denver. And it’s the first time that in the theme park world, a group of artists have created a ride that doubles as an art piece.

What we’re hoping that we’re doing is opening up the possibility that amusement parks can start to become adult, psychedelic, gearing more towards the artistry of it.

NY: And as Vince and Meow Wolf work to open up those new possibilities for artists, they’re staying true to their roots.

VK: The way that artists are getting paid is one of the pieces of this whole venture that I feel most proud about. As a radically accepting company, it’s really hard to fire people. Somebody could be really bad at their job, and we’re thinking about it from the standpoint of like, “They must be good somewhere though.” That makes it tough, because I have a board, I have investors, I have people who are looking to me to strengthen the team.

We’re figuring it out. I’ve proven that that character of ours is such a valuable thing to the business and to the future of the business. Where we’re from brings that out. Santa Fe is a very communal place. There’s probably like more cults per capita here than anywhere in the world.

NY: Do you include yourself on that list?

VK: We walk the line [laughs]. Yeah.

NY: You can visit Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal return in Santa Fe. And the Meow Wolf universe is expanding. Their ride Kaleidoscape will open in Denver this spring. And they’re planning new permanent locations in Las Vegas, Denver, Phoenix, and Washington DC.

We heard music in this story from the House of Eternal Return’s soundtrack — the actual stuff you hear as you’re walking through the space.

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ZG: Kickstarter is a full of niches, subcultures, and obsessive fan communities… you know different flavors of nerdom.

But the folks who show up to support experimental dance projects, for example, may not know about the interesting stuff happening with 3D printers or comics anthologies.

We wondered if we could change that… Could we help one group of nerds understand why those other nerds are so excited?

That’s what our next segment is all about — we call it “Why is This Cool”?

Here’s how it works: we invite someone who loves a project that’s live on Kickstarter right now to explain it to a person who has absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.

And for our first Why Is This Cool segment, we paired up Karlee Esmailli, a product manager here at Kickstarter and a big fan of tabletop games, with our producer, Michael Garofalo. They spoke about a new card game called Throw Throw Burrito just hours hours after it launched.

And Karlee had her work cut out for her… since Michael’s gaming experience doesn’t go much further than Scrabble…

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Karlee Esmailli explains Throw Throw Burrito to Michael Garofalo

Michael Garofalo: I’m totally ignorant of video games, too. My mom wouldn’t let me have a Nintendo when I was a kid, and so I have a complex about Super Mario Brothers. You go over somebody’s house and they wanted to play Nintendo, and I’d get killed within two seconds, and then they’d play for 30 minutes. So, I think I had this, “Oh, I’m not a game person.”

Karlee Esmailli: [laughs] Michael, you are not the only person that has had these problems [laughs]. I think these card games in particular, you do not have to be a gamer to play this for people. For people like you who struggle with losing, it’ll be fine [laughs].

MG: [laughs]

KE: Throw Throw Burrito is a card game, and it’s by the creators of Exploding Kittens and Bears versus Babies.

MG: And it’s called Throw Throw Burrito. Do you actually throw burritos?

KE: Yeah. I really think the name says it all. The Kickstarter campaign just launched this morning, and people are freaking out.

MG: There’s already 10,000 backers, and they’ve already made more than half a million dollars. But why? Why are people freaking out about this?

KE: So, Throw Throw Burrito and the whole collection of Exploding Kittens card games are made by these two really incredible creators. So it’s Matthew Inman, who is The Oatmeal. The Oatmeal is an online comic, and then Elan Lee, who is this incredible games designer. When I first read The Oatmeal, it came across as a juvenile, silly, internet webcomic. But then as I got more and more exposure, I started reading comics from him about how you respond emotionally to arguments that you disagree with. Then, just like this amazing combination of fart jokes, and then some of the biggest questions that people can ask [laughs].

KE: I think that that describes Matt and Elan’s partnership, in general, where the games that they make have this combination of being silly and accessible and physical, and simultaneously, having some depth to their mechanic and being things that you can play a lot of times before you get bored.

MG: So, how do you actually play?

KE: It seems to me to be a little Go Fish-like, but of course, this is all speculation because it literally just launched this morning. From my understanding, you have some foam burritos, and when you collect three of a kind for the burrito cards, then you are immediately engaged in a burrito duel with other players. You stand back to back, you take three paces, and then you throw. Very Hamilton-esque. I’m extremely competitive, and this is a game about agility and strategy. And I know that personally, I am planning on wearing tennis shoes when I play this because I want to win.

MG: Tell me about Exploding Kittens because that was like a phenomenon, right?

KE: Yeah. Exploding Kittens was huge. It was the most backed project of all time and had the most backers. The Exploding Kittens Kickstarter campaign comments section is legendary. It is still popping off. It’s the community of people who backed the project, giving updates on new jobs they got or their lives or whatever it is.

MG: So, wait. How many years ago was Exploding Kittens?

KE: It was in 2015.

MG: And people are still using the comments section? That’s insane.

KE: It’s completely insane. It’s one of the corners of the internet that is not like a complete cesspool of horrible, awfulness.

MG: It’s like get off Twitter and get on to the Exploding Kittens comments section.

KE: Totally.

KE: It is super interesting and weird that these campaigns and The Oatmeal, in general, are kind of like internet things. People are coming together there, but ultimately all of that internet energy gets translated into a very physical game that’s not really something you can play online.

MG: So, I have to be honest. The whole throwing the burrito thing, when I first heard about it I was like, “Oh, this is kind of stupid.” But now, I get it. It’s like you literally cannot do that on the internet. You actually have to be in a room with other human beings. That’s cool. I like that.

KE: Oh, totally. You know, I have a lot of really good memories being at games conventions and just whipping out Exploding Kittens and in like three minutes, those people are your friends. That’s one of the reasons I’m so excited about Throw Throw Burrito is because Exploding Kittens has been my go-to icebreaker game.

MG: All right. I think, Karlee, I’m convinced in that if a copy of Throw Throw Burrito ends up in this office, I will play it.

KE: You’re welcome.

MG: Thank you.

ZG: That’s Karlee Esmailli explaining The game Throw Throw Burrito to Michael Garofalo. Head to to check out the project yourself.

ZG: This episode was produced by me Zakiya Gibbons, Michael Garofalo and Nick Yulman.

Elyse Mallouk is Kickstarter’s Editorial Director.

NY: Special thanks to John Feins and Brian Mayhall at Meow Wolf.

You can visit us at

ZG: And tell us what you think of the show — leave a review wherever you listen to podcasts.

And don’t forget to call in with questions about your creative work for Advice Columnist Adam J Kurtz. The number is 914 381 0233

Or tweet at Kickstarter using the hashtag #JTB

Until next time, I’m Zakiya Gibbons.

NY: I’m Nick Yulman

And this is Just the Beginning

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