When David “Dave” Anderson took his First Communion at St. Joan of Arc Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, he didn’t swallow the body of Christ.

He hid the wafer in his mouth through the entire service, and when he got home he put it under his Mr. Wizard Microscope, only to make a shocking discovery.

Expecting to see the intricate cells of his savior, he instead found what he believed to be toxic mold spores, germinating at an alarming rate.

He approached the church fathers with his findings but was promptly admonished for taking The Baby Jesus off church property without an escort.

As penitence, David “Dave” was forced into the 11:45AM children’s choir, whose numbers had been dwindling due to the choir director’s recent narcoleptic episodes.

For David “Dave” it turned out to be a blessing of a lifetime, and the young soprano took to the hymns like Judas to betrayal.

With little to no musical supervision, David “Dave” arranged the hymns, gave himself solos, and soon was delivering smashing little musical acts during the spreading of the peace. A performer was born.

Twenty years later David “Dave” Anderson is still that evergreen entertainer, living in the land of entertainment, kickin’ it with young Hollywood, shakin’ it like a Polaroid picture, writing and directing oodles of future blockbusters, and all the while living a life of great faith (he’s designing his grandfather’s Christian camp website).

And even though he lives in a penthouse apartment in the flashy L.A. neighborhood of Echo Park, he’s stayed connected to his beloved hometowns of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, through his LA LOG BLOG. If ever in the Twin Cities, tell’em “Dandy” sent you, and hot damn you’ll have a good time.

As for his latest endeavor—a 5,000 mile road trip with his high school foreign exchange student, Nikolai—David “Dave” would like to thank all the people who said he could never convince Nikolai (whom David “Dave” hasn’t seen in more than fifteen years) to come to America to ride in a 1997 Nissan Sentra without air-conditioning, FM radio, or a legal distributor cap. The naysayers only made him push harder. You can’t stop a man who won’t quit, much like Gandhi or Bea Arthur or any number of misunderstood folks in our federal court system.

Go in peace.

Thanks be to the USofAnderson.

NIKOLAI from Russia

Born into a Siberian working-class village known for its bear-shaped lacquer boxes, Nikolai dreamed from the time he was 14 of coming to the U.S. after American missionaries from the Church of Latter Day Saints left on his steps a Book of Mormon and postcards of the Great Salt Lake.

He never forgot their act of kindness or those magnificent images of a happy people bobbing in salt water, so when Yeltsin lifted restrictions on foreign travel, Nikolai enrolled in Westward Ho! Student Xchange—a promising full-immersion program for Russians with no English language skills—in hopes of discovering an exotic land.

Paired with an all-American family in the heart of Minnesota, Nikolai quickly assimilated, becoming BFFs, or in Russian, “LDL,” with the eldest and only Anderson boy, David “Dave,” president of the junior varsity show choir, Broadway or Bust, and its nationally renowned show: Idol Jazz Hands are the Devil’s Tools.

After a mind-blowing year of rich-cultural experiences and lots of bowling, Nikolai returned to Russia single-mindedly focused on returning again to that beacon on the hill, The USofA.

But life in Russia after tasting America is very hard. So to cope with the ceaseless winters, breadlines, and incessant peddling of Matrushka dolls, Nikolai threw himself into a degree program at the local technical college studying A/V equipment.

It was there that, among the Soviet propaganda films he was charged with restoring, he discovered Sangi—the late 1970s St. Petersburg video artist who had found artistic asylum in the U.S. as an artist-in-residence of the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis.

With visions of one day sharing a Baltica #9 and discussing video art with his now idol, Nikolai toiled for years on his own with only occasional success (see “Я люблю мою носок кукольного) while working in his Uncle Vanya’s vodka distillery. He got his break when Sangi finally responded to a fan letter and agreed to a meeting in America.

It was a no-brainer, and Nikolai immediately called the one person in America he could count on: his former host-brother. Though wrapped up in a big-picture deal, David “Dave” dropped everything to pursue the road trip Nikolai had always wanted, en route to meet Sangi.

And thus a road trip was born.